How difficult is it to solder brass? My original brass radiator for my '14 has a small leak at the seam for the top tank and side. I tried JB Weld, but it didn't hold so I scraped it out. I think all I need to so is lay some solder in the seam, but I've never done it before. Any advice?
You can easily solder Brass if it is very clean and you use good flux. Only use the flux where you want the solder to be and be very stingy with it.Most solder on the Brass radiators was put on from the inside,
I agree. Clean and Flux. A little practice on something else will help.
You need to practice quite a bit on some scrap brass as Richard suggested. You need to learn how to be very good before you start or you will have a real mess on your hands. See if you can get a black radiator from the junkyard for a
20 year old car , then sweat off the tank and solder it back in place. If you have any left over JB weld in the joint the solder will not take. If you get it too hot things will come apart.
I assume you have no soldering experience. Remember if your metal is not clean as Jack says the solder will not take.
Get a couple of pieces of brass sheet metal from your local hardware store to practice fixing a joint similar to what you are setting out to do. Here are the materials I used to fix a leak on the BACK SIDE of my radiator -- so there were no significant cosmetic issues. (I could be a little generous with the solder).
Here's the list of materials --
1. 40/60 solder. 40% tin, 60% lead - not Kosher in California.
2. Johnson's Soldering Fluid
3. plain old propane torch
4. glass bead blast the area to be soldered- clean, clean, clean.
Others may know if the POSITION of the radiator when soldering can help contain the flow of solder to just the joint.
Worked for me -
99% of a good solder joint is starting with clean shiny metal with NO tarnish or oxides. Sandpaper or emory cloth is your friend.
The best flux I have used is TIX, it is expensive and available through micro mark
http://www.micromark.com/Tix-Soldering-Flux-1-fl-oz-two-1and2-oz-bottles,11816.h tml?sc=WGB&utm_source=GoogleBase&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=GoogleBase&gclid=C jwKEAjwmZWvBRCCqrDK_8atgBUSJACnib3lzbij-vcNRlL-R8REniCWXfK2SCwJsc2S8OSNHbprfBoCj B_w_wcB
I used to make small farm toys out of brass, and getting the brass clean is the first thing, and this flux will make just about any solder flow better than any other flux I have tried.
I missed Craig's comment about glass beading, that will work well, or you can use the finest sand that is available (I used to get blow sand from the desert) It is cheaper than beads if you can not recapture the abrasive.
From another Elliott, I did my radiator and headlights on my '13..
The gent who did it suggested I get him 42% silver solder. As I recall he said the melting temp was lower and the colour it finishes is slightly yellow, thus resembling brass and not a repaired joint.
I couldn't get 42% but did find 40% from Harris.
You'll need the sticks, and from what I've been told, get them bare, and get separate correct flux.
I didn't have the guts to attempt the repair myself, but I trusted a very gifted Scotsman who did wonders...
Hope this helps,
I suggest if you don't have the solder and flux, going to a craft store and get the 50 50 solder and the flux that is used by the stain glass folks. If you can turn the seam down after cleaning and fluxing a soldering iron is a lot slower but safer than a torch. If you use a torch use as little heat as possible and put wet rags on each side as a heat sink. If you have a friend that is a plumber, its an easy fix for him.
I find that for things like this, it's sometimes much better to use a big, old fashioned soldering iron. You get much better heat control than with a torch. Something like the old American Beauty electric soldering iron is what I have in mind.
Yes, they still make them, but they're expensive. You can find an old one on eBay pretty cheap I'm guessing.
http://www.amazon.com/American-Beauty-3198-550-Heavy-Duty-Soldering/dp/B007SB4F8 W/ref=sr_1_2/181-4908420-8292154?ie=UTF8&qid=1441209471&sr=8-2&keywords=American +Beauty+Soldering+Irons
Ebay isn't always the cheapest source. I still find them quite often at yard sales!
I wish more of the yard sales around here had old tools. Most of them just have used toys and baby clothes.
You're correct David. But eBay is the "gotta have it sooner rather than later source".
I buy them in junk & antique shops for $5 or $10. Got a really big one, 600W, last year and already used it e few times. They never seem to break.
(American Beauty solder irons used to be made in Detroit, just a few blocks from the Ford Piquette Plant. Now they're made in Clawson, MI USA, about 20 minutes away from Detroit. Same quality as 100 years ago.)
As others have stated, find a piece of scrap brass and practice a while to get the feel of it.
Cleaning the joint and using some type of silver solder will get the job done.
I use a propane torch using a small tip and it works fine.
You can get the propane torch kits at Lowes and other hardware stores.
Soldering doesn't take exotic or expensive equipment.
Learning to control the heat is the key to soldering. Practice and you will get it right.
Doesn't take a lot of heat to get good results.
The heat is the hardest thing to learn how control. Many times on radiators or brass lights it not easy to prevent other parts from coming loose as the temp gets out of control. Remember the size of the part makes a lot of difference.
A wet rag is your friend to prevent loosing other parts.
When soldering where visible, you can contain the solder and flux by applying copper adhesive tape on either side of your seam. I use this technique on brass lamp repairs where a sloppy solder job is not acceptable. You can purchase this tape in varying widths at most hobby stores, where this is made for "foil" style stained glass construction.
Gene your post about using wet rags for heat control is a great point. Many years ago when I worked for an A/C company building coils and etc. we had a bucket of wet rags we used constantly when soldering small parts and controls next to joints and larger control devices.
Learning to solder in these situations is where I learned about heat control. My boss said anyone could learn how to do it but I didn't at first believe him but I did learn it could be done!
Remember solder flows "toward" the heat.
Two best tips I can give with regard to soldering anything.
1. Everything must be CLEAN.
2. Heat the object, not the solder. Let the object heat the solder.
Thanks for all the great advice everyone; so far, the leak hasn't reappeared so I'm not going to do anything for the moment. But if it does start to leak again, I fell more confident on how to solder it1
Converting an old veneer iron makes a great soldering iron and gives a heat control to boot.