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Welding on a truck frame? AC/DC?


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  #1  
Old 10-06-2014, 07:15:22 AM
shakeyjake36 shakeyjake36 is offline
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Default Welding on a truck frame? AC/DC?

After some reading on some other sites, it is clear that the jury is split about disconnecting the batter when welding on a truck. That is not the question here! There are many theory's why one should or should not disconnect a battery , but not one word about using AC or DC.

The project at hand is a 2000 ford 550, that needs a hitch welded to the frame.I know most pro welders use DC stick, but what about the AC guys , have they had any trouble?

P.S.Do to the nature of the work this truck will be doing I think this truck sould go to a professional welder . That said I would like some others opinion on the subject.

Thanks for reading, looking foreword to your posts.
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Old 10-06-2014, 07:50:06 AM
Tony Rye Tony Rye is offline
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Default Re: Welding on a truck frame? AC/DC?

depends on what kind of a welding mach you have and welding rods either will do it
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Old 10-06-2014, 09:39:20 AM
beezerbill beezerbill is offline
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Default Re: Welding on a truck frame? AC/DC?

If you can go to someone that installs hitches routinely you might be better off. From what little I understand, modern truck frames are made of some pretty specialized steel and welding on them might be a problem.
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Old 10-06-2014, 10:37:18 AM
I like oldstuff I like oldstuff is offline
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Default Re: Welding on a truck frame? AC/DC?

+1 on what beezerbill said. Some parts nowadays use a boron steel for strength and lighter weight so they are thinner. This does not weld well as stresses and future cracking can occur.

But as yours is a heavier 550 I'd say it's ok to weld on it. Maybe it's just me but I'd pull the + cable off the battery. AS to AC or DC I'd imagine it makes no difference. But if the frame alloy is specialized You would have to dig up info on what is best. If it was me I'd likely just go at it with my AC mig welder.
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:45:36 PM
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Default Re: Welding on a truck frame? AC/DC?

The reason for disconnecting the batteries is to prevent an errant voltage stray from doing strange things to alternator diodes or computer stuff. You might end up with a 550 that thinks it's a DVR player when you get done.
Not a big deal, but you'll lose your radio settings, possibly. Still better than spending $1000, or more, to replace a module under the hood.
Since frame flex isn't nearly as critical, on the rear of the truck, welding isn't all bad. However, knowing the material and method would be a plus. However, I'm going to add a +1 on bolt on hitches. You can remove it, should the truck be repurposed, or sold.
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Old 10-06-2014, 03:43:27 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Exclamation Re: Welding on a truck frame? AC/DC?

Besides the above, if you have a hitch or trailer company do the install, should there be a problem (It falls off), they are responsible (unless you overload). I had a reputable company install a hitch many years ago, on the back of my then new Dodge ram pickup. The installer forgot to install 2 bolts, which caused the others to snap when towing a trailer. Not only did they repair the frame of the truck, they replaceg the hitch with an upgrade, repaired the trailer and painted it, and gave me a new lift (the old was worn pretty bad) free oof charge. great service, if you ask me!

If you do go for a weld on unit, ask what kind of guarenty they give on the welds, and will the vehicle warrent their machine if the frame is welded. making the frame too stiff, when you weld certain places, will affect impact crumple zones, frame integrity, air bag sensor activation, and may also void warrenty's (if any). A bolt on should have no impact, as it will flex to a degree during normal operation.
Andrew
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Old 10-06-2014, 05:36:08 PM
shakeyjake36 shakeyjake36 is offline
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Default Re: Welding on a truck frame? AC/DC?

Thanks for the quick replies. To respond to a few questions I will start with this. I will admit that I know as much about electricity as I do about flying the space shuttle. I would think DC welding might be ok on a truck that run on dc, AC welding might be differant. That's why I ask folks like you.

As to bolting a hitch rather than welding, simply put - why not. Welded hitches allow the owner to build the hitch with the stile and look he wants. I see a hundred trucks every day with something or other welded to the frame, some of them are pretty cool looking.

frame material may be a problem but this truck frame is more than thick enough for welding as it is almost 3/8 thick.

At any rate , at this point the only constant in this equation is AC or DC is the only thing that isn't important .thanks again .
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Old 10-06-2014, 05:41:19 PM
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Default Re: Welding on a truck frame? AC/DC?

I used to work for truck body manufacturing. We did disconnect the battery cable to prevent damaged emission when welding extended frames on all makes truck vehicles.
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Old 10-06-2014, 06:16:59 PM
J.B. Castagnos J.B. Castagnos is offline
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Default Re: Welding on a truck frame? AC/DC?

If I were welding a hitch on I would want the safety chains attached to another member. Welds can break and fail without notice. Cross members on the old F150 Fords would get loose in the rivets , most of the welded repairs failed. We would drill them and install close fitting bolts, no trouble with them.
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Old 12-11-2014, 10:50:16 AM
IronworkerFXR IronworkerFXR is offline
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Default Re: Welding on a truck frame? AC/DC?

you forgot about TIG welding, I will tell you many a shop learned the hard way , disconnecting the computer and grounding everything is pretty dam important,
a lot of trucks will say no welding with computer connected. or somebody will be real sorry. I would guess you need a plate for the pintal hitch, which is custom work, if its just a receiver get the proper spec bolt on
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Old 12-11-2014, 02:54:52 PM
DCamp DCamp is offline
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Default Re: Welding on a truck frame? AC/DC?

It was not a truck frame but I went to weld a piece that was leaning on the forks of my Bobcat and blew the alternator. I should have known better.
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Old 12-11-2014, 03:04:38 PM
chapmajs chapmajs is offline
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Default Re: Welding on a truck frame? AC/DC?

Either process should be fine, but if the frame is magnetized at all, AC will work around the arc blow that you'd have with DC. As to whether it should go off to a professional, it probably depends on your competence as a welder. I'm in the process of learning, and while I think my welds look OK, I wouldn't trust them on anything load-carrying that's going highway speeds.
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Old 12-12-2014, 07:36:50 AM
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Dale Barnett Dale Barnett is offline
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Default Re: Welding on a truck frame? AC/DC?

Dc works better for over head welds but Ac will get it done if you know what your doing.
Why weld it to the frame for the custom made hitch when you can build it the way you want then bolt it on.
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Old 12-12-2014, 08:03:03 AM
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Default Re: Welding on a truck frame? AC/DC?

Whether you weld with AC or DC current, disconnect the battery and keep your grounding clamp as close to where you are welding as possible and you should be fine. Don't put the grounding clamp on the front bumper and weld a hitch on the back of a truck.
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Old 12-12-2014, 08:12:03 AM
pegasuspinto pegasuspinto is offline
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Default Re: Welding on a truck frame? AC/DC?

a 14-15 year old truck, like as said, may have a magnetized frame now. In that case you may be forced to weld AC. IMHO I would disconnect and REMOVE the engine ECM, trans ECM, the body ECM, airbag control module, ABS, radio, and anything else that I saw that worried me. Some people get by with murder, but I've also, as a mechanic, had to start swapping computers after a welding job. In any case, good practice is to ground clamp as close to the weld as possible, and it might be good to ground to both rails and the hitch at once to avoid circulating currents through one rail and out the other.

But I'd still use bolts. There is a REASON that the factory takes the time to rivet frames together. Once the frame cracks from the welding, you're going to be chasing down that issue for years and it's probable your truck will never be right again. I saw a wrecker frame that developed a crack and he ended up back at the welding shop every few weeks trying to fix it....he finally had to sell the truck at an extreme loss.
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