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Will a Syncro 180 SD or TA 185 Get The Job Done?

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  • Will a Syncro 180 SD or TA 185 Get The Job Done?

    I've asked this question a few different ways over the last several months in my search for a used tig that could weld aluminum cylinder heads. My search has been for a used machine that is new enough to get parts for if and when it needed them, and had enough power (250 to 300+ amps) to handle repairing cracks in the thickest part of a aluminum cylinder head ( 1/2"-3/4"). Everything I have found is 15 to 20+ years old and my local miller repair center says to stay away from them because getting parts could be a problem.

    Since I have not had much luck finding a used machine I felt comfortable with for about $1500-$1600, here's my question.

    Would a new Syncro 180SD or TA 185 TSW if I preheat and use a helium mix adequately handle what I want to do on a low volume basis?

    Thanks for your opinions.

  • #2
    Ehh, I don't know how happy you'd be. I've never tried welding 1/2" with that small of a machine. But I know when we weld 3/8" and up aluminum with our Syncrowave 250 at work we must start using 5/32" electrodes. That should tell you about how much *** it really takes to truly weld this stuff. This is also the top end (310 amps) of the Syncrowave 250. Having the adjustability of frequency and balance offered by inverters (like the ta) helps, but not that much. The 180sd definately will not be the welder to choose.


    • #3
      Also, what are some of these older machines you are finding? There are some very nice ones out there and might be worth a purchase. Tell us what you've found.


      • #4
        I have focused mostly on miller and lincoln based on a lot of advice I've received because of their perceived quality and serviceability.

        I found some lincoln Tig 300/300's and Square Wave Tig 300's.

        In the Miller line I found, an 330 ST Aircrafter, 330 A/B P's, 320 A/B P's, Dialarc HF's, Dialarc 250's w/ and w/o HF modules.

        Also found some Hobart Cyber Tigs.

        Have been looking for a Syncro 250 built within the last 8-10 yrs in my price range, but when they show up they are in the $2000- $2200 range plus you have shipping or a 1500 mile round trip drive to pick it up. Plus, you still don't know what you are getting. Personally, if I had the money, I'd probably buy a new Syncro 250.

        What I'm trying to avoid is buying a machine for $1000-1500 that needs $1000 worth of repairs or, worse yet, that's not fixable.

        Any other advice would be appreciated.



        • #5
          With something that expensive and complicated, that usually cannot be repaired by yourself, it pays to buy new if you can on most stuff. The guys that are selling these 8 year old syncrowaves usually are not selling them as pampered units that are going to last another 10 years for them. They are selling them because they are getting to the point that they have had a hard long service life and are reaching the end of that life.

          Unless you find a really nice one or one that a shop is selling that is 3 years old so that they can keep their stuff in warrentee, I would go new (or close to it) every time.

          Someone on here claimed they welded like 1/2" alum with a dyn 200 using helium. But from what I read it was not a pleasant thing to do and something that he wouldent probably do again.

          Maybe you can get away with 200a if it was prepped right and multipassed and preheated, but I have never done it and wouldent know for sure.

          I would talk to someone that welds heads and find out what they use in the way of amps and equiptment.


          • #6
            Originally posted by coollx
            What I'm trying to avoid is buying a machine for $1000-1500 that needs $1000 worth of repairs or, worse yet, that's not fixable.
            I believe you will be thankful that you are being careful with what you are buying. Welders can often "kinda" work and be sold to unsuspecting buyers who will need to spend serious money to fix them.

            More than a few of these welders end up on Ebay where the buyer then also ends up paying a sizeable shipping bill.

            FYI..I had looked at a number of used Syncrowave 250s but when one gets the repair estimates back, the "good" deal they were wasn't so good. Inverter based machines can be even more expensive to fix.

            Your concern about parts availability is well founded. Many used welders including Miller do not have parts available for them any longer. Before buying an used welder, it is a very good idea to contact the factory and see if key components are being carried. Many times they are not. Better to know before you spend your money than after.

            I also would recommend using any used welder before putting your cash down. It may take longer to find the right buy but you will be much happier in the end.

            Meanwhile we are waiting for Andy to come back with an average repair cost on a Miller welder. I look forward to seeing what the repair cost amounts to in respect to the price of the new product.



            • #7
              Where are you located? My friend has a few machine he is wanting to sell. Dialarc HF and 330 AB-P. I live near Tampa Florida.


              • #8
                I'm in Syracuse, NY


                • #9

                  Seems like some of those machines you listed would work. However, I haven't a clue of the condition of them and if they're abused I would avoid too. I can't believe you can't find what you're looking for. And you haven't had any luck finding used Syncrowaves? I've seen lots of old Syncrowaves and even the well used ones have plenty life left in them. Can you not get DialArc parts anymore? What are they asking for those things?

                  Stay as patient as you can because eventually you will get lucky. I was not but a few hours from purchasing a brand new 250dx when I got a call from a buddy. He told me some tig machines were for sale and I jumped on one. A 1990 model Syncrowave 250 perfectly outfitted, out of a nascar shop, extremely well maintained, and serviced less than a year ago and the exact machine that I had welded with when I was there. The phone call saved me almost $3000.


                  • #10
                    sad truth of the matter is that neather the syncro180 or the ta-185 is going to do what you need. and the dyn.200DX even with all its advanced wave works realy is not going to work out for you eather. you realy need to look for a synco250 to be able to work on aluminum heads. best of luck at finding a used 1. i dont supose you could hold off for a bit and save up for the sync.250. maybe take in some extra work on the side to help offset the added $$$$ for the syncro250 or look for an event that might get you in the right $$$ range, some one mentioned a farm or tractor show here in NY. that is suposed to have some great deals. i'll see if i can locate that post if it hasent already passed that event might be the anser.

                    anybody know if dealers take trade in's, if so your local dealer might be able to check around for you as they have to resell the trade in's.

                    good luck i hope ya find what ya need.
                    thanks for the help
                    hope i helped
                    feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. [email protected]
                    summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.


                    • #11
                      fun4now, actually one of the local dealers that has 10-12 locations in two states has been looking for me as well. They said the supply of good used welders is very low this year because a lot of people who are buying new machines are electing to keep their old ones.