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Old 01-07-2016, 01:58 AM   #1
dieselguy
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Aluminum Welding ... the Lost Art

Went to the Wichita RV show last night ... looking at 3 different Montana's ... Boy Howdy were the welds visable under the bedroom flooring sad ... sad ... sad. I'd guess the welds holding the walls together are similar. Some had no penetration, I'd bet I could have chipped the bead (if you could call it that) right off the floor beam with a chisel. Many had the tell tale black soot caused by poking the tungsten on the torch head in the weld puddle. Lotsa LED eye candy and a cantilever door hinge! Must be marketing to draw your attention away from examining the structure. Headed to the KCMO RV show next week to compare and contrast. I doubt if Montanas have the corner on the bad weld market though ...
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Old 01-07-2016, 03:08 AM   #2
1retired06
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May be a contributor to the stress cracks some are experiencing.
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Old 01-07-2016, 03:46 AM   #3
dieselguy
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Just to clarify ... my 3150RL has sub par welds as well, just not as blatantly obvious and in numbers I saw last night.
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Old 01-07-2016, 03:56 AM   #4
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OMG, makes one wonder doesn't it???
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Old 01-07-2016, 04:20 AM   #5
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It's not a lost art but you can't hire someone who don't know how to weld and expect them to know how to weld. I used to a guy that was FFA certified. There are a very few of those. I have a guy here in the shop that can weld as good as you have ever seen but he doesn't work for mimium wages.
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Old 01-07-2016, 04:42 AM   #6
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Hopefully they did a better job on the steel.
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Old 01-07-2016, 06:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by BB_TX

Hopefully they did a better job on the steel.
When the front of my 3402RL was opened up to inspect and repair for frame flex I can tell you there were welds visible that even I would be ashamed of and I have never had any formal training in welding. That however is a Lippert issue not Keystone. Many have seen the poor welds associated with the mounting of the spring hangers and so on related to the undercarriage, that is done I would assume in the Keystone plant as they are using a Lippert frame and Dexter axles.

Good workmanship and mass production do not exist in the same sentence and that is a problem throughout the RV industry with the exception of some smaller manufacturers of course. When you have the units themselves being pushed through an assembly line as fast as possible and the same condition in the plants producing the fridges, stoves, furnaces and so on the result is what the consumer has to put up with.

Do not bet "all" welds on your unit are done properly, the just are not.


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Old 01-07-2016, 07:35 AM   #8
DQDick
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Couldn't be. When they're pushing upwards of 20 rigs per day out the door, quality welds can't be done.
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Old 01-07-2016, 12:51 PM   #9
boat391
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A good weld is just as easy to do as a bad one but it takes a lot more experience. Any good welder would take pride in his weld as if it's jewelry. That tells me there is no one inspecting the welds. That's unacceptable in my book. Keystone feet should be held to the fire.
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Old 01-07-2016, 01:19 PM   #10
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Should, don't hold your breath.
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Old 01-07-2016, 01:41 PM   #11
MARK A
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by dieselguy

Went to the Wichita RV show last night ... looking at 3 different Montana's ... Boy Howdy were the welds visable under the bedroom flooring sad ... sad ... sad. I'd guess the welds holding the walls together are similar. Some had no penetration, I'd bet I could have chipped the bead (if you could call it that) right off the floor beam with a chisel. Many had the tell tale black soot caused by poking the tungsten on the torch head in the weld puddle. Lotsa LED eye candy and a cantilever door hinge! Must be marketing to draw your attention away from examining the structure. Headed to the KCMO RV show next week to compare and contrast. I doubt if Montanas have the corner on the bad weld market though ...
I chose Montana because at least it IS welded.. The Cedar Creek aluminum framing although on 16" centers is screwed together with zip screws and an aluminum angle bracket and some glue!
Now I haven't run any tests but the 'welds' just sound better to me.

Mark
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Old 01-07-2016, 02:29 PM   #12
dieselguy
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Keystone and Forest River both beat their chests on their own construction technics. Both have pros and cons ... like you, it boils down to personal preference when you settle on a unit. Thousands of Keystone products and thousands of Forest River products travel up and down the roads and they both have frame issues. I'm one that looks way past the eye candy marketed to distract from basic construction on many mid level fivers today. I am disappointed with construction ... in particular welds ... that's what my topic is about.
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Old 01-07-2016, 02:33 PM   #13
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I really doubt that any of our Montana welds are done with heliarc welding using tungsten. Pretty much most all aluminum welding is done today with a MIG welder instead of a tig welder. Those that can still use the tig welding usually are craftsmen and have beautiful welds. Most now use MIG welder sand if you are lucky they have a pulse setting on them to make it look like a tig weld. It still boils down to how good of welder actually welds our units together. MIG welding is ok and very fast but you still need a good welder to make an actually good weld.

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Old 01-08-2016, 03:52 AM   #14
dieselguy
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You may be right ... I was just looking at all the black soot spots on many of the weld beads and it reminded me of when I was in the learning mode and kept sticking the tungsten in the puddle.

On Edit ... you are exactly right ... I watched a video of Montana construction. It shows a MIG welder blazing away on a wall asssembly.
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Old 01-08-2016, 04:33 AM   #15
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Welding has been poor for sometime. Check out the link below, my 2010 Montana was totaled when the walls pull loose from the base plate.

http://montana3611rl.blogspot.com/20...1_archive.html

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Old 01-08-2016, 04:39 AM   #16
richfaa
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I agree however Keystone does not do the welding the side panels come to the factory assembled as we have seen on the factory tours.

keystone assembles a Rv from vendor parts. I seem to remember for the last factory tour that they do make at least some of the cabinets.
However Keystone is responsible for the quality of every vendor provided item that is used in the construction. I have spent over 5,000 $$ on aftermarket items in a attempt to reduce or prevent frame failure on this 13 3402 and I have had frame failure on the 06 3400 and had the "longer screw" fix on this 3402.
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Old 01-08-2016, 02:16 PM   #17
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If looked at the welds in the basement of my 3700, I have 7 tig weld procedures- 16weld certs, have done 5 procedures for mig aluminum and countless certs, they all look like root passes, no precleaning visible, but there is no visible cold lap, havent found any cracks or welds pulling apart, I would take a gorilla weld or small root pass over a screw any day
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Old 01-09-2016, 03:00 AM   #18
richfaa
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Phabask

If looked at the welds in the basement of my 3700, I have 7 tig weld procedures- 16weld certs, have done 5 procedures for mig aluminum and countless certs, they all look like root passes, no precleaning visible, but there is no visible cold lap, havent found any cracks or welds pulling apart, I would take a gorilla weld or small root pass over a screw any day
I know nothing about welds and it is good to hear from a expert. We have had ours looked at by "experts" in our home area and most of them had a better way of doing it or did not approve of the type of welding but none of them saw any bad welds. Of course we had broken welds in our 06 3400(frame flex.
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