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Thunderjets
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
T-jets photo
Aurora replaced the noisy vibrator cars in 1963 with the new and improved "Thunderjets" or T-jets. Their improved performance was a hit and kids fell in love with them. They had everything a kid could want with speed and style along with an array of track layouts and pieces that made slot cars a toy almost every boy just had to have. They came with chrome plated bumpers and all plastic highly detailed bodies in every body style you could think of. From trucks to muscle cars to indy cars to sedans to even motorcycles, the T-jet stayed with us thru the '60s up for about 10 years until the '70s when AFX was introduced. The T-jet car was produced from 1963 to 1972 when AFX cars replaced it .

FAQs
Do vibrator bodies fit onto Thunderjet chassis?
A Thunderjet chassis has the same mounting hole center spacing as a vibrator chassis but the front body mounting post will be short and a spacer will be necessary as well the rear is usually too long. Also a vibrator chassis was not as tall in the motor area and was smaller so most vibrator bodies will have interference on the T-jet gear plate. I don't recommend installing T-jet chassis on vibes but for just a few bodies and these bodies will require some post modification and narrowing the rear rear chassis hubs to bring the tires closer to the chasssis. The few that can fit a T-jet chassis with modifications are: '58 T-bird, Mercedes, '62 pickup, Jaguar, Galaxies too but they will have a "rake". Please don't try a '60 Corvette, I think it looks hideous with a T-jet chassis under it.
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Are T-jet chassis still available today in New Old Stock (NOS)?
Yes, they are available complete with tires and wheels! Hundreds of thousands of these chassis were made, so most all are still plentiful. These include: The standard (RRR #394) with small chrome wheels and tires fits most "car models"; The Tall (RRR #397) with big chrome 4-dimple wheels and tires was found on Hot Rods, Dune Buggies, and trucks; The Slim-line (RRR #393 limited offering) was made for the Indys and '32 Pickup; The TUFF-ONES (now discontinued) had independent front wheels with extra wide lo-profile rear wheels and tires, a "hotter" arm along with silver brushes and shoes for better electrical flow, larger pinion gear with a short shouldered crown gear, and stronger magnets.
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What is a slim-line chassis?
Aurora introduced 2 new indy car bodies that were the Repco Brabham and the McLaren BRM. These cars were sleek and slim so a new chassis was developed that had a smaller than normal armature and brushes. This chassis was also used on the '32 pickup. The armature is about 2/3rds the size of a regular T-jet and the brushes were also made smaller to fit the package. The magnets for this car are special too as they have locator holes in the back of these small magnets. Wheels were the chromed 4-dimple wheels. Pickup shoes and back gears were the same as regular T-jet. (RRR #393 limited offering)
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Will all bodies fit any chassis?
No. Some earlier bodies such as the Galaxie, Falcon, Fairlane, '63 T-bird and some others, have a body line that partially covers the tire, so the wide rear wheels of the Tuff-Ones will not clear the body. The RRR #394 chassis is required on: Galaxie, Falcon, Fairlane, '63 T-bird, Corvette, Jaguar, Riviera, Lincoln, Green Hornet, Torino, GTO and Snowmobile. With some spacers on the rear mounting post between the chassis, some of the other cars will accomodate the wide tires of the Tuff-Ones chassis.
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Why are there "cut wheel wells" on my T-jets?
Because the skinny and often hard tires of the T-jet didn't always provide the best traction, so after-market tires were offered for better traction and handling. To make the now large after-market tires and wheels fit the car, the body had to be modified, this usually involved enlarging the wheel openings. Most kids prefered the quick fix with the "hot knife" or Dad's pocket knife, so usually the "hacked" appearance was the result.  The funny part was the 1960's Model Motoring hop-up kits actually had drawings in their instruction sheets, showing us how to "cut them" the wheel wells with a knife!
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What driver is supposed to go with each particular car?
All T-jets had the same driver. This driver is the classic Aurora driver, with no hat, no moustache, and a usually black painted "bowl haircut" (RRR #1350). The color of the arms/wheel were usually not the same as the seats or the body. Note, some early production cars of the 63 T-bird and Galaxie had a Vibrator moustached driver with driving cap (RRR #1530)
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Why doesn't my car run?
There could be several reasons, but first check these:
Pickup shoes - Many times a simple replaced pickup shoe will make the fix as it will be worn with a "groove" in it causing the rails to not make power contact. Check the car on a test power supply by testing the chassis at the rivets on the bottom. Manually turn the armature, if the car runs now, you need to clean the pickup shoes or replace it. Sometimes, in an emergency, if the groove is offset to one side, simply swapping it to the other side will make a new "groove-spot" to the unused offset portion to get you thru the race.
Magnets - Most often if a car doesn't seem to want to run, it is usually the magnets are like poles. Remove the magnets and face each other. If they snap together opposing each other, like "( )", they are correct and you will need to check the brushes. If the magnets pivot and "spoon" together, like "((", you need to replace one magnet.
Brushes - Check for both brushes and that they are in place in their holes. Sometimes a brush may become dislodged from its hole in the chassis. But, most often the brushes simply need to have some tension on the brush tension springs (metal strips on the bottom-side of chassis with V that contacts brush). To renew tension, if overbent - remove brushes and press tension spring flat again, then push V section farther down inside the brush hole, replace brushes. If springs are still "up" too far, take an exacto knife at he point closest to the rivet and bend spring up, then push with finger flat again. If not enough tension - push V section on the brushes and push toward respective rivet. This will cause the spring to bend and give more downforce on the brush. Warning! Sometimes too much pressure will slow the motor down!
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My car "squeals" and runs slow down the track, why?
The car's chassis motor needs oil. See below for places to oil you chassis.
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Where should I oil my T-jets?
I like to recommend and use the "5-spot" method, note these are with small drops of oil. 1st: On the bottom of the chassis in the arm center hole. 2nd: Between the arm top gear and the gearplate. Let the oil wick underneath the gear. 3rd: Between the shoulder of the crown gear (gear on rear axle) and the chassis - Not on wheel hub side. 4th: On the rear axle on the opposite side of the chassis - again, not on the wheel hub side. 5th: On the underside of the top gearplate where the pinion gear and shaft come thru - let oil wick onto shaft between gear and plate.
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Are the Vibe trucks the same cab section as the T-jets?
No. The vibes have a opening on the top side and the mounting posts are shorter for the smaller vibe motor. Note also, the Mack stake truck bed has a shorter rear dual axle holder that the t-jets too.
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Are there any books with photos of Thunderjets?
Yes. The Aurora HO SLOT CAR IDENTIFICATION and PRICE GUIDE by John A. Clark has great color photos of all the T-jet and is great for identifying the Aurora cars.

I hope this helps with your Aurora Thunderjet questions and if you need to find parts for restoring your cars, see Road Race Replicas for all your needs.
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The above information is believed to be accurate, true and based on the opinions and experiences of Phil Pignon. It is for public viewing and not to be used in any publications, printed or otherwise without the written consent of Phil Pignon or Road Race Replicas
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