Aluminum Repair Rod Reviews?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by P B G, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. P B G

    P B G Long timer

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    So here goes, I'm sure you've all seen the infomercials where someone uses a propane torch and some special rod and basically solders aluminum together, miracle aluminum repair where its stronger than aluminum.

    Have any of you tried any of the products, and if so would you recommend them?

    I've seen quite a few which mostly seem to be the same stuff, Alumi-weld, Alumarod, Durafix, Muggy weld alloy 1 + 5, Alumi-pro, kirkweld, HTS-2000, and I'm sure the list goes on, ranging from 15-60 bucks a pound.

    Do any of these work, and would you use them on non-critical applications such as, fixing boat leaks in a cheap old aluminum boat, adding simple brackets to aluminum bike frames, repairing dinged portions of outboard lower units. These sorts of odd jobs that are difficult to accomplish with welders due to the configuration and disassembly required.
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  2. scooteraug02

    scooteraug02 Dog Rancher

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  3. P B G

    P B G Long timer

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    Been watching some of those already, guess its hard to know who just doesn't know how to use it, and who is selling it.
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  4. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Aspiring advrider

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    Harbor freight sells Alumaweld in the welding section. Something like 10 rods for 10 bucks.
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  5. P B G

    P B G Long timer

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    8 for 14 onlin :rofl

    I do plan on picking those up to test tomorrow. Part of the reason to want to know if some are better/worse.
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  6. Skippii

    Skippii Milkshakes, my lad.

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    They are Zinc based rods that melt at 700* instead of 1200 for Al. I got some from True Value, marketed as Oxy-Acetylene Aluminum Welding rods. I'd hoped they'd be better than the Alumiweld and Duraweld stuff everyone hates. They're not.
    They don't stick to anything. They melt, ball up into spheres, and roll off whatever you were trying to repair. And if you actually TRY to use then with an oxy-acetylene torch, they'll not only still not work, but you'll also probably ruin whatever you were repairing even more.

    I saw some Aluminum Solder at ACE hardware a while ago which looks a lot more promising. I can't remember what it was called, but it was a very small spool of fluxed wire with a melting point of around 1100 degrees. Expensive, but worth if it works.

    I've also tried brazing with an oxy-propane torch with TIG rods. Didn't work very well either, but without using any flux I didn't expect it to.
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  7. Bump Stop

    Bump Stop 2 Wheeled Drifter

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    i've been curious about that stuff myself, but thinking about how much heat you have to get into aluminum to be able to tig weld it, i doubt that a solder would actually adhere 2 parts together.
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  8. stainlesscycle

    stainlesscycle Long timer

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    i used alumalloy rod yesterday to fix a crack in a swingarm (not a load bearing part of swingarm..) - worked fine - we'll see if it holds up in a bout a week,. you need mapp gas or hotter (propane won't work on anything thicker than pop can.) area must be clean. you need lotsa heat. it's just like soldering..only much much hotter.
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  9. P B G

    P B G Long timer

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    Heat shouldn't be an issue, I have propane, mapp, and oxy-acetelene torches.

    What part of a swing arm is non-load bearing?
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  10. chris3155

    chris3155 Been here awhile

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    I used a kit to make some brackets and stuff.
    They held together for as long as I had the bike after ( bout a year or so )
    What I did like it for was for making thread in alloy .To over drill the hole fill in with weld and tap into it. Made a stronger thread.
    But I didn't use it for load bearing.

    BPG I think it would be grand for any of that stuff
    I cant lay my hands on the instructions but it did make special mention of castings ( think it was about heating the metal )


    Chris
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  11. Pike Bishop

    Pike Bishop Pull Down the Ponzi.

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    FWIW, I would avoid using Alumaweld (zinc) in an aluminum boat or an aluminum lower unit that spends any significant time in the water because you'll get a galvanic corrosion situation where the zinc will eventually disappear ... just like a zinc anode.
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  12. P B G

    P B G Long timer

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    Good point, although the boat in question gets dragged up on shore and is really a POS that accumulates quite a bit of water. SO I'd think anything would be better than nothing in this situation.
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  13. Skippii

    Skippii Milkshakes, my lad.

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    Except when heat is an issue, I can't see any application where this would be better than JB Weld.
    And High Temp epoxy almost reaches the same temperature as these zinc rods.
    #13
  14. concours

    concours WFO for 41 years

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    your time people. Surely, everyone knows a weldor....
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  15. mark1305

    mark1305 Old Enough To Know Better

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    I used some that I picked up at a hot rod swap meet back around 2002. I shaped a license plate/turn signal bracket for my old Ducati M900 to clean up the tail where a PO had done the usual frame chop. The bracket was street sign stock (salvaged legally from the trash where I worked at the time) and I used the rod to seal up and smooth the open seams after bending into shape. Worked very well and was still crack free when I sold the bike some 6 or 7 years later.

    Propane worked fine for the 1/8" sign stock. When I watched the live demonstration and in the instructions it says no OA - too hot and the parent metal aluminum will immediately react with the filler if it reaches the melt point. Which aluminum does without much warning, even when wearing high zoot cobalt goggles to see the puddle better through the OA flame.

    If the filler is puddling and balling up, the parent metal is not clean enough. Clean it bright first with sand paper or a clean stainless brush that hasn't been used on anything else and acetone for complete degreasing. Clean it right before working it to avoid oxides forming (which starts as soon as you're finished cleaning). While heating and trying to get the filler rod to melt and stick, you can use a clean, new stainless brush to scrub the area as you are heating it to keep it frmo oxidizing. That was the trick the vendor was using during his demos. Worked for me too.

    After I filled the seams and sanded the outsides to a smooth radius the seams were invisible.
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  16. lpnb

    lpnb n00b

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    I just bought some durafix rods from the local distributor here in Aus, did some testing on the weekend.

    Important point about this stuff was to follow the instructions carefully. few major points:
    1. Al oxidises very quickly so it is important to clean well and
    2. immediately thoughoughly brush with a stainless steel wire brush (supplied in the kit I bought.
    3. need lots of heat, I used a cheap propane torch...it worked but only on smaller pieces.
    4. you need to kinda rub the rod into the area to be joined.

    test 1:

    first I tried to butt weld two pieced of gen purpose 10mm angle Al. properly cleaned and brushed....failed cause I had it in the vice and there was enough heat sinkin in the vice for it not to get hot enough.

    test 2:

    a 70mmx70mmx3mm plate with a 30mm x 20mm offcut rod of 7075-t6 grade alloy: this i did with no real heat sinking and followed the instructions, I also beveled the rod offcut where I sat it end-on in the middle of the plate. proceded to heat and solder...

    Viola! nicely joined and so I put it in the vice and proceeded to try to rip it apart. part of the weld broke away as I started (the 7075 was the bit in the vice) then the al plate basically got a hole torn in it and left about a half circle of the plate still attached to the 7075!!! I'd call that a success!! :clap

    now had I clamped the pieces I could have "rubbed" the rod properly as instucted without moving the rod offcut around. it was just sitting there on the bench.

    test 3:

    tried to do the same as above with some brass rod (this is supposed to be possible) It seemed to flow well onto the brass but the brass was very polished and although it appeared to bond very well leaving a deposit just like it had been "tinned" like when soldering, the bond was VERY poor and required very little effort to break away from the weld....it left all of the weld on the sheet....FAIL but I would like to test this a bit more.

    Anyway, I am very excited about making some things with this stuff and am confident that effective repairs and fabrication can be done as long is proper testing is performed and you don't try to weld up a handlebar or anything super critical.

    The other thought was that with a hot camping stove and one or two rods you'd be able to field weld cracked engine casings or maybe even a frame if your life depended on it. as longs as you could get the heat into it....some camping stoves have quite a bit of heat output.....maybe ad in a 40 degree day in the desert and you might just have a solution for a snapped suspension linkage (if you ride really slowly!)
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  17. GreaseMonkey

    GreaseMonkey Preshrunk & Cottony

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    You may be correct in regards to salt water, but I live between 2 rivers and back in the 80's when I was doing it for a living I repaired a ton of broken props with this rod. And a propane torch most of the time.

    As mentioned, clean the metal (I used a file mostly) and use a SS brush while you are heating it. I never used flux but I must have tried a few back then, and if it had made a difference I'd have kept using it.

    One last thing- using a decent propane torch makes a HUGE difference! You owe it to yourself to buy one of these:

    [​IMG]

    It pumps out heat, and is auto start and stop, just squeeze the button for fire, and let go when you want the fire to stop. Get the one like this one with a variable flame, it gives you a bit more flexibility than the fixed flame model does.
    #17
  18. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    My dad with 40 years of mechanic and 10+ years of welding experience swear by MuddyWeld and he said he will teach me how to use it properly.

    When he got a job (his last job before doctor declared him disabled) with County Public School Bus Garage (had to get job there due to no pre-existing health benefit), he said nobody there knew anything about MuggyWeld and their method were time consuming and costly. Say a 120psi brake copper pipe burst open and bus is sided with students waiting to get home/school, old method was to send back-up bus so it could be used for students to be taken home/school and they take the pipe to the garage and weld it together before returning to the bus. That was before my dad introduced MuggyWeld. With muggyweld, it took 20 mins or less to fix the pipe on hose then bus is on its way. No back-up bus delivered and few trips of getting the pipe fixed. Less labor time.

    Now I am thinking of making aluminum fuel tank and he told me he will teach me how to put it together and he is most certain my fuel tank would hold together using MuggyWeld. I'll be back with my own review later..
    #18
  19. Yamarocket630

    Yamarocket630 Honey Badger

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    Too much heat on the rod, not enough on the part you trying to stick it to. I've used them, and with some practice they work rather well.

    The solder analogy is spot-on too.
    #19
  20. ericrat

    ericrat Long timer

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    I have used both the aluminum solder and the brazing products from https://www.tinmantech.com/. They both work. The solder is great for "utility" uses, fixing leaks, petcock fittings, etc. It is extra great for fixing pinhole leaks in a welding seam. I uses them with an acetelyne/air torch.
    #20