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Welding Cast Iron

09/22/2011 11:30 AM

I was under the impression that "you can't weld cast iron" or it's V specialised.
Having seen it done on Youtube, I managed to patch up the cracked exhaust manifold on my Daugters car (not the prettiest of welds).
I just wondered what the 'problem' is supposed to be. I was using a cheapo arc welder and a general purpose mild steel rod... I didn't go round the whole thing for fear of blowing holes in it, just stitched the worst of it and crossed my fingers.
Sounds ok for now.
Del

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#1

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/22/2011 11:44 AM

I've never tried... (well, there was that one time... but we won't talk about that), but I have seen it done, and know a few people who have/will do it successfully. I say, if it stops the leak in the manifold, then, bravo to you sir!

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#2

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/22/2011 11:47 AM

The problem is heat.

Cast iron has a much lower melt point than steel. Brazing will give better results with cast iron.

Your repair will prolly last for a while, but will likely fail eventually. This is okay for just a patch, but the manifold should be brazed or replaced for a permanent fix.

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#40
In reply to #2

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/24/2011 7:33 PM

The heat of the exhaust will cause early failure of the manifold if you use brass rod. I have welded exhaust manifold before. You grind out the crack to get penetration, preheat, weld the crack, let it cool and have the mounting surface machined to a flat surface. I have never had one returned.

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#3

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/22/2011 11:49 AM

Did you burn thru were the crack ends? Or drill it out?

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/22/2011 12:03 PM

Nah, this was just a 'have a go'
My daughter had bought another manifold from a breakers as hers had big holes in, the replacement had cracks , so I though it was a 'nothing to loose' shot. So I just ground it clean and ran a very quick scaredy cat bead in the vague area of the cracks (Its not easy to weld with your fingers crossed).
Del

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#9
In reply to #5

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/22/2011 12:50 PM

Good on ya'

I might have had a helper with a torch heat the general area up to dull red glow to help reduce heat induced stress during cooling. Spreads the stress over a larger area.

We had a horse drawn mower back on the farm in the 50's with steel wheels. One of the spokes broke. The wheels were cast iron. My dad had the welder come out and braze it. It lasted for the life of the mower.

If the old one isn't needed any longer, I'd paint it Candy Apple Red and hang it on the wall.

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#10
In reply to #5

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/22/2011 12:56 PM

Drilling them out would have kept the cracks from running farther.

And don't you mean claws crossed?

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#11
In reply to #5

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/22/2011 2:59 PM

The exhaust manifold had holes in it, and a used one has cracks in it... What kind of a car does she have? The manifold seems to be a trouble spot.

It isn't a Chevy Cavalier is it?

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/22/2011 4:03 PM

It's a very old Hyundai accent 1.5, it was my old one and it's been a pretty faithful workhorse. The best thing about it is the drivers seat, prob the most comfortable one I've met with decent adjustment.
I've made my Daught' promise to let me have the seat when it finally gives up the ghost. The seat in my Nissan Micra is awfull...prob designed to fit the average little old lady.
Del

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#22
In reply to #12

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/23/2011 7:59 AM

Once your daughter gives you the car seat, plop it down in the middle of the 'Cat Cave', right in front of the tele, and mount a couple of beer cup holders to it, one each side! LOL

[Aside: My kid brother, an ex-fighter pilot, plopped down a F-16 ejection seat (was going to the scrap yard) in the Man Cave right in front of the large screen LCD TV......pretty kewl, but very uncomfy sitting in it for any length of time!]

Bitters anyone?!!!!

Beers & Cheers!!!!!!

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#34
In reply to #11

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/23/2011 6:55 PM

That's a Good one,Doorman I was beginning to wonder that myself with the rash of Cavalier problems we've seen lately

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#4

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/22/2011 12:02 PM

The high carbon content typically makes welding cast iron difficult - not impossible but difficult.

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#6

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/22/2011 12:33 PM

I'll bet that youtube video didn't show the item cracking wide open a few days or weeks later.

Welding it is easy.......keeping it from cracking afterwards is whats hard. And where very specific practices HAVE to be followed before, during and after or the welding stresses induced will render the item junk in a short time.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/22/2011 12:37 PM

Cheers, I see.
Fortunately the manfold won't actually fall of if it cracks right round as the bolts will hold it in place.
My Daughter has resolved to buy a new one if it fails. At least fitting a new one will be quick and easy having done the job once.
Del

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#21
In reply to #6

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/23/2011 7:21 AM

After welding/brazing of cast iron, is it worth putting it in say a bonfire to heat it up and let it cool slowly afterwards?

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#23
In reply to #21

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/23/2011 8:11 AM

I'm only an amateur welder, (mig, gas and stick), and know enough about welding cast iron to take it to a professional instead of trying it myself. But I'd say the bonfire is a bad idea (my opinion)....but because you have no control over the conditions or temprature even though a stay in a furnace for a period after welding for stress relief IS an accepted part of the process. But it doesn't answer the need for a preheat before the procedure.

But if the part has little value, or replacements are cheap and easy to find, why not give it a try using some of the techniques describribed. I'm used to dealing with stuff thats hard to find or impossible to find. That changes the rules of the game.

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#8

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/22/2011 12:49 PM

Let's write 25,000 posts on putting that bath back together!

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#15
In reply to #8

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/22/2011 5:26 PM

I take it that nobody suggested welding as a sure method of breaking.

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#13

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/22/2011 4:46 PM

I have done a fair bit of welding together of cast iron objects... especially on broken exhaust manifolds (a favorite trick on several Ford Tempos was broken manifolds) and on other things, mostly tractor parts.

I learned from an old pro. The tricks are... preheat the casting over a large enough area so that the thermal shock of the welding process does not cause that section of the casting to expand to fast. We did that with an acetylene torch (burning rich) and heated it to the point where when rubbed with a wooden hammer handle, a mark was left on the casting. We then used a rod with a lot of nickle content. Once the welding process was completed. We shot peened (with a ball peen hammer) the area to reduce again the impact from the thermal shock as the casting cooled. I got quiet good at it.

The rods we used came from... click here.

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#24
In reply to #13

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/23/2011 9:39 AM

While every container of coated welding rod has a warning label mentioning toxic fumes, the smoke from these high nickle rods is particularly nasty. It's tempting to stick your face in it like an old blind weldor, but this practice sent me to the hospital once. No fun.

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#14

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/22/2011 4:51 PM

Observations suggest a special rod, and pre-heating the iron so that there is less tendency for cracks to form.

It takes a skilled touch to do it properly, not at all like some of the guano produced here.

Weld done for having a go, though!

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#16

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/22/2011 6:54 PM

If I remember correctly, Eutectic 666 was the best rod for castings. It was AC/DC, surprising for a stainless rod. They cost about 50 cents each back in the seventies, were worth every penny. Follow the preheating and peening treatments mentioned. Crossed fingers are a must, and for goodness sakes, cool the item off as slowly as possible. We kept a box of lime handy to toss items in to cool slowly.

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#17

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/22/2011 7:31 PM

I weld cast iron rather frequently and with enough practice and experience with the pre and post heat methods I have a fairly solid track record of being able to weld cast iron back together even with the MIG welder and a mild steel wire.

For miss matched metals like putting a new exhaust pipe in a old well rusted tractor manifold I do prefer a good preheat and a high nickel content welding rod.

If you get real good at identifying metals by their grinding sparks and drill shavings you can even tell which are actually low/med grade cast steels instead of cast iron! If you can do that you can look like a super welding genius when you find someones "cast Iron" is actually cast steel.

The other way is by manufactures reputation. If it says John Deere its a good chance its mostly just melted down soup cans, home appliances, and car body panels meaning nothing will weld it back together and last. My moms third husband worked at the Iowa foundry for many years and in fact all of those train loads of recycled soup cans during the 70's and 80's, and likely sooner, were largely bought up by the John Deere corp and turned into farm machinery. Its why their castings are the thickest in the industry (because they have no structural or tensile strength).

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#18

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/22/2011 10:41 PM

Google for MUGGY WELD.They have some amazing alloys for cast iron and other hard to weld materials.

If not available, drill a small hole at each end of the crack, preheat (use a gas grill, charcoal grill, etc.Needs to be around 400-500 degrees.Then Braze the crack.Start at one end, skip a space, go to other end, skip a space and keep working toward the center,finally fusing all spots together. This distributes the heat and prevents excessive stress.Tap the entire length of the weld with a ball peen hammer to further reduce stress.

Bury the part in Vermiculite or wrap it in fiberglass insulation and allow it to cool very slowly.Overnight is good.

Good Luck.

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#19

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/23/2011 12:54 AM

I had a Mini Minor head brazed many years ago. It worked OK. The problem with cast iron is cracking if the temperature differential between the piece to be welded and the welding temperature is too great. It can be done if the piece is heated up sufficiently first.

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#20

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/23/2011 4:55 AM

As a back yard fix i went for the Pre Heat method and instead of running a Bead of weld i went for "Stirring" as if to "Dilute"? the two Materials and then Peen during initial cooling.This worked very well with Arc and lasted on an old 2 stroke Marine cylinder head.

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#25

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/23/2011 10:05 AM

I realize this forum is about welding cast iron, but for most needs, wouldn't brazing work as well? I had a starter hole busted out on an automobile engine, and a guy brazed it back on. It worked perfectly and lasted as long as I needed it to. (The car rusted away, I didn't sell it)

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#26

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/23/2011 11:07 AM

Cast Iron welding is a bit tricky but not impossible however and a big however depends on the quality of the cast iron. In the case of the manifold if you have an old cyl. head to bolt it to for alignment this would be great to reduce stress after. Preheat the cast iron and weld with a high nickle rod making short passes about 1 inch then peen the weld for a few minutes as it cools to reduce stress. Continue this maybe even moving to opposite side for next short pass but peen every time. Hammer and center punch work well for peening. Keep the heat on and you should have a good weld. If there is a lot of sand or contaminants in the cast life can be hell. I have used the Dillon Welding Torch on cast and does a wonderful job but you need cast rods and special flux. Avoid brazing on exhaust manifold since the heat will weaken it quickly and failure is imminent.. Do not try to weld antique stove parts just full of contaminants and when done looks great but that loud crack as it cools is depressing.

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#27

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/23/2011 12:02 PM

Two of the classic ways to weld cast iron are with a stick welder or bronze welding. In both cases the work must be preheated and the whole casting kept hot during the process..

With the stick welds you should only make thin runs of 1/2 inch or so in length and peen the weld as it loses temperature with a CROSS peen hammer to expand the weld and counteract it's shrinkage. It can be a slow process but, if done well, a completely satisfactory joint will result.

When bronze welding cast iron you should file the surface to be welded after a vee has been formed with a grinding disc. If the surface has been filed and the correct flux used, an excellent joint can be achieved.

Your welding supplier will advise on what rods and what flux to use. The casting must be allowed to cool evenly and slowly after welding.

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#29
In reply to #27

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/23/2011 1:48 PM

Automotive applications of cast iron fall into several categories: 1) gray cast iron, used for engine blocks and gear housings; 2) alloy cast iron (with higher-tensile strengths), used for cast cylinders, pistons, rings, and brake drums; and 3) pearlitic malleable iron castings, which differ in stiffness for various applications. Malleable iron is common to axle and differential housings, camshafts, and even crankshafts.

Similarly, ductile cast iron (nodular iron) has strength and shock resistance. Ductile iron means more elongation or "give" and less of a tendency to split or crack under high stresses.

One type of casting may require a different welding technique or filler material than another. Of the irons, nodular types have a graphite and alloy content that is complex and not easy to duplicate during repairs. Gray iron, common to lighter-duty housings, requires preheat steps to prevent cracks during a repair. Malleable iron, such as that used in conventional crankshafts, is frequently welded in the automotive machine trade.

Since iron types have different metallurgy, any repair starts with identifying the iron involved. The kind of filler rod used in the welding process must be compatible with the iron. If not, even if the weld is successful, the weld area may not behave like the surrounding iron. One iron may be more ductile than another type--or the fill material may not behave properly. This can cause post-weld stress and cracks at the margins of the weld or "heat-affected zone" (HAZ).

The greatest challenge in an iron repair is cracking, which is due to its high Carbon ( C >2%) content and brittleness. Extreme care must be taken to prevent cracking. Preheating is a requirement or recommendation with most cast-iron repairs. Forms of preheating include local heat with a rosebud torch, electrical resistance through the entire piece, cooking in a charcoal oven, or searing in a gas-fired furnace.

Welding could be done by using E 7018, E 7016, E 8018 G - low hydrogen electrodes for non -machinable CI repair, E 308/E 309 - SS electrodes , 55 % (E Ni-Fe-Cl) 98% (E Ni-Cl) and 70 % (E Ni-Cu) Nickel based electrodes for machinable CI repair.

This is apart from MIG, TIG and Braze welding processes used at times.

Sridhar.

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#33
In reply to #29

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/23/2011 5:59 PM

SRIDHAR, I give you a GA for your concise and very informative posting.

I learned something new today about welding ad brazing all types of iron!

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#35
In reply to #33

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/23/2011 9:57 PM

It is a pleasure to share my experience with others and a big thanks to you guru.

regards, sridhar.

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#36
In reply to #29

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/24/2011 12:54 AM

I have to agree with CaptMoosie and a GA from me too. A well thought out reply that is well put

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#28

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/23/2011 1:22 PM

Thanks for all the great input guys.
Next time I have to weld a casting I'll have a better idea how to proceed.
I don't have much in the way of metalworking kit, just a cheapo arc welder. I do have a propane torch and next time I'll at least try to warm it up a bit before having a go, or maybe I'll see if I can get some brazing kit.
The last bow I made broke , I wonder if you can weld Hornbeam.

Del
(The bow I'm working on currently is coming along fine tho')

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#46
In reply to #28

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/25/2011 10:26 AM

Try WELDWOOD Cement.

Or, use a wooden welding rod on low heat.Toothpicks are good for thin work, but Bamboo skewers last longer on big jobs.Takes practice to strike and maintain an arc, but don't give up, you'll get it.

I had to weld a wooden boat hull one time, took 3 passes with a cue stick, and two baseball bats to complete the job.

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#47
In reply to #46

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/25/2011 12:38 PM

PMSL...
Del

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#30

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/23/2011 1:57 PM

See what you've done!

You've got all these people in a tizzy over the proper way to do something you've already done.

I suppose it's not your fault that you didn't know it was so complicated, and just went on and did it.

It's kinda like my parking garage. Everyone is so intent on telling you what you should have done to prevent failure, nobody cares that you've already got the bloody job done, without any problems and without any advice from the "experts".

I, for one, am glad to see that you had a go at it.

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#31

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/23/2011 4:01 PM

It's tricky, but we do it all the time with NI-CL sticks. This little calculator comes in handy when deciding pos/neg config as well as amperage settings.

http://www.millerwelds.com/resources/calculators/stick_amperage_calculator.php

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#32

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/23/2011 5:09 PM

Here is a link to the Muggy Weld website I mentioned.Lots of good info on welding cast iron.

http://www.muggyweld.com/castiron.html

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#37

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/24/2011 4:04 AM

welding cast involves preheating the cast iron until it glows yellow "the whole piece, not just the area to be welded". you must keep the temerature at or near yellow as you weld it. that usually requires reheating every few minutes. stitch weld a few inches at a time and at intervals starting at the ends of the crack towards the center to prevent stresses. if you have'nt destroyed it during the welding process, reheat to yellow again and very slowly allow the temperature to drop to room temperate. it should take 6-12 hours of slow and even cooling in order to relieve the stesses of the welding process.

many expert welders won't even try.

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#38

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/24/2011 4:37 PM

I have welded 100's of cast iron parts, this application dose not used bronze or nickel rod. It is done with a torch and cast iron rod. When competed you will have to face the mouting surface.

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#39
In reply to #38

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/24/2011 5:26 PM

(semper) multi modi variique quis/quibus felis decutiatur.

(Apologies to Del)

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#41
In reply to #39

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/24/2011 9:58 PM

I read a book about skinning cats one time,

seems it was written by a guy named Claude Ballz

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#42
In reply to #39

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/25/2011 3:16 AM

Showing my ignorance a bit but what is "decutiatur"? My latin dictionary did not have it....

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#43
In reply to #42

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/25/2011 7:22 AM

Typo: Should be :Decipiatur (spell check doesn't work on Latin)

Meaning if the world wants to be deceived, so be it.

(I still think that is a beautiful dog!)

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#44
In reply to #43

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/25/2011 8:56 AM

Thanks.

Chloe say Hi and Wuff-Wuff.....

We were picking up apples on Friday (Saturday we made Apple Juice for Apple wine) and Chloe just starting picking up Apples and helped in filling the buckets without any prompting......(she had watched us for an hour first I must add....)

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#45

Re: Welding Cast Iron

09/25/2011 9:28 AM

There is a cast iron rod that can be used.the trick is to pre heat the piece also I have had good results

gas welding using a brazing rod.

oilcan13

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