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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2005, 08:18 AM Thread Starter
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Welding on a diff housing?

A friend knocked a small crack in his new Dodge Power Wagon's diff, leaks oil now. Not a bad leak, but --.
I guess it's it's on the bottom of the center section, I haven't seen it.

Dealer says "customer damage, customer pay."

He's asked me to weld it.

The center section - is it cast or forged?

Weldable? Or is that asking for trouble?
If I can't do it right, I won't even try.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2005, 08:47 AM
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Re: Welding on a diff housing?

Should be a casting. If so, welding with a Ni rod should do the trick. It should hold if it's only an oil leak. I had a friend weld up my cast steering box bracket a couple of years ago and it's held just fine.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2005, 09:03 AM
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Re: Welding on a diff housing?

Either use a rod that is made for welding cast (like Jupiter B) or heat the cast up with a propane torch first. Get it hot, weld it, then cool slowly using the torch to control the temp.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2005, 10:21 AM
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Re: Welding on a diff housing?

Here's another way to weld cast.

http://www.muggyweld.com/castiron.html
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2005, 11:05 AM
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Re: Welding on a diff housing?

Rich,
You know that HP d-44 in the front of my TJ?
well, I welded a hoop for the control arm on top of it and it's been holding great for a couple years of hard wheeling now.
Heres what I did:
1.I cut the hoop off an old HP 30 from an XJ. I figured that the more similar the metals the better.
2. I ground the housing and chunk I wanted to weld to match
3. Tack the chunk on with nickel rod.
4. heat the housing up red hot in a BIG area.
5. I used good old 7018 and really layed into the steel. I wasn't bachfull about using heat or weld.
6. I hit the diff with a torch and didn't allow it to cool too quickly.

a side note... my dynatrac 60's had mils steel plates tig welded to the bottom after they were shaved.. I duno how they did it, but they did.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2005, 02:22 PM
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Re: Welding on a diff housing?

Nickle rod will do it. I have welded brackets to cast with a mig welder and never had a problem, but if you wan to do it right, Use some heat (although I disagree with elusive's red hot) as soon as the welding is done throw some heat back onto it and let it cool slowly.

My concern would be exactly where is the crack, and what else is going to be effected by it IE around a bearing housing and that needs to be drawn together before welding??
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2005, 06:03 PM
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Re: Welding on a diff housing?

just put the mig welder to it and let it cool slowly. It is a cast steel, but it is still steel. Not cast iron. I would like to know what the factory welds are. I doubt they are anything fancy.

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post #8 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2005, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Welding on a diff housing?

He He --- My best - and worst - experience with cast iron - not cast steel.
I tried welding an exhaust manifold together - an old one. Heated it to almost dull red, welded it, kept the oxy act heat on it to let it cool down slowly. It was fairly cool by then.
Looked great!
Went in to get lunch.
When I came out there were 2 pieces lying about 2" apart. It must have "popped" apart with force.
So much for my cast iron ability! Duh!

Talked to a dealer mechanic friend today. He suggested wire brushing it to get rid of the impact marks. Then take it in - "I don't know what happened, but it's cracked. I used the wire brush to get the dirt off to find the crack."

We'll try that.

If still no-go - I'll drill the ends of the crack and fill it with JB weld. I don't think it's in a place that's critical, but still haven't seen it.

Thanks
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 08-27-2005, 09:07 PM
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Re: Welding on a diff housing?

[ QUOTE ]

The center section - is it cast or forged?

Weldable? Or is that asking for trouble?
If I can't do it right, I won't even try.

Thanks in advance.

[/ QUOTE ]

If your buddies' dealer repair options are non-existent, what have you got to lose?

If the center is cast iron and it has to be liquid tight, your chances are a coin toss. Cast iron can be welded, but to say it's tricky is an understatement at least. There are generally two schools of thought in the real world when it comes to welding cast. Heat or no heat. There are actually reasons to use one method over the other.

Heat Method:

Usually it is preferred to heat the entire piece to be welded on, and heat to a max of about 1200-F, using some sort of Ni-rod.
Use short welds, peen each one, don't get in a hurry, and don't overheat the part. 1400-F is the magic number. Above that and funny things start to happen. When you are finished it's best to wrap the part in some sort of insulating blanket to slow the cooling process as much as possible.

No Heat Method:

Sometimes a piece is too large, or just too inconvient to try to heat the entire thing to 1200-F. In this case try to get your part to about 100-F, just to make sure it isn't "cold" and go at it again with the Ni-rod. This method it is VERY important to peen each bead, not get in a hurry, and not get the piece hot. At all. And don't switch methods mid repair. Use one or the other but not both. Again, when you are done it's not a bad idea to cover it with an insulating blanket untill it has come back to ambient temperature.

The caveat to this is there are a bazillion different forms of cast iron, and I don't really know which type/s axle manufacturers use. Some are more weldable than others and sometimes, no matter if you do everything under laboratory conditions, cast iron is still going to crack on you.

But, like I said at the beginning, what have you got to lose at this point?
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 08-28-2005, 08:05 AM
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Re: Welding on a diff housing?

I would say the housing is cast steel not cast iron. Cast steel will weld easy with 7018 or mig. I would clean it up real good first. Maybe heat it up enough just to get the moisture out. You should not have a problem. Put the ground clamp as close to the place that is going to be welded. Like pontiac said.
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