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Step 2: Wheel Barrow Seat and Cutting the Frame

One main goal of this project was to use an old wheel barrow as the seat/body of the kart. To do it, I knew I wanted to cut the wheel barrow in such a way that I can use the deep end of it as a seat with a high back, and the shallow end as the dashboard. When done right, I think it really looks like an old T-Bucket hot rod.

The seat was mounted using the old seat hinge with new holes drilled in it. I grabbed some scrap 1/8" sheet metal to bend up little spring pads. I welded them directly to the frame and bolted the springs under the seat for a little cushion while driving.

At this point, I "knew" that I wanted to build a little truck bed behind the barrow to make it look like a T-bucket pickup. But, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Because of the hinged barrow seat and the way the bed would cover the tow hitch, I had to make some new plans. So I picked up an old mailbox from my parents, who had recently replaced theirs. My wife is a rural mail carrier, so the mail box certainly fits an emerging theme for the build. More on that later...

Using a Dewalt Reciprocating saw, I cut the frame just in front of the motor mounts. The steering would have to be lengthened or changed, but lengthening the frame here would have almost no other effects on major components of the kart. I also cut off the frame pieces that stuck out past the front axle; they were just there to hold the cowling and exhaust, and we don't need those where we're going. Plus, rat rod axles are supposed to be in the very front.

After cutting the frame apart, I had to mock it up with a couple tire sizes and frame lengths to see how it looked best.

I really wanted to use the smaller tires, but, again, not very practical. Bigger tires roll over objects better and can eat up any imperfections in the steering setup.

It also just so happened that a friend of mine had a large quantity of old mower parts laying around from his time racing lawnmowers. (I swear its a real thing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1ljXIW7n-I ) He supplied me with some scrap parts: new front tires and tie rods for the new steering to be designed later.