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I was attempting to fix the exhaust on my truck today since it was leaking and making a racket. I originally thought I just needed a new piece of pipe to bolt onto the end of a 90 degree elbow I got coming out of my muffler that I put there a few years ago after the tailpipe rotted off of my truck to get the exhaust out from under my truck. So, I got a new pipe from NAPA to bolt on and finished up that part of the fix, only to find a small rust-out hole on the exhaust hanger just before the muffler. :wallbanging: So, I figured this would be as good a time as any to try out my new Arc Welder that I got last Christmas from a friend of my dad's. It should be good practice and it will be hidden so I don't care what it looks like when it is done, so long as it quiets the truck down.

So, I dragged out the welder (it is a Lincoln flux core wire feed arc welder, 110VAC) and my new Eastwood air angle grinder that I bought on eBay. (It seems to work really nice. I originally bought it to cut the fenders off of my trailer, but it worked well with a grinding wheel to try and clean up the rusted pipe as well.) So, I tried to clean off as much rust as I could to get a good contact to weld to. The only problem is, I found out that I can't weld worth a $%&#!!! Here are the before and after pics of what I'm working on:

The welder and my cutoff tool:​
ExhaustWelding_01.jpg

The rest of the exhaust I bolted together earlier:​
ExhaustWelding_02.jpg

The hole by the exhaust hanger before the muffler that I'm trying to weld after I ground it down a bit:​
ExhaustWelding_03.jpg

ExhaustWelding_04.jpg

ExhaustWelding_05.jpg

After about 15-20 minutes of attempting to weld the hole up, this was the $%&# job I was left with.​
There are still holes there and I hate this beginner "booger weld" crap job I did.​
What am I doing wrong and why is it welding like garbage?​
ExhaustWelding_06.jpg

Here is a closer pic, but it is a bit out of focus since the camera didn't know what to focus in on:​
ExhaustWelding_07.jpg

So, I need a little Welding 101 course instruction here on how to weld properly. I'm eventually going to need to weld new fenders onto my trailer and I'd like them to not look like garbage and actually hold them on well, so I'd like to get the kinks worked out on something like this that I don't care as much about. Why are my welds looking like something you'd blow out of your nose during cold and flu season and they're not sticking to the metal very well? It seems like they are just bubbling up on top of the metal pipe rather than melding into the steel as it should be. Is the wire feed too slow or too fast or something? Is the temperature not set right (too high or too low)? There are two switches on the front of the machine and I had them set to "LO" and "1". (The only other options are "HI" and "2", obviously...) I had the wire feed set to 2 and it seemed to feed much to slowly, so I turned it up to 3-4 and then it seemed to come out way to fast to be used up and I'd end up with long "hangers" of rod hanging off of the pipe that I'd have to cut off. I'm not sure what I'm messing up and why it looks so horrible, unless it is just too hard to weld to the rusty exhaust pipe and that is part of the problem. I did notice that it seemed hard to strike an arc at times depending on what part of the pipe I tried to contact the tip of the gun with. Maybe I didn't do a good enough job grinding down the pipe before I started?

Any helpful pointers, pictures, videos, etc. to help me improve my lackluster welding skills would be greatly appreciated. In case you couldn't tell, this is my first attempt at actually welding, although I have seen others weld before and am amazed at some of the welds I have seen people turn out. Obviously though, not having a helmet at the time, I don't actually WATCH them welding and turn my back when the sparks are flying. I value my eyesight too much, lol...

Thanks in advance!
 

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This isn't going to sound good, but here goes,

The first problem you have is the metal is almost too far gone to weld, you might be able to flame weld or braze it up. The second problem you have is the welder doesn't have a fine enough adjustment range to dial it in for what you are trying to do. The third problem is that you are trying to learn with flux core wire, Flux core doesn't perform well for beginner welders, if you could use solid core and use it with shieded gas, the weld would look a lot better. The material you are welding needs to be a lot cleaner for MIG welding, no rust or dirt to contaminate the weld.

You might want to practice on a flat surface to begin with and when you get the feel for it, try it again. You can do it, just going to take practice and patients.

Good Luck.. :thumbs:
 

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I don't have it at home (it is in storage now) but I do have a stick welder as well. Would that work any better for what I am trying to do than the welder I'm trying to use now? I'd have to dig it out of storage though. I believe those are flux core rods that that uses as well though. I do recall that the stick welder has a dial on it to adjust the power of the welder depending on the thickness of the metal you are trying to weld, so maybe that would work better in this situation? IDK if I need it hotter or colder to weld this type of metal. For something like that though, don't you need to hold the rod in one hand and feed it into the tip of the welding handle to make the weld? I don't have a lot of experience with any type of welding and that seemed like a bigger pain in the a$$ to try and do on my back underneath the truck than just using the wire feed arc welder. I can always try to grind down the crap welds I have now and clean up the pipe a bit more and try again to-morrow (or another day).
 

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If you take the pipe off the back side of the cat you could get it out in the open to work on it better. But I'm thinking the pipe is to far gone. Or what you could do is cut the pipe off 6" - 7" ahead of the muffler to get to the nicer looking pipe and put a new chunk of pipe in (to the front side of the muffler) with the one end having the ID of the OD of the pipe on the truck. Then you would have new metal to weld the hanger to.

This reminds me of a guy that came to work at the trailer shop I worked at years ago. He came though the door with his "certified" welding degree and worked at a place that welded tanks together. All that was fine and dandy til one day he was told to weld a couple of cracks on a sub frame under a semi trailer. He cused and swore because he couldn't get it to weld good. My buddy and I just laughed at he because he had braged his welding up something feirce. My buddy eventually ended up welding it for him to get the job done.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the best way to learn to weld is on an old rusty piece of iron. Pretty much anybody can weld a couple pieces of new iron together, but its an art to weld two rusty hunks of junk together.
 

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Ok, here goes, agree mostly with Texas Deere.

First, you really need to go and grind the crap out of the area you intend to weld. MIG is not really good at welding rust unless you are using ER70-S6 with an Argon/CO2 mix. It needs to be super clean where you are trying to weld or you will get what they call "porosity". Little holes all through your weld bead. So make sure there is no rust whatsoever.

Secondly, you could try a patch plate. You do look to have better steel forward and art of the area you are welding currently. I think I would fore go the cleaning and weld in either a patch or a new section. Just easier.

Thirdly, yes stick is a bit better and can get through more rust and slop than a MIG with a weld rod like a 6010, but stick welding is also super good at blasting holes through things if your not careful. I personally hate MIG and would probably go for a stick weld and just patch it up. A thin 6010 rod at 1/16" set at 75 amps should about do it. If you do do it with this rod, be mindful of the shower of sparks you will get, this rod is super messy and causes a huge shower.

Fourthly, like Texas Deere said practice a few goes before trying it on the truck.

Anyone, please correct me if I am wrong.

Sent from my ASUS Transformer Pad TF300T using Tapatalk HD
 

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The hi/lo 1/2 switches are power settings. They adjust how hot the weld is going to be. The dial is your wire feed. Hotter the weld the higher the wire feed needs to be. The slower the less. This metal is very hard to weld. You have to basically tack weld the hole shut. The way I do it is tack a spot and while looking thru the helmet wait for the red to go away and tack again. Repeat that until the hole is filled. If you try to weld it its jus going to melt your weld and pipe away.
 

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Oh, number wrong for amperage on the 6010, you might even be able to get it down to 45 amps. It pretty much is determined by your speed of travel and thickness of the metal.

Sent from my ASUS Transformer Pad TF300T using Tapatalk HD
 

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I am far from an expert in welding but I can't help noticin that it looks like you are trying to fill the hole with melted welding wire. In short, that aint gonna work.

Find a piece of steel as near to the same thickness as your pipe and cut yourself a patch panel that will overlap the hole by at least an inch. Clean the pipe, then clean it some more. Wrap the patch panel around the pipe so that it covers the hole and takes the shape of the pipe then clamp it in place. Make a few small tack welds to help hold it in place and then fill in the area between your tack welds with bead. Skip a few spaces between tack welds as you work your way around the patch and before you know it you will be done. It wouldn't hurt for you to make a few practice welds on the material you use as a patch to get the feel of your welder. Good luck.
 

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OK first off, your heat is too low, you DO NOT NEED TO CLEAN THE #$%& OUT OF IT!! its flux core wire! Its made specifically for this dirty stuff.
Secondly GO SLOW its just a little 110 jobber. Once you get a decent string started you can build off of it.
Chip off the slag and run another bead ontop of the previous.
With flux core wire, (and lincoln makes THE BEST FLUXCORE) you need to weld up hill or vertical for the best results when ever possible, it gives the best penetration.
Thirdly... You cant weld what isnt there!!!! Add a patch and weld to something that can take the arc.

Set it around 5-6 and practice on a new piece of scrap pipe. Go vertical and stitch weld (side to side motion) WATCH THE MOLTEN PUDDLE!! That is what is doing all the work. Also try and keep no more than .5-.625 stick out on your wire, this is how you can control the heat of that puddle somewhat.
Practice first and foremost!!! Your out of practice, out of position, and you don't know your welder yet!! Your at great odds for struggling. Narrow up the odds and with patients you will get it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, how many "patients" do you think I need to work on before I get better? I wonder how many patients a surgeon needs to work on that end up dying before they get it right? At least hopefully they work on animals or hobo cadavers before trying their hand at live people. So maybe I'll try welding a few pieces of scrap metal together first as "patients" to get the hang of it, lol... Maybe with some practice and a little patience, I'll eventually get it! :smilewink:

Lol... Sorry, but I'm naturally a wise ass, so don't hate me for cracking jokes, especially after you've all given me such great tips to try! I really do appreciate it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So, partly the problem then is that I can't weld a hole, right? I need something there to weld to. Which is kind of the problem since it is a small crack and there's not really room there to add in a piece of metal to fill in the hole. Like it has been mentioned, I could just cut out the rusty piece of pipe and fit a new piece of 3" pipe in there and weld it in place. I'd have to really clean up the inlet to the muffler though in order to do that.

Unfortunately, I can't just "unbolt" the exhaust to take it out of the truck to weld it on the ground and then reinstall it. I had a whole custom exhaust put on the truck back in 2006-2007 (I think?) and basically he cut the exhaust right at the Y-Pipe where it comes together after the headers and welded in a new 3" Catco converter, a piece of 3" pipe with the O2 sensor bungs in them, then the Flowmaster 40 3" muffler you see there (which I'm really surprised at how long it has lasted and is still good!) and then a custom bent 3" tailpipe from the muffler out the back. That tailpipe piece rotted off a couple of years ago, so I bought the 90 degree bend from NAPA and just slid over a decent piece of the tailpipe onto the end of it to get it out from under the truck. Well, that reused piece of tailpipe finally rotted out, so hence my repairs yesterday. But when I was under there, I found the hole in the exhaust hanger weld on the pipe before the muffler. I have to weld it in place though unless I want to unbolt the Y-pipe from the headers and try to get it all to come out, which is a giant pain in the a$$. I'd probably end up wrecking the part where it bolts together there at the exhaust donuts and end up having to replace those too. I'm not trying to create more work and expense for myself.

So, basically in order to fix this hole, I'd have to have an Oxy-Acetylene torch with brazing rod in order to try and fill in a hole like that? If that is the case, I'm better off taking it to a muffler shop and having them do it since I don't have a setup like that. I will practice some more welding before I try to put fenders on my trailer though for sure! I'll probably post up a new thread for that once I get it started.
 

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I would have went for a patch over the hole. Much easier to weld to thicker metal than that thin rusty stuff. I do not have good luck using the flux core wire. But the patch over the bad area may just be the ticket. If you can, remove the hanger, weld the patch on, then re-attach the hanger.
 
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Bottom line,

don't feel to bad about having problem welding that mess, hard to do for someone even with the right equipment.

P.S. like others have said, get some scrap and practice, practice, practice its the only way to learn "how to weld".
 
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W/ little experience you've tackled a very difficult job. Welding old rusty tailpipe can be a tooth grinding experience for an experienced welder. For your sanity and blood pressure's sake I'd take it to the muffler shop. Then you start practicing on new iron to learn on, then work your way to old rusty iron.

Mike
 

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Like everyone is saying, it is pretty hard to weld on rusty pipe. Like others are saying, I agree that you can fill it, it will take time though. You have to weld it a little at a time. My last certification weld was a hole fill with stick welding, so filling a hole with just welding is possible, but it does take time. I have personally never had a good time with MIG, but I am sure it can be done with that too.
 

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MailmAn in the 12th post you are correct in the Oxy-Act. brazing up the hole, it can be done by someone with the skill. I don't think it would have to be a muffler shop, just anyone that has the torches.

Like just about everyone has said and I will say as a past certified welder, practice and more practice until you can look at it and feel good about it, you can do it, sounds like you have the proper tools just not for this job.

Good Luck and don't give up and keep at it.

Dick
 

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I will add....don't lose hope. I am self taught back yard welding myself using a Harbor Freight 220V mig, but using flux core until I can afford gas setup. I started out just as you did, little boogers, blowing through the metal, etc, very very frustrating. :wallbanging:

I will agree with others though, I would grind that out and try to find some patch metal to go over that. I see it's on both sides of the hanger, make two patches for both sides.

Also, that metal is thin so it will blow through easily, needs to be spot welded and built up as you go. I just did this on a lawn tractor exhaust, had my settings as low as they would go, slow wire speed and just had to glob it on there and keep building it up, spot weld, cool, spot weld, cool, then grind it smooth. Exhaust is not a fun weld anyway, at least for me. Rust spots from both inside and out make metal thin, hard to get decent weld.

I would disagree with above statement as it doesn't need to be clean cause it's flux. My flux core does not like to weld over dirty metal or previous welds with splatter, I constantly use wire brush/wire wheel to keep area clean.

I would suggest to see if local shop will fix it for you if you are too frustrated and from there......practice, practice, practice! Takes time to learn metals, wire speed and heat settings.
 

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I have a suggestion, feel free to take it or not. To me, the way things are, I'd take some steel wire of some sort, wrap it around the pipe the help bridge the holes, plus it will be flexible and easy to work with, then I would use an Oxy-Acetylene torch to melt brazing rod into it. The pipe would need to be cleaned up shiny, but that could be done with emery cloth or similar. Just my two cents. I've never welded thin metal before, and since I have an oxy rig, I probably never will try.
 

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I am new to welding too so it might be my ignorance that allowed me to do something similar. My deck had holes in, I set my 220 HF welder to the lowest settings. Lowest voltage tap and wire speed (wire speed equals current, lower speed less current). I was blowing through when I was trying to weld it all at once. I switched to just putting a small amount of weld, basically a spot weld, on the edge. Just enough to form a puddle. Then I stopped and went to the other side of the hole and did the same thing. Then to the top, then to the bottom. Then started back at the original spot. Eventually I could fill in the hole. The key for me was to watch the puddle and figuring out when I was about to blow through.

If I were in your shoes, I would find some thin sheet metal and drill a few holes in it. Try welding those up by using different techniques.

Also with my rusty deck, sometimes the metal was just too far gone and too thin to try the build up method. The spot welding would eat it up and make the hole bigger. Once the edges got back to thicker metal, I was able to build it up again.

Oh and Doctors get their hands held a lot before they are turn loose on live patients. And I dont think they ever get it right. Every one I have ever met is still 'Practising" medicine.
 
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