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Haas VF-OE: can I use Argon instead of Nitrogen for the counterbalance?

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  • Haas VF-OE: can I use Argon instead of Nitrogen for the counterbalance?

    Hi,

    I recently got a Haas VF-OE installed in my garage. They had to purge the Nitrogen (from the counterbalance cylinder) and remove the motor, all to get it under the garage door.

    I have two spare bottles of 100%-Argon for welding, and I didn't want to have to be bothered with procuring a bottle of Nitrogen.

    Can I use Argon instead "Dry Nitrogen"?

    The instructions are clear that "Dry Nitrogen" is the only thing one should put in there. But I have a strong suspicion that any inert gas would work just as well, and that the instructions were just intended to make sure no one put any corrosive agents, like oxygen or water, in the canister. Am I right here?

    Any other thoughts?

    Best wishes

    Paul
    You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 1 photos.

  • #2
    For a machine the price of a decent car, do you really wanna trust what some random people on the internet say, or go with a maybe? Why not get in contact with Haas and ask them? Id doubt theyd be unwilling to comment

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by epicfail48 View Post
      For a machine the price of a decent car, do you really wanna trust what some random people on the internet say, or go with a maybe? Why not get in contact with Haas and ask them? Id doubt theyd be unwilling to comment
      random people sometimes have compelling pictures and stories

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      • #4
        One of the reasons "dry" nitrogen is so popular for a variety of uses is that it is one of the cheapest gasses available as well as being inert. Argon is considerably more expensive. I have no idea if bottled argon's moisture content is as low as "dry nitrogen", something to consider. I would think you could sub argon without issue, but that's only a guess.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Sparky_NY View Post
          One of the ....
          I am now doing some research and it seems this question has been asked before over the years, about other mechanical accumulators:

          Nitrogen is used only because it is cheaper, but Argon is perfectly fine.

          100%-Argon for welding would have no impurities of course.

          Still, there is no one I can find that says, "Yes, I used Argon for ten years and everything is good."

          I have decided I am using Argon.

          If anyone has doubts about the long term prognosis, then please comment below. It's easy enough for me to purge and replace.

          Comment


          • #6

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            Last edited by paulsheer; 01-23-2021, 06:28 PM.

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            • #7
              Do you have what the spec is for pressure on the machine?

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              • #8
                Two reasons, first is cost with nitrogen being dirt cheap. The second is that I believe Argon is much more difficult to seal so it likely will leak out fairly quickly. However definitely no harm done.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by garyhlucas View Post
                  Two reasons, first is cost with nitrogen being dirt cheap. The second is that I believe Argon is much more difficult to seal so it likely will leak out fairly quickly. However definitely no harm done.
                  I am guessing maybe you might be confusing Argon and Helium. Argon molecules are in fact bigger than Nitrogen.

                  No?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sparky_NY View Post
                    Do you have what the spec is for pressure on the machine?
                    it's in the picture - 750 psi

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                    • #11
                      The kinetic diameter of argon and N2 is almost the same. As is the molecular weight.
                      its isnt going to leak any faster.

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                      • #12
                        Update:

                        I have posted a full overhaul thread here with a complete list of components:

                        "Overhauling counterbalance and rebuild thread: full parts list and procedures"

                        https://www.practicalmachinist.com/v...0-post3739785/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          FWIW since it is a little late now, argon will be just fine, if there are any leaks it will just leak a little slower.

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                          • #14
                            I installed a Mini-Split A/C system in my shop
                            and I wanted to purge the lines and do a pressure
                            check overnight. I did not have nitrogen, but I had
                            argon at a few hundred psi. I filled my lineset with
                            350 psi argon, checked for no pressure drop the
                            next day, then I pulled my vacuum.
                            I also did a "dry-break" on the vacuum a few times
                            using argon to catch every last bit of moisture.
                            Been working fine for over 6 years now.
                            I did a few pressure check on A/C systems with
                            argon over the years, because it is what I had for
                            my TiG welder. I would for sure charge a shock
                            absorber with it in a heartbeat.

                            ----Doozer
                            DZER

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                            • #15
                              Why are you asking us? Go ask Haas.

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