In a recent article, I talked about welding on a car frame and what that all entails. However one of the most common things that welded on a car is the exhaust pipe. Whether it’s cracked or rusted fixing an exhaust pipe takes a specific process to fix it. So, what is the best way to weld an exhaust pipe?
To weld an exhaust pipe you need to cut and clean the area. Next, you’ll want to tack weld the exhaust together using small tacks to avoid burn-through. Finally, you’ll want to set your welder to a lower amperage before making your final weld.
Even though welding an exhaust pipe can be difficult, it can also be relatively easy if you know what you are doing and how to do each step of the process the correct way.
Continue reading this article if you want to gain basic knowledge on the best way to weld exhaust pipes.
How to Weld an Exhaust Pipe
Let’s go through all the main steps on how to weld. All the way from cutting to seeing the angles of the pipe to how you can make your final product as pretty as possible.
1. Cutting the Angle of The Pipe That Way You Want It
First of all, you will want to cut the pipe to the angle you want it at.
The easiest way to do this is to use a Sharpie to mark exactly where you need to match up the two pipes together.
You should have this information ready before you begin planning a spontaneous welding idea.
2. Clean the Welding Area
After having drawn up these details on the metal the next step is to fully clean the weld area.
This is very important as, the cleaner you can make it, the better the welding will penetrate the metal and, thus, the better a result you’ll get.
3. Set Your Welder Correctly
It is very important that you set your welder correctly to avoid ruining your exhaust pipe from the wrong settings or getting hurt because something wasn’t set up correctly before you begin your welding.
An exhaust pipe is only around 1/16” thick. For that reason, it is important that you keep the heat down to avoid burning a hole in the pipe, as that would pretty much ruin the pipe.
The hotter you choose to weld, the faster you will have to move. By turning down the temperature just a little bit you will have a lot more time welding without having to pause.
4. Tack Weld the Exhaust Pipe In Place
It is a very good idea to tack weld your exhaust in place as the first thing just to make sure it is in the correct position before your start actually welding it on.
By tack welding, your simple weld, just little tacks on that are just enough to hold it on, while you figure out the correct position.
If you choose not to tack weld the exhaust pipe in place before you do the real welding you risk welding the entire thing fully on only to realize that it has been welded on in a completely wrong position or maybe just completely wrong.
5. Make Small Slow Welds Evenly Around the Pipe
It is a great idea to make small welds spaced evenly around the pipe as you weld to avoid overheating and melting through.
Of course, you should in general just be careful, but this method will make it even easier to deliver a beautiful result.
6. Clean, Grind, and Buff the Weld to Get a Seamless Looking Weld
Finally, as you are getting close to the finished product there are a few things you can do to make the exhaust look really good.
If the exhaust otherwise is completely hidden this naturally doesn’t really matter, but if it’s visible then that’s a good idea.
So, if your exhaust is visible and you want it to look really good it is all about cleaning, grinding, and buffing the weld to make it look completely seamless.
This isn’t hard to do, but if done correctly, it can make your exhaust look significantly much better.
4 Safety Tips for Welding the Exhaust Pipe
Just like with any other welding job, it is important that you stay safe and wear safety clothing that protects your body while also allowing your body to move freely.
Additionally, wearing a helmet and safety goggles can be a very good idea for your racer.
1. Clean Up Oil and Grease
Next up it is extremely important that you make sure to clean up any grease, oil, or spilled gas to avoid accidentally starting a massive fire.
If the extremely high welding temperatures jump into some oil or grease laying on the floor it can also quickly become a large fire.
2. Remove Battery Cables
It is also very important that you take off the battery cables while welding the exhaust pipe.
A stray arc from the welder could accidentally fry your entire car’s computer. Just make sure to take off the battery cables for your own and your car’s safety.
3. Cover the Gas Tank
It is also highly recommended that you cover the gas tank. You can probably guess why that is a good idea yourself.
If you are doing some welding near the gas tank you should either remove the exhaust completely. Alternatively, you could just cover it with a welding blanket.
4. Avoid the Fumes
When welding in general there is a high chance of toxic gasses being produced by the metals and it is very important that you do not inhale these.
For that reason, you should consider buying a fume extractor as this will suck the fumes up, thus leaving fewer in the air for you to breathe in. These fumes can be extremely cancerous.
If you think the fume extractor is a little bit too expensive you can alternatively buy one or two small fans.
By using these fans correctly, you can blow air away from your face, and thus blow the gasses away from your face.
It is highly recommended that you have a good ventilation system where you are doing the welding as the room otherwise very quickly can become very toxic.
Gear For Welding Exhaust Pipes
If you want to get the job done right then it’s good to have the right equipment. Here are a few things I recommend.
#1 Welding Helmet and Clothes
First of all, I have to mention the safety clothes and the helmet.
Your safety should always be the number 1 priority and for that reason, you should want to spend that extra money on getting some high-quality welding clothing.
#2 MIG Welder
Secondly, you will want a high-quality MIG welder. There are many different factors to look after when choosing the MIG welder that is the best for you, as it depends on all of these different factors.
The factors I would look for before deciding whether or not a welder was the right one for me are;
- The duty cycle
- types of metals it can weld
- and of course the price tag
As you can see there are many different factors to consider so it is all about trying several different ones and then figuring out which one is the right for you and your needs.
Another tool that is very useful for welding exhaust pipes together is pipe clamps.
First of all, a tool like this is just great for holding the piece together while you work and assuring that the pipes are in to correct position.
Additionally, good pipe clamps can help with pipe alignment and make sure that everything is just the way it is supposed to be.
#4 Hand Grinders
Hand grinders are a must-have for the serious welder. You don’t necessarily need a hand grinder, but it can be super beneficial to use one.
With a hand grinder, you can fix small screw-ups or make other processes faster than they normally would be.
Some of the things you can achieve with a hand grinder are; smoothing out imperfections and bypassing grinding wheels, a hand grinder can hold wire brushes that are very effective for rapid cleaning during a welding project.
So, all in all, hand grinders can help you take the finished product to the next level.
#5 Welding Blanket
A welding blanket is another very good product for the welder. The welding blanket feels like a normal blanket and is actually fire-resistant and will never catch fire.
This can be extremely useful when you are welding, and you might need to quickly cover something up.
Just Time To Get Started
So now you have learned all the basics when it comes to welding on an exhaust pipe.
We have talked about what you should do prior to beginning the work, all the work in the middle, and when you finished how you can clean the project up and make the exhaust aesthetically pleasing.
So after all, it is just up to you to learn as much as possible and, thus, try as much as possible out and figure out your own way to do things.
Welding an exhaust pipe for a vehicle is a hard thing to do and something that far from everyone is capable of doing.
In this article, we will cover exactly what is the best way to weld an exhaust pipe. How to begin the process, what to consider during the process, and what to do afterward.