View Full Version : FWD drivetrain ATV

11-03-2010, 09:59 PM
So, I originally posted this in a different forum.

I really like this...:drool5:

It is a VW powered critter. Looks like it heavily uses dune buggy parts, and has a lawn tractor seat. But it sure looks like fun, if not a handful...

So, I like this, and have some thoughts to make it different...

I used to be heavily involved with the Chrysler turbo cars of the 80s and by extension, my 87 Grand Caravan is still at the top of my list for cars I wish I'd kept... I used to have a 88 Dodge Daytona Shelby Z, that I parted out and kept the 174HP turbo motor and transmission to use for a rockcrawler buggy. But, I got laid off, and then moved to Utah, so I sold EVERYTHING related to that project. Then someone sent me pics of a buggy with FWD drivetrain in the rear...
There are quite a few things I would do different with this buggy if it were mine. But its not...

And with all that, I wonder if I can't make a large ATV out of a minivan drivetrain and some modified truck parts. I like the idea of that first pic. But perhaps something a bit longer, seating for 2 real sized people. Place the radiator and fans behind the motor and have some sort of rack system to carry coolers and camping gear. Here in Utah, in some rural counties, ATVs can be used on the street as long as they have proper lighting and DOT approved tires. Perhaps, with my considerable stash of Jeep wheels I can use some 235/75-15 offroadable tires. Rear suspension would be more like a Jeep Liberty IFS front suspension, and the front could be slightly modified Ford Ranger/Explorer IFS setup. Battery and fuel tank could go under the seats. With a real alternator and electrical system, plenty of lighting would be easy. And incorporate a 2" receiver hitch into the rear to pull small trailers if needed, or maybe a removable wheelie bar, since with 140 or so horsepower, and less than 1000 pounds weight, I imagine the front could get light pretty easily.

Just a designing thought process, and some beer enhanced bench racing.:idea2:

I figure I might start with a dead ATV chassis primarily for the steering head and main backbone section. I can build the rest from 1" and 1.5" tubing. Not sure whether to use automotive/truck suspension parts or fab parts myself. I'm a Jeep guy, have a welder and various tools of destruction. So, as mentioned, so far just a mental curiousity. Yes, I'm a nutjob... But one of these days, I ought to start gathering parts...

But first, total knee replacement next Monday, when I get healthy enough to get back in the garage, I'm rehabbing a 1963 Tote Gote Model 600 with a HF 6.5 HP clone... Work will continue on my Ford Ranger project clutch issues, then if I have parts, I can work towards the ATV...

Doc Sprocket
11-05-2010, 05:04 PM
Not an unheard of idea, but with all that's involved I think I'd be more inclined to build something that is more buggy and less quad. (sit in, steering wheel etc.)
That said, it's your build. Good luck with the knee thing, here's to a speedy recovery...
...so you can start this build!

11-05-2010, 06:20 PM
Welcome fellow nutjob, you landed in the right place! I love the look of that critter but a cage would be nice with that much power it can't be too tough to flip. That pickup next to it is awesome, the external roll cage is unique. But the Wrangler in the back stole my attention, I love Jeeps. Especially the old Willys ones.

11-06-2010, 12:07 AM
Thanks folks... I've considered a buggy, but the uniqueness of the ATV keeps me thinking along that line. I had once gathered parts to use a turbocharged FWD drivetrain in a sandrail chassis, but as a 4x4 rock crawler, using the transaxle as both transmission and transfer case. But I got laid off work and sold almost everything. The rest I sold a few months later moving to Utah following a new job.

I have little doubt I could pull this off. I've done frame off stuff before, and rebuilt engines and transmissions. I'm hoping to keep almost all of the weight about hub level or so, to aid stability. I'm not really wild offroad anymore, and with a passenger, I'd be more sedate. Also, since the engine will effectively be in front of the plane of the rear axle, it shouldn't be real butt heavy. Basically, with all the weight pretty low, and all the weight between the axles, it ought to be pretty stable.

Something I hadn't fully considered originally though. Speed. This thing with automotive power will also be capable of highway speeds and better. It would be pretty simple to alter plans and make a side by side UTV, or go ahead and make it a real buggy... Maybe I could build it with a removable rollcage and sill keep the seating in tandem. Would look funny, I'm sure.

As a Jeep guy, and being into some mild rock crawling, I know some folks with the "EXO"cage for their rigs. Not real practical for daily driven rigs, but I do know there are a few. Old Willy's trucks are cool. My Ranger project very nearly wound up with a 53 Willy's truck cab and bed on it. The original cab had severe rust issues, but otherwise ran fantastic... When the Willy's cab deal didn't pan out, we replaced it with another Ranger cab. NOT from the same generation... My daughter needed a car, so I rescued a Jeep Cherokee from salvage. For the most part, the truck was solid, but did require a bit of work to be roadworthy. When she didn't wreck it or damage it after a year, I had some friends come over and we painted it in the garage. John Deere Yellow tractor paint. And then the Ranger got some Moss Green camp type paint as well. All the paint and supplys, and pizza and beer for my buds, was less than $100...
Ranger still isn't finished, and the Cherokee is still taking care of my daughter away at college, 4 hours from home.

Bought this 94 Ford Explorer for $350 with a dead transmission, rebuilt it myself for about $400 in parts. Gave it to my son for his 21st birthday. A year and a half later, that trans has almost 20,000 miles on it...:wai: When the trans dies again, we'll swap a 5 speed manual in its place.

I'm not as close to the truck to the left as this photo suggests... Yes, my Jeep. These pics are just to show I have a decent idea how to use tools... :2guns::2guns::2guns:

Thanks for the well wishing on the knee. Something I can't fix myself!!!:surrender:

Doc Sprocket
11-06-2010, 07:31 AM
FWD drivetrain in a sandrail chassis, but as a 4x4 rock crawler, using the transaxle as both transmission and transfer case.

Mounted longitudinally, right? I've thought about that too. Is there a better way to eliminate the transaxle's differential than welding, or is that the only way to go?

I know it's been done, but I always did think it was a very functional concept. In fact, a guy came on here some months ago looking for project inspiration, and that's what I suggested to him. Wonder how he made out? http://www.diygokarts.com/vb/showthread.php?t=8264

Anyhow, looks like you're definately the right guy for the job! I certainly hope you stick around and keep us posted!

11-06-2010, 10:36 AM
Yeah, longitudinally. I got my inspiration for that project off Pirate4x4 watching some of the Honda drivetrain buggies getting built. I had a 88 Dodge Daytona Shelby Z that I was parting out and figured that 175HP motor and 5 speed transaxle could manage... I was going to use a Toyota IFS front because I needed a really short front driveshaft, and the one I snagged was free. I had a rear axle from a Nissan pickup so I had matching bolt patterns. What I really didn't have at the time was the skill to pull it off, nor the tools. But I was ready to dig into it big time. As time has passed I realize some of the major flaws in my plan that I wouldn't have known how to figure out. And I didn't have the cadre of friends then, that I do now. Then I got laid off, and was out of work for three months. I managed to sell off everything but the drivetrain. When the company I started working for offered me a position in Utah a few months later I jumped. NOW I have everything I need, and access to tubing benders as well. All I need now is money and parts! I have made some great friends here, and all are seriously competent with fabrication. So what I can't do, I know someone that can teach me. NOT do it for me. *IF* I can gather what I need, I hope I can get this one built. But plenty of other projects (and healing) ahead first. Especially that Tote Gote...

11-06-2010, 11:10 PM
That VW quad is very cool, I think I have all the parts I need to build something like that.

Oh sh!t, yet another project. :D



11-06-2010, 11:17 PM
it sounds like just building a custom chassis for a car. not hard, i mean just kidding.