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mig technique and other basics for turbo project

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  • mig technique and other basics for turbo project

    Hey guys

    Im brand new to welding but would like to build a turbo setup for my camaro.

    been watching youtube and reading as much as i can... but have a few questions.

    The setup will be either SS or mild steel. schedule 10/.109" thick wall.

    Most will be 2" diameter.


    1)What technique is best for migging the pipes? High current/heat bursts all around? Zigzag/C/U/E type patterns?

    2)Can i grind the welds smooth or will it affect the integrity?

    3)Do i need a gap? If so, what size?

    Im sure ill have many more questions, but thanks in advance for helping me out!

  • #2
    First off... I would TIG it not MIG...
    turbo setups put tremendous stresses on the pipes with high temps, vibration, unintended load bearing from poorly supported turbos etc etc....
    if you have not already done so I would aquire the old Hugh McGinnis Turbocharger book (is out of date but the basics of good design do not change) and the Jeff Hartman turbo book...... study both... for understanding of the manifold/plumbing design and failure modes... some work on the front end will save you tons of grief later....
    I have worked on many and seen more poorly designed installations come apart than I can count.... so take your time and think it out first....


    • #3
      pretty much stuck with mig for now. got a good deal on a 180.

      ive got a pretty good idea on how the pipes will flow. following a couple of proven setups.

      just need the proper way to mig it all up.

      any help is greatly appreciated



      • #4
        turbo pipeing

        X2 on the above tig for sure not saying it cant be done with the mig, however you will have way more control with the tig and will more than likely have a much better looking weld and a stronger one to.

        As for your gap you will probably get different opinions on that, myself I would bevel the edges and but up tight, again this is just my opinion and im no pro by any means just throwing my .02 out there.

        If you dont have a tig now might be a good time to invest in one if you plan on doing your own fab. work, it can get real costly if your paying someone to do it everytime you need it done. Might as well invest the money in your own unit and learn as you go.I feel your pain because im in the market for a tig unit myself good luck in wich ever way you go! Eric


        • #5
          honestly, the welds dont have to be perfect as long as they hold. being my first project, im sure ill get better with prectice. but the "i did this myself" feeling will be rewards enough even if they arent a work of art

          as far as the pattern goes... would i use a zigzag/u/e/c type continuous "line" or quick bursts of high heat to "tack" all the way around?



          • #6
            Weld Quality Does Matter!!!!!!!!!!!

            self admittedly being new to welding.... take some time to learn sound technique regardless of what type of welder you end up using...
            learn, practice and study before you try and weld on someting that matters.... on top of that you will have to make some solid fixturing to keep it from walking around as it gets welded..... and first time out would suggest a log style manifold rather than equal length bed of snakes... easier to make strong and far simpler to construct...

            will relate a newbie story....

            Knew a guy that was convinced that he could do it with no developed skills and contrary to the body of experience that has come about during the last 50 years of automotive turbo development...... he did it... did not work well... looked like the dogs dinner and soon failed... when it failed .... it torched the engine compartment and the whole car ended up burning down....
            When his insurance adjuster looked at it... all you could hear was laughter... the claim was disallowed... total loss and on the owners shoulders.....

            The moral is to just take your time and build a solid foundation ... think it through... a good solid setup will take some time... especially if you are learning how to weld at the same time...... you will get there just not overnight...

            free advice is worth what you pay for it..... that and $1.58 will get you a cup of coffee at McDonalds.....
            Last edited by H80N; 12-19-2011, 02:59 PM.


            • #7
              thanks good thing for me is that i dont have to make the manifolds... just the pipes that bolt to them.planning to practice a ton before i actually do the real pipes, but just wanted the proper technique so that i practice what works instead of trying to learn bad habits


              • #8
                The Miller resources section has a lot of fundamentals of technique and design considerations for MIG... if you have not already found it, here is the link.... and it is free...


                BTW... just on general principles... I would not be grinding those welds for cosmetic purposes... develop your skills and weld appearence will stand on its own merits....
                Last edited by H80N; 12-19-2011, 03:19 PM.


                • #9
                  for a skill builder you might go down to your local muffler shop... midas or??? and see if you can scrounge some cutoff tube drops from their scrap bin to practice on... likely they will give you free access and you wil have some practice fodder that will help you develop real skills for your project....

                  If you have or know a friend with a bandsaw... it would help you a lot to cut open some of your joints and beads to examine integrity..... it will be an eye opener... what looks like one thing from the outside ... may be something totally different when cut open... you might find voids, incomplete fusion... or even a stack of porcupine quills inside the tube from wire stubbing....

                  and just to be clear... you will be running a gas shield right?? 75-25 for mild steel or tri-mix for stainless.....??? gasless fluxcore would not be optimal
                  Last edited by H80N; 12-19-2011, 04:38 PM. Reason: clarity...


                  • #10
                    Again i agree with the above statements, it is definitely doable with mig and definitely use the 75/25 shielding gas and either .025 or .030 pending on material thickness, as for technique each has there own for each job. From what your describeing sounds like your talking inner cooler plumbing, up pipe and maybe down pipe.

                    From what your describeing again i would bevel the ends and run a continouse bead with the right heat and wire selected this will come out just fine and plenty strong. ( remember to do as the above stated practice on some scrap tubeing or something comparable to what your wishing your final product to be made of) Good luck, Eric


                    • #11
                      The first project I ever attempted for my car were aluminum intercooler tubes.

                      Couple of things I found that may save you some headaches:

                      I was pretty happy with my first sets of welds. I decided to grind them off to clean up the look.....HUGE MISTAKE.....this lead to countless pinhole leaks along the weld. I wound up laying another bead over all of the welds I ground off. I'm certain a more experienced welder would have had cleaner less pourous welds but that was not my case at all.

                      Butt welds on thin wall tubing are difficult. Somebody suggested getting scraps and practicing, definately follow that advice. I wound up with 4 stacks of 2" long rings of tubing all welded together about 2' long each from practice welds and I was still barely able to produce consistant welds on the real pieces. This type of weld on thin material is hard to do....I also did some similar welds on 4" aluminum tubing with a wall thickness about 1/8" and those were easy....the thin stuff was rough.

                      You will need some kind of jig to hold stuff so you have decent angles to weld. Straight pipe is easy but your stuff will have all sorts of twists and bends so holding it at an angle that makes your life simple is not often easy to do.

                      In the end my rookie welds aren't going to win any beauty contests but I pressure tested them at 40psi (2x working pressure) and there were no leaks. The simple pleasure of learning to do something like that myself was work the headaches.

                      Good Luck


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