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HELP! - TIG Welding Thin-Wall Aluminum


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Hi Folks,

Any experienced TIG welders in here?

I am looking for help, advice or tips on welding thin wall aluminum intercooler piping. Anyone willing to show me what I am doing wrong?
I know practice practice practice, but I can't get there to start. I have been wasting coupons and samples for months trying to figure this out.
I am an experienced Stick and MIG welder (shamefully admitting over 30yrs worth) and TIG welding is kicking my butt. Haven't done any brazing since shop class in grade school!
I looked at taking TIG classes at WT and RR, but it seems they require the MIG and General Arc courses as prerequisites for entry.

When i go to do a butt joint, each side pulls away from the joint.
When i can get them to glue together, it isn't strong and is sugared.
I can lay a bead on a flat surface of the 0.046 material, but not in a joint.

Materials I am using:
Coated Aluminum Polished Intercooler Pipes (2.25"dia x 0.046 & 0.063)
0.063 Pure Tungsten, sharpened to a needle point (balls nice when welding)
0.063 - 4043 filler rod
AL-only Stainless bristle brush, single direction cleaning (inside and out)
Acetone wipe before welding

Inverter TIG w/foot control and WP17 Torch
High freq start with 125hz welding
70/30 sine wave (also tried 60/40 and 50/50 for shits-n-giggles)
80A max pedal
5s post flow
Pure argon @ 15cfm


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Not too experienced but just a few (historical) questions. Are you buffing the coating off 3/8" to 1/2" from the joint? That would be applicable to inside the tube as well. The "sugaring" you are describing sounds like contamination. Any idea what grade the tube is? Also are you on AC or DC?

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