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Let me just get this out of the way: this is a total newbie question. But I appreciate any advice I can get!

I'm rebuilding / retrofitting a wood-and-steel trailer, and trying to identify affordable fasteners that won't turn into solid lumps of rust. I live in a relatively dry area, but if there's any moisture at all, it's going to sprayed onto the underside of a trailer, along with road grime, salt, etc.

From everything I've found, the (readily available) materials that are most corrosion-resistant in their own right are stainless steel and hot dipped galvanized steel. However, I'm bolting onto/through a bunch of mild steel, and stainless is appreciably more anodic and than mild steel, while zinc (plating) is significantly more cathodic. Is this a problem? Is the zinc plating just meant to be sacrificial and shouldn't worry about it? Am I looking at the whole question wrong?

I'm guessing I'm far from the first person to run into this question, but an hour communing with Google hasn't gotten me very far. Any suggestions?

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The major cause of corrosion for a wood/steel trailer will be moisture in the wood keeping the steel damp; any salt will increase the affect. The most practical action would be put in galvanized . Stainless is good but unnecessary. Stainless should not be active ( it will be inert) so will not accelerate or slow corrosion on the carbon steel. Especially bad in either case is an acidic salt containing chloride in damp wood.

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    $\begingroup$ Make sure you also use galvanized bolts. Not "zinc plated" which is a thinner coating of zinc and looks nicer (a shinier surface finish) but is less effective. $\endgroup$ – alephzero Jul 19 '20 at 13:21
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    $\begingroup$ Fasteners will be plated because hot dipping can be a problem with threads , Hot dip and plated are both galvanized or zinc coated . Electro-plate can put thinner but the manufacturer should be specifying some minimum thickness ( g/sq m). Hot dipped will produce some zinc/iron intermetallics but they don't affect protection much. $\endgroup$ – blacksmith37 Jul 19 '20 at 19:10

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