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Never welded, don’t know anything about it other than calculating strength of welds (engineer). Can one of those $120 welders from harbor freight do the job of welding C gusset plates? If so, how about a whole truss kit?
 

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I'm not a welder, but my understanding is that it takes considerable experience to learn to make a clean weld. Unless you have a bunch of scrap to practice with, it's probably not a good idea to try and do it yourself. That being said, my understanding is a 120V MIG welder is sufficient.
 

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with a real welder ,enough scrap and electrodes you could learn to run a bead.
but not with a cheap HF welder.
bottom line ,it all comes down to duty cycle
 

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I am not a welder but in my opinion this is not something you want to try unless you have a lot of experience welding. I believe the Cs are cast, if you don't know what you are doing it would be very easy to end up ruining the structural integrity of the metal and actually make your front end weaker than with no gussets at all.
 

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Welding isn't hard to learn, but expect to shell out a few hundred to get a decent welder
 

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I would recommend taking it to an off road shop to have that done. Especially if you have never welded before. This is something you want done by someone with experience in that area. You not only want a good weld, but you can cause damage if you don't do it right.
 

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As they used to say on Pirate, a one-eyed monkey can learn how to MIG weld. I did my gussets and truss a few years ago (and have a thread on it somewhere here), and I'm just a corporate sales guy. That said, I don't think I'd tackle the job as my first one. There is exactly zero rocket science or mystery involved, but it does take some practice, and some mistakes, to get decent at it.

If you are going to buy a welder, buy a used Miller or Lincoln 220v machine off craigslist, rather than a new 120v one. You'll be much happier with it as time goes by.

Mark
 

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I wouldn't bother with the $120 welders from harbor freight for any reason.

I wouldn't try to weld on my gussets without learning how to weld first.

If I just wanted the gussets welded on and didn't have the training and equipment, I would go to a shop that could do it for me and pay them to do it.
 

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Do not think about trying this yourself! I am a welder and machinist and trust me when I say this is not something for you to try. Take it to a quality shop. You will pay way less by doing that than the alternative.
 

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I am a self taught amateur crappy welder with a 120v machine. I have fabbed up some fairly nice brackets and various other items. Get a bunch of scraps and have some fun. But my motto is if my life or someone elses depends on a weld, I have a real welder do the job.
 

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I paid $80 for a pro to do it. You're going to fiddle around and put too much heat into the C's and cook the ball joints. It's also too thick for a cheapo 110v welder.

Still buy a welder and some 3/16" scrap and practice laying beads. C's aren't the best learning item. I did my own weld on sliders with a Miller 110 and it worked, but I had to wait a long time for it to keep cooling off with a 20% duty cycle.

Now i have a Miller 211 and can burn in anything Jeep related.
 

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The best step anyone can do to learn how to weld is to take a course at a local tech school or community college. I agree that it would be much better to buy a used welder than a crappy new HF one. If you are welding thick metal than an arc welder is fine.
 

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The inexpensive harbor freight welders are a flux core wire feed welder, not a mig. I have a farm and do nearly all my welding. My go to welder is a miller dynasty or my lincoln mig. You'll not find me welding on any chassis or suspension unless it's body off. I'll die soon enough without being cheap and stupid. Hire someone that does it for a living.
 

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I don't know the first thing about welding, but I do know that I wouldn't trust my axle to an amateur or a cheap welder.

The cast steel axle has to be heated up before welding, then be allowed to cool slowly while wrapped in fiberglass blankets.
 

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If it’s a wire feed welder it won’t get the same penetration as a stick welder.
Plus the 120v welders really don’t have a good range of amperage.
A good welder can make a 120v machine work but a 220 DC machine can do about anything.
A AC machine is also OK but not as versatile.
The problem is they aren’t cheap.
If the metal is cast it can be done but it must be penned and cooled slowly.
I like to wrap cast in ceramic fiber for a slow cooling.
Plus you need to know what rod to use and what the base metal is.
As far as protecting the ball joints from the heat a wet rag can work but better is a HVAC cooling gel just for this type of heat protection.
If this all sounds too complicated you’d be better off having a welding shop do it.
It would also save you money in the long run unless your going to take up welding.
 

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And yes I’m a certified steam pipe welder.
Not the best but good enough to get certified.
Cast anything is the worst and hardest.
It’s full of impurity’s.
If you don’t know penning is hitting the area welded with a hammer to help release the stresses from the heating of the welding.
On non cast penning is not needed.
And on the prior post preheating is also desirable.
 

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Welding is not hard. You do not need a expensive welder to weld. You do need years of practice to be able to safely weld on your vehicle suspension. Things like penetration matter much more when you life depends on it. Do you really want parts of your suspension breaking loose at 80 mph. Whatever the cost of having it done by a professional if far cheaper than buying all the equipment and then having it fail because you don’t know what you are doing. That being said, if you want to learn buy a HF welder and practice weekly on scrap metal of different thicknesses and types and in a few years you may be good enough to give it a go. You should learn if for no other reason than to understand what the guys who are preforming the work you are engineering are doing and what is involved.
 
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