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    Briggs and Stratton V-Twin Powered Minibuggy
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    Senior Member darwinpayne2000's Avatar
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    I’ve meant to post pictures of my minibuggy for several years, but never got around to it. Well, I finally got a “round tuit” the other day and I took some pictures to share.

    This buggy started out life as a Murray 6 hp go kart back in the early 2000’s. I bought it as a toy for my kids and they had fun with it for a little while, but they lost interest as soon as I bought a couple of ATV’s. Probably because the go kart lacked a suspension and the 6 hp engine was pretty anemic compared to the Polaris ATV’s.

    Here’s the “before” picture (borrowed from the Internet):



    As they lost interest, I started taking more of an interest in the buggy as a project. I thought it was fun to take it out on the trails and make that buggy go as fast as it would go, which wasn’t actually that fast, but it was still a load of fun.
    So, ten years, several rebuilds and (amount redacted) dollars later, you can see the “after” results below:



    I realized, as I was taking the pictures, that ten years of off-roading is starting to take a toll on the looks of the buggy, so take that into account as you peruse the pictures. Here is a full 360 degree view:












    In the next post, I’ll include more pictures showing the details of the suspension, drive system, etc and explain some of the thinking behind the design.

    More to come.
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    Re: Briggs and Stratton V-Twin Powered Minibuggy
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    Senior Member darwinpayne2000's Avatar
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    Some background:

    This buggy has gone through several iterations, so if you’re in a similar situation where your build isn’t quite what you wanted, then you’re in good company. My solution was to build, rebuild, then rebuild again. I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% satisfied with it, but it’s getting to the point where it’s “pretty good”.

    The first step was to put a front suspension on it. This was in the early 2000’s and my only build tools were a hacksaw and a mig welder borrowed from my brother-in-law. My primary source for metal was the flat steel and square tubing you could get from Home Depot, supplemented by a few pieces of tubular steel purchased from a machine shop. The Internet wasn’t quite the resource that it is today.

    That first attempt was inventive for someone who had never built a front suspension before, but it was made of too many pieces held together by bolts that rattled loose down the trails. Plus, it only had a few inches of travel and terrible bump steer, so it had to be replaced shortly after I built it.

    The second attempt was more successful. No bump steer and everything held together quite well. I kept that front-end for many years until the suspension arms gradually bent out of shape. Time for an upgrade.

    Here’s the current front suspension:








    The front suspension is cribbed from the Shredder II, with a few changes. The shocks are those el-cheapo "VW" shocks that you find on the Internet for about $80 a pair. They're actually about right for the front, dampening-wise, but they only last about 5 years. This is the second pair and when I tested them yesterday, they were pretty much shot. The front brakes are not part of the Shredder plans. That's my add-on feature. Since I'm using 8-inch rims, I had to look around to find some calipers and rotors to fit. The rotors are from a racing go kart web site and the calipers are commonly found on many go kart parts web sites.



    The rear suspension has gone through many more rebuilds. The first attempt was simply cutting the rear-end loose and turning it into a swing arm. That bounced the engine around quite a bit and I quickly came up with a different setup where the engine was mounted above a newly-rebuilt swing arm setup. After Scott at ubuilditplans released the Shredder II plans, I bought a set and used that as a basis for a dual-chain, trailing arm setup. Here's the current setup:















    The primary-to-secondary jackshaft chain is a double-wide #40 chain. I originally used a single #40 chain, but that didn't seem strong enough to handle the horsepower. Also, it had a tendency to wear out the small sprocket on the primary jackshaft. I thought about switching it to a #50 chain, but Scott at ubiliditplans pointed out that the short chain and the articulation would wear out a #50 chain pretty fast. The compromise was the dual #40 chain. The chain itself was pretty expensive, around $100 if I recall, but it was long enough to make this chain, plus a spare. Also, the dual sprockets were a kings ransom, so I took four ordinary #40 sprockets and mated them up to fit the chain.

    I also fought the rear chains coming off the sprockets (and people who have a dual-chain setup know what I'm talking about) until I came up with the sprocket guard and chain guide setup shown above. The white plastic is cut from a disc that is used on the hitch point of a fifth-wheel trailer. I figured that if it was tough enough to take the weight and the wear-and-tear of a fifth-wheel trailer, then it should hold up to my chains. The guide/spacer solved all the problems with losing chains off the sprocket.

    The swing arms have heim joints on the outside and bushings on the inside. I shamelessly stole the idea from this web site, probably from Martin, but instead of putting a bearing on the drive shaft, I'm using a large bushing that allows the drive shaft to pass through. I unbolt the top cap to remove the drive assembly. It resembles a Rube Goldberg device, but it works pretty good. I just need to grease the bushing every so often.
    Last edited by darwinpayne2000; 07-29-2016 at 12:56 PM.
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    Re: Briggs and Stratton V-Twin Powered Minibuggy
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    Senior Member darwinpayne2000's Avatar
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    One feature that is a little unique is the construction of the front A-arms. When I built my second front-end, I thought that 8 heim joints would be a little expensive for my budget, so I used a piece of DOM tubing and a long bolt to attach the A-arms to the frame. To make it work, I added a grease zerk so I could keep it lubricated.

    When I took the old suspension off, it showed very little wear and tear, so I used the same design on the new A-arms.



    The caster rarely changes once you set it up, so I made the A-arms slightly narrower than the mounting brackets and used some wide and narrow spacers to offset the upper and lower A-arms from each other. All-in-all, the front suspension works pretty good. You can steer the buggy with one hand -- and hang on for dear life with the other one!!!
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    Re: Briggs and Stratton V-Twin Powered Minibuggy
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    Intense Moderator Rat4020's Avatar
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    Your evolved buggy looks to be well proven & tested ..very well done . Thanx for posting the Picts
    Keep on enjoying it ....
    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: Briggs and Stratton V-Twin Powered Minibuggy
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    Senior Member darwinpayne2000's Avatar
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    A couple more pictures:

    I've talked about the engine on my buggy before. I have a two-seater go kart frame that's been waiting patiently for a rebuild for the past, er, umpteen years. I originally bought this V-Twin engine for the two-seater buggy.

    ubiuilditplans was offering a deal on a 14hp Briggs V-Twin engine. I don't remember the price, but it was several hundred dollars off the typical list price. I later learned that these engines were an early model version that's slightly different than later models. They had been sitting in a warehouse somewhere and they decided to clear them out, I'm assuming. Anyways, I bought this engine and a Comet 500 clutch setup. It was definitely faster and had more torque than the 10 hp Tecumseh engine that came with the two-seater buggy, but . . .

    The biggest issue was the torque converter. It was fine on flat, level ground, but it wouldn't pull that two-seater up a steep hill, even though the engine seemed to have enough torque. I talked to Scott at ubuilditplans and he kind of agreed with me that I probably needed a more robust CVT setup. He sold me the Comet Duster clutch setup.

    In the process, I had rebuilt the suspension on the single-seater go kart, so I swapped the engine and new torque converter over to this frame. Around the same time, I learned that a B&S 14 - 16 - 18 hp engine were the same block, but they had different-sized carburetors. I ordered the carburetor for the 18 hp engine, picked up a rev kit from Performance V-Twins and disabled the governor.

    Now, we're talking performance!! I could scoot down the trails much, much faster than the old stock setup. To make a long story short, I kept tweaking the engine. Scott sent me a drawing for a home-made muffler that he used in place of the stock muffler. Later, I switched to a dual exhaust setup using the home-made mufflers. I also kept upsizing the carburetor until I landed on this 34mm Mikuni.

    See pictures below:





    Yeah, it looks dirty, but that just proves that I'm out riding it all the time.

    For me this is the perfect trail buggy setup. It has enough power that you can race down the trails and take it right up to the edge of the envelope without being tempted to use more power than the trail can handle. On the dunes, however, it could use a little more "oomph". I can get around on most of the dunes, but I don't have any reserve power. Pick the wrong dune, and . . . you're stuck.

    The solution is to finish my two-seater buggy. Time and tide hasn't been kind to that project, but I've recommitted myself to finishing it this winter. I'm going with a Polaris 500 liquid-cooled snowmobile engine. I'm was trying to make it good, fast and cheap and, as every buggy builder knows, you can only pick two out of the three. We'll see which two win.
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    Re: Briggs and Stratton V-Twin Powered Minibuggy
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    Thanks for sharing!

    I bought a Manco Deuce for $1k about 10 or so years ago when my daughter was young.

    I upgraded to a 20hp Briggs and bigger tires and we drove the wheels off it! I had gotten a $1500 bonus at the time and picked up the buggy and a 5x8 trailer so at that point in time, I really had no money out of pocket.

    Fast forward to daughter is 21 now. We pulled that buggy out of the barn, I cleaned carb, replaced solenoid, bled brakes and removed governor...that thing is still the most dollar per fun toy I have ever owned!

    You have more use and fun out of yours than lots of these much more expensive projects...that's a win in my book!
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    Re: Briggs and Stratton V-Twin Powered Minibuggy
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    Senior Member darwinpayne2000's Avatar
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    One other advantage of up-scaling from a go kart to a "minibuggy" is the overall size and width. I can run my buggy on ATV trails without a problem. It's only 50 inches wide, so I clear the "52 inches max" requirements on some trails. It also loads right up with the ATV's on my trailer, since it is only a little bit wider and longer.
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    Re: Briggs and Stratton V-Twin Powered Minibuggy
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    Super Moderator Wheels's Avatar
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    Definitely cool. Thanks for sharing the history and photos.
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