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    Desert Dog Coyote - Test drive report.
    #1
    Keeper of the Asylum K-fab's Avatar
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    Went out testing yesterday in the Happy Valley area of northern Phoenix. *Took the Dez and was joined by Philabuster with his [url=http://www.desertdogoffroad.com:3vwte5c4]Desert Dog Off Road[/url:3vwte5c4] Coyote.

    I was planning doing clutch testing and FI tuning. *Lost the Dez on my second run - rear bearing carrier bearings did an Elvis impersonation. *Didn't get much done... *Drats.

    Phil wanted to do some testing and work on his car - jetting and some clutch work. *He got things set up and then we headed out into the desert with Phil behind the wheel. *We figured out a nice 10 mile trail to run down. *I think this was the longest amount of time that he's spent driving it - correct me if I'm wrong, Phil...

    The Coyote:
    Four link rear end - upper link is an a-arm - think old Honda Pilot.
    Front end is normal long travel setup - wide a-arms that almost touch in the front and mount about where your knees are in the back.
    18" of travel on all four corners and the rear end has a lot of camber, caster and toe changes as it cycles - set up to toe out a degree or so as it compresses - helps steer the rear end of the car as you initiate cornering and such. *Works very well.
    Fox 2.0's w/ressies on all four corners. * I think it's a 10" in front and a 12" in rear - don't hold me to that.
    Carb'd Yamaha RX1 sled engine
    RPM Tranny - 8:1 - live axle, no diff
    Yamaha RX1 drive clutch, Team Driven
    930 CVs
    Disc brakes front & rear
    Goodyear Wrangler A/T's 235/75-15's up front, 10.5-31-15's on the back. *Beadlocks in the rear.

    Phil got some of his changes done and we went for a ride - Phil at the wheel, me in the co-dog seat. *We found a little 10 mile trail to run.

    Phil moves well thru the trails. *He's a bit tentative of throwing the car into corners, but he's only driven it a bit so far. *He'll get faster with a bit of practice. *He never scared me - even remotely. *I did get one good whap with a mesquite limb...

    The car felt very stable, and it never looked like Phil was fighting it. *At slower speeds, it felt a bit stiffly sprung, but once we got moving it felt really good and very smooth. *The Coyote takes big hits really well and they don't tend to upset the chassis. *

    At the end of the loop with Phil behind the wheel, I asked if I could drive. *I'm not sure if he feels he made the correct descision... * He said yes.

    I've driven all the different versions of the Coyote that Desert Dog makes - the original 670 Rotax, the first RX1 powered car, then the same car a few months later with a turbo in it, the busa powered version and now this one - it's a carb'd RX1, so I'm fairly familiar with them. *This was my first time to get some real seat time in the desert in one, though. *All the other times have been at the dunes.

    The engine was only hitting 9500 - about a grand short of peak power. *It's one of the things Phil's been working on and so have I on the Dez. *The extra 1000 rpm is worth about 15 hp. *Even w/o the extra hp - the car rips. *It accelerates really hard and doesn't have any problem hazing the tires at fairly high speed. *Throw it into a corner and nail the go pedal - the car would respond really nicely and start the rear end sliding and driving. * Throttle response is excellent - there's no lag time.

    It took me a mile or so to get aquainted with a Coyote again. *They feel quite different from my old beast. *I feel like I sit up higher in the Coyote and it feels like the chassis rolls on a point that's closer to the floor - where the Dez feels like it rolls above your hips. *It's a bit strange at first, but I always get used to it quickly.

    Steering is light, it drives a straight line with hands off very well - even thru semi-rough stuff. *There is a bit more feedback that I prefer - not really feedback, more like jitters and shakes - you feel all the rocks. *Wears your hands out a bit.*

    Under throttle, the back end feels a bit loose - I think a lot of it is wheel spin. *It never feels out of hand at all, just a bit squirrely. *Tire grooving will probably get rid of 90% of the looseness.

    What was interesting was that the car goes very neutral when you're off the throttle - and even under braking. *Usually you get a bit of oversteer when you let off - but the car actually gets more stable and goes right where you put it. *It was easy to slide the rear end a bit wide when exiting the corners - once again, a bit loose under throttle. *I never came anywhere near looping the car out - it was real easy to bring right back in by just letting off a tad.

    Front end is really easy to get light with the go pedal. *You can come up to whoops, stick the throttle and carry the front end over them nicely. *The rear end soaks up the whoops really well and stays nice and stable as long as you stay on the pedal and keep the wheels driving over the rough stuff.

    Braking is great - it's very progressive and the car feels really planted when you get on the binders hard. *It'll outstop my old car by quite a bit (I'm jealous). *I'm sure weight has a lot to do with it, but I get the feeling that Jay's suspension geometry is a bit different and it seems to not squat the front end like the Dez does. *Probably has a lot to do with the rear 4 link setup.


    * The car needs a steering damper. *Jay and I discussed it this morning too - changing the front wheel offset might help - the set Phil is running is 2" inner, 3" outer offset. *Swithing the offset will probably get rid of the funky constant little wheel shake - so would a damper. *The wheels are just barely rubbing the front arms at full lock and a bit of hard driving - I saw a couple small rub marks - probably wheel flex. *An offset change would let the wheel rub more - but may be worth it.

    That said, I only had the wheel jerked hard once - and it was because of rubbing up against a wall. *It wasn't anything out of control - was easy to bring right back in. *I had to show Phil how to keep the thumbs out of the wheel - drive holding the wheel while holding your thumbs against the wheel, like you're giving the thumbs up sign , not wrapped around and in the wheel - a bad hit and a fast jerk will snap a thumb in a flash.

    Phil was running 10 psi - wow... it went thru the rocks fine, though. *I usually run 27-35 (higher in rocky areas). *His front end stuck really well - the rear end seemed loose under throttle - spun the wheels too easily and it would make the car a bit squirrely - rear end snaked around behind the car a bit more than I like, but the tires are bone stock - a bit of grooving will help dramatically. *I'm hoping he removes either every third lug or every other lug on the outside edges of the tires. *It should give him a bit more forward bite and lessen the side to side movement a touch.

    We discussed some shock setup/changes. *Front end felt great - rear end I would change a bit. *Phil has 125 tenders and 225 (or was it 250?) mains with no preload. *I'd drop the the tenders to 100 and run an half an inch or so of preload. *Maybe increase the rebound damping just a hair - then again spring changes might make it work w/o damping changes. * Also run the cross over point down a bit farther so the mains come in a bit sooner.

    Overall, Phil's Coyote works very well and I was really impressed with it too. *With a bit of tuning, the car should fly through the desert with the greatest of ease!

    There are a few personal things that I'd change on Phil's car - and these are just my preferences - not any sort of critisizm.

    Brake Bias - I much prefer a lever that I can reach (just above my left thigh) to the knob on the dash. *I use the bias bar all the time and will even use it in corners to make the front end stick or slide, depending on what I'm trying to do. *Knob is set and forget - nope... Not for me.

    The Coyote was really stable with the brake setting I dialed in, but I could probably drive it even more agressively if I could play with the brakes during the drive (and if I owned it)

    Throttle pedal - it needs to be farther into the travel for full off throttle. *I had to pull my foot off the pedal to get to idle settings. *It took me a few corners to figure out that I was going into sections with the throttle still on...

    I set my throttle peda up where zero throttle (idle) is where my foot is at rest - not flexed back. *Set your heel where you want your foot to be located, relax your foot and that's thottle off. *Then adust throw so you're not stretching or pointing your toes too terribly far at full throttle.

    I like the steering wheel closer to my chest and slightly larger in diam. *I made a comment to Phil about a larger diam wheel and he said his was 14.5... *Seemed more like a 13.5 to me, but I may have a 16 in my car, now that I think about it...

    Shoulder height side panels - tree branches suck.

    I enjoy riding with people - it's fun to see the different perception of the road ahead and interesting to watch someone take a line that you'd never consider, or maybe think about. *Sometimes you're shown something new. *The different appoaches to the same obsticle or section can be amazing. *Phil may go around something that I'm apt to use to launch the car over a rough section.

    I also find it interesting to see the different perception of a course because of speed difference capabilites - this would be known as Seat Time and Screw Ups. *I have a lot more of both of them than Phil does.

    Phil's new to the desert stuff, therefore he watches closer to the front of the car than I do. *I'm driving a lot farther ahead and always looking into the next corner ahead. *It's really pretty cool because I remember when I was new too the desert stuff. *I wanted to go fast, but I didn't understand how to do it and save the car. *There is such a thing as "too fast". *It took me quite a while to learn to drive fast, but work hard to avoid damaging the car - often because of overdriving. *Phil's well on his way to getting there!!!

    Thanks for letting me torture your ride, Phil! *Sorry I scared you.
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    Re: Desert Dog Coyote - Test drive report.
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    Senior Member Philabuster's Avatar
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    Great write-up. *I did not regret you behind the wheel at all. *I had an absolute blast! *[smilie=thumbs_up.gif] Strange as it seems, I have more fun* sitting in the passenger seat and have an experienced desert racer scare the crap outta me than drive it myself. *

    I would love to be the co-dog in K-fab's car. *The man knows how to drive. *[smilie=thumbs_up.gif] Only problem is I don't know how to navigate. *[smilie=ninja.gif] *My only regret that day was leaving my GPS in the truck. *

    It's nice to see the car's potential was much greater than my skill level. *I have about 8 hours seat time in the car thus far vs hundreds of hours in a stock Honda Pilot. *The car does feel like a big Pilot (with a BUNCH more horsepower! [smilie=ecstatic.gif] *), but it is very strange for me going from a single seater to a two-seater. *The view over my left shoulder is the same, but the view to the right is blocked partially by the passenger's helmet.

    IIRC shocks are 12" in front and the rears are 14". *Rear upper coils are 125# and lower are 250#. *For the dunes I swap out the lower coils for a set of 350# but no changes are made to valving or anything else. *It seems to work fine. *I will try adjusting the crossover stop down an inch or so being careful to not coilbind the lower. *

    Tuning stuff is fun. Fixing broken parts is not fun. *I was looking forward to eating some dust on Saturday. *

    My first driving impressions with the small 13" wheel spooked me. *I felt like the steering wheel was way too small and I didn't have control. *I now have the 14 1/2" wheel, but like K-Fab noticed, it still seems a bit small for controlling the front 235/75s. *The next mod will be adding a dual steering stabilizer like K-fab runs on his Deztaz and perhaps a 16" wheel.

    As far as clutching goes, I have the parts, I just need more time to tinker. *Each change is tedious but more time testing will reveal what works for me and what doesn't. * Next time I will try different helixes and springs and see what that does for upshifting, backshifting, and top RPM shift speed. *


    *Fun: *The sensation of having one's adrenaline flowing and heart racing while simultaneously gripping the seat with one's sphincter.
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    Re: Desert Dog Coyote - Test drive report.
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    Senior Member Philabuster's Avatar
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    I forgot my camera while we were out testing, but I did catch K-fab taking my picture once. * [smilie=ninja.gif]

    Here are some pics of the car when I was in the [url=http://www.duneguide.com/sand_dune_guide_coral_pink.htm:2strrnfh]Coral Pink sand dunes[/url:2strrnfh] in April.
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    Re: Desert Dog Coyote - Test drive report.
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    Senior Member
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    MAN! When i read that driving report ,i was almost there.Thanks guys you both gave a good read. Boilermaker
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    Re: Desert Dog Coyote - Test drive report.
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    Quote Originally Posted by boilermaker\";p=\"14840
    MAN! When i read that driving report ,i was almost there.Thanks guys you both gave a good read. Boilermaker
    LOL I was thinking the same thing... One of the best Dez reports is the one where he takes off at the top of a hill with a sweeping right turn on the other side. Sorry K-Fab not one to get enjoyment out of others crashes. The way that one reads it's like the reader is in the drivers seat with you making the same mistake. Same with the early Baja reports and you having to baby the car due to the belt. Good stuff as usual...

    Very nice car Phil....

    -R
    Currently on a two year walkabout
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    Re: Desert Dog Coyote - Test drive report.
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    Admin Gene's Avatar
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    Great story and the car looks terrific. Nice lines on bodywork too.

    Is the front hood fiberglass?

    Gene
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    Re: Desert Dog Coyote - Test drive report.
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    Great contributions you two! If that sort of stuff doesn't inspire the uninitiated, then I don't know what will.
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    Re: Desert Dog Coyote - Test drive report.
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    Senior Member Philabuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gene\";p=\"14860
    Great story and the car looks terrific. Nice lines on bodywork too.

    Is the front hood fiberglass?

    Gene
    All bodywork is aluminum. *The car's designer is Jay Largo from Desert Dog. *I can only take credit for the color scheme and a few stickers. *I purchased damn near every option he sells for the car except for the turbo upgrade. *[smilie=thumbs_up.gif]

    This is the car I have been dreaming about and hoping to build myself for the last 15 years. *I finally came to the realization that it will never happen unless I buy myself a roller. *After researching the time and energy to required to build a complete car, I decided to pony up for a turn key instead. * [smilie=evilgrin.gif]
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    Re: Desert Dog Coyote - Test drive report.
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    Keeper of the Asylum K-fab's Avatar
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    New bearing carrier and a bit of FI tuning - the Dez lives again!

    I went out this afternoon and messed with the fuel injection (richened it up a bunch on the top end) a bit - it came alive. *It now revs up to 10,500, but still drops back to about 9500. *I think my driven clutch needs to either have a slightly more agressive helix and/or a bit more preload on the spring inside of it.

    Once the car catches up with the upshifted clutch, it will allow the engine to stretch it's legs and pull to 10,500. * That last 1000 rpm is worth about 15 hp - you can feel the engine peak out and pull - and the scenery gets blurry too. *I didn't have GPS or the helmet cam on today - I will on the next run out.

    I took it down the same trails I drove Philabuster's Coyote down.

    Coyote - So much smoother and less brutal than the old Dez is. *The suspension on the Coyote is drastically more plush

    Dez - yea, it's a bit on the rough side, but one I start pushing it - it's smooth. *Not as smooth as the Coyote though.

    I am drastically faster in my car - two main reasons:
    1) It's mine, not someone elses, so if I dork it, it's my own problem.
    2) I have many miles of seat time in it. *I would imagine that I could be as fast in a Coyote with some time.

    I do have to admit that the Dez feels more tank like (solid) and I'd be afraid to bounce the rear end of the Coyote thru tree branches, dirt edges and such like I do the Dez.

    I plan on getting out tomorrow with the helmet cam in place - and maybe get some night time driving in too.

    I'll post clips if it all goes well.
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    Re: Desert Dog Coyote - Test drive report.
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    The Wizard bdkw1's Avatar
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    Plush car= mushy over heated suspension 20 miles down the road. OK for a play car but bad for a race car. I have never riden in a race car that wasn't harsh for at least the first 10 miles. Some of them brutally so.

    If you had enough shock cooling would could get have a plush car all the time. I'm working on it...........
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