View Full Version : new help/tips with building a buggy

03-09-2010, 03:20 PM
I'm really interested on building a buggy, its gonna be my first time making a buggy and i was wondering if any of u guys can help with with a few tips or info u got. i want it to be able to go 80 km minimum. not looking for a really boxie look if u know what i mean? since i want it to go 80km/h i was wondering what would the cost of it all be? and would it be A LOT cheaper if its a one seater than a two seater? what type of engine would i use? i heard lots of diffrent stuff like snowmobile engines, dirt bikes, which one is really the best? any designs if u guys got i can look at, would really be appreciated and best kind of metal for framing, tires, suspension, seats? The cost for the whole project. if possible, i would like to keep it under $2000. thanks for the help everyone - tner13

03-09-2010, 03:58 PM
Odds are you will not keep it under 2Gs. If thats your budget I would suggest you look for a completely assembled buggy that needs some work. If you insist on building from scratch and want to end up with a nice reliable and safe Buggy than figure a minimum of 5Gs. As far as power plants go that is a personal preferance and you will get many thoughts on it. Personally I would go the Sled engine (2 or 4 cycle) and an RPM F-R-N gearbox with CVT clutchs. Its the simpleist and most reliable setup. Not to mention fully automatic.

03-09-2010, 04:26 PM
You have the same questions that everybody has when they come to this forum and, naturally, this is the place to find them. Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast answers to each of your questions. The type of engine to use, for example, is largely a matter of preference. I don't think there is a "best" engine type that everybody agrees with.

I'm probably in the majority here if I recommend that you look at the various plans available and order a set. Most of the basic questions are answered in the plans. For example, the plans will stipulate what size and thickness of tubing to use. You can also select the plans that please you aesthetically.

My second recommendation is that you read some of the threads in the "Projects in Progress" to get a feel for some of the issues and questions that come up in building a buggy. A recent thread that is very informative is:

KX500 powered micro 2-seater (http://www.minibuggy.net/forum/projects-progress/12457-kx500-powered-micro-2-seater.html)

There are some good discussions about engine choices, suspension, etc that can give you some idea of what's involved in building a buggy.

I would love to see a thread dedicated to the subject of cost and how to build and stay within a budget. It appears, though, that everybody's idea of a "budget" varies widely. Some builders have built their entire buggy for less than $2000, while others have spent that much just for a FNR differential. My opinion is that it can be done for $2000 if you get the motor (and CVT clutches, if you go that route) cheaply, you shop ebay and other online sources for good, used parts and fabricate your own a-arms, etc. It gets expensive if you need brand-new Porsche 930 CV axles, and such for your build.

03-09-2010, 04:52 PM
Welcome to the site. First, searching will give you all sorts of useful information on buggy designs, tubing sizes, engines, etc.

Based on your questions, I would strongly suggest getting a set of plans. This takes the guesswork out of what size/type tube and plate you should use. It also should help you minimize waste material if you don't like how your build is going, which saves on cost.

To address the cost issue, I will agree with Odyknuck and say that $5K is a more reasonable number if you want a buggy with good performance and reliability. As a point of reference, I went the snowmobile engine route and spent $250 on an engine, CVT, and reverse chaincase. I got a rolling chassis with suspension and shocks and steering, CV joints, wheels/tires for $500. I then reworked the chassis to fit the snowmobile engine, made a final drive chaincase, new axles, plumbing, radiator, gas tank, bodywork, new tires, lots of small parts and have already spent $4k total cost. The little stuff adds up quick. I figure it will be another couple hundred before it is completely finished. Sure it's probably possible to do it for under $2k using junkyard parts and scrap metal (which some do, there is nothing wrong with that) but I am skeptical a buggy built like that will ever provide the performance and reliability of a more expensive one.

03-09-2010, 07:04 PM
i am one of the junk yard builders bajaman was refering to i guess my buggy so far has been completely recycled from old parts of this and that not counting welding wire cutting discs and other supplies i have a total of 7 bucks invested in mine so far not saying thats a good thing but it feels nice on my wallet

03-09-2010, 07:07 PM
Redneck I'll give you $10 for it! no questions asked!![smilie=ecstatic.gi:

03-09-2010, 07:29 PM
thanks for the help guys! i was reading on a form that if u keep it under a certain width it can go on ATV trails? and how long does it rly take to make a buggy from scratch? 3 months? solo or if two ppl work on it? i also dont know much of the abbreviations like CVT if u can just say what it is in brackets could be a little help ful. anyways thanks f or the comments guys i read every single one and i have been looking at the other forms. also im not that old, still pretty young so i dont think i can get close to the 5k mark for a buggy. -tner13

03-09-2010, 07:36 PM
You never know what you can trade for, if you've got some friends in the All Terrain Vehicle hobby.
I tried to start out simple and small, just to ride and have a good time! now,I've got gocarts and buggies stuffed everywhere! You'll make some good friends on this site, just remember patience is a virtue. Don't rush you self too much and ask for advice, You'll get lots of it![smilie=ecstatic.gi:

03-09-2010, 07:48 PM
The definition of a "buggy" is fairly broad, so there will be a range in costs for every build, especially if you're working from an existing frame and you avoid expensive components, such as an FNR differential, etc.

I think the general concern being expressed is that buggy building isn't a cheap hobby. I thought I could get by on $2000 for my current build and I'm quickly learning that I wasn't very realistic in my assessment. I could technically keep the cost down near my $2000 budget, but I wouldn't really be getting what I want. My compromise is to stretch out the build time so I can accrue the money I need to finish the project.

I think that Odyknuck and minibajaman are just trying to set a realistic expectation that if you go the typical route and build a really cool buggy, you can expect to spend well in excess of $2000 and I can certainly agree with that statement.

03-09-2010, 08:33 PM
Howdy and welcome to the site. :)

CVT - Constantly variable transmission. This is the belt drive system that many quads (those you don't shift), Side by sides (like a Rhino or Razr) and snowmobiles use. It has a pair of clutches with a belt between them. The clutches select the "correct" gear all the time.

If you start out with a quad and then re-work it, using the drive train, suspension components and such, you can make a running car. This starts out as a Can Am 400cc quad:

http://www.desertdogoffroad.com/images/C2-1-sm.jpg (http://www.desertdogoffroad.com/images/C2-1.jpg) http://www.desertdogoffroad.com/images/C2-2-sm.jpg (http://www.desertdogoffroad.com/images/C2-2.jpg)

If you were to do a single seater, you might be able to keep it within the width limits that you'll have to deal with in your riding area.

3 months is probably pretty hopeful, especially for a first build. Often, getting the frame (as Martin and Glock are getting ready to discover) done is some of the easiest, quickest work. Once you start hanging things like suspension, drive train, electrical system and such, it can start taking some time.

Do as much reading and research as you can. Check out the Projects in progress section. There are builds of all sorts and styles. You'll find an example of just about everything you could wonder about if you look hard enough. (search is your friend - but a pain in the rump at times...)

Everyone of us started in the same place - the beginning. It's a fun, new world you're getting ready to experience (if you decide to hop on this wild build ride).

Don't worry about not knowing what you're doing yet - none of us did when we started. (some of us still don't! - that would be me...)

You're going to make mistakes; learn from them - they ARE an option and a great teacher. Learn to tack, not weld everything first. Learn to measure a tube; add 1" to your measurement and then sneak down to the right size at first. It'll save you wasted material.

There are all sorts of little tricks - and the people of the board will share their own as you move on the project.

Last, but not least, ASK QUESTIONS!!! If you're wanting an answer, the only way to get it is to ask - nobody here can read your mind, so the more info you can share with us the better advice you'll get.

Once again, welcome to the site and the madness. It's a fun place. ;)

Glock n Ballz
03-10-2010, 01:18 AM

My brother from another mother, K-Fab speaks the truth. I am the Glock in reference and I can tell you that to me, building the chassis/frame or whatever you want to call it is so much fun!!! Everyday you work on it and struggle and mess parts up so you have to make another part to replace it... Only to realize that you dont have enough tube left to make a new part so it's back to the local steel supplier to buy more sticks of tube and so on and so... But you get through that stuff and each day it looks cooler and cooler and soon at that end of your buggy build time for the day you sit back with an ice cold Sweet Tea from Taco Cabana(jab to K-Fab:p) and you just giggle your ass off because the coolest thing you have ever built with your own two hands sits before you. Makes you feel like you just pulled Excallibur from the stone right in front of the whole village.

it's Freaking awesome.

Other advice:

1. Decide before you spend one dime decide how much your budget is going to be and stick to it. If youre married, run it by the old lady first-just take my word for it.

2. Pick an easy design for your first build. Ask around..some kits seem to be better than others. Depends on you. I picked mine because I thought it looked cool and I knew I could do it.

3. Read these forums!!!!! Projects in progress. Start as far back as you can and move forward. Every question I have ever asked, some one here has asked first.

4. Dont suffer in silence, speak up, ask, learn. Hell listen to me-Im still pretty new here too. Good people here, the best. Great networking tool.

5. Don't be a cheap ass with buying tools, especially your tube bender and welder. They are your best friends, take care of them.

There are a million things I could tell you but I'll close with those 5.

Well, Welcome to MBN and don't be shy man.

BTW, What are you from?

Im Fort Worth Texas home of the Dallas Cowboys and Taco Cabana. (teehee[smilie=haha.gif])


03-10-2010, 05:41 AM
I'm from Canada Ont. i have been looking at the other forms and seeing lots of cool stuff being said and helping me out. thanks for everything guys!!! :)