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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
anyone ever alter there intercoolers or aluinium radiators and weld them with a mig welder or have any info on welding aluinium with a mig welder. i need to alter both of mine i hope i can.
 

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You need a special spool gun for welding aluminum with a mig.
 

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as I understand it, you can do it w/ a regular mig, but be careful of getting a birdnest in the hose if you kink it. also, the shorter the line the better. A spool gun is better, because it draws the aluminum wire down the tube, instead of trying to push it.
If you have a mig, and some scrap aluminum, try it out- a 1 lb spool is less than $20.

also- I have not tried it, although I heard it can get brittle, but heres some sticks you use a torch/ braze--
durafix.com

I watched the vid- looks good from my house.;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
i heard you need a spool gun to but i put some aluminum wire in my mig and it spooled ok. i read i need straight argon not the mix and some special acid to clean it first than heat it up with a propain tourch then weld. all the radiator shops around here wont do aluminum i really dont see why not i gess ill give it a shot this weekend. whats the worst that can happen i wreck my intercooler and radiator:(
 

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I have also been wanting to set up my mig for AL, but never have. I heard 100% Argon also. I think you have to reverse the polarity as well.
 

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welding aluminum requires lots of heat(amps) pre heating helps a bunch, also wire brush and really get down past any oxidation on the material, aluminum has lots of it on the surface. ive never mig'd it but heli arc requires these steps so dont see why it would be any different. let us know how it turns out!!!
 

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I have just started learning to TIG weld aluminum with my welder. Several knowledgeable welders have recommended I use a new stainless steel brush, and only use it for aluminum, also wipe the surfaces with acetone. The brush makes all the difference in the word, have not tried the acetone yet.

It may be best if you get everything ready then take them to a professional welder? Could save some frustration and chance of ruining a nice intercooler or radiator.

Grigg
 

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Be sure to use a stainless steel wire brush when cleaning the material. Use scrap pieces with the same thickness to set wire speed and amperage and to get familiar with gun travel speeds. I would personally use a spool gun as it offers the shortest distance for the wire to travel to the work.
 

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Aluminum MIG is mainly production stuff, not really ideal for thin guage or pretty appearance.

Cleanliness is the key to aluminum. I use superclean, then scotchbrite, then hydroflouric acid. Don't use steel wool or steel wire brushes.

I wouldn't waste the time with AL MIG. TIG is the best way to fly and you can find used hi-freq units to slap on your buzz box for pretty cheap. Complete old sinewave machines are pretty cheap too.
 

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Welding

I agree with 250. I would not even try to mig it the material is way to thin for mig. You can get an acid core aluminum wire for you mig that will work great on heavy material like 1/4 up. You can use an argon mix for this wire. If you get pure aluminum wire it needs to be Argon gas only. The acid core wire will push pretty good if you have a good liner and it is not very long. If you have Pure aluminum you may push it in spurts but you will never control it. It is just way to soft to do that way you need a spool gun or a push pull gun. The secret to aluminum is clean clean CLEAN!!!!! For what you want to do Tig is the way to go. If you try mig and make it a mess it will be harder to go back with the Tig to fix it. On your radiator for the weld areas use a torch to leach out the coolent then clean with a stainless brush and keep repeting it till every time you heat is no coolent leaches into the weld area. If it does not stay clean the weld will not stick and the weld puddel will not flow. My brother is the welder in our shop and he has done Radiator Rv water tanks all kinds of stuff. For thin tig is the only way to go. ABM Fabrication& machining

Hope this helps.
 

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A buddy of mine welded caps on my intercooler after I shortened it. I would try to find someone to TIG it. You will be much happier with the results. Just make sure when you cut it you leave enough tank material to weld to right where the core is fused to the tank. if you cut too short your welder will have to weld to the core which is much thinner. We had to do this on mine, but it was touchy. Lucky my buddy welds aluminum all the time. If your welder is not VERY experienced with aluminum he may have trouble as welding the thin core material is not easy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
thanks for all the info im not sure if i should do it my self. the reason i said a mig is i have one but i understand that the wire is alot softer than steal and its a pain to get working properly. if i cant find a welding shop soon im gunna give it a shot ill let you guys know how it turns out thanks again.
 

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I can't wait to get a TIG and do aluminum (bike frames mostly) some day :)
 

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Square wave is sweet stuff!

I think before anyone who hasn't tried MIGing AL goes out and buys a $20 spool for thier little MIG they should try to run someone elses to see how AL MIG works. You'll see real quickly it is not something you'd use for an IC, or really anything in a home shop for that matter. I don't have a ton of experience with it, but the one time I did get the chance to run a really nice feeder/spool gun setup I hated it. You can't fit that spool gun anywhere, Aluminum doesn't feed for sh*t and getting a pretty bead isn't something to hold your breath for. If it was your first time you'd turn an IC into hamburger.
 

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miging is not for thin aluminum, tig would be alot better as the heat is more controlable thus far better than mig. coolers & rads are made of thin material for the most part except where the hoses connect and possibly mounting points.
bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm over in MA and I'll TIG them for you if you want. Just cut them up the way you want 'em and bring 'em over.
that sounds good to me mooktank. there is a shot localy but knowone is ever there. ill be glad to compensate you or i can do a little electrical work for ya.
 
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