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welding cast iron question???

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by alexelchingon, Oct 18, 2008.

  1. alexelchingon
    Joined: Mar 1, 2007
    Posts: 169


    I bought a F1 steering gear box that the guy that i bought it off of, cut the mounting tabs off cause he was gonna mount it a different way so he didnt need those tabs. I took the gear box housing with the tabs to this muffler guy that said he knows how to weld castiron. when he was done he said it should be ok but that since the gear box was so old, it had alot of nickel in it or something so he wasnt to sure about the tabs breaking off...point is...i got a shitty feeling in my stomach and im wondering if anyone has ever had old cast iron welded before and how it turned out?..or should i just toss it and buy another gear box???
  2. Muffler guys usually know how to weld mufflers.
  3. BigVinDaddyMac
    Joined: Feb 17, 2008
    Posts: 195


    I usually use high nickle rod when I weld cast iron after pre-heating the part. Brazing is usually effective as well. However, I doubt that I would weld a steering box mounting tab back on, I would throw it away and buy a repop because I want to live.
  4. thirty7slammed
    Joined: Sep 1, 2007
    Posts: 886

    from earth

    Cast iron can be welded, Im no expert but to my knowledge usually pre heat and weld with a nickel rod, or braze which I definately wouldn't recomend for a steering box. In your case, I'd be looking for a new box.

  5. crf500
    Joined: Dec 1, 2007
    Posts: 177


    maybe the muffler man should keep changing muffler bearings!
  6. jagfxr1949
    Joined: Jun 27, 2008
    Posts: 277


    There is NO WAY I would ever trust a structural weld on cast iron. It tends to break next to the weld. The steering gear is a MAJOR safety item on the car and if it fails? Toss that one and find another, way cheaper than lawyers.
  7. MXmaniac
    Joined: Oct 22, 2007
    Posts: 45

    from Denton, TX

    Better safe than sorry, I'd replace it.
  8. Pir8Darryl
    Joined: Jan 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,488


    X1 more for a new box. Your life is not worth the couple hundred bones you might save trying to piece this one back together
  9. Paul Windshield
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 317

    Paul Windshield

    The cast iron used by Ford in those years is of high quality and is weldable. Take it to someone who knows what he's doing.
  10. gashog
    Joined: Dec 9, 2005
    Posts: 978


    Guys have been modifying the old cast iron steering boxes years and they can be welded successfully. The beauty of doing it this way, is with the box mounted inside the frame, it is a fail safe even if the weld breaks. The sector is captured in the hole in the frame between the sector housing and the main box on one side and the pitman arm on the other. If the weld fails on the mount, the worst that happens is the steering gets a little mushy, nothing catastrophic. I can speak to this personally as I shortened the sector housing on the Gemmer box in my Model A like is often done with the F1 box to make room for the flathead engine. I originally had the shortened housing brazed and except for the puddle of gear lube on the garage floor, could hardly tell when the joint failed. I took the sector to a professional welder who put a deep V at the joint and made four passes of weld. I haven't had a problem with it since. Here's a link to the thread:

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 21, 2008
  11. B-Ray
    Joined: Apr 11, 2008
    Posts: 194


    gas hog is correct you can weld cast iron back, you must pre heat and post heat so it does not heat up or cool down to rapidly. cast iron has very large grain structure so it is not very ductile and can easily faile if not welded coerrectly. But the welded area tends to be stronger and as a major part steering I would not take the chance. Theres a good box right now on e-bay for a desecnt price. good luck :D
  12. Flat Ernie
    Joined: Jun 5, 2002
    Posts: 8,406

    Flat Ernie
    Tech Editor

    If it were just one ear, I might tempt it. But all the mounting ears? No fucking way.

    Yes, you can weld cast iron. Yes, a good welder will do it right and it will be plenty strong. However good welder & muffler guy don't generally go together necessarily.
  13. jdj9410
    Joined: Sep 4, 2007
    Posts: 324

    from Paris TX

    If you are putting this box on Ford style frame with the thru frame mount, cut those ears off and grind smooth the output housing. You can then get the Steering box flange from Vern Tardel parts for $35. Get the flange fitted and tacked. Get a 5 gal bucket and sack of sand. Really heat the the output housing with a torch. Have a helper keep the part hot while you weld the flange on with nickel rods. Half fill bucket with the sand before start welding, then after finish welding, place the part in bucket of sand and cover to top with rest of sand and let cool overnight. You can then have a local machine shop magnaflux it, mine charged me twenty dollars. Put in the new output seal and you got the whole deal done for about 70-80 dollars. You can also use a lathe or mill to turn down output housing if you have access to these machines. I think there is a link on the h.a.m.b. detailing this process.
  14. RUDOG
    Joined: Nov 5, 2007
    Posts: 261


    I welded one ear on mine...and I still think about it. I check it all the time.
  15. Kevin Lee
    Joined: Nov 12, 2001
    Posts: 7,442

    Kevin Lee
    Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    This sure seems like the best option.
  16. AV8 posted how to do that, I think Vern Tardel also has a booklet on the process.
  17. vendettaautofab
    Joined: Jan 9, 2006
    Posts: 1,602

    Member Emeritus

    I have done it here....

    I dont think I am the only one, a handful of folks have done the same thing... no cracks and you can hang from the column. I detailed the process and the rod used in the thread. I have welded quite a bit of cast iron and steel. Just takes some prep and research of the particular item your welding. Meaning, you have to know the options and get a plan of attack for the application.
  18. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,495


    Another option would be if you found another box with a good housing that is junk inside or missing parts, you could swap your good guts into an uncut housing.

    I'm sure it's do-able to weld cast iron but on a steering gear box I don't think it's worth the risk. Unless you're going to have your welds sonically tested, you'll never know for sure. And even if it never fails, it'll bug you while your driving the car. Those boxes aren't that rare.
  19. vendettaautofab
    Joined: Jan 9, 2006
    Posts: 1,602

    Member Emeritus

    Exactly... unless a stock box wont do, as in the application I posted above, I would find a new box, as Squablow stated, they are pretty common.
  20. 296 V8
    Joined: Sep 17, 2003
    Posts: 4,666

    296 V8
    from Nor~Cal

    I believe iv read a post on here by AV8 that Vern Tardel welds new mounting flanges on them as part of his standard deals.
    Are you sure its not a forging?
  21. f6fhellcat00
    Joined: Nov 20, 2005
    Posts: 21


    Hey guys those boxes are made of cast steel big diffrence. You can weld on cast steel all day long! most steering components will also be cast steel, they wouldent use cast iron for steering apps.
  22. Dump it , won't last F-1 boxes are easy to find, about 10 bucks in our area at the Easy pull yard.
  23. Skrap metal
    Joined: Jan 22, 2003
    Posts: 362

    Skrap metal

    listen to these guys they know what their talking about...
    never attempt to weld anything structural thats cast iron. its one thing to make a
    patch or fill a crack, but that steering box.. forget it!
  24. jetmek
    Joined: Jan 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,846


    ive have good results welding those with just a mig welder. cut the 3 bolt flange off and welded on a 2 bolt for model A frames. the trick is a deep vee for penetration and especially preheat and post heat to slow cool down. exhaust manifolds is hit or miss usually have too much contamination in the metal.
  25. temper_mental
    Joined: Oct 22, 2006
    Posts: 2,718

    from Texas

    Do not try to weld anything back on it. It will not work and when it fails it could be bad.
  26. junk man
    Joined: Apr 8, 2009
    Posts: 4

    junk man

    I have a video for welding cast Iron, the old man is using old Piston rings and a brazing tip on a torch, (sez the old piston rings are made of cast iron). he keeps welding the rings together as he uses them and keeps filling in the trench he ground out on the manifold of block, also follow the preheat istrusctions you keep hearing about

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