“I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.”
“I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.”
Illustration for article titled Low Pressure Aluminum Tank Repair

A buddy left water in his camper's tank last winter. It froze.

When repairing a crack, you need to make sure it's not gonna spread. The tried and true method of doing this is drilling a hole at each end of the crack

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Illustration for article titled Low Pressure Aluminum Tank Repair
Illustration for article titled Low Pressure Aluminum Tank Repair
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Next I wanted to bang the metal back into shape as best I could to try to close the gaps. I needed to anneal it to get it workable so it wouldn't fracture more. Aluminum doesn't change color like steel, so there's no tell tale sign you're getting it too hot. But the soot from a gas heavy flame(easy with acetylene, trickier but still do-able with propylene) works as a nice indicator:

Illustration for article titled Low Pressure Aluminum Tank Repair
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Now with a neutral flame heat the aluminum....it'll melt the soot away right around the proper temp to anneal the base metal. Gotta be careful, especially on thinner material. It's easy to go too far and toast the al.

Illustration for article titled Low Pressure Aluminum Tank Repair
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somehow I missed getting a pic of the tank beaten into place. I cut most of the edges a bit with a die grinder to give myself some solid "edge meat" to work with. Even so, the blades leave some crap behind in the base metal, which can contaminate the weld. Not ideal, but the best I had to work with here. Sometimes you can't do things by the book, and knowing when and how far you can push an improv is part intuition and part experience.

Illustration for article titled Low Pressure Aluminum Tank Repair
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All done.

Illustration for article titled Low Pressure Aluminum Tank Repair
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Not the prettiest thing out there, but I'm satisfied based on what I had to work with.

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