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Thread: Welding truck frame!! Help please!

  1. #1

    Welding truck frame!! Help please!

    I have a badly damaged rear end of a 1999 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 4x4 that i am planning to replace. What would be the best type of welder for this job? I heard Flux core or TIG was the way to go, Which is better? (Brands would be helpful) I also need recommendations for what kind of grinders to buy/a plasma torch to remove the ruined section. Would the new section be structirally comprimised as a result of cutting it? Thanks for the help guys!

  2. #2
    Hi and welcome to the forum. We like pictures here so be sure to include some showing your work. Be sure to post a bit about yourself in the introduce yourself section so we can get to know you. Also, keep an eye out for the next contest here. The odds of winning a great new Longevity machine are very good.
    Are you talking about the differential when you say rear end or the frame, more info would be helpful. I'll let the other members here who have done that type of work answer the questions but they will probably need more info as well.
    Dan
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  3. #3
    Welcome, lets see some pics, have you talked to any body shop guys with a frame rack ? they may just be able to pull it close to straight, if it were mine I would just find another frame, junk yards are full of c/k trucks.

    But if you are set on cutting and welding it I have seen everything from MIG/tig and yes even arc welding being used on frames, It is a vital part of your safety and of others on the road with you, so take your time and learn before you cut, or just as I often do admit its out of your reach and farm it out... I have never been able to get an auto trans to work when I have worked on them in the past, this is why I have a Transmission guy now LOL.

    But lets see what you are working with .

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  4. #4
    considering that those frames are heat treated from the factory for strength
    any cutting or welding is going to compromise the formentioned heat treating
    usually on rear frame damage from impact the front rail is pushed or pulled and is out of alignment
    depending on the extent of the damage it may be easier to just swap out the whole frame for a good one
    looking at your questions on what process to use
    i would guess you do not have welding experience
    A truck frame is not a learning project for a new welder
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  5. #5
    It sounds like your new to welding and if your determined to do the job yourself then I'd recommend MIG, it's the easiest to learn for most people. I've welded on frames before and haven't had any problems but if it's twisted and mangled as it sounds like, I would seriously rethink your plan. If the frame isn't done right then it could sidetrack and be unsafe. Although I've seen many a Nova sidetrack down the road from the factory you really will need to think this one out completely. How about some photos?
    Last edited by Mishawaka; 05-14-2013 at 10:27 PM. Reason: mispell

  6. #6
    It can be done, BUT, not without the right equipment. Twist and sway have to be taken into consideration, as does proper distance from measuring point to point. All that can be found in the frame manual for your truck. These would be available at any full service body & repair shop, though I don't think they'll provide you a copy of the pages. Additionally you will need a frame rack (which aren't cheap), full set of frame gauges, and the knowledge to use them. I've spent many years in the business, some of which involved all the frame work needed for several facilities I did work for. If you're not set up for that then it's not going to be worth doing from what you describe.

    If you can find a bone yard frame in good shape, and have the time, you'd be better off. Though it's a bunch of work in my opinion, more like a labor of love.

    You ever need to get into clipping something there is a Right -v- Wrong way to do that. It can be done without sacrificing the integrity of the vehicle if certain steps are followed to the letter.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Cope's Avatar
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    I have seen a frame shop repair the frame on a Landoll style wrecker. The sandwich a piece of frame material over the existing frame. it was twenty years ago; I know they used a Mig welder, but cannot remember the details. This is not a job for an amateur.
    4T or not 4T, that is the question.

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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Cope View Post
    I have seen a frame shop repair the frame on a Landoll style wrecker. The sandwich a piece of frame material over the existing frame. it was twenty years ago; I know they used a Mig welder, but cannot remember the details. This is not a job for an amateur.
    also the truck frames where not heat treated 20 years ago on consumer trucks alot has changed
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  9. #9
    Senior Member tigqk's Avatar
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    Is it one side or both.Being pragmatic probably stick, then mig with at least 200 amps capability, and er70s-6 or better.I was taught to 60/40 splice ladder frames but have done tractor trailer rigs(with pickers and power towers) with straight up and down perpendicular cuts(e701 and formed fishplate bolted over the top and the trucks are still on the road with no problems.The first thing I would do is wash the truck frame down with acid wash then inspect for further cracking and spidering around the shocks and chassis mounts and this will make your decision for you.You can do it 60/40 and not require any fishplate on one side, but bevel the splices well and make sure you have a good root and penetration, leave the finished weld as is don't grind flush.
    Don't do it yourself.Frames are formed with coasre grain when you weld over the area you make the grain finer(under a microscope) and it loses its strength.The effort in doing both jobs is equal.
    Take wookies advice.
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  10. #10
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    Welcome to the forum.

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