Aluminum Hot Water Tank GTAW Repair

The project I’m currently working on: A friends’ Aluminum Hot Water Tank needs a repair.

The aluminum hot water tank is from their travel trailer and may not have been properly winterized by the previous owner… A crack right on the bottom coupler where the heating element attaches suggests water was left in there annnd froze.

I love these projects where I get to help a friend out and they don’t have to spend a pile of money on a small-ish problem.

My first ever welding job was working for an aluminum tank manufacturer in Kamloops, BC – so aluminum, with all it’s unique issues, still has a familiar place for me.

Hot Water Tank

About the size of a small BBQ propane tank, my friend was able to remove the tank and bring it to me.

Crack in hot water tank.

The crack is easy to see but old, corroded aluminum is always a challenge.

Thought I’d try filming it…

Aluminum Hot Water Tank GTAW Repair
No respirator. Maybe not the best example...Always protect yourself, always.

I’m using my new Lincoln Square wave 200. And so far I love this machine! I have been saving up for a while now, but the Square Wave does not disappoint. It is so versatile and compact! I am even considering selling one of my other, now redundant, machines. I switched to pulse a bit in the video at 65% EP (electrode positive) cycle, just to play. Some of you may be able to see that even with it sped up.

Aluminum Hot Water Tank GTAW Repair

By plugging all the various couplers in the tank and using a quick regulator set-up with compressed air to 30 psi, the repair held. I am worried all the black impurities I saw floating around in my puddle while welding will make for a weak ‘spongy’ repair area.

For this aluminum hot water tank repair:

I used a purple tungsten. One of two that came WITH the machine (How awesome is that!?! Thank you Lincoln!) Argon. A brass brush and paint thinner on the repair area AND a quick swipe on the filler rods.

Does anyone have more advise?

I’d love to hear from you. Thank you so much for watching and stay awesome,

Lisa

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