Homemade dune buggy

Written by lindsay zortman
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Homemade dune buggy
Dune buggy fun (dune buggy image by Clarence Alford from Fotolia.com)

A homemade dune buggy can be a difficult task, but if you have the skills (or know someone who does) making your own dune buggy is a rewarding job that will result in a fun off-road vehicle for the whole family to enjoy. A dune buggy is simply a small vehicle with a basic body design, four wheels, an engine and brakes. Dune buggies are sometimes referred to as off-road go-karts, gearbox karts, or off-road buggies.

Skill level:
Challenging

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Things you need

  • Body Frame
  • Steering system
  • Drive axle assembly
  • Tires
  • Wheels
  • Small Engine
  • Seats
  • Seat belts
  • Suspension
  • Brakes
  • Centrifugal Clutch
  • Torque Converter

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Weld body frame together. Lay the frame design out on the ground before you begin welding. Use proper support around edges and for higher clearances. You can also purchase pre-made frames to get your dune buggy started.

  2. 2

    Attach drive axle assembly along with the tires and wheels. It may be necessary to drill into the buggy frame to properly attach the drive axle. Your drive axle will come with the appropriate sized nuts, bolts and washers. This is also the best time to install the brakes. Most assemblies will call for you to install brake pads before wheels and tires. Be sure to dip the washers in axle grease before installing them. Only hand-tighten the bolts until your dune buggy is fully assembled, then you may use a socket to fully tighten the bolts.

  3. 3

    Assemble and install the suspension system. Because this is an off-road vehicle, don't skimp on this part. Invest in a good suspension system that will support the bumps, rocks and dips that come along with off-roading fun. Your shocks are easily attached to the wheel and the body of the vehicle with nuts, bolts and washer provided by the shock manufacturer. If necessary, drill a hole into the frame of your buggy to install the suspension shocks into the area you desire.

  4. 4

    Install the engine. Unless you are planning on driving through the Sahara dessert with your dune buggy, it is not necessary to have a large car engine in your off-road buggy. Instead op for a smaller engine such as a motorcycle, lawnmower, or snowmobile engine. Properly secure your engine to the frame of your buggy using support bars. If your body frame is too wide be sure to weld your support bars into place.

  5. 5

    Connect steering system and install and clutch. Most dune buggies only have one steering wheel, but if you will be letting younger drivers take their turn you might consider installing a double wheel design. A double steering design allows a parent to help control the buggy while a child still gets the thrill of driving. Installing a steering system from scratch does involve some expert mechanical skills, so don't be afraid to bring your dune buggy to a professional to help properly align the wheels and steering column. Your steering column should connect to the front axle with the A-axle assembly which comes with most steering assembly products you can purchase on the market today. The clutch system will attach to the axle and wheels through the gear shaft provided using two bolts on each side. Make sure all parts are properly greased to provide the least amount of friction.

  6. 6

    Install the seats and seat belts. You can get creative with this step. Choose seats that fit the frame, but are also comfortable. Add a five-point harness as the seat belt to ensure the utmost safety while riding in your vehicle. On the bottom of your seats will be two metal runners which you will have to bolt to the frame of your dune buggy. Use at least three bolts on each metal runner to ensure your seats are properly attached.

  7. 7

    Paint and customise your dune buggy. Bring the kids in for this part of the fun! Use a metal primer on the frame and vehicle paint to customise your dune buggy to show your personal style. Anything goes when it comes to painting your dune buggy.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are not a trained mechanic bring those steps to a professional! Installing the engine and gas lines wrong can be extremely dangerous.

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