02 Ranger broken Frame

02 ranger ext cab shortbox.
Frame is broken on passenger side. Cracked first time, welded held for about 6 months.
Second time, a triangular piece broke out and took the shock mount with
it, shock came down and took exhaust down... cut a piece out of frame and welded back in, welded shock mount back in.
Third Time broke outside of the welded piece and is taking shock mount down ... the eye broke off the NEW (3 weeks old) shock... have not fixed yet... just noticed it today when the truck took off sideways when the eye broke loose and bent the piece of frame
Am i wasting time on this thing, should I just park it, and be done with it... would plating it do any good? Is it even legal to have a frame welded like this?
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Where do you live? Snow & road salt? Is the truck street driven or a lot of off-road? Who did the welding repairs, and have they done that before? Has the truck been in an accident that bent the frame and started this mess off?
Which end is this? ("Near the shock mount" could be either.) You might need to pull either the bed or the front clip off, so you can climb in there and fix it properly with a much larger fishplate and more room to clean up the welds and re-paint for rust protection - without worrying about lighting the car on fire with the torch.
(Gas tank go BOOM! if you wave around a big torch with abandon. And you heat a body panel too much, the carpet pad, carpeting and other soft and flammable interior bits on the other side will catch fire. "Hey Joe, do you smell something burning...?")
If the car was in a bad wreck and the frame straightened, go look for a new frame and swap everything over - trust me, they probably weakened the frame in several spots when it racked and then was pulled back, and you only found the first one under the most stress. Besides, they rarely get a frame back to "really straight" without taking the whole car apart and straightening the bare frame - which is expensive and time consuming, they'd never spend the money.
Car makers are trying to shave weight, and are going to more exotic alloy steels for the frames, and they don't weld very well - on big trucks, you can see all the warning stickers that the factory puts on: DO NOT WELD FRAME RAILS. If you do weld these exotic steels, you have to use proper materials, techniques and processes to make it work right, or it will just fail again - like you found.
I am NOT sure what they are (so don't take this as a primer), but some would include pre-heating the entire area before work with a "rosebud" oxy-acetylene torch and then annealing the weld area after welding, special welding wire or rods, special techniques to not overheat the frame past a certain critical point - do stitch welds an inch at a time. Don't just go for the whole weld in one shot and spot-heat it past a critical point where the steel internal structure starts changing - the alloying elements (carbon, chromium, nickel, manganese, molybdenum, silicon, zinc, boron, etc.) start migrating to the surface or boiling off. Or you heat it to where the formed carbides and nitrides that were forged and rolled into the steel grain structure are affected, and create a big weak spot...
Just the steel is not as simple as it used to be.
And you need to fish-plate a repair to spread the stresses out to a larger area of the frame, past where the stress fractures occurred. And angle the edges of the plates so they don't create another convenient fracture line - you already know there's a stress concentration there for some reason.
The materials have to be fairly clean to weld - weld won't stick to rust, only steel. You have to grind out cracks to a vee and/or saw down the middle with a hacksaw to clean them out, and stop-drill the ends of the cracks to stop the stress riser progress before welding them in, or they will reappear.
This isn't a job for a shade-tree Bubba. I have a pretty good idea of what's involved, and wouldn't even waste my time - go find a pro.
--<< Bruce >>--
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Bruce L. Bergman wrote:

Yes i live just north of the USA border on the east coast, and we use Salt and Calcium.
The welder is a very good local welder, both times we dropped the fuel tank (left the box on) and did it on a hoist.
And the truck has not been in an accident.

and sorry yes, it is under the box... one shock (passenger side) point towards the front of the truck at an angle, and the opposite side points towards the back of the truck.. each baout 1.5' away from the center of the axle.

The frame is very thin on this truck, not heavy at all, it seems to weld quite well, the weld isn't where its breaking... it seems like we're just chasing cracks all around the frame... I just worry about putting a piece of plate steel on it...

Theres a concentration of stress there from the shock mounts... I just worry that plating it is a one shot deal, if it breaks again i'm beat... but this IS the 3rd time... so maybe plating is my last kick at the can.
Thanks for your help! I may weld it up this time and if it happens again park the thing. Its got 250k kms on it.
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No, if it's not an exotic alloy for the frame, a big fishplate that overlaps the repaired spot by several inches on each end is the right action - you have to spread that point load out over a much larger area, and a fishplate is how you do it.
Use hot-rolled L angle, or large chunks of strap stock. And cut the ends at an angle - a strap patch properly prepped has a diamond cut on the ends to spread the stress.
And if you are using air shocks or coil-over shocks, stop - the shock mounts can't take extra loads. Look into a set of Ride-Rite air springs, they can weld the brackets on at the same time they are making repairs.

No, this is one time that being overly cautious is a bad thing. If the engine and body are in good shape, 250K KM is not a problem - fix it. That is, unless you want to deal with 6 years of new car payments...
Make a nice big fish plate that is contoured around the corner if you can - if you need repair stock with a nice radiused corner you can slice up heavy wall square tubing into two L angles...
Chase out and fill in the cracks and put it all back together in the right alignment grind that flat and smooth, then finish the repair with the fishplate on top and weld thoroughly. And if the frame channel is open, you can put another matching fishplate on the inside and really hedge your bets.
Last step is to clean up the welds and prime the area carefully (zinc cold-galvanize primer) and paint it so the rust is kept away.
--<< Bruce >>--
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This is the only one I've heard of so far.... so one would have to think the concern out carefully.
Like Bruce has suggested... if you opt to fishplate the frame. then ends should be cut at an angle.... this will reduce the load per inch of weld and, hopefully, keep the concern from recurring.
Broken frames scare the shit out of me....
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Love your humor Bruce - gave me a good laugh about the gas tank and carpet lighting up even though you are responding to a serious question...
FWIW - my brother's Ranger did the same thing, we welded and welded, seemed to keep breaking, and yes we did it with the body panels in place and it does melt or scorch everything on the other side of the weld...oops!
He finally scrapped the truck, I wonder if Ranger frames are just weak?
Eric
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Find a wreck with a good frame and swap it out if the rest of the truck is worth saving.
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On Sat, 16 Feb 2008 12:24:03 -0500, clare at snyder.on.ca wrote:

If you can find one, this is the best way to go - no more welding.
But if you do, get a receipt and the title Pink Slip (or a copy if they are going to resell the cab) for the scrapped truck chassis. Then go to your state DMV and make sure they record details about the frame swap and second VIN on your title.
Otherwise if a cop ever pulls you over and gets suspicious (yes, it's rare but not unheard of) he will find that the body VIN tag doesn't match the stamped VIN on the chassis rail that is supposed to be the "real" one - and the first thing they think is "Stolen Truck!" They can make a whole lot of trouble for you.
--<< Bruce >>--
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On Mon, 18 Feb 2008 08:10:29 -0800, Bruce L. Bergman

If the chassis VIN is even readable. Or there. I've seen lots of frames with NO VIN on them. Lots of highway trucks have a new "glider" installed to remedy frame damage. I'm sure there is no change made to the registration. But a good point to check, anyway.

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On Mon, 18 Feb 2008 14:00:58 -0500, clare at snyder.on.ca wrote:

And if a cop finds a vehicle with an obliterated or missing frame VIN that looks deliberate, or the numbers don't match up and he can't see why on the registration, he has the discretionary powers (should he choose to) to easily ruin your whole day. Maybe the month.

Ahh, but you are WRONG 30-Weight Breath... ;-P
Big changes to the registration. I knew there was a process in place, and just went and looked it up when you challenged my voracity - California has a whole process spelled out. And there are interstate compacts in place that means most states follow the same basic vehicle registration procedures.
The major truck makers put a new VIN Number on their "Glider Kit" replacement frames and axles, they do not reuse the old truck VIN. And that new VIN is exempt from the federal 17-digit VIN coding mandate, since they can't code in the engine transmission or body details - they can't know ahead of time, and it could easily change.
Falls under "Specially Constructed and Kit Vehicles" in Chapter 8 of the Registration Handbook - http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/reg_hdbk_pdf/ch08.pdf
They change the manufacturer code for the vehicle to flag it in the computers as a "kit" vehicle - a Kenworth would change from KEN to KENKT. The vehicle now has only a "year first sold" and not a "model year", since there could be a big mosh-up of varying "model years" between the cab body, hood, sleeper, engine and transmission.
http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d03/vc4153.htm

They like to have you fill out multiple "Statement" forms for every little detail, they go into the permanent registration files. Then they can go back years later and figure out what happened.
--<< Bruce >>--
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Nothing to worry about unless the frame you get is from a stolen truck! :)
wrote:

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On Mon, 18 Feb 2008 18:48:21 -0800, Bruce L. Bergman

15W40 more like it

May be correct. Likely is: but I know of trucks that have been "repaired" with a new or different frame that are not KIT registered in Canada. In Ontario, it would not be KIT, it would be ASSEMBLED
Reference: Ontario Regulation 361-98, made under the Environmental Protection Act - Motor Vehicles http://192.75.156.68/DBLaws/Regs/English/980361_e.htm
Custom Vehicles - Kit Cars / Rebuilt Vehicles With respect to custom cars, the Ministry of Transportation does have specific registration requirements for kit cars and rebuilt vehicles. Information on registration requirements for a kit car or rebuilt vehicle is below.
Kit Cars Definition: a complete body of a motor vehicle, not including an engine, chassis or drive train. Kit body is a replica of an existing or vintage motor vehicle.
Kit cars are registered in Ontario as: V.I.N.: Assigned as "ASD" if no 17 -digit V.I.N. on dashboard of kit body Make: Manufacturer of kit Model: KIT Model Year: Year that the kit car was completed and registered with the ministry. If there is not an existing 17-digit V.I.N. on the dashboard, you may request the licence office to provide you with a ministry assigned V.I.N., which you should affix to the dashboard. A V.I.N. is needed before you can obtain a Safety Standards Certificate.
Rebuilt Vehicle Constructed using various main component parts (body, chassis or frame) obtained from other vehicles or from auto wreckers, dealers or manufacturers, and whose vehicle identification number (V.I.N.), make, model or model year has been affected by this reconstruction. Rebuilt vehicles are registered in Ontario as: V.I.N.: Of body of the vehicle (CHASSIS/FRAME V.I.N. is not used). If there is no longer an existing V.I.N. on the dashboard, you may request the licence issuing office to provide you with a ministry - assigned as RBT V.I.N., which you should affix to the dashboard. A V.I.N is needed before you can obtain a Safety Standards Certificate. MAKE: Manufacturer of body of the vehicle (CHASSIS/FRAME manufacturer is not used) MODEL: RBT MODEL YEAR: Year that the motor vehicle car was rebuilt and registered with the ministry.
NOTE- the RBT is ONLused under 2 conditions - vehicles "whose vehicle identification number (V.I.N.), make, model or model year has been affected by this reconstruction."
OR
Where "there is no longer an existing V.I.N. on the dashboard"
Specifically "V.I.N.: Of body of the vehicle (CHASSIS/FRAME V.I.N. is not used)"
A REPAIRED vehicle, using salvaged replacement parts, whether a used engine, fenders, bumpers, rear axle, or frame, is a REPAIRED vehicle, and unless branded as salvage due to interference by an insurance company, is NOT regegistered in any way in Canada. (at least in Ontario - and Ontario vehicles can be registered anywhere in Canada with a provincial safety inspection)
I suspect it is also true, in practice, throughout the vast majority of the USA.

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On Tue, 19 Feb 2008 22:58:07 -0500, clare at snyder.on.ca wrote:

15W oil in the winter /that/ far north? You either have to keep the vehicle running, plugged in, or an APU engine running 24/7.
I Love L.A. - the only places you find a Kim Hotstart is on fire trucks and standby diesel generator plants, and that's only so it starts on the first pull and can take a load in a hurry.

{Big Snip}
Game, set and match - Told ya that there are likely to be vehicle registration change issues. Now you even agree with me.
It's always best if you go to your local government registration authorities FIRST, tell them what you did, and see what receipts and documentation they need you to produce and other things they need you to do to make it 100% Kosher.
Might be nothing more than recording a change of frame on the title, might be a whole pile of paper.
--<< Bruce >>--
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On Tue, 19 Feb 2008 21:38:12 -0800, Bruce L. Bergman

I didn't say I agreed. According to Ontario law, replacing a frame is a REPAIR, not a rebuild. New or used parts, no difference - and the CHASSIS SERIAL NUMBER IS NOT RECORDED OR REQUIRED even on an assembled or rebuilt vehicle. ONLY if the body VIN is non-existant is a new VIN issued. A "rebuilt" vehicle is made up of parts from several vehicles, not necessarilly of the same vintage or manufacture. A "KIT" vehicle is a vehicle assembled from custom maunfactured parts that may also use "doner" parts. The manufacturer of the "kit body" or purchased plan set needs to be speciied, and can NOT be the builder/assembler of the vehicle unless he is also a registered kit manufacturer.
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Is it insured? If so you might get lucky and they will total it. If the welding didn't work the first 3 times, well you do the math........

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On Sat, 16 Feb 2008 08:31:45 -0400, Picasso

A couple of things come to mind as possibilities. One is whether or not the snubber may be missing causing the shock to absorb all the energy in a bottomed out condition. Another is if the shocks are too long and bottoming out before the axle is on the snubbers. Have you installed a lift kit with longer shocks without the correct snubbers? Are you operating the truck in an overloaded condition causing it to bottom out frequently on rough roads. I have seen several break the shock mounts from the axle but, not cause frame damage. What you are describing suggest the frame is over stressed in that area as if overloaded. Do you have enough truck for the job you are doing? Don't mean to be critical but, very often trucks are loaded far beyond the load for which they were intended without the owner or operator realizing it.
Lastly, I do not know the situation on privately owned vehicles but, in commercial class vehicles here in the states, welding is generally not allowable or approved by any manufacturer between the frontmost and rearmost load bearing points of the frame. Low speed drilling is approved in some areas for the purpose of mounting components as required. The frame is heat treated when manufactured. The heat of welding removes the heat treating producing weakness in the heated area adjacent a weld. That is the area in which the next failure occurs. I suspect the only longterm cure will be to either reduce the load if possible or replace the frame which may be prohibitively expensive on a truck of that age and mileage.
Lugnut
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A frame in that condition most likely would fail most state's safety inspections.
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If you have installed gas shocks or overload or such, that is probably causing your problem. I have had 3 Rangers and loaded up to 700 lbs in them and never had anything like this happen. In fact I had 700 in my 03 and frame should be just like yours. They come with some kind of corrosion protection on them. I don't know how well it works in salty climates though.
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