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Triumph TR6 - Welding the Chassis

My evening welding classes have made me cocky, and I want to start putting things back together, so I am thinking about buying a welder. My main priority at the moment is welding the diff reinforcements and maybe doing a bit of work to reinforce the front suspension mounts while access is good (still no sign of any manifolds in the engine bay...). I have 110V 20A circuits in the garage, and would prefer not to run any more lines, as the fusebox is about full, and I fear that I would quickly get from adding a line for the welder to replacing the fusebox and rewiring the whole house...

My question is, what welding equipment have you guys used to do this kind of work? I was thinking of a cheap MIG welder, but the teacher of the class assures me that I need a stick welder with a 220V circuit. Anyone know the guage of the chassis steel?

I would like to be able to do bodywork as well - someone is trying to sell me an MGB which would need some bodywork. Naturally I would use the MG as everyday transport, being such a mundane car, saving the TR6 for special occasions...

Thanks, as ever, for any help and advice.
Alistair
Alistair

Well, since you have put the cars in their respective orders I suppose a response to your other queries is in order. The chassis is 16 gauge to the best of my recollections and you do not want or need a stick machine.... get a wire feed machine in a reputable build like Miller or Lincoln and you'll be fine... 20 years as a metal shop teacher tells me so. Either company make good quality light machines for about $6-800. Avoid buying 'grey' market models from the box store though.
KMS tools had/have some good deals on a millermatic 130.

Peace, Rob
Rob Gibbs

I'm a fan of the Miller equipment myself, but agree that Lincoln is another good brand. Hobart is no longer an independent company, they were bought by Miller several years ago and were being used as an "entry level" line into the Miller world. Still reasonably decent stuff, but I'd pony up the extra brass and get the Miller over the Hobart given a choice.

Go to http://millerwelds.com and check out the models, look at what you get get consistent with power available or easy power upgrades, duty cycles, etc. We're not big on stick welders either, we use a wire feed GMAW (aka gas metal arc weld or MIG) for body and chassis welding jobs. You can dispense with the shielding gas if you use a coated wire, but will have some additional work post weld to clean things up going that route.
SteveP

Alistair, I bought the Lincoln Weld-Pak 100, it's 110v
20amp Mig welder. I used it to do all of my frame mods
with out any problems. It doesn't have a fantastic duty cycle but then I've never had it shut down on me because I push it too far. I think I paid about $600 for it. Great little machine.
Chris
Christopher

Alistair,
I've done a bit of gas, MIG and arc (ok some TIG too, but that was long ago) welding over the years and currently have a Lincoln 105amp but have also used the equivalent Miller. Both do an excellent job but if I was looking today, the choice would be the Miller. It seemed to work just a little bit better. But that could be down to the individual machines. Either one should be able to weld up through 1/4" thick material. Thicker if you do multiple passes.

I would not even consider using an arc welder on your frame. It will be very difficult to regulate the heat properly. It would be the equivalent of using a forest fire to cook a meal. He's probably thinking old American car frames, or current truck frames. They are a LOT heavier than the 6's frame!

My preference would be to stay away from the flux core wire and go with the shielding gas. Yeah, it's more money but you'll like the ease and the results better. Also look at welders with infinitely variable heat and wire speed settings. Some (most?) of the lower end units have 4 position heat settings. Buy extra nozzles and wire tips. Get anti-spatter spray and tip cleaning pliers. I use them in the nozzles and on the tips - they clean up a lot easier and last a long time.

Cheers,
Tom

BTW - I have a B as a daily driver. Good choice! If you want any pointers on what to look for in a B (and more importantly what to avoid), drop me an email.
Tom Sotomayor

OOPS!
Forgot to include my email:

ausserdog *at* hotmail.com

Tom
Tom Sotomayor

Alistair,
Darn those welding instructors. If they aren't welding 3/4 inch plate, they don't think they're welding. I have a Miller 135 in my classroom that I use to teach Industrial Maintenance Mechanics to weld. It will weld in all positions, feed two different wire sizes, run on a 120 volt 20 amp circuit, and with practice it will do everything you need done. My suggestion is to go with the shielding gas, it's not too expensive and it makes for a prettier weld.
Stick for plate, MIG for thin metal.
Joe Justice
Joe Justice

Hi guys

Thanks for the advice - much appreciated. It looks like MIG is the way to go, which is what I expected before I started the class... Of course, the instructors want us to be able to weld every type of rod in every position possible before they introduce MIG, so it looks like I will be teaching myself MIG after all!

I had a look at the suggested machines above, and the Lincoln weld pak 100 is my current favourite (based on price and availability). Sears even has a 15% off deal on it at the moment (though of course they have none in the shops...). They also have a model with the gas option included (Handy MIG), which is cheaper - the only difference I can see is that the rated amps number is lower - 35 to 88A, instead of the 30 to 100A range of the weld-pak 100. The difference in price isn't enough to sway me either way, but the gas kit being included seems like a good idea. What sort of amp range would I use for the chassis and bodywork?

Sorry to be asking these questions - not sure where else to get a straight answer. When I mentioned bodywork and chassis work the best the instructors could come up with was a $1200 TIG setup, and while I am sure it would do a great job, I really doubt I coul dget it past 'er indoors!

Thanks again
Alistair
Alistair

Our frames were originally assembled using GMAW as were many other parts on our cars... I found several stubs on the chassis when it was being restored. Stick (SMAW) is mostly used in field work today and even that is diminishing..... nobody uses stick in production manufacture any more.... way too slow. Even 3" plate is welded up using heavy flux cored wire.
Go with the Miller unit and gas regulator/bottle and you won't have any regrets.
Rob Gibbs

I concur with the Ron, Tom and Joe - a good MIG welder with shielding gas is an economical start. I have a Lincoln 125 - runs off a 20 amp circuit at 110v, so no specicial wiring was needed. Flux core is "ok", if you like splatter and grinding - you'll save about $200 US by not buying a tank of Argon/CO2 and regulator and you can always add them on.
If you need to make a thick, structural weld, you are better off having a certifed welder do the work. But for sheet metal (including the 6's frame), MIG will do a great job. Personally, I prefer TIG, but there's the additional cost. A large capacity welder willX. I only know of one inverter TIG welder that can run off of 110v. A transformer TIG welder will usually require 220v at 50 amps.
Plus, with a spare tank of Argon, you can also MIG weld aluminum.
Bob Blair

Hi Alistair,
I bought a basic Century MIG welder (Lincoln) from Lowes when I bought my TR not knowing much about welding. It has performed well and is more than adaquate for body sheet metal but I agree with the others about getting a machine that uses welding gas. The flux core wire produces a lot of splatter and smoke and you need to grind the welds after you are done. I have reservations welding my frame with a 110v welder since you may need to do multiple passes to get the weld bead thick enough. I am thinking about stepping up to a 220v welder and using an extension cord to my electric dryer to power it.
One other important piece of equipment is a self dimming helmet. I got mine thru one of those salvage companies for $40 and it has been the best investment so far.
Tom
Tom C

Hi Alistair,

I too did muct research before buying my welder. As everyone else has said, MIG is the way to go on our "sheet metal" frames.

For me this was all the excuse I needed to justify buying a new tool. But as I learned looooooooong ago, buy the best you can afford given the scope of the job.

I purchased the Miller 110 volt Mig, was the 135 model at the time, now the 140, and can run flux core or bottle setup. The 110 connection makes it useful in that it can be used anywhere. Now with 220V in my garage, if I was to buy now, I would have to compare the 140 VS 180 models and decide.

Ken
KJ

How are the welding classes going?
DON KELLY

Hi Don

The welding classes are going very slowly. Most of the people doing the course are looking to learn MIG welding for hobbies (old cars, karting etc.) but the instructor has no interest in deviating from his plan to have us spend two evenings each week dragging rods across a thick piece of steel. Apparently the plan is to start joining things together by the end of March(!!) and maybe look at MIG welding at the end of the course, if there is time. I suppose it is all good experience, but not really relevant to what I want. I bought a 110V Lincoln on ebay last week, and when that arrives I will start teaching myself how to join chassis thickness steel together. I was tempted to spend more on a better welder with gas, but it just seems like it would be sitting around the garage gathering dust, so cheap won! I really want to start getting the car put back together - the temperature is above freezing here (at last!) and I don't want a repeat of last year - I didn't get the car on the road until the end of August after my winter projects expanded to fill most of the summer.

Cheers
Alistair
Alistair

Alistair- I really like my garage heater I installed . In your area would be a plus!
DON KELLY

Alistair, who is paying for for this class?!!
Get together with some of the other guys and force
him into the 21st century.
You are all hobbyists, your not welding oil pipe. Tell him to get with the times. A whole class full of bad reviews at the end of the course and he loses his job. Tell him what you want to learn.
Chris
Christopher

Alistair,
Lincoln is a good welder. It out perform the brand carried by harbor freight even they have the same spec. You can find gas accessaries in most of the welding shops, even home Depot. Lincoln is a popular brand.
I can weld 1/2 inch plates with it. If you can weld with the flux core, then you can do it with argon and prettier. No tricks same technique. ( gas should be argon-CO2 ) and you will not be disappointed.
If you go with gas, make sure you get the Argon tank from the place you will get your gas refilled. Here in New York, most welding supplier won't fill other shop's tank! unless you pay them $20 to reinspect yours. Or talk to the shop first.
happy welding
Paddy
Paddy Kan

Hi guys, back again, and now I have my welder, so I can do real damage!

I have spent a bit of time practicing with my new flux core welder, and I have to say that after the first couple of nasty looking beads I can now run nice even welds flat, horizontally and vertically. With liberal use of the anti-spatter spray I don't have any problems with spatter. Hats off to the cheapest welder at Home Depot! My attempts at joining have been quite pleasing - a 1/8" thick plate (1 inch x 3) welded along the short length at right angles to a long plate will hold my weight (a lot more than I care to admit!), so I reckon I am ready to set the car and house on fire... erm, I do of course mean that I am ready to weld my reinforcements to the diff mounts safely and with no risk to myself or my property... This brings me to my question...

I was about to use the template from Rick's CD, which is an outline of the TRF plates, I think. I made one out of cardboard and then checked under the car - the general size seems about right (if loose), but at the sides the original bracket only extends half way up the side of the chassis member, so my revised template has a dogleg on each side, and rather than being a loose fit, I have made it snug all the way around. My class hasn't mentioned anything about fitting pieces together before welding (they only mentioned the idea of joining things together last week...) so I wondered if there is a reason for the apparently poor fit? I presume that TRF would not sell plates which were cut to the wrong size or shape, but on the other hand I have the opportunity to cut and grind the plates to the ideal shape for my chassis, so that seems like the thing to do. Any thoughts?

Sorry (as usual!) for the excessively long post... Thanks (as usual!) for any advice.
Cheers
Alistair
Alistair

Alistair, personally I wouldn't weld in sloppy fitting
plates, you shouldn't have to bridge a gap. Make them tight enough so they hold themselves in place, do a couple tacks welds to be sure then run your bead.
Are you going to box in the bottom of the U channel
on the rear diff hanger? You might also want to add a strap of 1" by 1/8" that starts underneath the frame
extends over the top of that rear diff hanger and ends up on the bottom of the frame again on the other side.
My first project when I got my mig was to build a welding cart to hold the unit, the tank and provide a surface to weld on. Boy there are some really lousy
welds on that cart but it's amazing how fast you can get good with those machines.
Chris
Christopher

Alistair,
You want to have *some* gap between the pieces to allow for weld penetration. A proper weld will have the bead on one side and FULL penetration on the other. If it doesn't go all the way through, you need to practice more!

I use vice-grips pretty liberaly to hold pieces in place until tacked in. Sometimes you have to get pretty creative in how they get initially held in.

Also get a good fire extinguisher. My preference for the shop is CO2 since it doesn't make it a bigger mess. If you choose dry chem you'll need to have it refilled even if you don't empty it. The powder will prevent the valve from fully seating and will bleed off the pressure. This can make for exciting times when you need to use it again!

Tom
Tom Sotomayor

Christopher - your suggestion to box in the rear channel intrigues me. I was looking at this channel last night, and it looks to me like boxing it will make it stronger, which is all well and good, but the same stresses will be applied at the shock mounts, and if that section can't flex, won't that add more stress at the joint of the rear bridge and the main chassis rails, i.e. just under the shock mounting?

I suspect this might be the reason for the suggested strip ("strap of 1" by 1/8" that starts underneath the frame extends over the top of that rear diff hanger and ends up on the bottom of the frame again on the other side") - I am afraid I can't visualise how this fits - do you have any pictures?

Another question that strikes me when I look up at the body right above the area I will be welding is how much of the interior needs to come out, if any? Will enough heat get up to damage the carpet (new last year, so I don't want to destroy it just yet!)

Cheers
Alistair
Alistair

Welding vs. brazing
While I would never consider brazing for frame repairs (I just finished removing some previously shoddy brazed-on pieces of metal on the rear frame legs) I was wondering what the latest thinking is for brazing for body sheet metal repairs?
D.
Dennis5

Alistair, yes you answered your own question, that is what that strap is for. I don't have the frame any more. So no pics. But you have the body still on so you can do it that anyway. However, you could weld that same strap on the rear face of the rear arch. Not as strong but would still still ad some strength to the arch and help it resist pulling away from the frame. The more gussets, straps and boxing in the better. Looking at that rear arch you can just see how
inadequate it was designed. For another $5 buck a car
they could have sloved all the rear end problems.
Chris
Christopher Trace

Alistair
That is interesting how "sloppy" the plates are. Did you make sure the one side of your template measured 3 11/16" long?
Yes you might want to pull out your new carpet off of the back shelf at least.
Rick
Rick Crawford

And it's not a bad idea to disconnect any non-stock ignition components prior to welding, especially multi-spark boxes such as those from MSD or Crane along with any modern electrical controls you might have added. You can fry those tender electrical components in a heartbeat when welding on a car.
SteveP

Hi Guys

Just thought I would update this with a couple of photos. Let's see if this works...

This one shows the mounting plates I made. I only made 3 because I couldn't get to the outer one on the driver's side, and everyone says it is the passenger side that goes anyway.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7482335@N08/428010155/

This next picture shows two of the plates welded in place. It took me a while to finish welding because a) I am not very good at it, b) I had very limited space with the car just on stands and c) I managed to hurt my back moving furniture so I couldn't move easily. Can you tell from the list of excuses that I don't think the welds are as pretty as they could be?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7482335@N08/428010163/

I hope that these show up. I forgot to make drainage holes at the bottom of the passenger side plates, (though the sloppy welding on the outer one will probably do the job!), so I am just going to squirt a load of Waxoyl in there before I put the diff back. It feels odd to be finally thinking about putting something back on the car! What a winter project this turned out to be. I must make some notes somewhere or in the years to come I will never remember quite how changing the rear springs lead to painting the alternator mounting brackets!

Cheers
Alistair
Alistair

Alistair, why didn't you use red plates so they show up better in the photos?
DON KELLY

This thread was discussed between 08/02/2007 and 20/03/2007

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