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Technical Buying a T-bucket..what could go wrong?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Boneyard51, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,689

    Boneyard51
    Member

    On my fiftieth anniversary of my first ride in a T- bucket I have decided to buy one. Now I know most of these things are home made! As for appearance I know what I like and what I want as to engine, trans, etc. But I want the T-bucket to be safe. What should I be looking for plus or con? From... oh Hell no, oh I can live with that,or that’s what a guy wants. My main questions are about suspension and steering. I don’t want to buy a death trap. Since my budget is going to eliminate “ Best of Show” and force me to buy a driver, I may see some junk! Any help would be appreciated.



    Bones
     
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  2. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 1,102

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    That's a nearly impossible ?....l built mine nearly 20 years ago because of all the CRAP I saw out and about , lousy engineering , poor ( at best ) welding ,paint and interior befitting a junkyard , horrible looking drivetrains, ask if it was an assembled kit , at least then the majority of the car should be safe ( most owners aren't willing or able to actually "build" an automobile) , be prepared to spend some real money for a well built car ....
     
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  3. treb11
    Joined: Jan 21, 2006
    Posts: 3,061

    treb11
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Look up John's t-bucket plans. also check out the T-bucket forum.
     
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  4. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 2,559

    catdad49
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Bones, go to NTBA (national t bucket alliance) and tell them your dream. Plenty of builders on there. Ask me about mine sometime, Carp.
     
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  5. raven
    Joined: Aug 19, 2002
    Posts: 3,963

    raven
    Member

    Why not build your own?
    r


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
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  6. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 1,102

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    Building your own , unless you are an excellent scrounger and can do nearly all the work yourself will! Cost you double what you can buy a decent complete car for .....
     
  7. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,689

    Boneyard51
    Member

    I’m retired now, after fifty years of twisting wrenches, and just don’t like it anymore. Guess I got enough. I’ve got several projects that have stalled, don’t need anymore. I possess the skills to build one, loved to fabricate, back in my prime. Just lack the motivation now.
    Getting old sucks!



    Bones
     
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  8. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 1,102

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    I know the feeling !!!
     
  9. evintho
    Joined: May 28, 2007
    Posts: 1,048

    evintho
    Member

    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
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  10. raven
    Joined: Aug 19, 2002
    Posts: 3,963

    raven
    Member

    That video displays a complete lack of regard for the most simple safety devices....
    r


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
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  11. pragmatist
    Joined: Jul 5, 2010
    Posts: 37

    pragmatist
    Member

    I've never seen a safe T bucket in my life. Not on the road, not in magazines and not at a cruise.:rolleyes:
     
  12. harpo1313
    Joined: Jan 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,509

    harpo1313
    Member
    from wareham,ma

    I could do without that video.damm
     
  13. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 13,496

    Squablow
    Member

    Damn, that video is rough.

    How is Oklahoma about titles and registration? Some states are really easy going, others make you have inspections and hobbyist-only plates and shit like that. That'd be a concern on a kit type build.

    Most of the scary shit I've seen on T buckets involves suspension layout and steering. I know many will fight with me, but steering tie rod in front of the axle still scares me. Hit a raccoon at speed and die, (sudden massive toe-in at speed, out of control), no thanks. Check for actual suspension travel. The car should give at least a little when you get in it, if possible, bounce it some (front and rear) to see if it has any give. A lot of them bind from poor geometry and ride like dogshit.

    Learn about Ackerman angle and study it on any potential car you look at, there's a really good thread here on the HAMB that explains it if you haven't seen it already. It's often an issue with the steering tie rod in front. Also, bumpsteer, check out those angles too. If you can bounce the front of the car up and down and the steering wheel moves, it's got bumpsteer. (there's another great HAMB thread explaining it)

    Split bones or hairpins on a tube axle is another issue, it puts torsional strain on the axle. That's OK on a forged I beam which can deal with it like a sway bar would, but on a tube axle it can cause cracks.

    If the suspension and steering is laid out nicely, my bet would be the rest of the car is a high quality build. The only other big thing is comfortable sitting position. I know my '26 has a really long/tall column for clearance for my legs to operate the pedals, a lot of cars are built to look cool but are awkward to drive for any distance. Maybe sit in it and have someone take your picture while you're in it so you can see what it looks like, avoid the gorilla-in-a-teacup look.

    If you fit, and if the steering and suspension check out, and it looks good, and you can title/register/insure it, those are the main things. You'll know if you like the looks as soon as you see it. Good luck, hope you find a winner.
     
  14. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 9,082

    Blue One
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Alberta

    Whatever you do , don't buy a cartoonish 70s built fad T with little motorcycle front wheels and no front brakes.
     
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  15. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,689

    Boneyard51
    Member

    I actually saw that one, the front axle worried me, just haven’t seen many truck axles in a T, don’t know if they are good or bad. Like the looks of it, but it couldn’t be equipped any more wrong for what I want. I didn’t go into that on this thread, mainly concerned about what to look out for on design.

    As far as registration and tagging, Oklahoma is OK and I have a good friend at the tag office. My main concern in this area is insurance. If it’s a manufactured car it’s a lot cheaper to insure. That’s why I want it registered as a ‘23 Ford. Homemade tittles cost more to insure with my insurance. Maybe some one here knows of a better way to insure a T-bucket. That’s what I’m asking about on this thread. The ups and downs of owning and driving a T-bucket.

    My budget depends on the T and if I can trade my car.




    Bones
     
  16. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 8,855

    saltflats
    Member
    from Missouri

    I would start by going looking and setting in them, find the one that fits and hope it won't take a major rebuild.
     
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  17. a boner
    Joined: Dec 25, 2004
    Posts: 4,597

    a boner
    Member

    What is your opinion of murdercycles?
     
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  18. pragmatist
    Joined: Jul 5, 2010
    Posts: 37

    pragmatist
    Member

    I ride motorcycles, but I don't call them safe.:D
     
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  19. Dick Stevens
    Joined: Aug 7, 2012
    Posts: 2,283

    Dick Stevens
    Member

    When you become a MC rider, the most important thing to understand is that it is mandatory to believe that no one else on the road sees you, so for your own safety, you have to be a defensive driver!
     
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  20. dwollam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2012
    Posts: 620

    dwollam
    Member

    When I ride my motorcycles I go by the belief that they DO see me and are TRYING to hit me! That has kept me alive all these years and makes me more aware when driving my cars too.

    Dave
     
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  21. I would look for something with doors, an interior that you sit down in, not on top of with your hip even with the top of the body, look for one with a conventional steering column angle, not the straight up and down you wrap your feet around, in Oklahoma I'd even look for one with a top to keep the sun out.
    The rest is usually pretty universal, think about where you're going to store stuff, that little truck bed or turtle deck could come in handy.
     
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  22. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 1,102

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    Insurance is different state by state.. hagerty
    is reasonable in Ill. Be prepared for : The idiots who don't see you , the idiots that see you and don't pay attention to anything else , the idiot questions ( it does get old ,) the idiot know it alls , the heat the wind , the drone of the pipes ,the feeling of freedom , neck snapping power ,a grin when you look at what you built going down the road , truly nice , appreciative people , that's some of it.......my wife says I have to add , your wife peeing herself at 130 m.p.h....
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
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  23. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 1,249

    41rodderz
    Member
    from Oregon

    Remember , if you find one you like and it has the straight up and down column it can be changed to a more normal column angle. A friend had one ordered 1-800 steering and it made a difference in comfort .
     
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  24. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 5,244

    Gman0046
    Member

    T buckets not my cup of tea. Not practical for road trips, lack of comfort and not particularly as safe as I'd like and extremely difficult to sell if you can sell it at all.
    I've been involved in a couple of accidents that were no fault of my own and had we not been in a large SUV probably would not be here to today. Just the law of Physics. Bigger is better.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
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  25. JOECOOL
    Joined: Jan 13, 2004
    Posts: 2,704

    JOECOOL
    Member

    I've owned two of them . They were not driven near as much as I thought I would. They are not secure enough to park and walk away from,they are not very comfortable over a long distance( at least the ones i've had), and they are hard to keep clean because of all the mechanical parts that require time to clean.If you are short on hair your head will get sunburnt, your wifes legs will get burnt on the side pipes. Chances are you can't listen to the radio ,or hear what your wife is yelling at you.
    But they are just fun to drive, I love watching the front suspension and wheels working ,and you will be the center of attention rolling to the parts store. They can be built very inexpensive if you want and can put in the time to scrounge and clean,repair parts. I am actually looking at an old VW dune buggy now, think it will be easier to get in and out ,more room inside ,and they are pretty cheap around here. Best of luck.
     
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  26. oldsman41
    Joined: Jun 25, 2010
    Posts: 1,059

    oldsman41
    Member

    I know you feel like you cant twist another wreck but the kits from speedway is a nice way to build what you feel you can drive without killing yourself or someone else. Ive seen some that i cant believe are rolling down the highway and others are works of art but you will get what you pay for, be very cautious on them really check steering and front end and brakes.
     
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  27. Koz
    Joined: May 5, 2008
    Posts: 2,105

    Koz
    Member

    I'm reading all the above posts and will leave my AHO. I've had several T's and variations on the theme over the years. They are as comfortable as you build them. A well designed T will have you cradled in the body not sitting on top of a platform. This does a lot for feeling secure on the open road and my last three have been very comfortable on 200 mi. stretches. Just so you know, my wife and I are not small and approaching 70 years old. The note about having opening doors is well taken. All hot rods are dangerous compared to a Lexus with 121 air bags. Get over it. That's part of the fun.

    Make sure the pedals are readily accessable and comfortable. Another item a lot of guys miss when building one. If you wanted to hear a radio and not be out in the open why buy a roadster? If you buy a '70's style glitter queen they are a pain to keep clean. A lot of guys like doing this and pride themselves on it. I prefer a simpler car that can do with a wash down at the car wash and quick wipe off and still look great.

    Avoid too much motor and too much cam like the plague! They are way more fun and obsurdly fast with a more drivable combination. You don't need a lot of power to scare the hell out of you in a light car. If the chassis is set up right they handle like a go cart on rails. Super fun on the Parkway heading for the shore! I own a shop and as such drive just about everything sooner or later. I'm in the process of building another one for myself to have on the road this Spring. I can build about anything and always end up with a bucket again. As noted above it is a simple, though practical, (or at least as practical as a T can be!), driver. It has very little chrome, and it looks great. As a reference I have just a tad under $10,000 in parts so I agree you can buy one for way less already done. This is assuming you can find one that is decent and not all screwed up. I might suggest finding one that has good bones and going through it to iron out the rough edges.

    In my opinion, (which ain't much), the old Total Performance chassis were nicely done. They are followed closely by California Custom Roadsters and Speedway chassis coming in a distant contender only because they do not "set" well without a lot of work. If you can get a September 1996 issue of Street Rodder with Rob Fortiers article on building the Budget Bucket. It gives detailed info on how to "fix" a Speedway frame for the proper stance and a load of good info that is still relevant today. These are available on Ebay.

    A friend of mine was lucky enough to find an original Dan Woods chassis, the "Gold Standard", on Craigslist of all places! We can't all be that fortunate but it shows they are out there.

    Good luck and enjoy the ride.
     
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  28. Zookeeper
    Joined: Aug 30, 2006
    Posts: 1,035

    Zookeeper
    Member

    I'm not a T-bucket kind of guy, but I can see their appeal for an around-town kinda thing. Look at choppers, they look practical or safe to anyone? Lots of fun things aren't safe. As for some of the comments here, I gotta say I have to respectfully disagree. If front tie rods are so dangerous, why does my F250 truck have it from the factory? Granted, it's bigger and bulkier, but it's not rock-proof. The theory that excessive toe-in due to a raccoon hit is going to cause certain death is not exactly accurate by a longshot. I've personally seen my brother's open wheel racecar drive back into the pits at freeway speeds with a wheel completely gone. Anyone who thinks their deuce hiboy is one bit safer than a T-bucket better think again. Whatever happened to worrying about the skills of the driver to avoid a crash in the first place?
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
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  29. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 3,582

    jimmy six
    Member

    Never owned one but always liked them. Koz hits a lot of what's right. Very very mild engine would be high on my list. 250 hp is overkill. If Chevy powered, a glide is good 350TH next. I've driven one verticle steering and hated it. I'm tall so foot pedal placement would mean a lot.
    One last thing for me would be rear tires....no sprint car for me. Nice 70-65 width and max of 8" wide wheels....

    Remember one thing above all. YOU HAVE THE MONEY. There are a lot of them out there. Walking away can be hard and I believe in fate. A better one is probably the next one... Good luck.
     
  30. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 8,933

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    My '55 F100 was assembled last time with Chev 350, 350 T.H., 3.08 rear, (9")
    I've built (and 'rebuilt') many T's with this combo, works soooo right!

    I have a 'relief' engine I'm finishing up for my '27 Hiboy, just 'plug it in' and run it.
    It's a 283, Powr Pak heads, Edelbrock cam, 2X4 Corvette intake, block hugging stainless headers. Due to the narrow confines of a '27 T, 3 pedals get crowded with size 13 shoes...I've outgrown my big MOON gas pedal! So, I have choices...a 350 T.H. tranny will go on the back of this little 283. Like I said.."E-Z plug-in".

    My '27 tub is 'undecided' for engine, but may get the flathead...

    I have a plethora of engines...Flathead/'39 box; DeSoto/'37 LaSalle box; Chrys./'37 LaSalle, and my 455 Olds that Joe Mondello helped with. (too much 'gow' for my T's, it'll go into my '50 F-1)
     
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