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Toby Chess

Toby Chess is an I-CAR program instructor, training specialist, and former salvage yard operator. Toby is universally known in the collision industry for his work with first responders and advocacy for body shops and consumers. He can be reached at tcspeedster@gmail.com.

Wednesday, 09 April 2008 15:16

Hey Toby 4: Al Welding, AM Parts, Masking Greasy Wire Looms

Written by Toby Chess

Hey Toby—I took the aluminum welding qualification test with you about a year and a half ago.  I am trying to remember why you push the puddle instead of pulling it when welding aluminum? 
     —-Joe from Rohnert Park, Ca

Joe---As Tony Ma, a tech at Don’s Autobody so eloquently stated, ‘It cleans the sh#€ out of there.’  In technical terms, it provides an arc cleaning action at the weld site.  As you remember, welding aluminum produces a lot of black sooty material that can produce porosity in the weld site.  By pushing the puddle, this will clean the site like a snow plow moving down a snow covered street.  Also remember to increase your pressure to about 40 CFH.  Don`t forget to also increase your stick out to at least one half inch when using your spool gun.


Hey Toby---What do you really think about Aftermarket Parts?

—I wrote last month about using an aftermarket radiator on a vehicle still under warranty.  Dan Risley, the Executive director of SCRS sent me the following position statement from Honda on using aftermarket parts and their warranty. 

The original body parts used on Honda and Acura automobiles are designed and built to provide optimum fit, function, safety, and structural integrity.
    When collision repairs are necessary, American Honda recommends that any repairs be performed by an experienced professional using a Honda body repair manual and Honda Genuine original equipment replacement parts designated for use in the specific Honda vehicle being repaired. This will ensure that the parts and components were designed and built to provide the same fit, function, safety, and structural integrity as when the vehicle was initially made.
    Following this recommendation, especially with regard to structural components, will help avoid compromises to the structural integrity and safety of the vehicle that might occur when parts other than Acura and Honda Genuine original equipment replacement parts are used.
    American Honda’s factory warranty, replacement parts warranty or extended warranties do not apply to any part other than a Honda Genuine OE replacement part.
    American Honda will not be responsible for any subsequent repair costs associated with vehicle or part failures caused by the use of parts other than Honda Genuine original equipment replacement parts.

Hey Toby---What is the difference between 4043 and 5356 aluminum electrode wire?
        ---Jeremy, Culver City

Jeremy---Before we look at the different electrode types, we need to understand alloying.  Alloying is the process of adding elements to aluminum so that it will meet certain engineering properties,  The best way to describe it is as follows;  I am going to make a cake.  I assemble the flour, sugar, yeast, eggs and milk, but I leave out the flavor.  If you want a chocolate cake.  I will add cocoa and if you want vanilla flavor, you guessed it, I will add vanilla.  Alloying is like adding chocolate or vanilla, but in the case of aluminum we will add magnesium and silicon.  Aluminun is categorized by a four digit number beginning with 1 (pure aluminum) and going to 9.  We as repairers will deal with 4xxx, 5xxx, & 6xxx,  4xxx is mostly used for cast aluminum and 5xxx and 6xxx for metal parts/rails hoods, doors etc).  The major alloying element for series 4 aluminum is Silicon, Magnesium for Series 5 aluminum and Magnesium and Silcon for Series 6 aluminum. You can use 4046 for series 4 aluminum and series 6 alumnium, but not on Series 5 aluminum. On the other hand you can use 5356 on both series 5 and series 6 aluminum.  Now 4043 melts at a lower temperature and is softer than  5356 wire which lends itself to use it on thinner aluminum such as a crack in a hood or quarter panel.  GM recommends the use of 5356 on replacing a rail section on Z06 Corvette because the 4043 would produce a weak spot at the section joint )in other words, a non intended crtush zone.  You should check what electrode is reommended by the OEM before your proceed to weld any aluminum part.  Hope this helps.

Hey Toby---Got any suggestions on masking a greasy wire loom? 

    ---Luis from San Jose   

Luis---The best product for this is at your local super market.  The high tech product is tin foil.  I can be wrapped around the wire loom is seconds and it does not care if it is greasy.  You can also use it around front and rear hinges as well as the front and rear hood shoclks.  While you are shopping, pick up some freezer backs.  When a tech tears down a vehicle he can put individual small parts into each bag. Also put all broken clips into a separate bag for ordering.

Toby is currently enjoying the sights, sounds, and pasta in Italy, but will be back the week of April 7. As usual send him your questions at tcspeedster@yahoo.com.


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