auto welding advice

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  #1  
Old 08-22-05, 05:52 AM
lesron
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need auto welding advise

I am new to welding and have just purchased a Clarke 115N 230volts arc welder. I need to weld new metal to my car to replace rusted bits.
But I have a safety issue and need your help.
Do I need to disconnect battery or anything else before I start to weld.
Any other tips you can offer would be most appreciated.

Many Thanks
Lesron
 
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  #2  
Old 08-22-05, 07:53 AM
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Yes, the batterry should be disconnected.

Typically you don't use a stick welder for this kind of work. MIG/TIG works much better.
 
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Old 08-22-05, 08:17 AM
lesron
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thanks

Originally Posted by trinitro
Yes, the batterry should be disconnected.

Typically you don't use a stick welder for this kind of work. MIG/TIG works much better.
thanks for your input ,I bought this welder because it says on the box ideal for auto repairs,
 
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Old 08-22-05, 08:45 AM
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Lesron,

If you bought this welder for repairing sheet metal it will be extremely difficult for you to do this.
When welding sheet metal you need very precise control and technique to prevent burning through and distorting the metal.
This is why a mig welder is the preferred choice.
If there is a chance of returning this welder then I would suggest you do and replace it with a mig.
If not then you should get some sheet metal that is the same thickness as what you will be welding and practice.
You will have to stitch weld the tin by making a series of short tacks to prevent distortion.
 
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Old 08-22-05, 10:40 AM
jippotrucker
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Seems to be a bit of an issue about what type of machine you bought. I couldn't find a Clarke 115n anywhere and hard to believe they would promote an arc welder as ideal for auto repair. So I am going to assume you have a Clarke mig welder. If someone sold you a Clarke Arc welder for your sheet metal repair...I sincerely hope you will be able to exchange it for a Mig Welder.

While dissconnecting your battery is always a good rule of thumb, you should consult a repair guide for that specific vehicle for proper precautions prior to welding. Two big things to looks for are: the type of sheet metal your car is constructed with (some newer metals need more advanced welding) and whatever harm may come to the electronics your vehicle is equipped with. Again...do your homework and err on the side of caution.

As to the actual repair....good luck. In my humble opinion, replacing a rusted panel is a challenging thing to tackle. Unless you are very careful with heat build up the repair is going to warp and distort. Personally, I keep a body hammer and doillie handy to beat down warps...welding only a small small portion at a time. You should notice I said beat down..not up. Seams that are a little concave can be filled with bondo. Seams that are left proud and tall will have to be ground and sanded...making them thin and weak and likely to fail.

If it is at all possible, I would consider using a little piece of sheet metal behind your repair seams. I assume you are cutting off a decent amount of sheet metal to install your repair panel. Cut some of the rust free metal up to use for a backing strip and to practice butt welding. This will help to avoid burn through, give more strength to your repair and provides more metal to absorb heat. Time spent before you weld...will pay huge dividends in the time you spend afterwards to make the repair invisible and reliable.

I am sure there are some others out there with some better ideas...this is just what I have found works for me. Good luck hope this helps

-EDX
PS: if you have a "stick" welder after all...only the most skilled professional would be able to accomplish this repair with any acceptable level of accomplishment.
 
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Old 08-22-05, 11:10 AM
lesron
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Thanks for the advise i'll try that

Originally Posted by GregH
Lesron,

If you bought this welder for repairing sheet metal it will be extremely difficult for you to do this.
When welding sheet metal you need very precise control and technique to prevent burning through and distorting the metal.
This is why a mig welder is the preferred choice.
If there is a chance of returning this welder then I would suggest you do and replace it with a mig.
If not then you should get some sheet metal that is the same thickness as what you will be welding and practice.
You will have to stitch weld the tin by making a series of short tacks to prevent distortion.
iIt did say on the box for auto repair
 
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Old 08-22-05, 12:32 PM
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lesron,

If you provide more details we may be able to help more.
Vehicle make and model, amount of rust and where and exact model of welder and what other tools you own for this job.

I hate to cause you to question your welder purchase but if it is a small a/c stick welder you may become quite discouraged.
I bought one of these welders, brand new at a garage sale for twenty bucks last summer.
Owner said something was wrong with it because all the electrode would do is stick to the metal.
Took it home and tried it and sure enough, it took all the skill I could muster to strike and maintain a decent arc.
I was able to make it work and have used it a few times away from the shop but find it is easier to haul little projects home to the mig or larger stick machine.

We'll help with whatever you do so let us know more about your project.
I'm just in the middle of cutting out and replacing a wrinkled panel on my Dodge 4x4 so I'm in the autobody frame of mind.
 
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Old 08-22-05, 02:30 PM
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Lesron,

Is it a stick welder ? that requires welding rods about 12" long.
or does it use a wire spool that feeds wire into the work ?
 
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Old 08-22-05, 02:34 PM
lesron
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Originally Posted by GWIZ
Lesron,

Is it a stick welder ? that requires welding rods about 12" long.
or does it use a wire spool that feeds wire into the work ?
It is a stick welder 30-110 amps and states on the box "Ideal for basic car repair and general purpose welding.
 
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Old 08-22-05, 03:18 PM
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lesron,

lesron wrote in a pm:
Thanks for your advise maybe you can help me more with more detail.
My new unused Clarke 115N easy arc specifications are 230 volts 1ph 50hz 30-110amps electrode sizes 1.6/2.5 input amperage 18amps.
The box states " Ideal for basic car repairs and general purpose welding" this is why I chose it as an all rounder.
Is it possible for me to weld a 4x4 inch bit of metal to my car with this welder and if so what safety precautions should I take besides disconnecting battery.

hope you can help
many thanks
We cannot answer questions by pm as others will not benefit.

The fact it states that it is good for automotive repairs does not mean it will work for autobody repair.
They would mean automotive in a sense of maybe trailer hitches, accessiries or maybe frame repair.

So to answer you questions as best as I can.

Safety precautions?
As far as safety precautions there are many involved in what you are doing.
You will be cutting, grinding and sanding metal, using electricity by intentionally causing a short circuit and sparks with an electrode, all in the vicinity of gasoline in the vehicles fuel tank.
Not to mention the hazards in the immediate vicinity of where you are working.
Once the welding is complete you will then need to sand and then clean the metal with strong acid to prevent flash rusting.
Then comes catylized fillers that must be used in a well ventilated area.
Painting then becomes the last hazard where you must use an approved respirator in a ventilated area.
If you use regular enamel then you have a mid range hazard with the fumes but if you are using a paint with a catylyst then the fumes are carcinogenic and extra precautions must be taken.

Can I weld a 4 x 4 bit of metal to my car with this welder?

I honestly don't know.
I personally have hobby related welding and autobody experience so if I was doing it I would have to say probably.
I have enough experience welding to not wrinkle the metal too much but I also have some experience with plastic filler to cover my many, many mistakes.

I gather that welding is new to you so I would have to say that it might be possible for you to do it but you havn't really given us any details except to say you are welding a "4 x 4 bit of metal" which in autobody speak isn't really enough to go on.
I looked for info on your welder and came up empty handed on the model you quoted.
All I could pick out of the specs was the fact that you only made mention of 50 hz.
If it indeed only says 50 hz on the unit then this model would be for use in Europe.

So, again, we need more info to help you.
If it can be powered by 60 hz power then it could be a good unit to have for other things if you cannot return it.
 
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Old 08-22-05, 04:00 PM
lesron
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thanks again

You were quite correct I live in Manchester uk. I have emailed the shop and asked that I return the welder and pay the difference for a gasless mig.Do I only need a small one for light auto body duty.
 

Last edited by GregH; 08-22-05 at 05:15 PM. Reason: Remove quote
  #12  
Old 08-22-05, 05:24 PM
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lesron,

If you purchase a mig welder you will have the correct tool for welding sheet metal which will also weld smaller sizes of structural steel.

I would encourage you however to purchase one that comes equipped to use gas without having to buy any further attachments.
To use this type of machine without gas you just don't hook it up 'till you need it.
You can use flux cored wire for welding sheet metal but it works better with gas.
Also, if you think you might take a liking to welding I would advise you to purchase a name brand unit that is easy to get consumables for.
You will find yourself continually buying things for it.
 
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