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Best Welder for Automotive - Can I do this?

Started by 392 Cuda, December 09, 2022, 08:52:12 PM

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I self taught myself MIG welding back in the mid 80's. The car I'm driving now is the same car I learned to weld on. It hasn't fallen apart on me I'll say you can do it.
One thing I did learn after several 'less than ideal' welds is.....get it REALLY REALLY clean, the cleaner the better and make sure your welder has a good ground clamp. And your ground clamp not too far from where you are welding. I've even welded stubs of metal onto the car frame to give me a good ground clamp spot.
"There is nothing your government can give you that it hasn't already taken from you in the first place" -Winston Churchill


I LOVE this thread - thanks everyone for your input here - I have a friend who is amazing at metal fab - he said if I bought a welder he would come buy and help me learn.  Something I have wanted to know how to do since I was a teenager.  Metal work is one of the few things I just figured I would never learn but I am looking for a decent used machine and the info here is awesome - this keeps me motivated!
You can't buy happiness, but you can buy horsepower and that's kind of the same thing.....


Bought Eastwood's MIG 250 a few years ago when it first came out. This welder has dual power input so it works on either 120 or 240. I hated it. Would always trip the overload protection even when under a light load. Called Eastwood. They sent out another one that was a little better but not great. Had some other issue with it shortly after the warranty expired. Called Eastwood, they didn't ask any questions, just sent me a new welder. Whatever the problem was they must have fixed it because this welder worked great right out of the box. Have used it on sheet metal and 1/2" steel plating. Easy to use, just as good as the other big dollar welders I've used. Even taught my wife to weld with it in less than an hour.

Morale of the story... You don't have to always spend the most to get good quality, but might want to hold off on buying the latest models until the bugs have been worked out.


A safety and convenience note.
Have a dedicated outlet for your welder with a 30 amp breaker. Otherwise as said if you are sharing the circuit with other items, you will likely keep tripping your breaker when making welds longer than 30 seconds.  For professionally rebuilt door hinges...


I'm a huge Miller fan. I have a small (120v) Miller MIG that I have zero complaints with. Had it for 20 years and run it on a 20 amp 120v outlet with no issues. I'd go Miller again in a heartbeat.
1970 Challenger R/T Numbers Matching 440 Auto in F8 Quad Green


Lots of good info here wanted to pass along my experience. I was fortunate to have a community college class, intro to welding in my area. It helped me tremendously, if not plenty of good channels on youtube. My vote is for the Hobart 210 mvp. I absolutely love my machine, some reasons, if I need any consumables or parts they are at tractor supply. I can swap between 110 and 220 in 2 mins. Really comes in hand when you get asked to weld something that can't be brought to your shop. The Hobart 210 mvp can handle sheet metal on 110v or weld your neighbors tractor on 220. if it hasn't been mentioned, spend the extra money on shielding gas and learn with solid wire. You will get discouraged intially on flux core wire. Man once you get halfway decent, you'll be amazed who comes out of the wood work asking you to weld who knows what, you won't have to buy beer for yourself for a while... Good luck !

Oh search a old post from my myself, I put up a smaller welding table I made for tight areas that can be extended if you want to copy it.


I have a Miller 110 which is 130 Amp  for small jobs, sheet metal etc. Also have a Miller 250 which 220 Amp for the heavier duty jobs. Both are now over 30 years old and never had any issues with them and still work great. I am in the market for a home use tig welder now.

70 Challenger Lover

I know it's an older thread but in the event someone else is considering a welder, I thought I'd add that I too love the Miller brand.

I bought a Miller 140 and the best feature in my view is the automatic wire feed. As you play with the heat setting, it adjusts speed so it's one less thing to consider as a newbie, which I was.

It handles sheet metal beautifully. Especially with thinner .024" wire which I prefer. I find 3/16" is about the thickest it will handle even though the unit is rated for up to 1/4"

Like most things, there's a learning curve. You can look at my early stuff compared to now and see a dramatic difference in weld quality.

A dedicated circuit is nice but for my unit, 20 amp is all that's needed. I use it on 15 amp circuits and the only time it pops the breaker is if I have other items drawing power on the same circuit.

Get yourself a nice quality helmet too. Super bright lights on the work surface make life much easier too.

I know people who use mig welders without the gas bottle. The gas simply pushes oxygen in the air away from the weld for a better weld surface. You can weld with the gas bottle but you need flux core wire. And the unit has a polarity configuration inside to switch. No big deal. Those units are intended for outdoor use, like ranchers welding fences in windy conditions. Gas bottle is the nice way to go!

The original poster asked if it's something best left to professionals. My answer to that would be if you knew you only needed it once and might not use it again, probably better to pay for the work. Why spend weeks or months practicing to weld in a bracket? But if you have lots to do, as I did, teaching yourself to weld is very rewarding.


I am glad I found this older thread. When I finally starting working on restoring my A66 Challenger vert that I owned since 1979 (in storage 84-2015) it needed patches on the bottom of the rear quarters, a new trunk floor, one trunk extension, smaller patches in a wheel well, and potentially a partial panel in the front driver's side floor. The only welding I ever did was over 40 years ago brazing exhaust systems with an Oxyacetylene torch. I picked up a Hobart 140 Handler Welder, watched Utube videos and practiced on some sheet metal.
A lot of good tips made in the postings here are very relevant. The 140 did a great job of doing the metal repairs on the Challenger. I bought a 2 piece AMD trunk floor and butt welded it in, adding in one new trunk extension. The inner quarters and outer bottom quarter panels also needed patch panels. Long story short, the pre-practice paid off. Some lessons learned; watch and adjust your speed and heat when welding new metal to the original panels for blow through-easy to do. Definitely weld with shield gas/solid wire. Practice your technique with plug welds; very handy for welding in a trunk floor. I kept a wet rag to cool each butt weld on the quarters to minimize warping after EACH weld. And as Dodj noted; make sure the metal is clean and look for a good ground spot. Amazing what you can do if you practice while saving a ton of labor money!Pics below of my work and what I was dealing with!

Data Moderator A66 Challenger Registry

Owner of 1970 A66 Challenger convertible

70 Challenger Lover

Nice work! It's amazing how fast a person can progress in this skill if they are motivated.

After a while, you start to convince yourself that you can save anything. Last week, we were working on a buddy's rusty 70 Cuda and rather than waste $250-300 on a transmission cross member, we decided to repair the existing one. It came out super nice!

I keep sheets of 18 ga. and 14 ga. metal on hand to fabricate the patches I need. Ten years ago, I would have thought this skill impossible to learn.