5 Exhaust Manifold Welding Tips

Exhaust manifold welding can help to extend the life of your vehicle’s exhaust. The exhaust manifold consists of several pipes for each of the engine cylinders. It collects exhaust fumes from the various cylinders and channels them into a single pipe known as a collector. In most cases, the manifold is made from cast iron. With time, the manifold may get damaged, which is usually evident by cracks. This compromises safety when driving. Welding can help to salvage your manifold and save you the typically high cost of replacement. Below are 5 manifold welding tips.

1. Space and Accessibility

It is best to remove the manifold from your vehicle. This allows you to work on it more comfortably and effectively. If you weld it while still in the engine, flammable material may spread out everywhere and create more problems for you. Set aside enough time to remove the exhaust manifold from the engine. In some vehicles, it could take just 10 minutes, although other models may require up to 1 hour. Once the job is done, and the manifold has cooled, you can reinstall it in the engine.

2. Cleaning

Obtain a lacquer thinner from an auto or hardware store. Use a wire brush to scour the manifold and clear stubborn dirt. Dry with a clean rag and allow about 30 minutes for it to air dry. You can then place it in a bench vice with the crack face up. This will allow you to work more comfortably.

3. Grinding

It helps if you grind the damaged area first before you weld. This removes accumulated rust and debris. It creates a clean area for the welder to form an arc. A drill motor with grinding discs can help you clear away the stubborn dirt. Grind away just enough material to give you a clean surface. Use a wire brush to clean the areas the grinder cannot access. Be sure to grind a separate clean spot where you’ll attach the ground clamp. This will give you maximum power as you weld. Once you’ve completed grinding, clean the manifold with a lacquer thinner and a rag.

4. Welding

Gradually adjust the welder power to the highest level as you weld. The manifold tends to be very thick, and full power will give you best results as you weld cracks. Be sure to weld deeply for effective repair. If you limit yourself to surface activity, the repair is unlikely to hold for long. Move slowly as you lay the weld so that it creates a molten puddle. Steadily penetrate the depths of the crack to allow the weld to seal the crack completely. Once you’ve welded the whole area, allow the manifold sufficient time to cool down before you reinstall it in your vehicle.

5. Safety

Select a site that is well lit to enhance visibility as you work. This helps to ensure satisfactory results. It also helps to prevent accidents. Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying sparks and fine materials. Be sure you remove all combustible materials from your work site. Wear a long sleeved shirt and heavy duty gloves to protect your skin from burns or irritations as you work.