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Welding Aluminized Steel Tubing for Automotive Applications - Machine Advise/Tips?

Welding Aluminized Steel Tubing for Automotive Applications - Machine Advise/Tips?


Old 07-23-05, 04:46 PM
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Arrow Welding Aluminized Steel Tubing for Automotive Applications - Machine Advise/Tips?

I wanted to start practicing welding some intercooler pipes for my car.

I'll be using 16-Gauge Aluminized Steel Tubing OR T304 Stainless Steel Tubing.

Couple of Questions to Make Sure I'm Doing Things Correctly:

1. I've practiced on a friend's campbell hausfeld mig flux welding machine and got ok results at best. Any advise to get better results (heat settings, etc.)?

2. What kind of machine would I need for welding pipes together - stick or feed?

3. Which machine would provide the best results on a budget?

4. Can I use steel sticks/flux wire for either of the tubing?

5. What is the difference between the shade levels on a welding mask (Shade control--shade #9 to #13)? Is this a good welding helmet (click here)?

Any other advise would be great. Thanks guys.
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Old 07-24-05, 01:10 AM
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Talking it's 3a.m. again and i am addicted to this thing - ha ha!!

1) depending on the thickness of the metal being welded you will have to try out heat settings before you get it right. it will be a low setting that is for sure. exhaust pipe is not that thick. make sure that a small wire is used in a wire feed machine ( .020 - .023 solid). flux core is ok to use too. at this time i do not know how small flux core wire gets.

for better results, i would open up the end on one pipe and slide the other inside. if you have a tubing expander available than you can do this. that will give you a lap joint to weld. if you butt them up that will be harder to do and also the possibility of burning through is much greater.

make sure that any pipe that you do weld is free of rust or other things that might make your welds dirty, (ex. paint, grease,etc.)

2) stick welding pipes this thin is not really any option here. however a stick machine ( also known as a Constant Current Arc Welder), is what TIG welding is based off of. TIG requires alot more of everything; money, shielding gas, skill, etc.

a wire feed machine is well suited in this application. any time i have seen exhaust people work they are always using a small wire feed with a small solid wire.

3) wire

4) you could use flux core for either of the tubing mentioned. the most important thing to remember is steel tubing = steel wire, stainless steel = stainless wire. shielding gases should be different for stainless and regular steel. so if you do both types of steels, there is two different tanks and two different types of wires for your wire machine.

5) the difference is how dark they are when welding. the more amperage that you are using while welding the more shade you will need. most sunglasses are a shade 1 to 3. your application would most likely require about a shade 9 to 10. this is where adjustable ( automatic ) helmets are nice to have. if 10 is to dark, flip to 9, and you are done in about 3 seconds.

i have never used that kind of helmet and don't know anybody that has, so i couldn't say if it is good or not. i do know that a friend of mine got an automatic helmet on ebay for 20 bucks. she likes it so far.

other advise - in my opinion aluminized steel does not weld very nice. it is very similar to welding galvanized steels. don't expect fabulous looking welds out of this stuff. the aluminum acts like a contaminating agent. the reason they put the thin layer of aluminum on the steel tubing is it protects the steel from corroding, at least for a decent amount of time. any other questions, you know where we are.


rob "redlight"
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