It seems we use the phrase, "a buddy with a welder," quite often when describing any really cool mod. Want to build a new bumper? You'd better have a buddy with a welder. A rollcage? Buddy with a welder. How about building a traction bar? You get the point.
A few issues ago we tried to install Summit Racing's steel wheeltubs ("Choose Your Weapon," Feb. '02) to allow a set of 42s to stuff into the wheelwells without hitting. We promised to get the tools we needed and bring you the full install.
We said we'd show you a cool, affordable new welder. At the time, we were looking at the Craftsman Professional 150-amp 120V MIG welder (PN 20559) that retails for $480 in the Craftsman catalog. At that price, it includes a welding mask, gloves, six contact tips, two nozzles, a gas regulator, and everything else you need to get welding, except the CO2 bottle. It's a screaming deal and an awesome first welder.
But then we started thinking...
we've got some other building plans on the horizon that involve welding on axletubes, frames, and other gnarly stuff, and we'll require more amperage than the little Professional can handle.
The Last Welder You'll Ever Buy
What we chose instead is the 210-amp, 230V Craftsman Professional monster that retails for around $1,000 in the catalog. This sucker can handle any welding chore we can throw at it, from thin sheetmetal to blowing holes in 3/8 inch thick plate steel. It's rated for 1/2-inch steel in a single pass. A trip to the welding store for a CO2 bottle ($175) and a Craftsman Autodark welding helmet (PN 20515, $299) and we were almost ready to lay our first beads. We did need to have our garage wired for 220V ($200), but if you've got an electric dryer in yours, you've probably already got the outlet. Now, finally, here's the install.
01. We determined how much floor material we'd need to take out along with the factory tub
02. Since the tubs are 24 inches wide and we only need them to be 121/2 inches wide, we re
03. Finally, the ability to fuse metal! We set the big 210-volt Craftsman Professional wel
04. We dropped the Summit wheelwell into place. We cut the hole large enough that the new
While the tubs look huge and bitchin', we'll need to be more careful when throwing stuff in the back because of the thinner construction. We plan on adding some "No Step" stencils to keep passengers from crushing them when entering or exiting. Also, the assembly and installation wasn't as easy as we had originally anticipated. If we had it to do again, we're not sure if we'd go with the wheeltubs or if we'd try to cut and splice our stock pieces.
P.O. Box 909