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practice, practice, practice

Whatever you do, try it on similar material first. If you have done steel or other metals before, you need to find the correct heat range and practice with the material you are repairing. Most of our guys at work braze aluminum ac lines and no one started doing it right from the get go.
 

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Wow... think of all the salvaged Elises and Exiges that were totalled because of damage to the aluminum tub. These can now be repaired to factory specs!!!! :D








...... kidding obviously, but yes, sounds really neat. :up:
 

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Yeah, I figured on practicing on some scrap tubing. It sure looks easy in the video though. I'm having a real hard time finding anyone that will or can fix my fridge :(
 

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I haven't used this exact product, but I have used aluminum brazing rod in the past sold by other vendors and it works quite well. The only tricks to using it are making sure the spot to be brazed is perfectly clean by using a stainless steel brush to clean it and not applying the brazing rod until the aluminum is uniformly heated. You know when it is heated correctly when you scrape the aluminum with the tip of the brazing rod with the propane torch pulled away and it melts on contact and flows into the joint. Don't use the torch to melt the rod prematurely or you will get a cold solder type of braze that will not work. The toughest part with your repair will be shielding the rest of the fridge components in the immediate area from the heat and flame of the torch. By the looks of your damage, this brazing rod repair will work perfectly. Try practicing on some scrap aluminum until you get the knack of flowing the braze in absence of the torch flame--just heat the part completely and keep scratching the tip of the rod across the spot to be brazed until it until it melts and flows into the crack. If the flow isn't exactly where you need it, add some heat again from the torch applied in the direction you want the braze to flow. The melted brazing rod will always flow toward the heat. Good luck!
 

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Tresprit,

Thanks for the tips. I'm leaning this way over epoxy. It's more expensive, but possibly more reliable.
 

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Tesprit,

Thanks for the tips. I'm leaning this way over epoxy. It's more expensive, but possibly more reliable.
No problem, and it will permanently repair the damage. Epoxy is a band-aid repair at best and will eventually fail. I used this brazing rod to repair a cracked aluminum thermostat housing on a Rolls-Royce and it worked perfectly. I also used it to repair a torn aluminum engine baffle made of sheet aluminum on my airplane and it is still perfect after 5 years of flying. The spot where the parts are brazed will actually be stronger than the surrounding undamaged aluminum.
 

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I think I'd just use a proper size double ended compression fitting. Cut out the cracked part of the tube, slip each end into the compression fitting, and tighten the nuts.

Of course, then you have the problem of vacuuming out the "freon" system, and refilling (probably with R-22). Since there are no fittings to add "freon" (the ports are sealed off during manufacture), you are going to have to add a fill port (maybe use a "T" compression fitting and add a shrader valve). But you still have to have the "freon" and a way to fill it.

Have you called an appliance repair shop?

Compression fitting:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The compression fitting is a good idea, although it's on curve so which makes it difficult. I ordered the brazing rods, so I'll try that first. Any recommendations on torch? Mapp Gas or Propane?

As far as recharging that will be the next obstacle. I did not know the system is sealed off at manufacture. This is old 60's Frigidaire Imperial. I was also told I need to replace the dryer as it may not work after re-charge. Of course the dryer is no longer available. It does come up as a filter if I google the part #, so I am not all that certain. :shrug:
 

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Don't even worry, you will be using the fittings if you try brazing first. Aluminum will melt so fast your head will spin. There really is a learning curve. I would buy a piece of almuminum tubing and practice. Propane alone will be fine it gets up well beyond 720 degrees. BUT, this product sounds awesome if it melts right at the correct temperature. Another thing you can do if the hole is small enough is get a clamp on access fitting (you need one anyway to put in the freon) If it covers the hole you've solved 2 problems. Was the quote just for the weld or to evacuate the system and replace the freon. It's not the same stuff you put in your car and you'd have to get 30 lbs of it at over $100 anyway (and legally you can't buy it), plus do you have an evacuation pump, to pump down the system before you fill it? Do you know how to weigh the correct amount of freon going in, if you put too little the unit won't function fully too much and you run liquid through the compressor and shorten it's life. Other then these minor things it's a fairly easy project.

BUt, if you can do all that you can buy two fittings and cut out the bad section back to where they are straight, and put a whole new tube in the middle with a bend.
 

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HI I'M BILLY MAYS!!11!1
NOW YOU CAN REPAIR ANY JOB BIG OR SMALL, THANKS TO MIGHTY PUTTY. MIGHTY PUTTY IS GREAT FOR ANYTHING FROM YOUR SMALLEST CRAFT PROJECTS TO YOUR LARGEST HOME IMPROVEMENTS!!!11!!ELEVEN!!1 THE EASY WAY TO FILL AND SEAL ALMOST ANY SURFACE AND MAKE IT LAST. BIG OR SMALL MIGHTY PUTTY SEALS THEM ALL!!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
414b Hot shot is the replacement for the R-12 Freon.

Yes, I plan on practicing with a scrap tube. The company told me this would be a very easy fix with their HTS-2000 product.

$250 to 300 quote from welding specialist

$240 + 130 Labor for evacuate and re-charge. I need to make a few more calls on this. I'm fixing the hole first. I need more info on the dryer part and what type of valve may need to be installed. These items may drive the price up :(
 

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I read most of the web site because I am going to order some of this stuff and they suggest to use mapp gas. Great, I have some of that and it's cheap. They have a good FAQ page.

Didn't like the web site at first, but after some patience, it's okay. They made me feel confident that I could master it easily.
 

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The line will have to be extremely clean, not just in the area of the weld. That means pulling the line and cleaning the hell out of the entire line with solvent. Otherwise, the oil will find it's way into the weld and ruin it. I have to fix an a/c line on my ZR1 since new ones are not available. It will likely get ultrasonically cleaned at a place that cleans and inspects aircraft parts. They did a large intake plenum for a V6 for $15.00. Not bad and it's as clean as it can be.
 

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414b Hot shot is the replacement for the R-12 Freon.
Chances are, it is NOT R-12 "Freon". It is probably R-22 as that is ususally what is used in refrigerators and building air conditioners.

You are still going to need to get it vacuumed out, and recharged. You need a license to buy R-12, but you should be able to get the other kinds without a license - but it will still come in big tanks.

You need a vacuum pump, a scale to weigh the amount of "freon" that is put in the system (and you need to know how much to put in), the tank of "freon", and the guages/hoses to connect up things. Oh yea, you also need to figure out how much of the special oil to add to the system (some got out when the gas escaped). Again, you need to have enough, but not too much oil in the system.

By the way, the dryer is used to filter out any moisture that gets into the system. If you have a crack that has let out the gas, then air and moisture has gotten back in. That will "fill" the dryer to capacity and it won't do it's job anymore. That's why it needs to be replaced when a system is opened up.

One other question...

Since it's an old refrigerator, it is probably not very efficient. Have you considered just replacing it? Buying a new one might save you money in the long run (not including the repair costs)...
 

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The compression fitting is a good idea, although it's on curve so which makes it difficult. I ordered the brazing rods, so I'll try that first. Any recommendations on torch? Mapp Gas or Propane?

As far as recharging that will be the next obstacle. I did not know the system is sealed off at manufacture. This is old 60's Frigidaire Imperial. I was also told I need to replace the dryer as it may not work after re-charge. Of course the dryer is no longer available. It does come up as a filter if I google the part #, so I am not all that certain. :shrug:
The brazing rod is designed to be used with a propane torch. Do not use anything else especially anything with an oxygen tank or you will blow away the aluminum and vaporize the brazing rod. The rod is designed to be used with a common plumbing propane torch because the propane torch doesn't produce enough heat to melt the aluminum and is just the right heat range to melt the rod. Think of this rod as being like plumbing solder used for soldering copper plumbing fittings rather than traditional brazing rod used with an oxy/acetylene torch. It really does work well and is easy to use. Once you try it on the scrap pieces you will be amazed. Just remember to carefully clean the pieces to be "brazed" with a stainless steel brush and immediately start the heating afterward. The cleaning with the stainless brush is necessary to remove the aluminum oxide that forms quickly on bare aluminum which will not allow the melted brazing rod to flow and stick. If the aluminum is not cleaned the melted rod will bead up and roll off just like regular plumbing solder if you don't clean and flux the fittings/pipe with copper plumbing.
 

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:bow:

I never cease to be amazed by tesprit's experience and knowledge base. I'd love to watch him and Tim face off for the McGyver award. :)
 

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:bow:

I never cease to be amazed by tesprit's experience and knowledge base. I'd love to watch him and Tim face off for the McGyver award. :)
Thanks for the :bow: Todd, but in reality all this experience has come from limping along lots of old junk (cars--especially old Lotus Europas, motorcycles, boats, airplanes, you name it!) throughout the years and eventually figuring out how to fix them without breaking the bank each time. It's just good that this experience has allowed me to share the things that worked along with the disasters that didn't so the next guy doesn't have to go down the same path I did.
 
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