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Top Trail Welders - Right Rod

Posted in How To on November 19, 2007 Comment (0)
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Photographers: Christian Hazel

With trail welders becoming increasingly popular (and often necessary for trail repairs), you might as well get to know them a little better. Especially if you already have the welder installed on your Jeep. Most trail welders are based off the simple ARC or "stick" welder. There are more intricate wire-feed, flux-core spool-guns and even trail MIG and TIG welders, but the typical onboard trail welder is basically a shrunk-down version of the inexpensive and simple farmer's buzz-box. Many of the same welding rods can be used on the trail. Some people prefer to use a 11/48-inch rod, but a 31/432-inch rod usually produces a better bead with trail welders. Here are the sticks you should keep in a dry place on your welder-equipped Jeep and where they should be used.

All-purpose, all-position electrode used for carbon and galvanized steel; 60,000-psi tensile strength; deep penetrating and ideal for welding light to medium amounts of dirty, rusty, or painted materials. Perfect for welding repairs on nasty or painted undercarriages, frames, axletubes, rollcages, and so on. Easy arc strike.

Light to medium penetrating all-purpose, all-position electrode; for use on carbon steel; 60,000-psi tensile strength; good for general, all-purpose applications and joints with poor fit-up. Same applications as 6011, but fills gaps better than 6011 and requires cleaner weld surface. Easy arc strike.

Similar to E6011; 70,000-psi tensile strength; requires clean weld surface; runs smooth; weld slag almost falls off by itself.

Low-hydrogen, all-position electrode; for low-, medium- and, high-carbon steels; 70,000-psi tensile strength; ideal for out-of-position welding and tacking; not recommended for low-voltage AC welders. Our pick for most trail repairs, including frames, axletubes, rollcage tubing, and so on. Requires a clean weld surface. More difficult to strike an arc than E6011 or E6013.

Works in all positions for cutting, beveling and gouging of all metals, including stainless steels, aluminum and copper; for removal of weld joints, overlays, or other unwanted materials. Consider this stick the useful cutting torch.

It's 55 percent nickel for cast-iron repairs; higher strength than Nickel 99 rods; perfect for cast-iron engine blocks, transmission cases, transfer cases, differential housings, and knuckles. You can weld clean cast iron without preheating; keep the part cool, never so hot that you can't put your hand next to the weld. Use stringer beads, never more than 2 inches long, and peen the weld until it cools with your slag hammer as soon as you finish each bead.

E6011E - Electrode60 - Strength.Multiply by 1,000 to get weld strength in psi. Typical values for trail rods are 60 and 70.1 - Position.1: Flat, horizontal, vertical, or overhead2: Flat and horizontal only3: Flat, horizontal, vertical down, or overheadNumber 1 is best for trail use.1 - Current and Coating.1-8 designates AC or DC usage, rod polarity, and the coating on the rod. Your trail welder is DC power, 1, 3, and 8 are typical for trail welding rods.


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