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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Would you rather have a fix mounted on board welder/ air or portable welder/ air for the trail? I'm leaning towards a power tank style co2 tank and ready welder for my uses.

I guess these are the benifits i see to the portable setups

easy to swap them over to a new rig if i ever build a new one

if some one is broken where you can't get a rig to the them you can still drag the welder/ air to them

I suck at stick welding so a mig would be great for me in the woods

Down falls

Everyone will want to borrow them when they break their junk

More expensive

have to re-fill co2 tank

Remanufactured ready welders are around $300 and the poly performance 15lb co2 tank setup is around $235, i havn't really shopped around or stared researching yet.
 

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My choice would be portable welder and on board air. Having both portable has a lot more benefits than my choices. I just like the engine onboard air's compact location under the hood.
 

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For air I suggest an on-board compressor, and a tank set up so that it can be unplugged and removed fairly easily. It's a lot cheaper and safer than carrying a cylinder with 2000+ PSI, it's easier to carry around a handy-tank than a high-pressure bottle, and you'll never run out of compressed air.

The welder question is a close call in my book, but I'd lean towards a spool gun if I could afford it, primarily for the portability.

For emergency repair equipment my philosophy is that inconvenient and slow is a reasonable tradeoff if you can get reliable and flexible in exchange. If it takes a long time to fill a tire or make a weld, you'll still get out of there, but if your CO2 bottle runs out, or the welding leads won't reach, you're hammered.
 

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You'll use the on-board air at the end every time you go off road.
"Hopefully" the Ready Welder (which is a MIG spoolgun) won't be used every time. Don't volunteer you have it unless you want to.

I use a Sanden Air conditioning compressor (cause it's fairly small) mounted on the engine as the air - without a tank. It will give an unlimited supply of air, but without the tank, it's not enough to run airtools. It'll take a 35x12.5 from 10 to 25 psi in just over a minute at idle. Fast enough for me.

As far as a "portable" air tank when you might have to take someone air where you can't get close - you already have one - your spare tire. Just fill yours up good, roll it to him, then use a hose with double chucks (available everwhere.) Air up his from yours.
If you had to, you could do it several times. (He He - let him do the rolling!)
 

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[ QUOTE ]
you already have one - your spare tire

[/ QUOTE ]

Good thinking! I wonder if you could run an air tool from it if you had to. Who knows when a tire will explode from overpressure? Is 90 or 100 PSI safe? I wouldn't want to be around the experiment.

But a carry tank will run an air tool for a short period.
 

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Just a thought, even though the stick welding can be more difficult, isn't it a better option because on the trail you usually cannot clean your weld area very well. Doesn't stick welding have better penetration and strength in dirty situations than MIG? And what are the down sides to using batteries to weld?
 

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I'd be leary of anything over 35 or 40 psi. Not enough to run an air tool.

But - if he's flat and it's fixed (often it's just the bead popped off on a rock,) 30 lbs will equalize in both tires, giving him 15 psi (or 40 gives him 20) - enough for him to roll to where you can get to him with your OBA. (Assuming both tires are the same volume.)

Power tools - I carry an 750W (I think) inverter, 4" electric grinder, and a 110 volt drop light with a long cord. You could carry more, like an impact, but I've never really needed one. The drop light works great as a camp light too!

That grinder can cut or clean most anything. You could carry more power tools, but I don't bother. Never needed anything else.

Space is always at a premium!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I like the portable air tank hooked to on board air idea, i allready carry a portable tank as my "spare tire". Though i still wouldn't be able to run air tools for long at all on those junk missions when you need an impact in the middle of no where to remove some free jem of a part off some truck with trees growing around it. Airing up after a run isn't a concern, i usually trailer or just run 10ish psi on the street.
 

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This is all subjective...

I prefer running two batteries.
It's a back up for my charging system (two batteries will get you in from almost anywhere).

OBA, same as winch, with batteries you can run an electric compressor or winch even if the vehicle is on it's side since the engine doesn't have to run...

Spool gun welder is a good idea, even if you aren't looking for the redundancy.
If you use the alternator conversion you have to run the engine to use the welder, and as Rich pointed out in a different thread, the spool gun welder is portable to someone elses vehicle.

I like my electric compressor, no complaints at all with it.
I don't know WHY you might have to use the compressor when the engine can't or won't run, but it's redundant just the same...

If I were going to run a pressurized tank, I think I'd use something that can be used as a welder shielding gas.
I think you can use CO2 as a shielding gas for MIG welding, but you would have to ask the welding guys here for a definite answer.
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My little CJ-5 is REALLY SMALL!
SO,
Everything I take with me has to do double duty or stay at home.
Even my jack handle & air hose does more than one thing!
If CO2 can be used as shielding gas and to inflate your tools, and to run air tools, then I'd say it's worth the space and storing precautions you have to take with a high pressure tank.

If you don't do a lot of welding, then maybe opt for a small electric compressor and low pressure (under 150 PSI) tank, and a cheap alternator conversion for a welder.
Most of the time I wheel alone or just with one other vehicle, so I don't do much welding on anyone elses vehicles.

On the other hand, Rich says he uses his spool gun welder nearly every time he goes out...

Like I said, it's all subjective!
I see the guys with OBA, OBW, Big ole CO2 tank, and all the other store bought goodies, but personally, I like to see 'Home Brew' set ups myself...

Either way, if there is something I can help with, don't be afraid to ask, I'll do what I can!
 

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Yup, 2 batteries have saved the day for me more than once!
My 2nd battery is a small Tractor type - it's slightly more than 1/2 the size of a regular battery - powerful enough to start my engine or give the Ready welder 24 volts. I just manually make the proper connections as needed.

Everything dual purpose - YES! You said even the air hose - Uh, what's your 2nd duty for it? Haven't figuered one for that yet.
He He - Even my wife's dual purpose - as spotter and --.

When I first bought the Rubi - I mounted a small V-Air compressor on it. It's still there. Even though I have the Sanden OBA compressor, I left it on. It has proven to still be useful.

Air storage tanks - some folks use a bumper for air storage - seems like a good idea. But be careful -- it can be a bomb too! There was a picture awhile ago floating around that showed someone that had a pressurized bumper when he got rear ended. The bumper split open - the front of the car that hit him, and the entire back of the Jeep looked shreadded! 2 people died of shrapnel.
So if they are used for that, keep them empty until you need it.
Can you imagine doing am easy backflip, then expoding? Doesn't sound like much fun!

He He - out here we are usually doing lots of stuff in the rocks - rocks tend to break things you'd think can't break!
Whenever a full sized vehicle comes with us, I know I'm gonna do some welding!
(He He - fortunatly Hummers don't get in very far where it's more difficult. Most tow sevices have no trouble in mall parking lots.)

Sometimes the breakage problem isn't limited to just us either. We often come across fools that break or get stuck, roll etc. because of not being prepared, rigs in poor condition, or just plain stupidity.
I don't mind helping whenever I can, but when it's absolute stupidity or alcohol they get to stay there where they are safer! Safer from themselves!
 

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I trailer my jeep, so I don't air up after every trip. I use a CO2 tank and have a home brew alternator welder. I do have a Ready Welder that I have not played with a lot. The only thing I see with the Ready Welder is voltage control (having to use increments of 6 volts). But anything is better than nothing. Not to hijack the thread, but how hard would it be to regulate the output from an alternator so you could have a variable voltage range of say 18 to 120 volts. Now that would be the setup for a Ready Welder. Best of both worlds, better voltage control, Can stick or mig weld, run a side grinder and still be able to use the Ready welder with batteries.
 

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I like the idea of on-board air for using air tools, etc. The welder's a neat toy, but an expensive one that I'll not do unless I can fab it for cheap. Till that day, while on the trail I'll just connect a couple of batteries and and weld with them.
 

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Second Purpose For a Fuel line...
"Uh, what's your 2nd duty for it? Haven't figuered one for that yet."

Made mine out of 5/16" fuel line.
Low pressure safe (up to about 150 psi), impervious to oil, gas, ect. and durable as all get out.
Saved my butt more than once when I need a siphon hose, or someone has a fuel line that's rotted out and we have to cut out the damaged section.
You can stretch it over 3/8" fittings, or you can clamp it down for 1/4" fittings.
Something I learned from my motorcycle riding days where storage space is REALLY limited!

Get it out, wack off the needed length, put the end back on and you are off to the races!
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I don't want to hijack this thread.

If you have a Delco SI series alternator, it's easy to make a variable output welder out of it.
Now the output of the welder is another matter, and that is determined on how big of an alternator you start with in the first place...
 

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Ah, fuel line! I wasn't thinking along those lines since I carry a couple of sizes of fuel line already. Serves as vacuum lines and gas siphon hoses too. It's even useful for a wiring insulator and something to tie down things.

I tried a Ready Welder hooked to a Premier Power Welder - it worked really slick. So hooked to a variable alternator would be great!

For heat control - actually amp control - on the Ready Welder, I hook a carbon pile in series with the 24 volt input. The resistance can be varied while you weld to get the right heat. Otherwise 24 volts is way too hot for most things. I took the carbon pile (big variable resistor) out of a battery tester.

2 or 3 batteries in series, I did that for many years - it works - but I'm spoiled now. 2 ways to do it - you can use an arc rod - or use the carbon from a flashlight battery - strike an arc with the carbon and use it kinda like a TIG arc or oxy acet torch. You feed the puddle with a separate filler rod, coat hanger, baling wire etc.
You can cut with it too - it's sort of a carbon arc torch. Welding shops have carbon sticks.

He He - and then there's always the FMAK --- "Fix Most Anything Kit." Duct tape and baling wire!
 

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"Doesn't stick welding have better penetration and strength in dirty situations than MIG?"

Stick does penetrate things that are fairly thick, suspension components, frame mounts and the like, but you can crank up a MIG welder to do most of what's on a jeep since they used the absolute minimum they could get by with.
As far as weld contamination goes, rods do a better job blowing through and cooking off grease, rust, dirt, ect.
MIG's are more handy for a lot of places things break.

I personally think it's a toss up. I have a stick welder, but a MIG would be nice too!
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"And what are the down sides to using batteries to weld?"

Hard on the batteries!
You don't have much time before you get the batteries hot and start to warp plates. Gell cell batteries are especially prone to damage when welding off them.

With batteries you may have WAY more amperage than you need for the weld, no control on the amperage when hooked to batteries.
Using different diameters of rods helps a lot, but if you are welding off of two (or more) fully charged batteries you are going to get all the amperage you can use, and a bunch more at the start!

Can't do 'Straight Polarity' welding on your own vehicle without jumping through hoops first.
(Unhook alternator, unhook batteries from ground, that sort of thing)
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"...how hard would it be to regulate the output from an alternator so you could have a variable voltage range of say 18 to 120 volts."

Not vary hard.
Most of us use Delco SI or CS alternators and they are wide open for experimentation.
The Delco SI & CS series alternators are both capable of 120 volts.
Depends if you want self regulating or a constant output.
Building a regulator isn't difficult, building a variable regulator is somewhat more difficult.
Building for constant output is very easy, but you have to keep the load attached all the time.

My recommendation is to use an inverter for your 120 AC volt applications.
The 120 volts isn't hard for an alternator, but we're talking 120 DC volts, not AC.
And even if you tap the AC current, which is a PITA on a Delco alternator, it's going to be extremely high frequency, not the 60 cycles we are normally used to, but well up into the hundreds or even thousands of cycles a second...

Use an alternator for DC applications like welding.
Welders normally don't need more than about 24 or 25 volts, and in most applications 18 volts will do.
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"Air storage tanks - some folks use a bumper for air storage - seems like a good idea. But be careful -- it can be a bomb too!"

I've seen lot's of failed air tanks, and I've NEVER seen shrapnel!
Most of the time a rust through makes a pin hole and that's that...
We do DOT approved air tanks at AirRide, pumped to 150 psi, and even when we shot them with a rifle, all we got was holes in one side. ( .22 WMR )
They never even offered to scoot off while discharging.
These tanks come in every shape and size, can be had new at any big truck parts store, and for cheap at any big truck bone yard.

Roll cage, bumpers, even boxed in frame rails are all fair game for holding air reserves.
(some bumpers and roll cages are paper thin metal, so be careful)
Air tanks are something that can be hid under the vehicle and not be worried about.

As for the tire pop problem...
USE A REGULATOR!
I have two pressure/electric switches hooked up to mine and I leave it on the 35psi setting most of the time.
35 psi is what I run in my tires, so I hook up the hose and have a drink.
When the electric compressor shuts off, I move the hose to the next tire...
A perfect 35 psi in each tire every time...

Flip the switch, and I have 150 psi in very little time.
With 10 gallons of storage hid under the vehicle, and another 5 gallon removable tank I have enough volume to do most anything but sand blasting!

I have a regulator under the hood.
This affords me the ability to dial in ANY pressure I want from 3 or 4 psi to 150 psi.
It mainly just powers the distributor (positive pressure inside the cap) but it comes in handy for air tools and blowing up float toys, ect...
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