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mrcleanwell 02-09-2009 05:53 AM

Bulkhead - Weldless vs Welded
Other than cost, are there any cons to using a weldless bulkhead in a converted keggle?
I may know someone that could do the welding but if there is no downside, I would rather just install a weldless bulkhead myself.

BrewBeemer 02-09-2009 07:00 AM

Over time that "O" ring will take a set plus your fitting or valve will move around with a possible leak during the middle of a brewing session. Weld in fittings eliminate any possible future leak problems but costs more to have welded unless you weld them yourself. Welded fittings you can pull on the valves without any problems with them moving around or turning. Weldless is cheaper and faster to assemble with a trade off of more parts that can cause a failure. I'm a coupling weld it person. Eliminate any possible future problems is best but a added cost during the initial build.JMO's.

BargainFittings 02-09-2009 11:01 AM

I might be biased but I've got all weldless fittings on all my kettles and had no problem with the valve usage causing a leak.

The best tip I can give you is to be sure to drill your hole the bare minimum you need it so the nipple practically threads its way in and you will get a nice tight seal that does not leak.

With that said you can have the best of both worlds by purchasing a set with a stainless steel coupler, you can weld it in later if you decide to.

Good luck either way!

The Pol 02-09-2009 11:37 AM

+1 on the PROs of weldless... I have been using weldless for oh, almost 4 years now in my keggle. Never had a seal go bad, never had the valve "move" never had a single leak out of it. A lot of people talk about them leaking, only to find out those people have never even had a weldless bulkhead themselves.

They are highly reliable, most never leak, and those that do can be stopped without much effort.

david_42 02-09-2009 01:57 PM

I have a seven-year old weld-less fitting on one tun. Much of the winter, it sits on the fireplace insert to add humidity to the air. No problems.

Bobby_M 02-09-2009 02:10 PM

Pol, you're probably talking about me. I'm hard on weldless setups and I don't personally have one but the reason I don't is how many people I know in my club that had tons of trouble getting them to seal properly the first time. Once you get them to seal, they usually stay that way indefinitely.

I always say that there's an inherent flaw in the design because the oring will NOT seal at the threads of the nipple. Building up the valleys of the threads with teflon tape so that the Oring DOES seal, seems so jury rigged to me.

pro: cheaper usually.
con: MAY be hard to get sealed at first.

pro: unless you find a crap welder, it seals the first time and you never have to worry about it ever.
con: cost if you don't know a welder or own one yourself.

It really comes down to personal preference and access to cheap welding. If I did mine over again, I'd tap my vessels with 1/2" threads and silver solder nipples in. It's amazing how easy it is.

The Pol 02-09-2009 02:32 PM

Naww, not talking about you Bobby... others. But thanks for your perspective. Like anything, ANYONE can screw it up so that is doesnt work :D

IrregularPulse 02-09-2009 02:38 PM

I started with weldless. Tested them before use. Good Seal no leak. Then I was heating strike water on brew day. Valve was a little crooked so I thought, I'll twist it and starighten it. Thus a leak and me having to stick my hand in very hot water, Not up to temp by any means, to re tighten. Now I know it was from fiddling with it, but after that i just thought of the mess that could come from it someday and got them welded.

Bobby - A guy here at work was suggesting that I just thread the keg wall and silver solder the valve in. I hadn't seen anyone else do and thought it wouldn't work.

Bobby_M 02-09-2009 03:04 PM

Granted, I didn't do this on mine but I did silver solder some fittings into my plate chiller. In the bulkhead situation, I'd thread the fittings in for added strength and use the solder as the seal. 1/2" NPT taps aren't all that cheap (2525A115 $16 at Mcmaster.com), but it would be worth buying that and a silver solder/flux kit if you get a few people together that want to build keg based vessels.

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