Defects in oxyacetylene welding torches which are sources of gas leaks must be corrected immediately, as they may result in flashbacks or backfires, with resultant injury to the operator and/ or damage to the welding apparatus. General. Improved functioning of welding torches is usually due to one or more of the following causes: leaking valves, leaks in the mixing head seat, scored or out-of-round welding tip orifices, clogged tubes or tips, and damaged inlet connection threads. [Corrective measures][1] for these common torch defects are described below.

Leaking Valves.

(1) Bent or worn valve stems should be replaced and damaged seats should be refaced. (2) Loose packing may be corrected by tightening the packing nut or by installing new packing and then tightening the packing nut.


This work should be done by the manufacturer because special reamers are required for trueing these seats.

Leaks in the Mixing Heads. These are indicated by popping out of the flame and by emission of sparks from the tips accompanied by a squealing noise. Leaks in the mixing head will cause improper mixing of the oxygen and acetylene causing flashbacks. A flashback causes the torch head and handle to suddenly become very hot. Repair by reaming out and trueing the mixing head seat.

Scored or Out-of-Round Tip Orifices. Tips in this condition cause the flame to be irregular and must be replaced.

Clogged Tubes and Tips.

(1) Carbon deposits caused by flashbacks or backfire, or the presence of foreign matter that has entered the tubes through the hoses will clog tubes. If the tubes or tips are clogged, greater working pressures will be needed to produce the flame required. The flame produced will be distorted. (2) The torch should be disassembled so that the tip, mixing head, valves, and hose can be cleaned and cleaned out with compressed air at a pressure of 20 to 30 psi (137.9 to 206.85 kPa). (3) The tip and mixing head should be cleaned either with a cleaning drill or with soft copper or brass wire, and then blown out with compressed air. The cleaning drills should be approximately one drill size smaller than the tip orifice to avoid enlarging the orifice during cleaning.


Damages inlet connection threads may cause fires by ignition of the leaking gas, resulting in injury to the welding operator and/or damage to the equipment.

Damaged Inlet Connection Threads. Leaks due to damaged inlet connection threads can be detected by opening the cylinder valves and keeping the needle valves closed. Such leaks will cause the regulator pressure to drop. Also, if the threads are damaged, the hose connection at the torch inlet will be difficult or impossible to tighten. To correct this defect, the threads should be recut and the hose connections thoroughly cleaned.