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Cast aluminum repair Part 1

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  • Cast aluminum repair Part 1

    Oil impregnated cast aluminum to be specific.

    If anyone here has welded cast aluminum before you know the results of poor quality castings. In fact, poor quality aluminum castings may not necessarily be entirely "aluminum" and like many repairs, it takes research or a test to determine the weldability.

    I want to make a short post sharing a couple steps that I have had success with. I understand the complexities of welding cast aluminum and in no way am I saying this process is to be applied to all aluminum repairs, castings or otherwise.

    I made a repair to an aluminum oil pan today. I have made a number of repairs to aluminum castings (oil pans and other things) over the years. I have experience repairing the nastiest crap on the bottom of aluminum boats that live in salt water. I have prepped for MIG and TIG repairs and have plenty of automotive repair experience as well. I am comfortable with making quality repairs.

    Damaged oil pan, front wheel drive car, the crack goes front to back.
    In a questionable situation I would have picked a clean area and struck arc to determine if it was repairable. I assumed the casting was quality from past experience repairing a wide variety of OEM parts from Honda.

    I did no remove any material to make the repair. Normally removing a little material to open of the joint is required. Perhaps welding the difficult area first and then back grinding the easy side would be necessary. In this case, I chose to leave the material and not do any prep other than removing as much of the oil from the area as possible.

    The pan was warm when the damage occurred meaning the casting was malleable. There is considerable misalignment at the break but the reinforced area inside the pan for the pick-up increases the rigidity of that area so I left it. The pan is thin enough that I could burn thru and achieve enough penetration (even with the complex joint geometry) inside the pan.

    Click image for larger version

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    I removed most of the residual oil with a rag and then applied acetone with compressed air to force oil out. I repeated this from the inside and outside of the pan several times until no oil residue was seen around the damage.
    Last edited by Electric4Life; 02-04-2020, 01:46 PM.