If you’re a car enthusiast, you know that a properly functioning exhaust system is crucial to the performance of your vehicle. You might also be aware that broken exhaust pipe repair is expensive, so doing it yourself is a great way to save money. But if you’ve never welded before, the prospect can be a little daunting.
Luckily, it’s not as difficult as you might think, and in this article, I’m going to show you how to weld exhaust pipes.
Tools You’ll Require To Weld Exhaust Pipe
- Welding Wire
- Wire Brush
- Pair of Gloves
- Welding Mask/Helmet/Goggles
Step By Step Guide: How To Weld Exhaust Pipe
1. Prep the Area
Before you begin welding, you’ll need to prep the area. You have to make sure that the area is clean and free of debris. You don’t want anything to get in the way of your welding, so it’s important to make sure the area is clean.
Pro Tip: If you’re welding in a confined space, you may want to open a window or door to ventilate the area.
2 Decide Which Welder You’re Going to Use
MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding is the most common type of welding, and it’s also the easiest to learn. If you’re a beginner, MIG welding is a great place to start.
TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding is more difficult than MIG welding, but it produces cleaner welds. If you’re experienced with welding, TIG welding is a great choice for welding exhaust pipes.
Flux-core welding is similar to MIG welding, but it uses a flux-cored wire instead of a solid wire. Flux core welding is a good choice for welding exhaust pipes because it’s less likely to produce weld defects.
Stick welding is the most versatile, but one of its main disadvantages is that it’s the most difficult type of welding to learn. Another downside is that it can produce slag, which can be a serious defect in welds.
This type of welding isn’t the best choice for beginners, so we only recommend it to professional welders.
Here’s a YouTube video that goes more in depth about the pros and cons of each welding type.
3. Choose the Right Wire
Once you’ve decided which welder you’re going to use, you’ll need to choose the right wire. The type of wire you use will depend on many factors, including the type of welder you’re using, and from what metal (i.e. alloys or soft metal) your exhaust pipe is made.
If you’re using a MIG welder, you’ll need to use a solid wire. The most common type of solid wire is ER70S-6. This wire is copper-coated, containing high levels of silicon and manganese, resulting in high-quality welds.
If you’re using a TIG welder, we recommend an ER70S-2 wire. For flux core welders, we advise a general-use flux-cored welding wire like E71T-11.
If you’re using a stick welder, you’ll need to use a rod of metal. One of the most common types of electrodes is 6011, which are general-purpose rods that produce great welds.
4. Set Up Your Welder
Now that you’ve chosen the right welder and wire for the job, it’s time to set up your welder. The process for setting up your welder will vary depending on the type of welder you’re using.
It’s always best to follow the manual that comes with the welder of your choice. If you bought it second-hand and it didn’t come with a manual, you can research it online by typing in the model name of your welder into the search engine, and adding “manual”.
5. Clean the Metal
Before you start welding, you’ll need to clean the metal. The best way to clean the metal is to use a wire brush. The wire brush will remove any dirt, grease, or paint from the metal.
6. Put on Your Safety Gear
Now that the area is prepared and the metal is clean, it’s time to put on your safety gear. You’ll need to wear a welding helmet or a mask, and a pair of gloves.
7. Tack Weld the Pipe
Once the metal is clean, you’ll need to tack weld the pipe. Tack welding is a type of welding that’s used to hold two pieces of metal together before you make the final weld. To tack weld the pipe, you’ll need to weld two small beads on either side of the pipe, connecting it.
8. Begin Welding
As you weld, you’ll need to keep the electrode at a consistent distance from the metal. If you’re using a MIG welder, you’ll need to keep the electrode from the pipe between ⅜ and ½” away.
If you’re using a TIG welder, you’ll need to keep the working distance of 1 to 3mm. For those using a flux core welder, you’ll need to maintain a distance from ⅜ to ½”. Finally, with a stick welder, the distance between the rod tip and exhaust pipe should be about ⅛”.
9. Finish Welding and Let it Cool
Once you’ve finished welding, you’ll need to turn off your welding system. Depending on the type of welder, you’ll need to release the trigger, turn off the gas, and turn off the power When your welder is off, you’ll need to let the exhaust pipe cool before moving on.
10. Inspect Your Work and Test it Out.
Once the metal has cooled, you’ll need to inspect your work. You should look for any cracks, holes, or defects in the weld. If it looks alright, you can finally test it out.
The best way to test the exhaust pipe is to start the car and let it idle. If you find any defects, you’ll need to repair the exhaust pipe and weld it again. If there are no visible defects, you can ride the car for the ultimate test.
Extended Tips For Welding Exhaust Pipe
1. Use the Right Welding Wire/Rod
When welding exhaust pipes, it’s important to use the right welding rod. It depends on your exhaust, welder, and even preferences. For example, one of the most common types of welding wires for MIG welders is ER70S-6, but you can choose another.
2. Use The Right Wire Diameter
Welding wires come in different diameters, depending on the intended purpose. For welding an exhaust pipe, we recommend using a wire that’s between .025 and .035” wide. However, it’s not a rule, and you can use a narrower or wider spool and still get great results.
3. Use the Right Welding Settings
There are several settings on every welder, that determine the way it welds metal. It varies by the type of welder you’re using, but most often, the main ones are voltage, amperage settings, wire feed speed and shielding gas flow.
Using the wrong settings will result in bad welds, or even worse, you can end up injuring yourself, so take it seriously and make sure that your settings are correct before you start to weld.
4. Regularly Inspect Your Exhaust Pipe
The best way to maintain your exhaust pipe is to check it on a regular basis. If you find a leak, you’ll need to weld or patch it to avoid bigger problems in the future.
5. Take Security Measures
Welding can be dangerous, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. It cannot be understated that you must follow all the safety tips. You must be using gloves and a welding helmet to protect yourself from heat, light, weld spatter (sparks), and fumes. Additionally, make sure the area is well-ventilated
Practice scrap metal before welding the exhaust pipe.
Take your time and don’t rush the job.
6. Cover The Exhaust Pipe With a Plastic Bag
When you’re not driving your car, it’s always a good idea to cover the exhaust pipe with a plastic bag, to prolong the pipe’s lifetime. It will prevent any moisture or pests from getting inside it and causing problems, like rust, down the line.
7. Practice On Scrap Metal
It’s always a good idea to practice on some scrap metal before you start welding the exhaust pipe. That way you can get a feel for the welder, the wire, and the settings. It will also help you get a feel for how to weld the pipe.
8. Don’t Rush Testing After Finishing To Weld
Wait at least 24 hours, preferably 48 hours, before inspecting your work. Welded metal requires time to show up all the potential defects. Allow it to be still before you do any inspection or testing.
Welding your own exhaust pipe is a great way to save money. And it’s not as difficult as you might think. Just follow the steps in this article and you’ll be welding like a pro in no time.
Here are all the steps to take in order to weld your own exhaust pipe:
- Decide which welder you’re going to use
- Choose the right wire
- Set up your welder
- Clean the metal
- Tack weld the pipe
- Continue Welding
- Let it cool
- Test it out
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and we’ll be more than happy to help!