You don’t always need to go to a car shop to get your car’s exhaust pipe welded. With some basic welding knowledge, you can do it yourself. While there are other ways of fixing an exhaust pipe, welding offers a longer-lasting solution.
Before embarking on such a project though, you should arm yourself with basic knowledge on how to weld exhaust pipe. Which brings us to the question of today, how to weld exhaust pipes.
Welding exhaust pipes is not as easy as other welding tasks. These pipes are usually thin and require a lot more attention. In some vehicles, the exhaust pipe can be as thin as 0.028″. When dealing with such thin metals, caution should be taken.
How To Weld Exhaust Pipes In Four Easy Steps
To weld any exhaust pipe, you will need several tools. First, on the list of tools, you will need a good welder. There are many different types of welders you can use for this task. But for simplicity and cost efficiency, I recommend using a stick welder.
The other tools you need are a hacksaw, or circular saw, work gloves, grinder, welding mask, and the exhaust tubing itself.
Cut the pipe
The first step is also the most important. In this step, you will have to cut the exhaust tubing. How you cut the pipe will influence how the finished product will look like. First, mark the pipe where you need to cut it.
Next, use either a chain pipe cutter or a hacksaw to neatly cut the exhaust tubing. Ensure the cut is as straight as is humanly possible with the cutting instrument you are using. Once done, go use a grinder to remove any imperfections in the edges.
Grinding the tubing also exposes the base metal by removing any rust, dirt, or paint on it. This is to get a clean, impurity-free weld.
Clamp the pieces
Once the tubing pieces are ready and cleaned, you will need to clamp the pieces together. C-clamps will come in handy for this. They will hold the two-piece of tubing together before welding.
One important thing to remember is that you have to fit the tubing the way you want them to be. Whatever adjustment you need to make should be made when clamping them.
Due to exhaust tubing being thin, you will need to apply spot welds. This is where you do three or four tiny welds around the circumference of the tubing. The high heat produced when welding will prevent the tubing from warping.
If gaps are created on the opposite side of the tube, you can easily bend them into place. The reason being that the spot welds will still be holding the clamped tubing together.
Complete the weld
After the spot weld, weld the remaining gaps in the tubing. Make sure to weld all around the circumference of the tubing. This will prevent leaks in the future. You can weld over the spot welds for a strong and durable weld.
How To Weld Exhaust Pipe With Stick Welding
One of the first things you learn about exhaust pipe welding is that stick welders are not suited for the task. However, it is not impossible to weld exhaust pipe using a stick welder. Stick welding exhaust will require some bit of ingenuity.
First is knowing what kind of rod to use. The 6011 rod is the best for the job. Choose the thinnest 6011 rods you can find; a 1/16 will do. Use the same spot welding technique discussed above before welding around the tubing.
Before welding though, cleaning will be necessary. I know stick welding is not affected by rust, dirt, or paint, but cleaning is the best way to avoid slag.
Advantages Of Stick Welding Exhaust Pipe
- Stick welding can be done anywhere indoors and outside
- The equipment you need to stick weld is inexpensive and easy to use
- You can weld in in different weather conditions,
- Stick welding is less sensitive to rust, paint, and dirt
Disadvantages Of Stick Weld Exhaust
- Stick welding is known for producing slag which can lead to slag holes and leaks
- You will use a lot of electrodes as only a few inches can be welded with an electrode at a time.
Safety Tips For Stick Weld Exhaust
- Wear a welding mask and gloves to protect your eyes and skin from harmful UV light and fumes produced when stick welding.
- Weld in a well-ventilated room to protect yourself from the heavy fumes that emanate from your stick welder.
- Maintain a low amperage range to avoid burning through the thin exhaust tubing and overheating the stick welder
- Do not weld the exhaust pipe while it is still attached to the car as the sparks produced when welding can cause explosions
How To Weld Exhaust Pipe With Flux Core Welding
Not an ideal way to weld exhaust pipes, but you can still get the job done with gasless flux-core welding. However, there are a number of things you need to know first. One due to the flux in the electrodes, it is essential to clean the tubing first.
This way, you can reduce the amount of spatter flux-core welding produces. Next, you will want to play around with the amperage settings. Flux-core welding may produce a hotter arc, so reduce the amperage.
Additionally, you may want to decrease the wire feed speed a bit. Making shorter beads will ensure you do not burn through the tubing due to the arc being hotter.
Advantages Of Flux-core Welding Exhaust Pipe
- This kind of welding can be done outside without the need for a separate gas shielding tank
- The cost of flux-cored electrodes is less than that of solid MIG wires
- Offers better penetration than with solid MIG electrodes
- Unlike with stick welding, the wire is fed continuously thus no need to keep changing the electrode
- The overall equipment cost is less compared to TIG and MIG welding
Disadvantages Of Flux-core Weld Exhaust
- There is a higher chance of burning through especially thinner metals than with solid MIG wire
- There is more spatter produced when welding using flux-core welding wires
Safety Tips For Flux Core Weld Exhaust
- The arcs tend to be hotter when flux-core wires are used, and thus you should wear gloves with forearm protection to protect your skin from the heat
- Wear welding goggles to protect your eyes from the UV rays and the heat
- Wear closed-toe shoes to protect your feet from sparks generated during the welding
- Wearing long pants as a means of protecting your legs is also essential when welding using flux-core welding wires
How To MIG Welding Exhaust Pipe
MIG welding is better suited to welding exhaust pipes than flux-core and stick welding. However, it is not as ideal as TIG welding. No matter, you can still do a pretty good job with a solid MIG welder.
As with any other MIG welder task, you need to clean the base metal first. The exhaust tubing should be free of dust and rust. A metal brush will come in handy to clean the tubing and expose the bear metal.
A combination of argon and carbon dioxide is recommended for MIG welding exhaust pipe. Additionally, setting the amperage range to medium will be essential to avoid burn through.
Advantages Of MIG Welding Exhaust Pipe
- You can produce high-quality welds much faster than with stick and flux core welding
- There is no need to worry about slag as there is no flux used when welding
- MIG welding is versatile and can be used with many different kinds of metal including alloys
- You can achieve MIG welding in a number of ways including full and semi-automatic
Disadvantages Of MIG Weld Exhaust
- Requires the use of an external shielding gas tank which can make the necessary equipment expensive
- You cannot use this welding technique outside or in windy conditions
Safety Tips For MIG weld Exhaust
- Wear welding gloves as MIG welding tends to produce a hot arc
- Wear closed-toe shoes to prevent sparks from injuring your feet
- Use a welding mask to protect your face from fumes and UV rays produced when welding
How To TIG Welding Exhaust Pipe
TIG welding excels at thin welding sheets of exhaust tubing. In particular, this technique is used for welding exhaust pipes made from alloys such as stainless steel. When TIG welding exhaust pipe care must be taken.
Firstly, TIG welding has zero-tolerance of dirt, oils, paint, and rust. So first, thoroughly clean the tubing and ensure no dirt or oil residue is left. An acetone raced lag will come in handy when removing oils that may be left as a result of thick lube oils used on exhaust pipes.
The right tungsten rod to use is a 3/32 inch rod. In regards to the filler rod, it should be small in size. The delicate nature of exhaust tubing means you have to take extra caution with your heat output.
Using a foot pedal, you can adjust the heat output based on the thickness of the metal. Most exhaust tubing is thin and why they are welded using TIG.
Advantages Of TIG Welding Exhaust Pipe
- Is the best welding technique for welding thin sheets of metal including exhaust tubing
- With the foot pedal, it is easy to control the heat output to avoid burning through the exhaust pipe
- The finished weld is usually neat, clean and free of any slag
- TIG welding has a lower heat output compared to other welding methods making it ideal for welding thin metal
- This method of welding can be used to weld a wide range of alloys and metal
Disadvantages Of TIG Weld Exhaust
- TIG welding takes time to accomplish as compared to other welding methods
- It has a high initial cost compared to other welding processes
Safety Tips For TIG Weld Exhaust
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt or apron made from non-flammable material to avoid being burnt
- Wear earplugs to protect your ears from sparks that are produced when welding
- Wear a face shield to protect your eyes and face from sparks and the harmful fumes produced when welding
Exhaust pipes are not the easiest parts of a vehicle to weld. In some cars, the parts are made from alloys such as stainless steel and Inconel. These alloys are quite different from the normal steel you are used to welding.
In addition to this, exhaust pipes are usually thin. Thus a lot of care has to be taken when welding them. While most welding processes can be used to weld exhaust pipes, TIG welding is recommended for this task.
Last update on 2021-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API