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Old 10-13-2019, 12:34 AM   #1
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Welding to the chassis rail?

The guy who is repairing my floor texted me a couple of pics of the work earlier today, and when I looked again just now it looks as if he may have welded one of the pieces of angle steel directly to the chassis rail. If this is the case, how boned am I? I have always understand that doing this is a no-no and I've assumed in all my discussions with him that he understood the same, but maybe not.

He hasn't replied to my text asking about this, but it is after midnight here.

From the pic it looks like it was sort of stitch-welded in just a few places, not along the entire eight feet of it. And I'm not entirely sure it's welded at all, but there are four patches on the chassis rail that were ground and I'm not sure why he would have done that at all.
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Old 10-13-2019, 12:53 AM   #2
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Personally, I would contact the chassis builder and ask if the strength of the chassis rails are compromised by welding.


Having said this, the area you are repairing has little structural load aside from a portion of the walls, floor, and roof ... and anythig else you plan to build there. However, there is no support on the bumper end of the chassis rails like it is between the wheels. So any torsion/stress/force applied to this area will have to be completely absorbed by the portion of the rail behind the rear wheels and the further out towards the bumper you go, the higher the value of the torque arm to which those forces are applied.


So caution would be prudent.
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Old 10-13-2019, 01:05 AM   #3
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Personally, I would contact the chassis builder and ask if the strength of the chassis rails are compromised by welding.


Having said this, the area you are repairing has little structural load aside from a portion of the walls, floor, and roof ... and anythig else you plan to build there. However, there is no support on the bumper end of the chassis rails like it is between the wheels. So any torsion/stress/force applied to this area will have to be completely absorbed by the portion of the rail behind the rear wheels and the further out towards the bumper you go, the higher the value of the torque arm to which those forces are applied.


So caution would be prudent.
Aside from the weight-bearing and potential weakening issues, there's also the problem that the bus body is clamped to the chassis rail and is meant to slide in an accident. I brought up the issue of the clamps and how that would be done with the new structure, and also the issue of what material to use as the padding between the chassis rail and the new beams and I don't think he had any idea what I was talking about - if he had always intended to weld it those things would not have been relevant.

I realize now that he made a comment to me earlier, something about not going with clamps because they were too "ghetto" and welding instead. I though that he was referring to the exhaust pipe repair that they're also doing, but now it occurs to me that he was probably talking about the underbody clamps that hold the body on.

I think he really did weld it, and I think this is the end of my bus project.
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Old 10-13-2019, 01:16 AM   #4
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Have him cut/grind the weld and use the clamps.
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Old 10-13-2019, 07:45 AM   #5
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Most frame steel is weldable. This is not something I would worry about. But if you are really concerned grind off the welds and clamp as it has been said. No need to end the bus project, a bit over dramatic.
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Old 10-13-2019, 08:00 AM   #6
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I doubt if it really is a problem but the advanced vehicle inspector for the MH conversion might have a different opinion.


You need to discuss and give the welder a proper drawing to avoid mis understandings or plan diversions. Best would be to try to be there and help out at the same time.


good luck
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Old 10-13-2019, 08:27 AM   #7
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I doubt if it really is a problem but the advanced vehicle inspector for the MH conversion might have a different opinion.


You need to discuss and give the welder a proper drawing to avoid mis understandings or plan diversions. Best would be to try to be there and help out at the same time.


good luck
The possibility of a failed inspection is exactly what I think the big problem here is. I have a lot more work and expense to go before I can have the inspection done (here in PA) and it would obviously be catastrophic to go through all this only to fail in the end.

I did discuss this with the welder numerous times, and gave him drawings that included pads between the new angle and the chassis rail as well as clamps on the underside. It was only right before he did it yesterday that he mentioned something about the clamps being "too ghetto" (which I didn't think meant the underbody clamps), and then I got the pics.

I definitely should have stuck around to watch, I'm kicking myself for that right now.
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Old 10-13-2019, 08:29 AM   #8
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Most frame steel is weldable. This is not something I would worry about. But if you are really concerned grind off the welds and clamp as it has been said. No need to end the bus project, a bit over dramatic.
If the welding means I'll fail an inspection, then it's not being overly dramatic - I'm not going to continue with this. I have too much more additional work on the bus and expenses coming to do that.
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Old 10-13-2019, 08:51 AM   #9
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Can you post a pic of what you're talking about?
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Old 10-13-2019, 08:57 AM   #10
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Whew

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Can you post a pic of what you're talking about?
Well, fortunately I don't have to now. The guy hasn't responded to my text or phone call, so I drove over to the bus to check things out. Turns out none of it was actually welded, he just laid the beams down and took pics to show me where they were going to go. It just happens to look like welds in the pics.

I think he may still be intending to do it, so I guess I'm lucky he sent me pics where it looks like he already did do it.
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Old 10-13-2019, 09:12 AM   #11
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Here are the pics that I thought showed the angle iron welded to the chassis rail:

IMG_0720.jpg

IMG_0721.jpg

An optical illusion, fortunately. I think maybe the grinding on the one rail was just to get rid of some rusty bits stuck on the top of the rail.
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Old 10-13-2019, 09:34 AM   #12
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Well that's good news.
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Old 10-13-2019, 10:05 AM   #13
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Just got a text from my welder: "Right, nothing is or will be welded to the chassis rail."
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Old 10-13-2019, 12:23 PM   #14
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If the welding means I'll fail an inspection, then it's not being overly dramatic - I'm not going to continue with this. I have too much more additional work on the bus and expenses coming to do that.
What entity has the power to fail an inspection on your build? I would not have a problem welding stuff to the frame. I would have a problem if that welding secures the cabin to the frame.
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Old 10-13-2019, 12:31 PM   #15
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What entity has the power to fail an inspection on your build? I would not have a problem welding stuff to the frame. I would have a problem if that welding secures the cabin to the frame.
Must say I am curious on this as well. I understand a normal safety inspection , lights brakes, tires etc but not the build.

In this case if it was welded it would secure the floor to the frame and therefore the cabin( body) as well.

It is good to find no welding though.
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Old 10-13-2019, 12:42 PM   #16
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What entity has the power to fail an inspection on your build? I would not have a problem welding stuff to the frame. I would have a problem if that welding secures the cabin to the frame.
PennDOT does an inspection for any "modified vehicle", which a bus converted to an RV qualifies as (according to my local tag & title person and one person I spoke to at PennDOT, anyway - a number of PA skooliers have changed their vehicles to the motorhome designation by just mailing in the change form with the new designation, and no inspection, so I dunno) and this includes things like frame modifications etc. So it would not fail in the sense of not being allowed on the road, but it would fail in the sense of not getting to be titled as a motorhome in PA.

In my case, the problem appeared to be exactly that the welding was securing the cabin to the frame.
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Old 10-13-2019, 12:54 PM   #17
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PennDOT does an inspection for any "modified vehicle", which a bus converted to an RV qualifies as (according to my local tag & title person and one person I spoke to at PennDOT, anyway - a number of PA skooliers have changed their vehicles to the motorhome designation by just mailing in the change form with the new designation, and no inspection, so I dunno) and this includes things like frame modifications etc. So it would not fail in the sense of not being allowed on the road, but it would fail in the sense of not getting to be titled as a motorhome in PA.

In my case, the problem appeared to be exactly that the welding was securing the cabin to the frame.
I'd like to see the written rule. According to that if I change the bench seat in my car to bucket seats it would become a "modified vehicle". I would not take what "person" tells me at DMV, they seem to be the least educated on what they do. Does PennDot require an inspection if I move there and transfer my MH registration there? Register in VT., transfer to Pa., avoid all the hassles.
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Old 10-13-2019, 04:11 PM   #18
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I'd like to see the written rule. According to that if I change the bench seat in my car to bucket seats it would become a "modified vehicle". I would not take what "person" tells me at DMV, they seem to be the least educated on what they do. Does PennDot require an inspection if I move there and transfer my MH registration there? Register in VT., transfer to Pa., avoid all the hassles.
here in BC, an out of province vehicle has to go though a safety inspection - they seem to be strict but straight forward - no body gets misled or tricked - once the safety passes, if you apply for a change of registration to a motorhome, the vehicle has to go to an ICBC ( Insurance Corporation of BC ) where everything in the conversion is checked out by provincial inspectors - I could see that welding the body to the frame might fail one or both of the above inspections
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Old 10-13-2019, 04:21 PM   #19
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here in BC, an out of province vehicle has to go though a safety inspection - they seem to be strict but straight forward - no body gets misled or tricked - once the safety passes, if you apply for a change of registration to a motorhome, the vehicle has to go to an ICBC ( Insurance Corporation of BC ) where everything in the conversion is checked out by provincial inspectors - I could see that welding the body to the frame might fail one or both of the above inspections
No such regulations here in the states.
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Old 10-13-2019, 06:02 PM   #20
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Our safety inspections here in the states are done by auto and truck repair places, and of course they have a vested interest in a vehicle not passing, so they can do the "repairs" for you at a nice cost, and profit for them. Some states are lucky to not have inspections.
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