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HTP America—Sponsor of the Welding & Fabrication Workshop

Welding & Fabrication Workshop: Improve Your Welding & Brazing Skills

     For many 4x4 shops and Jeep 4WD owners, welding plays an important role. If you repair, modify or upgrade Jeep 4WD vehicles or four-wheel drive components, welding is a vital skill.

   Want to do your own welding repairs and metal fabrication work? See the 'how-to' articles, HD videos and instructional tips within this section of the magazine! The following pages contain details and how-to tips...

     A professional weldor can do far more than run a bead. Safe, reliable fabrication work requires the right metal, the right filler material and the right welding methods. I have welded for over four decades and instructed vocational adult welding for six years. Today, I approach the fusion welding processes, brazing and spray welding techniques with a deep respect for metallurgy and a clear understanding of the best practices for joining and repairing metals.

Obsolete B-W cluster gear looks beyond repair—Moses Ludel restores this gear with normalizing, welding with correct filler material, machining and re-heat treating to restore case hardening.

Moses Ludel has restored this 50-year-old gear to perform as new—learn how he did it!

     Jeep 4WD work can involve swapping engines, installing lift kits, building roll cages and tire carriers, restoring vintage Willys frames or repairing the broken and fatigued chassis of a Jeep CJ or Wrangler. To do this properly requires a knowledge of metals, especially their tensile strength, metallurgy and chemistry. Filler rod or wire must match the base metals; aluminum requires special TIG (GTAW) welding; and each carbon steel has its preferred welding method.

This vintage cast iron repair was made with bronze. Moses Ludel repairs the casting with TIG welding and the right filler material.

     Welding requires hand-to-eye coordination and the mastery of welding principles. Brazing and silver brazing are much different than fusion welding; often, one process will work better than the other. The base metal has certain chemical and tensile properties, and welding must respect these properties. If not, the end result will be a weaker, failure-prone finished product.

Moses Ludel TIG welds the cast iron beam axle housing.

     For that reason, the welding and fabrication section at the 4WD Mechanix Magazine website includes welding methods and an ongoing discussion about metals and structural design. Learn how I make crack-free cast iron weld repairs, build strong motor mounts, construct roll bars and create frame brackets. Metallurgy is a regular topic, including heat treating processes, case hardening, annealing and restoring tensile strength and hardness. 

  If you can benefit from stick (SMAW), MIG (GMAW) or TIG (GTAW) welding, brazing, silver brazing or plasma cutting, this section provides the how-to articles, step-by-step welding videos and slide presentations to improve your welding and brazing skills. Aluminum welding, silver brazing, working with case hardened metals and welding mild and low-alloy carbon steel—each requires the right process, the right technique and the right filler materials.

Finished cast iron TIG repair makes this beam axle look as new—actually better than new with the use of improved metallurgy.

     Become a better Jeep 4WD weldor:

*Make better Jeep 4WD repairs

*Learn welding techniques like stick, MIG and TIG

*Know industry terms like SMAW, GMAW and GTAW

*Cut with an oxygen-acetylene torch or a plasma cutter

*Restore vintage Jeep 4WD vehicles like a Willys or CJ model

*Build a roll cage, tire carrier and other Jeep 4WD accessories

*Perform backcountry trail and emergency welding repairs

*Weld at the off-road racing pit area

*Weld engine swap motor mounts and install suspension lifts

*Restore iron axle castings and aluminum castings with TIG

*Select the right welding equipment for your needs

*Know base metals and metallurgy

*Understand heat treating and case hardening

*Choose the right filler rods and welding materials

*Learn when to braze and use bronze

*Benefit from welding how-to articles and instructional videos

*Read Moses Ludel's step-by-step welding and technical articles

*Understand the uses of 4130, 4340 'chromoly' and other alloy steel

*Weld mild steel, alloy steel, aluminum and stainless steel

*Learn about metal normalizing, heat treating and annealing

*Fix a Jeep 4WD frame properly

*Fabricate transplant powertrain and transmission mounts

*Weld ductile and non-ductile iron with TIG process

*Discover high-tensile silver brazing (high-temp "soldering")

*Learn MIG (GMAW) spool welding methods

*Improve your gas (oxygen-acetylene) welding and brazing skills  

Most suspension lift kits require some metal fabrication and welding. Do this right, with the correct welding method, preparation and filler materials.

      I enjoy welding and sharing the various processes! Once past the basics, you will discover the creativity and problem-solving benefits of welding and brazing. In addition to my HD videos and articles covering gas, stick, TIG and MIG welding, we'll explore newer niche processes like metal spray welding and advanced TIG techniques. 

     Follow my how-to restoration tips for saving obsolete metal parts, including gears, brackets, iron castings and even 'pot metal' or die castings. I encourage your mastery of welding, metals fabrication and metallurgy! Send me your questions through the welding 'Q & A'...

—Moses Ludel