Here’s a great example of an older Lincoln SA200 SA-200 PIPELINER Welder. You really have to love the sound of one of those machines firing up. Sounds like money to most of the older hands.
While technically the pipeliner is the engine powered sa-200 model, Lincoln produced several models of varying sizes and power output ranges that were essentially the same pipeliner style. These included the sa-250, sae-300, sae-400, and even a pretty rare sae-600.
Over the years, the sa 200 has had a few different gasoline engines powering them. More commonly seen are the Continental f162 and f163 engines, and also the Wisconsin vf-4. For the larger models-(sa-250,sae-300,sae-400, sae-600)- Hercules engines were often used. Diesel engines such as the Teledyne-Continental tmd-27 and the newer Perkins and Kubota models are also common.
New or used, these welders are still highly sought after, especially among pipeline welders. Parts are readily available, and the reliability and great welding characteristics of these welders are almost unmatched among modern welding machines.
If you’re in the market for a pipeliner, You’d do well to keep your eyes open for a redface, or a shorthood. They’re some of the more desirable models. The red face models, where like their name implies, sa 200 models that had a red face plate on the front. These were available from approximately late 1962 to 1973 as far as i know. These seem to be the most desirable models especially among pipeline welders. One thing you should be careful of is that these red face plates are available as aftermarket parts. Make sure you get the serial numbers from the welder and then check the year to make sure that it’s a real redface model. It could be a non-redface that’s had the face plate changed to make it look more valuable.
Another desirable model is what’s known as the shorthood. Again, these are named because they have a short “hood”, or sheetmetal. If you’re familiar with a typical sa-200, you’ll know when you see a shorthood. It has a lot more of the generator exposed, and the sheetmetal is shorter than on a typical one. I’m not exactly sure of the dates that they were produced. From mid 40’s until sometime in the mid to late 50’s i think. Regardless of the year it was made, you’ll easily be able to identify one of them.
Remember, take your time when you’re buying a used welder. Make sure to check the engine over thoroughly. You should weld with it to load test it. One quick test is to put a bigger electrode in the stinger, turn the amps up, and ground it out. Then listen to the engine. If it seems to run smoothly and doesn’t stall and die, chances are the engine/generator is in good shape and overall it’s fairly well tuned up. If it isn’t running that well when you’re testing it, it could just be carburetor or timing issues and easily be fixed. Use extreme caution if it’s smoking or knocking. Bad valves, bad rings, and bad bearings can all mean expensive rebuild. If it isn’t welding at all, yet the engine runs, it could be something as simple as de-glazing the brushes or a loose wire. Or it could need to be completely rewound. Use caution when it won’t weld. It still could be a very good deal. Even more so if you can talk the owner down in price because it won’t weld, and you know what’s wrong with it. If you’re not that familiar with these welders, it’s best to find someone that is to go with you.
Finally, don’t feel that you have to buy the first used welder for sale that you find. Even though these welders are in high demand, there are a lot of them out there. Do your homework and find a good one, and it’ll probably last you forever.