Protecting a Steel Liftgate against Corrosion
It’s hard to imagine what life would be like working with a truck without a lift gate. Sure, if you’re only driving in and out of loading bays you don’t think of it, but for the rest of us, an enclosed trailer with liftgate is no luxury.
You powered lift gate is the second most important part of your truck, after the engine. If that thing goes, you can forget about delivering anything. Besides the motor that folds and unfolds, raises and lowers the platform itself is very important. We’ve all seen those videos of what can happen to you and your cargo when things go wrong.
So in order to benefit for the longest time possible from a reliable lift-gate you need to take good care of it. Steel lift gates are popular because of their price, but there’s a reason Aluminum demands a premium and gets it too.
Aluminum is lighter and stronger and won’t rust. Steel is cheap, but the added weight is a strain on the motor, and over time rust can eat at the metal and make it weak. If you want to stop steel from rusting in a long-lasting treatment suited to the outdoors, you will need to apply product. The best product will protect the steel from moisture, air and much more without compromising the lift gate – or, ideally, improving it.
We don’t want to cover or wrap the steel lift gate with anything too heavy or it will only limit the capacity more. The other thing is grip, diamond plate is great n’ all, but some genuine grip wouldn’t go a miss! Read more about choosing a tail gate here.
Durabak to the rescue
Some of the world’s greatest trucking companies have discovered the benefits of Durabak. Used on the floor and walls of their enclosed trailers and especially on the lift gate, Durabak is the ultimate solution.
Developed to be water, saltspray, acid and chemical resistant, Durabak's paint offers a tremendous level of protection. Unlike other paints, Durabak seals to form an impermeable membrane. Durabak comes in smooth and textured versions with crumb rubber granules for tons of grip, so not only do you gain light weight unbeatable protection but also loads of anti-skid.
The Polyurethane formula of Durabak is a strong anti-corrosive available in 16 colors. The unrivaled strength, trusted by the US Navy, won’t flinch at pallet trucks or forklift trucks maneuvering all day long. Durabak is formulated to stretch and flex without cracking, when we consider how steel reacts to temperature change this matters. Because steel and iron expand when heated, the Eiffel Tower in France, is about 6 inches taller in the summer than the winter.
How to Apply
Durabak is a DIY product, it’s super easy to put on. It’s a one part, moisture cured polyurethane, so no need to measure out and mix in other ingredients.
Durabak application prep. is a simple three step process; first clean and scrub your tail gate, get out any oil, remove any loose rust. Second, scuff. Take a 40 grit sandpaper to every inch of it and get scuffing, use an orbital sander, remove any rust and corrosion you see. You’ll be left with bare steel and perhaps some rust. On the rust, if there is any, apply some rust converter. On the bare steel use metal etch primer, Zinc Phosphate is great.
As soon as that is done, you just wait for the first third of the over-coating time – usually 12-24 hours, and then open your Durabak. Durabak already has the color, crumb rubber and everything in the can, you just need to stir. Give it a good stir for 5 minutes and then pour a quart or two into your paint tray. Use the special blue stipple roller to roll on a thin coat over every inch of the tail gate. Wait until it’s touch dry, usually an hour or two, and then apply the second coat. You can keep going and add more coats, if forklift trucks regularly drive over the tail gate a third coat is advised. You can add plenty of coats and not disturb the liftgate operation on your liftgate truck.
Keep your newly protected tailgate clean and dry for 24 hours, we suggest doing the application before a quiet weekend. Best not to use the tail gate or pass loads over it for 4 days after the Durabak application. Then, you can enjoy your tail gate for many many years to come.
If you have any questions about Durabak for your application give us a call on 303-690-7190