Splicing a truck frame is one idea that has crossed the mind of many truck owners. The process requires a lot of precautions to be taken. And just like any other task, there is a right way to splice a truck frame.
The best way to perform the task at hand is to first ensure that you have the right materials and equipment. The idea is to have the spliced section longer than the original frame, but it should not be too long such that it compromises the stiffness of the new piece. The best way is to have the frame repaired by a professional.
This article comprehensively explains all that you need to know about successfully splicing a truck frame.
What Is the Proper Way to Splice a Truck Frame?
At times, you may want to extend your truck frame for a few more inches. The process is referred to as splicing and is similar to either adding or removing a section from the truck frame. Below are some of the things you need to have in mind to properly splice a truck frame.
The Right Equipment
Having the right materials and equipment for the job goes a long way in determining the success of the task. Ideally, at the end of it all, the spliced section should be longer than the original frame and with the right stiffness. For example, if the section is four-foot long, it should be extended such that it ends behind the center of the next cross member. Depending on your preference, the sleeve should be cut at an angle or from top to bottom.
Ensure the Frame Is Level
It is important to ensure that the frame is level all around—from side to side and from front to back. This is to prevent any lateral twist and once you are done, the frame will be level all around.
Attach New Section
Once you have levelized the frame, you can proceed to attach the new section. While doing so, ensure that the reinforcements will extend for not less than twice the height of the frame rail. The overall strength will be determined by the amount of steel you use. Also, heavier steel gauges will make it lighter.
Also Read: How Far Can Lumber Stick Out of a Truck?
How Much Longer Should the Splice Be in Each Direction?
As earlier mentioned, when splicing a frame, you need to ensure that you consider stiffness in the new section. To ensure that the stiffness is not compromised, a four-foot-long section should be extended long enough to reach behind the center of the next cross member. Moreover, the reinforcements should be extended to at least twice the height of the frame rail.
Is It Okay to Weld on a Truck Frame?
When it comes to welding on a truck frame, there are certain precautions that you need to take. Firstly, you need to adhere to any manufacturer’s instructions as well as state regulations governing the same. Moreover, novice welders are not advised to perform such a task.
On top of that, this task should never be attempted on an empty gas tank. These tend to release oxygen alongside highly flammable fumes. Therefore, it is advisable to first completely drain the tank and cover it up before you can weld on an empty frame. To be safe, you can take the tank off.
Another concern is that welding on a truck frame is likely to weaken the surrounding material. If the frame is poorly welded, the chances of it snapping in case of an accident are very high. Furthermore, if the welding is not done in the proper way, the truck could be rendered unsafe and unreliable to drive.
How Much Does It Cost to Splice a Truck Frame?
When it comes to the total cost of splicing a truck frame, it solely depends on the extent of the work. If you take your truck to a professional mechanic, he will be able to estimate the cost of splicing your frame. Not many like the idea of spending a lot of money on extensions that are longer than 24 inches. Luckily for them, there are other inexpensive options available for this purpose.
One method involves cutting out a section of the truck’s frame and installing an additional metal piece. This usually costs around $50 per foot to stretch the frame. However, one downside of this method is that it increases the overall price of the vehicle as well as its resultant weight.
What Type of Steel Is a Truck Frame?
The frame is one of the most invaluable parts of a truck. It works to support the weight of both the cargo loads and the body of the truck. Therefore, the material used in truck frames should be built for the task.
The most common frames are the C-rail. These are made from flat steel with a gauge thickness of between 1/8” and 3/16”. Their design guarantees durability and maximum strength. The heavy-duty trucks utilize C-channel frames that are made from steel specially shaped to absorb road energy and improve strength.
Any repair work done on a truck frame should not be taken lightly. It could be the difference between a properly working truck frame and one that cannot even support the weight of the truck. Therefore, it is vital that the proper procedure is followed. Preferably, you should let an expert handle this task.