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  1. #1

    Ski Flushing: Very Hard Water or Salted Softwater

    All,
    I have a crazy problem, I live in San Angelo TX and our well water averages 100 GPG hard, and has read near 150 GPG hard. We have an excellent softener that turns the water into 0GPG hard, but due to the ion exchange the soft water has a teaspoon of sodium in each 3 gallons of water. What is better to flush with: the epic hard water, or the soft 'salt' water from the softener. I've been using the soft water until I calculated the sodium content in softened water that starts out this hard.
    Thanks
    Mark


  2. #2
    Click avatar for tech links/info K447's Avatar
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    Do you use a product like Salt-Away when flushing?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by K447 View Post
    Do you use a product like Salt-Away when flushing?
    I go to the coast and have salt water ridden twice and used Salt Away there after each ride on all skis. Back home after freshwater riding I only flush after about every 3rd or 4th ride on all skis. I only used the softened water on those flushes. I do use some vinegar and dawn with the softened water.
    Should I use vinegar and dawn soap with the hard water instead?
    I know I have a fairly unique problem and am asking the GH Brain Trust for wisdom here.
    Thanks

    Mark

  4. #4
    Click avatar for tech links/info K447's Avatar
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    Vinegar? Is the softened water you are flushing with mildly caustic? Why need the acidity?

    On a basic chemistry thesis, it would seem that flushing with the softened water along with salt-away would be closer to ideal than flushing with the untreated extremely hard water and then trying to offset the potential hard deposits in the cooling system.

    Is the freshwater you ride in also very hard water?

    Using vinegar rinse on the hull exterior to clear away water spotting seems fine, but flushing with mild acid inside the metal engine water jackets?

  5. #5
    I believe the water I ride in is also quite hard as well.
    So would you say that I should flush with soft water (again:1 tsp sodium/3 gallons) -and- saltaway and I understand your thought process. And I am here to learn.
    Next question, would you say to flush this way after each ride in this fresh, yet very hard, water?
    Thanks for the schooling.
    Mark

  6. #6
    Click avatar for tech links/info K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stratosurfer View Post
    I believe the water I ride in is also quite hard as well.
    So would you say that I should flush with soft water (again:1 tsp sodium/3 gallons) -and- saltaway and I understand your thought process. And I am here to learn.

    Next question, would you say to flush this way after each ride in this fresh, yet very hard, water?
    ...
    Well, I do not see much downside to flushing after every ride, if you are OK with the extra time it takes. Read up on the process, precautions and optimal duration for flushing these engines.

    Hopefully someone with hands-on knowledge in regards to extremely hard water can chime in.

    I really cannot say whether hard water deposit accumulation inside the engine water jackets is going to be a concern over time, nor whether simply flushing with salt-away augmented softened water would be sufficient to keep those deposits under control.

  7. #7
    My problem is I'm normally flushing -four- skis....
    I get lazy sometime and think 'It's just freshwater...'.

    Thanks for all K447.
    Mark

  8. #8
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    This is actually a great question. I think itís an example of two opposite extremes. I don't have a definitive answer, but if I had to rationalize which to use, I'd lean toward using the hard city water. Hereís why . . .

    Soft water uses salts, and these are usually more corrosive due to their electrolysis reactions (galvanic corrosion) that accelerate oxidation into the metals (aka aluminum in our case). This process cause rust in iron/steel and aluminum oxide (aluminum "rust"), which is permanent damage. Soft water is known to be corrosive on metal plumbing pipes.

    Hard water comprises of dissolved/suspended minerals which are mostly calcium, and then magnesium & manganese. These would tend to deposit on top of the metallic surfaces. Magnesium would be the only wild-card here depending on the alloy make-up of the aluminum engine block, in that it can also act as galvanic promoter.

    Thus, if I were playing the "would you rather" game, Iíd tend to rather deal with a potential scale/deposit issue than deal with damage issues (like a pin-hole) down the road. Also, remember we are just talking hard flushing water exposure, so if you run the craft in a freshwater lake with relatively less hardness, any deposits that may have formed since your last flush theoretically would tend to erode/dissolve into the lake water. Equally if the lake is harder or the same as the city, then it's no win no lose.
    I really like this question. Hopefully we can hear more opinions on this topic.

  9. #9
    Guidoo's Avatar
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    Get yourself a rain barrel. Collect rain water. Just throwing out an idea.

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  11. #10
    I guess I forgot to mention that I'm on a well, and the water hardness on wells in our area are all in the range of just under 100GPG hard.
    I like the ideal of a rain barrel. I was actually thinking of actually capturing R/O water from my plant to have a 55 gallon poly drum of water for flushing and car washing.
    Of course I'm searching the path of least resistance.
    Rainwater is fairly easy, R/O capture is even easier. I was hoping a chemist type might offer me a easier way out...

    Mark

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