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Old 05-05-2021, 10:50   #1
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Ideas for fixing SS swim ladder weld?

My swim ladder has two arms that pivot to mount to the transom and the welds around the mounts are looking pretty rough.

I was going to replace the ladder but was having trouble finding one the same size (5 step, 60" extended, 31" folded) so I'd like to explore fixing this instead. I have a good local welding shop that can do it but I'm not sure what exactly to ask for.

Thinking maybe cut off the existing mounts, have them fabricate a new mount plate, attach to a slightly larger diameter tube, slide that over the remaining tube and then reweld it together but curious if any has a better idea? (Or knows where to get a ladder that size?)

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Old 05-05-2021, 12:00   #2
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Re: Ideas for fixing SS swim ladder weld?

It is not possible to get good welds in dirty metal


The first step will be to get that cleaned up, probably with some abrasive blasting. Once that's done you can evaluate whether you want to do anything more. Talk to your welder and have them give you the pros and cons of cutting and replacing the flange vs. just putting another bead over what you have.
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Old 05-05-2021, 12:24   #3
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Re: Ideas for fixing SS swim ladder weld?

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It is not possible to get good welds in dirty metal


The first step will be to get that cleaned up, probably with some abrasive blasting. Once that's done you can evaluate whether you want to do anything more. Talk to your welder and have them give you the pros and cons of cutting and replacing the flange vs. just putting another bead over what you have.
Thanks, Jammer. I was actually going to get this electropolished anyway but thought I should fix the weld first - sounds like it might make more sense to get it cleaned up then explore replacing the flange?
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Old 05-05-2021, 12:59   #4
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Re: Ideas for fixing SS swim ladder weld?

Yeah. Those are ugly welds. It looks like the legs were shortened at some point, because I doubt that the manufacturer sent it out looking like that. You can try using a wire brush (on your grinder) to clean them. My inclination would be to grind down the welds to good metal and then have your shop re-weld everything as is. That's the simplist solution, and the existing parts look like they will clean up.
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Old 05-05-2021, 13:07   #5
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Re: Ideas for fixing SS swim ladder weld?

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You can try using a wire brush (on your grinder) to clean them.

If you have a stainless steel brush.


Mild steel brush will leave mild steel residue in the surface, which will rust and look like what the OP already has.
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Old 05-05-2021, 13:51   #6
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Re: Ideas for fixing SS swim ladder weld?

That could very well be mild steel weld.

Your fabricator should be able to carefully remove that plate, and replicate it if necessary. Clean up the pipe, grind off all the old weld. The tubing can be built up a touch with careful welding (TIG is what you want here), enough to retain stock length. If not, a spacer can be made. Then a few nice beads of stainless will round it out.

I would just bring it to a good fab shop and tell them you want that joint re-done properly, in stainless, with the same dimensions. Let them handle the how.
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Old 05-05-2021, 15:52   #7
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Re: Ideas for fixing SS swim ladder weld?

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That could very well be mild steel weld.

Your fabricator should be able to carefully remove that plate, and replicate it if necessary. Clean up the pipe, grind off all the old weld. The tubing can be built up a touch with careful welding (TIG is what you want here), enough to retain stock length. If not, a spacer can be made. Then a few nice beads of stainless will round it out.

I would just bring it to a good fab shop and tell them you want that joint re-done properly, in stainless, with the same dimensions. Let them handle the how.

Good call on the weld possibly being mild steel/something non-SS - I've been trying to figure out for a while now why it was corroding the way it had since all the fasteners were 316 stainless. I assumed the full ladder would have been a consistent material, but clearly not if it's corroding like it is.
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Old 05-05-2021, 16:01   #8
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Re: Ideas for fixing SS swim ladder weld?

Make sure your welder knows how to weld stainless steel with SS rods. He will likely just grind the old off (30 minutes) and clean it up, then weld again (another 30).
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Old 05-05-2021, 20:41   #9
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Re: Ideas for fixing SS swim ladder weld?

Were the welds "pickled" ?

What does pickling do to stainless steel?
Pickling is the removal of any high temperature scale and any adjacent low chromium layer of metal from the surface of stainless steel by chemical means. ... To restore the best corrosion resistant performance, the damaged metal layer must be removed, exposing a fully alloyed stainless steel surface

What happens if you dont pickle stainless steel?
The free iron on the metal surface can initiate corrosion and/or rouging. It should be made clear that a suc- cessful passivation operation depends on having a proper weld. Passivation cannot make problems associ- ated with lack of a suitable welding purge go away, i.e. severe weld discoloration or sugared welds.

https://www.pureflowinc.com/wp-conte...assivateSS.pdf
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Old 05-05-2021, 22:56   #10
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Re: Ideas for fixing SS swim ladder weld?

The problem is the metalurgical nature of SS. They tried to fix it with 316L but it was not fully effective.
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Old 06-05-2021, 05:32   #11
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Re: Ideas for fixing SS swim ladder weld?

Good point on the stainless steel brush, Jammer. Here's one:

https://www.amazon.com/HOYIN-0-020In...0304223&sr=8-3
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Old 06-05-2021, 05:52   #12
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Re: Ideas for fixing SS swim ladder weld?

Yeah, that's definitely not a very professional looking weld. Looks like it was probably done with a stick welder, or if it was done with MIG then the settings weren't right.

A professional welder, familiar with welding stainless steel, will know the best way to fix that. I would simply take it to someone reputable and let them tell me how it should be fixed.

Good luck.
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Old 06-05-2021, 08:59   #13
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Re: Ideas for fixing SS swim ladder weld?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RaggamuffinBK View Post
My swim ladder has two arms that pivot to mount to the transom and the welds around the mounts are looking pretty rough.

I was going to replace the ladder but was having trouble finding one the same size (5 step, 60" extended, 31" folded) so I'd like to explore fixing this instead. I have a good local welding shop that can do it but I'm not sure what exactly to ask for.

Thinking maybe cut off the existing mounts, have them fabricate a new mount plate, attach to a slightly larger diameter tube, slide that over the remaining tube and then reweld it together but curious if any has a better idea? (Or knows where to get a ladder that size?)

Images: Attachment 237796

Attachment 237797

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Attachment 237799
Rough welds indeed, and has been mentioned probably not 'factory' welds - at least one would hope not!
As a welder, if it were my ladder, and if the material were available to make new baseplates, I'd cut the old ones off, clean up the tubing (inside and out) and weld the new baseplates on. MIG (wire feed) or TIG please - the tubing is pretty thin to stick weld. As an alternative you could grind the old welds smooth - taking them almost down to nothing - clean up whats left with a STAINLESS STEEL wire-wheel brush on an angle grinder, and run a bead around it.
Do not use any mild steel tools, especially a wire-wheel brush. Must be s.s.
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Old 06-05-2021, 09:16   #14
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Re: Ideas for fixing SS swim ladder weld?

I doubt that anyone used mild steel or any other type of steel.

That looks like someone clearly didn't know how to weld or was in a hurry and did a terrible job. The weld was overheated because of any number of reasons, lack of amps, bad grounding, dirty parts to name a few.

i would take it to a good TIG welder as it is. Let them decide on how bad it is and what to do. If I were doing it, based on the photos, I'd cut the pads off and replace with new. Depending on how badly damaged the tube is I'd either weld it back together or possibly slip a tube over the existing one and weld it all up.
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Old 06-05-2021, 09:56   #15
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Re: Ideas for fixing SS swim ladder weld?

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Originally Posted by Cpt Mark View Post
I doubt that anyone used mild steel or any other type of steel.

That looks like someone clearly didn't know how to weld or was in a hurry and did a terrible job. The weld was overheated because of any number of reasons, lack of amps, bad grounding, dirty parts to name a few.

i would take it to a good TIG welder as it is. Let them decide on how bad it is and what to do. If I were doing it, based on the photos, I'd cut the pads off and replace with new. Depending on how badly damaged the tube is I'd either weld it back together or possibly slip a tube over the existing one and weld it all up.
Looks like someone welded it with stick, and that indeed would be a challenge; the tubing is pretty thin. But if that's what you've got I guess you'd have to make it work! Done it myself in a pinch and it's a trick - blow a hole in that tubing with stick electrode and you'll wish you hadn't.
The tube/sleeve over the existing tube is a good idea.
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