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MIG Welding an Aluminum Cylinder Head???

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  • MIG Welding an Aluminum Cylinder Head???

    I've been working on a set of aluminum cylinder heads, had them ported and reworked, ready to reassemble and last minute decided "I'll just cut a little more out around the valve guides...." Arg, I knew better. I broke through the water jacket right next to one of the exhaust valve guides as soon as I started cutting that one (looks like mostly a case of core shift, maybe a little corrosion in the passages).

    I had to weld the decks on these heads also, and used a TIG, but it would be very difficult if not impossible to TIG in this spot. If I stick the torch head in through the chamber side, it practically blocks all the access from that side, I can't even see what I'm doing, and I can't feed the wire from the exhaust port side because the guide is blocking it.

    Since I have a spool gun for my Miller 211, I'm tempted to try to use it to repair it and build up that spot a little bit. Is there any chance of it working? Any suggestions what to try?

    I can clean the front face (right now it's just the rough cut finish that you get with a carbide burr, maybe a little contamination from the cutting lube which should clean off fairly easily), but I can't touch the back side at all- the hole is about 1/8" around and I can't see it through any of the coolant holes in the head.

    I think that the 211 might have enough power to do it (if I was just welding on the deck I'd be worried about it, but this is a pretty thin spot, obviously if I broke through), I'm actually wondering if the thinness might be a problem for the MIG.

    My plan was:
    • clean with brake clean
    • clean with acetone
    • clean with oxalic acid or stainless brush to remove any oxidation
    • Preaheat (not sure what temp or if I should at all, since the only good place I have to preheat is in the kitchen or on the deck and I have to carry the head about 100' to the garage to weld it I figure if I'll probablby get everything setup, preheat to maybe 50* higher than I'm shooting for and go). I've been researching tonight and it seems that most cylinder head repairs say 200*-400*F helps, so barring any better suggestions I'll probably preheat to somewhere between 300-400* and hope to be >250 while welding.
    • weld
    • not sure if I want to cover it up with a blanket or something after welding
    Last edited by Silverback; 07-27-2014, 09:24 PM.
    Mark
    (aka: Silverback, WS6 TA, JYDog, 83 Crossfire TA, mpikas, mmp...)
    Synchrowave 180 SD | MillerMatic 211MVP + Spoolmate | Hobart Handler 135 | Everlast Power Plasma 50
    1960 Bridgeport J-head | Grizzly 10x22 | HF bandsaw | Rigid 4.5” angle grinder (+2 cheapie HF ones)
    BFH

  • #2
    If these are high dollar heads you should send them out to a professional, Theres a guy in Michigan that repairs heads, Look up Chris Razer, Hes not cheap, you might be looking at anywhere from $ 500.00 on up, I wouldn't have a lot of hope for the mig on this project.

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    • #3
      Same Question

      Same Question on SFT thread...

      http://www.shopfloortalk.com/forums/...ad.php?t=42339
      .

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      • #4
        yea, that's me, after posting there I thought I might have more luck here. Since I'm getting responses there I'm updating that one...
        Mark
        (aka: Silverback, WS6 TA, JYDog, 83 Crossfire TA, mpikas, mmp...)
        Synchrowave 180 SD | MillerMatic 211MVP + Spoolmate | Hobart Handler 135 | Everlast Power Plasma 50
        1960 Bridgeport J-head | Grizzly 10x22 | HF bandsaw | Rigid 4.5” angle grinder (+2 cheapie HF ones)
        BFH

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        • #5
          Aluminum Head

          Good luck I use a 30A spoolgun on my MM252 and I don't think I would try that on that thin of a water jacket, but that's just me. In a case like that I use time weighted average. Is it worth my time to go through everything I would have to do to remove that head and replace it a second time? Is there money on the line as in a race?

          If time is no problem then go for it. But I have wound up with too many $500 boat anchors.

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