Welding can be the biggest life saver when it comes to repairing or modifying your vehicle's frame, suspension, or engine performance like exhausts and intake systems.
From my personal experience,it is safe to weld on your vehicle. Although it is safe there are definitely some precautions you need to take before you get to welding anything on your vehicle.
#1 Automotive Welding Safety
When welding on your vehicle there are a few things to consider. With Electrical wires, gas tank, fuel lines, and other vehicle components that can melt or catch fire its important to consider the following:
First off, it's good practice to disconnect the negative battery terminal so that there are no power surges back into your CPU or electronics due to bad grounding of your welding area. (Note: I have welded on my vehicle without doing this and haven't had issues)
Second thing to consider when welding on your vehicle is to make sure your welding ground clamp is as close to your work area as possible and on a clean metal surface. Do Not Overlook This Step!
Last precaution to take when welding on a vehicle is to be aware of anything that may catch fire or be melted by the heating of the metal in your welding area. I would Suggest a welding blanket to cover areas that need protection.
#2 TIG Welding Vehicles
It can be hard to decide what type welding machine would be best for the type of vehicle work you are looking to get done.
I would recommend a TIG welder for someone looking to get into welding Aluminum intercoolers, Stainless Steel exhaust, Turbo manifolds and Vehicle suspension parts like A-arms, Links, and Steering.
TIG welding is also great for welding thin gauge metals such as body panel repairs and older car restorations.
#3 MIG Welding Vehicles
Although MIG welding can also do stainless exhausts and use a spool gun for aluminum, its not ideal for the highest quality welds on those types of metals.
MIG welders are great for Most Steel applications such as welding a vehicle frame, large suspension components, and Mild steel/ stainless exhausts. My First welder I purchased was a MIG welder and it served me great as I mostly work on my overlanding Toyota Tacoma (@motelmobber) and other welding that is mostly mild steel.
Having a MIG welder handy is also great for quick repairs that would normally be a pain to fix. Once you're comfortable with welding it can be your best friend for building any type of vehicle.
#4 Building Bumpers and Rock Sliders for Your Vehicle
I'm sure most of you are interested in welding since you got a vehicle you want to build or modify in some way. For most, the welding journey may start with the desire to build a bumper or rock sliders for your vehicle. At Least that's how I started and I'll give you a few tips I learned when Fabricating and Welding my own Off Road bumper and rock sliders.
When building and welding bumpers to your vehicle there are a few things to consider:
- Plan out the build and sketch down what you want to help visualize it
- Be sure you're welding the bumper to the strongest part of the frame and always add plating to your frame for strength.
- Find measurement points on your vehicle to get all dimensions correct and symmetric.
- Tack weld everything together first, welding the entire build should be the last step and should be welded in sections to eliminate distortion.
- Clean and prep each joint that's going to be welded and be sure your machine is set properly. Weld on metals similar to your project to dial in your machine before you start welding on your vehicle.
- Always double check for clearance on any moving parts like doors, hoods, tailgates, etc..
Building Rock Sliders:
Rocks Sliders are a great addition to Off road vehicles as they strengthen your frame as well as protect the underbelly of the cab. Depending on the type of rock slider you want it's pretty easy to get carried away. Remember sometimes simple works best.
- Decide Bolt-on or Weld-on
- Don't let the rock slider sit too close to the cab
- Don't allow rock slider to sit too far out off vehicle frame
- Don't just weld the tube straight to the frame, Plate over where your tube is landing
- Just Like the bumper builds if your building Bolt-on rock sliders you should weld it bolted up on the vehicle as well as move around as you weld it to eliminate distortion.
#5 If You Cant Weld It Yourself, Hire a Welder
If you're anything like me you'll hate this last tip but it could save you a headache for later down the road. Even if I haven't done something I'm always up to give it a try, the problem is if a repair is out of your abilities it's best to bring it to a professional or even get an opinion about how they would weld it. Heck reach out to me if you ever need any help and I'll do my best to get you results.
It can be easy to get in over your head and remember building vehicles takes time and so does learning to weld!
Thanks for Reading and feel free to comment below any tips you have!
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