Looks like I am going to be purchasing a welder to do some mods for my YJ. Can anyone tell me if I should get a 220 volt over a 110 volt, should I get a mig over a tig and should I get gas over flux core.
Location: East of Gratiot, West of Zanesville, Ohio
MIG is a pretty good option as far as home welders are concerned. Buy a quality unit, Lincoln, Miller, Hobart are all good names. If you want a tool that lasts, stay away from the stuff Harbor Freight sells. I have a Hobart Handler 140 which is a 110V unit. It's fine for anything up to 1/4", great for sheet metal. I welded new pans in my YJ with it as well as patching a hole in the tub.
Voltage range is a toss up. If you are set up for 220V in your shop and can afford the welder, that's the route to go. You can dial down a bigger welder a lot easier than you dial up a liitle one. Duty cycle is important. That's the number of minutes you can weld before you give the unit a break.
Go with gas. Using an argon/co2 mix with solid wire will give you much better welds than the flux cored stuff. Check out the prices on bottles and refills from multiple shops. Sometimes there's a fair difference in prices.
Use good wire. I keep seeing guys scrimp on wire and it's not worth it. Lincoln wire is pretty good. The quality is consistent plus you can get it at Tractor Supply, Lowes, and Home Depot.
It's always nice to have a welder cart to hold your unit and gas tank. A good helmet is a plus as well.
The arc on a MIG is very 'tight' or small compared to a stick welder. That's why some weldors refer to them as 'short-arc' machines. In order to get good penetration be sure to actually put the arc where you want the penetration to occur. Do not rely on letting the metal flow from one side to the other. The thicker the metal the more important this is. Thin metal, not so important.
'51 4x4 Willys military jeep-sold
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'90 4x4 Wrangler YJ-present (my 'bug-out' machine)
My welder is a Lincoln Pro-Mig 180. It runs off 220, and is capable of Mig, Flux core, and if i buy a spool gun it will do aluminum too. It came in a ready to weld kit with a spool of both solid core (MIG) and innersheild (Flux) wire, several different tips, a regulator for the Argon bottle, welding gun with both gas and gasless nozzles, ground, cheese dick handheld face shield, a sweetass instruction DVD, and a few other odds and ends.
I grabbed a tub that needed patchwork before I could install it. I grabbed an Esab 220 volt mig welder off of Craigslist for $700 with a full size argon/carbon bottle and a full spool of wire. Model is Migmaster 251. I was debating over a 110 home depot style welder and a nice 220 volt welder that would have little limitations. I was not setup for 220 at the time. It did not take much at all to setup 220 in my garage, especially since I know people and was able to pickup scrap electrical parts. The dials are not "slotted" on my machine, compared to a Lincoln or Miller where you have predetermined slots on the dial. Therefore in essence I have infinite voltage and speed combinations. I welded the thin stuff on the tub, and I am now welding the thicker stuff on the frame. The Esab works like a dream. I have practically no limitations on what I can weld. For a couple hundred bucks more compared to a home depot setup, it was well worth it and I got a sub panel in the garage now and the service upgraded because of it. A bottle fill/swap costs me under $20 and the $80 spool of wire that came with it will probably last me for years to come. I hear that flux cored stuff really smokes bad.
Shop around long enough and you'll get a good deal.
I have two welders, a cheap fluxcore (use good wire, like lincoln and you'll be fine) that I got from Harbor Freight for $150 and a nicer gas Miller that I got after I became a bit more proficient. Truth be told, the HF welder does 90% of what I need. If you're just going to do a bit here and there, that may be all you need too. Now, if you're going to spend a few hours a week welding, spring for the nicer stuff.
Denis A. Baldwin
1991 YJ 2.5L, 1" BD MML, 14 Bolt Rear, Dana 60 Front, 5.13 Gears, Detroit Lockers, 37ss, Cherokee Offset Springs (10" front to back stretch total), Bilstein 5150s, 1in. BL, custom cage, Warn M8000, Double D Dash/OHC, 4Low Front Stinger Bumper, DirtWorx Rear Bumper WTC, Tube Fenders, Comp Cut, 1 Ton HD Kingpin High Steering and PAID FOR.
get a 220 and a mig, fig is to hard to do in tight positions under your jeep and mig is perfect for what your gonna do, i would get a miller or lincoln
What the hell is a fig welder?!? Do we also need pear or apple welders?!?
Seriously, I agree, get a 220 MIG and get one that is set up for gas as well. Lincoln, Hobart and Clarke are all good ones. Remember, you get what you pay for so stay away from HF!
__________________ But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17 (KJV)