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Loader repair/gouging advice

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  • Loader repair/gouging advice


    I'm looking for advice on repairing a loader bucket. I don't have much experience with heavy equipment repair. I've already worked on this thing before but the customer says the cracks are back after a few months of use. The thing had already been repaired before I got there the first time too.

    The customer is going to bring the tractor to my shop this time so I'm looking for the best way to gouge the cracks. I have a Spectrum 625 plasma. I use it all the time for cutting but never gouging. I was also thinking about getting an Aircar Carbon Arc Gouging Torch. I have a TB302 air pak to run it from. Also have a Syncrowave 351, Dynasty 350 and compressor in the shop if It would run off one of those. I've used CAC before so I know it's loud and messy.

    Last time I did the repair in the field with 7018. I'd like to use a wire feed process in the .045 (because all my liners are .045) range if you know of a good wire. Self shield or MIG. (Is MIG even acceptable?) Currently have some Fabshield 21B.

    What's the best way to gouge?
    What's the best wire to use in .045?


  • #2
    The size, location & thickness will have a lot to do with how you go about it. I use cac & depending on the location I'll gouge about halfway through from both sides. Root pass & maybe one fill pass on one side then go to other side & clean the back side of the root & weld it up. Go back to first side & finish. I have used with success 7018, 21b, 7100 ultra in .045 & 1/16".

    If it is a smaller or worn bucket the floor/sides may be just getting thin. You could do a liner on the inside after repairing the cracks. Plate the underside might help also. Again depends on the way it's cracking. Use your engineer mode first.

    I've never tried gouging with my plasma.

    I've also had customers who just want it patched up with the understanding it might crack again. Bucket repairs can get expensive when you start replacing floors & cutting edges.
    Last edited by MMW; 07-23-2013, 12:12 PM.


    • #3
      I have used both methods for gouging out cracks and heavily favor a carbon rod. I can get almost surgical with it. Can't even get close to the precision of a carbon rod with a plasma gouger.

      I also use the same procedure as MMW to repair cracks when it is possible.
      I have used the Esab 7100 Ultra for 5 years repairing heavy equipment and won't use anything else. Very good wire. Hope this helps.


      • #4
        sometimes at the end of a crack I cut a small hole to try to stop it from spreading. then weld it up.


        • #5
          Originally posted by cayager View Post
          sometimes at the end of a crack I cut a small hole to try to stop it from spreading. then weld it up.
          Thanks. Yeah I drilled a hole at the end of each crack. I just inspected the tractor. None of the cracks have spread. It's just the same crack coming through to the top. I must not have gotten all the way to the root before.


          • #6
            Originally posted by cayager View Post
            sometimes at the end of a crack I cut a small hole to try to stop it from spreading. then weld it up.
            If all the metal with the crack in it is removed, there is no need for a hole to be drilled on the ends. Unless you are going to leave it that way. When I use a carbon rod to clean them out, I can watch and follow the crack as I am gouging, when I reach the end I go a little further just to make sure.
            Besides, what happens when the crack is on the edges of the bucket where the hardened steel is at or on the cutting edge. Can't driil through that.
            Last edited by jpence38; 07-24-2013, 06:20 AM.


            • #7
              What kind of tractor? What loader bucket? Post pictures if you can.

              Remember, a loader bucket IS the structure, if at any point during the repair or subsequent use, or during normal rotation, the pins cannot be easily removed or rotated, something is binding, and most likely it is the bucket that is flexing and cracking in response.

              Just welding cracks is simply fixing the symptoms, not the cause.

              All structural cracks start again from the same point they originally started, drilling a hole at the end of the crack solves nothing.

              Think about this a bit, you will get it.

              As far as the OP's original question, I generally use CAG, I have plasma, with gouging tips, I think it is cute, but when I want to hog metal out, CAG is the only way to do it. Like mentioned by a couple previous posters.
              Last edited by JSFAB; 07-24-2013, 02:59 PM.


              • #8
                if you fix the cracks and they come back, it may be a design issue, no matter how you fix a crack, it will come back, try some reenforcement


                • #9
                  Can you get at both sides of the crack?
                  There are a few ways to repair this.
                  I love arc air gouging. It's fast and you can remove cracks quickly with it.
                  Remember to grind out all the area where you arc air as this will harden the parent metal in the area. Once cleaned up, I'd re weld with 7018 stick rod.

                  Another method is the Fish plate method.
                  Grind the previous weld flat and run a bead of 7018 over the crack. Then gouge the back side of the crack (if you can), grind to clean and re weld with 7018. Then cover the new weld with a fishplate (google fishplate to learn about it) and weld the fish plate with 7018.
                  Last edited by snoeproe; 07-25-2013, 09:50 PM.


                  • #10
                    loader bucket

                    What size is the bucket? Wear is the bucket cracking?


                    • #11
                      Sorry it's been a few days.

                      It's not the bucket that's cracked. It's one of the loader arms where it has a cylinder connecting to the other side. I can't get to the back of the cracks as these are both hollow parts.

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                      • #12
                        I look at that picture, if it is repeatedly breaking there, I can tell that you can weld it up all you want, all you are doing is fixing the symptoms, it will break again there or elsewhere. Something is out of line, it is flexing as the loader arms go up and down. Sight across the loader arms (at various points of lift), look for them not to be parallel. Put the front wheels up on blocks, run the bucket all the way down (where the cylinders bottom out before the bucket makes contact with the ground) see if one side hits before the other. Do the same thing with full extension. Could be a tweak, could be a worn bushing where the loader arms attach to the tractor, could be worn bushings on the bucket or a twisted bucket. Could also be worn cylinder eyes or attachments, or simply cylinders that don't quite match up perfectly. In any case, to actually fix this problem, you need to find the cause.


                        • #13
                          How long would this last if you didn't fix it. Turn up the amps on the 7018. weld over it, see what happens. For some cracks in the field simply follow it down with a torch and cut thru it, smoke a big bead back in, sections to 1/4 are easy with small electrode. I agree, what caused it is speculative, has the repair lasted a brutal year or is this a hobby tractor?

                          This looks like it could be repaired with a torch and or a grinder and a welder and if a guy was slick look like it had never been done.

                          I fixed a piece of forestry equipment for a self employed type, at first he figured I would make some kind of band aid repair like the last guy did,,, his bud,,, the laid off welder. I said, I am not wasting 2 hrs to save one will take 3 and it wont be a temp repair, it had its problems fixed,,, like Joe mentioned.

                          It was in a problem spot, the last guy had some idea but his out of position skills left something to be desired and he didn't take it apart far enough to make it practical and get it all square again. Weld it all up in spot with 10A TOO much to make it look really pretty while anchoring the bushing that let loose, I think I actually added about 6 square inches of plate,,, spent another hour on the other side where the same type of repair wasn't all that far from failing.


                          • #14
                            I finally got the repair done yesterday. I cut out a service port from the top of the tube. This allowed me to weld the cracks from the inside using a backing plate in the flat position. (My overhead needs work) I also located more cracks that were not visible from the outside. They were in the part of the cylinder that is hidden in the arm of the front loader.

                            I gouged the cracks with 3/16" carbon rods at 200 amps from the syncrowave 351. Cleaned up the edges. Preheated and welded back with 7018. Customer was happy with the work. Hope it holds this time.

                            Thanks for all the advice guys.


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