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Old 12-08-2009, 06:43 PM
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damage from welding

can mig or tig welding on the body or frame cause damage to the ecm or other electrical components? thanks, Mick

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Old 12-08-2009, 07:00 PM
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Yes, if you can disconnect it. Remove the battery at the very least. I have welded with my battery connected and got a way with it. Well come to think about it the battery is currently dead
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:54 PM
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You can possibly damage a lot of things, from the wiring harness to door hinges! I have seen wiring harness damage at least twice and once had to call attention to a door hinge that was arcing between the bushings and pins. It depends on what you are grounded to vs what you are welding on, the hinge pins/bushings were ruined because the guy was welding on the door but had his ground connected to the rear bumper. ALWAYS make sure you have your ground connected directly to the part you are welding on, if the current has to flow through different parts of the car to complete the circuit you could damage a lot of things-particularly the wiring. Properly grounded however the only way to hurt anything is to damage it from heat, even the ECM will not be in any danger if the ground is properly made to the part being welded. If practical it is not a bad idea to disconnect the ECM when using any kind of electric welding but again if the part being welded is connected directly to the ground lead the ECM would be safe, disconnecting the battery does not protect the car's solid state electrics from welding but proper grounding does.
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:03 PM
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If your stupid enough to ground the MIG at one end of the car and weld at the far opposite end,...well I guess it's possible but I have never seen any damage from it. An older fellow I used to work with swore up and down that electrical welding on a car will align all the ring gaps in the engine . We were eating lunch when he came out with that one and I had just taken a swig of Coke and just about spit it all over every one at the table. Ever have Coke go up your nose? .

Vince
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:48 PM
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i worked on 18 wheelers 12 years and every one told me that it would burn up the ecm. as the years went on we ran up on some rush jobs and started welding with out un hooking the the 4 batterys and puling the cover which took a little bit of time.never had a problem did some welding on autos and never had any problems but i guess thats the chance u take. keep the ground clamp on the very pieace of metal u are welding on or close by. can't say to do are not to do but no problems here with out unhooking any thing
good luck
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:02 AM
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Unhooking the battery will not help but grounding is extremely important, think about it. If, in the case of the hinges I mentioned, the ground is placed on a bumper or any other part but the door and the door is open while welding then the current MUST flow through the hinges because there is no other path for it to go. In that case the hinges were making poor contact, probably due to lube or just crud, and because of that it arced and pitted the pins/bushings. Another one I saw was a guy welding on a hood latch with the ground connected to the frame, it smoked the ground strap from the chassis to the hood. Body parts can be poorly grounded to the chassis, that's why ground straps are necessary, if welding on one part while grounded to another the current must find a path and this path may be anything conductive including the wiring and ANYTHING connected to it! Most times even the ground straps will not carry all the current, they were not designed for welding current loads, and relying on them is just asking for trouble. If the ground is attached directly to the part being welded then the current flows only through that part and will not hurt anything else, ground as close as possible to the weld and ALWAYS onto the part being welded and you will have nothing to worry about.


Once again, disconnecting the battery will NOT do anything to protect the ECM! Disconnecting the battery does not take the ECM out of the circuit and if the welding current is forced to follow the wiring due to poor grounding it would still expose any electrical components connected to it including the ECM!

Last edited by oldred; 12-09-2009 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bocephus86
i worked on 18 wheelers 12 years and every one told me that it would burn up the ecm. as the years went on we ran up on some rush jobs and started welding with out un hooking the the 4 batterys and puling the cover which took a little bit of time.never had a problem did some welding on autos and never had any problems but i guess thats the chance u take. keep the ground clamp on the very pieace of metal u are welding on or close by. can't say to do are not to do but no problems here with out unhooking any thing
good luck


Next time someone tells you to unhook the battery ask them to explain how this "protection" works.

If you accidentally induce current into the wiring it would seem to me that you would want all the grounding you can get but in any case since the wiring is still connected to the ECM and it remains grounded then current flow, including induced charges from current flowing near the wiring, would still expose the ECM and other components. Since these components are grounded then current induced into the wiring WILL flow through them to reach ground and unhooking the battery will not do a darn thing to prevent this!
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Old 12-10-2009, 04:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 302 Z28
If your stupid enough to ground the MIG at one end of the car and weld at the far opposite end,...well I guess it's possible but I have never seen any damage from it. An older fellow I used to work with swore up and down that electrical welding on a car will align all the ring gaps in the engine . We were eating lunch when he came out with that one and I had just taken a swig of Coke and just about spit it all over every one at the table. Ever have Coke go up your nose? .

Vince
OMG,you caught me off gaurd Vince,just sprayed my screen with coffee...I've always heard that welding will blow out the computor although its never happend to me and I always forget to disconnect the battery But I always ground within a couple inches of my welding.
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Old 12-10-2009, 04:52 AM
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You make sence Old Red I never gave it much thought But I do remember a couple Laws of electricity: Electricity ALWAYS takes the path of least resistance and steel is a POOR conductor so as long as your not welding the POS battery cable or melt it to the body I cant see how it would effect anything either ....
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:31 AM
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You hear it all the time, "take the battery cables off or you will blow up the computer" but it seems no one (that I have asked anyway) can explain just how this helps. Then there is the fact that people weld on cars all the time without removing battery cables and there just don't seem to be any computer problems resulting from it, I have done it many times with no problems. For sure grounding to one end of the car and welding on the other can cause all sorts of problems because if there is resistance between the grounded area and the spot being welded the current is going to follow any conductor between the two spots and if that conductor happens to be the wiring then the ECM could very well get smoked! I have seen this before, just clamp the ground on any part handy and weld where-ever but if they would just stand back and look at it and try to visualize where the current has to go it might just get a bit scary. I have actually seen the bearings in bulldozer finial drives burned out from grounding on the tracks and then welding on something else and while this is not a car and the current is much heavier the exact same principle applies here and the point is that grounding to the part being welded is EXTREMELY important!
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