First, a little background. In my early years, I became obsessed with cars. I loved to eat, sleep, and play with Hot-Wheels (rather than stuffed animals). Every assignment at school, if given the chance, was related to cars. As I got older, the customization element pushed me even harder to becoming a genuine gear head. I would spend hours playing video games where it was possible to tack on new parts. The money I earned from mowing was efficiently converted into hobby grade RC car parts (that were quickly broken).
When I finally turned 17, I was able to purchase my second car, a Jeep Cherokee. Anyone familiar with the Cherokee knows that similar to the Jeep Wrangler, this platform is perfect for all sorts of customizations. The first summer I had it, I dumped all the money I made car washing at a dealership to customize it. Lift kit and tires were first, then moving on to bumpers, armor, and a winch. The constant need to change and upgrade the Jeep quickly became an addiction; one fellow gear heads can relate to.
The day I bought the Jeep
Through my time working on my Jeep, in addition to earning a living as a car parts salesman, I realized being a gear head means learning how to problem solve. Broken bolts, cracked, or ill-fitting parts can all stop a mechanic and their repair in its tracks.
I experienced just how many problems pop up during my first summer of customization. The Jeep was crusty and rusted after being near salt water, which resulted in numerous bolts and nuts breaking. The momentum of the project was quickly killed, deterring my enthusiasm and making me regret starting the project in the first place. Being past the point of return, I was left to my own devices at the time, resulting in a drawn-out extraction process including cutting through the floor with a chisel.
Click through the gallery (left) to feel my pain!
Finally getting the jeep back on all fours after a few long days of extraction
That brings me back to the Forney Welder. Long before I started to work at Forney, I was gifted a Forney Easy Weld 140 FC-i from a good friend. I hadn’t done much research, so it was up to the machine to make the impression. When I started to use it and see the potential of the machine, I felt my frustration start to build. Why the heck did I not have one of these ages ago?!
Now when facing major obstacles like a broken bolt, my Forney 140 FC-i can save me from the pain of extraction. Welding allows for the easy removal or fix of multiple “oopsies”. In my opinion, broken bolt busting is one of the best advantages of a welder, and the frustration it saves is worth the price tag.
In my experience, the Forney Easy Weld 140 FC-i is the perfect entry-level welder. It plugs into a typical garage outlet (no need for 220v outlets) and uses flux-core wire (no gas). The welder can also accept 5 or 10 pound spools. This results in very low set up costs, and the ability to get straight to welding out of the box. This beginner welder is still very capable, allowing me to weld up to a ¼” of material, enough for the majority of automotive applications.
One of my first projects after receiving my welder was built out of necessity. I had bought new shocks and brackets, to replace some old blown-out units I had on the Jeep. A nasty surprise hit me when I went to line up the new brackets. They didn’t fit! I started to think of the solutions, such as returning the brackets and waiting another week to install. Not ideal. I then saw my Forney 140 FC-i sitting there. I had only done some practice welds, so I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I then took the scary step of cutting the brand-new brackets that I had so they would fit, using my welder to put it all back together. It wasn’t pretty, and at the time I wasn’t sure they would last. Two years later, the brackets have survived road and trail abuse without issue!
As I got more confident in my welding, I started to think of more problems I could solve. One of the major issues at the time was the Jeep’s death wobble. Death wobble has clearly earned the ominous name, as it is a repetitive and uncontrollable violent vibration in the steering. Many other Jeep enthusiasts can relate to this terrible feeling. In my case, I was able to replace the flimsy stock trackbar bracket (a main suspension bracket), with a weld on unit that was much thicker. The death wobble was successfully eliminated, much to my relief. I was also able to re-lift the rear of the jeep by welding new shackles (pictured to the left). Welding allowed me to re-lift the rear end of the Jeep that had started to sag, and at a killer price. Although it was nerve racking to make such a major repair on my own, neither of these projects have given me issues either!
Most recently, I did a major upgrade to long arms, which required cutting off the old suspension brackets, and installing a new transmission cross member. This required addressing some of the issues I had made that first summer of customization. I was able to weld up a nut that I had sheared off when I originally lifted the Jeep. This was needed to replace the sheered loose nut that required disassembly of the interior and sticking a ratchet through the floorboard to tighten. Although not ideal, the Forney Easy Weld 140 FC-i was able to weld in the dirty frame rail (I tried to clean it with no success) and complete the job. I was able to take a high power impact driver to the companion bolt when installing with no issues. The removal of the control arm brackets also required some welding, needing patches over the areas where I had ripped the frame open after removing spot welds. I wish I had a Forney Easy Weld 20 P Plasma cutter to make that job much easier! Either way, the infinite voltage and wire speed control of the Forney Easy Weld 140 FC-i allowed me to get my settings just right. This helped avoid burn-through on the frame, which is a very common mistake due to the thin uni-body on the Jeep.
Check out the time-lapse video below!
Although problem solving is a huge benefit, there are even more advantages to owning a welder. The possibilities a welder can generate allows more creativity, better end results, and often saves money while you do so. In my early Jeeping years, I would buy bolt on kits from online retailers, requiring lots of money and often receiving something that was different from what you were imagining. Having a welder opened the possibilities, allowing me to complete weld on kits, or even adapting and customizing parts to fit.
The upper lighting brackets and taillight housings were both customized to incorporate KC cyclone lights
My welder has allowed me to make multiple custom brackets, which were not available on the market. Not only was it satisfying to be able to make something that fit right in, but I was able to use scrap metal, making the brackets far more affordable. Now when planning new projects, I know that I have my welder in my back pocket. I can commit to harder, and more intensive projects, because I know I have a major contingency for any issues that could pop up. The Forney 140 FC-i is my favorite tool in my arsenal, mostly because it comes with more peace of mind.
Why choose Forney? While I didn’t choose my welder, I did choose my workplace. After owning my welder for about a year and a half, I was starting to look for jobs after graduation. I saw a familiar name on one of the career fair fliers, and knew I needed to at least say hello. A few months later, I was in the heart of the beast. Being on the backend of the business has always been something that is very interesting to see. I judge the companies on their actions, and how I would perceive the company as a customer. Working in car dealerships and part stores, I was often disappointed by customer care or attention to quality. Many of Forney’s real actions show a uncompromised commitment to customers. I overhear customer service calls, and am often surprised how far we will go to satisfy a customer (mostly because of my experience in car dealerships). Low return rates and phenomenal warranties ensure you will be covered if issues pop up. When roadblocks arise, you have the peace of mind that expert technicians are ready to solve them. Not only am I very happy to work for Forney Industries, but I love my welder even more knowing the reputation and company that stands behind the machine. If you are still on the edge or just have questions, please reach out to our kind humans in customer service, either by email or phone.