shopping for a welder

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Nov 9, 2003
OK....I got tired of looking through all or the results the word "welder" produced in the forum search. Sorry if this is a beat down topic :-X

I have just started to tear into a 1974 FJ40 and know that I am looking at a bunch of body welding, but have also found some frame welding that I'll need to get some help with. My question is this: How thick is the steel that the frame is made out of? I'm trying to decide on a 135 AMP versus a 170 AMP MIG/flux core welder and am not sure which size to go with. Any thoughts?

The 135 amp should do, and you can definitely get it in a 110 volt (plugs into a standard outlet). The 170 amp is probably a 220 volt (requires a different outlet). Go with a mig application (uses an inert gas cannister to shield the welding arc). A flux core welder cam be bought for next to nothing. Campbell Hausfeld sells 'em for like $160 refurbished w/warranty, but the welds will have a lot af splatter and slag. The mig will give you much nicer, cleaner welds.
Please listen to this one.
buy a real mig with sheilding gas applications. also dont scrimp on this purchase you will regret it. to run 170 to 210 amp welder you will need 220 volt at 40 to 50 amps of draw. for most people this is overkill. the 110 volt units are pretty good. word to the wise though dont by a welder from anyone who doesnt sell the parts for it. the blue crap at harbor freight comes to mind, you can not even get contact tips for the gun after the sale. also dont buy a flux only welder if you plan on doing any body work with it.
my recomended in teh 120 to 130 amp range are as follows in no specific order.
lincoln sp135
millermatic 130xp
hobart handler
esab (forgot their model name)
if you understand that toyota makes the best parts for their cars buy a name rand welder with a real company behind it.
I second Phaedrus, go with a full on MIG setup from one of the larger manufacturers. Check out, they have decent prices and a pretty good selection of welders and associated parts.
when I bought my Lincoln....I decided on the slighlty more powerful unit SP175. The reasons being it was only $100 more and they threw in everything I needed to change over to weld Aluminum and stainless, also it has a longer duty cycle, and it is not easily borrowed by a neighbor or brother who can f' up anything (you gotta have the 220 and the right configuration of plug) ;) Just my .02.
Get the 175 version of the Hobart Handler or the Millermatic. Seems like everyone I know that buys the 135 range sells it and upgrades. It's like buying a cruiser and ignoring the locker option. :slap: :flipoff2:

Go to the Miller website, and check out if they have any demo days in your area. If they do, go. You can try some of their machines and get some good deals. :D
Man....thanks for all of the input. :D

I'm having some electircal issues in my garage right now and was thinking about having an electrician come out, so I may have him quote me on running a 220v outlet. I was most worried about getting enough welder to be able to do work on the frame, so I think a 170 AMP MIG may be my best bet.
with the 170 range you will definitely need a 50 amp breaker running out or it will trip like mad on you. as far as welding frame you will probably have to run dual sheild set up to get your amps high enough. I hate to agree with junk but hes right call your local welding supply houses and see if they have one you can try out at the store. most do and will let you get the feel for the different machines.
personally If I was going over the 135 amp mark I would go wtih a mm 185 or lincoln sp210. stand alone units with a built in bottle mount. check em out and see what you think.
Back when I went to School :eek: - Actually I went to T.A.F.E. As I was too stupid to go to normal School)
The Lecturer said anything less than 3 Phase 415 Volt is a waste. ??? Anyway 230 Volt is standard. :flipoff2: :-*
If you are in the USA at home, 3-phase isn't an option so quit ya braggin! :p

However, unless you're doing long stringer beads on 3/16 or 1/4 using flux-core, you're not gonna run out of duty cycle with a decent 110v welder before you warp the crap out of what you're working on. You will have to think more about proper joint preparation before you weld, but that will only yeild better results in the end.

I've not had any issues with my Hobart 135... Remember, multi-pass is your friend!! ;)

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