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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Tracy, CA
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    221

    Default Loader repair/gouging advice

    Hi-

    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.

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

    Thanks.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    northern NJ
    Posts
    1,857

    Default

    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 at 01:12 PM.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO
    Posts
    172

    Default

    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.
    JIM

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    western mass
    Posts
    205

    Default

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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Tracy, CA
    Posts
    221

    Default

    Quote 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.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO
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    172

    Default

    Quote 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 at 07:20 AM.
    JIM

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Lodi, CA
    Posts
    1,279

    Default

    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 at 03:59 PM.
    Obviously, I'm just a hack-artist, you shouldn't be listening to anything I say .....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    greenfield new hampshire
    Posts
    878

    Default

    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. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    185

    Default

    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 at 10:50 PM.
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  10. #10

    Default loader bucket

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