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Old 04-22-2012, 06:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Bonding aluminum to aluminum - JB Weld failed, what do you use?

Hi guys,

I'm working on a hidden fastener solution for my dash. I have aluminum pieces I need to bond to the back of the dash to do this. I used JB Weld last night and about 5 minutes after bonding I couldn't pry it off to save my life. Go out this morning and they literally fell off when I gave them a slight tug. It was 50 degrees last night and my shop didn't get below 55. I also noticed JB Weld fails with just a little heat as well. I thought that stuff was supposed to be indestructible, seems pretty weak.

Anyway, I have a dimpler and was considering putting screws through the face instead as it will be mechanically superior but I realized I'm going to need to bond the head of the screw to prevent it from turning after I have the dash covered. I am of course going to cover with bondo but what should I use for adhesive initially to set the screw head?

Do you have a better idea? Some readily available epoxy maybe? I'm surprised how easily JB Weld failed.

Darren
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Go to a local autobody supply house. There are lot's of really high strength adhesives for various uses. They will have something that will work.
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Aluminum Bonding

Short of soldering, I can think of one other method.

Use the dimpler and countersunk screws, then put a jamb nut on the back side between the bracket and the dash. If the dimple is too deep, and the screw seems to be "too wobbly" try using a large diameter Nylon washer to shim up the space and keep the dimple from being pulled out. (Note, if you don't have a dimpler, the Nylon washer will allow the dash aluminum to pull into the same sort of shape. as the screw is tightened. When doing it this way, it might help to anneal the area of the hole first.)

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Old 04-22-2012, 06:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Can't use nuts on the back between the sheets. I need complete contact between the two unfortunately.

I did think to go to a local autobody shop but they are all closed on Sunday
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Surface prep is key to bonding anything to (or painting) aluminum. The surface oxide layer must be removed immediately before bonding or the chemical bond is non-existent. Sanding will give a mechanical bond that is enough for most things. A dedicated aluminum adhesive will likely use a primer or have something in the mix to penetrate the oxide layer.

Testimonial to JB weld: My sister has a 4 cyl. Isuzu that the crank thrust bearing failed and the crank ground the thrust bearing groove flat. She didn't have the money for an engine, so we replaced the crank and bearings. We bonded the thrust bearing in place with JB weld since the retaining groove was flat. That was 2-3 years and 20,000 miles ago, and still no problems. Dad even called 3M (normally they have an adhesive for everything) to see if they had a better product for the application, and their tech support told him JB Weld had a better chance than anything they made.

Funny use for JB Weld- at Dad's old shop one of his guys JB welded a quarter to the floor just inside the front door. Entertained the counter guys for years watching people try to pick it up then realize they'd been had and look around to see if anybody saw.
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Surface prep is key to bonding anything to (or painting) aluminum. The surface oxide layer must be removed immediately before bonding or the chemical bond is non-existent. Sanding will give a mechanical bond that is enough for most things. A dedicated aluminum adhesive will likely use a primer or have something in the mix to penetrate the oxide layer.

Testimonial to JB weld: My sister has a 4 cyl. Isuzu that the crank thrust bearing failed and the crank ground the thrust bearing groove flat. She didn't have the money for an engine, so we replaced the crank and bearings. We bonded the thrust bearing in place with JB weld since the retaining groove was flat. That was 2-3 years and 20,000 miles ago, and still no problems. Dad even called 3M (normally they have an adhesive for everything) to see if they had a better product for the application, and their tech support told him JB Weld had a better chance than anything they made.

Funny use for JB Weld- at Dad's old shop one of his guys JB welded a quarter to the floor just inside the front door. Entertained the counter guys for years watching people try to pick it up then realize they'd been had and look around to see if anybody saw.
I sanded both surfaces with 100 grit then cleaned with acetone. Would an etching primer have sealed the deal? Any kind?
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I use this in MRI work. It's much better than JB weld and withstands 250*, 4,500 psi tensil strength, perfect for metal and fiberglass.

Adhesive, Metal Epoxy - Epoxy - Glues and Cements - 2F304 : Grainger Industrial Supply

Grainger.com for many other epoxy choices they have hundreds to choose from.

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Old 04-22-2012, 06:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I sanded both surfaces with 100 grit then cleaned with acetone. Would an etching primer have sealed the deal? Any kind?
That's kind of surprising- 100 grit should have given you a pretty good mechanical bond. The acetone really doesn't remove the oxide, but it will get it clean and not leave residue. I'm not sure about an etch primer, but maybe. JB weld does not tolerate much flex, but I would've expected it would take what you're doing. Might give JB a call tomorrow and see what they suggest, or like you said before hit the auto body and see if they've got something more specific for aluminum
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:56 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Marine Tex Epoxy Putty (White)!!!
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Darren

I did the EXACT same thing with JB Weld and they practically fell off the next day. I abandoned that task and have no attachment at the top and have zero rattles or issues that way. It is just wedged in place behind the rolled edge of the dash and doesn't move at all.

No one has noticed to this date, nor would they if inspected.

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Old 04-22-2012, 07:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I used industrial Velcro on the top and Breeze's stiffening brackets on the bottom. The dash wouldn't move if you wanted it to, you would have to drill out the rivets from the bottom brackets. No visible fasteners and very secure.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:09 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I use this in MRI work. It's much better than JB weld and withstands 250*, 4,500 psi tensil strength, perfect for metal and fiberglass.

Adhesive, Metal Epoxy - Epoxy - Glues and Cements - 2F304 : Grainger Industrial Supply

Grainger.com for many other epoxy choices they have hundreds to choose from.

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I may give this a try, looks like I won't finish this weekend Nobody is open on Sundays.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:17 PM   #13 (permalink)
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3m Epoxy Adhesive (2 part) DP405 is what you want. You do only have a 5 minute work time, plus full cure time in under 24 hours.....

Good enough for structural repair on the Audi automotive line, good enough for anything you expect to do on your FFR.


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Old 04-22-2012, 08:17 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Marine Tex Epoxy Putty (White)!!!
Marine Tex is the best epoxy adhesive you can find, when you can find it. It is mostly available in marine supply stores, but might be available in some hardware stores. Home Depot also has a product called PC-7 that is very similar and will work just the same. The key is the product has to remain a little bit flexible to bond aluminum panels together. JBWeld has a filler in it that makes it tend to be brittle. I have also used 3M 5200 adhesive/sealer RTV to bond panels together and it works also, but has a 36 hour cure time. It is usually available at Home Depot or Lowes.

PC-7 Paste Epoxy 1/2 lb.-087770 at The Home Depot

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Old 04-22-2012, 08:21 PM   #15 (permalink)
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3M Epoxy is great stuff. I used Gorilla Glue on my dash attachments (aluminum to aluminum), it's been good for 5 years. Roughed up with 40 grit first.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:24 PM   #16 (permalink)
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You used the wrong JB Weld product. The 10 minute version is very light duty.
The stuff you want is the Original JB Weld that takes a minimum of 8 hours to cure and 24 hours to fully cure. Prepping the surfaces like you did and using the Original JB Weld, I can guarantee that you would have destroyed your parts trying to separate them and the JB Weld would have still been intact.

I have set axle bearings and repaired engine blocks and cylinder heads with it. Proper prep and time to cure along with proper proportions of the two agents and good mixing are absolute key..
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:28 PM   #17 (permalink)
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You used the wrong JB Weld product. The 10 minute version is very light duty.
The stuff you want is the Original JB Weld that takes a minimum of 8 hours to cure and 24 hours to fully cure. Prepping the surfaces like you did and using the Original JB Weld, I can guarantee that you would have destroyed your parts trying to separate them and the JB Weld would have still been intact.

I have set axle bearings and repaired engine blocks and cylinder heads with it. Proper prep and time to cure along with proper proportions of the two agents and good mixing are absolute key..
I did use the quick set... figured it would be the same product. Crap. I suppose I can give the original JB Weld a shot overnight. Can't hurt.
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:34 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I tried using JB weld and epoxy for my dash but both failed. I ended up using flush mount rivets for my dash brackets. The rivets worked great and there was no reason for bodywork as the padded dash material hid everything. I would question if they could be seen even through an unpadded dash.
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:58 PM   #19 (permalink)
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3m Epoxy Adhesive (2 part) DP405 is what you want. You do only have a 5 minute work time, plus full cure time in under 24 hours.....

Good enough for structural repair on the Audi automotive line, good enough for anything you expect to do on your FFR.


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Old 04-22-2012, 11:00 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Old 04-23-2012, 12:16 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I tried using JB weld and epoxy for my dash but both failed. I ended up using flush mount rivets for my dash brackets. The rivets worked great and there was no reason for bodywork as the padded dash material hid everything. I would question if they could be seen even through an unpadded dash.
I agree. I wouldn't mess around with adhesives. Just too many variables, especially when you have an easy chance to create a strong mechanical bond with rivets or screws before the vinyl is installed. I used flat head machine screws (don't remember what size. 6-32? 10-32? Something like that) and there's no way you can find them through the vinyl.

And BTW, I have used JB weld (the slow variety) for a number of things and found it's amazingly strong and capable. But it's rock hard and will separate if the parts are even slightly flexible. If you stay with adhesive, get something with a little give.
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Old 04-23-2012, 03:02 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the advice guys. I bought some standard JB Weld because that is all any of the stores that were open had. I'll give it a test after it cures over-night. I'll try it with heat and cold and bend the dash a bit. If it passes that test I'll go with it. If not, I'll take the other great suggestions and use those products next OR I'll just deal with visible fasteners.

I managed to get my new tranny tunnel cover done today, thicker and none of the factory holes to cover up. I'll be covering that with vinyl as well. I'm going with no padding which is why I'm being so picky.
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Old 04-23-2012, 01:23 PM   #23 (permalink)
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3M structural acrylic tape. The aluminum panels are held on to square tube frames of ambulances with it - no rivets. Also, Mack Truck grille trim pieces are held on with it. Gets stronger the longer it's on.
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Old 04-23-2012, 02:29 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Thanks Fred... that sounds like some good stuff too.

The JB Weld is holding this morning. Much better than the fast set stuff. I'll put it through my heat gun test later today, if it holds I'll go with it. If it fails later down the road I'll try the velcro or the adhesive tape idea Fred just mentioned.

If all of the above fails I guess exposed fasteners is fine.
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Old 04-23-2012, 04:36 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Original JB Weld failed miserably. Didn't even have to get to the heat test. Pulled it off with ease, granted it was harder than the quick set. I was very careful to prepare the surface appropriately but that stuff really sucks. I expected much more out of it.

Moving on to the other suggestions. I'll stop by Grainger today to see what I can get. Will probably pick up a few options.

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Old 04-23-2012, 04:45 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Fusor has a range of products that work very well. You should be able to find them at an auto body supply shop. The shop I use sold me the applicator/mixing tubes and loaned me the gun. Its been 7 years and there is no sign of any separation between metal to metal and metal to fibreglass.
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Old 04-23-2012, 04:47 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren View Post
Original JB Weld failed miserably. Didn't even have to get to the heat test. Pulled it off with ease, granted it was harder than the quick set. I was very careful to prepare the surface appropriately but that stuff really sucks. I expected much more out of it.

Moving on to the other suggestions. I'll stop by Grainger today to see what I can get. Will probably pick up a few options.

Darren
Darren that is crazy.. I'm tempted to go out in the garage and try JB Welding together a couple of pieces of aluminum. It has worked amazingly well for everything that I have ever tried, but I can't say I've ever tried bonding aluminum sheet together.

Good luck.. Maybe the Epoxy will work for you..
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Old 04-23-2012, 05:54 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Bring it by my shop. I might have some 3m tape sitting around or we can tig it on.
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:15 PM   #29 (permalink)
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If you were trying to use glue then you are obviously going for a permenant bond so whay not just use countersunk machine screws or countersunk rivets? They won't ever have a reason to turn if you don,t try to turn the nut. I used countersunk screws all over my dash with no problems. Just fill with flexible body filler and sand flush before covering. Not one is showing though after 18K miles.





BTW, here's how I did my hidden dash mounts. Just make sure you have access for when the body is on. Need a direct path without instruments,etc in the way.

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Old 04-23-2012, 08:25 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Yep, I'm going for a permanent bond but will be covering the dash with vinyl and no padding so trying to avoid through bolting and worrying about bondo etc...

I ended up getting 3M 08115 (which is for bonding auto body panels) from the local body shop. Supposed to be the shiznit for bonding metal to metal. Heading out to the shop for the final test. If this fails I'll be through bolting or going with visible fasteners.
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