Fastlane Stained Stainless Steel handle – a small miracle

After a few months of going around with Endless Pools and the folks at DesJoyaux, the DesJoyaux folks hit upon a workaround if not a solution for my issue with the handle on my Fastlane turning a black color.

As you can see from this “Before” picture the handle (and portions of the stainless steel cage below that protects the impeller) was a murky black color. I was unable to wipe it off to any meaningful degree yet enough would come off if you touched it to get on your hands or your bathing suit.

Several weeks ago, Billy Fowler from DesJoyaux said he thought he had hit upon something that might be of use and suggested two cleaning agents to try. He very generously offered to take back any chemical left if I found them to be ineffective which tells me that he is standing behind his research.

Basically I dumped some of this “StainFree” product from “Natural Chemistry” into a bucket with about a quart of water, donned some rubber gloves and used a rag to wipe the handle. After two or three swipes I saw the stainless steel shining through! It’s much more of a chemical reaction than an elbow grease effort. If I soaked the rag and basically squeezed it around a discolored portion of the handle the improvement was immediate. A bit of rubbing helped a bit but as soon as the chemical was spent there was no amount of rubbing that would improve it any more.

Here is the after picture. I cleaned the handle, pulled the top off the unit and replaced the sacrificial anode (which was designed for  outboard engines) with a much smaller one but which was purchased from Endless Pools.

Now the question remains: Is this a permanent fix that resolves a one-off issue or will I need to periodically revisit my stainless steel pieces?

14 thoughts on “Fastlane Stained Stainless Steel handle – a small miracle”

  1. Friendly reminder that when the chemical reaction takes place, it takes some of the original material with it, so eventually, well, all good things come to an end…
    Good luck and thanks for the tips!

  2. @Charlie – No worries, in this case what is being removed is a deposit of copper that was being laid down. If I swipe my hand across the black stainless steel it almost looks like I brushed against some coal.

  3. I am building a pool and I am going to install a Fastlane pro. The builder wants to install a salt water system. Has the issue of corrosion been resolved? How is it now? Or should I insist on non salt water?

    1. Hi Amy,

      I suggest that the builder’s wants shouldn’t impact what system you end up with. They are probably most familiar with the salt system equipment and this can be important if they are going to maintain it for you.

      When I spoke with Endless Pool representatives seven or eight years ago, they had VERY little experience with salt water systems. Nearly all of their experience was coming out of Australia which, at that time, seemed to be having a salt-water system boon.

      If you have major concerns it’s probably worth calling them to see what they think with a few more years under their belts.

      They were recommending refurbishing the system every 5 years at that point due to the corrosion concerns they had. In my opinion those have not manifested. I take my system apart (the top portion anyway) a couple of times a year as part of my sacrificial anode replacement and take the opportunity to inspect it pretty closely – externally anyway. And I cannot detect any corrosion. Nor can I detect any issues with the rubber hoses that deliver the hydraulic fluid to the unit. So I’m still feeling comfortable with my decision to stick with the non-salt system recommendations for refurbishment.

      If I were you, my decision regarding salt-system or conventional would hinge on all the other differences between the systems. I *highly* recommend as a resource to tap into for your pool questions/concerns.

      Your considerations are water feel, pool surface (vinyl, plaster, cement, etc.), kinds of accessories (chrome ladders, anything else that will be in the water), etc.

      The salt water system won’t really save you any effort, you still need to add salt instead of chlorine and it does not relieve you from monitoring and balancing all the other chemistry. IMHO that other chemistry is even more impactful than having salt in the water as far as your equipment and pool surface life goes.

      You still need to watch and maintain:
      Water Hardness
      Stabilizer (Cyanuric acid <-- absolutely required for Salt Systems, but very useful for conventional systems) Alkalinity Borates (<-- not strictly required but very good idea to buffer your PH) Check out my posting titled "Salt Water Generator Pool Recommendations" to get an idea what I'm talking about. This may all seem daunting but it really only involves about a half hour a week during the summer to verify that things are balanced and stable. The system can be pretty hands off once you balance it for the season. And it's *much* easier to consistently make little weekly tweaks than to frantically chase your pool chemistry over big swings if you let it get way out of balance. Let me know if you have any questions, I'm happy to offer assistance based on my experience. I knew NOTHING about pool maintenance when I installed my pool and neither the builder nor the pool store really made me aware of the all the tasks that go in to managing the pool so that it is ready for use at any time. It really wasn't until after I bought my Taylor test kit and read the little manual that came with it that I realized how woefully ignorant I was. But between that, Trouble Free Pool, and myriad tidbits picked up from other websites, I'm satisfied that my pool is in the best shape it can be.

      1. Marc,
        Thank you so much for all the information. Like Amy we are installing an endless pool in new construction right now. I did talk to the people at Endless and they were still recommending we go with Chlorine over Saline. We have a UV system as well and Endless said that the amount of chlorine we would have to use with a UV system is minimal and therefore we wouldn’t really notice any difference between a salt and chlorine set up. My wife really wants the saline system (hair and skin) but I am very concerned that the endless pool will not last as long, and, as you know, it is not inexpensive piece of equipment.
        My question to you is knowing all you know now from your years of experience if you were building a pool from scratch now, with an endless pool in it, would you build it with Salt or Chlorine.
        Second question is has anything else around the pool corroded badly or early from the salt.
        Thank you so much.

        1. Hi Peter,

          With 9 years under my belt now with this pool I’m comfortable saying that NOTHING has corroded due to the salt.
          The Fastlane handle issue appears to be the result of copper deposition which, when removed, leaves the handle as bright and shiny as when new.

          Keep in mind we’re talking salt levels that are about 1/10th that of seawater (about 3.5 gpl vs 35 gpl).

          That being said, I also don’t have much metal around the pool. No hand hold bar at my stairs and no ladder at the other end (no deep end in my pool so no need).

          I rather expect that, if I did have those things, I’d fix sacrificial anodes to them as a precaution since once they start to corrode I expect them to look bad pretty quickly. But that could be overkill.

          I had concerns for my water heater in this environment – which I run year-round even in sub-freezing weather – which turned out to be unwarranted. I’ve had to replace the fusible link on it once and the gas valve once (3 years ago). But the feared corrosion of the heat exchanger has not manifested. So if *that* didn’t fail, I think that says a lot about the corrosive effects of the salt.

          The Fastlane still works as well as when it was installed and I’m on track to refurbish it next year.. maybe. Still no signs of corrosion around the impeller housing and no cracks or wear visible on the hoses.

          Of some concern might be the Salt Water generator. Mine is an Aquapure. I started with the Aquapure 700 which was replaced twice under warranty and I replaced it again out of warranty with the Aquapure 1400.

          I’m about 70% confident that the failures were my fault in not properly safeguarding the unit when updating the pool’s chemistry.

          One thing that I found was that nobody really gave proper instruction into how to maintain any of the pool equipment.
          It was installed, basics mentioned on operation, any questions? No? Good. And done.
          I had no idea about disabling the salt cell for 24 hours after adding pool chemistry as well as annual maintenance for de-scaling both of which I do now.

          Would I go with Salt or Chlorine? There definitely is a difference to the water feel / skin feel. I personally am not affected one way or another by it but my wife tells me it’s better so I would say that if you or your wife have a preference then there is not a corrosion/equipment longevity price to be paid for going the Salt path.

          I think the real key is keeping the pool chemistry balanced regardless of the sanitation system used. Everything from the heater to the pool surface to the Fastlane will be subject to issues if your chlorine or hardness or PH goes tremendously out of whack regularly. The salt is just a part of that equation.

          1. Thanks for your prompt reply Marc. As I am sure you are aware there are a million opinions out there on this. Your opinion is from someone who has a fast lane so it is the most valid in my opinion.

            Our heater is going to be Solar Coils on the roof of the house so the company there doesn’t think saline is a problem.

            Outside of corrosion Salt seems to have it all over chlorine. I tend to be a little obsessive over things so I don’t think we will have an issue with salt.

            Your points about not knowing what to do when you start out are excellent and will give me excellent questions to ask once installation is complete.

            Thank you so much for your help and time.

  4. Did you remove the handle to clean it, or did you leave it in the pool? I have the same problem, so really glad I found your post.

    1. Hi Allen,

      I was able to do it in-place. The chemicals are pretty non-impactful to the pool chemistry. I just poured some of the powder into a small bucket with some water, soaked a cloth and then wiped the handle. It’s not super efficient, but the product works so well it’s no hassle at all to dip back into the bucket a few times to finish the job.

      I still wipe down the handle at least once a year. It all depends what manages to get into the water mineral-wise. I even wipe down the stainless steel mesh at the bottom with any excess.

  5. Hi Marc, Great info, thanks so much. our Fastlane is 10 years old. we replaced our motor 3 years ago and all has been well. we just replaced our anodes for (have one on each side of the unit) and the cords of them and the handle of the unit are both gathering black grease. We purchased the anodes from endless pool. could they be bad and have copper in them causing this issue??? look forward to your reply

    1. Hi Sharon,

      What prompted you to replace your motor? i.e. are there symptoms I should be looking out for on my own? Mine is coming on it’s 9th year and I can neither hear nor see any symptoms that cause me to believe it needs updating.

      When you say “black grease”, is it more “greasy” or more kind of “powdery” (kind of like powdered pencil lead)? If it’s the latter then it sounds like what I was dealing with.

      The anodes you get from Endless Pools are pretty high quality so I don’t expect them to be a major source of the black stuff. More likely it would be some other chemical you are using to maintain the pool. In my case I found an Algaecide that I was using at the time used copper as an ingredient to kill the algae.
      But the black stuff can also come from other sources such as if you are maybe replenishing your pool water from a highly mineralized source like a well.

      Regardless, as annoying as the black stuff is it is very easy to clean up with the right chemistry and the “Stain Free” product I highlight in the blog post above works EXTREMELY well for me. I’ve been using the same container for over 7 years now and probably have enough for a couple more years ahead of me.

      I suggest you clean off the existing black stuff and see how long it takes to accumulate again to see how much effort you want to go to to locate a source of the contamination. For myself, I get a light dusting of it that accumulates over several months so I’m comfortable just wiping it off a couple of times a year.
      If it comes back within days or weeks, then that tells you you’ve got a high concentration of whatever the contaminant is and you should probably hunt down the source. As I say above, I’m pretty confident that it was copper contamination in my case, but yours *could* be something else if you don’t find any sources of copper.

  6. we changed out the motor because we had the black stuff back then. when we took out the old motor there was corrosion. the replacement was a much improved model so we hope it will be fine. We have not had any back goop issues for years. we changed out our anodes including the straps a few weeks ago and the black stuff returned. the straps are really black and the handle on the fastlane is coated. i wiped it all down and am going to order the stuff you use. I am going to take another new anode and put it in salt water and see if it turns black. I am convincing myself that the strap on the anode is not of the same quality I had in the past. I will let you know what i discover. We LOVE our fastlane. We live in The Atlanta area and do not winterize our pool. this winter we swam daily. thanks so much for all your great information..

  7. Hi Sharon,

    You live just around the corner from me, but you are much bolder than I am. If it’s below 60 degrees outside I can’t bring myself to get into the pool ’cause I don’t want to get back out again…

    Do let me know how your experiment with the anode goes. Hopefully you can be black-stuff free going forward!

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