There have been countless articles written about how to weld, or install a lowering kit, and even measuring the backspacing of a wheel. What you don't see are the tricks used to make certain jobs a little easier, more reliable, or simply better. Being that I have been fabricating almost every day of the last 15 years, I feel as though I might have a trick or two that might be worth sharing. Some might be obvious to you if you already employ them, but for those who don't, these can be as wondrous as the day you first learned how to weld. OK, maybe not that awesome, but at the very least as amazing as the first time you saw a unicorn.
Locking Sanding Discs
Roloc sanding discs, as 3M calls them, are used by almost every fabricator I've ever met. They move some serious material, are affordable, and are nowhere near as aggressive as a grinding disc. There are really only two issues with them as far as I'm concerned: 1) Unless you buy the expensive ones, they have a curl to them that just sucks; 2) They always wear out on the edges leaving the center nearly untouched and useless. Luckily for you, we have come up with a cure for both of these problems. We started placing an appropriate-sized die-grinder disc over the stud on the sanding disc and tightening the disc onto the arbor. This makes for a much more stable sander and also helps to keep the disc from 'digging' into surrounding metal (sheetmetal guys know what I'm talking about here).
And to cure the prematurely worn-out edges? To be fair, this isn't a cure for the worn out edges, but it does get a lot more use out of the disc. We started by sanding the arbor down to approximately 1 inch (roughly the size of the plastic piece they glue to the back of the disc) and used different-sized die-grinder discs depending on our needs or how worn out the sanding disc is. Once the outer edge of the disc is worn out, we switched to a smaller die-grinder blade and use a sacrificial screwdriver to cut the worn-out edge of the sanding disc off while the disc is spinning. Once again, this can be dangerous, so don't be stupid! Use goggles and point the grinder into a corner or somewhere that nothing can get hurt while doing this because most of the time the edge comes off with a vengeance. We keep cups of used sanding discs in varying stages of 'decomposition' on top of the toolbox. You'll be surprised how much more life you'll get out of them once you start doing this. I'm sure 3M is going to bury me deep in a desert for this.
Most mechanical types have this in their shop and use it for the usual smearing on spark plug threads, but it has so many more uses than that. I smear a dab on almost every wheel stud to prevent rusting and galling (galling definition: to lose metal to the other because of heat or molecular attraction resulting from friction). It may not seem like a big deal, but once you've destroyed a few studs, you'll take the 5 minutes to do it. It would be brilliant if someone were to inform those of you who own custom wheels with center caps to use a little on the threads. I see more trashed caps from galled threads than I care to remember. Also (this is important for you wet-climate folk and especially for those of you who live near the ocean) smearing some anti-seize over the entire shank of the bolts used to hold on your A-arms, four-link bars, shocks, or anything else where the bolt has the potential to sit in trapped water. Understand that while the zinc coating does a decent job of protecting the bolt from corrosion, it is no match for trapped water. It is also a fantastic lubricant for urethane bushings and seems to keep the squeaking quite minimal for some reason. The jar we have at the shop has lasted about eight years so far, so go buy some and start slathering.