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Thread: Jeep cast aluminum Power Steering Pump bracket TIG weld repair (jakeru's #5)

  1. #1
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    Default Jeep cast aluminum Power Steering Pump bracket TIG weld repair (jakeru's #6)

    I repaired a cracked cast aluminum power steering pump bracket a customer brought in from a jeep. Apparently they were either really hard to find, or really expensive from the wrecking yard.

    Anyhow, it's piece of cake to repair this with good strength if you do the right prep work before you weld, and have halfway decent TIG heat control. Oh yeah, having a decently powerful TIG machine and matching capacity torch helps too.

    Here is the cracked bracket before welding, prepped with some carbide burr action:
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    Luckily the cracked bracket had not snapped completely into two separate pieces, so I didn't need to mess around with getting two pieces aligned properly before tack welding. Sometimes that can be so important to get right, that you find yourself planning the whole welding process out around just getting that first tack in there with everything in just the right position. Not an issue with this case.

    After TIG welding (with 5356 filler rod):
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    Note that I built up the section much thicker than it was originally. In all honesty I should have removed more paint and prepped further away, because I ended up depositing weld material on a much broader surface than I originally anticipated I would. However, with the beefy deposit material, this is now a much more rigid bracket than an original one and IMO, much less likely to crack.

    (I try to eliminate the original root cause of the problem that caused a failure, if I can figure one out.)

    I flat filed the surface where pump/mounting hardware goes, to prevent any interference:
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    This repair took me ~40 minutes. Note the yellow paint was pretty "lighweight", and mostly all burned off from the aluminum part coming up to welding temperature. (And what didn't burn off I think hand-scratch wire brushed off with very little effort.)
    Last edited by jakeru; 06-18-2011 at 08:44 AM.
    '13 Everlast 255EXT
    '07 Everlast Super200P

  2. #2

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    Nice work Jake and great presentation as well.

    Looks like a quick job since you didn't have to degrease it and no pre-heat. That keeps the time down.

    What electrode did you run? Using 5356 it probably is a lot stronger too.
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  3. Default

    Very nice what did you do to prep the joint? And why did you use 5356 im only curious i know 5356 offers alot more strength but i thought 4043 would be a little more towards this application.but it still looks excellent no porosity it must have been a hair line fracture . Thats pretty weird that the other side didnt break or crack usually cast aluminum doesnt give at all

  4. #4

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    Not to speak for Jake,

    On this piece, 4043 would probably (most likely) have worked as well. 4043 is an easier to use silicone based filler and a lot of aluminum casts are silicone as well (because it's easier for the parts to release when they're made). 4043 is not quite as as strong. With the location of this bracket it will not see any real high temps so 5356 was the better choice (IMHO) based on strength. 4043 handles higher temps better, but the location and use of the part 5356 was a good choice.

    Or, after all that rambling, maybe Jake had no 4043 filler?
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by everlastsupport View Post
    Nice work Jake and great presentation as well.

    Looks like a quick job since you didn't have to degrease it and no pre-heat. That keeps the time down.

    What electrode did you run? Using 5356 it probably is a lot stronger too.
    I use lanthanated (1.5% or 2%) tungsten electrode for almost everything. It starts easily, has no potential radioactivity safety risks, and holds a point well, allowing concentrated arc heat. In this case it would be 3/32" most likely. (Sharpened like a pencil, and then rounded just a little bit at the tip, for increased current capacity.)

    I'm always looking for the "happy medium" of what I can get away with to get a part adequately prepared for acceptable weld quality, without "breaking the bank" on spending an excessive amount of time.

    On this one, it looks like I used primarily my carbide burr, but I am sure I also spot-cleaned it afterward with some solvent as well. In fact I remember some of that yellow paint dissolving and peeling. The paint was really weakly adhered and not very chemical resistant (wouldn't surprise me if it was DIY spray can applied?)

    The carbide burr is about the only tool I have that could vee out a crack like this in a fillet / tight spot (reaching deep into the the "gullet" of the casting, for example.) If chatter marks are acceptable, it can also be very quick and effective for removing a dirty oxidized surface and expose fresh, sometimes immediately "ready to weld" aluminum. You do have to be careful when using it however, and hold it securely. Or it can take off sideways on you!

    Quote Originally Posted by jdt1986 View Post
    Very nice what did you do to prep the joint? And why did you use 5356 im only curious i know 5356 offers alot more strength but i thought 4043 would be a little more towards this application.but it still looks excellent no porosity it must have been a hair line fracture . Thats pretty weird that the other side didnt break or crack usually cast aluminum doesnt give at all
    Aluminum could crack like this IMO, by fatigue. Many repetitive "back and forth" cycles of even moderate force (even safely below the original peak tensile failure strength of the material), could eventually degrade the mechanical qualities of the material, until the point of failure. An improvement is to increase the rigidity of the structure somehow, such as by changing the shape (thickening a beam chord size, width, etc,) to decrease the stress loading of the material. Even a modest increase in beam thickness, like say 20%, can reduce the material tensile loading by a huge amount. A lower peak material tensile loading will allow the part to endure many, many more cycles before fatigue failure. At least, that is how my mental model of fatigue failure in aluminum works. Perhaps John ("sportbike" on here) will chime in with additional info, as he is really the expert on aluminum metallurgy and modes of failure I believe.

    No "high strength alloy" aluminum part is completely immune from fatigue related failure by the way. It's just a matter of time (and how many cycles) before any aluminum part will eventually "give it up". (or so I've heard.)

    Quote Originally Posted by everlastsupport View Post
    Not to speak for Jake,

    On this piece, 4043 would probably (most likely) have worked as well. 4043 is an easier to use silicone based filler and a lot of aluminum casts are silicone as well (because it's easier for the parts to release when they're made). 4043 is not quite as as strong. With the location of this bracket it will not see any real high temps so 5356 was the better choice (IMHO) based on strength. 4043 handles higher temps better, but the location and use of the part 5356 was a good choice.

    Or, after all that rambling, maybe Jake had no 4043 filler?
    Mike's assessment is in line with my views and experiences. You select the filler rod based on a bunch of different factors, (and it can be complicated, especially when you are guessing what the parent alloys are, as we usually must do when performing aluminum welding repairs.) The alcotec filler rod selection chart is a good resource for at least understanding about different pros/cons of different aluminum filler rod selection for different applications:
    http://www.alcotec.com/us/en/support...on_Chart-2.pdf

    I usually have ample supplies of 4043 and 5356 (and some other rarely used alloy fillers), however sometimes if I have a half-burned stick of some filler rod, I will try and find an excuse to melt it, instead of grabbing a fresh stick of something.

    There is actually a touch of (acceptable, minor) porosity in the area where I didn't prep the surface as well. "weathered" dirty, wet, painted, etc oxidized aluminum surface can have all kinds of contaminants in it that basically bottom line, have hydrogen in it. Hydrogen = nice and happy in the molten aluminum puddle, but causes hydrogen gas bubbles (porosity) upon puddle solidification. It's always a good thing to try to avoid. If you do find yourself welding on a contaminated surface however, the best thing you can do is run a "low amp" arc over it and try and not melt very deep at all. The goal is the get the contaminants (often, hydrocarbons for example) up to a "vaporizing or burning" temperature to convert them into vapor that will offgas. If you attempting welding with hydrocarbon like contamination in the area, excess hydrogen can be dissolved into the molten aluminum welding puddle, which will then upon puddle solodification become trapped as hydrogen bubbles, potentially buried very deep down inside the weld bead, (aka ""porosity") resulting in a brittle, low strength weld deposit.
    Last edited by jakeru; 06-18-2011 at 08:01 PM.
    '13 Everlast 255EXT
    '07 Everlast Super200P

  6. Default

    This is very interesting reading about aluminum mechanical properties and welding of.
    Thanks for posting, and thanks for the link.

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