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Old 08-11-2006, 11:51 AM   #1
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Welding to Frame Rails?

Hello All,

I'm the proud new owner of future Skoolie conversion and still making my way around all the potential and potential pitfalls. I was "creeping" around underneath the bus the other day and noticed a label indicating that I should NOT drill holes in the frame rails. Since I really don't have any first-hand experience in what I'm doing, I wondered...

When I start putting components under the bus should I refrain from welding to the frame rails? To what should I attach holding tanks, generator, etc.? Should I be considering options other than welding?

By the way, I love this site and look forward to some insightful feedback. Thanks in advance and Happy Trails.

Take Care
Slim
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Old 08-11-2006, 04:48 PM   #2
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I'm also curious about this. I see that label on semi trucks all the time. If I recall, they say something about heat treating. I haven't seen that label on my bus, but it may have been there at one time. I don't know. However, I am taking my chances as I'm sure most of us are. I weld to and drill holes in the frame as needed.
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Old 08-11-2006, 06:07 PM   #3
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i agree with the above post. I also drill and weld to the frame as necessary to attach various components.
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Old 08-11-2006, 06:23 PM   #4
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first rule of welding to a frame is to never weld any bracket or patch straight up and down, always about 30* from the rail, and never steeper than 45* to the rail.

as for holes, I've always figured small is OK -- like up to 3/8 to mount something -- certainly never a 2" to run a pipe thru.
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Old 08-11-2006, 10:40 PM   #5
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Agreed on the welding at an angle. Diamond shaped plates (kind of like a kite) are what I've always seen used. When you weld it, make sure you do short welds and alternate sides so that you don't overheat things.
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Old 08-13-2006, 08:57 AM   #6
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Alrighty then, I appreciate the responses. Is there a particular reason not to weld straight up-and-down in relation to the frame rail?
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Old 08-13-2006, 10:54 AM   #7
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Welding frames at angle

Cracking!!! As the frame flexes up and down, one side is under tension, the other compression. A vertical weak point (weld) between the sides will be where it tends to break. The angle "spreads the load" over a larger area, and in different directions.
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Old 08-13-2006, 07:24 PM   #8
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The weld itself is not the weak point unless the heat treating of a piece is trukly compromised. Instead it's the rigidity of the weld that causes the problem. It concentrates all that stress right at the edge then. If you ever look at a failed weld, it often isn't the weld itself that failed, but the surrounding material assuming the weld had proper penetration, etc to begin with.
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Old 08-14-2006, 11:20 AM   #9
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Once again, thanks for the info. I can already tell that you folks and the information on this site are going to be an invaluable resource during my conversion. I'm looking forward to having "experience" so that I can contribute as well. I know what I'm doing, I just haven't figured it out yet. Great work.

Slim
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Old 08-15-2006, 11:14 AM   #10
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never weld

newer truck frames are heat treated steel (to make them lighter and stronger) and should never be welded on. use your head and make clever brackets/mounts and just drill holes and bolt whatever you need to to them. You will find that even drilling them will be a chore because of the hardness and alloying elements that were added to them to make them heat treatable (chrome, molly etc). Look at them, do you see a weld anywhere on them, they are all bolted and rivetted together, no welding allowed or you will have a crack later on, then how do you fix it? sporty rick
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