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Old 01-03-2010, 05:43 PM
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welding cast to steel

im wanting to weld truck spindles to a trailer axle. can it be done? ill be using an arc welder, what type rod would i use?

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Old 01-03-2010, 07:50 PM
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trailer safety

I've seen a lot of farm equipment welded up. most of the time with 6011 arc rod. I would hesitate to do a highway hauler because of the liability issues. You can buy trailer parts that are designed as do it your self components and you wouldn't be guessing about metalurgy issues, I have built trailers from car truck parts but I have looked for spindles that I can modify and bolt to an axle. usually from old drum braked pieces.
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timothale
I've seen a lot of farm equipment welded up. most of the time with 6011 arc rod. I would hesitate to do a highway hauler because of the liability issues. You can buy trailer parts that are designed as do it your self components and you wouldn't be guessing about metalurgy issues, I have built trailers from car truck parts but I have looked for spindles that I can modify and bolt to an axle. usually from old drum braked pieces.
what size rod? DC, DC- or AC?
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:53 PM
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Never, NEVER, weld any kind of cast iron with a steel rod!!


I would recommend not doing this but if you insist use a rod meant for iron castings, in this case get some Ni55 rod for cast iron. If there is no welding supply around close then you should be able to find it at a Tractor Supply, Northern, Lowes, etc just about anyplace that sells welding rods, Advance auto parts here has it in small packs. DON'T buy the really expensive Ni99 rod! A lot of people think because since it is super expensive it must be stronger but that's not true, it cost more because it is easily machinable when finished but that will be of no concern to you so get the cheap stuff. Whatever you do don't try to weld it with 6010, 6011, 7018, etc because once the cast iron is welded with the steel rod it will all have to be removed before re-welding after it breaks and it WILL break! Welding cast iron is tricky and something like a spindle, if it is cast iron, will almost certainly be Malleable iron and as such should not be welded with anything except brazing with Bronze rod and a torch. When welded Malleable iron castings are converted by the heat of welding to Grey iron and become very brittle. Malleable iron is welded differently than most iron castings, when welding is attempted, and when welding on these Malleable iron castings do not pre-heat as is normally done with most cast iron, keep the part as cool as possible and use very short beads about 1" long and peen each one thoroughly before continuing. These short beads and peening will be critical to preventing cracks and if you get impatient and hurry it up then failure will be almost guaranteed.


Now after all that are you sure that these things are cast iron or are they cast steel? If you are talking about spindles then there is a good chance that they are steel castings instead of iron and if so they are easily weldable and can be made quite strong. Steel castings and iron castings will appear very similar and the usual test is to grind them and identify the material by the sparks they make but if you are unfamiliar with this then a simple way to check is with a cutting torch. Take the torch and try to cut a small spot somewhere off to the side where you can nip it without doing damage and see if it will cut easily with the torch. If it does then it is a steel casting and can be welded using 7018 rods just like any other high quality steel, if however it is nearly impossible to cut then it is cast iron and is going to be nearly impossible to weld like you are proposing.
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldred
Never, NEVER, weld any kind of cast iron with a steel rod!!


I would recommend not doing this but if you insist use a rod meant for iron castings, in this case get some Ni55 rod for cast iron. If there is no welding supply around close then you should be able to find it at a Tractor Supply, Northern, Lowes, etc just about anyplace that sells welding rods, Advance auto parts here has it in small packs. DON'T buy the really expensive Ni99 rod! A lot of people think because since it is super expensive it must be stronger but that's not true, it cost more because it is easily machinable when finished but that will be of no concern to you so get the cheap stuff. Whatever you do don't try to weld it with 6010, 6011, 7018, etc because once the cast iron is welded with the steel rod it will all have to be removed before re-welding after it breaks and it WILL break! Welding cast iron is tricky and something like a spindle, if it is cast iron, will almost certainly be Malleable iron and as such should not be welded with anything except brazing with Bronze rod and a torch. When welded Malleable iron castings are converted by the heat of welding to Grey iron and become very brittle. Malleable iron is welded differently than most iron castings, when welding is attempted, and when welding on these Malleable iron castings do not pre-heat as is normally done with most cast iron, keep the part as cool as possible and use very short beads about 1" long and peen each one thoroughly before continuing. These short beads and peening will be critical to preventing cracks and if you get impatient and hurry it up then failure will be almost guaranteed.


Now after all that are you sure that these things are cast iron or are they cast steel? If you are talking about spindles then there is a good chance that they are steel castings instead of iron and if so they are easily weldable and can be made quite strong. Steel castings and iron castings will appear very similar and the usual test is to grind them and identify the material by the sparks they make but if you are unfamiliar with this then a simple way to check is with a cutting torch. Take the torch and try to cut a small spot somewhere off to the side where you can nip it without doing damage and see if it will cut easily with the torch. If it does then it is a steel casting and can be welded using 7018 rods just like any other high quality steel, if however it is nearly impossible to cut then it is cast iron and is going to be nearly impossible to weld like you are proposing.
the spindles im gonna be using is from an 85 chevy 3/4 ton truck. would you know if they are steel or iron? and the axle is from a house trailer.
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:09 AM
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trailer building.

Before doing all the spindle work I would check a trailer supply company for hubs that would fit. I have one trailer made from house trailer axles that use the ford pickup 5 x 5 1/2 pattern wheels but must have a large center hole wheel. another one uses the 6 bolt gm pickup wheel , My enclosed trailer and the 6 wheel equipment trailer uses 8 bolt truck wheels. if you keep the trailer parts you could probably find the electric brake kit to fit. If you are wanting the 3/4 ton wheels for load capacity the question is the axle heavy enough for what you want to do. My sawmill dolly has axles from portable school clasrooms that use the "donut Wheels" a wide 5 bolt patern that uses a square block over each stud to grip the rim. I don't like that type of wheel. When I was thinking of moving the sawmill I checked a trailer supply catalog and it looked like they had the 8 lug replacement hubs that would bolt on.
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Old 01-04-2010, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timothale
Before doing all the spindle work I would check a trailer supply company for hubs that would fit. I have one trailer made from house trailer axles that use the ford pickup 5 x 5 1/2 pattern wheels but must have a large center hole wheel. another one uses the 6 bolt gm pickup wheel , My enclosed trailer and the 6 wheel equipment trailer uses 8 bolt truck wheels. if you keep the trailer parts you could probably find the electric brake kit to fit. If you are wanting the 3/4 ton wheels for load capacity the question is the axle heavy enough for what you want to do. My sawmill dolly has axles from portable school clasrooms that use the "donut Wheels" a wide 5 bolt patern that uses a square block over each stud to grip the rim. I don't like that type of wheel. When I was thinking of moving the sawmill I checked a trailer supply catalog and it looked like they had the 8 lug replacement hubs that would bolt on.
ive already checked all that out and for not much more i could buy another trailer. what im gonna do wont cost me a dime, i already have this stuff. does anyone know if the spindles from an 85 model truck would be iron or steel?

is there anyway i could find out other than cutting them with a torch? i have to cut some off of them to use on the trailer, but if they are iron i hate to ruin them from ever being used as a spindle again.

Last edited by runn141; 01-04-2010 at 01:32 PM. Reason: added extra question
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runn141
Is there anyway i could find out other than cutting them with a torch? i have to cut some off of them to use on the trailer, but if they are iron i hate to ruin them from ever being used as a spindle again.

When I suggested cutting them with a torch I meant just a little nip off a corner somewhere, all it takes is just to bump the Oxygen on the torch enough to see if it will cut or not. However there is another actually simpler way of checking by using a grinder instead of a torch. Rather than try to explain the differences in the sparks that will appear which could cause more confusion than anything else just grind on a piece of known steel then hit the spindle and see if the sparks are different. There will be a profound difference in the appearance of the sparks when grinding these two materials and you will find that sparks from steel tend to be straight, bright and very long with few side bursts. Cast iron however will have short, dull appearing sparks with many side bursts looking much like a 4th of July sparkler. You really don't need to know exactly what to look for on each one just that if the grinding sparks from the spindle looks the same as sparks from a piece that you KNOW is steel (an old chisel, screwdriver or even a nail) then the spindle is steel, if the sparks are totally different in appearance then the spindle is cast iron. The difference will be quite apparent and there will be little chance you would make a mistake!
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Old 01-05-2010, 05:26 AM
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Ayuh,... Axle spindles are either cast, or forged Steel....

Cast Iron would Snap off,... Cast Iron is Way too brittle for spindles...

Weld 'em up with 7018 rod, reverse polarity...
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bondo
... Cast Iron is Way too brittle for spindles...

Weld 'em up with 7018 rod, reverse polarity...

Not exactly,

Malleable iron castings are not brittle like most iron castings and are nearly as strong as steel, that is unless they get heated or welded on! Not all spindles are steel unfortunately and a lot of them are cast iron (malleable iron) which is just fine as long as they are not heated or modified. Just this past weekend I pressed out an axle bearing for a guy from his Ford Explorer and this thing definitely is made of cast iron, I checked it to find out if it was safe to heat. This was a spindle from the rear independent suspension with disc brakes but I have seen many front spindles made of the same material and I have no doubt they are on this Explorer. When I still ran my welding shop it was not all that uncommon to get a spindle in that someone wanted to modify or repair after their modification broke and cast iron spindles were very common. This is why it is extremely dangerous to heat and bend a spindle because if it is an iron casting it will be very weak in the heated area and if bent more than just a few degrees it will break while bending even if it is still red hot. I have seen several of these come in to the shop, usually from an ill-fated attempt to modify the spindle after installing a lift kit in a truck or some such, but there was nothing we could do except tell them it was ruined and they would have to buy a new one. Welding one of these with a 7018 rod is positively certain destruction! The weld and the entire area around the weld bead will be extremely hard (you can't cut it with a carbide burr!) and brittle with many cracks even if you can't see them.


His spindle may be steel or it may very well be a Malleable iron casting and if it is iron, and there is a good chance it is, then welding with 7018 would surely ruin it.

Last edited by oldred; 01-05-2010 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:11 AM
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His spindle may be steel or it may very well be a Malleable iron casting and if it is iron, and there is a good chance it is, then welding with 7018 would surely ruin it.
Ayuh,... Ok oldred,... I'll concede to your experince,...
It's just alot different than mine...
As, I've yet to find a spindle that wasn't Steel,....
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Old 01-08-2010, 12:21 PM
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Yep, they are out there a lot of them. I was a bit surprised that Explorer spindle was an iron casting but sure enough when I checked it that is what it is. Saw it on a Nissan truck a couple of years ago where a guy had heated his spindles red hot to get a tie rod loose and when he hit it with a hammer it broke! He brought it to me and wanted it welded but I explained what it was and he bought a new one. Malleable iron castings are tricky as they look just like a steel casting or forging, they indeed are nearly as strong, and seem to weld just fine. Malleable iron seems to weld easier than any cast iron type but if ever there was a place where looks are deceiving it is here! Generally Malleable iron can be successfully brazed with a bronze brazing rod and a torch but if it is a critical part it is much safer to replace it. Welding with a Nickel rod for cast iron gets really tricky and the part needs to be kept as cool as possible while welding which is exactly the opposite of most types of cast iron which need to be pre-heated and then cooled slowly maintaining the heat while welding. Even in the best case however Malleable iron will have some of the material in the transition area between the weld bead and base metal converted by the heat of the welding into a Grey iron which is much more brittle than Malleable iron and for this reason Malleable iron castings are generally considered a poor candidate for welding as a method of repair, any time malleable iron castings are welded substantial loss of strength is to be expected.
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Old 01-08-2010, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Saw it on a Nissan truck a couple of years ago where a guy had heated his spindles red hot to get a tie rod loose and when he hit it with a hammer it broke!
Ayuh,... Probably the Worst way possible to pop a tie-rod too,...

I weld about anything, whenever the need arises,.. Exotics don't scare me,+ I'm usually sucessful,...
Purely amateur hobby level,... learned to weld at about 11 or 12,... Now mid-50s...

Professionally, I work on things from alittle bigger than pickups to Huge equipment,+ trucks...
Hobbies include Welding stuff,+ Boatin'...

Nice chat,... I'll keep an eye out for Iron axles,...
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:44 PM
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I've welded several axle tubes to differential housings for drag strip machines and mostly 4x4's,mostly jeeps and early broncos using a ford 8.8 from ford explorers because its the right width for them and has disk brakes and handles a substantial amount of abuse,also GM corporate 14 bolt rears,dana 60 and dana 70's,sterling rears..etc for rock climbing and mud machines.
I always use the Cronatron EAGLE rods....ONLY because i get them free when the weld techs in nuke plants throw them away because they are required to after a certain date after opening..these things are 3.00 a peice,so i consider myself lucky...

I've never seen a cast iron spindle or differential housing yet..not saying they aint out there.,..just never seen one,they were always cast steel.
I've also seen SEVERAL people just heat the cast steel to around 200 degrees to just draw any moisture out of the axle sleave/tube and weld axle trusess on them and weld with 7018 and had no problems,but i also seen some destroy the whole axle and gears in it after the breakage on the trails.
If i'm welding something that crucial i like to spend the extra money and time to use Ni rods and pre'heat to 400-450 and let cool slowly,that way i KNOW that at least my welds won't be at fault if that vehicle was doing 70 MPH down the road and that weld gave way from the cast steel and rolled the vehicle.......
The reason most pro's recommend welding spindels and differential housings with a high nickel rod is you never know what type of process the cast steel was made of..try to email dana,chrysler..chevy..ford or anyone to ask what process it was made...don't hold your breath for a good answer...lol..they don't know
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Old 01-08-2010, 07:22 PM
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You weld cast steel with Ni rod for cast iron? Why? That would result in a fairly weak weld wouldn't it? Steel castings should be welded like, well steel not cast iron. Certainly 400 deg preheat is a good idea and a Nickel bearing rod like an 8018 c1 or c2 can be a good idea but a cast iron rod? 7018 is an excellent choice for welding most steel castings except for those such as hard alloys used in Earth contact equipment which should not be a concern here. For steel spindles and differential housings 7018 is probably the most common choice unless MIG is used and it is a good choice for most steel castings, personally I would probably choose the 8018 c1 but it should not be necessary.

EDIT: After rereading what you wrote I think maybe I misunderstood and you are not talking about what most welders refer to as "Ni" rod (Ni55-Ni99 group of welding rods) are you?

Last edited by oldred; 01-09-2010 at 03:25 AM.
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