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Old 02-18-2019, 10:17 AM   #1
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Arc welding on E450 chassis

Like most class-C motorhomes, my 2017 E450 came with one battery mounted under the entry step. I've already added a second battery, end-to-end with the first one. Now, I'm thinking of adding two more behind the first two, but that is going to require some additional brackets.

My local welding shop is a little apprehensive about welding anything directly to the frame. They seem to think that either Ford or DOT discourages that practice. But, I can't find anything to support that.

I've read in other threads that I should take certain precautions like disconnecting all battery cables, and clamping the welder ground as near to the work as possible. Is there anything else that I need to worry about? Should we disconnect any transmission cables?
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Old 02-18-2019, 10:28 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WileyOne View Post
Like most class-C motorhomes, my 2017 E450 came with one battery mounted under the entry step. I've already added a second battery, end-to-end with the first one. Now, I'm thinking of adding two more behind the first two, but that is going to require some additional brackets.

My local welding shop is a little apprehensive about welding anything directly to the frame. They seem to think that either Ford or DOT discourages that practice. But, I can't find anything to support that.

I've read in other threads that I should take certain precautions like disconnecting all battery cables, and clamping the welder ground as near to the work as possible. Is there anything else that I need to worry about? Should we disconnect any transmission cables?
Weld it !
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Old 02-18-2019, 10:29 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WileyOne View Post
My local welding shop is a little apprehensive about welding anything directly to the frame. They seem to think that either Ford or DOT discourages that practice. But, I can't find anything to support that.

I've read in other threads that I should take certain precautions like disconnecting all battery cables, and clamping the welder ground as near to the work as possible. Is there anything else that I need to worry about? Should we disconnect any transmission cables?
You may weaken the frame, especially if welding to the flanges. It may also be an alloy frame, which is worse, especially if you don't have an actual weld procedure (a very detailed methodology including rod or wire size and type, current, polarity, feed and travel speed, pre- and post-heat, and so on).

I wouldn't weld to it, but if you do, all that stuff is correct about keeping the ground clamp next to the work, and disconnecting everything you can.

Can you bolt or clamp to the frame, avoiding drilling holes in the flanges (a big no no)?
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Old 02-18-2019, 11:26 AM   #4
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I prefer bolt on hitches. Most, if not all, tow capable vehicles come with holes for bolt on hitches.
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Old 02-18-2019, 01:05 PM   #5
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Your Ford Chassis owners manual should give instructions and how to weld and drill holes in the frame. As MOjim said, Weld it. You can disconnect everything, or some of the things, but electricity is lazy, it will take the path of least restance, which between the ground and welding rod/gun. Your biggest problem will be a possibility of fire.
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Old 02-18-2019, 01:14 PM   #6
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Just be sure and use a certified welder. This is not a job for Cooter.
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Old 02-18-2019, 04:09 PM   #7
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Just be sure and use a certified welder. This is not a job for Cooter.
A certified welder is a welder certified on one particular job. There is no such thing as a universal certified welder.

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Old 02-18-2019, 04:22 PM   #8
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Thor welded the battery tray to my chassis side rail, but not the top or bottom flange.

I don't see any reason that a good welder couldn't either add to that bracket or weld vertically, inside the rail. I just wouldn't line up the welds on each side of the rail.
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:53 PM   #9
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BEWARE and DISCONNECT BATTERY BEFORE ANY ARC WELDING, as it can blow the computer otherwise.
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Old 02-19-2019, 08:24 PM   #10
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Don't see how disconnecting a battery is going to help. The stray currents can effect electronics, not the battery.

Muffler shops MIG weld exhaust pipes all day with out removing battery cables.

Catapiller does recommend removing the engine computer cable before welding, but we never did.

Always keep the weld ground clamp near the weld and not passing current thru bearings bushings or wiring.
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Old 02-20-2019, 08:59 AM   #11
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Just be sure and use a certified welder. This is not a job for Cooter.
That's funny. Because Cooter's Place is in Luray, VA, not far from me. He used to be in Sperryville, but he moved.

If you happen to be travelling east-west on US-211 or north-south on US-340 or through the mountains on Skyline Drive, you might want to drop in for a visit.

https://cootersplace.com/cooters-luray-va/
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Old 02-20-2019, 07:51 PM   #12
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A certified welder is a welder certified on one particular job. There is no such thing as a universal certified welder.

Richard
Hi Richard, it's not one particular "job", it's a particular type of welding ie: thick steel plate vs. stainless tubing.
https://www.aws.org/library/doclib/c...can-obtain.pdf

Not sure if that is what you meant.

But, as a general case - "any" welder that goes out of their way to get certified for a particular skill is going to be better than 90% of the muffler shop welding jobs I have seen. The difference between a "pro" and just good enough.
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Old 02-21-2019, 09:28 AM   #13
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Hi Richard, it's not one particular "job", it's a particular type of welding ie: thick steel plate vs. stainless tubing.
https://www.aws.org/library/doclib/c...can-obtain.pdf

Not sure if that is what you meant.

But, as a general case - "any" welder that goes out of their way to get certified for a particular skill is going to be better than 90% of the muffler shop welding jobs I have seen. The difference between a "pro" and just good enough.
Really? That's a pretty bold statement. Think about it, it takes a pretty good welder to weld over head, in the flat position, where they cannot see. Just because you can weld pipe, or coupons, does not make you a "Joe Magee Welder". Just sayin.....
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Old 02-21-2019, 01:28 PM   #14
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So drill/ bolt it, instead of welding?? Usually easier/ safer?
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