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Thread: Identifying cast material

  1. #1
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    Identifying cast material

    Long story short:
    I have a Chrysler 8.25 rear out my Jeep That I will be welding on, incl the cast center section.
    Some Ford rear have "Cast steel" centers and can be welded easily with MIG,, reading online it "appears" the ford 8.8 is a cast steel center (It was on the net, it's gotta be true)
    "cast Iron" is much more difficult and requires different procedures and filler.

    So, I have my Chrysler 8.25 in the shop,, and a Ford 8.8 in the scrap pile.
    In all my reading there is no mention of the make up of the Chrysler cast material.
    I did a spark test and drill test on each, but no definitive results to my untrained eyes.

    Below are the pics from the test on the ford 8.8 and the chysler 8.25, they appear to be simular.
    Can anyone ID the type of cast I am dealing with on the Chrysler?
    Or where to send a sample for definitive testing?


    Chrysler center section
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    Chrysler drilling chips from center section
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    Sparks from mild steel tubes
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    Sparks from Ford 8.8 center section
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    Ford 8.8 drilling chips from center section
    Name:  7) 8.8 cast sec.jpg
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  3. #2
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    Re: Identifying cast material

    I usually go by the chips. Yours are some type of steel, not cast iron. I would use about a 200-250 degree preheat and weld them. Try to not cool it too fast and should be good .

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    Re: Identifying cast material

    The Chrysler part looks to be steel....you get sparks starting right at the grinder and you got some long, corkscrew chips. The Ford part looks more like ductile iron, often called nodular iron...sparks start farther out, but not as far out as cast iron and you get some small chips mixed with a few small corkscrew chips. Ford used nodular iron on many 9" differentials, and marked them with an N on the casting if my memory is correct.
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  5. #4
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    Re: Identifying cast material

    Thanks for the reply's. That is what I was thinking (Hoping) it was cast steel.

    I put the picture of sparks from the mild steel tubes to compare too. The mild steel def has longer/whiter sparks with less bursts. I only found 1 video online that was supossed to be castiron vs cast steel tests,, but he used mild steel plate as "Cast steel" in his test,, so I could never see the results of REAL cast steel to compare what I got.

    So no need for N55 or N99 rod and the TIG,, Preheat 200 deg and standard MIG with .035 wire? Wrap it in my fiberglass blanket after.

    Once again,
    Many Thanks.

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    Re: Identifying cast material

    Quote Originally Posted by Slackdaddy View Post
    Thanks for the reply's. That is what I was thinking (Hoping) it was cast steel.

    I put the picture of sparks from the mild steel tubes to compare too. The mild steel def has longer/whiter sparks with less bursts. I only found 1 video online that was supossed to be castiron vs cast steel tests,, but he used mild steel plate as "Cast steel" in his test,, so I could never see the results of REAL cast steel to compare what I got.

    So no need for N55 or N99 rod and the TIG,, Preheat 200 deg and standard MIG with .035 wire? Wrap it in my fiberglass blanket after.

    Once again,
    Many Thanks.
    Yeah, preheat, weld and cool slowly with the blanket. Might want to run the torch around it when your done welding to even out the temperature by the weld.

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    Re: Identifying cast material

    I would use 312 on those. TIG.
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    Re: Identifying cast material

    If it's possible, you could try and make a small cut on them with a cutting torch. Cast iron won't cut with a cutting torch, it will just melt.

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    Re: Identifying cast material

    I'd be quite surprised if that axle housing was cast steel. To me your spark test looks like iron most likely ductile. And yes some grades of ductile will give you curly chips. Welder Dave has an idea there try a cutting torch (not plasma) on it.

    What do your welds on it need to hold? This is important.

    This guy says cast iron but he may not know more than me.
    https://www.dippy.org/forum2/index.php?topic=75.0

    Call Chrysler or Dana and see if you can get someone who might actually know to tell you what they made it out of.
    I gather the tube are pressed in and held by a plug weld but that's not the same as not being able to do a post weld heat treat or expecting the weld to hold some severe service. Lotsa luck.
    ---Meltedmetal

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    Re: Identifying cast material

    Welding on a truss for added rigidity. Traditional leaf spring perches are welded to the tubes. So no bus loads of school children will die if the weld fails.

    Question about the cutting torch test.
    He says it won't cut, just melt? A cutting torch melts the metal and the blast of oxygen blows the molten stuff away. So I am confused how it would melt, but not cut?

    Quote Originally Posted by Meltedmetal View Post
    I'd be quite surprised if that axle housing was cast steel. To me your spark test looks like iron most likely ductile. And yes some grades of ductile will give you curly chips. Welder Dave has an idea there try a cutting torch (not plasma) on it.

    What do your welds on it need to hold? This is important.

    This guy says cast iron but he may not know more than me.
    https://www.dippy.org/forum2/index.php?topic=75.0

    Call Chrysler or Dana and see if you can get someone who might actually know to tell you what they made it out of.
    I gather the tube are pressed in and held by a plug weld but that's not the same as not being able to do a post weld heat treat or expecting the weld to hold some severe service. Lotsa luck.

  11. #10
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    Re: Identifying cast material

    I have found most "car guys" call any ferrous cast metal -- "cast iron"

    Quote Originally Posted by Meltedmetal View Post
    I'd be quite surprised if that axle housing was cast steel. To me your spark test looks like iron most likely ductile. And yes some grades of ductile will give you curly chips. Welder Dave has an idea there try a cutting torch (not plasma) on it.

    What do your welds on it need to hold? This is important.

    This guy says cast iron but he may not know more than me.
    https://www.dippy.org/forum2/index.php?topic=75.0

    Call Chrysler or Dana and see if you can get someone who might actually know to tell you what they made it out of.
    I gather the tube are pressed in and held by a plug weld but that's not the same as not being able to do a post weld heat treat or expecting the weld to hold some severe service. Lotsa luck.

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    Re: Identifying cast material

    I'm thinking it's gonna be pretty self-evident when you try to weld on it, whether it's cast steel or cast iron. If it welds fairly easy -- cast steel. If not -- cast iron.

    I'm far from an expert, but I'd be damn surprised if it was cast iron.

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    Re: Identifying cast material

    Quote Originally Posted by Slackdaddy View Post
    Welding on a truss for added rigidity. Traditional leaf spring perches are welded to the tubes. So no bus loads of school children will die if the weld fails.

    Question about the cutting torch test.
    He says it won't cut, just melt? A cutting torch melts the metal and the blast of oxygen blows the molten stuff away. So I am confused how it would melt, but not cut?
    If you can find some cast iron,and have a torch give it a whirl. This is a quote from the all-knowing internet. Cast iron(particularly gray iron resists oxidation much better than steel, it is part of why cast iron grates in wood stoves outlast steel counterparts.)
    " Oxy-fuel cutting is a chemical reaction between pure oxygen and steel to form iron oxide. It can be described as rapid, controlled rusting."

    The truss sounds interesting. I can think of a few ways to truss the diff without welding to the casting, but they'll never say I did it quickly. If your so inclined post a pic when you get it done.
    Last edited by Meltedmetal; 07-12-2021 at 02:39 PM.
    ---Meltedmetal

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    Re: Identifying cast material

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
    I'm thinking it's gonna be pretty self-evident when you try to weld on it, whether it's cast steel or cast iron. If it welds fairly easy -- cast steel. If not -- cast iron.

    I'm far from an expert, but I'd be damn surprised if it was cast iron.
    One of the difficulties lies in people's use of terminology. "Steel" is a sort of generic terms that encompasses hundreds if not thousands of different formulations and treatments. 'Cast iron" does the same for irons. It is not likely that it is gray iron but quite possible, maybe even likely, that it is ductile or depending on a number of factors even malleable. Either is strong enough to do the job of differential housing in a standard Jeep. Ductile is cheaper to cast, and machines at speeds at least comparable to mild steel.
    ---Meltedmetal

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  16. #14
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    Re: Identifying cast material

    Exactly!!! Sold welding supplies 21 years. This has been an issue, that has darkened my doorway, and e-mail many times over the decades. Asking a guy at a welding supply front counter what to weld it with? That is asking for trouble, costly trouble. None the less, I was one of the many fools that dove into the water, without dipping my toe in first. The only way to know, if the manufacturer can't tell you is a 1/2 million $ Spectral Analysis machine. Most manufacturers of cast parts, would own one. I sold them UHP Argon. (ultra high purity, 99.998%) They used it as an atmosphere for the test. You would end up with a computer generated break down of all the components in the casting. What do you do out in the field? I've seen a lot of parts destroyed, by using the wrong product. Many times I was blamed for selling the wrong stuff. I took the, "you tell me what you want." stance. Never heard a complaint after that. Go figure, LOL.
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    Re: Identifying cast material

    These guys built a truss kit for the 8.25 and it looks like they avoid welding to the center housing except at the outboard flanges of the housing with short welds. This axle truss stuff seems to be a popular thing to do. Loads of kits out there. As you probably have surmised I'm not into off=road. Have fun.
    https://nextventuremotorsports.com/c...ler-8-25-truss
    ---Meltedmetal

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    Re: Identifying cast material

    Quote Originally Posted by Meltedmetal View Post
    If you can find some cast iron,and have a torch give it a whirl. This is a quote from the all-knowing internet. Cast iron(particularly gray iron resists oxidation much better than steel, it is part of why cast iron grates in wood stoves outlast steel counterparts.)
    " Oxy-fuel cutting is a chemical reaction between pure oxygen and steel to form iron oxide. It can be described as rapid, controlled rusting."

    The truss sounds interesting. I can think of a few ways to truss the diff without welding to the casting, but they'll never say I did it quickly. If your so inclined post a pic when you get it done.
    Oxy/fuel cutting is referred to as rapid oxidation. If the housing is cast steel it will cut like mild steel. Heat the edge red hot and hit the cutting jet and it will throw a shower of sparks instantly. It won't do this on cast iron. The graphite in cast iron won't burn which causes the problems. You can make really rough cuts in cast iron but only need to try cut a tiny section to determine if it's steel or cast iron.
    Last edited by Welder Dave; 07-13-2021 at 12:14 PM.

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    Re: Identifying cast material

    If I remember correctly there was an oxy/acet torch available to cut cast iron and maybe stainless. I never saw one but I think they injected iron powder into the flame?
    I would have thought plasma would make this obsolete.

    https://www.harrisproductsgroup.com/...ironferno.aspx
    ---Meltedmetal

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    Re: Identifying cast material

    I did a test weld today on the cast center section of the 2003 Chrysler 8.25 center section.
    I welded a 3/8" mild steel tab on.
    preheated cast to 220 deg F
    welded with MIG at ~200 amps, .035 Lincoln L-56 wire.
    I post heated for about 20 seconds then trew a fiberglass blanket over it for 45 min to cool.
    I used a 3# hand maul to beat on the tab, it bent over and ripped the mild steel tab, weld held in the cast fine.

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  21. #19
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    Re: Identifying cast material

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    Re: Identifying cast material

    I didn't think you would have any issues with it. Should be good if you repeat the process.

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    Re: Identifying cast material

    Yeah I am happy with the results.
    While I am pretty good with the MIG, I am a novice with TIG, I have a Lincoln Precision TIG 225 in the shop.

    Problem I run into is with MIG, If I have an arc and building puddle, it is adding filler.
    My thought is with TIG I could build the puddle on the cast and "lap" up onto the mild steel and add filler as needed.
    I will be welding 1/4" mild steel truss to the cast, my fear is with the MIG the heat needed to melt the cast, will blow out the 1/4 steel.

    Quote Originally Posted by M J D View Post
    I didn't think you would have any issues with it. Should be good if you repeat the process.

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    Re: Identifying cast material

    I would suggest practicing welding some 1/4" to 3/4" or so. Focus your arc on the 3)4" and wash into the 1/4". It's probably actually easier to do with a slight uphill travel.

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    Re: Identifying cast material

    Quote Originally Posted by M J D View Post
    I would suggest practicing welding some 1/4" to 3/4" or so. Focus your arc on the 3)4" and wash into the 1/4". It's probably actually easier to do with a slight uphill travel.
    MIG or TIG ?

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    Re: Identifying cast material

    Quote Originally Posted by Slackdaddy View Post
    MIG or TIG ?
    You would with either process. You mentioned mig for the most part, and it would be my choice.

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    Re: Identifying cast material

    Weld in from each end so you don't leave a crater on the end for a crack to form like is showing in your Mig test weld where the piece broke off.

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