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Portable Welder Shootout: Premier Power Welder

Posted in How To on April 1, 2011 Comment (0)
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Contributors: Rick PéwéKevin McNultyAli Mansour
Photographers: Alan HuberAli MansourRick Péwé

One of the handiest tools on the trail is a welder. No matter what you break (not counting tires and electronics) you can probably patch things back together with a welder. The Premier Power Welder uses a specially crafted alternator mounted on your engine so you can weld nearly anything, anywhere, at any time. The only thing that limits your welding is gas in your 4x4's tank-as long as you let the unit recharge the truck's battery every three hours or so after welding.

We mounted the control box behind the glovebox door on our '48 Willys, known as Pete's Jeep. This keeps the controls safe and concealed, yet easily accessible. The optional welding leads plug into the face of the unit, which also regulates the 110V DC power.

Putting out 160 amps at 12V makes for a unique weld, as the high-frequency characteristics of the Premier jiggles the weld puddle to bring the impurities in the weld to the surface. This makes for a far stronger weld and allows even the novice to stick-weld like an experienced hand.

The Premier alternator replaces your stock alternator, and the company has applications for the vast majority of 4x4s. The control box needs to be mounted in a safe and secure location. A vernier control knob for throttle speed is attached to regulate the engine rpm, which adjusts the output of the welder. The unit also provides 2,300 watts of 115V DC power, which can power lights and many handtools and appliances, and also charges batteries.

Our Jeep uses a standard GM-style alternator on the 4.3L V-6, so the replacement Premier unit is similar. This was a simple swap. Many other models are available for nearly any type of rig you own.

Having your own welder along is far better than spending the night broken down in a freezing mud pit. We've done both and prefer the luxury and convenience of firing up the Premier for providing light, heat, battery charging, and melted metal. It just doesn't get any handier than this.

SPECS
PREMIER POWER WELDER REPLACEMENT ALTERNATOR AND CONTROL UNIT
Price $869.95
Power 12V at 160 amps, variable to the job
Duty Cycle Depends on welding amount; about
3 hours before recharging vehicle battery
Thickness Sheet steel to 1/4-inch plate
Weight Next to nothing, as alternator
is a tad heavier than stock and
control unit is only a few pounds
Dimensions Wherever you can fit
the control unit

Pros
•Full-featured welder that mounts on your vehicle for any use
•High-frequency method produces quality welds for the novice
•110V DC power available for many handtools and lights
•Can weld aluminum, stainless steel, cast steel
•Can be fitted to MIG and TIG units

Yes, we really welded an axleshaft together. The Premier can blast out a force to weld nearly anything, and can cut steel as well if it's cranked all the way up. Sheetmetal can also be welded if you have a deft touch and small-diameter rod. The Premier offers 115V DC power, which allows the use of power tools. This helps clean or grind the area around a weld for far superior penetration and control of the weld. The Premier also charges batteries at a high rate as well.

Cons
•Must mount to vehicle and drive to welding site; not portable off vehicle
•Vehicle engine must be running
•Not the cheapest of the bunch
•Expensive and unique alternator
•Battery is not charged while welding, so you need to stop and recharge the battery every three hours when welding a large repair

Sources

Premier Power Welder
Carbondale, CO 81623
800-541-1817
www.premierpowerwelder.com

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