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Are you having a hard time deciding on brazing aluminum intercooler piping?

Well, it’s natural that you will face the dilemma of brazing or soldering intercooler piping. But, don’t you worry one bit now because I will give you all the information you need on brazing intercooler piping! Whether you should solder or braze and how you can do it, you will get to know everything here.

So, without wasting much time, let’s get right into it.

What Is Intercooler Pipe

Now, if you don’t know what’s going on, let’s start with the basics.

What is an intercooler pipe?

Whenever you boost the turbocharger, and the air gets hot beyond control, having an intercooler can help a lot. The intercooler cools down the hot air to make sure it doesn’t harm the engine.

Having cooler air in your engine can make it perform a lot better than expected. An intercooler pipe will give you the benefit of having cooler air with more oxygen.

intercooler pipe
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Usually, the most popular material for intercooler piping is aluminum. You will get to see many intercooler piping that uses aluminum added with some alloy at times. Aside from that, you will also get to see intercooler piping made of stainless steel.

In terms of the intercooler piping, aluminum is a better option than stainless steel. Because it’s more available and easier to work with, you can give shape to aluminum pipes much easier because of their higher thermal conductivity and lightweight nature.

But if you want to have very sturdy and heavy-duty construction, then going for the stainless steel pipe is a great option. Also, stainless steel can hold against a significant amount of heat and last for a longer time.

Should I Solder Or Braze To Fix The Intercooler Pipe?

When you have a hole into or broken part on your intercooler pipe, you will need to fix it. To fix the piping, you can either opt for brazing, or you can go for soldering. Now, which one you go for depends on some factors.

brazing or soldering the intercooler pipe
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The most important consideration to make here is the size of the pipe and the material.

If you are dealing with aluminum pipes, then brazing is a better choice. Because with brazing, you will get a better & stronger fix on aluminum pipes. Brazing on aluminum is much more effective than soldering because the filler material on brazing is usually aluminum.

As for stainless steel, it’s always better to go with soldering. Brazing on stainless steel is much more difficult than you can think.

Now coming to the factor of size, if you are dealing with thinner metal such as 2.5 inches, then soldering is a better option. Because when you opt for brazing, you will be working with a higher temperature than a thinner metal can’t withstand.

For anything with 3 inches to 3.5 inches, you should go for brazing. Brazing works well on thicker materials, especially if you are brazing aluminum.

So, when it comes to whether you should do soldering or brazing, you will have to see what you are working with.

Procedures For Brazing Aluminum Intercooler Piping And Tubing

Let’s check out the steps for brazing pipe and tubing for doing proper intercooler piping.

  • Step-1 – Cutting The Pipe

First of all, you have to cut the pipe to the proper measurements. After you cut the pipe, make sure to remove any burrs on the pipes using a scraper.

  • Step-2 – Cleaning The Tube Ends And Surfaces

Next up, you will have to clean up the end surfaces of the tubes for proper brazing. Otherwise, the brazing can go wrong completely.

  • Step-3 – Choosing The Brazing Filler Metal

When you are brazing an aluminum intercooler, the best filler metal for that is aluminum low temperature brazing rods. Choose the one that suits your condition the most.

  • Step-4 – Assembling Every Part.

Now, you have to assemble all the parts, including the filler metals. You can’t be looking for the details when you are into the brazing process. So, make sure you have got everything prepared.

  • Step-5 – Brazing The Pipe

Here begins the real process of brazing the pipe. First of all, you will have to put heat on the area that you will be brazing. Make sure to heat it to the temperature your filler metal requires.

The best way to find the perfect temperature is to drop some flux into the metal. If you see the bubbles popping up on the flux, then it has reached the temperature you need.

Once the base metal reaches the optimal temperature, you can use the filler metal to fix any damage on the base metal. Just make sure not to overheat joints which will ruin the whole brazing process.

When the damaged area is filled with the filler metal, stop feeding the metal; otherwise, it may produce low-quality brazing.

  • Step-6 – Cleaning Up The Brazing.

After you are don’t with the brazing, you will have to clean it up properly. Giving it a wash and some grinding can give you a smoother finish on the brazing.

How To Bend And Cut Intercooler Piping

You will need a professional mandrel bender if you have some intercooler piping that you want to bend. This can cost a lot of money that you would never spend for personal use. It’s a machine usually used for industrial purposes.

But you can find intercooler piping that is already bent. And it’s a much cheaper option than getting a mandrel bender or going for other options of bending intercooler piping.

What Type Of Rods To Use For Brazing?

The best way to choose the rod for brazing is to go for a low-temperature aluminum alloy. Low-temperature brazing filler rod will provide exceptional experience in brazing intercooler pipe. But make sure not to go too low on the temperature as it can completely ruin the filler metal.

Aside from low-temperature aluminum alloy, you can also use copper, brass, or steel mixed with other alloys. This mostly depends on the base metal you have. Try matching the base metal most of the time.

However, in general, aluminum alloy works best for brazing any material.

Conclusion

To sum up, brazing aluminum intercooler piping can be a handy process to fix any issues with the piping. It’s pretty common to see damage in the intercooler piping due to use and heat.

So, knowing the process of fixing it with just fairly simple brazing, can work as a blessing.

Maidul Islam

Maidul Shakil has an extreme love for welding. Welding metals and joining them is his hobby and he has also got a vocational training on welding. He strives to learn and teach welding processes and different gears to beginners and newbies. Cutting metal, fusing them and polishing to a shiny surface seems interesting.