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Old 04-22-2014, 03:04 PM   #1
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Welding outrigger in front of wheel well on '71 Question..

I'm in the middle of swapping out the axles on my 71 Overlander and noticed that both of the outriggers on the front of the wheel wells have broken welds. Can I weld these in place without removing the belly pan or banana wrap in front of these outriggers? I'm just a little concerned on how much the back side of this is going to heat up. Also, should I reinforce them with a small angle iron brace or anything especially considering I will not be able to weld from the back-side of the joint?

Here are some pictures of the outrigger on both sides and one has been jacked up back to its proper location.



This picture shows the broken weld.

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Old 04-22-2014, 03:09 PM   #2
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It should be fine if you jack them into the correct position and weld them. Then re enforce with some 2x2 angle from one side only.
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Old 04-22-2014, 03:25 PM   #3
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Wow thanks Ventport! I barely hit submit. I'll give it a go and see what happens.
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Old 04-22-2014, 07:04 PM   #4
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If it was mine, I would do a little grinding where the 'rigger meets the frame, jack it in place as mentioned and run a 1/2" fillet weld on each side and "forget about it".

It will be fine. That is what I did on my Argosy rebuild and it's good.
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Old 04-22-2014, 07:20 PM   #5
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Thanks bwoodtx for the reply. I don't have access to both sides of the outrigger. I will grind this side down before welding but the additional angle iron welded in kind of makes sense just because I cannot access the other side of this outrigger. Well at least without removing the belly pan ahead of that outrigger. Do you think just a fillet weld on one side would be adequate?
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Old 04-22-2014, 07:21 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bwoodtx View Post
If it was mine, I would do a little grinding where the 'rigger meets the frame, jack it in place as mentioned and run a 1/2" fillet weld on each side and "forget about it".

It will be fine. That is what I did on my Argosy rebuild and it's good.
Definitely agree that the weld should be ground down but a fillet weld that exceeds the thickness of the members being joined is redundant. With most carbon steel applications the weld strength far exceeds the base material strength when the weld size is the same as the material thickness. Additionally the heat input required to place a 1/2 inch fillet weld on material this thin would distort, or burn through the base metal being joined.

Simply grind out most of the original weld and run a new full length fillet weld up both sides of the outrigger if accessible. I would use an all-position GMAW wire in the short circuit transfer mode. Be sure to stagger the welds during welding to minimize distortion.
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Old 04-22-2014, 07:46 PM   #7
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Just have a rig welder come over and weld it with xx10 rod down.
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Old 04-23-2014, 03:04 PM   #8
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I found the floor had drooped where outriggers were damaged and used hydraulic jack lift action on the plywood floor to allow outriggers to stand free while welding.

There should be a second vertical flange on the hidden side of that outrigger pictured that may or may not be still intact, and the factory shop guys added scrap pieces to make a stronger bracket effect that could need looking at. Get under the wraps. If you can swing it then custom fitting & replacing the solid-face outrigger(s) is the way to go, there may not be much metal thickness left.

And... Airstream did not exaggerate their outrigger welds, a couple of solid button welds is strong enough while also being somewhat 'break away' in an accident or wayside hazard strike, better to ball up, crumple or tear off the outrigger than have it transfer much energy into the main frame rails or otherwise solidly catch the obstacle...

Also remember there there are all sorts of flammables in/around the wheel-well tub, My '72/'73 have black plastic vacuum formed tub liners pinched between frame/outrigger and flooring that will be hating immediately adjacent or overly long weld times and their arc-flash exposures.
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Old 04-23-2014, 07:19 PM   #9
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From my experience I would seriously consider pulling the entire belly pan and checking ALL of the outrigger and frame welds. The 70's frames were built lighter and I have found multiple cracks in outriggers and other frame sections. When I thought it would only be one or two.

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Old 06-04-2014, 10:43 AM   #10
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Well just a quick update on what we finally decided to do with these outriggers. We did end up dropping the belly pan from the fresh tank all the way to the back bumper. Fortunately these were the only ones that had issues. We did reinforce the frame behind the axle mounting plates as well. So for the outriggers, we used some 2" angle and made a little reinforcing plate. We had to jack the outrigger back into place and then tack welded a piece on the face of it to use as a lever to keep it vertical while welding.

Overall it worked pretty good and now the whole frame that was exposed has a nice coat of Por-15 on it and should be good for another 40 years. In the mean time since the belly pan was down... adding grey tanks, rear subfloor replacement and fix frame separation, new belly pan and redo bathroom. I'm getting really close to reassembly at this point. Nothing like creating a project!
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