A careless diver cleaned the sterndrive with acid when removing barnacles from my new-to-me 2004 26-foot Sea Ray. The paint layer is thin, and bare metal shows in areas. Do you recommend painting it? Which paint? Can it be a DIY job? The boat lives on a lift above salt water. Thanks.
Miguel G. Via email
A: Yes, it is a DIY job. Sand/abrade the surface using 180-grit paper or a maroon Scotch-Brite pad until the metal is bright and there is no flaking finish. Clean with soap and water, then dry. Next, wipe down with white vinegar, which is acetic acid. This chemically etches the aluminum; you can certainly use the purpose-made etcher from the paint-maker. Etching must be performed immediately prior to applying the primer, so plan your work accordingly.
Apply three to four coats of zinc phosphate primer from a spray can. Then apply two to three coats of topcoat from a spray can, which in your case will be black, since Sea Ray boats are fitted with Mer Cruiser sterndrives. You will likely need two cans of primer and two cans of paint.
For a truly pro job — one that will provide the best protection for your drive — apply a two-part epoxy primer after etching instead of the zinc phosphate. I have used Pettit Protect with excellent results. Brush on two coats, following the directions on the can. can point me in the right direction. Thank you.
David Irvin Lexington, Kentucky
First, I want to thank Randy Vance for the answer to this question. He spoke with Raymarine’s tech support on your behalf, David. They said your unit is a 2002 unit. It may have been made later than that, but that was the technology for several years. Plus, the processor is small. So, if you put in a newer chart card, it may not be able to process it due to file sizes. If you are boating on a specific body of water, try to buy a chart just for that body of water.
Regardless, you do need to familiarize yourself with the manual, and you need to be on the boat when you call back tech support so they can talk you through the menus. I seldom wait more than an hour for a callback and often get through on the first ring. They are good at their job.