Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    WI
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    Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    Well I officially have my first challenging project. I own a Mustang Skid Steer and it was in for some general maintenance and repairs. The repair shop said that they found a fairly serious hydraulic leak by the drain plug. They said that the plug and the area around it must have sustained some damage from a rock or curb? He said there is a crack in the tank and it will have to be drained and welded. They won't do the repair so I guess I'm on my own with this one. Once I drain the tank, what is the safest course of action in order to weld a crack on the tank without creating a burnt skid steer or burnt owner for that matter? I haven't picked it up yet to assess the damage myself so I'm just going off of his description of it.

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  2. #2
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    Feb 2007
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    West By Golly Shelby NY
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    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    I would take the tank out and have a radiator shop boil it out. Then I would purge it with Co2 and weld away. Leave any holes you can open. Sender.....

    Usual disclaimer
    Yadda Yadda

    David
    Real world weldin.

    When I grow up I want to be a tig weldor.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Cape Cod MA
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    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    How big is this tank?
    Me!

  4. #4
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    Nov 2006
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    5,798

    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    Quote Originally Posted by David R
    I would take the tank out and have a radiator shop boil it out. Then I would purge it with Co2 and weld away. Leave any holes you can open. Sender...

    David
    This is good advice.

    I'll warn you; the wispy white smoke rising from a super heated hydraulic oil tank is extremely flammable, if not explosive.

  5. #5
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    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    Yes it burns very well! I cut some tubing with a torch that I did not know had hydro in it OMG! FLAME!!!!!!!
    Me!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Cassville, Missouri
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    2,116

    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    I can't remember how the mustangs are built but on many skid steers the tank is basically part of the frame and body. If this is the case with yours the only way you can totally sure you're safe is to have the tank steamed out.

  7. #7
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    Nov 2006
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    5,798

    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    Quote Originally Posted by Me!
    Yes it burns very well! I cut some tubing with a torch that I did not know had hydro in it OMG! FLAME!!!!!!!
    Yes the oil burns.

    What I mean is just the smoke that vents out of an otherwise closed tank.
    Just the smoke rising off heated oil residue, the smoke is very combustible.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Cassville, Missouri
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    2,116

    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    Quote Originally Posted by denrep
    Yes the oil burns.

    What I mean is just the smoke that vents out of an otherwise closed tank.
    Just the smoke rising off heated oil residue, the smoke is very combustible.
    Exactly, You can put out a burning matchs in a bucket of oil all day with no problem. The vaporized oil will light off just about as easy as gasoline.

  9. #9
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    Jul 2007
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    Cape Cod MA
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    1,082

    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    I was able to weld on a tractor frame that was hydro filled just by draining the fluid. I am sure it cooked what ever fluid was in the tube but no "flame" or sparks were present inside. But a danger is if you burn through you a have a explosion directed at you. Filling the tank with CO2 or another inert gas will remove the risk of a flash over in the tank since it will have no O2.

    I used my O/A torch to heat the area I need to weld ( a crack) to slowly burn off any oil that was present.

    Have a BIG CO2 (40#) fire Ex. on hand and a ABC dry chem also. Go for the CO2 first since it will not make a mess, but it takes a LOT of CO2 to put out a good oil fire. The dry chemical will stop it faster but will leave crap all over everything that will need to be cleaned off.

    Good Luck!
    Me!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    WI
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    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    Well I finally got a chance to look over the problem. I'm not sure what the JB Weld product looks like since I've never used it, but it looks something like epoxy that is covering the area. It is leaking underneath that patch. I'm not going to uncover the area until I'm ready to make the repair because I don't want the oil to begin pouring out. I still have a couple of projects that I need to tackle before I can take it out of commission.

    Unfortunately the tank is part of the frame and the leak is adjacent to the right rear wheel. It means that I'm going to have to figure out a way to get this beast up into the air enough for me to make the repair. I'm also going to have to figure out a way to get the oil out of the tank enough for me to safely weld this thing up. I don't know how many gallons the tank is but is large enough that it goes across the entire frame. I don't own a trailer because I use it on my property exclusively so it will be costly to get this thing to a radiator shop. I guess if I have to I will though.

    It would be much nicer to weld this thing on a rack.
    Miller Dynasty 200DX
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  11. #11

    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    If you use JB Weld to repair anything, be assured that the owner will never call you back for another repair!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    5,798

    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    Your oil reservoir probably is not vented; instead a cushion of air is likely kept trapped above the oil, to keep the tank pressurized. Temporarily you could disable the pressure/vent valve and allow the tank to vent. This will slow the leak until you can make a repair. Keep pump speeds down to avoid cavitation.

    Consider this for a fix: Get the injury dry, scrub and clean with acetone. Apply a small amount of silicone sealer, just to the immediate damage. Then put a large patch of high-end epoxy over the cured silicone.

    If you've been running the machine for awhile; maybe you would feel comfortable using the bucket hydraulics to raise the machine. Let it cantilever down on heavy cribbing so that the hydraulic tank is accessible. Be safe about it.

  13. #13

    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    Epoxy will leak and so will silicone. You will still have to repair the leak with metal after the epoxy leaks again in a week.

    Weld it- it's easy. Empty the tank and flow CO2 through the tank while welding it. Keep a wet rag over the tank's top vent or filler opening to keep the "white vapor" in the tank while welding. The wet rag will contain the flammable particulate white smoke yet allow the tank to breathe. The CO2 will prevent combustion of anything in the tank.


    Another alternative is to clean it to shiny bare metal and solder a patch over it. You won't have enough heat to hurt anything in the tank when soldering.

  14. #14
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    Dec 2006
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    WI
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    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    The welding will take place overhead. How important would it be if I stuck with argon as opposed to getting helium? I'd hate to get a helium tank for one small repair.

    By the way, thank you all for you responses.
    Miller Dynasty 200DX
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  15. #15
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    Dec 2006
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    WI
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    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    I need your opinions on a new development. I've been avoiding my tank repair because of the location of the crack as you can tell by the dates of my other posts.

    I can't be 100% positive about this but I believe the crack is not only on the bottom of the tank but it goes up the side of the tank. That wouldn't normally be a problem except there is another tank that is welded in place next to the hydraulic tank. There is only about 1/2" of clearance between the two tanks.

    Since I can't get a torch between the two tanks, here is my thinking. Tell me if I'm nuts or right on track. Since I can't get at the crack from the outside, I thought I would remove a section of the tank on the bottom where the lower portion of the crack is located. I would cut a hole big enough to get a torch inside the tank in order to make the repair. Then repair or replace the bottom section that I removed with the crack in it and TIG it in place.

    What d'ya think?
    Miller Dynasty 200DX
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  16. #16
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    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    Quote Originally Posted by hflwaterski

    ...There is only about 1/2" of clearance between the two tanks.

    ...I would cut a hole big enough to get a torch inside the tank in order to make the repair.

    ...What d'ya think?
    Cutting an access "window" is sometimes the only way. But if you have to get that serious couldn't you remove the tank? Even if it means some cutting?

    Since I mentioned the silicone/epoxy repair I had a chance to look at a fractured converter housing that I fixed with silicone several years ago. It is still as dry as a cork.

    This is on a wheel loader, the converter housing was damaged by a stray rock that wedged between the drive shaft and the housing. Tiny fractures in the casting were causing a leak.

    Impossible to braze or weld, without a major tear down. I elevated the machine to drain oil away from the damage. I then heated the damaged area to burn out the oil. Then I V'd the fractures with a carbide pencil grinder, cleaned it up and applied silicone to the V'd fractures. After the silicone cured I put an epoxy cap over the repair. The proofs in the pudding. This housing is flooded with hot convertor oil and doesn't leak a drop. When I'm near the patch again, I'll take a picture to post.

    Manufacturers routinely authorize and warranty chemical repairs to porous or damaged castings.
    All the big manufacturers advocate and sell epoxy repair kits under their own brand name.
    Today's oil filled assemblies, sealed with only silicone, are actually dry. They never were dry with conventional gaskets.

    Properly applied chemical sealants are effective.
    What could you loose by trying it on your tank?

    Good Luck
    Last edited by denrep; 10-19-2007 at 12:16 PM.

  17. #17
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    utcia michigan
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    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    drain the tank below the leek fill the tank with c02 or argon weld it
    and your good to go

    Chuck
    ASME Pressure Vessel welder

  18. #18
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    Nov 2006
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    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    Quote Originally Posted by chopper5
    drain the tank below the leek fill the tank with c02 or argon weld it
    and your good to go
    1/2" side clearance

  19. #19
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    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    well we you pull it just do what i said and you should be good
    as long as it has co2 or argon it will not burn no air no fire

    Chuck
    ASME Pressure Vessel welder

  20. #20
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    Nov 2006
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    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    Quote Originally Posted by chopper5
    well we you pull it just do what i said and you should be good
    as long as it has co2 or argon it will not burn no air no fire
    Quote Originally Posted by hflwaterski
    ...Unfortunately the tank is part of the frame and the leak is adjacent to the right rear wheel...


    and 1/2" side clearance =

  21. #21
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    Dec 2006
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    WI
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    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    Well, it certainly can't hurt to try the silicone route. Not to mention that I don't have any helium for my TIG and I'll have to weld over my head while the machine is on jack stands.
    Miller Dynasty 200DX
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  22. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Irvine, CA
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    291

    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    You could probably stick weld in the 1/2" clearance. Wouldn't be easy but I think it could be done

  23. #23
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    Jul 2007
    Location
    Columbus Ms
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    170

    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    If this crack is growing, something is causing that, what about making a new tank that you could bolt into place where the old take was, cut part of the old tank off using the sides as mounting for the new tank. Then if you ever need to repair again you can take it off plus if the other frame mounted tank cracks you can remove the hydro tank and get to it. A lil more work but in the future an easier repair.

  24. #24
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    Dec 2006
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    WI
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    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    Quote Originally Posted by MrRodeoCC
    what about making a new tank that you could bolt into place where the old take was
    My only fear there is the current hydraulic tank is an integral part of the frame. It basically holds the two sides together. It would have to be a pretty sturdy bolt up if I went that route.

    Here are two pics if it helps to clear it up. The one is a little blury because it was a bit too close.

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    Miller Dynasty 200DX
    Grizzly 14" Band Saw
    Rigid CM1450 Chop Saw
    JD2 TN-100 Tube Notcher

  25. #25
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    Oct 2006
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    Cassville, Missouri
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    Re: Hydraulic Oil Tank Repair

    I've seen a couple of mustang skid steers and several others that had the tanks being a welded part of the structure. If the crack does truely go up betwwen 2 welded pieces with only 1/2" clearence than there really isn't much other option than to make a window in the outer skin of the tank large enough to work through. Then cleaning out the tank and welding it up shouldn't be that hard. However I would make every effort to totally clean and remove the paint from the suspected area first to make sure you aren't just seeing cracked paint. Making a window would allways be my last resort because it is in a structural area and will kill the resell value of the machine.

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