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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    5

    Default Aluminum Wheel Welding

    Im a Newbie in both ways "site and welding" , I own a auto repair shop and have always repaired and fixed some bent wheels, lately the guy that welded them for me is just to busy so here I am. I bought a 190 Hobart with spool gun and have welded a few fine but occasionally sometimes I weld one it almost like it just runs from one side you are welding , I know the difference between forged and cast, learned that quickly when straightening them. Is preheating aluminum a necessity , also someone told me about using a piece of cooper under the weld, I don"t get this. Could you guys drop me some tips. Using straight Argon and aluminum wire. Thanks for all the info you guy's can share.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Salem ,Ohio
    Posts
    3,900

    Cool

    I weld 10-15 a year and have for the last 30 years. Some i just won't do depends where the damage is. 99% of them are cracked on the backside as its the weakest spot. I don't bother fixing a crack in the flange. I take a wiz wheel and cut the crack out about a 1/4" wide, some preheat and fill it with wire. Most are a PIA especially the ones where the owners smear the area with JB weld which won't work. Sometimes you need to weld then cut it out again because of the impurities floating to the top. Just remember it has to be strong plus hold air and most guys can make it one or the other...Bob
    Bob Wright, Grandson of Tee Nee Boat Trailer Founder
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    5

    Default aluminum wheel

    Quote Originally Posted by aametalmaster View Post
    I weld 10-15 a year and have for the last 30 years. Some i just won't do depends where the damage is. 99% of them are cracked on the backside as its the weakest spot. I don't bother fixing a crack in the flange. I take a wiz wheel and cut the crack out about a 1/4" wide, some preheat and fill it with wire. Most are a PIA especially the ones where the owners smear the area with JB weld which won't work. Sometimes you need to weld then cut it out again because of the impurities floating to the top. Just remember it has to be strong plus hold air and most guys can make it one or the other...Bob
    Metalmaster, Thanks a lot for your input , I am very new to this and I have a little more respect for you guy's , It is not as easy as I thought although it does seem like the cleaning of the wheel is so important, do use any cooper behind the weld, I had a welder tell me that would make a difference, I have mostly just been straightening wheels but have welded a few, maybe just luck but all have held so far with no leaks, I did have someone tell me not to weld below the bead lock on either side. Thanks again for the advice.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Milan Michigan
    Posts
    1,697

    Default

    I would never use mig on the aluminum wheel, plus the fact that your not a skilled welder.

    If you: ( Try and get lucky that it holds air ) and the customer is driving down the highway with his wife and 3 kids and your lucky weld decides to be unlucky as they are going around the curve at 80 mph which strains your unlucky weld that only has 60% penetration along with the contamination in the weld because you used a mig instead of Tig so it only as 30% of its original strength which in turn causes a blowout and they all die.

    You will be looking at prison time.

    Leave this kind of work for a professional welder that can pull the contamination out of the aluminum and do a 100% penetrating weld.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Cave Creek Az
    Posts
    969

    Default

    I have done some. Some were easy, some were a pain. Biggest problem is that it is often difficult to tell where the damage stops. You vee out and weld the crack you see, but dont see the crack beside it. You could likely use a dye penetrant to check.
    Personally, for the price of a wheel, it is not worth the time and liability to fix. Make sure your insurance covers you for it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks MO
    Posts
    3,553

    Default

    I normally tell them if isn't worth $150 then better get another wheel.
    That sorts 'em out pretty quick for me
    I don't wanna take the risk for people who only want to spend 50 to get out of paying less than a hundred for a junkyard wheel. The aftermarket wheel guys are grateful.
    Then I can cut it out big, pre-heat completely, straighten it, tig it up, and grind it to perfection.
    I have the insurance.... But I never repair like I do. And on wheels, it is cash only and no receipts. And even then I turn some down

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FusionKing View Post
    I normally tell them if isn't worth $150 then better get another wheel.
    That sorts 'em out pretty quick for me
    I don't wanna take the risk for people who only want to spend 50 to get out of paying less than a hundred for a junkyard wheel. The aftermarket wheel guys are grateful.
    Then I can cut it out big, pre-heat completely, straighten it, tig it up, and grind it to perfection.
    I have the insurance.... But I never repair like I do. And on wheels, it is cash only and no receipts. And even then I turn some down
    Fusion, That is the approach I have taken also, the issue in our business today is the wheel company's discontinue so many styles today, popular one year gone the next, so you got a guy with three good wheels and one bad, as you say if money is the issue I run. In this day and time I had to have my attorney draw up a letter and release liability on the few I do decide to tackle ,"probably still won't hold up", 99.9 percent of this business is just bending out pothole bends, I also have the insurance and Inc. the tire manufactures are requiring us to carry 1.5 million liability today which I have done for the past 40 years. I guess I am like you I pick and choose the battle's, just trying to help people out in a bind, and sometimes in today's environment it get's you nowhere, but after all these years in my business I can handle that part. You have a good weekend and thanks so much for your insight.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    5

    Default Insurance

    Quote Originally Posted by walker View Post
    I have done some. Some were easy, some were a pain. Biggest problem is that it is often difficult to tell where the damage stops. You vee out and weld the crack you see, but dont see the crack beside it. You could likely use a dye penetrant to check.
    Personally, for the price of a wheel, it is not worth the time and liability to fix. Make sure your insurance covers you for it.
    Insurance was my first call,attorney was second, they were ok with it, the one's i have done are the one's I thought I could tackle and the one's that are discontinued and the guy cannot find a replacement, which unfortunately in the wheel world happen's on a daily occurrence. My brother TIG's frequently and occasionally I will let him look at it and do. Like anything, some bit you and some are good. I agree with you on the price, I won't touch a fix for less than 80 and a weld is 150, and I am very careful and have them sign all the paperwork. I appreciate your response and good luck, as I said the few weld's I do are the occasional person that has discontinued wheel. As far as quality of my repair , I have not had a issue, I am afraid this country has sold out "for another day", all the wheels we see today are mass produced China stuff that lacks quality control " my belief" . The day of the 2 piece forged wheel's are about over, it all comes across the sea in container's . Thank's again and have a good one.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Portable Welder View Post
    I would never use mig on the aluminum wheel, plus the fact that your not a skilled welder.

    If you: ( Try and get lucky that it holds air ) and the customer is driving down the highway with his wife and 3 kids and your lucky weld decides to be unlucky as they are going around the curve at 80 mph which strains your unlucky weld that only has 60% penetration along with the contamination in the weld because you used a mig instead of Tig so it only as 30% of its original strength which in turn causes a blowout and they all die.

    You will be looking at prison time.

    Leave this kind of work for a professional welder that can pull the contamination out of the aluminum and do a 100% penetrating weld.
    Portable , Did not try to come off wrong and sorry if I did, the strength issue you bring up is definitely a concern to me, I certainly would not want to cause harm to anyone or end up in prison. I actually will rewrite my release statement with the strength line addressed, I am sure you no the liability in anything us hardworking stiff's face everyday, sure don't want anymore "liabilty". Have a good one.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    184

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wdmack View Post
    Portable , Did not try to come off wrong and sorry if I did, the strength issue you bring up is definitely a concern to me, I certainly would not want to cause harm to anyone or end up in prison. I actually will rewrite my release statement with the strength line addressed, I am sure you no the liability in anything us hardworking stiff's face everyday, sure don't want anymore "liabilty". Have a good one.
    There would be no prison for a failed weld. It would possibly be a civil matter which would bring up the issue of negligence. That is, you had a duty to do the work properly, you failed in that duty and it caused foreseeable damages or personal injury to the user of the wheel. In negligence, there is no intent to harm a person, just the breach of a duty which results in damage or injury. The penalty for negligence would generally be money damages. That's a good reason to be incorporated in a small business.

    That said, there are at least two things that I won't weld anymore. One of them is a fuel tank. The other one is a wheel. There's just entirely too much risk on either of them.

    If I had a cracked aluminum wheel ( I have had a couple of them) I'd go to a wreckng yard or to a dealer for another one. Too much risk for me.
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