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I've finally decided to bite the bullet and add frame stiffeners. I have the mid and rear stiffeners from JCR Offroad. My question is the technique of welding the 3/16s stiffeners to the thinner unibody "frame". I'm not the best welder but do ok. I have a Miller 100 amp and a Forney 140 amp migs. I'll use the Forney. I assume that I should start the arc on the thicker stiffeners and carry onto the frame. Is that a correct assumption? Also the stiffeners have holes for plug welding. I've watched several videos and some weld the entire diameter of the holes others just parts of it. Also I've seen conflicting info about welding the top and bottom edges of the stiffeners and using weld through primer. Can y'all help me with some guidance?
 

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Hey bud! How are ya?

Yes, use the higher amp welder if you can. I would arc on the thicker stuff and move to thin. For the plug welds, ideally a good solid plug is really hot and you burn around the diameter and spiral in to fill the center. You really want that metal to fuse on a plug weld. DEFINITELY use weld-thru primer. Its the only stuff that gives you a layer of corrosion protection and still lets you weld it. It won't burn off like other primers/paints, and it of course works for the welding instead of blocking the ground. I plan to use POR15 everywhere I can when done (if I ever get to doing stiffeners on mine), but weld thru primer is the first layer. As for welding the top edges, I think maybe some stitches would work, but Im hoping instructions might clarify what the manufacturer wants.

Also, wear a mask/respirator when grinding on the frame, they say its bad for you otherwise lol.
 

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Thanks, I appreciate the input. It basically reinforces what I was thinking. I was definitely planning on using my 140 amp. This will be my first big welding project. I've done a lot of smaller stuff but nothing this big. Is there a brand of the weld thru primer you recommend? Thanks again for the info. I'll post my results after I finish it.
 

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No I don't have any brands for that. Last time I needed some I could only find it in one place so I used what I could. Post pics along the way, DaingMaing is doing his too right now.
 

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I 100% agree with superman. Here is my write up on my stiffeners Gluckmysock frame stiffeners lots of pics
I just did mid and rear. I don't remember the brand but the weld through primer is pricey. I ordered online.
I would suggest getting some steel to practice on, depending how rusty your rails are, you can burn through pretty quick. Keep the heat on the stiffeners and let the weld flow to the frame rail. I welded every hole, but I didn't fill them completely in. I was using a buddy's old Miller mig, and I didn't want to put the extra miles on it. Check your gas and wire often. I ran out early and work came to a screeching halt. Take your time and plan to spend a lot of time on it. Jacks and c clamps will be your best friend. I was doing my floors at the same time which made it a lot easier for me.
 

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Also I've seen conflicting info about welding the top and bottom edges of the stiffeners and using weld through primer. Can y'all help me with some guidance?
You've got the right Ideas. On my plugs and in the large gaps in the areas where I couldn't get the gaps smaller, I went slow, and low with the wire building up the center plug/gap (I couldn't get that portion of the frame closer than 1/8-3/16), and then came back hot and fast with it when stitching it to the frame in a rosette fashion or just a large stitch in a horse shoe motion for the straight and angle shaped gaps.

As for the edges, Some say stitch it and some other companies say fully seam weld the stiffeners. Where I could get the frame at it's thickest(near the control arms where there are several layers of metal) I fully seam welded the stiffeners. Where they are thinnest, I stitched it if I could but the majority of the spots where I should have stitched, I couldn't get a good enough angle on the joint to be welded; so I just left it. There are plenty of plugs, rosettes, and other areas on the stiffener that are fully welded to the frame. I'm using a DBM stiffener(they're the only ZJ ones that have full kit from front to rear) and it too is roughly 3/16.. 10 gauge.


Also, wear a mask/respirator when grinding on the frame, they say its bad for you otherwise lol.
I would recommend a face sheild as well. I couldn't tell you how much crap that has been in my eyes as of late. I have been wearing some tight fitting safety glasses. I am sneezing it all out the next morning after a hot, and humid shower right after finishing for the day. Even with an N95 respirator mask, I am still getting junk in my sinuses. I also am using my shooting range ears. I've been to too many live music shows, and my hearing is something I am ever vigilant about protecting .

I 100% agree with superman. Here is my write up on my stiffeners Gluckmysock frame stiffeners lots of pics
Take your time and plan to spend a lot of time on it. Jacks and c clamps will be your best friend. I was doing my floors at the same time which made it a lot easier for me.
I'm working with three C clamps, a floor jack, and a jack stand. I've been averaging about a day and a half to two days per section (6 total sections) from Prep to fully painted. I am spending about 6-7 hours per day in the garage working on it slowly and patiently. Beer and good music helps. Having a knowledgeable buddy helps too!


Good luck Lawman and take lots of pictures! Holler if you want some opinions. I'll be as honest as I can, because this is my first time and am not a journeyman welder. I am also wrong a decent amount of the time.
 

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Thanks for the input, y'all are great as always. I'm in no hurry and will work on it as time allows. I plan on doing the mid section first, then the rear. At some point I'll end up doing the front. My work flow plan is clean, grind and prime one side at a time, fit and tack the stiffener in place then take my time welding it in. My XJ has zero rust on the unibody as it was a western Jeep before coming to Mississippi.
 

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Make sure you keep everything level. if it's on jack stands make sure both sides are and keep the body level. If you weld these stiffeners in and the body is twisted, well let's just say it won't be pretty. I had the luxury of a concrete shop floor, which definitely made it easier.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I plan on doing mine with it setting on all 4 tires. My work area is concrete and level. If I need more room I have 4 jack stands and can lift her up level.
 

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You Will have to remove the rear tires. Just set the axle on stands. You'll be mint.
 

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I always planned to remove the axles and gastank. If its gonna be hell, I want room to work. And I'd rather not ride a rocket to the moon when I accidentally burn thru my tank. But again, I havent done it yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
When I do the rear stiffeners I plan on putting some fireboard between the frame and tank. I'm going to do the mids first because I want to do doorless for this summer and fall and I don't want my unibody to bend. I'll do the rears this fall and maybe the fronts as well. Damn thing just keeps snowballing. Honestly frame stiffeners have been on the list almost from the start because I want this Jeep to last.
 
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