using 1/8" 6061 for aluminum radiator?

I am making aluminum tanks for my truck's radiator. I am planning on
using 1/8" thick sheet because the reason that none of the plastic tanks
hold up is that they flex and distort.
The only welder I have is an oxy-acetylene torch. Can I weld the tanks
using 1/8" 6061?
(What I mean is,,,, I can WELD 1/8" aluminum, but I know that in thinner
sheets the 6061 tend to crack) The tanks are about 20 x 3 x 4 inches.
I will try to get 5052 or something softer if they have it, but may be
stuck with the usual.
Reply to
DougC
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'Can't help you with the welding itself, but 3003 is even easier to work with than 5052. It's not quite as strong but it forms better and it's probably the easiest aluminum *alloy* to weld. It's used for car bodies, mailboxes, deep-drawn things, and so on.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
I can't get my head around the part you're trying to make, so this may be off topic.
How are you welding aluminum with an oxy-acetylene torch?
There's a rod called Welco 52. Also sold at much higher price as "miracle rod" at RV shows and the like. It's more like soldering than welding. I've had excellent luck fixing motorcycle parts with it.
Reply to
mike
FWIW, Welco 52 technically is a solder (the conventional dividing line is 800 deg. F; Welco 52 melts at around 750, IIRC). It's a zinc alloy that wets aluminum very nicely and that can solve a lot of difficult joining problems. Anybody can learn to use it in minutes.
You just have to watch out for strength and corrosion issues. It's not as strong as brazing or welding.
Regarding O/A welding of alumnimum, it's tricky. I've tried it but not enough to be any good at it. There's no red color of the metal to guide you. It just goes "shlump" all of a sudden. But it's a neat skill to learn. A lot of airplanes were built from O/A-welded aluminum.
And if you do more than a little bit of it, watch out for the radiation given off by aluminum O/A flux when you apply the torch. It will play hell with your eyes. There are special goggles made just for this purpose.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
Weldability of 6061 is very good with TIG. I've never had problems with cracking with either 5356 or 4043 filler. I can't say whether oxy-acetylene introduces any problems welding 6061 not present with TIG.
5052 is generally more corrosion resistant.
Reply to
Ned Simmons
Greetings Doug, 6061-T6 tends to crack because it is harder. If you anneal it first it will bend without cracking. After annealing (and welding it will anneal it in the HAZ) 6061 will age harden to about the T4 condition in about a month. So maybe it will start to crack down the road. I would try to get the 5000 series sheet. Of interest to you maybe is the aluminum solder sold at hardware stores and the like. I tried some of the stuff recently and was amazed at how strong it was and how well it stuck. I don't know if coolant would affect the joint though. Eric
Reply to
etpm
Doug, the plastic tanks on radiators have always worried me, though they seem to work for most applications. I admire/envy your intention to make your own, but just before making your own tanks, you might ask an independent radiator repairman if he can get one with metal tanks or perhaps buy metal tanks for what you have.
Reply to
DanG
Hey Doug,
5052H32 is recommended for fuel tanks. Quite bendable and weldable. Bet it would work for radiators too.
Take care. Brian Lawson.
Reply to
Brian Lawson
I agree that looking around for a new replacement is a better option. The last new radiator I bought to replace a Mopar plastic-tanked one, was all brass, although it was made in Asia, maybe Indonesia. The cost was surprisingly affordable, about $110 IIRC, bought from a local independent autoparts/bodyshop supplier.
With the varied sheet stock, welding filler and/or using aluminum repair rod, you may encounter unusual corrosion issues as previously suggested.. therefore, a waste of time. Metals being corrosion resistant to hot coolant and the various other elements in the solution may be an issue worth avoiding.
Reply to
Wild_Bill
Ed, I don't often feel confident enough to call you on metalworking, but this one is a cinch.
I have NEVER seen a welded aluminum airframe.
Lots of OA welded 4130 tube, but never aluminum.
Richard
Reply to
Richard
Vehicle = 1996 Ford Explorer 4.0 There are no metal ones for mine that I could find, I looked online for a few days. At this point I'd pay $300 for an all-brass one that was a drop-in.
The tanks I can weld with aluminum filler rod.
The (aluminum) cores are dip-brazed together already, so I doubt that corrosion is an issue with that.
I've been through four of these in about eight years, all different brands, and they all failed the same way. The broad sides of the bigger tank bulge out a bit, and then the seal leaks where the bulges are, and there's no way to fix it. And it always leaks worst in the extreme cold: 15F~10F. Vehicle overheats & shuts down,,, cylinder heads warp....
So this is why I say, no more plastic. I want metal only. THICK metal.
One article online describes them building aluminum radiator tanks using .080" aluminum and bending the sheet to avoid having to weld the two longer seams. Fuck that, I will use .125" and weld all the seams. It ain't that hard.
.....
I originally thought of cutting off the crimp tabs, and then making screw-clamps that would go all the way around both sides of the core to hold the plastic tanks on better. But after seeing how the leaks are happening, I don't think this is worth trying. I would bet that the edge of the plastic tanks would just break off if they were held harder to the core seal. You'd have to keep those broad sides from bulging out somehow, and the only ways I can see to maybe do that are more difficult than just welding up some aluminum tanks.
I haven't decided if the aluminum tanks will clamp-on or if I will just braze them on. I kinda like the idea of a replaceable core, but don't know how standardized they are. Judging from the one I've cut apart and the one still in the vehicle, the cores appear to be pretty close to identical.
Reply to
DougC
Construction of the Space Shuttle:
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"The three-level crew compartment is constructed of 2219 aluminum alloy plate with integral stiffening stringers and internal framing welded together to create a pressure-tight vessel."
Much of the rest of the forward fuselage is riveted 2024 frames, stringers and skin.
jsw
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
Not what you're asking about, but do you guys think it would work to get a plastic replacement and wrap it with fibreglass/ epoxy body material to reinforce it before putting it into service?
RWL
Reply to
GeoLane at PTD dot NET
Internal stays like a steam boiler?
jsw
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
The skin, brackets, and tanks, Richard. Not the frames. But those pieces were still life-critical jobs.
When O/A was used in commercial production of aircraft, the frames were not aluminum to begin with.
O/A was used until the 1940s for many aluminum aircraft-welding jobs:
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I couldn't find any references but I remember from my _AM_ days that Northrup pioneered all-welded aircraft. Frustrated with how slow O/A was, they developed early versions of TIG.
But they made aircraft with O/A prior to that, with few rivets anywhere.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
A few bits and pieces.
So not welded aluminum.
Obscure bits and pieces.
I have never seen a welded aluminum airframe either. Some pieces, here and there, but nothing approaching "A lot of airplanes were built from O/A-welded aluminum." Northrop's N-1M and N-9M tailless flying wing prototypes were wood.
- Cool Fact - Northrop's XP-79 "Flying Ram" was a twin turbojet, flying wing fighter built of welded magnesium plate, designed to slice through enemy bombers.
Reply to
beryl
Since the shuttle is technically an aircraft during re-entry- then I guess you win, Jim.
But other than that? I'll stand by my statement.
I've seen the video of the new spacecraft being stir-welded. But that thing is a ballistic object - not an aircraft.
Reply to
Richard
So what's the problem with plastic radiators?
Mine is 11-12 years old - 150+K miles. Only been replaced twice...
:)
Reply to
Richard
Oh, please. You guys are being real hard-noses here. If I had said "built with" welded aluminum instead of "built from" welded aluminum, would you have been happier? I'll have to be more careful with my prepositions. d8-)
It was more than "a few bits and pieces." The entire business of gas welding aluminum grew up with the aircraft instustry, including both the use of O/A and oxy-hydrogen. The latter was almost exclusively used for aircraft construction.
Hey, I never said they were. See above. But O/A and oxy-hyrdogen were the only methods used to weld thin aluminum before 1942.
Welded fuel tanks in WWII planes; some srtuctural parts; complex aluminum shapes in skin parts, as in the bomber photo on the Tinman's site. And other "bits and pieces."
Northrop's flying wings were designed from the start to be made of welded *magnesium*. But there was no practical way to weld it at the beginning of the war, so the first prototypes were made of molded plywood.
John Northrup had conducted experiments with aluminum monocoque construction in the 1930s. At the beginning of the war, he (and some others) anticipated a shortage of aluminum and so designed his flying wings to be constructed from magnesium. Mag can be welded with O/A but it's very difficult and tricky to get good strength. So his company developed an early version of TIG. After 1942, that's how he made his flying wings.
A bad idea that was soon dropped, as it turned out. The Germans had the same idea and also dropped it quickly.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
The problem is that none of the ones currently available for this vehicle is worth paying for.
The original-factory ones may have been built better, but all the ones available ~7 years after are pretty much identical, and all of them seem to be junk. Including the ones the dealers now sell, cause I tried one of them already.
Reply to
DougC

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