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Aluminum Welding Procedure

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  • Aluminum Welding Procedure

    I've spent most of the day putting the intrcooler in & taking it out to find the best spot for it and exactly where to place the inlet tube. I cut the tube to length & got the angle right and got it fitting pretty good, (no gaps). I put a bead on the end with the bead roller so the clamp will hold the boot.

    My question is, what steps { best way to clean, prep, etc. ** would you guys go through to get it ready to weld. My aluminum welding experience is limited. I have some scrap tube I'm going to practice on before I attempt this. After my practicing, if I don't feel comfortable about this I will just tack it in place and get someone else to weld it. BUT, this project has been one first try after another so, I don't want to give up without giving it an honest try. I can get at the back side of the weld. Should I pack the back side with something as a heat sink? Good or bad idea? Should I cap the openings & flood the intercooler with argon? Also, would I be better off to cut the hole in the box slightly bigger so the inlet tube slides inside?

    The box is 1/8" and the tube is 1/16". I've asked the company what type aluminum it is, but they won't give me an answer. I have ER 4043 - 1/16'' & ER5356 - 1/8'' on the shelf. I have done a little aluminum welding, but never anything this thin.


  • #2
    Wow

    Thats one nice looking welding job!!!!!!!!!Practice,practice,Are you using a gas lens,Thats going to tough on the bottom,and skip around ,cleaner the better,you might have to make some little gussets on the bottom,at least with a gas lense you can stick your tunston out further,thats if you can reach around the bottom of the pipe,,Wish i had the majic answer,get comfortable,and Practic on your other pcs first,,Good Luck,and take your time!,Jack,PS,I woldnt cut the hole bigger,than it will burn threw alot quicker.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the reply Jack. I've been out practicing and I'm feeling pretty good about tackling this. The gusset idea sounds good. I might put some gussets on the sides also. This will all be behind the firewall so appearance isn't an issue. (Other than I'd like it to turn out nice). I purposely burned through one test pc. just to get an idea what the limits are.

      The tube that mounts to it is the one that goes to the pro charger., about 2' long and will have 2 surge valves in it. so a little extra support would be a good thing. They are connected with a rubber boot, and I'll have a floating support point for the tube where it turns toward the pro charger for added support also. I'm going to do some more practice pcs. until I'm comfortable and then . I'll post some pics when I'm done. Here goes' nuttin'.

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      • #4
        I should mention I set it up so the bottom of the tube is lined up with the bend in the box. So, I should have good access to the tube all the way around. I'm still going with your gusset idea though just to make it stronger. Thanks.

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        • #5
          I'm using steel wool to clean up the joint & then wiping it down with rubbing alcohol. Same with the filler rod. Is that the best way to clean?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by pro70z28
            I'm using steel wool to clean up the joint & then wiping it down with rubbing alcohol. Same with the filler rod. Is that the best way to clean?
            AAAAACCCKKKK, keep that steel wool away! You are imbedding little bits of steel in the aluminum that at best will give you orange welds in a couple years, or could induce cracking.

            Stainless brushes or scotchbrite are safe.

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            • #7
              It's a coincidence you said that. I looked all over the place for the steel wool and couldn't find it. I settled on a scotchbrite pad, and then after I had it tacked I recleaned it after each weld with a stainless brush that came in a small package of aluminum rod I bought from the hardware store. Turns out that package of rod was for Oxy. welding so I never used it.

              Well I got it welded. I really laid the filler rod to it because I was afraid I'd get the puddle too hot and have it fall through. It's not very purdy' up against those factory welds, but I don't have any pinholes and I had good penetration on both sides of the weld. I stayed just a little more on the 1/8'' side and let the 1/16'' side melt into the puddle. I'm thinking the extra filler rod might not be all bad. Might help with support. I still think I'm going to add those gussets though just for insurance.

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              • #8
                Here's a rough mock-up of where it goes.

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                • #9
                  Days gone bye, My ex welding supply shop had Stainless Steel Wool - and that worked great....but I have not seen any in a while.

                  A SS Brush will do the job

                  If you use scotch brite - make sure you only use that pad on your aluminum

                  Alky Or Acetone

                  And you can not get aluminum to clean - that goes for the filler rod too.

                  My guess is the IC is 3003 - so I would use 1100 filler.

                  If you want to make it pretty - brush it again & lay another bead.

                  Gussets are ok - but with enough boost the box will expand no mater what - how much they can baloon is amazzin..!

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                  • #10
                    ive repaired many a broken exploded intercooler and i would use 5356 and gusset the welds there is a reason for this trust me the go boom in side the car and blow the windows out .

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                    • #11
                      Thanks Rich. Since this will be tucked under the dash I'm going to leave well enough alone. If I were more experienced I may give it another pass, but it's air tight now so I'm going to go with it as is.

                      dandimand I did go with the 5356 instead of the 4043. I just felt a little more comfortable with the bigger filler rod. This box has gussets on every seam and the flat areas are double plated, so the manufacturer must have had some of the same experiences you have had. I was going to just plug the original inlet with a plug & clamp, but it was in the way of a bar I had to replace so I cut if off and welded in a 3/16'' plate. I played with the idea of welding mounting tabs to the box, but decided to mount it in rubber instead. I bought a truck mud flap & am cutting pads out of it. Then making recesses in the mounts in several places for the pads to hold the box in place. *If there is movement in the box expanding & contracting a "floating mount" is probably the best set-up.

                      Thanks for the input. It's little projects like this that make the overall build fun. It's an education.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RICH PAUZA View Post
                        Days gone bye, My ex welding supply shop had Stainless Steel Wool - and that worked great....but I have not seen any in a while.

                        A SS Brush will do the job

                        If you use scotch brite - make sure you only use that pad on your aluminum

                        Alky Or Acetone

                        And you can not get aluminum to clean - that goes for the filler rod too.

                        My guess is the IC is 3003 - so I would use 1100 filler.

                        If you want to make it pretty - brush it again & lay another bead.

                        Gussets are ok - but with enough boost the box will expand no mater what - how much they can baloon is amazzin..!
                        Stainless steel wool is still available at Brownell's Gunsmith Supply online at brownells.com (I think that is the correct url). They also have bronze wool.
                        Griff

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                        • #13



                          Got it welded & I'm in the process of mounting it under the dash. Thanks for the aluminum welding tips. I'm ready to use more aluminum in this project now.

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                          • #14
                            I got the intercooler mounted and the cold side plumbed. Thanks for the welding pointers. My welds are no where near as nice as the factory welds on the cooler, but it's functional.





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