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Old 01-10-2013, 09:55 PM   #1
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Welding on DP

I am preparing to have a 15k hitch installed on my '06 Travel Supreme 42DS02, it will involve some welding/reinforcement of the rear frame section - will the engine battery master switch and the coach power relays be enough isolation from spikes/other damage? Hate to have to disconnect all those batteries but don't want a fried ECU on the Cummins or some other unknown catastrophic failure...................? JB
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:15 PM   #2
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If it was me I'd disconnect the main ground to both the chassis and coach batteries, it shouldn't be too hard to do.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:21 PM   #3
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They also sell surge protectors that clamp to the batteries to protect electronics. Antizap by matson.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:23 PM   #4
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IMHO I would rather be safe than sorry.Just make sure who ever does the job knows what they are doing.Good Luck and Many Safe and Happy Travels.
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:12 AM   #5
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I was taught to always disconnect the batteries form the chassis by removing the ground leads leads. I had to replace a damaged section of the coach body frame work several months back and just disconnected both the ground leads for the chassis and coach batteries prior to welding. No problems. Better to be safe than sorry.

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Old 01-11-2013, 09:21 AM   #6
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Disconnect them. It's a good opportunity to clean the battery posts and terminals while you have it appart. Preventitive maintenance is a good thing.
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:40 AM   #7
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Disconnect them. It's a good opportunity to clean the battery posts and terminals while you have it appart. Preventitive maintenance is a good thing.
x2.disconnecting the batteries will also save your alternator from being damaged while welding.
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:44 AM   #8
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We may assume the welder has done this before...

But first, some truck frames have stickers indicating zero welding allowed, so first action is to contact the manufacturer to verify if the proposed action will not cause issues with the unit.

If they are okay, then get their procedure, I am assuming if approved they needed to determine how to do it and created a list of steps including what to disconnect and where to place the ground lead.

I also assume the ground lead should be placed on clean frame rail as close to the weld as possible.

These are ALL ASSUMPTIONS that would need to be investigated.

Last is clarification of capacities of the towing vehicle, too much hitch with too much trailer is a problem...
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:19 PM   #9
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Let me tell you about my experience. I was at Fleetwood, and a steel support on my slide cracked, so they welded in a new piece. Now you would think they know how to weld at the factory. In any event, they disconnected the house and chassis batteries. They assured me that there was no need to unplug the chassis computer or engine computers. Well after the welding was finished and they hooked the batteries back up, the windshield wipers started running, the headlights would not shut off, and the dash HVAC ran on high, and this was all without the key in the ignition. Needless to say, they blew out the chassis computer. No problem just order a new one. Nope, not stocked or manufactured any more. 6 weeks, and they had to have one custom made. NEVER AGAIN will I allow welding without disconnecting the computers. Good luck in your choice, that was just my experience.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:41 PM   #10
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We may assume the welder has done this before...

But first, some truck frames have stickers indicating zero welding allowed, so first action is to contact the manufacturer to verify if the proposed action will not cause issues with the unit.

If they are okay, then get their procedure, I am assuming if approved they needed to determine how to do it and created a list of steps including what to disconnect and where to place the ground lead.

I also assume the ground lead should be placed on clean frame rail as close to the weld as possible.

These are ALL ASSUMPTIONS that would need to be investigated.

Last is clarification of capacities of the towing vehicle, too much hitch with too much trailer is a problem...
The coach currently has a 10k hitch, and I'm not comfortable with it being bolted to the lower "C" on the channel with only 3 grade 8 1/2" bolts per side. My welder is talking about boxing the frame approx. 3' forward from the tail. My trailer is going to weigh almost 10k loaded, and I want the 2 1/2" receiver for peace of mind............
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:27 PM   #11
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I too ALWAYS disconnect my hot and ground wire when welding, also remember if welding on a trailer be sure to compleatly disconnect it from whats towing it too.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:46 PM   #12
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If it bolts on it can be removed, beefed up or replaced with larger one.

It should have a msnifacturer plate on it, you may be able to contact the manifacturer and get a 20K hitch that would bolt right up, it would cost maybe a little more but there would be no question about the capacity.

Replace the existing hardware with grade 10, maybe add a couple.
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:04 PM   #13
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More thoughts...

If the unit is rated at 10K and the trailer is less then you have no worry as there is a margin for safety, insurance and accident issues no problem as long as within design.

Start welding on the frame and all bets are off unless the modifications can be certified.

Our CC has a sticker indicating only 3500 pounds total, hitch looks substantial, chassis built by Gillig, Gillig indicates unit could tow a house, but they did not install hitch, CC states it is much stronger, but only rated for what the sticker indicates and would need to seek the services of an engineering firm to certify it for anything more.

If your welder cannot certify the end product your insurance may be issue if something happens.

Coach manufacturer may be best source for what to do to keep the certification.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:27 PM   #14
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Allison requires the transmission electronics to be disconnected and isolated prior to welding. You can check what the shear load your bolts are rated to and determine if your fasteners can handle the load. If need be you could either add fasteners or increase the shear rating of your bolts by going up in size or grade. You will be surprised what the shear is of a1/2" grade 5 bolt. Interesting to note that Freightliner uses huck bolts and not welding to fasten frame rails.
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