When it comes to welding exhaust pipes, you can use MIG welding, which is recommended due to the thinness of the pipe. However, in some cases, access to a MIG welder may not be possible, or the exhaust pipe may be too dirty for MIG welding to be effective.
An alternative solution is stick welding, which is also a viable method for repairing exhaust pipes. This method may require more skill and care to achieve a strong and durable repair, but it’s doable. Let’s roll into a step-by-step guide to the weld exhaust pipe with a stick welder.
Welding Exhaust Pipe with Stick Welder – (Step by Step Guide)
Follow the steps below.
1: Exhaust Pipe Preparation
- The first step in preparing for stick welding an exhaust pipe is to clean the area you are going to weld.
- Use a wire brush, 80-grit sandpaper, or a cleaning solution specifically designed for welding to clean the area.
- Use a metal wire brush to remove rust and other surface contaminants from the metal by thoroughly scrubbing the weld.
- You can also use sandpaper in areas where the wire brush does not approach.
- Once the area is clean, wipe it down with a clean, dry rag to remove any remaining dust or debris.
2: Selection of The Welding Rod
Exhaust pipes are quite delicate as they are made using thin metals. So, you will use a welding rod that works well with light metals. I have utilized different welding rods to stick weld exhaust pipe and concluded that E6011 and E6013 are the best ones you can get your hands on. They work remarkably well with thin metals and on rusted or painted surfaces.
3: Stick Welder Settings
When welding an exhaust pipe with a stick welder, it is important to tune it to the right settings to get the best results. The most important setting to consider is the amperage that depends on the thickness of the metal being welded. Generally, thinner metal will require a lower amperage setting, while thicker metal will require a higher amperage setting.
Also, consider matching the electrode size with the weldable metal thickness. A smaller electrode size is typically used for welding thinner metal, while a larger electrode is used for welding thicker metal. Also, set the welder polarity to DCEN (Direct Current Electrode Negative) to produce a stable arc leading to deeper penetration.
Lastly, I recommend using low amperage and high voltage settings when welding exhaust pipes, as this will minimize the heat input to the metal and prevent the warping of the pipe.
It’s important to note that the settings can vary depending on the welder brand and model, so it’s always recommended to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setting up the welder.
3: Clamping Exhaust Pipe
Use an exhaust clamp to hold the two pipes together. When using an exhaust clamp, it is important to ensure it is tightened properly. Tight the clamp just enough to hold the pipes securely, but not so tight that it warps or distorts them. Moreover, make sure the clamps are positioned correctly.
Finally, it is important to use the right clamp size for the welded pipes. If the clamp is too small, it will not hold the pipes securely and may cause them to shift during welding. If the clamp is too large, it may warp or distort the pipes.
4: Start Welding
Now get into action by holding the electrode in one hand while welding and maintaining a consistent distance between the electrode tip and the exhaust pipe to ensure a smooth weld; I would suggest a distance of ⅛” between the two. Remember, sudden or jerky movements will result in uneven welds.
Given the thinness of exhaust tubing, it is crucial to utilize spot welding techniques to avoid warping. Spot welding is a process where multiple small welds are made around the circumference of the tubing. This welding method allows for evenly distributed heat across the tubing, preventing warping and ensuring a secure and long-lasting repair.
5: Finishing and Cleaning
Once the welding is completed, it is important to properly finish the weld and clean up the exhaust pipe to ensure a smooth and professional-looking finish.
First, use a wire brush or grinder to remove slag to smooth out the surface and remove any impurities that could weaken the weld.
Next, use a metal file or sandpaper to further smooth out the weld surface by removing rough edges.
Finally, use a rust inhibitor or paint to protect the exhaust pipe from rust and corrosion.
Avoid common mistakes like over-grinding, not cleaning the pipe properly, or not applying rust inhibitors or paint, which could lead to rust and corrosion.
Stick Welding Safety Measures
Stick welding exhaust pipes can be dangerous if safety precautions are not taken. It is important to ensure that you are familiar with the proper safety.
- Firstly remove the exhaust tubing from the car when you weld it. If you don’t want to remove it, disconnect the battery cables and cover the fuel tank.
- Always wear protective gear, including a welding helmet, gloves, apron, and safety glasses.
- Ensure the area is well-ventilated, as welding can produce harmful fumes and gases. If possible, use a ventilation system or open windows and doors to ensure fresh air flows through the area.
- Keep flammable materials, such as oil or grease, away from the welding area.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.
- Always ensure that the welding equipment is properly grounded to prevent electrical shocks or fires.
- Use a 110V stick welder capable of producing low amperage, as exhaust tubing is made of thin metals.
Welding exhaust pipes with a stick welder can seem daunting, but it’s doable with the right technique and materials. So next time you have a rusted exhaust pipe, don’t be afraid to grab your stick welder and try it. You might even surprise yourself with your welding skills and save money by not going to a professional.
But always remember that welding is a serious task and should be handled with caution, following proper safety measures and guidelines. And if you need more clarification about your welding skills, it’s always better to take the help of an expert. Happy Welding!
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