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  • New to forum need advice on pontoon welding.

    Ok guys I've been welding and fabricating for about 12 years now and my boss wants me to fix some leaks in his pontoon. Welding aluminum is no problem for me but I've never welded on a pontoon and when I googled it it came back with a guy blowing up? This boat doesn't have an internal gas tank and the tanks it does have are off. I know the logs are chambered but it does have drains on the back. Is it the pressure build up from the heat that cause them to go boom? I guess what I'm asking is how do I do the job safely?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Steel_Surgeon View Post
    Ok guys I've been welding and fabricating for about 12 years now and my boss wants me to fix some leaks in his pontoon. Welding aluminum is no problem for me but I've never welded on a pontoon and when I googled it it came back with a guy blowing up? This boat doesn't have an internal gas tank and the tanks it does have are off. I know the logs are chambered but it does have drains on the back. Is it the pressure build up from the heat that cause them to go boom? I guess what I'm asking is how do I do the job safely?
    Welcome aboard...

    our resident Pontoon Wizard is "FusionKing"

    he has probably repaired more of those logs than anybody out there...and has been very helpful to many

    do a thread search on this forum of "pontoon" plenty of good info/threads there

    next... post the manufacturer...model and age of the boat...

    posting pics of the damage would not hurt either

    FusionKing has a FB page you might want to look at....

    https://www.facebook.com/OutBackAlum...=page_internal
    Last edited by H80N; 08-12-2015, 11:18 AM.
    .

    *******************************************
    The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

    “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”

    Buy the best tools you can afford.. Learn to use them to the best of your ability.. and take care of them...

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    • #3
      Originally posted by H80N View Post
      Welcome aboard...

      our resident Pontoon Wizard is "FusionKing"

      he has probably repaired more of those logs than anybody out there...and has been very helpful to many

      do a thread search on this forum of "pontoon" plenty of good info/threads there

      next... post the manufacturer...model and age of the boat...

      posting pics of the damage would not hurt either

      FusionKing has a FB page you might want to look at....

      https://www.facebook.com/OutBackAlum...=page_internal
      I have been looking at his work and didn't know it. He is freaking slick!
      This pontoon is a sylvan and the only thing I see on it is G30518 and SYL14737E393. The crack is in the existing weld on the support. After looking at out backs fb page I know it best to fab a new one or cut, patch and reattach. I will try to get picture up soon. My main concern is not blowing up.
      Attached Files
      Last edited by Steel_Surgeon; 08-12-2015, 11:40 AM.

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      • #4
        Repairing pontoons

        You have nothing to worry about welding on the tubes, I've weled on over 200 of them. It's good they have drain plugs. Remove the plugs. Clean the area very well. I use scotch brite disc to remove the oxides that form on the aluminum.then go at it. If the plugs are not removed when u get at the end of the weld (if u don't have any other leaks or cracks the tube will pressurize and u won't get the end of the weld to seal.) When I get the cracks repaired I put a fitting made I made with a valve stem in it then I add about 3-5 lbs of air in the tube, then I have a spray bottle with soap and spay down the entire tube and look for bubbles. If none are found when u remove the plug u should have air blow back out the plug. Again only 3-5 lbs of air is all u need. Add air then check with a tire gauge . Never had one blow up. Hope this helps. Happy Welding
        Welder99
        36 yrs in the trade
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        • #5
          Excellent advice Welder 99. Just like he said, You have to remove the vent plug otherwise you will always have a hole in your weld.

          I too would like to stress, only about 3-5 lbs of pressure for leak checking, any more than that and you are creating a bomb.

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          • #6
            Thanks for all the advice guys! I did a little welding on it yesterday evening. Just welded a broken splash guard back on and its a lot different welding on these than what I'm use to. Definitely going to be a learning experience and I look forward to picking all of your brains for knowledge!!

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            • #7
              Welcome to the forum.
              Lincoln A/C 225
              Everlast PA200

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              • #8
                Steel surgeon, Welding pontoon tubes is about as easy as it gets, you must be used to welding brand new shiny aluminum when you say welding aluminum is no problem.

                You might want to shy away from rims and engine parts if this is giving you a problem.

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                • #9
                  I've built boxes fully enclosed, then band saw them in half to make two. If I get it fully sealed the last puddle will bubble. No excitement like blowing up. I do wonder if some variety of oil slick could seep into a leaky pontoon.
                  Dynasty 280DX
                  Bobcat 250
                  MM252
                  Spool gun
                  Twentieth Century 295
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                  Marquette spot welder
                  Smith torches

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                  • #10
                    Yes shiny and new is what I'm used to. Handrails and small brackets mostly. But I'm not one to shy away from anything. I'll figure it out then grow from there. I think my biggest hurdle is this little miller diversion I have isn't enough to do this kind of work with out a preheat. Or just won't do it I don't really know. The stuff I've done in the past never required it but I also had bigger machines. I'm thinking of investing in a push/pull for my wire feeder but not real sure I can even do that with the setup I have. Again thanks for the advice! All is appreciated!!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Steel_Surgeon View Post
                      Yes shiny and new is what I'm used to. Handrails and small brackets mostly. But I'm not one to shy away from anything. I'll figure it out then grow from there. I think my biggest hurdle is this little miller diversion I have isn't enough to do this kind of work with out a preheat. Or just won't do it I don't really know. The stuff I've done in the past never required it but I also had bigger machines. I'm thinking of investing in a push/pull for my wire feeder but not real sure I can even do that with the setup I have. Again thanks for the advice! All is appreciated!!
                      How about renting a Dynasty 200DX from your LWS for a day...??

                      or getting a bottle of helium mix and run flat out..

                      which diversion..??
                      Last edited by H80N; 08-18-2015, 10:17 AM.
                      .

                      *******************************************
                      The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

                      “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”

                      Buy the best tools you can afford.. Learn to use them to the best of your ability.. and take care of them...

                      My Blue Stuff:
                      Dynasty 350DX Tigrunner
                      Dynasty 200DX
                      Millermatic 350P w/25ft Alumapro & 30A
                      Millermatic 200

                      TONS of Non-Blue Equip, plus CNC Mill, Lathes & a Plasmacam w/ PowerMax-1000

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                      • #12
                        I have the little diversion 180. Works great on this new aluminum just goes to crap trying to weld it to the log. I'm using pure argon now. How does the helium mix help?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Steel_Surgeon View Post
                          I have the little diversion 180. Works great on this new aluminum just goes to crap trying to weld it to the log. I'm using pure argon now. How does the helium mix help?
                          The Helium will increase heat transfer and make the bead hotter..
                          and allows you to weld thicker matl with fewer amps..
                          kinda like spinach for POPEYE...

                          here is a video that illustrates it

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhDvRJ7HZ6E



                          You will have to really clean the aluminum to shiny metal and vee out your crack in any event...
                          Last edited by H80N; 08-19-2015, 11:42 AM.
                          .

                          *******************************************
                          The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

                          “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”

                          Buy the best tools you can afford.. Learn to use them to the best of your ability.. and take care of them...

                          My Blue Stuff:
                          Dynasty 350DX Tigrunner
                          Dynasty 200DX
                          Millermatic 350P w/25ft Alumapro & 30A
                          Millermatic 200

                          TONS of Non-Blue Equip, plus CNC Mill, Lathes & a Plasmacam w/ PowerMax-1000

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Steel_Surgeon View Post
                            I have the little diversion 180. Works great on this new aluminum just goes to crap trying to weld it to the log. I'm using pure argon now. How does the helium mix help?
                            Helium is expensive, setting up for it is a scavenger hunt for parts. I put it off until I promised a job and things weren't going real well. I was working with butt joints of 1/2" 6061, beveled one half of the joint with a small land in the middle, and gapped 1/16. With a Dynasty 280DX filling the root meant drips running to the other side, The back then needed grinding clean before welding that side. It took forever to get hot enough to puddle, causing the corners to dissolve. Adding 5 CFH of helium, it puddled quickly, filled the root completely, without runs to the other side. Turning it over only a light brushing with SS brush was needed to fill the other side. Corners didn't melt. A huge success!
                            Dynasty 280DX
                            Bobcat 250
                            MM252
                            Spool gun
                            Twentieth Century 295
                            Twentieth Century 295 AC
                            Marquette spot welder
                            Smith torches

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sorry... I don't get on here much anymore. We have gotten very busy nowadays and I spend a lot of my other time on new adventures (welding and fabbing)
                              Also I do read the forums when I am stuck somewhere and bored on my phone. For some odd reason the site won't allow me to log on and post. I used to do it all the time. Very annoying because I did it for a good while before it quit letting me on
                              I'll try to get on the computer more, but to be honest....when I'm on the computer it is all business and I try not to mess around much online unless it's official. I'm just more into the smartphone these days cause I'm on the go.

                              Not a lot to say here that hasn't already been said. As far as blowing up goes....that was covered pretty well. The way I pressure check is I slowly add air and leave my air fitting a bit loose. Then I spray it (the fitting)... if it will bubble then the leak should as well. I use a long hose with a Ball valve on it so I can add air as I continue to look for leaks. I keep it connected to the compressor, and have a low pressure setting on the line too. It helps to turn everything in the shop OFF, so you can hear for leaks as well.
                              Some mfg's have fuel tanks IN the logs (plastic) and some ARE the logs. You need to know this before you drill or weld!!! Sylvan does not do this to my knowledge. Harris does on many models.
                              Naturally the normal fuel tank should be considered as well.
                              That leak should have the bracket cut off and be patched properly, then replace the bracket. I do warranty repairs for Sylvan quite often and they seem well pleased with the results. Many of the photos on our Facebook Gallery are on Sylvan products.

                              www.facebook.com/outbackaluminumwelding
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