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Plow cracking frame?

Discussion in 'Boss Plows Discussion' started by Mark13, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,734

    As most of you know I would like to run a 8.2v on my current truck for a couple years until I can get a larger truck. I'm not worried about the suspension holding it as I can get timbrens and I have beefed up suspension. My question is, will my frame hold up to the abuse the plow would put on it? I have seen several frames crack right behind the upper control arm mount on the obs and nbs trucks. How hard would it be to add an extra plate in there or some type of guesset to hold the frame and upper control arm mount together more? I know that a v on a "half ton" is pushing it but I'm not planning on plowing a ton this winter but more next winter. I am basically looking for a way to keep my truck in one peice longer than it would stock.
     
  2. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    The '88 to current GM's truck's do sometimes develope cracks at the rear of the upper control are mount like you mentioned Mark...and GM know's about it too. If you take a look at the '01-up HD's, SOME of them will already have a gusset welded onto the frame rail right where you mentioned adding one to your truck. This is a VERY VERY GOOD IDEA ON ANY '88 to current GM when running a plow! And to anyone running a plow on one of these truck's without the gusset, be sure to keep an eye out for cracks in this area. A quick inspection a few times throughout the plowing season is important. The gusset isn't hard at all to fab up and install for a minimal cost and will help prevent a major problem like a broken frame in the future...here's a pic of one installed so you can use it for reference....

    Marsh%20cheve%20frame%20cracks%20004.jpg
     
  3. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,734

    Sweet, I should be able to fab that up with out to much work. Is it just a triangle over the top?
     
  4. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Yep, it's nothing special, just a piece of 3/16 with a very slight curve in it. I don't usually run them over the control arm bracket, just butt it up against it on the back. That way you can get to the underside better to put a nice clean weld on it.
     
  5. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,734

    Ok, thanks. I should be able to fab something like that up with out to much work.
     
  6. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Good deal Mark, the frame cracking problem is much more common than most guys with these trucks realize...as I've fixed many, and seen many broken that the owners didn't even know it...yet! I'm surprised their isn't more guys on here that have had frame problems.. IMO, this is a very important mod to do to these trucks.
     
  7. Alaska Boss

    Alaska Boss PlowSite.com Addict
    from Alaska
    Messages: 1,951

    Broken frames

    I've had 2 Chevy 1-tons (early 90's), and they have both had cracked frames,.. my first one broken clean in half before I found it,... what a pain in the bazzooka to have to repair something like this,... :eek: :dizzy:

    Broken Frame (Small) (2).JPG
     
  8. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Right, that's exactly why I always recommend to add the gusset's... One's it's broke...it's broke good!
     
  9. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Here's some good pics I took just today of the gusset addition to do to these trucks...all the pics are of the driver side on an '04 2500HD..I make the gussents out of 3/16 and they're about 4 inches long.. cheap insurance in my book.

    Frame gusset Pics 001.jpg

    Frame gusset Pics 004.jpg

    Frame gusset Pics 006.jpg

    Frame gusset Pics 008.jpg
     
  10. Jerre Heyer

    Jerre Heyer Senior Member
    Messages: 948

    B&B, nice work on the plates. That earlier picture was from a 3500 frame that was cracked 3/4 down both sides of the truck inside and outside the rails. Welding the inside without lifting the motor is NO FUN. Wishing it hadn't been sub-zero when that repair had to be done.

    The Picts that Alalska Boss posted are typical of the 88-98 problems on the strongest built car on the market. It's sad that they can put such a good power plant and tranny combo together and drop it into such a cheap framework for you guys.

    J
     
  11. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Thanks Jerre.. I'm sure you have your fair share of these under your belt too.:nod: ...Have you ever seen a truck WITH the gusset's crack/break there? I've seen many break, but never one with the gussets...factory or add on. Your thoughts?
     
  12. Joe D

    Joe D Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    I think you need to do more to prevent this. If anyone remembers the old fisher plows on the 88 and up trucks had two bars running back to the trans crossmember and not the lower control arm crossmemeber.
    It creates to much leverage on the frame, so looking at it from the side the suspension is like a pivot point and it breaks just after that.
    Another idea is running a 1in wide x .25 in strap over the top of the frame rails from the curved area of the frame. Ford use to do this on the 350 cab and chassis trucks in the center sections. They had one on the bottom as well.
    I don't think GM cares much about this as I have looked at every truck on the local dealer lot, new body 08's and none of them had an bracing at all.
     
  13. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    hmm. im thinking i might go visit a friend of mine over this. hes working on a busch car chassis last i knew and is pretty knowledgeable on tube framing. i would love to brace but im also wondering to what extent before im doing more damage than good as far as not allowing the frame to flex. think he will give me some valuable input. (might even drag out some tube and his welder)
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2007
  14. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Joe, generally I agree with you on the 88-98's as they can be a real problem..if they don't break at the upper control arm mount, then they'll break right behind the rear cab mounts..but I feel the gussets are enough to do the job on the HD's...since the rails are taller, which helps distribute the stress further out on the frame. Adding the 1/4 strap you mentioned would be good insurance also, and I do prefer to "overbuild" things, but it's just not feasible on an assembled truck to add it to the top of the rail..you'd need to remove the body first to allow access to install it effectively. It's funny that you mentioned how Fisher used to run the reinforcement bars back to the trans cross member on the 88-up GM's. I've actually been working on a BOLT ON setup to reinforce the front frame section on all these later GM's by doing just that....running a set of bars from the bottom of the lower suspension cross-member to the trans cross-member..haven't had time to work on it for a while but I have it all laid out in my mind..and so far, adding the gusset's has been working fine so it hasn't been first on my "to do" list to finish it up...
     
  15. Joe D

    Joe D Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    I made a set of bars for my Blizzard plow as I didn't want it to happen.
    What causes them to break after the cab?
     
  16. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Basically the same thing that makes them break behind the upper C arm mount.. the weight of the plow trying to bow or "arch" the frame..and a spreader or ballast near the tailgate, or a rear plow just add's to the arching force..since it's now trying to arch it from BOTH ends. They break behind the cab since it's the next weakest point next to the C-arm mounting point plus it's not in a boxed section of the frame, it's in the section that's just C channeled. It's also an excellent spot to add the 1/4" strap you mentioned before (like the older Ford C+C used), as it's easy to remove the bed for access to the top of the frame.
     
  17. Jerre Heyer

    Jerre Heyer Senior Member
    Messages: 948

    B+B haven't had one with the braces break there. Have had a couple of the 88-98 and the newer ones break in front of the front a arm FROM THE BOTTOM UP. SO it's not the plow weight alone. On the older 88-98's they would break FROM THE BOTTOM UP behind the rear a arm also. Lifting the plow actually closed the cracks.

    Skip the bolt on option for plates. The bolts and holes move and then it's back to the same problem with a band-aid covering up the problem so you can't see it happening until it's too late.

    jerre
     
  18. B&B

    B&B PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,777

    Jerre, I've also seen a couple 88-98's break from the bottom up...and I couldn't believe it the first time I saw one. And as far as I can see it's due to the twisting and flexing that most any truck would endure in it's use, and I think the extra weight of the plow just compounds the stress more than a truck without a plow would not see. I did go over all this one time with an engineer friend of mine, and after I gave him all the frame and weight specs on the trucks and plows, and what type of use they were exposed to, he pretty much agreed that it could in fact cause the cracking issue from the bottom up..

    Have you ever tried adding a gusset to all 4 upper and lower C-arm brackets to try and distribute the stress over a larger area by getting it off the weld points at the frame/C-arm connections? I've haven't done it yet but I think it would help..I don't think it's the ultimate answer but I think it would be a benefit without to much time or expense involved.
     
  19. PITCH

    PITCH Member
    from hamburg
    Messages: 86

    LET ME ASK A QUESTION
    AFTER TALKING TO THE CHEVY DEALER (WHO IS ALSO A FISHER AND WESTERN DEALER), THEY SAY THEY DON'T SEE ALOT OF FRAME PROBLEMS. THEY ALSO TOLD ME IF I ADD THE GUSSETS THAT COULD VOID THE WARRANTY IF ANYTHING DOES HAPPEN. THEIR APPROACH IS DEAL WITH IT IF IT DOES HAPPEN. I'M WONDERING IF I'M ONLY DOING LIGHT COMMERCIAL PLOWING AND ONLY KEEP THE TRUCK FOR FOUR YEARS, SHOULD I JUST LEAVE IT ALONE. DOES THE CRACKING TAKE PLACE WITH AGE AND HEAVY USE, OR DO THEY JUST CRACK DUE TO POOR DESIGN
     
  20. Jerre Heyer

    Jerre Heyer Senior Member
    Messages: 948

    B+B, actually when you lift the plow on the 88- 98's the crack closes. We see more of a problem on them on dump trucks or one's with salt spreaders.

    Pitch, as far as GM and Cheve saying they haven't seen much of a problem THEY LIE. Grand Rapids, Buffalo, Jamestown NY, Erie have all seen dozens of these failures.

    As far the gussetts they will install them at the GM dealer here for about $300.00 so how could you void the warranty. By the way. Some of the ones we've fixed had less than 10K on them.

    Jerre