View Full Version : new to the whole sand rail/dunebuggy/minibuggy thind =D

12-05-2010, 01:56 AM
I have been a dirt biker my whole life and i have been debating on buying or building a sand rail for awhile. found the forums so i thought id ask. i have welding skills and all the tools near to hand to do anything i want but i do not know the difference between any of them. what classifies something a sand rail/ dune buggy/ mini buggy?

that out of the way i have welding skills and thats about it. i can take apart and fix any dirt bike but when it comes to 4 wheels im lost ( even if they might not be that far apart) am i in over my head to try to build a buggy when i dont really know anything besides being able to weld?

i really like the single seating of several i have seen on here i just love them. would it be reasonable to build one with no suspension to get the basics of steering and frame building and all the basics down? like Badland Buggy - Off Road Vehicles - Download Buggy Plans (http://www.badlandbuggy.com/plans_Velociraptor.html) how long would it take to build something like that? and if possible how much would it cost im looking for something to do with my nephew. the website says around 1500 CAD for everything but the engine how accurate of a estimation is that in your eyes? how much do engines cost and what brands would you recommend?

thank you guys for entertaining my ramble and possibly answering


12-05-2010, 06:10 AM
I think thats a great place to start. Not complicated and should be easy to FINISH. And while you never finish a buggy, you will be able to drive it each weekend and thats the point. Now a sweet motor would be an electric start quad motor with reverve. Also w/o suspension look for a seat with suspension. (like car seat, thick foam and springs underneath) Now as far as money, It could be built for $1500 w/o motor. If you can p/u some used tires wheels (from a quad) and a seat, and a good find on a motor you might do it all for under $1500.

12-05-2010, 06:39 AM
I would not worry about what to call it so much as its all relative. Biggest issue is safety.

I am a bigger guy (6 foot 2 inch and 280 pounds) and to many buggies are built to small for me to safely fit inside. But may be fine for smaller guys.

Still you need to have 4 inches (MIN) to 6 inches (PREFFERRED) of head clearance from your head (with helmet) to the nearest roll bar cage. Many people do not think they will move that far in a buggy but in a bad crash you stretch a lot and the buggys tubes can move a lot closer to you. Better safe than sorry kinda thing.

Cost of a build can vary with where you are at. Some places steel seems to be nearly twice as much as others.

Doing a lil homework on the plans you like the best will net you a good starting point. You linked to the Badlands. What all plans have you seen? Might be some you like more that you have not seen.

As for the motor a lot depends on what you are gonna do with the machine.

Carls advice of a electric start quad motor with reverse is a good one. Having to climb out of a buggy and restart it each time via a kick or pull start can be a real pain. It sounds easy to some. But after the third time you will realize its not!!! (Undo seatbelt. Climb out of the monkey bars. Start machine. Climb back in...Redo seat belt that you need to loosen to get to clasp then tighten the straps...) This is even worse if you got a kick start (or pull start even) and stall it at some cock-a-many angle that you buggy is stuck in and you cannot move it with out its own power!

The reverse is also golden to have. You can get away with no reverse in the sand but its STILL NICE to have! Anywhere else reverse is almost mandatory. Getting out AND wrestling around a heavy buggy at the end of a tight dead end trail is less fun than getting out to kick start one you stalled. Trust me.

IF you need more power than a big quad motor with E-start and reverse cost will go up a fair bit.

The next and cheapest jump in power and convenience is a sled engine with E-start and reverse (often cheaper than a big quad engine.) You can almost get away with no E-start on a sled engine unit as the CVT clutch will prevent stalling but make dang sure its got a lock on the brakes that can hold the motor. Watching your CVT equipped ride take off with no rider and the gas stuck open even a little (they go fast with no rider on board) is never a good feeling. Trust me on this too. (Yes I have done this too)

Sled engines with reverse and estart are pretty cheap and powerful. The two stroke pipes are the biggest pain in the kiester in dealing with them as they are usually large and need space or lotsa of work to get them in a cramped place. Gas mileage with the two strokes is usually not that great either.

Finding a four stroke sled for a deal is a hell of a good thing to many. (I am ALWAYS looking for these!) Easy pipe work (compared to a two smoke) and better mileage is never a bad thing. But they are still a tad $$ unless you get lucky!

Big street bike engines can be had for cheap to wild prices depending on the size/brand you want. Where you find it and of course good old fashioned luck. But reverse with a bike engine is usually the costiest. (yah I know thats probably not a real word. But it is... [smilie=jumping.gif])

So tell us what all different designs you have seen and we can point you at the rest to make sure you like the one you do like the best. Also how and where you intend to drive it?

Is kicking your buddies powerful bike or quads tail a need? We need some details to be able to really help.

That said you can talk about the palns here and others will chime in about good and bad things they have altered with thiers. Front end geometry is the biggest killer. Its gotta be right or you will have a handling turd. Rear end has to be right so it tracks good and the drivetrain can function. Then its shocks. Getting them right will make for a smile inducing ride. Not to mention easier on your back/butt/neck/etc.

By the way. Welcome to the site!

12-05-2010, 01:42 PM
hi guys thank you for the welcome to the website and thank you for the reply's.

i have not seen to many that do not have shocks i have seen the two from edge the trax 2 and the taipan, but for some reason i like the look of the badlands the best. if there are other company's that sell plans for easy first time buggys please link.

now i am not very familiar with quad engines but how big are the transmissions? for reverse and for gearing? several of the quads i have been on have had a Manuel trans, would that fit into something like the badlands Badland Buggy - Off Road Vehicles - Download Buggy Plans (http://www.badlandbuggy.com/plans_Velociraptor.html) For something this size i would assume it would be an automatic trans with a switch to switch to reverse or something?

makes me sound so stupid asking half these questions but how does the electrical work like when the engine is running it makes electricity for lights and all that. but for an electric start i would need a battery how big are they? same size or smaller then a dirt bike?

now one of the guys mentioned size i am 6'2 possibly 6'3 225lb am i to big or tall for the Badland Buggy - Off Road Vehicles - Download Buggy Plans (http://www.badlandbuggy.com/plans_Velociraptor.html) but my nephew would drive it most.

thanks again for taking the time to read my questions

12-05-2010, 01:47 PM
another question real fast. since this is just like a go kart? can i put a greyhound engine or a honda in it? would it be possible to put a reverse on a honda or greyhound engine? or should i look for a quad/snowmobile engine?

thanks agian

12-05-2010, 04:28 PM
Buggy Plans, Go Kart Plans, Two Seater, Suspension Kart, Buggy Kits, Kart Kits, Buggy Parts, Kart Parts. (http://www.ubuilditplans.com/SII.html)

We have a few guys on here that have made the Shredder II and really like them. Only thing they wish to add was front brakes. It seats two and has better suspension travel than a Honda fl400 Pilot buggy.

Mini Sandrail & Off Road Go Kart Parts and Plans (http://www.desertkarts.com/)

The panther is pretty easy. Neat kart with a few improvements.

Sometimes as a bigger guy you may have to make chassis mods to fit. If you decide on a palnset you like and ask people on this site will help you with the mods needed to clear your noggin if you need the help.