Aluminum vs. Cast Iron Heads
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Aluminum vs. Cast Iron Heads

  1. #1
    Sit N' Spin Jetaholic's Avatar
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    Default Aluminum vs. Cast Iron Heads

    I know most boaters around here run aluminum heads these days, however the machinist I'm going through advises against it. His argument is that since most boats are typically cooled with a raw water cooling system that you will have issues with electrolysis when the boat is out of the water due to two dissimilar metals (iron block/aluminum heads) being in contact. Yet I've never read any posts that even mention this from any boater.

    Thoughts? Arguments?



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    Resident Ford Nut Sleeper CP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetaholic View Post
    I know most boaters around here run aluminum heads these days, however the machinist I'm going through advises against it. His argument is that since most boats are typically cooled with a raw water cooling system........... ?
    Get a new machinist...

    Depending on where you boat "hard water" can have an affect on the Aulmi or brackish(sp) water can really screw it up.

    The Colorado River isn't hard enough to worry about it. The weight savings of the alumi in a boat is huge for performance , I don't know how many HP it would take in the engine to make up for the 80+ pounds you'll shed going with alumi but it's a few extra ponies, besides the fact that alumi is easier to port along with more choices and typically a better design over cast iron, although there are quite a few good cast iron heads on the market. The wieght savings is like kicking a fat chick out of the boat

    I have and know people that have boated the Colorado river for 20 yrs with alumi heads and never had a problem, some of my friends are in the water 3 weekends a month from May-Oct. yr after yr.

    The benefit of the alumi far out weighs the down side ( pun intended)

    Sleeper CP

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    Senior Member H20MOFO's Avatar
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    My alum. heads looked pretty bad after only being 2 years old, when I posted a pic of them, superdave and others gave me an anode lesson. I think a couple of these are cheap insurance.
    Another Hot Boat refugee

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    Bostick Racing Engines six-oh-nine's Avatar
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    Comparing apples to apples... same work etc done on each... I'd go alum for the repairability and weight savings. If your worried about electrolisis... then use stainless freeze plugs instead of bronze... have minimal corrosion over 7 years of service... but I wouldn't fret on it too much... there are a whole bunch of alum head engines going up and down the river without problems. Salt water is where your gonna see some problems... but you'll see it with iron also for that matter.
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    The heads and the block never touch , there is a head gasket in the way!
    No matter how good she looks , someone is tired of her shit!

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    Bostick Racing Engines six-oh-nine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcsrollin View Post
    The heads and the block never touch , there is a head gasket in the way!
    Ahh yes young jedi... but the water flows between and through both much like "da force".
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    Sit N' Spin Jetaholic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by H20MOFO View Post
    My alum. heads looked pretty bad after only being 2 years old, when I posted a pic of them, superdave and others gave me an anode lesson. I think a couple of these are cheap insurance.
    What is the exact name for these things in the Rex catalog?



    Quote Originally Posted by HammerDown
    Kendall L-427 Super Blu...extreme-pressure (ep) lithium complex keeps my thrusting balls happy
    Quote Originally Posted by back2k5 View Post
    Well I am putting in a nice stereo system in the Carrera...maybe Ill put on some rap and turn the scoop sideways

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    Senior Member H20MOFO's Avatar
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    I'm not sure that they are in the catalogue. I pm'd Rexone about some, and he hooked me up. I've never been near the ocean(with my boat), and my heads were well on there way to getting ate up.
    Another Hot Boat refugee

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    Quote Originally Posted by H20MOFO View Post
    I'm not sure that they are in the catalogue. I pm'd Rexone about some, and he hooked me up. I've never been near the ocean(with my boat), and my heads were well on there way to getting ate up.
    Nevermind...I think they're called "Anodes" and you're right. They're listed in the catalog, but you can't click on them.

    I'll call Rex for some.



    Quote Originally Posted by HammerDown
    Kendall L-427 Super Blu...extreme-pressure (ep) lithium complex keeps my thrusting balls happy
    Quote Originally Posted by back2k5 View Post
    Well I am putting in a nice stereo system in the Carrera...maybe Ill put on some rap and turn the scoop sideways

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    Anodes...I've thought of those. Do you install them anywhere in the engine that they can reach water? Or some where specific?

    Tim
    Last edited by River Rat 005; 12-27-2008 at 04:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by six-oh-nine View Post
    Comparing apples to apples... same work etc done on each... I'd go alum for the repairability and weight savings. If your worried about electrolisis... then use stainless freeze plugs instead of bronze... have minimal corrosion over 7 years of service... but I wouldn't fret on it too much... there are a whole bunch of alum head engines going up and down the river without problems. Salt water is where your gonna see some problems... but you'll see it with iron also for that matter.
    Stainless freeze plugs work the same as anodes? If so, where do you get them?

    Tim

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    Senior Member GT Jets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by River Rat 005 View Post
    Stainless freeze plugs work the same as anodes? If so, where do you get them?

    Tim
    Nope, won't work, you have to be lower on the nobility scale Stainless steel is much higher than aluminum, zinc is lower than aluminum on the scale, you have to use zinc, you can also get the same effect from the zinc anodes they use for the RV water heaters, they're made in 1/2" and 3/4" MPT, work ok and are cheap...

    These are called sacraficial anodes, basically gives the water something to "eat", for lack of a better term...

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    Senior Member H20MOFO's Avatar
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    The ones in my photo are made to just use in place of a drain plug on the block. I'm told the sacrificial part , dissapears quite rapidly.
    Another Hot Boat refugee

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    Quote Originally Posted by six-oh-nine View Post
    Ahh yes young jedi... but the water flows between and through both much like "da force".
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcsrollin View Post
    The heads and the block never touch , there is a head gasket in the way!
    Actually there are 16 really good connection points on each head, either bolts or studs.

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