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Another way to do a front crossmember


I noticed that things are kind of calm on the forum today, so I thought it might be a good time to toss something out for discussion. I'm computer stupid, so things like band width and all that mean nothing to me. If threads like this chew up too much, please let me know and I won't do it again. However, I thought there might be something of value to anyone thinking of doing their own frame by posting this.

Most T buckets use the traditional round tube crossmember that builders insert into the inside walls of box tubing and then weld around the perimeter to make the crossmember one with the side rails. This is a good way to do it, and we have always done it that way too. (in fact, that is how my T is done)

However, when we built the frame for my Son Don's T we wanted to try an idea we had of a different way to do it. We thought it would give us a larger weld area and therefore make the joint much stronger. He is using a race prepped 306 CI Ford that was going to put a fair amount of strain on all the components, so we wanted the frame to be as strong as possible.

First of all, we always use 3/16 wall tubing, and usually in the 2 x 3 size for a typical T bucket frame. The thicker wall tubing is a lot stronger and it gives us a place to drill and tap for non-structural items to be mounted, like brake lines, cables, etc. We also use a tubing crossmember kit from Total Performance because it is hard to find the correct diameter tubing locally without buying a lot more than we need. Theirs is cut to 23.5 inches, just right for a T bucket, and only costs about $ 25.00.

Normally, we would use an appropriate sized holesaw and cut a hole for the tubing to slip through ONLY THE INSIDE WALL OF THE TUBING, then we would round over the flaps around the front of the tubing and weld all the way around the gaps. (Some templates were shown on here recently of how to properly cut the frame to do this) But this time we used the holesaw to cut all the way through both walls of the tubing. That way we could now run a full bead around the inside rail, like normal, and also all the way around the outside perimeter of the round tube on the outside wall.

Here, maybe these pictures will explain it better.

You'll notice in the picture that the round tube looks like a solid round tube. It is not. We used one of the holesaw plugs to cap the end of each side and welded those in place. Those plugs will become the new outside wall in that area. Once the front flaps are pulled around and welded, the entire thing can be ground smooth and metal finished so you will never know there was a hole there in the first place.

We just feel that we now get a 360 weld around the outside wall of the round tube, and also about a 270 degree weld around the inside wall of the crossmember. To make it fit right we had to tapercut the round tube because of the way the frame tapers gets wider as it goes back.

When it is all finished it ends up looking just like a conventional crossmember installation, but with the added advantage of having a larger weld area between the round crossmember and the frame rails. Here is the frame showing that area after it is all painted.

Just another way to skin a cat. :)

Thanks for the info Don. I'm about to add a crossmember to my frame:D

those T's looks awful familiar to me........something about Florida.........:cool:

Nice work, that looks good Don.

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