Need a metal workers opinion on what to use.


Bgunner

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Project: Custom fog light brackets on a 94 Ranger 2WD,

1: What thickness sheet metal should I build this out of? I was thinking 16 gauge but am not sure as I have never used this thickness. My concern is after the lights are mounted the surface that the light mount to will have some deflection when moving, air pressure mostly, allowing the lights so bounce/move/shake because it is not sturdy enough.

I know 20-22 is to thin and able to be bent by hand but 18 is stiffer, not very sturdy, since I have used this in body work in the past for wheel arches/rocker panels. Will 16 be stiff enough or do I have to go thicker?

2: Cold rolled or no?
sub question: What is the difference between cold rolled and, I assume it's called, hot rolled?

3: What to paint it with for longevity? I live in rust country but the truck is not from here so it is in great shape underneath so I want to keep it that way as long as possible. What should I use to coat the brackets that I fab up? I'm not going to go the POR15 route since it is so expensive and I am only doing these brackets at this time.
 


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Dirtman

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1 - 16 guage is as thin as I would go. 16 guage is easy to work with but more than strong enough.
18 gauage would be an option IF the mounts your making have alot of bends and folds that will add support.
2 - no need for cold rolled. You only need cold roll if you need to start with cleaner metal (hot rolled has black scale on it) the strength difference between the two is so minuscule it's basically a useless argueing point unless you're a spacecraft engineer.
3 - best way to paint is to clean it to death, use an etching primer, then a normal primer, then pretty much any quality enamel will work fine. I've done frames with rusteoleum enamel that still look good after 15 years. It's all in the prep. If you wanna go nuts add a clear coat for extra chip protection.
 

Bgunner

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I finally googled a pic of the factory brackets and this is what I have quickly come up with for a style of bracket, mind you this is not to scale or measurements done yet, that will come in the next day or so. All seems will be welded with my small mig.
 

Dirtman

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You could get away with using 18 guage or even thinner but to be honest I still think 16 is easier to weld and more forgiving to bend with home tools (vice and hammer). I mean if you have a nice brake then go for it, but personally you wont save money going thinner so why bother?
 

Bgunner

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OK 16 gauge it is then. I have a friend that has a brake that I believe he said will do up to 12 gauge, although I may be mistaken and he said 22, so that is the plan but being able to use 2x4's, a vice and BF-hammer is always a nice fall back if i remember incorrectly.
 

Uncle Gump

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Are these what you're trying to fab? Picture courtesy of @projectRanger93 .

28822


28824
 

Bgunner

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Yes! those are exactly what I am going to fab.
 

Dirtman

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Before you go nuts trying to fab them... ever considered just buying them used?
 

Bgunner

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I have yet to find them close. Where I'm located the junk yards don't hold on tho these anymore so they go to scrap quickly. I have searched eBay with no success and searched my area for them but my area is dry. I've wanted them since I got the truck 2 years ago and have been searching the hole time with no success in finding them. Seem like the holy grail of parts on this thing in my area. Since I can't seem to find a parts truck with them on it I'll make them so that this way I can mount universal lights to the bracket. and make them line up with the stock style 4x4 valance.

I just like the look of the 4x4 valance on the 2wd models so I ordered one with plans on adding the stock style components to run factory wiring. I can get everything, including the switch from around here except them fog light buckets.
 

Uncle Gump

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I just posted that to show the thickness of those brackets... looks like cast iron to me... those have to be way overkill IMHO.

On the other hand... do your drawings have the support ribs in them?
 

Dirtman

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@Bgunner pm me a real sketch with real demetions. I can probably make those for you in 30 minutes at my shop. No charge brother.
 

Bgunner

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On the outer edges it does. I have heavy paper sitting here and am going to make paper models of it first to be sure my design is sound. I also found this in my searching and was considering this as a replacement. My biggest concern is the light shaking from road vibrations because seeing head lights or fog lights bouncing is extremely annoying to me.
 

Uncle Gump

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That's probably why they are so thick... I think I would go a bit heavier then you were thinking.
 

Bgunner

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My valance should be here on Wednesday then I will get my measurements to see if angle iron will work for me or if I have to put more thought into this bracket design. I've been thinking thicker also but this design does not need to match the factory bracket just get the light mount to the proper spot so the round light lines up with the round hole.
 
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personally. im a fan of cold rolled steel. stronger, and welds way nicer. if youre going to be using a mig welder i wouldnt use anything under 11GA (1/8th "ish") just to make your life way easier.
 


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