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Thread: Stainless steel and durability

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    TVWBB Fan Greg M's Avatar
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    Stainless steel and durability

    We have had some recent discussions on stainless steel and durability/corrosion resistance on this forum. I know that the lower grades of stainless just won't last like the better grades. I've seen it personally and read about it here and other places. But I had been under the impression that even the best grades won't last if in a coastal environment or if constantly exposed to moisture. But I've recently noticed something that has made me rethink that.

    I'm currently on vacation. The condo where we stay is right on the beach on the gulf in Alabama. There are 4 big stainless charcoal grills for the condo owners/renters to use. These grills are located on the beach side of the condo. They are actually just a few yards from the beach and are always uncovered. They are weathered but are corrosion free and holding up fine. I asked someone here how old they were and another condo owner/renter told me at least 10 years and probably more. The condo association replaces the upper and lower grates annually but the outside lid, firebox and mounting pole are original.

    So there must be some types of stainless that are practically indestructible if these stainless grills can hold up in an environment like this!

    I just found this interesting.
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    TVWBB 1-Star Olympian Rich Dahl's Avatar
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    We use to go to Maui, Hawaii and stay at a condo right on the water. They had SS commercial grills for the quests to use for at least 10 years I know of and yes they were weathered but no corrosion anywhere. So you're probably right.
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    TVWBB Wizard Rusty James's Avatar
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    I assume most stainless steel grills are made from 304 stainless? We fabricated that grade often at work, but occasionally we fabricated 316 stainless for use in chemical environments.
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    TVWBB Wizard LMichaels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty James View Post
    I assume most stainless steel grills are made from 304 stainless? We fabricated that grade often at work, but occasionally we fabricated 316 stainless for use in chemical environments.
    304 SS grills are VERY rare. Most are 430SS I'd say 95% of the mass market ones are

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    TVWBB Fan Greg M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMichaels View Post
    304 SS grills are VERY rare. Most are 430SS I'd say 95% of the mass market ones are
    You are right of course. I think unless you live in a coastal environment the 430 is probably ok for some parts of the grill. But it's a disaster for the firebox and other internals. I once had an all stainless char broil that lasted less a year due to the firebox rusting through.

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    TVWBB Wizard LMichaels's Avatar
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    That's pretty weird. MY buddy (old next door neighbor) had a SS Charbroil. Lots of parts rusted "off" but the 430SS fire box was still solid when he junked it. Some companies and some models used a silver colored steel (galvanized I think) in place of SS and yes that stuff rots through in a heartbeat. But my experience with 430 is it stands up pretty well. I had a 430 grill (old member's mark) and honestly it held up pretty well. All the plain steel parts (the back of the grill that held the IR rotisserie burner, internal parts like flame chambers, burner mounts, cast iron burners, etc.) fell apart so I took advantage of Sam's Club's guarantee and brought it back for a full refund. That grill was made by Grand Hall. I noticed that the new Sam's premium grill now has the parts that caused trouble on the old one are now all stainless. One of the reasons I give it pretty high marks and would take a chance on one if I ever again wanted a new grill

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    TVWBB Fan Greg M's Avatar
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    It was advertised as solid all stainless but who knows. I had 2 different char broils and neither held up. The weird thing is my deck is covered. The grill sits at the edge so occasionally rain can blow in but not much. I always cover my grills too.

    My brothers members mark was at least partially stainless (lower grade I'm sure) and it rusted like crazy everywhere. Maybe my area (sw MO) is just rust prone LOL.

    Totally different experience with the old Weber's I rehabbed. Some minor rust on both that was easy to fix and hasn't come back in 2 years.

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    TVWBB Hall of Fame timothy's Avatar
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    I bought a "Classic" SS gasser from Costco late 90's and it was a good grill until I got back into charcoal about 06.
    It sat uncovered year round and I just gave it a new home this year. Never saw any rust on the outside or frame ( it was a solidly built grill)
    Only problem was the innards ( grates were High grade SS, but the flavorizer bars ,burners I had to replace yearly)

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  9. #9
    TVWBB Wizard LMichaels's Avatar
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    Those old Costco grills were mostly 304SS. Which is why you never saw any surface corrosion. I think you have to look at the fine print when they say "all stainless steel" I'm thinking unless they specify otherwise it means only exterior (read visible) parts. The rest no. Which was one of the reasons this new Sam's Club grill somewhat impressed me. On the floor display it had a full size cutaway photo next to it. Pointing out each part of the grill and it's materials right down to the grease tray which other than the side burners was the only thing not spec'd as high quality stainless. That coupled with a lifetime guarantee and to me it looks/looked like a winner

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    From my understanding 430SS is OK from a structural perspective, you'll get some surface discolor/corrosion. Its all the other parts that aren't stainless that break down in a coastal environment.

    304 generally seems to hold up OK in the area around the coast. I don't have direct oceanfront experience.

    FYI, on the new Weber Genesis LX series they've gone back to 304 on more parts(not all).
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