Thread: Panther rebuild

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    Panther rebuild
    #1
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    Hello everyone! I'm back after much life has happened; married, new job, shoulder surgery, new house and addition/remodel...

    Picked up a Panther that was originally equipped with semi-trailing arms, 1" keyed stubs, 8" rims, 22" rear tires, and CV axles. Original CV's are missing.
    Previous owner screwed it mainly by:
    Cut off original rear suspension, lengthened wheelbase 18" over plans, Honda VFR800 motor, A-arms, custom carriers, Intrepid hubs, 12" rims that bolt directly to hubs, 25x10x12" tires, and 930 center section (sloppily installed). 10” Fox airs 2.0 in rear.
    The reason for the previous owner's butcher was to poorly fit the VFR800 motor. I picked up a complete 99 KLR650 with a new top end for it instead.
    Trying to figure out if chassis can be made to handle VR800 power/weight or go KLR650 instead. Also deciding what rear suspension and driveline once motor choice is made. I'd love to use the 25" tires, 930 CV's, and Intrepid hubs and uprights that I have, but will it be slow due to driveline weight if using KLR motor? I also have the 1" keyed stubs, hubs, original swing arms and bearings and 22 tires as an option, but may be a bit light-duty? Opinions? Just picked up 29”r14 bighorns for 4x100 or 4x156 hub/driveline options also (maybe use Civic hubs?).
    Will be geared for trail riding; maybe 60-65mph max if KLR650 powered; unless the VFR800 is a good candidate for this, then I'd be adding front brakes, etc.
    I'd like to get 10"+ rear travel if it doesn't cost big $.

    PS. Rollcage will be re-done and I have mods planned for front-end upgrades as well, but have to figure out the rear first.
    First 2 pics are as purchased; design, geometry, and welds all wrong.
    IMG_5248.jpgIMG_5246.jpg
    This is how long the wheelbase is in the plans (mocked up with the 25" tires on rear).
    IMG_5378.jpg
    The 12" rim with 25" tire and Intrepid hub inside with fabbed carrier.
    IMG_5374.jpg
    Part of the original swingarm and 1" stub axle (probably shouldn't use these due to shearing the small key?).
    IMG_5380.jpg
    Last edited by Calibuggy; 05-09-2021 at 01:31 PM.
    Dune 500
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    Desert kart "Panther" build
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    Re: Panther rebuild
    #2
    Duck in a Tux jimmyg's Avatar
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    Welcome back. Congratulations on the marriage and job. Sorry to hear about the shoulder.

    Have you driven it as is? What was it like?
    All dressed up and waiting for the beer to arrive.
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    Re: Panther rebuild
    #3
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    Thanks! Shoulder is doing well after surgery.

    Purchased as a project so I haven't driven it. By looking at it; I wouldn't drive it faster than 20mph in it's current state (bad welds, potential CV bind due to bad suspension design, etc).
    Dune 500
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    Re: Panther rebuild
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    Senior Member darwinpayne2000's Avatar
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    My brother-in-law has a Panther. He modified the plans and made it into a 2-seater. Fortunately, he's fairly proficient at buggy building and did an excellent job adapting the plans. He's running a motorcycle engine, maybe 800cc, that puts out 100+ horsepower. It's been holding together very well. He's using the VW Type 2 CV joints from Dan's Performance Parts that have additional travel. I don't recall what he's using as rear spindles. Probably the same as what the plans called for.

    Good luck on rebuilding your buggy.
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    Re: Panther rebuild
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    That's sweet. I'll hang onto the VFR800 motor for now then.

    Anyone have an opinion on building H-arms vs re-attaching the stock semi-trailing arms?

    Have any pics of that other Panther?
    Dune 500
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    Re: Panther rebuild
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    Senior Member darwinpayne2000's Avatar
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    If you're going with VW or Porsche CV axles, then you may want to stick to the original semi-trailing arms. From what I remember, Greg (I think that was his name) worked out the geometry of the Panther trailing arms to minimize plunge. Not a lot of plunge in a VW CV axle. The Shredder II plans, which I used as a template for my buggy, has the H-style trailing arms. The Shredder plans use a dual-chain setup, but the guys who used CV axles in their build used Chevy S-10 CV axles and Dodge Intrepid hubs.

    I don't have any pictures of my brother-in-law's buggy. Also, unfortunately, he's kind of an ex brother-in-law. I did see him and his buggy this weekend at the sand dunes, but that was the first time in quite a few months.

    Do you have a set of Panther plans?
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    Re: Panther rebuild
    #7
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    Good to know. The trailing arms that I have appear to be in decent shape; although they have a tube carrier and a pair of 1" ID 2" OD bearings w/crush sleeve, w/1" keyed stubs with an unknown CV pattern; 70mm across holes and unknown CV OD as they are missing. VW CV's are appealing and look much lighter weight than a 930 setup; although I have 1/2 the 930 parts already. Sorry to hear about the Ex.

    I don't have the plans as I purchased the chassis used. It appears their website is out of order.

    PS. It's been a while since I've been on MBN but is there a trick to seeing older posts' photos? Many don't appear.
    Dune 500
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    Re: Panther rebuild
    #8
    Keeper of the Asylum K-fab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calibuggy View Post
    PS. It's been a while since I've been on MBN but is there a trick to seeing older posts' photos? Many don't appear.
    No, it’s an issue with Photobucket and the last upgrade. Wiped out links to photos that are no longer accessible.
    Sand is for fast cars
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    Re: Panther rebuild
    #9
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    Oh man, that stinks...
    Nice to "see" you again Kfab. =)

    Opinions on Type 2 CV joints/axles with rear suspension width built to use stock off the shelf length bus axles (18.75"-ish) and Type 1 conversion CV flanges on center section with Type 1-Type 2 conversion stubs at wheels with "standard" Type 1 IRS wheel bearings and bearing carrier (possibly use my stock length trailing arms), and buy a pair of 4-lug Type 1 drums, and turn the bell off to create a splined semi-light wheel flange and have machine shop drill/tap 4x110 pattern to use common 12-14" ATV or UTV rims?
    If stock Bus axles are too long I could always cut them shorter and sleeve weld back together and carry a spare in the truck.
    Last edited by Calibuggy; 05-11-2021 at 01:42 PM.
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    Re: Panther rebuild
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    Senior Member darwinpayne2000's Avatar
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    What you're describing is basically how I started to build out the rear driveline for my two-seater buggy.

    I started with a set of Type 1 CV axles. I wanted to keep the width of the buggy as narrow as possible, so I didn't use the longer Type 2 axles. However, I ordered a set of Type 2 long-travel CV joints to use on the axles. I mated the axles to a VW differential and the Type 2 axle stubs. The wheel flange was just as you described: the 4-lug drums with the bell housing removed. I used some geometry/trigonometry to figure out how to drill a 4x110 bolt pattern on the wheel flanges. The bearings were a pair of metric flange bearings holding each side of the stub axle. The overall design was a three-link suspension.

    It worked out well. Very strong design. However, I realized that I didn't really have a need for a two-seater buggy and I decided to revamp my single-seater with a new engine, etc.

    The neighbor kid bought the project from me and I can probably snap a couple of pictures if you want to see what I did.

    Edit: I looked on my computer and I still have an electronic copy of the Desertkart Panther plans. Send me a PM with your email address and I will send you a copy. If you have a Panther, then you should also have a copy of the plans.
    Last edited by darwinpayne2000; 05-11-2021 at 04:45 PM.
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