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Sajeev
Community Manager

Community Question: Things you never knew you needed to weld?

I am showing my age with this question, as I'm sure this happens regularly to those that switch out sealed beams more often than I have over the years.  But these stainless steel(?) headlight are easy to break, especially those with a spring (i.e. the hole on one side) that puts a lot of tension on the whole thing...which isn't great after 48 years of use!

 

That said, I learned how to PROPERLY remove these (with a hooked tool to release the spring tension FIRST) but it was too late and I needed my neighbor to weld 3 of them back together. He's pretty good with a MIG, as this metal is super thin. 

'72 Mark IV headlight ring | Sajeev Mehta'72 Mark IV headlight ring | Sajeev Mehta

 

SIDE NOTE: I still can't believe how rare these particular trim rings are (only available aftermarket if you search for 1969 Mustang) and I'm still trying to understand why this was a good idea relative to newer headlight rings that just use 3-4 screws.  

 

17 REPLIES 17
JimR
Instructor

I remember having to deal with those way back in the day. They were a minor pain and I asked myself the same question...why?

The only thing I ever came up with is that with time and corrosion those little screws (on the rings that used them) occasionally didn’t like to come out and the heads would strip.


And tell your neighbor I’m jealous. In addition to the equipment, apparently TIG requires coordination, practice, a steady hand and intelligence enough for a passing knowledge of metallurgy. Who knew?

Sajeev
Community Manager

Yeah I can't believe he managed to weld these up with a MIG, I will tell him of your kudos! 

 

I gave him three and you can tell which was the first one he worked on: not as pretty but it got the job done.  Actually only I can tell, as I know which headlight to look at (which I won't do that because who cares about an ugly headlight ring!).

Tinkerah
Technician

I have a great trick for getting those screws out: hold the best fitting bit from your drill driver kit in the screw head and snug up a C-clamp from the tail end of the screw to the far end of the driver bit. Now you can back out the screw with a 1/4" open end. Some oil on the threads never hurts either.

BertWilly
New Driver

Sajeev's neighbor here.  I will admit that I was surprised that I could weld these.  Thin metal with MIG can be tricky.  I cranked the heat all the way down and still blew a hole in the first one but the other two turned out decent.  As Sajeev stated, all 3 were functional and given how they are installed, you will never know which one has the hole in it.  I might have to get a TIG one of these days if Sajeev keeps giving me these funky projects. 😁

Sajeev
Community Manager

I will never be the reason you buy more tools.  That said, you should get a TIG. 

hyperv6
Gearhead

I have been lucky. I can stick weld but my father in law could weld plastic to cast iron if asked. 

Seriously he is one of the best welders I have ever seen. 

i have an air dam that makes my car difficult to load on a flat bed or in danger if I autocross. I decided to use two stainless plates with six small stainless nut welded to them. This would make it so I could use the places to screw the air dam into on the lower side of the cars nose. Makes a 1 hour job into a 10 min job. 

He welded these nuts perfect stainless to stainless. And these were not large nuts either. 

Now we do need a story on what have you fixed with JB Weld. I bet there would be some amazing stories. 

Sajeev
Community Manager

Oooh, a JB Weld story is a great idea. 

Guitar74
Gearhead

I can stick weld, and was given a wire feed for Christmas one year. I am still working on that. I'm getting better, but I wouldn't DREAM of trying to weld the headlight rings on my Cougar. That being said, if you are ever in the market to buy some, check out West Coast Classic Cougar. They have them for a great price.

chrlsful
Instructor

"metal glue' I call it. It scans from brazing thru mig, tig, stick and may B ends w/'forge welding". I may use it to remove fasteners (.125 trim screw - 3/4 inch exh bolt) stuck from 40, 50 yrs of  being frozen 3 times a day (tack a bolt head on that baby & wrench it out)...

DeanH
Intermediate Driver

How about plastic ? I had a buddy with a plastic welder. The kit had about 5 different types of plastic rods in various colors. It had a sort of soldering gun with a tube running through the middle of it to feed the rod as you heated the repair area. I had to fix a broken electrical housing on my Fiero and it worked perfectly. Harbor Freight has this one > https://www.harborfreight.com/plastic-welding-kit-with-air-motor-and-temperature-adjustment-96712.ht...

Sajeev
Community Manager

Funny you mention it, I need to learn how to plastic weld soon for one of my project cars! 

OLDERbastard1
Detailer

Sajeev, it is much easier than you think. Most people over-think it. I have been plastic welding for over 40 yrs (out of necessity.... limited funds as a young man, wanting to spend my $ on horsepower as opposed to plastic). All you need is a solder gun (using the "flat blade" attachment). "Stitch" the 2 sides together first (simply push the end of the attachment all the way thru the plastic where the break/crack  line up, then "weld" a bead (just like any other type of welding----pushing attachment into plastic & back out w/o penetrating all the way thru), over top of the seam & use an external plastic source for filler (if needed). Sand & paint as required. 

Sajeev
Community Manager

Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it! It looks that easy for sure, my current problem is getting the part in question in a stable setting so I can weld it back up.  I have a plastic dashboard that has a crack in the middle, and the darn thing flexes so much I can't weld and hold it together at the same time. This problem probably has a simple fix, which I will figure out sometime this month. 

Fatcat32
Intermediate Driver

Anything steel can be welded with the low priced wire-feed welders that use fluxed wire. It just takes a lot of practice matching amperage and wire feed speed. The companies that sell these units also claim they can be used to weld aluminum. But don't try it. You really need an argon gas shield to do that. I actually do a lot of aluminum welding with the typical oxy-acetelene torch. I recieved my aviation airframe certification which required that ability, and found myself using that technique fairly often because there is less cracking after the weld cools. TIG welding would be my other choice. But really, for non-structural joints, like that headlight trim ring, I would braze rather than weld.   

Lee
Pit Crew

I used to help my Uncle restore L2 Taylorcrafts.  I got stuck repairing the aluminum engine cowls and tubing.  These were WWII era planes and by the time I got to the cowls, they looked like swiss cheese from all of the riveted patches and cracks.  I could TIG weld them and dolly them out to look like new.  Also welded up engine cowling and turboprop combustors for the local FBO.  Thought there might be a business opportunities there, but the price to be a certified repair station was prohibitive.

TG
Instructor

My neighbor's buddy (retired - fixed income) wrecked his truck and pretty much flattened everything from the bumper up to the first major crossmember. after a lot of debate about heating and straightening and so forth, i finally said why don't we just cut the front of the frame off and weld on a donor?

 

not the most elegant repair in the world, but RednekAutobody.jpg

500 bucks later and he was back on the road

Zeissmaster
Pit Crew

The end of a shifter cable on a 98 Crown Vic. Got love all the salt on the roads in N.Y.