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Welding to fork sliders

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I've got a vintage XT550 that I'm updating with "state of the art" 1981 YZ suspension. This will take it from just under 8" of travel front and back to just about 12".

The YZ forks are (by today's standards) a spindly little 38mm. Considering the extra weight of the XT and likely flex in the forks, I'd like to make up a fork brace to fit to the lower sliders and am considering (after complete disassembly) welding on some tabs near the top of the sliders that would be used to bolt up a custom fabricated aluminum brace.

I don't expect the aluminum sliders will warp during the process...but anybody have any experience with doing this modification?

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I'm not sure about welding them. But I'd personally think you'd be better off using some sort of clamp.. Maybe purchasing a used triple clamp and cutting it apart, and welding to the used triple clamp.. Then you can tighten it down onto the forks?

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Maybe a more experienced welder will speak up, but I don't know on what basis you could expect the outer tubes not to distort when welded.

IMO, you'd be better off using a later set of USD forks from a YZ400F/YZ426.

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But I'd personally think you'd be better off using some sort of clamp..
I've seen that done, also. You could machine a set of two pieces clamps the correct size to be able to bolt up solidly to the outer tubes without putting an excessive clamping load on them. The O.D. of the outer tubes might need to be turned down so that it was truly round in order to make that work, and that could raise new problems.

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wouldn't just having the inner inside (properly shimmed to remove clearance)the lower keep distortion from being a problem when welding?

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wouldn't just having the inner inside (properly shimmed to remove clearance)the lower keep distortion from being a problem when welding?

Typically, the inner tube only contacts the outer in two places through the bushings at the ends of each tube. Inserting a mandrel might be a solution, but I would still expect trouble.

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Probably too risky.

I'm trying to find out if the c-c dimension on my forks is the same as something like a (pre-'07) KLR which has the same tube dimensions. Then maybe I can adapt an existing aftermarket fork brace. Failing that it's probably better to just make up one that clamps on the tubes instead of being bolted on to welded brackets.

Thanks for the opinions guys.

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