With many of us wheeling our rigs harder and harder
something has to give, and more often than not, that give is the frame
around the steering box. The GM frame is a little thin and many of us have
had problems with them cracking even with a steering brace installed. If
you're going to be using your GM hard along with large tires, it
would be a good idea to do the weld in kit for sure, even if your running
the ORD steering brace.
While performing a routine
inspection of our test Blazer we noticed cracks around the steering box
and knew our time had come. A call to Offroad Design in Glenwood Springs
had our weld in repair kit on it's way so we could repair our frame damage
once and for all. The next step is to locate a buddy with a welder, the
job can be performed by a qualified shop but can get pricey fast so a
friend with a welder and some time is your best bet.
luck would have it, Pete Corssmit owns a Millermatic 35 MIG welder and was
dieing to do some welding on the UAV, thanks Pete. Pete likes 220 volts
for this kind of stuff, but a good 110 volt welder would also work.
first thing to do is raise the front of the truck and place it on jack
stands so the drivers side wheel can be removed. Then unbolt the drag link
assembly from the pitman arm, from here we unbolted the steering box with
all the lines still connected and simply moved it up out of the way. You
may have to move a few other lines around at this time to get the steering
box out of the way just remember that you will need room to weld at the
top of the frame.
Check the frame for cracks, if cracks
exist, use a hand grinder and grind a "V" shaped groove along
the entire length of the crack, then completely weld grooves as necessary.
Grind weld until flush with frame rail, but do not over-grind, as this
will weaken repaired area.
||Plate clamped in
Next, secure the large 8-hole
plate to the outer frame rail at the steering box location by aligning
four raised holes in the plate with bolts facing downward. Check to make
sure the plate sits flush and level against the frame, we used a couple of
large C-clamps to do the trick.
After the plate is flush to
the frame, weld the plate in key areas as illustrated in illustration 1
below, do not weld entire circumference of the plate! Then weld
remaining four holes in the plate for additional bonding.
take the remaining plate and clamp it to the underside of the frame,
aligning the holes in the plate with the rivets located on the bottom of
the frame. Now you can tack weld on the inside and outside of the plate
where clamped. Remove clamps and tack weld at each end of the plate, then
weld in areas shown in illustration 2 above.
||Plates welded in
point if you haven't lit anything on fire that you weren't supposed to it
is time to reinstall the steering box, because the frame brace makes the
area a little thicker you will need to install slightly longer bolts than
you had before. Reinstall the rest of the steering assembly in reverse
order of removal making sure to re-torque everything after driving for a few days.
the frame repair kit is not really designed for the
"do-it-yourselfer" so be sure to read all the instructions
before you decide to tackle this project. Our test Blazer has been out on
a few trips since the repair and everything is tight with no more frame
cracks, nice to know our steering box is going to stay attached to the
frame the next time were on the trail. - Steve Fox