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Safely Welding On Automobiles???

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  • Safely Welding On Automobiles???

    I need to weld a couple of skid rollers on the rear of a motorhome.

    What considerations should a welder take when welding directly on an automobile?

    What considerations should she take relative to the vehicle’s electrical system?

    What considerations should he take relative to the fuel tank?

    The above are the main ones I’m really interested in but any others are fair game.

    I’m going to knock out these few because they’re obvious:
    - Keep a fire extinguisher or two handy.
    - Remove or protect any nearby flammable liquids like gas cans, paint, etc.
    =======================
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  • #2
    Keep the ground next to the work or on the work...Bob
    Bob Wright

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    • #3
      From what I've seen, "none" is the typical answer.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Bushytails View Post
        From what I've seen, "none" is the typical answer.
        +1
        This has been discussed on different forums and haven't heard from anyone having problems.
        As Bob wrote, get a good clean ground connection close to where/what you're welding on
        Richard
        West coast of Florida

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        • #5
          Yeah, having the ground close is a good idea. Don't accidentally have the ground path be through anything other than solid metal. Don't, say, ground on the frame, then weld on the body, and burn off the ground straps followed by the wiring harness...

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          • #6
            Yup to all the above. I ground as close to the weld as I can. If you’re worried about the electronics, disconnect the negative battery cable.

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            • #7
              Ground? Ohhhhh....you're all talking about the work clamp.

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              • #8
                Welding safely on a vehicle:

                Make sure it can't roll.
                Don't touch the hot weld.

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                • #9
                  This topic is asked every so often so a search will provide much reading. I can only speak from experience. The only time I have had issues is two separate customers years apart disconnected the ground cable only from the battery. Twice the batteries got fried. Coincidence, I do not know? If it is my decision I never unhook either terminal on a battery and never have an issue. If a customer wants it disconnected I always disconnect both terminals, + and -. I also make sure I have good clean metal to hook my clamp to as close as possible to the weld area and make sure the current has a direct path.

                  Always look what is on the other side of the frame rail, etc to make sure there are no wires, hoses or anything else that can melt or burn.
                  Always where ear plugs.
                  Last edited by MMW; 07-11-2020, 07:33 AM.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MMW View Post
                    ...Always wear ear plugs.
                    I almost put that down as rule #3.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MMW View Post
                      Twice the batteries got fried. Coincidence, I do not know?
                      I would say that, yes, that's just coincidence. Batteries are about the least-fryable thing on a vehicle. You could hook the welder right across one and it'd survive for a minute. And if you hooked it up dc backwards, you'd probably burn out the welder before the battery.

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                      • #12
                        I’ve never heard of anyone actually screwing up something on a car by welding, well, except the weld maybe. I’ve heard people say it’s possible, especially with all the confuser parts on them now days. Before every car was full of confusers, people warned that you could arc through a bearing, and that’s certainly possible.

                        Ground....uh hem....work clamp placement would surely eliminate that as a possibility. But it’s probably good practice to disconnect the battery anyway.

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                        • #13
                          15 years ago to my mistake I briefly worked at **** Scott Ford in Mexia, Texas. It was there I saw the last module from welding without unhooking the batteries. When the customer welded a flatbed to his 2006 Superduty it took the airbag, body and ABS module. I washed my hands of the job when the "senior" tech was aloud to pull a bad ficum off of a new lot truck and throw it on the customers bill. Nobody was impressed when I told the customer his ficum was good and he was paying for a bad one from a new arrival. Customer said he trusted the parts changer so I left it alone and left the shop soon after.

                          Sorry for the negativity, just be careful. It still burns me to think about it.

                          EDIT: The company's name is D i c k Scott Ford. The software thought I was being trashy.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Chris401 View Post
                            15 years ago to my mistake I briefly worked at **** Scott Ford in Mexia, Texas. It was there I saw the last module from welding without unhooking the batteries. When the customer welded a flatbed to his 2006 Superduty it took the airbag, body and ABS module. I washed my hands of the job when the "senior" tech was aloud to pull a bad ficum off of a new lot truck and throw it on the customers bill. Nobody was impressed when I told the customer his ficum was good and he was paying for a bad one from a new arrival. Customer said he trusted the parts changer so I left it alone and left the shop soon after.

                            Sorry for the negativity, just be careful. It still burns me to think about it.

                            EDIT: The company's name is D i c k Scott Ford. The software thought I was being trashy.
                            To be clear I do not know if the welders followed the above techniques or not. I can think of a few that have killed batteries or modules. I would say there are many times the number I saw that made it through fine. There maybe something to the particular welding current or polarity used that caused the problem.

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                            • #15
                              I have welded tractors, cars, trucks, vans, motor homes, motorcycles, boats all old and newer over the last 40 years. Some with computers and some without. Even million dollar tug boats working the rivers with more electronics than anything on them. The only issue was striking an arc on a van gas tank when i was young and stupid after an all nighter. I got lucky there...Bob
                              Bob Wright

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