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    My Semi-Mini Buggy Design/Build "Divergent"
    #1
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    Hey guys, fairly new here but I think this is the right forum to document the process I am working through to design and build my "Divergent" buggy. I am at the very early stages of design at this point so there is not much to share, but I will post periodic updates and probably ask for advice and feedback along the way.

    Little bit of background - I started a 3D CAD/Product Design company in 2009 specializing in performance aftermarket automotive products. I've had the opportunity since then to work on some extremely cool projects and design nearly every component/system on a car: control arms, brake calipers, fuel systems, steering systems, roll cages, wiring harnesses, etc. I have not done much engine work (internally) and have never designed or built a transmission, but pretty much everything else has been covered. I've learned a ton and made a lot of great contacts along the way and will be leaning on some of them to help get this project to the end.

    It's been my dream for some time to design and build my own complete car from scratch. I love driving and racing, but my real passion is designing and building. So, a well-designed car can scratch both itches if it is fun to build AND performs great. I had thought about dipping my toes into this process by building something like the Factory Five 818 but I just wasn't completely feeling it; still someone else's design. Some discussions with my brother (and partner in crime) led to the idea of building a "110% scale" RZR-type buggy. There are some tricks to that concept but I won't share those until we're further down the road. Suffice to say, the intent of this build is to prove out the design concepts so that we can eventually market and sell these to those who've outgrown their RZR and are ready for the next step.

    Okay, enough babble. More about the project. Here are the current (what I will call original) working specs:

    Original Working Specifications:
    Dry Weight: 1300 lbs
    Wheelbase: 100"
    Track Width Front: 64"
    Track Width Rear: 64"
    Ground Clearance: Adjustable 5" to 13"
    Drive Layout: Rear Engine, AWD
    Engine: 4-cyl Boxer, 220hp/200lb-ft
    Transmission: 5-speed Manual
    Tires: 31x10.50 BFGoodrich T/A KO2
    Wheels: Walker Evans 15x8 Beadlock 4.75" Back Spacing
    Front Suspension: Unequal Length A-Arms, Pushrod
    Front Wheel Travel: Max 22"
    Rear Suspension: Unequal Length A-Arms, Pushrod
    Rear Wheel Travel: Max 22"
    Fuel Cell: Front mounted, 12-gallon capacity

    I think that about covers it. Bolded the adjustable ride height because that is probably one of the most unusual design aspects of my buggy (as well as the reason for the semi-cheesy name Divergent): I want it to run great off-road but also be able to be lowered and carve corners like it's on rails. I love running in the dirt but I also love autocross and I don't want to have to choose. As it stands right now, I think it would take roughly an hour (in a decently equipped shop) to drop this thing from 13" ground clearance to 5". That drop will also double the spring rate and swaybar rates, tweak the anti-squat and anti-dive to be more pavement-friendly, and will not require adding or removing any parts. So you should be able to run the crap out of it all weekend regardless of where you are and what you're running on - that's the idea anyway!

    Current plans for drivetrain are a Subaru EJ255 (2.5L Turbo) engine backed by one of the Subaru 5-speed manual transmissions. There are a number of them that have the gear ratios I want so the model # will get picked when I see it for sale! I will be installing the Subarugears.com reversed 4.86 ring-and-pinion in it to allow me to run it in rear-engine configuration. To start with, we will run it in 2WD (with a spool to lock the F/R diff) but we are leaving the tailshaft intact to be able to run a driveline to a Subaru rear differential (upside-down) in the front of the car later on. I'd love to run an EJ257 engine (280+ hp, twin-scroll turbo) but for now there's no point in spending 3x the $$ on an engine. It will be a more-or-less bolt-in replacement in the future if we get everything else working.

    In everything I design, I am big on modularity. The goal right now is to be able to reuse the same suspension parts (upper/lower control arms, upright, pushrod, bellcrank, shock) at all 4 corners. Possibly even same brake setup with a bias adjuster in the cockpit. May be able to do the same with drive axles as well which would be very nice; carry 1 spare axle and you can fix any corner. There are some tricks to make it work but nothing I've seen (so far) that makes it improbable.

    So most of what I've accomplished so far is picking all the components listed above (lots of research there) and making pen-on-paper sketches of some of the trickier bits. I started this weekend modeling the wheels/tires, a rough sketch of the frame to lay everything out, and started building my 3D CAD models for suspension design and analysis. I use stick-figure models there to get all the critical dimensions right (with good bump, camber/caster curves, roll centers, minimal axle plunge, etc.) and then use those critical dimensions to actually design the parts.

    Without any further ado, here are a few pictures of the overall layout. There are a number of tubes still missing (and the ones shown are again, sketches) but this size gives me the space I want inside, room to run the front drivetrain, and keeps the occupants well-protected. Ingress and egress will be a little tricky but shouldn't be too bad.







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    Re: My Semi-Mini Buggy Design/Build "Divergent"
    #2
    The Bob Ross of MBN Bullnerd's Avatar
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    Welcome Mikah and brother.

    Looks like a cool project, looking forward to seeing more.

    Please add your location to your sig for me, I like to see where people are from.
    "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: My Semi-Mini Buggy Design/Build "Divergent"
    #3
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    That looks neat, can you not get the engine and trany turned 180 degrees to make it mid engine? The drive shafts from the Subaru exit very close to the engine. The cost of the 4wd to 2wd components will also be far less? Looks good. Will you be using the hubs from the Subaru? Added a pic or two of a few braces, as you noted, you still have a few tubes to add.

    Good luck!!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by tbwcurtis; 07-18-2016 at 06:36 PM. Reason: Additional text
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    Re: My Semi-Mini Buggy Design/Build "Divergent"
    #4
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    That looks neat, can you not get the engine and trany turned 180 degrees to make it mid engine? The drive shafts from the Subaru exit very close to the engine. The cost of the 4wd to 2wd components will also be far less? Looks good. Will you be using the hubs from the Subaru? attached a pic pf a brace or two, as you have noted, you still have a number of tubes to add.

    Good luck.
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    Re: My Semi-Mini Buggy Design/Build "Divergent"
    #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullnerd View Post
    Welcome Mikah and brother.

    Looks like a cool project, looking forward to seeing more.

    Please add your location to your sig for me, I like to see where people are from.
    Thanks Bullnerd - we are in Wellsville, KS.
    ~Mikah B.
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    Re: My Semi-Mini Buggy Design/Build "Divergent"
    #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbwcurtis View Post
    That looks neat, can you not get the engine and trany turned 180 degrees to make it mid engine? The drive shafts from the Subaru exit very close to the engine. The cost of the 4wd to 2wd components will also be far less? Looks good. Will you be using the hubs from the Subaru? attached a pic pf a brace or two, as you have noted, you still have a number of tubes to add.

    Good luck.
    Yeah, there are more tubes to add yet and this cage will be strong and stiff when done.

    You csn run that engine combo the other way but then you lose the output for AWD which we want to keep. We had considered using electric motors for front drive but at the moment the weight and cost penalty arent worth it.
    ~Mikah B.
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    Re: My Semi-Mini Buggy Design/Build "Divergent"
    #7
    The Wizard bdkw1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikahB View Post
    we are in Wellsville, KS.
    Locals LOL.........

    So, where do you plan on driving this? Seriously, anyplace local that's worth it?
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    Re: My Semi-Mini Buggy Design/Build "Divergent"
    #8
    Intense Moderator Rat4020's Avatar
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    Welcome to Minibuggy & enough with the comp cad thing Picts I want a see some real project Picts lol
    The question is not if its gona roll. Its when ..

    That be some kind of church cruzzer or commuter bike thingy ?
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    Re: My Semi-Mini Buggy Design/Build "Divergent"
    #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdkw1 View Post
    Locals LOL.........

    So, where do you plan on driving this? Seriously, anyplace local that's worth it?
    Not that many places but there is the KS Rocks ORV park and dunes in Oklahoma. I think we can scare up some decent forest trails too with a little looking.
    ~Mikah B.
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    Re: My Semi-Mini Buggy Design/Build "Divergent"
    #10
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    Looking froward to seeing it progress.

    Cheers.
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