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Old 05-01-2017, 02:13 PM   #1
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Drilling the frame

Hey guys, I want to put a bracket for additional Propane tank, preferably without welding the frame, so I wonder about possibility of using self-tapping screws or drilling trough the square frame. So the question is, what's safe and what is not, how many holes and what size and where I can put them between tong and trailer body? Is there any safety guidelines?

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Old 05-01-2017, 02:26 PM   #2
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Drilling through the side of the frame member is a lot better than drilling through the top of it. You want to be careful you don't start a fracture line that starts to grow, over time. Most of the stress on your frame is at the narrower dimension of the steel. Most frames are also heat treated and welding is also bad for this reason. Most big rigs (18 wheeler tractor trailer rigs) have stickers all over them saying not to drill or weld the frames, but everyone does it anyway. Use a good cutting oil if you take a drill bit to your frame and keep your holes as far from the 'corners' as you can.

The reason I don't worry about it too much is Camping World is willing to take my money all day long to fab and weld brackets to my camper so if my dealer is willing to weld my frame, I am.

So... if it was me, I'd buy a welder and learn how to use it so the 3 times a year I wish I had one it's there. I don't like drilling holes in load bearing frame members, but to each their own How many holes, how big, and precisely where they are located would undoubtedly convince me to grab a welder and / or a friend that knows what he's doing.

I would also explore any 'bolt on' options at your disposal that would eliminate the need to drill or weld. Prime example is our weight distributing hitch brackets. No welding, no drilling, rock solid. A fabricator that knows what he/she is doing could build you a propane 'bracket' that clamps onto your frame in a similar way.
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Old 05-01-2017, 02:43 PM   #3
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~snip
So... if it was me, I'd buy a welder and learn how to use it so the 3 times a year I wish I had one it's there. I don't like drilling holes in load bearing frame members, but to each their own How many holes, how big, and precisely where they are located would undoubtedly convince me to grab a welder and / or a friend that knows what he's doing.
~snip
This is my approach to tools around the shop. While I could pay someone to do it, I would rather buy the tools and do it myself.

A wire feed welder can be run on 110v if you are not doing anything big (1/4" or thinner) so no special garage wiring needed. If you use flux core you don't need gas for shielding. While I don't like flux core, it does work better outdoors where wind can blow your shielding gas away. It is also a little less fussy when it comes to paint and rust. MIG welding really wants clean, bare metal. Wire feed welding is so much easier to do than stick welding. You are working with a gun that remains the same distance from your work at all times. Not a stick that is 12-18" long which is like trying to write with a pencil while hanging onto the eraser. Oh by the way that pencil is melting away as you write so you have to get closer and closer to your work.

For me the only turn off to MIG welding was dealing with the gas. I didn't like having to deal with yet another tank. I have Oxy and Acetylene tanks for my torch and CO2 tanks for my beer. Then I was reading something and saw I could use 100% CO2 in MIG welding. Since I have a few of those tanks anyhow I bought a Hobart 190 a while back. Then converted it over to a CO2 flow meter and haven't looked back. Granted that is a larger unit which requires 220V but I have done a little work with 5/16 and it is nice to do that in a single pass rather than have to bust out the old arc welder which I am not a fan of. The only issues with 100% CO2 is it spatters a bit more which is easy to clean up. Also it burns a bit hotter so I have to watch for burn through.
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Old 05-01-2017, 02:53 PM   #4
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I've had this welder in my 'wish list' for about a year now. I'm probably going to pull the trigger on it sooner than later.

Forney Easy Weld 299 125FC Flux Core Welder


It pays for itself the first time it's used.... err ok maybe not since the first dozen times it's used will be on scrap.. but I'm hoping it's sufficient for the minimal use I plan, maybe an option for the OP? Sounds like Sennister has some welding experience so I'll yield to his knowledge. Don't mean to derail the thread, just wondering if that is a viable welder for general, infrequent use.

Drilling holes seems like the larger of two evils in this case, not to dissuade the OP from doing so if he chooses.
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Old 05-01-2017, 02:54 PM   #5
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I noticed on my 16 Eagle the factory used self taping screws and hold downs for the propane hose running from propane tanks in front to back of the camper.We were curious because we wanted to run a line from the invert-er at the battery to the back of the camper. For a 12 volt power to the TV.Any other suggestions out there?Thanks
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Old 05-01-2017, 02:58 PM   #6
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I noticed on my 16 Eagle the factory used self taping screws and hold downs for the propane hose running from propane tanks in front to back of the camper.We were curious because we wanted to run a line from the invert-er at the battery to the back of the camper. For a 12 volt power to the TV.Any other suggestions out there?Thanks
I'd have no problem putting a bunch of self tapping screws in the cross members that connect the frame, provide your floor support etc. Have at it

Concerns are with the 'big steel'.. the A-Frame where the tanks themselves are sitting. That's the true 'load bearing' stuff you want to try your best to not poke big holes in. Sometimes it's unavoidable, but usually it's not.. I mean is.. I think you're talking about tiny screws in non-critical areas that you could certainly poke additional, small holes in.
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Old 05-01-2017, 03:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ukrainian_Kozak View Post
Hey guys, I want to put a bracket for additional Propane tank, preferably without welding the frame, so I wonder about possibility of using self-tapping screws or drilling trough the square frame. So the question is, what's safe and what is not, how many holes and what size and where I can put them between tong and trailer body? Is there any safety guidelines?

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Why don't you just buy bigger propane tanks??
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Old 05-01-2017, 04:04 PM   #8
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Why don't you just buy bigger propane tanks??
I only have one 30 lb tank in the middle of an A frame, kind of recessed so it rests on the bottom part of the frame and there's no good place for a second tank. I want to add second 20lb tank on the side of the frame so I can use trailer while refilling one of the tanks and so I can use 20lb tank exchange in case I'll need to do a quick swap.

BTW, after researching some more I'm leaning towards using U-bolts instead of drilling and welding.


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Old 05-01-2017, 04:42 PM   #9
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snip...... BTW, after researching some more I'm leaning towards using U-bolts instead of drilling and welding....snip
X2

If you do need to drill into the side of the A-frame, stay away from the corner radius of the steel tubing.

Bob
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Old 11-28-2020, 10:58 AM   #10
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What about the rear part of the A-frame, beneath the front of the square? After it is flush with the square frame, it extends back about 8ft; the two are welded together the entire length that they touch. That part of the frame, where it's doubled up, can I drill holes there? My holes are only 1/8" bit today however I'm interested as a general question.
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Old 12-12-2020, 04:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ukrainian_Kozak View Post
I only have one 30 lb tank in the middle of an A frame, kind of recessed so it rests on the bottom part of the frame and there's no good place for a second tank. I want to add second 20lb tank on the side of the frame so I can use trailer while refilling one of the tanks and so I can use 20lb tank exchange in case I'll need to do a quick swap.

BTW, after researching some more I'm leaning towards using U-bolts instead of drilling and welding.


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I used U-Bolts with this:

https://www.amazon.com/RecPro-Propan...7812348&sr=8-5

No drilling, no welding, traveled for 1000s of miles without problem.
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