Motorcycle and ATV Winter Salt Protection - which should you use: ACF50, FS365 or WD40
When winter is on the way. In the UK winter means road salt, and road salt means corrosion. There are a few products on the market that claim to help reduce corrosion. Some work very well and some are just a waste of your time and money. The best way to stop your motorcycle or quad corroding is to wash it, dry it and place it somewhere completely dry. This makes using it a little awkward, so lets take a look at some alternatives.
ACF50 was widely used in the aviation industry but almost unknown elsewhere. Corrosion in the aviation industry is more than just a little inconvenient, it is life threatening. I needed quick results and got them.
It's a really straight forward test. Steel wool has a huge surface area and corrodes extremely quickly. It is also a very hard shape to coat. You couldn't, for example, paint it. A piece of steel wool was cut in half. One half was sprayed with ACF50 until it was dripping wet, the other half was not treated at all. The treated sample was hung up so any excess ACF50 would drip off. Both samples were then sprayed with salt water until the water dripped from them. No worse than riding down a soaking wet road that had been salted. They were then simply left in the cold just as you might leave your bike after a ride.
After 6 days the samples looked like this.
|Above - Sample treated with ACF50 after 6 days|
|Above - Untreated sample after 6 days|
Both samples were then sprayed with more salt water every other day for ten days. The ACF50 was not reapplied at any time, this test is to see if a single application could withstand repeated attacks of salt water. After 10 days the samples were left in a cold place as before so the salt water could work its evil magic.
After 30 days (so this is 36 days including the original 6 day test) the samples looked like this.
|Above - Sample treated with ACF50 after 36 day test|
|Above - Untreated sample after 36 day test|
So all this is fairly impressive, and this is why I like ACF50. But people always say ACF50 is expensive (which it is) and there are other products that make similar claims. So to satisfy my own curiosity I have done a comparison test pitching ACF50 against the most common rivals. This time a single sheet of new steel was used. The steel was skimmed using an angle grinder to give is an uneven surface and increase the surface area. The steel sheet was divided into four roughly equal areas and coated with the products. The WD40 area and the ACF50 area got one good thick coat of product the FS365 got two coats. WD40 and ACF50 do not really dry, but the FS365 does dry and is supposed to leave an even coating. However after an overnight dry it was obvious it was very patchy so to be fair a second coat was applied. The steel was left untouched for 24 hours to give the FS365 time to dry. The steel was then lightly sprayed with salt water.
|Above - Steel sheet at start of test|
The steel was then sprayed every 3 to 4 days for approximately 1 month. The pictures below show the results. The control had no product added so any product that works should be better than the control. I will leave you to decide the winner.
There was no tricks or cheating involved with these tests. I would have loved to have found a lower cost product that beat ACF50, but I didn't.
I did some alloy, but it took a long time to get any results. This is it at a year old. Casing was lightly polished, then washed in acetone to get the polish off. It was never mirror polished, more of a dull grey much as it still is on the ACF50 section. It was left in a plastic container on blocks above salt water with a loose fitting lid to allow air in but limit evaporation. But overall I think you can still see the ACF50 is better than the rest. Again FS365 needed two coats to form a decent film across the surface. Remember this is a whole year. To be fair it was not exposed to spray and I have to say any of these products would wash off in less than a year riding in rain. For road use we use ACF50 every 3 to 6 months, as soon as water stops beading on the surface.