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    Rockhound IV ~ Z-434-powered woods buggy
    Figured I'd start an in-progress thread since work on this is never-ending. I'm just one of those types that can't leave well enough alone. I'll toss in a few shots of the evolution (no need for a thousand pics of paths NOT to go down LOL) and get it to where it is today eventually. ...

    Started as a decent little yerf 3203 that quickly disintegrated ... Beefed up a lot of the stock parts but soon realized a backyard go kart was no match for the tiny network of wooded trails i had on a 1/2 acre of Appalachian limestone outcrop.

    Front end ....

    So I went down the path of trying to make a strong, long travel single-arm kingpin suspension and pitman arm steering system. Hubs and axles are from a golf cart and remain in use--really stout but a bit of a pain with rim selection and lack of brake mount points. All the while I was already mentally creating a dual a-arm R&P front end. Once I'd proven that i could make a strong enough single arm front end with poor enough geometry to scare even the most schizo-psychotic driver, (and put me in the trees a few times) i cut it all apart and started over

    A buddy of mine with a 1/2 scale dragster/chassis shop had tossed me some cro-mo cutoffs from which i'd built my a-arms, so i made a second matching set and went with a yerf rack and a ton of support tubing for the front end. So far that has proven very reliable, shocks are from an arctic cat el tigre sled and got a rebuild upon arrival from an e-bayer. I use long 3/4 homemade through bolts with bronze bushings for the arm mounts, hoping to change that deal over soon to heims to save some weight and add in some adjustment room.

    After bending the steering arms on both the single and dual arm setup more than once, i opted to make aluminum through bolts at the tie rod to steering arm juncture and i keep a set on the buggy for field replacement. that concept has proven itself out as i've whaled a few rocks and trees dead on with the tires, snapped or bent the bolt and simply popped in a new bolt and was on the trail again in under five minutes (takes more time to get in and out of the harness).

    work beckons, so that's all for this am ....
    Last edited by Xbird; 04-26-2014 at 11:44 AM.
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    re: Rockhound IV ~ Z-434-powered woods buggy
    Senior Member n1kogr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    I love your cart! Throw up the rear end on here im sure alot of people on this forum would be interested in it!
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    re: Rockhound IV ~ Z-434-powered woods buggy
    Patience my friend LOL ... just going front to rear with some of the stuff that worked.

    One of the early mods was to the pedals--never liked the stockers. a piece of aluminum C-channel, some diamond plate scrap and some tubing welded to the front frame was all those took. (I'd already beefed that up with some 1/4 steel c-channel cut down to gusset the front extension.

    A pic of the "interior" as it pretty much still is, though i've got a yerf 150 master cylinder/reservoir going in the middle right now. Used black rhino wheel off of e-bay for $15., and a yerf steering extension going to the rack which i modded with extra teeth for making it work off a centered position and with my long steering arms.

    For awhile after going single seater I had an old Sunl seat in it, but the bars in that were doing some pretty severe abuse to these old bones. A fellow buggier had this old M&M dirt track seat up for grabs, so i snapped it up and trimmed down the side since i like to turn both directions. made a frame and base out of a sentra seatback, yerf sliders and other assorted bits and despite the worn out ultra thin padding and tattered cover, won't dream of changing it out. RJS 5-points came off of for $30 sincee they were out of cert.
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    re: Rockhound IV ~ Z-434-powered woods buggy
    Now for the disclaimer .... do NOT try this at home ... clean up and sell off the backyard type go-kart you have and want to turn into something heavier duty with a bigger engine and buy plans, tubing and tools with the money! Really, unless you have a lot of time, patience, tools, cut off wheels, grinder discs $s, $s, $s You're better off starting from scratch.

    So that said, I reached a point where i had to cut off the bolt-together garbage of the frame/cage and turn a 1 inch tubed frame into something a little stronger. (a good plan of action for ANY bolt-together frame/cage no matter what tubing size)

    So I got 48 foot of new 1 inch tube, made a tubing notcher and went to work. i don't have a bender so a buddy of mine's shop made my front hoop and two primary cage tube bends. After the cutting session, the only thing left original was the front section floor tubing, the forward front hoop and siderails and the rear base hoop uprights. Turned out I should have gotten another 48 foot of tubing as i had to reuse every bit that i chopped off and then some ....

    Just prior to the cage/frame mods, i also cut out the rear bottom cross tube and welded in a monster --- I'd already twisted 2 versions of different swingram mounts/cross tubes so i went overkill and am glad i did! 2x2 rectangular steel tube, 1/4"wall thickness. the one cross piece alone weighs about 30 pounds. also used 1/8th plate and 1" box and 2x2 angle to stiffen and fill the open area underneath the seat. The pan got perimeter welded and all the factory welds were completed (most were 1/2 to 3/4 of the way around the tubes) All said and done, the bare frame/chassis by now weighs in around the 350 pound mark. The "on it's nose" pic is shot with a 24mm wide-angle, no the top of the cage is not crooked ...

    As far as strength, it has been tested once so far, with a complete flip onto the top corner and over when my axle went and the bearing hanger dug/locked into the ground during a left hand turn. It stopped and flipped it just about dead in it's tracks from about 25 mph. That was the ER trip (self driven with a manual truck with a crushed forearm that went through the top of the cage and between it and the ground--which has since been roofed. Would it survive a high speed pavement or flipping of into heavy trees/rocks at speed--doubtful, but it didn't tweak a bit with the flip and i'm into the technical gnarly type woods riding, so i don't foresee testing that aspect

    Along with the new tubing, i decided to weld in some 120-odd 5/16th nuts in the tubing corners and else where and make a steel skin for it. Bit of a process, but i felt the end result came out pretty decent. it now has stainless button head allen bolts with nylon washers and rubber edge trim on the panels.
    Last edited by Xbird; 05-11-2013 at 06:02 AM.
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    re: Rockhound IV ~ Z-434-powered woods buggy
    Senior Member Duane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Santa Rosa California
    Good to see you are moving along quite well. What power unit goes in this? I am also anxious to see the rear drive set up.
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    re: Rockhound IV ~ Z-434-powered woods buggy
    Rainy day here, lil break so I'll continue ... this sort of chronologically and pictorially jumps back and forth btw ...

    So, initially this was a 6.5 hp tec with a comet 30 series on a swingarm with the cheapeast, sloppiest, noisiest bracket hinge mount and mechanical shocks. Aside from fixing up worn out spindle and such up front, the swingarm mounts were the first real mods. made a very solid mount point, but all that did was twist the rear frame and crack the swingarm tubing all over. little whoops style jumps, lots of rocky trails and a downhill drop off a 3-foot tree trunk ledge sure didn't help this poor little thing. The mount itself was sro-mo tube with 1" bronze bearings and 3/4 rod stock turned into bolts. would be a great mod for a field-only cart. really improved the noise and handling. everything i strengthened at this stage just caused failures elsewhere with my abuse so the time came to tear into it for real.

    At that stage i had found a clapped out, rusty hammerhead minishark with no engine, 2 wheels and a pathetic cry for mercy. So i decided to cut apart the yerf and use it for the HH. I spent pretty much all winter creating an extended mini with 6.5 power and baja 90 front and rear suspension for my daughter (it's picture in my meet and greet thread)

    The decision to donorize the yerf led to the rear frame crossmember re-work mentioned in my last post. Up until that point i hadn't really spent any money on it except for Sunrise red paint and grinding/cut off wheels while messing with trying to make the single a-arms work...

    A photo a vid comp of the last of the yerf ... first two minutes has soem ride tiem the day i chopped it up--roll cage was already cut off

    Project X - YouTube

    With the mini finished I did the crossmember mod and picked up a recalled yerf swingarm and a GY6 SYM from an '07 Carter from a fellow buggier. that's when all the dual a-arm front suspension and frame work began.

    Test runs of that versions ... also validation of the idea that i needed a front end breakaway point ...

    RHBetter - YouTube

    With it all together, it took a couple rides for the swingarm to have issues, so that got beefed up and more axle bearings added. End result-- busted axle and flip o matic.

    So after that i decided to make a bruiser out of the swingarm and took an electric golf cart rear axle assembly, chopped the transmission section off it and converted my sprocket to fit where the gear was on the center section, along with welding up the spider gears to lock it up. I also got rid of the swingarm bushings and went with heim joints.

    Aside from smashing the bottom of the housing (where it was at it's thinnest with nothing but an open box rectangle in front) on some rocks it proved very solid and reliable, but it had weak drum brakes, mainly because i never created a good cable pull system for it. I had a buddy tig a piece of structural aluminum C-channel to seal the rectangle where i'd cut off the transmission section and also repair the broken pieces, put a brand new tire on it then shortly thereafter decided to go a different route as 250 pounds of unsprung rear suspension weight isn't ideal to say the least and IRS was always in the cards ...

    Race that somewhat did in the swingarm setup --i still have it intact and repaired with engine and all ready to run and bolt on to something .... what

    2012 Line Mountain 7-miler, RH150cc (UTV) makes it to the first checkpoint. - YouTube
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    re: Rockhound IV ~ Z-434-powered woods buggy
    Senior Member poordad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Pacific Northwest
    Quote Originally Posted by Xbird View Post
    Now for the disclaimer .... do NOT try this at home ... clean up and sell off the backyard type go-kart you have and want to turn into something heavier duty with a bigger engine and buy plans, tubing and tools with the money! Really, unless you have a lot of time, patience, tools, cut off wheels, grinder discs $s, $s, $s You're better off starting from scratch.
    I know how you feel, I started with a FL250 because I liked the aftermarket cage and the trail ready size, two years and countless dollars latter there are two tubes left of the original FL250 on the build but I have learned a lot though as Im sure you have and just like anything else gaining knowledge costs time and money.

    I am definitely keeping my eye out for tried and true plans for the next build but find that plans for a good buggy less than 60" are not abundant. after all that we have done to work around the original frame and running gear figuring out a design from scratch is starting to look like a pretty easy and straightforward way to go
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    re: Rockhound IV ~ Z-434-powered woods buggy
    So true ... scary part is, i have a Sunl single seater frame sans front suspension, quad front suspension, complete Super HD 150 swingarm rear/engine and two spare engines in the basement ... the threat of another frankenbuggy is always lurking ...

    Meantime, the IRS conversion has reached the roller stage ... came off the stands yesterday on my break between shifts .... didn't have time for pics
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    re: Rockhound IV ~ Z-434-powered woods buggy
    So to catch this little story up to the present.

    Poordad had the wonderful timing of offering a pair of Roketa box tube style chain-drive trailing arms up for sale right when i was mulling over the option of buying new rear shocks that could handle the 250 pounds of unsprung rear swingarm weight or tearing it apart to figure out a way to convert it to IRS of some type .....

    Needless to say, the decision was made pretty quickly. The engine for it is a 1985 LT250E from a quadrunner that i picked out of the salvage yard a year of so back. Five-speed with auto clutch and reverse--couldn't pass that up. Biggest hurdle was how to get the drive to the front pivot point jackshaft. I couldn't not find a coupler to match the splined output shaft on the engine to extend it out, nor did i have the means or time to have one fabbed for me. The simplest, albeit not the most ideal solution, was to run a jackshaft behind the engine ...Just call this thing a chain-drive monster.

    While the conversion would seem to be pretty simple--it wasn't easy since nearly every frame tube on the rear had been cut and moved, added, removed, and shifted through the development of the back end over the past 2 years. nothing was symmetrical back there at all, so hanging the engine level and in line along with the arms and jackshafts was the real difficulty of it.

    I'll skip all the pics of the swingarm variations back there and just say that it went from tec engine platform to GY6 and probably got changed up back there framework-wise 4 to 5 times until i had it fairly well dialed in.

    The 250 is rigid mounted, with all the original mount points used. the upper rear framework is a bolt-in cradle to allow for engine removal. the lower cradle/frame is half quadrunner, half 1980s polaris trailboss. Adjustment for chain tension is handled by the rear jackshaft and the roketa eccentric in the hubs. a spring loaded tensioner for the secondary drive chain may need to be added. Shocks are fox podium/predator 500s tire size may got to 23 or 24 inch tall. Final gear ratio went from stock quad's 3.45 to 4.23.

    Shifter is direct linkage (EMT tube from original foot shifter to handle by seat) and the reverse is a cable setup using the throttle lever from a piper cherokee This poor thing has a laundry list of parts sources from mowers, to golf club racks and golf ball pickers to cars and even yes, a washing machine ....
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    re: Rockhound IV ~ Z-434-powered woods buggy
    Got it to roller stage yesterday, set and locked in the sprockets and bearings this morning and am heading into the garage to hang some chain ... maybe a test run tomorrow if the brakes don't fight me too hard ...
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