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Old 01-29-2012, 03:20 PM   #1
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Is this a bad aluminum weld?

Do we have any welders here? Can someone look at this weld that failed in my horse trailer and tell me if it was just a shoddy weld?

If you click the image to see it full size, the light-grey part is the part that was actually attached. The black is some sort of soot.

This is a divider hinge that goes between two horses.

Click image for larger version

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Old 01-29-2012, 03:26 PM   #2
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It appears to me to be a weld that was not done correctly. If you look at the piece on the right, it is piled high with a bead, but the one on the left has no bead at all. It could not "mate" together. It looks like the welder could not get his rod in there correctly to get a good bead on both pieces. The weld is supposed to flow the metal together, and a weld is typically stronger than the original structure. JMHO

Good luck.
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:29 PM   #3
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I was always told that the weld should be stronger than the base metal. It appears to me that the weld itself, not the base metal next to the weld is what failed.
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Old 01-29-2012, 04:24 PM   #4
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That appears to be a poorly designed joint. a round piece welded to a larger round piece. There does not appear to be a good area for the two base metals and you are depending on a lot of filler metal to keep then stuck together.

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Old 01-29-2012, 04:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXiceman View Post
That appears to be a poorly designed joint. a round piece welded to a larger round piece. There does not appear to be a good area for the two base metals and you are depending on a lot of filler metal to keep then stuck together.

Ken
It's difficult to see in the pic I posted, but there is another piece in between, that appears to be a bit of bar stock that has a convex area milled in the side, to match the radius of the larger round pole. It's purpose (other than to make the joint better) is to stand the hinge off the pole a bit so the divider can swing smoothly.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:32 PM   #6
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Hard to tell without pics from both sides of the joint. My guess is the black stuff is primarily aluminum oxide scraped off the mating parts during rotation and scraped into the joint.

If you clean it off, is one part of the break smoother/shiner than the rest? If so a crack propagated from there (or there was no penetration at that point) and the joint "fretted" where the crack started. Eventually the remaining joint area work hardens and you get a brittle fracture with the dull crystallized structure.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:35 PM   #7
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Poor weld joint
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:41 PM   #8
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Does not appear to be much penetration in the weld from the pic. Definitely a bad design and not much material to carry the load.
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Old 01-29-2012, 07:51 PM   #9
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In my opinion aluminum welds are not as strong as they are on steel.That looks like a not so good weld,and the hinge probably should have been bolted to the gate or a more wrap around design rather than a butt weld. The rear doors on my daughters horse trailer broke off the same way and we had them put a different hinge on with bolts. I don't weld aluminum myself but know a guy that welds heavy aluminum(truck boxes) and he always reinforces everything very heavily.
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:05 PM   #10
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No preheat. Is just one cause. most likely lazy welder.







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Old 01-30-2012, 07:34 AM   #11
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Thank you all for your replies and opinions. They support my belief that this is a manufacturing defect, and so I will be pursuing a warranty repair.
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Old 01-30-2012, 08:20 AM   #12
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The weld on the left looks good, but the one on the right looks like the original weld was welded over as repair weld. Vertical welds are harder to do. I haven't tried vertical aluminum, but I would like to think I could do a little better than that.
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Old 01-30-2012, 08:23 AM   #13
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when you get it fixed, make sure the joint isn't carrying the majority of a cyclic load - (ex, the top hinge on a gate or door - the cycles come from the constant heave of the trailer). Put something on the bottom of the opposite edge and the joint will last a lot longer.
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:12 AM   #14
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Poor weld on aluminum period.
AC Tig or hi freq. Mig welding process done as there is a frosty ac cleaned zone next to the bead.
The black is the burned aluminum oxide layer (yes aluminum rusts you just can't see it untill welded on) that was not able to be cleaned after the weld.
The black is a result of improper weld preperation and cleaning PRIOR to the weld to remove any contamination and oxides.
Cracks in aluminum typically start at the last end of the weld when the crater was not filled in properly and/or poor joint design and fit-up.

This joint exhibits poor design and not enough base metal penetration on the tube end of the weld as well as not enough fillet bead size for the application. Basically not enough heat and filler applied to the correct areas.
Taking it to a consious aluminum welder will do the trick. Boat and trailer builders are a good start.

Yes I am an aluminum welder.
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