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How to tell if a fabbed bumper is a good one

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Skigirl, Dec 13, 2001.

  1. Skigirl

    Skigirl 1/2 ton status

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    A local fabricator was recently recommended to me to make bumpers. I want them made like SEC's. How can I tell whether the guy welds well, and whether the bumper is a good one?
     
  2. K10ANDYKHAMNIC

    K10ANDYKHAMNIC 1/2 ton status

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    if the welds look more like bubble gum stuck one there he isnt a good welder .....run it into a brick wallto test it j/k

    Kick It In The Firewall !!
    O R D's axles
    NO BREAKAGE
     
  3. Cavalry

    Cavalry 1/2 ton status

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    I would first find someone that has one of his bumpers and see how they like it. Look at that one real close. Thats the quality you are going to get. Make sure the welds look uniform and not like chicken s#it. If it has pull shackes on it make sure they are welded to something solid not just 1/8" sheet. I would stay away from someone who this is their 1st bumper. Most people aut there that are fabricating professionally (and have been doing it for awhile) should be able to do something as simple as a bumper. Dont be afraid to ask questions and tell them what exactly what you want and what you are going to do to it

    "There is a fine line between hobby and mental illness"
    Luke
    84 K5
     
  4. 1986Blazer

    1986Blazer 1/2 ton status

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    GENERALLY, anybody in the "fabrication" business likely welds well for general steel construction. Steel is where all welders start. I am in a welding class now and am taking the advanced class next semester and all we did was steel work. We started with acytelene then moved to arc welding and then MIG welding. All of it was done on steel. Ask if the man doing the welding has any certifications by the American Welding Society. All welders, if they do any kind of contract or construction work, have to have these certifications. There are literally dozens of certifications. Like I said, steel is the most basic. The higher welding certifications include stainless, aluminium, pipe welding and many others. Any bumper you have done will be basic welding done with ARC welding or thick guage MIG welding. Anything that will support or reinforce a receiver hitch or winch plate should include high tensile strenth welds or multipass welds if the steel is over 1/4" (generally speaking). So, don't be afraid to ask if he is certified and to see some of his previous work. I am sure he will have some laying around the shop.

    I am making a rear bumper to match my front bumper this next semester along with rock sliders. These are my projects. I can't wait to start.

    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.geocities.com/keywestk5/KeyWestK5.html>http://www.geocities.com/keywestk5/KeyWestK5.html</a>
    So I says to him, I said, "get your own monkey."
    1986 K5, 350 GM Crate, 700R4, NP208
     
  5. White Knight

    White Knight 1/2 ton status

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    Something else I would look for is the mounting mechanism to the truck, make sure its intense..stronger than OEM! And if the bumper is made out pipe or tube make sure the ends are welded shut not capped....as far as the welds are concerned look for concentric circles on the welds, the should be uniform...kinda like this....(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((.......good luck

    Veni Sancte Spiritus
    Da Pacem Cordium
    White Knight
     
  6. laketex

    laketex 3/4 ton status

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    You actually can get good penetration from a non uniform weld, and get terrible penetration from a uniform weld. The best way I can think of, is have him weld some scrap up and then cut it apart and make sure the weld penetrated all the way to the back side of the metal. This will tell you if he's competent. Reccomendations from a trusted friend would help too! :)))

    Sherman, Tx
    <font color=red>The blazer's almost on the road....anyone got tree fiddy?</font color=red>
     
  7. Skigirl

    Skigirl 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks everybody! Really good advice!

    One more question... White Knight mentioned that the mounting mechanism should be stronger than OEM. I don't know the spec for that. Should the bumper be 1/4" steel? All over or thicker at certain places (like mounting mechanism)? I want an SEC type, not a prerunner tube type. I'll have a 9000# winch in front, shackles and push (bull) bar. I want to have the rear carry my spare (35") and a couple jerry cans on a swing away.

    Thanks again!
     
  8. White Knight

    White Knight 1/2 ton status

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    If you think about it, most bumpers on vehicles do what they discribe.... are used to bump things...however on OUR vehicles we pull, push (down small organic things and toyotas[​IMG]) hook winches to them and expect to be able to winch a 5000 pound wide glide K-5[​IMG] uphill on nasty looking ground, have other vehicles whose forward momentum has stopped, hook up and we pull them along also....so yes it has to be stronger than OEM...direct mounts to the frame with grade 5 or 8 bolts. I wouldn't recommend welding a bumper to a frame. As far as the welds where considered yeah it can be as LakeTex described...but normally a good looking weld will hold....hell I invented mud-dubbing some of my welds
    (mind you not many) but a few look like crap[​IMG] but will hold!

    Later and good luck
    White Knight
     
  9. Rod Builder

    Rod Builder Newbie

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    Yes one thing to consider when building a bumper is good mounts. One other thing to consider is the fact that factory bumpers are designed with a weak link so that in theory you don't damage the frame of your vehicle. When building a new bumper try to design a bumper with a weak link also. I know that this may sound wierd, but if you do you need to replace a bolt or two it is better than trying to straighting a frame. We build a number of bumpers at the shop where I work. When ever the customer allows us to help in the design we inherently build in a weak link. Alot of times when we build a bumper to a clients design, believe it or not we end up repairing torn out mounting locations.
    For what it is worth take it as my 2cents worth.
    I am new to this board and hope my talents as a welder and fabricator can be of use.
    Dave
     
  10. Skigirl

    Skigirl 1/2 ton status

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    Thanks White Knight!

    Dave, so where do you build in the weak link? Is it the bolt that attaches the bumper to the frame as opposed to the welded mount that the bolt goes through? I assume that a strong bumper uses 1/4" steel? If so, then will grade 8 bolts be the weak link?

    It does make sense to me that you'd want something else to snap if need be, than the frame.

    My guess is that your welding experience will continue to come in very handy!
     

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