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    Is This Too Wild A Buggy Build For You?
    I’ve been building and racing my own sedans and buggies for basic level motorsport for thirty years, winning a few club championships and state titles along the way. A number of things have motivated me to do this new project.
    I’ve just about finished building my V6 EG Civic and have decided to keep it just as a tar car. Dirt events take a fairly high and constant toll on bodywork, but as rallysprints are my favourite events and I wanted to return to them, I decided to build something specifically for them. Wanting no bodywork meant it’d have to be a buggy, and the four previous ones I’d made have given me good experience in how to do it. Looking around at the current buggies I couldn’t get away from how ancient most of the winners technology was, with most of them using VW suspension designed before World War II, floor pans over forty years old, and engines from the 1980’s at best.
    If I was going to invest the time, money and effort this’d take I was confident I could construct a new bench mark, and race for outright victories. A front wheel drive buggy would be way too light in the rear to handle and drift well on the dirt. Although I’ve successfully raced rear engined / rear wheel drive buggies, I felt there had to be something better than the VW type rear end with an engine swap that’s been so done to death. That only left a mid-engined racer. I’d seen a few of these made by moving a complete front wheel drive front end to the rear, and the design and race performances I’d seen had always impressed me.I'd mapped out a basic chassis design incorporating what I thought was the best features from a number of buggies and build sites I'd cruised.

    Then by chance a few weeks ago a good mate of mine told me he had a buggy chassis for sale - an old "Bushmaster"off roader. It had held a VW front and rear and didn't meet the new CAMS requirements for buggies because: 1) The diagonals are not within the main hoop 2) The rear braces have a curve in them 3) The roof is not covered nor braced to the floor and main hoop 4) The bar which holds the steering column isn't the same size as the roll bars. 5) There are no braces across the floor between the base of the front pillars nor half way between them and the main hoop. 6) The bar running up the middle of the chassis is too small. 7) It has no rear wheel protector side bars.

    but it'd provide me with a lot of the right steel already bent to shapes I was sure I could adapt into my build. I love the sound of an angle grinder in the morning!


    I built a levelled, raised false floor in my garage and have marked a 100cm grid onto it. This gives me quick measurements and ensures everything will be square. A perfectly flat floor equals a perfectly flat chassis floor. I've begun with the new centre rail and the cross member on which the main hoop will stand. The cross member is the width of the outside rear tyre track.

    Next I've added the side floor rails and the cross members as CAMS requires - all made from 40mm square tubing.

    The main hoop is then shown without a cross member and after I re-cut the old one into it. This design is one CAMS approves.

    These fifteen 3mm gusset plates will strengthen the chassis and also serve as mounting points for the floor.

    They avoid weakening the frame with bolt holes, and will allow me to drop the floor out when it gets full of muddy slop like I got buried in at Ansell Park late last year. I will employ them as needed throughout the chassis to eliminate any cracking at high stress points.

    I searched the net without any preconceptions to find the most powerful, readily available, and most affordable car fwd car from which to derive a powertrain and suspension to move to the rear of my buggy. I’m notorious in my home town of Newcastle as a Honda nut, but to everyone’s surprise – I settled on a 3.5 V6 Magna with a manual gearbox as the ideal donor car.
    I watch the car salvage auction listings up here almost every day, and within 5 weeks what I wanted came up, and I got it with a mere $350 bid.

    It had rolled into an empty storm water drain, damaging no mechanicals but just about every panel on the car… perfect for my needs and virtually no-one elses.

    With an electric winch mounted overhead, I was easily able to lift the body up and remove the entire front end.

    The aluminium subframe locates most of the suspension geometry and would save me weeks of work.

    I filled the shell with spare motors and car scrap and took it off to the metal munchers where I got $167 for it. This is a scary industrial site where cars go to die… and be re-born as god knows what or where.

    I carefully positioned the powerplant and subframe squarely and level on my table lined up with marks for my 2 metre wheelbase.

    Screwing the drivers compartment frame and cage in place on the table enabled me to design and fabricate a rear subframe before my welding mate came over for what’ll be a mammoth session. I picked up the six lower subframe mounting points.

    After the lower frame I bent up the main rear chassis rail.

    Then cut it’s supporting diagonals.

    She’s starting to get a look about her that suits the name she’ll carry “Raptor”!

    A basic rule in steering geometry is that the swivel joints on the end of a steering rack must align with an imaginary vertical line between the inner mounting points of the front lower and top wishbones. If this is neglected the car will steer itself as the suspension moves up & down… “bump steer”. To avoid this problem (particularly in a narrow front framed car), requires that either a steering rack be shortened to match the chassis width, or that the frame be made to the width of a suitable rack.
    Shortening a rack isn’t a cheap or simple exercise by the time you buy one, dismantle it, have it machined, and then re-assembled. I searched e-bay for shortened racks, but the few I could find were either tiny ones designed for miniature motor bike engine buggies, or expensive new speedway items. Most were overseas with high shipping costs and prices over $400. So I just kept on looking without much hope, until last week on the ninth page under “steering rack” I saw something that appeared short and looked like it might be suitable. It was in Victoria with only a few hours to go – not enough time to find out it’s width. But it was only $20 “Buy it now”, so I took the risk and grabbed it.
    The driver sits further forward in a mid-engined chassis. This means there is no room to mount a rack behind the front uprights, as there isn’t enough room with the foot well being so far forward. I ‘d worked out what front suspension uprights I wanted to use, but realized I’d have to swap them over from left to right so the steering arms were in front of the hubs.
    Two days later I had my cheap used part from a Peugot 205 Gti hatch, and it was only a little wider than my laid out chassis. As this hadn’t been welded yet, I merely had to widen the frame’s nose by 100mm and it was a perfect fit. For $20! Now I can fabricate the front end of the frame.

    I made a start on fabricating the front of the car. First piece I bent up was a big horizontal nerf bar to protect me and some of the front suspension. I made it a bit on the long side so I can trim it to size once the car is rolling and steering. I'll also brace it's ends back to the frame. Next bender creation was the lower lip of the "Rhino" bar which will be fitted with 3mm steel sheet to serve as a skid plate. It reminds me of one I made on and earlier pig hunting buggy. Still remember the sound it made when you ran over a grunter. It's angled right up to match the angle the nose might get when landing from a big lift off.

    Following pic shows the sort of strengthening I'll put in once the front's welded on. Triangulation is the strongest friend of any spaceframe.

    Here you can see the 25mm straight bar I cut to go from the top of the front hoop curve to the floor as CAMS requires.

    Then I triangulated it into the side "hip" bar so they're bracing each other.

    Here's a place I can add triangulation with minimal weight increase and without obstructing my forward vision. This is gonna be one tough chassis - which should stop both it and me from breaking.

    This pic shows the second rear compulsory roof brace I needed to install going from the main hoop down to the hip rail. You can see how much tougher it makes the driver’s compartment than the old buggy frame I started with.

    I added a second gusset plate to tie the rear roof brace into two bars within the main hoop, each bar strengthening the other.
    Last edited by Redliner; 07-02-2014 at 10:03 AM.
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    Re: Is This Too Wild A Buggy Build For You?
    1). Links or pics that work.

    2). Cliff notes.
    Yes, i'm on facebook clicky clicky.................

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    Re: Is This Too Wild A Buggy Build For You?
    what just happened?
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    Re: Is This Too Wild A Buggy Build For You?
    Millenium Member Deranged's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Allendale MI
    Quote Originally Posted by dalonar View Post
    what just happened?

    That cracks me up..!!

    Just struck me funny.
    Nowhere near the desert.
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    Re: Is This Too Wild A Buggy Build For You?
    I've exceeded the free limit of pics on PhotoBucket which is why the links are dodgy today. As soon as I saw this I upgraded on their site, so all the pics should work shortly.
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    Re: Is This Too Wild A Buggy Build For You?
    The Bob Ross of MBN Bullnerd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Cream Ridge ,NJ
    I saw this on OFN,pretty cool.
    "Speed is time-time is speed"-Dennis Hopper

    Quote Originally Posted by TALON View Post
    did you use a special bigfoot camera or something ,you know all blurry could be a tree stump kinda thing .
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    Re: Is This Too Wild A Buggy Build For You?
    "Cliff notes"......... please explain???
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    Re: Is This Too Wild A Buggy Build For You?
    Millenium Member Martinm210's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Bend, OR.
    Not sure on the IMG codes problem, but the build looks great! The free image hosting sites just cause problems sometimes. I have problems with also now and then.
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    Re: Is This Too Wild A Buggy Build For You?
    TIG Man Starts
    My son James has just bought and learnt to use a TIG welder for the construction we both do on our race cars. TIG welding is slower than MIG – but stronger and more suited to delicate jobs. So I took the gear shift linkages I’d cut and a few other bits over to him and away he went.

    Then it was back home to paint them with aerosol engine enamel. It needs no primer, is heat proof, and quick drying. By afternoon tea time I was able to assemble the welded linkage pieces and adjust them to clear where the chassis rail will go.

    I also re-fitted a couple of engine brackets I’d lightened and painted as well.

    If I’m lucky MIG man will turn up tomorrow and we can get into welding the main pieces of the chassis together. I just watched today's Dakar and saw lots of vehicles with their front struts leaning back and the wheel going back as it went up. They're called motorbikes.
    Last edited by minibajaman; 01-02-2012 at 11:03 AM. Reason: fixed pics
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    Re: Is This Too Wild A Buggy Build For You?
    Super Moderator minibajaman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I fixed some of the pics, but then I got bored of it. Redliner, you can edit your first post to fix the rest. I don't know why the links got so screwed up, but all you need is the url of image between IMG tags.

    [ IMG ][ /img ] with no spaces
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