MAINTENANCE – Salt-X vs Salt Away

I had been using Salt-X to rinse my engine after running at salt water all along. I found it did a very fine job of protecting the engine from corrosion. After I did a write up on how effectively Salt-X had protected my gear from saltwater damage (, a friend handed me a bottle of Salt Away and asked me to do a trial of it. Here’s the results after two years of using Salt Away to rinse my motor after every use.

Initially, I was delighted that I can “see” Salt Away working as it foams away, as compared to Salt-X. The recommended dilution ratio is also lower than Salt-X which meant that Salt Away should be a stronger, more concentrated product, which makes it cheaper to use if it was as effective as Salt-X in keeping corrosion away.

I sprayed Salt Away according to the instructions and dilution ratios on this 5hp Mercury engine after every outing. I also flushed the engine in diluted Salt Away, running it on idle for 10 minutes in a bucket of Salt Away diluted according to instructions, before rinsing off. The water I use for flushing down at my boat park is captured from rainwater and is recycled after settling in a sediment tank.

After a few months, I noticed white stains where water had dried on the engine shaft. I then increased the amount of Salt Away to the same ratio as Salt-X. The white stains continued to show up and had to be scrubbed away. I decided to continue with the trial till the bottle of Salt Away is used up. After a year, I noticed there’s signs of paintwork popping up, and a slight weakening of the flow in the tell-tale.

Approximately after a year and a half of switching from Salt-X to Salt Away, my engine’s Tell-Tale had almost totally stopped flowing. I can only get to see random drops of water when I rev the engine up above idle. It’s time to clear off the salt and lime encrustation, and discard the remnant bottle of Salt Away.

Removing the impeller for a check, I found it is still in very good condition but I found lime deposits forming at the hole that water is squeezed through. So I filled a bucket with water, and added 1L of distilled white vinegar to this water. Then I put the engine into this bucket and ran it at idle speed.

Slowly, the tell tale began to flow better, as the water in the bucket turned chalky. Half an hour later, the bucket of acidic water had turned milky white and the tell-tale is again flowing freely. Click the blue text to access the video of what I did to clear the salt and lime encrustration.

Salt Away affords Insufficient protection? You bet!

1.5 years after switching to Salt Away. Paintwork had bubbled and left white marks that speak of corrosion…

I tested Salt Away on this motor for protection instead of using my usual Salt-X. After a year and a half, the engine’s cooling system had choked with lime deposits and paintwork had started to bubble with corrosion.

On the other hand, I continued with my experiment with Salt-X. I have an Antares DC7 reel that had its chrome parts corroded on the underside. At that time, I did not coat the undersides with Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine Grease as I thought the chrome would be ample protection for a reel that was rated by Shimano as “saltwater-safe”. After all, isn’t it the addition of Chromium to steel that makes it Stainless steel? It was a wrong assumption, and the damage was done. In later versions of the Antares, Shimano was careful to label the reel as “for freshwater only”.

So for this corroded reel, I buttered the corroded undersides with Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine Grease with Teflon as I did with the frame which had survived intact simply because I had greased it as it was not chromed. After each use, (I fish only in saltwater), the line is stripped, the reel sprayed with standard dilution Salt-X and left for 10 minutes for it to work its magic, then rinsed with fresh water and air dried. (Salt-X says you should leave it to dry on the reel as it’s inert and will continue to protect the reel. However, I find it leaves a hazy deposit on the finish which I don’t like, so I usually spray on Salt-X, go take a bath while it works to neutralise salt and lime, then come back and rinse it off)

The next day when all is dry, I oiled the bearings with Corrosion-X and serviced the two ceramic spool bearings as I run them dry. Here’s what I found after two years of this regimen:

Salt-X Continues to prevent corrosion

After more than 8 years use every weekend in salt water, This corrosion-prone Antares DC7 frame is still well preserved by a coating of Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine Grease with Teflon, and a rinse of diluted Salt-X that began after corrosion has shown up on other parts.

In this old photo, the Chrome was not enough to protect this thumb rest from saltwater corrosion. Observe how the chrome is still peeling up from the metal, it shows that corrosion is eating at the metal from the inside. After discovering the damage, I peeled away any flaking chrome, brushed away any debris and Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine Grease with Teflon was painted over the undersides of all parts and Salt-X was added to the water used to rinse this reel.

This is the new photo after the reel is totally degreased. Almost 4 years after using Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine Grease and Salt-X for protection, I’m satisfied that the corrosion had not spread. In fact, I dare say the treatment of Quicksilver 2-4-C and Salt-X had stopped corrosion from continuing further.

The picture above (with white deposits in the corrosion spot) is the thumb bar in present condition. Compared to the earlier photo, you can see that no further corrosion is forming as there’s no further blisters or flaking in the chrome.

On this nose piece, one can also see that with 2-4-C Marine grease and Salt-X, the corrosion is actually stopped!

In conclusion, I daresay that Quicksilver 2-4-C Marine Grease coverage with Salt-X rinse after every use is sufficient to keep a reel from corrosion. Regular oiling and servicing will further extend the useful life of your reel.


Text and Images © Lawrence Lee
All Rights Reserved
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3 responses to “MAINTENANCE – Salt-X vs Salt Away

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