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Discussion Starter #1
Deck hanger broke (Why am I scalping left side of my path????). Go get this welded? Support plate needed?
Deck is 44" Craftsman on an 89 GT 917254450. Thanks, Doug
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Roger. Welding shops quote me $50-$75. May be time to try welding myself. It's 1/8" steel deck. I've read the Flux 125 from Harbor freight would handle it. Cost is $96 w/ coupon and has great reviews. Anybody use one of these 125VAC flux core welders? Thanks, Doug
 

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The 90 amp welders will handle the metal, I have one from Tractor Supply that I have used to fix mower decks, however that looks like a thin area in the deck. I would pick up a couple of pieces of similar sized plate. One to practice and set up the welder with, the other to use as patch material when the deck material starts evaporating. While you're at it make sure you have a grinder and some wire wheels. Those little welders are great but the metal has to be nearly perfectly clean or you will fight it the whole way.

Edit: Additionally, if you have no welding experience I highly suggest watching some of the weld.com videos on youtube or facebook. They don't really spend a lot of time on the 125V machines that I've seen but they do cover MIG welding in general quite well. It will help you set up your machine for different metal thicknesses and wire feed speeds for different welding positions and applications.
 

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Don't just watch them, get some metal similar in thickness to what your deck is, and do some welds on those pieces first. It looks easy, but it takes a bit of time to get the right welding settings, holding the torch the right distance away from the metal, moving at the right speed, holding it at the right angle.

And thin stuff is (at least for me) harder to do a good weld on, as you need to more careful with how hot the metal gets, as if it gets too hot, you just blow a hole through the metal instead of welding it together, thicker metal doesn't have that problem as much, as there's more metal nearby to absorb the energy instead of resulting in a hole.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for great advice, slick75 and dave_r.
 

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I just had to weld a patch plate over a rust hole in my mower deck. The steel was around 0.090-0.100" thick. I have a 110V 140A MIG welder, using 100% CO2 shielding gas.

It seemed to work fairly well. I tried to remove the rust with a wire wheel, and flap disk. I tried to "seal" the outside of the deck, welding the rusted opening to the new patch plate, to keep moisture out of that gap. In some areas, I cut the rusted steel back a bit, to kind of clean it up the ragged opening. Welding along that edge was OK. But in other areas, I welded right at the remaining edges of the rust hole. That didn't work as well. At the edge of the hole, the steel was so thin that I kept burning right through it, even with the welder turned down all the way.

If you're welding a little ways from the edge of the hole, it should be easier to avoid blowing through. I'm assuming that it rusted through, and is really thin around that opening. If it just broke off, then maybe it's thicker there, making this easier.

You can also put a backing material on the other side of where you're welding, to avoid melting through the deck. Use a different material, not steel, so that you won't weld that backing material to the deck. A piece of aluminum, copper, etc, would work. It helps draw excess heat away from the area, and also just provides a physical block to blowing a hole through the steel.
 

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With a shielding gas, you can get pretty decent looking welds out of one of those small machines, but if you are just using straight flux core wire, don't expect to be stacking dimes. Flux core welds are extremely difficult to make look nice even for experienced welders. They can still be strong though. Make sure you get decent penetration and it'll be fine. Keep in mind it's a lawn mower not the space shuttle.

And practice, practice, practice! Use scrap steel to practice and get a feel for it before you do your actual welds on the mower deck. Play around with the machine's settings so you can see how they affect the actual weld.
 

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Another method for welding thin stuff together is to make a short weld, then stop and move a little ways away, short weld, move short weld, then short welds between where you welded in the first pass, repeat until you're done welding. This reduces how hot the metal gets, so less risk of blowthrough and less warpage of the metal.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks, guys, for such experienced advice. I just learned that I need a dedicated 20 amp circuit to install first.
 

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For cheap welding fixes swing by a muffler shop with it and ask if they could weld it up.
Usually a 10-20 dollar fix.

That deck looks awful thin and you can probably weld it but it will burn though easily.

You would almost be better to just cut a squarish 3x3 or 4x4 or so piece of 10ga, 8ga or 1/8 inch (don't know what gauge that is??) and bolt it on 4 corners with carriage bolts and lock washers and drill the holes for the bracket and bolt it on too.

You could use a couple of the holes that are already there. Perfect for the square of a carriage bolt.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks, again, guys. I'm gonna try the support plate route. Got a 1/8" L brace and cut in half. 3/8" bolts hold hanger on braces and 1/4" bolts hold braces to deck. Seems secure enough. I'll test mow in a few days. Only trouble I see.....braces/bolt heads may cut a divot when I crest a hill. Will see.
 

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You could put a flat larger piece up top and use flat headed carriage bolts so they would be smooth on bottom and barely raised.
 

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Or button head cap screws, which would have rounded heads. They wouldn't require square holes, like you'd ideally use with carriage bolts.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks, TobyU and RedOctobyr. I thought about carriage bolts on the underside but couldn't figure out the square hole deal. I'll look up button head cap bolts. I'll test mow this week.
 

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They don't have to be perfect squares, just square enough for the carriage bolt to go in, but that the corners catch on the hole so it can't rotate. I used to use a dremel for doing it, but now I primarily use an air die grinder and abuse a deburring bit to do them..
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Mowed today and brackets held fine. Didn't cut any divots. We'll see if it holds. Thanks so much, guys.
 
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