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cast iron manifold welding


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I have a 1929 Studebaker President with a serious crack in the exhaust manifold.  It was brazed several years ago,but the crack expanded. 

A couple of contacts have suggested a business that bakes the manifold and then welds it. 

The manifold is thin walled in some areas.

Is there a recommendation for any one who can do the job.? 

Thanks for the help

Paul

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Because of the huge amount of contamination by carbon, it's not a regular type of process. I've been told that during part of the process the manifold needs to be "cooked," heated up to a high temperature, which somehow eliminates the carbon content. Then welded.

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Welding cast iron is a very specialized process,

and some who profess to do it don't produce lasting

results.  One of our local AACA members wrote an

article about his experience for our newsletter;  I can

e-mail you a copy if you send me a P. M. with your 

e-mail address.

 

Here's a summary:  He drove out from Pennsylvania to

the town of Nevada, Iowa with his valued 1926 Packard

manifold.  (He didn't want it potentially lost or damaged

in the mail.)  There, Midwest Cylinder Head and Machine,

who specializes in this work, did an excellent job for him.

 

First, they magnaflux the cast-iron item to identify all

potential cracks that need to be repaired.  They then

secure it to a fixture to ensure it doesn't warp during

the actual welding process.  The item is heated to 

cherry red (1200 degrees F.), and then cast iron is flowed

into the repair areas.  A lengthy cool-down process comes next.

Then, the flange areas are machined.

 

How to address the thin areas is a question for Midwest.

This isn't a job for a typical welder.  I hope this helps. 

 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

New manifolds are available. You won’t get a weld to hold on that manifold. Don’t waste your time or money. 

 

Ed, I always appreciate reading your postings,

as they come from a lot of experience.  For 

everyone's knowledge, can you tell us where

such manifolds are available?  Are they being

reproduced for a number of early cars, or are they

being cast to order based on a pattern?  Does the

shop have patterns, or must the owner supply one?

 

If new manifolds are available, this will potentially

help a lot of people.

 

 

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Manifolds for this car have been in production since the 1970’s. They were cast from poor material, and are very thin, and prone to failure in six or seven places. Even if the current crack is repaired, it’s likely to crack in another spot on cooldown. Heating it to only 1200 won’t prevent it from cracking, this is a very long manifold off a straight eight. Having worked on lots of these manifolds, and having thirty five years of experience with this particular manifold, and having been involved with the people who have manufactured them in the past, and am very friendly with the current people who have thr project, and having installed five or six new manifolds, I can tell you not to waste your time and money. I have no horse in this race, but have been through this many times with this manifold. It was a one year only design.........they failed when new, and were replaced by a diffrent design in 1930. Just like the UU-2 carburetor made of all pot metal that came on the car, there were three upgrades to make the carburetor work and last. Don’t fight it, just replace it.

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13 minutes ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

Ed, I always appreciate reading your postings,

as they come from a lot of experience.  For 

everyone's knowledge, can you tell us where

such manifolds are available?  Are they being

reproduced for a number of early cars, or are they

being cast to order based on a pattern?  Does the

shop have patterns, or must the owner supply one?

 

If new manifolds are available, this will potentially

help a lot of people.

 

 

 

 

John, they are a project left over from the old days, and they only make this particular manifold.

 

Hi, they are currently being manufactured by a non profit as a project to fund their 501C3, as I was on the board of directors of that organization for ten or more years, as a volunteer, I rather not post them in the open. Anyone who needs a manifold for the exact application of a 1929 Stude President can PM me for thr contact info. The new manifolds are redesigned and thicker all around, and will never fail. And they are made of a much better grade of iron. Back in the 1970’s they were very reasonable as far as price, today they are more expensive but are a better job and a much more authentic look. Sometimes the 1970’s manifolds come up for sale on eBay, and I always try to buy them for spares if reasonable. Currently I don’t have anything on the shelf. Ed

 

PS- John, thanks for the kind words!

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Just one more short note,we cut an old engine block in half as we could handle it easier and use it as a fixture to hold the manifold while heating it and welding it, then cooling it down over a few days.........didn’t work. The manifold material was so poor new cracks developed and the entire manifold warped to the point it couldn’t be resurfaced reguardless of thr cracks........trust me, some very talented people tried to get a lesser expensive fix, and it didn’t work.

 

We have successfully fixed the 1930 to 1932 manifolds using the above fixture, but the manifold is a diffrent design, and a diffrent type of iron.

 

I have seen OLD repairs to all of the 1929-1932 manifolds hold up well, but I think they were done pre war. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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If there are no cracks in that exhaust manifold it’s basically a free. Not sure how long will hold up, but it’s less than the cost of welding.

 

PS— I won’t run an original but that’s just from experience.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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5 hours ago, edinmass said:

Manifolds for this car have been in production since the 1970’s. They were cast from poor material, and are very thin, and prone to failure in six or seven places. Even if the current crack is repaired, it’s likely to crack in another spot on cooldown. Heating it to only 1200 won’t prevent it from cracking, this is a very long manifold off a straight eight. Having worked on lots of these manifolds, and having thirty five years of experience with this particular manifold, and having been involved with the people who have manufactured them in the past, and am very friendly with the current people who have thr project, and having installed five or six new manifolds, I can tell you not to waste your time and money. I have no horse in this race, but have been through this many times with this manifold. It was a one year only design.........they failed when new, and were replaced by a diffrent design in 1930. Just like the UU-2 carburetor made of all pot metal that came on the car, there were three upgrades to make the carburetor work and last. Don’t fight it, just replace it.

 

Is it the 1970's reproduction that " ... were cast from poor material, and are very thin and prone to failure in six or seven places." or the original 1929 manifolds?

 

Cheers,

Grog

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In the early 1970s we had an International AS160 tip truck that had become too rough for road use.    Then developing issues with the engine,   specifically high oil consumption,   a couple of burned exhaust valves, and  cracked and broken exhaust manifold indicated need for palliative repair.    I built up the faces of the exhaust valves with Stellite, which was an inspiration of Elwood Haynes;  and I did this with a slight excess of acetylene in the flame of the small welding tip in Rememberance of him.  I re-faced all the valves and the seats.  I carefully removed the wear ridge at the top of piston travel, pulled the pistons and conrods, and cleaned up the bores with a rigid hone to parallel.  At that time Repco still ran an excellent workshop for all automotive machine work.  For me they cleaned up the top compression ring grooves to fit a spacer so the side contact of the rings was correct fit and seal.  They expanded the piston skirts across the thrust axis for correct clearance in the bores.   I cleaned and Vee-ed the cracks and break in the exhaust manifold;  fastened it to a section of steel channel,  and welded it with an acetylene-rich flame of the oxy torch with a large welding tip.  I used sticks of cast iron filler rod, and the correct grade of ? borax? flux.   It all went back together and ran like a new bought job.    One of my antique car friends, Stuart Middlehurst, had a AS160 Inter  tray truck, to which he had fitted an hydraulic self-loading crane for general paid work around town.   Eventually that engine died, and I gave him the engine out of the paddock tipper.   The engine gave no trouble in twenty-odd years road and home use after that.   An exhaust manifold may run within its plastic heat range,  and if it is basically in alignment when you weld it, and you cover it with insulating matting so it cools slowly when you weld it, you should have no trouble .   I understand that lead from the anti-knock compound in the fuel could cause difficulty;  and that is why I cleaned back the weld areas to clean metal as best I could.     As I have written this I have been churning a secondary cognitive task in my mind, trying to remember the name of the man who wrote the repair and restoration tips pages for many years in Antique Automobile.  ( Was it "Phil Reid"?  )   My mind is not good on names; ----- particularly after I was enveloped in a ball lightning strike on my house this January. -------  One of those articles described the way they dealt with worn or damaged equipment in the field during the war.  It was termed    "Inspect: Repair or Replace As Necessary".   I have always tried to use that protocol when possible,  ever since.

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4 hours ago, cahartley said:

Old cast iron is properly welded the way it always was......gas welded with cast iron.

Not welded with Nickel and not brazed.

Too bad nobody told us they couldn't be welded.......we'd have stopped many years ago.

 

Can you weld cast iron? Sure. But notice my comments refer to the MANIFOLD off the car from 1929, from a particular manufacturer. The material was defective from new. Is welding cast iron a good idea? Depends of the application. Welding a block is a terrible idea. Welding most heads is also not a great idea. Metal stitching them is fine. People who weld complicated castings have very little understanding of the downsides. Is it possible, yes. When you have an engine block worth 50,100, or 150k or more see how many people quickly volunteer to have it welded. Welding easily replaceable complicated castings is fine if the repair attempted is cost effective and replacement of the casting isn’t difficult. Currently there is a block valued at well over 250k that was  almost destroyed by welding, at a local stitcher.  It will probably have 100 inches of cracks repaired by the stitching method.  95% of the cracks  are related to the welding. Heating a large casting up to temperature to effect a weld and cool it slowly may be successful, MAYBE, but the entire casting must be remachined to get everything square again, and often it can’t be done. I have had cast iron welded, and just this last year had a manifold welded, but the application, part, fixture, and welder made the repair possible. There are way too many half assed experts that claim they can weld cast iron.  I think I can count on one hand the number of people I think are very talented and capable of doing it on a rare or irreplaceable part.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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When I had the boat dealership I required replacing freeze cracked manifolds and blocks.

If the customer demanded the cheaper weld attempt we would do it but rarely did welds not seep.

The old guy in town that claimed to be so good (and expensive) wasn't. I only tried him twice.

Pleasure boat shops get a lot of freeze damage in the spring from boat owners that know everything.

Like the light bulb trick. Oops, mother must have unplugged that. (its always the wife that gets thrown under the bus)

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