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Welding a broken bell housing

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Greaser007 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Greaser007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Welding a broken bell housing
    Posted: 26 Aug. 2019 at 1:50pm
    Hi all !

This thread will showcase my failed attempt to weld a broken L134 Bell Housing.
In the end, _ _ _ I HAD SUCCESS !!   Yeeeayy Hooray.

Feel free to chime in and offer Condolences. :)

Awhile back, I made a trek to Lincoln, California to visit with Jim Serr. Jim is a die-hard Jeepster fan (jeeperjim) yep. As we compared notes and shared stories, I was mentioning to Jim that I was modifying a Willy's L134 bell housing to accept a Ford T-98 / T-18 granny-gear transmission.

   Jim promptly said "here take this broken bell housing to practice on" !
So, I drug it home and spent tedious hours cleaning and "V"-grooving the crack to accept my First-Ever attempt to weld with electrodes designed for Cast iron.


this photo shows the inside surface with V-grooving


This shows the V-groove on the outside of the bell housing.

Here is what I did:    
I have never welded Cast Iron before in my Life (67-years). I have welded mild steel for decades with Oxy / Acet, and Mig welders.
Everyone I speak with tells me "GOOD - LUCK" with the cast welding attempt.

So I dove into this with 3-different electrodes:

These are the three electrodes up for Trial.
My first attempt to weld the bell housing is to weld it with No-Preheat.
I used the AWS 309L first round. I was really weird to weld with and with my amperage set to 60-amps with my Lincoln SA-200 pipeliner, the rod required a short arch length.   I mean the rod seems to be in the puddle.
I welded in short stitches and peened.   I stitched it all up nicely, well, as best I could, and very UGLY.   All looked good until it cooled for about 10-minutes, then cracked-with-a-Ring !

    Next step:   
   I re-ground the crack open and tried the All State 8-60 electrode.
All looked good (UGLY again), and after cooling, the weld cracked !   The crack ran along the weld in most places and through the middle of the weld in others.

   Step 3:
    Ok, I am getting really disappointed by this time. It is 98-degrees out, I am in long jeans and clutsy-boots (so I don't get burned). First off out of the chute, I grabs ahold of the rod after it stuck to the bell while trying to strike an arc.   Sum-Booger burned my Thumb !    yep, right through the big hole in that right glove.   ( I need to buy new gloves - yep ).
   This electrode numero-3, is Harris NLW99 nickle rod in 3/32".
Guess what !    _ _ _ no cracks found yet using this electrode by Harris.


looking at the inside of the bell housing. what an abortion right !
Hey, we have to learn hands-on or do without. (or Braze it).


another shot of the stitched welding attempt cold with no pre-heat.


Go ahead and laugh. it looks Ugly. dag-nabbit. I'm not Impressed either.
But, we all have to start somewhere, and normally with skinned knees hurt feelings from 'first-attempt-failure.' yep.
My Lincoln SA-200 ran like a Singer sewing machine. I was happy bout that.
So, now I have burned probably 8-electrodes. and liking the Harris rod.

   My buddy who I have been helping paint his "now" '72 Ford Bronco is retired from 37-years with John Deere.   His suggestion is to build a big camp fire and put the bell housing into it for pre-heat, and then weld while HOT.

   I am ashamed of my quality here, but I wanted to share with those in the forums here who are also "wishing-upon-a-Star" for successful Cast Iron welding.   So far, my luck is in the Tanks with this Cracked bell housing. But, I will weld the bell housing for a "final-run" attempt with the Harris rod cold.

    Then, after this attempt is exhausted, I will preheat the bell and do it over again. And probably this time with placing the bell into a firepit or a barbecue with brick-ettes.   Even my machinist, Mark, offered a "Good-Luck" too.

   I am really leaning towards just Brazing this bell, but I must exhaust the electrode welding First.



Edited by Greaser007 - 17 Sep. 2019 at 12:45pm
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oldtime View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldtime Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug. 2019 at 2:47pm
No the 309-16 stainless rod is not the way to go.
The 55 to 99 nickle rods are the only sensible way to go unless you want brass.
How many amps you trying to use with these 3/32..... 60 amps ?
It should be AC at least 75 if not 90 amps on cold metal.
AMP increase alone will smooth out your puddle tremendously
I think the preheat is highly overrated but if you do preheat then I suggest no more than very dull red and crank it to 75 amps (AC) with the 3/32 rods.
Note...you'll have to run lower amps if your welder only has reverse polarity.

Currently building my final F-134 powered 3B .
T98-A Rock Crawler using exclusive factory parts and Approved Special Equipment from the Willys Motors era (1953-1963)
Zero aftermarket parts

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote windyhill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug. 2019 at 2:59pm
I'm no expert but I welded up a crack in the end of an old vice (some one had used it as an anvil back where the screw part is). ground down the crack and drilled a hole and the end.  I have and outdoor boiler, I threw the vice end in the hot coals and left if for a few hours, then I pulled it out (dull orange) and while my son kept a rosebud on it to keep the heat up I welded it with a nickle rod, as soon as I was done I put it back in the boiler and berried it in coals again. then I got my 30 gal drum ready, and some pre-heated sand ( buckets in the boiler)  I pulled the vice end out put it in the drum and filled up around it with the hot sand, then put a lid on it.  The next day 20 hours or so I pulled it out. It was still warm to the touch but no more crack!  And yes my welds didn't look great, but once ground down and painted it looked fine. It's held ever since. I've also heard of using a gas grill to get it up to temp. then opening the lid and welding and close the lid again. the Key seams to be letting it cool down slowly.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Greaser007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug. 2019 at 3:18pm
Ken,
   thank you for the tips, and I will try the increase in amps !

   I did a bunch of grinding yesterday and welding on those V-grooves.

   So, then I have my Dad's old Lincoln AC 200 amp stick welder, which I have not used since the early '80's. Should I be using this machine then ?
Are you suggesting to try the Harris NLW99 with the electrode to the Pos post (reverse polarity) ?

https://www.lincolnelectric.com/en-us/support/process-and-theory/Pages/understanding-polarity-detail.aspx

I don't think I can switch poles on the buzz-box.

   Keep me straight here, and I am open to all suggestions too.   Lee ?

   I just can't seem to get out there this morning and jump into grinding. :(

   And am going to play with my brazing skills too, which my buddies have suggested for better results. Like I mentioned earlier, my brazing experience consists of the f-134 exh manifold ear replacement finishing.
This will keep me challenged for some time. :)

    Len

   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Greaser007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug. 2019 at 3:26pm
Windy,
    That is what I am thinking is plenty of pre-heat too. Thank you for sharing.
    I am going to try Ken's suggestion for grins. Then if that fails, I will do the barbecue pre-heat, with sand cool-down. I must get sand too.
I have bookmarked somewhere a YouTube video where the young guy did just as you mentioned and repaired a broken vise successfully and as you did, he buried it in sand for the long cool-down period. That is what Lincoln Electric suggests in their Tech Articles and How-To's is a 20-hour cool down.
    Makes my mind sluggish trying to digest all this. I do have an old gas barbecue that I might fill with brickette's for a pre-heater.   hahaha
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldtime Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug. 2019 at 3:55pm
I was a welder since High School by trade.
The specific composition of the casting can and will make all the difference. 

From my experience the various Jeep castings are very good quality and will weld very well using nickel rods.
The nickel  99% is for items that must be machined after welding.
Nickel  55% is harder and stronger so it does not machine near so easy. 
But nickle 55% is stronger and it still grinds away very easily.
The nickel absorbs the internal stress created by the hot / cold cycling.

The pre heat and slow cooling procedure is mandatory for pure and nearly pure cast iron but not nearly so important with these high quality cast steel parts.
In other words the quality of these castings is such that the heat /cool cycling will not be beyond the stretching  and compression of the nickle alloy filler (electrode) as the parent metal heats then cools.

I suppose your machine is DC only ???
AC current is preferred for nickel and cast.

And so the exact amperage really depends on current supplied and the polarity used not to mention electrode diameter and parent metal thickness.
When grinding out the "vee", I would leave a good 1/16 minimum root so you don't blow holes through it.
I'm not so sure how DC current will fare I only use AC on castings.
If you go reverse polarity that will put more penetration into the parent metal.
Given the same amount of amperage straight polarity reduces weld penetration. 
AC is midway penetration.

If you decide to preheat and your machine is DC only, then go with Straight polarity. (electrode +)

Edit: Went back over to fix the spelling. I can weld but can't spell so good.
It's "nickel" not "nickle"  Ha Ha Ha !



Edited by oldtime - 26 Aug. 2019 at 4:26pm
Currently building my final F-134 powered 3B .
T98-A Rock Crawler using exclusive factory parts and Approved Special Equipment from the Willys Motors era (1953-1963)
Zero aftermarket parts

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote windyhill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Aug. 2019 at 4:01pm
I may have just got lucky, I took it to a few welders I know and they all blanched and said it would be a PITA don't bother, so of course I had to try. Wink I did try welding a few times before when it wasn't hot enough and with out keeping heat on it and as I finished the weld, ping I could here it crack again. Angry   I would think the barbecue could work well, it would keep you warm while you weld to!LOL then when your done just drop the lid back on and let it burn out and cool down on it's own.  Hopefully someone who actually knows what there doing will chime in and help you out!


edit: like oldtime! See what happens when you start a post and get distracted...



Edited by windyhill - 26 Aug. 2019 at 4:04pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Greaser007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug. 2019 at 8:56am
GOOD NEWS !!

   I've successfully welded the broken L134 Bellhousing yesterday.


yes, it is Ugly, but no new cracking since finishing-up with the Harris NLW99 electrodes in 3/32-inch diameter on Sunday using the DC sa-200 Lincoln welder. The first weld to melt the rim of the bell together, i used the Nickel rod, and it held with out cracking, and also the weld I made on the inside towards the rear, and it didn't crack either. That was when i knew which rod i will be using. The nickel went on very silvery looking like solder. Oh, too, i had my V-grooves open 1/16-inch butt, and really burned through easily, so i had to plug-weld the hole carefully.   What ever, it worked to my gratification. Then upon Ken's suggestion, the amps of the Lincoln buzz-box AC machine got set to 90 AC.
(maybe i should also try at 100amps or 110amps).


I am very pleased to have this bell housing melted back together again.
It is not going to be used unless someone out there needs one, and you are welcome to it, but must pre-pay for shipping. I was tickled-pink when Jim Serr handed it to me for Practicing on a "technique" of sorts.
So, with Ken and Windyhill's encouragement, i have won the challenge.
NEXT item up will be the final welding on my T-18 to L134 bell housing mod.

   Latest report:
   Upon Ken's (Oldtime) suggestion, I pulled out my dad's old Lincoln buzz box welder, it is a 225 amp standard AC home welder. And got it dusted off for use.
   Sunday, Aug. 25 was the day that I had the cracking failure with the first two electrodes, and welding with a DC Lincoln SA-200 pipeliner welder. But, the last electrode I tried, numero-three, which was the Harris NLW99 seemed to be working. That gave me hope for the 'next-attempt' whenever that might be.
On Monday, I was so depressed and disappointed, I steered-clear of the welder, and sulked all day.
On Tuesday, I drove 30-miles south to spend the afternoon visiting with my buddy who I've been assisting with painting his 'now-72' early Ford Bronco. It is painted a very creamy gray, almost the same tint as the Ford Raptor.
On Wednesday, this was the Day-of-Reckoning !   Being retired, I no longer see the need to start working early in the day. For the last 20-years of my working career, I would report to work at 6am and work until 3:30pm.
So, anymore, I enjoy spending my mornings on my laptop doing research on my numerous hobby project puzzles then around noon, I may venture out to my home shop to look things over.
   Ok, Wednesday, I get out the grinder again and V-groove all the cracks that I propose to stitch-weld. I get the Lincoln 225 AC welder all plugged-in and ready for burning some rod.
   As Ken suggested, I set the Amps to 90. I cut the long electrode in half so I am working with shorter and manageable lengths. For whatever reason, even at 90 amps, I found it difficult to strike an arc and then keep it going. Practice, Practice and more practice. I finally got the 'feel' of running the bead, and had to really focus on watching the puddle and trying to keep a manageable arc length. This attempt worked, and before I knew it, I was done and I had NO cracking around the weld or through the weld like I had experienced 3-days prior on Sunday.   HOOORAY !! YIPPEEEE !!
    I was Stoked and even with all of the peening and cooling, no more new cracks developed. This welding was done with no Pre-Heat other than the 105-degree outside temps I was working in.
   Talk about SWEAT-EQUITY _ _ I was soaked head-to-toe.
    I was so tickled with the good results, I am feeling like I am now ready to do the welding on my transmission-conversion Bellhousing to attach those Ford Truck 'ears' to the L134 bellhousing. Note: the cracked bellhousing will not be used for this conversion, because it was for practice only. I will be using the L134 bellhousing that I had the index hole milled out larger to accept the Borg Warner T-18 retainer.
Speaking of retainer diameter, i had my machinist go with 3-3/4 inch because one of the standard retainer's i found somewhere in my searches specified that size diameter, and at that diameter, the hole wouldn't cut beyond the outer edge of the bellhousing casting. The diameter of the front bearing retainer that came off of the T-98 trans was 4-1/8 inch diameter. that is Huge.

   Just like you did, Windyhill, i had to tackle this because the challenge is part of the entertainment of the puzzle-project. There are just some things in life that we must tackle single-handedly on our own.   yup.

   I still am nervous about my welding with stick electrodes, just because i haven't done it in almost 40-years, but, _ _ _ Practice-Makes-Perfect.
    And i am feeling very Confident. (i am listening for that 'Ring'). :)

    More later, and i will Post the Results in my T-18 to L134 Thread here in the Forums:
https://www.thecj2apage.com/forums/t98-t18-trans-to-l134-bellhousing_topic44407.html


Here is a link to a YouTube video where the guy repairs a broken pump casting with brazing:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wN3-4rN0n4E
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6aanmsPOjg

Here is an interesting video on brazing with Copper wire:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4mFBzezsqA


    Len

Edited by Greaser007 - 29 Aug. 2019 at 12:18pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drm101 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug. 2019 at 9:56am
I'm not a very good welder, but I welded my L134 intake manifold with my 140 Snap On mig welder using wire that welds stainless and regular steel. I set it on my wood stove to warm it up first. That was several years ago and it's still holding. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldtime Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug. 2019 at 11:26am
I have some suggestions for when you weld that Ford casting onto your Willys bellhousing.
Grind the parts to make a fairly narrow "Vee".
Do not grind to a sharp "vee" leave at least 3/32" blunt at the base of the "Vee".
Do your root pass with 3/32" nickel rod at 90 to 100 amps.
Weld opposing sides so you limit the effect of pull. 
Start with small tacks and then go bigger as the pulling forces equalize. 
After the root pass you can jump up to 1/8" diameter rod at 125 - 130 amps and keep the pulling  force equalized from side to side. 
Increase amps if you want  a smother looking weld but expect the nickle rod to look wavey or lumpy at best. 
The excess weld crown can be ground off for better appearance.
Good luck and don't waste your time with the preheat/ post heat. 
It's really not an advantage with high quality cast steel and can actually cause problems by making it way too easy to blow big holes through the root pass.
Castings hold form until they reach a critical temp then everything melts all at once.

Air cool it down slowly is O.K.
This is a cast iron and not pig iron nor wrought iron.
Quality cast iron has some of the elements and qualities of steel.

Currently building my final F-134 powered 3B .
T98-A Rock Crawler using exclusive factory parts and Approved Special Equipment from the Willys Motors era (1953-1963)
Zero aftermarket parts

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Den CJ@A Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Aug. 2019 at 11:52am
Hi, I’ve welded lots of cast iron through the years,wish I had seen your post earlier,
Here’s my two cents, preheat for sure, machine setting should be what feels right if you welded lots as you mentioned, when I looked at your weld I saw very little peening marks on it, what I do is sharpen my peening hammer to a sharp point, weld maybe 1/2” at a time and as soon as I stop I start peening, lots, the weld should be full of dimples to relax the weld as it cools, if the weld is completely relaxed it cannot pull on the cast and crack.
Just what worked for me, good luck.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote On Jeep About Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Sep. 2019 at 11:32pm
My welding instructor always told me that brass was the best way to weld cast as long as you could get a good preheat on the subject. I brazed many old car parts while I was in school, nobody every came back.
I’m just curious why you didn’t want to use brass?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Den CJ@A Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Sep. 2019 at 7:11am
I’ve seen cast iron welded with bronze successfully, I suspect it would do quite well for some applications, it would be interesting to test and see how strong it would be in comparison.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote On Jeep About Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Sep. 2019 at 11:06am
One thing my old instructor said was brass and cast iron expand and shrink similar in the normal heat cycles an engine goes through in day to day use. Guess we need a metalergist.
I did build myself a header for my go devil, started with an old manifold for the mounting flanges, and started adding exhaust pipe in short bits to creat the curves I needed, it was definitely a Frankenstein header but it worked trouble free for a few years until I did a v-6 swap.
I don’t think it did much for power but was a fun satisfying project at 19 years old.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Greaser007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep. 2019 at 1:29pm
   THANKS GUYS for the discussion !

   I must agree with Ken (oldtime) in his method. (it is the same as what my old mentor told me back in the mid-70's, except I was welding and modifying steering components for 4x conversions. But back then I wasn't welding Cast Iron.

I am very pleased with the results of the Harris 99 nickel rod. Yep, big time.

So essentially, I did what ken coached me with, and did a nice deep semi-narrow V-groove (both sides) to equalize the shrinkage pull equally as possible.
   Yes, the difficulty was in getting my bead burning without the rod sticking. That was the only aggravating part of the welding procedure. I liked it, and it was very gratifying in the end with the Nickel rod.

   As was mentioned earlier a few posts up, in consideration of Braze welding, I was very impressed with the little brazing that I did to finish-up the missing flange ear on the F-head Exhaust manifold that I welded for practice.
I must admit, that the broken bellhousing was the perfect candidate for the trial of the 3-different electrodes that were suggested to try.
   Yep, I spent hours reading up on what I could find, and in theory, we could do our structural weld in nickel, and finish-up with brazing for the easy machining of the brass with a big flat file. (back-yard milling machines). Ha

   Oh, I've been welding (mig) on my woodsplitter this last week. I have begun my seasonal wood splitting and stacking of 7-chords of pine. Day 4 I am getting a weird noise. Upon looking closely at my 4-fly-by-night engine mounts, one of them is cracked through the middle of the weld ! Not good.
And of course these were thrown together with scrap plate pieces 4-season's back when I installed a cheapo Harbor Freight Predator 6hp engine. I blow the old weld out with the torch and get the mig, and lay a new bead. I cannot see &*%$!!$% I am doing and get off track so short stitches.
   Next day I get 2-hours into splitting, and the splitter is making a terrible racket. If I put my foot onto the large engine-mounting-plate and push down things quietened up. Aha, shazpat, i'd better look closely at every attachment.   Sure enough, there was a crossmember underneath the plate which had cracked completely through, 1/4"x 1-1/2" plate. All of the remaining 3-engine mounts were broke through the welds from OCCILATION.
   I had no room for the grinder, so once again, farm-boy tacktics, blow out the old welds with the torch, and fire up the mig.
   Good news !    I ran the splitter for 4-hours yesterday, and all is good.
I am now on chord no. 4, and ready for 3-more plus 1. Guess I am half done.
   I did purchase an Underdrive for my splitter two-years ago.   hahahahaha
The underdrive is actually a Two-speed pump designed for 6-horse engines.
The single-stage pump currently on the splitter requires a 12-horse engine. When I purchased the splitter 4-years ago, i removed the obsolete 12-hp engine and installed the Harbor Frieght 6-horse horizontal shaft engine, and Eye-Balled the alignment for the new Coupler.   Dang thing works, but will stall on a tough piece. I need to reconfigure the splitter and install the new Two-Stage pump with Low-Range.    Arrr !

   This was a great fun and enjoyable experience playing in the big-boys sand box with the cast iron welding experience.

   Yep, even phoned Debella's yesterday and ordered me some "goodies" for my t-18 to L134 project too, $$$$$.   Yep, stupid trinkets like flywheel-to-crankshaft bolts, and engine-block to bell-housing bolts and a throu-out bearing carrier for a T-90 to have turned down by my machinist.
   The perfect project puzzle, if into Willys wonderment.

Edited by Greaser007 - 17 Sep. 2019 at 1:35pm
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