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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have had two different brand aluminum toolboxes (diamond plate) on my last tacoma and now my tundra. Both of them always get kind of a black dust/ rub marks on anything that is on the floor of the box or touches the sides of the box. i have a foam mat down on the bottom and that helps that part, but the sides are still exposed.

first, does this happen to other people? does anyone know why it happens?

my ideas for a fix are...

1) cover the four sides with the same foam pad (expensive though)

2) line it with either some thin wood glued to the sides/floor. or even some lanolium would probably work.

3) paint the inside, but that might chip and flake off. or the bedliner stuff you buy in the aerosol can might work better?

4) plasti-dip it with the orginal stuff, not the spray can. get a can, brush it on thick with several coats. i know that stuff is tough because on my tacoma I had done my wheels and bumpers with the spray kind and that held up great. with plasti-dip if it doesn't come out good or it starts to fall off, I can peel it off.

thoughts?

thanks in advance
 

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The black stuff is aluminum oxide. That's the aluminum version of rust!
Anything you can do to keep the air, moisture, and road salt away from the aluminum will help.
Be sure to clean it well before you put something over it so that it will stick properly.
 

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Clean it real well...and protect with a clear coat...can be purchased
at your local box stores...and it can be bought in a rattle can. Think minwax
has a decent product or krylon maybe....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for your replies. The clearcoat you speak of, is it specifically for aluminum or a general clear coat for metal or painting?
 

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There are several "types" some for exterior and some for interior.
But after thinking this over I would get that can of herculiner? bed coating
and apply with a roller on the inside...the clear coat will not survive two minutes with a thimble bouncing around in there, the plasti dip may be a good alternative also.
 

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Perhaps you observe corrosion products. Aluminum in anodic to most metals and corrodes black
Since problem sounded interesting I give it quick shot. Apparently this is fretting damage due to contact vibration and aluminum corrosion.

As far as prevention, stuff need to be insulated to prevent metal to metal contact and reduce vibrations.
 

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Plasti dip that bitch.
 
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It's called galvanic corrosion. Stuff made of steel in your box and your steel truck is the cathode. Your aluminum box has become your anode. The anode corrodes until caked up or until it's gone, then the cathode starts corroding. So your tool box is being sacrificed to protect all the steel from rusting. You could possibly help it a little by attaching an anode to the box so that the other metal corrodes instead of the box. Or at least that is what you do for boats, but those are sitting in corrosive elements most all the time. Fresh water aluminum boats use zinc. Salt water aluminum boats use magnesium. Can't hurt too much to try it.
 

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It's called galvanic corrosion. Stuff made of steel in your box and your steel truck is the cathode. Your aluminum box has become your anode. The anode corrodes until caked up or until it's gone, then the cathode starts corroding. So your tool box is being sacrificed to protect all the steel from rusting. You could possibly help it a little by attaching an anode to the box so that the other metal corrodes instead of the box. Or at least that is what you do for boats, but those are sitting in corrosive elements most all the time. Fresh water aluminum boats use zinc. Salt water aluminum boats use magnesium. Can't hurt too much to try it.

Your problem description and remedy are incorrect, but not harmful. I would assume interior of the box is shielded from elements, therefore described corrosion rates are way excessive in enviroment lacking electrolite. Galvanic part plays part in it but main cause is mechanical removal of protective layer of oxide from aluminum by the harder metal at point of contact. Mechanical action between surfaces (fretting) is propelled by vibrations induced by various sources (RFV, power train, terrain, braking and etc).
 

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Spray it with a rubberized coating. no more issues
 
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Personally, I wouldn't use anything that could deteriorate or absorb moisture.
The bed liner is probably the most practical of all options. Relatively inexpensive, relatively easy application and more durable than any other coating.
If you didn't glue in the foam, I would remove it and bed line the entire box, then lay the foam back in the bottom.
I like the carpet idea, but it would have to be a marine grade for moisture resistance and longevity. And I'm not sure what the cost would be on that.
 

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Your problem description and remedy are incorrect, but not harmful. I would assume interior of the box is shielded from elements, therefore described corrosion rates are way excessive in enviroment lacking electrolite. Galvanic part plays part in it but main cause is mechanical removal of protective layer of oxide from aluminum by the harder metal at point of contact. Mechanical action between surfaces (fretting) is propelled by vibrations induced by various sources (RFV, power train, terrain, braking and etc).
Have to side in part wit toxarch on this one. All metals exposed to oxygen and moisture will rust, that blackpouder you see IS aluminum oxidation. Every time you allow aluminum and steel to come in contact there will be a reaction resulting in the metal with lower oxidation potential to oxide, in your case the aluminum box.

Coating the metal creates a "barrier" preventing both oxidation from elements and oxidation from galvanic corrosion wich in deed is the correct term to describe the above.
As for the lack of electrolyte, there is a lot of water present in the air (some places more than others) in the form of moisture and that alone can very well cause the aluminum to corrode and gift you with the described black dust.

In my line of work I have used both steel and aluminum toolboxes, both on site and in my trucks and the "black dust" described by the OP only happens inside aluminum boxes. Same goes for naked aluminum racks and ladders etc etc etc

I am not new to this, but it never bothered me one bit, or not enough to take action. Because of the use I give them, whatever finish I did would scratch and scrape in no time at all.

Hope that helps!
 
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Your problem description and remedy are incorrect, but not harmful. I would assume interior of the box is shielded from elements, therefore described corrosion rates are way excessive in enviroment lacking electrolite. Galvanic part plays part in it but main cause is mechanical removal of protective layer of oxide from aluminum by the harder metal at point of contact. Mechanical action between surfaces (fretting) is propelled by vibrations induced by various sources (RFV, power train, terrain, braking and etc).
Have to side in part wit toxarch on this one. All metals exposed to oxygen and moisture will rust, that blackpouder you see IS aluminum oxidation. Every time you allow aluminum and steel to come in contact there will be a reaction resulting in the metal with lower oxidation potential to oxide, in your case the aluminum box.

Coating the metal creates a "barrier" preventing both oxidation from elements and oxidation from galvanic corrosion wich in deed is the correct term to describe the above.
As for the lack of electrolyte, there is a lot of water present in the air (some places more than others) in the form of moisture and that alone can very well cause the aluminum to corrode and gift you with the described black dust.

In my line of work I have used both steel and aluminum toolboxes, both on site and in my trucks and the "black dust" described by the OP only happens inside aluminum boxes. Same goes for naked aluminum racks and ladders etc etc etc

If you never use your toolbox, it would still corrode and the dust would be minimal because of the lack of fretting, or things rubbing against the aluminum, but the fretting is impossible to stop as long as you carry tools or any stuff in there.

I am not new to this, but it never bothered me one bit, or not enough to take action. Because of the use I give them, whatever finish I did would scratch and scrape in no time at all.

Hope that helps!
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
lots of great ideas and info. as to why this happens. thanks for all the input. I do carry my drawbars, jumper cables, tie downs, etc in the box which i dont really care if they get the black dust on them. but when we go camping or on a ski trip with people in the truck and we want to throw some gear in the box (its a full size, extra deep box) its annoying to pull your tent, sleeping bag, etc out and have the black dust on it. I picked up two cans of bedliner in the aerosol cans from tractor supply this morning. going to wash the box out and line the inside this afternoon. seemed like the most durable and cost effective option.
 

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Have to side in part wit toxarch on this one. All metals exposed to oxygen and moisture will rust, that blackpouder you see IS aluminum oxidation. Every time you allow aluminum and steel to come in contact there will be a reaction resulting in the metal with lower oxidation potential to oxide, in your case the aluminum
Hope that helps!

I value your opinion yet I am not taking votes on this one.
Describing above process as just galvanic is incorrect. It is a mixture of mechanical removal of protective alu oxide layer and then corrosion in part galvanic. Mechanical action is a key to understanding this process and next to prevent it. Read more on experience from aviation industry, there is extensive material available at yer fingertips.

Also Open your hood and look at your aluminum engine contacting all that nice steel parts and fasteners when you find some black corrosion let me know.
 

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I value your opinion yet I am not taking votes on this one.
Describing above process as just galvanic is incorrect. It is a mixture of mechanical removal of protective alu oxide layer and then corrosion in part galvanic. Mechanical action is a key to understanding this process and next to prevent it. Read more on experience from aviation industry, there is extensive material available at yer fingertips.

Also Open your hood and look at your aluminum engine contacting all that nice steel parts and fasteners when you find some black corrosion let me know.
Lol on the not taking votes, my comment was not for you but for the OP:rolleyes:

Look under my hood? Julian, this is not my first experience with metal and the same goes for aluminum parts in an engine bay. According to you all the information on the www and fabricators is wrong.
Are you expecting the aluminum parts to turn black to acknowledge corrosion? I may be wrong but it doesn't seem like you know a whole lot about this particular topic. Any aluminum part in your engine that is naked from factory is already oxidized by the time you drive your truck off the lot. Corrosion or oxide in aluminum is just not as aggressive as it is in steel but the color change in aluminum is corrosion. The most common part that shows corrosion in a car is the alternator.
Do you not see that in the parts under your hood? Difference between that and OP's problem is the lack of friction that would cause the dust to form but the corrosion is there.

As far as the mechanical (friction, rubbing or what have you) being part of it most of us agree on that. I am not saying that the oxidation flakes off on its own, I think you need to read our posts and try to comprehend what we are saying. The black dust is oxidation which is occurring from both moisture which is 100% normal, also steel/aluminum contact which the OP has said he keeps steel parts in there and third would be what you call mechanical, I call rubbing and others have called fretting. Same meaning different words.

Again, not interested in you accepting my explanation, nor am I voting for you. I am not trying to shine (as you obviously are) just trying to help the OP with his issue.
 
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Well I always try to shine cuz I am Polish. Lol
Now as far as corrosion goes in aluminum, aluminum protection is oxide layer micrones thick that does not flake like one in iron does. It is super hard and sticks to base metal very well. To have what is described here mechanical action is needed to dislodge oxide and expose bare metal and produce oxide again. Right?
My alternator is not corroded btw nor I have black dust covering engine bay or sourrounding metal parts so what is missing?
 
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