Seat Aftermarket Intercooler Repair

Alloy Intercooler Repair

This is what happens when you mount an oversize intercooler, and then drop the car on the floor as low as possible; speed humps and rough local roads all add to the damage.

Many things can affect the performance of your car – a holed, leaking intercooler can play havoc with boost levels and drastically reduce overall power. So not an ideal scenario. The key to modifying cars (and bikes) is if you are going to, is to make the changes safely and well engineered. If this intercooler had managed to pick up dust and or stones when scrapping the tarmac this could have led to a catastrophic failure of the engine. Luckily this wasn’t the case this time.

Looking at the above Intercooler repair you can see that the bottom corners had been worn through and needed cleaning and repairing, I used the alloy chequer plate corner patch plates to give a bit more thickness and strength to the bottom corners.

My customer used the slots in the mounting brackets to lift the intercooler about 10mm higher to try and reduce the chance of further damage. My advice was if there was still a problem with it bottoming out in future, modifications to the end cans could be made to shorten the overall height by some 20mm, this would have been ideal but would have taken a little more work.

We look forward to keeping you up to date.

For all your Custom Car & Motorcycle Parts, Manufacture and Welding / Repairs

Don`t forget to email or call us for all your custom made 1 off bespoke items.

Alloy welding / repairs, custom parts, Welding Instruction.

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 12,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 20 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Formula Ford Fuel Tank Modification

I made this fuel tank in aluminium for the local Further Education College when they started a Motorsports course. One of the first cars they purchased for race and testing was a formula ford with 1600cc engine.

The race car itself had been stripped down and various improvements made to it to improve all aspects of the car by students and lecturers .

Original tank with new sender flange hole cut in

The fuel tank itself was originally made with fuel pickup  fuel filler neck and breather and foam filled, no facility had been required for a sender unit. Upon strip and rebuild it was decided this year that they wanted to upgrade the tank to include a fuel level sender.

Sender unit & machined flange

A new sender unit was sourced and a new alloy flange to mount the sender was machined and collected with the tank for mods and fitting.

Now with a tank that has been foam filled to prevent fuel slosh is not as easy to modify as a tank with baffles. Typically you can never get all of the foam out of the tank. As this foam has been soaked in fuel it is very difficult to prevent ignition of the fuel vapours when electric arc welding.


So to modify this tank I needed to mark and hole saw the new aperture for the new fuel sender mounting flange, upside down to any swarf falls out and not into the tank. I cannot just start welding – I had to fill the tank with an inert gas (argon) to remove all the oxygen in the tank.

Filling with argon gas

Argon – an “inert” gas

Argon gas is an inert gas (non-reactive) and is also heavier than air. I f we completely fill the tank with argon gas – even if there is still tank foam and fuel vapours in it the fuel vapours will not explode. I would not recommend anyone try this at home as it can be dangerous and I have seen a tank “blow” and send the welder across the workshop (he was lucky not to be hurt) and the tank ended up ripped apart due to the explosion when the fuel vapours ignited.

Fuel tank foam clearly visible through new hole

 I could not remove all of the foam and hence filling the tank with argon. I prefer to completely empty the tank, wask it out / steam clean it inside and then fill with argon before welding new fittings to a used tank.

Having had experience of welding aluminium tanks that have been used I know that I can get away with filling foam filled ones with argon before attempting welding of new fittings etc.

tacked up sender flange

See above the sender flange in position tacked up and level in the tank, note also the argon gas is still being fed into the tank by the black hose. Please also note that the bottom hose stub (fuel take off stub) has been taped up to prevent heavier argon gas escaping from the bottom of the tank.

New Flange welded in position

New flange welded into position, once this has cooled down its ready for blanking off and pressure testing again just to make sure that there are no pinholes in the weld and potential leaks.

If it is leak free then we need to fit the sender and squash the foam blocks and push back into the tank through the filler neck.

Fit the sender 1st and then push foam back in thro filler neck


Hopefully the college will be happy – and now they can see how much fuel is in the car without using a stick.

Hope the students take care of it and plumb back in neatly :)


For all your Custom Car & Motorcycle Parts Manufacture and Welding / Repairs
Don`t forget to email or call us for all your custom made 1 off bespoke items.
Thanks for reading our blog – we hope this has been of use to you.
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Get Fit at Home

Simple Weld Testing of Custom made Car and Motorcycle Parts

At Flash Customs we use a variety of weld testing methods to determine the  quality of weld as required on a custom made item.

We manufacture custom made 1 off items such as Fuel, oil and water tanks, water pipework, radiators, inter-coolers, modify cast aluminium and steel sumps, cam and rocker covers, oil, fuel, water take off stubs etc.

Many of the above need to be “leak tested” in some format. This can include a pressure and or weld test procedure to ensure that no leaks are present. No one wants a nice new shiny alloy fuel tank fitted to their pride and joy that they have spent many hours building or modifying only to find once filled with fuel a puddle appears on the floor under the vehicle!    – dangerous and expensive.

Having completed more than 1200 tanks, radiators, inter-coolers, sumps etc we have only ever had 1 tank with a small pin hole that got through our testing. (a pretty low percentage I think you`ll agree).

To give you an example of a testing method I will explain the process we went though when testing a recently chopped and modified cast aluminium sump.

For this Job we used a Non Destructive Testing Method Called ” Dye Penetrant Testing”

Chopped Sump before welding back together

Above picture showing chopped sump ready for infill plates and welding back up.

Sump after welding

Image above – Once welding was completely finished, testing to check for leaks could commence.


Initially a quick clean over with some scotch brite to remove any oxide and a visual inspection of all the welds gave a good idea of the integrity of the welds and potential areas for any leaks could be identified.


Once the welds have had any surface oxides removed we can spray a coat of  “cleaner” onto the tested areas, this can be wiped off with a soft cloth leaving a grease / oil / fingerprint free surface for the Dye to be painted or sprayed onto.


Dye now usually comes in a spray can, NOTE – ensure whilst using testing products like this you ensure good ventilation as the fumes can be dangerous and overwhelming if not. A very thin coat of dye needs to be evenly applied to the surface of the weld and left to soak in for a few minutes.


The image above shows dye that has been left for a few minutes and is now ready to wipe off the welded area with a clean lint free rag. Wiping the excess off the surface should only leave dye residue hiding in surface defects, pin holes, cracks etc.


Once dye residue has been wiped off with a rag, it is now important to wipe over the surface again with a lint free rag that has had “cleaner” sprayed on it. We do not “soak” the rag otherwise this may “wash out” any dye sitting in surface defects, thus rendering the test inaccurate. The idea of wiping off any excess with a rag sprayed with cleaner (not soaked) is that it will remove any thin coating of dye on the surface that may be left, this will then allow a much clearer test.


Now we have a clean weld area again we can complete the test by spraying “developer” evenly across the test area.

This will leave us with a thin coat of “chalky” material on the surface of the test area, this will soak up any dye that is hidden from view in any surface defects and show up as a red line or dot in the developer. Any such areas where dye can be seen to be drawn out of surface defects and shown in the developer are a cause for concern which will need further investigation. The image shown above shows a nice clean “dye” free “developed” test. As does the image below.

You may well ask then what would it look like if there where to be any defects visible, the image below shows a small pin hole in the crater of the weld (immediately in the middle of the picture). This may need further investigation as a small pin hole in the crater of a weld could be the source of a “stress fracture” as it may be slightly weaker than the surrounding area of weld.

Just to verify or prove that a pin hole is indeed going to be an issue, on a job like this oil sump we would look to fill with a mixture of waste oil and thinners, leave for an hour and then see if any “staining shows through around the suspect area.

The image above shows a suspect area shown up by “dye penetrant” testing, after which the sump has been filled with an oil / thinner solution. You can clearly see an area of staining where the liquid has soaked through the defect that obviously was not just a “surface” defect but indeed went through the thickness of the sump wall.

Below shows the repaired defect ready for testing again.

The weld was cut back with a grinder and re-welded to ensure a full repair. The complete test procedure would then be carried out on this area as a double check that the repair had been successful.

Just to show my point above you can see where the dye has not been “cleaned” fully from the internal sump plug thread. Once “developer” had been sprayed on the surface the dye had been drawn out of the threads and starts showing on the bottom edge of where the thread breaks out to the surface.

DYE PENETRANT testing is an ideal way of “non destructive” testing welded items and as a general rule of thumb gives a good guide to weld quality. It could be presumed that if there were surface defects showing in the weld then defects may also be present under the surface where the eye cannot see!

A further point to consider is that typically an oil sump like this will expand as the hot oil warms the aluminium and this could exaggerate any potential defects and cause a leak that may not be present or show whilst the sump is “cold”.

In industry there are of course many other methods of NON DESTRUCTIVE testing such as , magnetic particle, fluorescent particle, ultrasonic and xray to name but a few. Obviously these tests all get more complicated, incur added  cost and many need to be carried out by specifically trained staff.

Of course the easiest and cheapest Non Destructive test is “visual” – simply looking over the weld and scrutinising it for any potential suspect areas.



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For all your Custom Car & Motorcycle Parts Manufacture and Welding / Repairs
Don`t forget to email or call us for all your custom made 1 off bespoke items.
Thanks for reading our blog – we hope this has been of use to you.
Recommended sites
FLASH CUSTOMS – Specialist Custom Car & Motorcycle Parts
Automotive LED Lights – Car & Motorcycle LED Lighting Solutions
Loaded Wallet – Discount and cash back offers
Cash Back – Cash Back & Money Saving offers

Time to get the TIG Welder revved up, alloy fuel tank for rotrax to assemble & weld

Get up and running again this weekend, a nicely cut and pressed alloy tank for a ROTRAX Kit Car is calling.

Area above that we have free to fill with an aluminium fabricated fuel tank, size, shape, capacity, design, filler, pick up and breather position to consider as well as stages of manufacture. This is gonna be a wide, flat tank to sit up inside the chassis and care to add a sump in a position to miss the diff at max suspension compression is required.

Keep an eye on our blog for pictures of build.

See videos of the build –


For all your Custom Car & Motorcycle Parts Manufacture and Welding / Repairs
Don`t forget to email or call us for all your custom made 1 off bespoke items.
Thanks for reading our blog – we hope this has been of use to you.
Recommended sites
FLASH CUSTOMS – Specialist Custom Car & Motorcycle Parts
Automotive LED Lights – Car & Motorcycle LED Lighting Solutions
Loaded Wallet – Discount and cash back offers
Cash Back – Cash Back & Money Saving offers