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Rotating The Dipstick Tube


What can be done if you make the mistake I did!

After reading some of the threads on the forum about rotating the dipstick tube I thought that this was a good idea and I would give it go. Heat was duly applied and gentle levering carried out. No movement whatsoever. More heat and more levering, but still no movement. Even more heat was applied then taking a firm hold with my hand I started to turn it....... it felt as though it was beginning began to turn....then it turned some more.........then it came off in my hand! Okay so that was not a good idea, now what? Brazing! I've not tried that, so after a quick mooch around on the interweb I e-mailed a company called CuP Alloys asking what could be used with a bog standard DIY blowlamp. They came back with the suggestion of using 2207 Silver Tin Flux Cored Solder Wire (£5.29 per metre) and STAYCLEAN Stainless steel flux £20.20 for 125ml. The name of the wire and temperatures involved suggested that I would be soldering rather than brazing.

Following the CuP website hints and tips I cleaned up both surfaces of the broken edges using a Dremel with a wire brush attachment, trying to avoid getting too much metal debris into the tube going into the block. Then pouring only a small amount of flux into a pot

(I used WD40 can cap), when I say small I mean barely line the bottom of the cap, I then used a paint brush to apply the flux to the surfaces to be joined (don't dip the brush into the bottle it will contaminate the lot) N.B. be careful when handling the flux as when I spilt a bit onto the concrete floor of my garage it proceeded to fizz vigorously. I "tinned" the surfaces of the flared end of the tubes to be joined heating the surfaces with the blowlamp on full, then touching the heated area with the solder. Avoid getting the solder in the blowlamp flame otherwise it melts and falls off onto the floor, obvious I know but it does happen.

When tinning if it goes from shiny silver colour (good) to a matt grey (bad) you have over cooked it and you will need to apply fresh flux to clean it up or have to wire brush it again before trying to join the tubes together. One thing I did find is that the surface tension of the solder is prone to making it collect it one place, but using the end of a piece of copper wire you can literally pull the molten solder around the surface you are trying to tin, giving you an even coating.

Once both ends of the tube are tinned if you haven't already got the exit exhaust manifold on bolt it on, then position the tube where you want and clamp it accordingly (use bits of wood as spacers if necessary) against the cross tube. Start applying heat and then solder to the join, and once you have a blob of adhered molten solder on the outside of the upper tube (not a blob that just sits there and laughs at you and then falls off) use the end of a piece of copper wire to pull the adhered blob around the join. Try to avoid applying too much solder or you will get what I did and have a large blob of solder on the inside of the tube, which stops you from getting the dipstick in. If this happens you have to use the blow lamp to melt the solder, pull the tube off and melt the offending blob so that it flows out of the tube.

So after a couple attempts and a fair bit of bad language I managed to re-attach my dip stick tube firmly where I wanted it to be. The smug feeling of success was tempered by the knowledge I shouldn't have ripped the damned thing off in the first place, but if I can re-attach a tube I am sure anybody else can.


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