is it that big of a difference
Yes, a huge difference. The new welds look MUCH more professional. Honestly, if I saw that while we were wheeling, I would be praying the whole time that nothing whet horribly wrong while we are wheeling. With welding its easy, if it looks like
... IT IS!
If I were you, I would start cutting stuff off and re-welding it. Your new welding looks 100% better than the old! From what I can see, the front bumper mounts need it go, and the axle gusset needs to be cut off and installed, and welded correctly. This is the best pic of mine that I can find... hope it helps
It should be welded all the way up to the diff, there should be 0 air gap! It also looks like your rear shackle hanger needs some better penetration. I have personaly seen KDC's shackle hanger tear off twice! The second time it had to be Re-welded on the trail!
This is me grinding the rest of the weld off of the frame. He is very lucky that we had all of the proper equipment (grinders, welder) to repair it on the trail!
Also remember that yota axles are sheet metal, and sheet metal can warp if you get it too hot. I would weld about 3in than skip 3 in. Also remember when you are welding every time you stop you need to wire brush where you start. If you start welding on top of welding slag, the weld will not be as pure.
I am by no means trying to bust your balls at all, and I am by no means a pro. Your truck looks awesome! It looks like you are going with quality parts, and building a sick rig. I just don't want it to end up like my first truck, being totally scraped, because of some bad welding.
Just my .02