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Old 03-04-2009, 05:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Buggy as an expedition vehicle?

What are your thoughts on building a street legal buggy for expedition use (wouldn't leave the USA)? I would think you could build in redundancy and commonality (ie using 9 inch third members front and rear, same hubs on all corners, etc) and make things easier to repair. You could pretty much build it however you would like so it would be a perfect fit for you, plus it would be cool. What do you guys think about it?
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Old 03-04-2009, 06:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Really depends on what your definition of "expedition vehicle" is. Looking at pictures in this forum, "expedition" means anything from multi-week, totally independant travel in remote areas and a self contained vehicle to do so to the mall-crawler SUV that someone takes camping for the weekend.

I'd say the buggy's issues would be storage space for supplies and equipment - especially if you were looking at any security for things.
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Old 03-04-2009, 07:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Really depends on what your definition of "expedition vehicle" is. Looking at pictures in this forum, "expedition" means anything from multi-week, totally independant travel in remote areas and a self contained vehicle to do so to the mall-crawler SUV that someone takes camping for the weekend.

I'd say the buggy's issues would be storage space for supplies and equipment - especially if you were looking at any security for things.

I see the same issue, security. After we set up camp we like to go hiking, sometimes even overnight, and I feel somewhat safer with a lockable vehicle that has secure storage built in. Even if we're camped out in BFE or have to stop in a town for resupply overnight, I like that lockable storage.

I also agree that some of the ideas of "expo" are umm interesting.
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Old 03-04-2009, 07:31 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't see why you wouldn't be able to have skins (maybe bonded composite panels) and primitive door locks to keep people out. Also, my idea of an 'expedition vehicle' would be something to go out in BFE for a week or so. The thing about a buggy is it would be like a canoe, real simple, just something to get you there and back, not a lot of built in crap (just more stuff to break).
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Old 03-04-2009, 08:41 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Really depends on what your definition of "expedition vehicle" is. Looking at pictures in this forum, "expedition" means anything from multi-week, totally independant travel in remote areas and a self contained vehicle to do so to the mall-crawler SUV that someone takes camping for the weekend.
.
What about mall-crawler SUV's that we take on multi-week, partially independent travel to remote-but-domestic areas?

The biggest problem I'd see with a buggy is that in the US no matter where you're going, you're going to spend a lot of time on the highway whether you like it or not. That is specifically why I use a "mall crawler" - there are practically no places you can possibly go in the continental US that require 40+ gallons of fuel between Chevron stations, 3+ days between showers, etc... but there are countless miles you have to spend getting where you're going in blistering heat, numbing cold, and generally boring asphalt. You're going to get worn out and frustrated after just 2 or 3 hundred miles on the highway in any primitive buggy, no matter how badass it is on the trails.

Not to mention, nearly any scenic trail that goes anywhere can be done in a reasonably aggressive, stock mall crawler. As a meaningless benchmark example, several mildly modified subarus have buzzed through the rubicon without incident, and for a while in the late 90s a dozen or so nearly stock monteros were running the rubicon annually, with only minor failures reported. Sure, there are tougher trails out there - but are you rock crawling or touring?

Anyway I'm not trying to talk you out of building a specialized rig, hell that's badass! But my experience tells me that comfort on the highway is important to safety and to having a good trip - you're going to want your expedition buggy to have heat, a/c, and road manners.
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Old 03-04-2009, 12:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Driving in a buggy, in the rain, would suck...
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Old 03-04-2009, 12:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Not to mention that in a lot of states, a true "buggy" would not be legal. You would have to have a windshield, wipers, signals, full exhaust and all sorts of other things that would make it a hell of a lot easier to just go buy a used SUV or Jeep and put some tires on it and go. I can't really see where a buggy would be practical nor economical.
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Old 03-04-2009, 03:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You could tow a small trailer behind the buggy for extra storage with a fold open tent. It would be lockable for security and when you leave it at camp put a tongue lock on it to stop someone from stealing it.

Check out the fun buggy build by Fred Williams, I think it's in Petersons 4wheel and Offroad. It's street legal.
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Old 03-05-2009, 02:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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After doing a 1000 miles on a desert road in a relatively comfortable and stock landcruiser,the last thing I would want to do it in would be a stripped down buggy.

My mechanic used to supply landcruisers to cattle stations for their workers to go out and check bores,windmills and fences.
The cattle station thought it might be cheaper to use buggies built out of bits and pieces.
Surprise surprise,the workers wouldnt use them after one trip.
Seems they couldnt handle sitting in 100 degree heat with the sun on their heads for 3-4 days.
Who can blame them
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Old 03-05-2009, 03:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Seems they couldnt handle sitting in 100 degree heat with the sun on their heads for 3-4 days.
Who can blame them
werd... but I'd say this proves evolution is real. For example, all of the Americans who pioneered the West during the 1700's clearly had balls 500% larger than ours and made from cast iron... I don't suppose very many of their wagons had a/c or XM or power steering
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Old 03-05-2009, 09:01 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Personally I think it's an awesome idea and i'm not the only one...




A traditional expedition has to worry about weeks of supplies and wheeling is kept relatively mild for obvious reasons. This is America we have to many people, rules and roads to do that which sucks but we do have a ton of great hardcore trails/areas. An American version of an expo IMO would be something like Petersons 4-wheel drives "Ultimate Adventure". Go hit up a hardcore spot, wheel camp party, and then take the most back woods way possible to next area and repeat. Add the luxury of windshield/doors AC, heat, radio to make the buggy comfy. Or don't put that shit on there because some how the motorcycle dudes seem to handle the elements even if the rest of these guys can't imagine it
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Old 03-05-2009, 11:12 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Add the luxury of windshield/doors AC, heat, radio to make the buggy comfy. Or don't put that shit on there because some how the motorcycle dudes seem to handle the elements even if the rest of these guys can't imagine it
As a motorcycle dude, a full-face helmet and jacket or open face+ goggles are my windshield and heat. Keeping moving is my AC.

I still like having windshield and climate control in my overland vehicle.
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Old 03-06-2009, 12:14 AM   #13 (permalink)
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That's an interesting buggy build for sure but I shudder to think what I would look and feel like after a week or more behind the wheel of that thing. I also wonder if the fact that it is a buggy wouldn't tempt most drivers to take risks that an driver of a more standard expo vehicle wouldn't in order to preserve the vehicle in order to make it home.
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Old 03-06-2009, 04:14 AM   #14 (permalink)
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If you can't stand the heat outside, why even go out to the middle of the desert in the first place? Would you just stay in your truck with the A/C running. Also, don't limit 'buggy' to typical small bodied rockcrawlers. It could be built as wide or big as you want with as much interior room as you want, insulation and A/C wouldn't be a problem.

I hate new cars anyways so I'm not used to all the plush amenities (heated seats / tilt steering, etc). Also have of the fun would be just building the buggy in the first place.
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Old 03-06-2009, 04:18 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Built it then. If nothing else, this forum here on Pirate has proved that everyone has a different idea about what makes an expedition vehicle. From the silly to the exotic down to the outright stupid, they all seem to be represented here somewhere. So build it and prove us wrong and have a great time doing it!
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Old 03-06-2009, 08:04 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Built it then. If nothing else, this forum here on Pirate has proved that everyone has a different idea about what makes an expedition vehicle. From the silly to the exotic down to the outright stupid, they all seem to be represented here somewhere. So build it and prove us wrong and have a great time doing it!
I'm going to have to agree wit hthis post - reluctantly.

I think one of the major criteria of a true "expedition vehicle" would be a greater than normal range of travel between fuel stops.
So, when you build an expo buggy, make sure to add a HUGE tank to it, because I'm thinking it will be lacking in the aerodynamics department.
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Old 03-06-2009, 08:14 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Like this?

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Old 03-06-2009, 08:48 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Like this?
Those look about 40-50 gallons each I'd guess?
Should be good with those two.
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Old 03-06-2009, 10:47 AM   #19 (permalink)
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If you can't stand the heat outside, why even go out to the middle of the desert in the first place? Would you just stay in your truck with the A/C running. Also, don't limit 'buggy' to typical small bodied rockcrawlers. It could be built as wide or big as you want with as much interior room as you want, insulation and A/C wouldn't be a problem.

I hate new cars anyways so I'm not used to all the plush amenities (heated seats / tilt steering, etc). Also have of the fun would be just building the buggy in the first place.
Sounds like you already made your mind up, why'd you ask us for opinions? I gave you mine honestly, and stand by every word of it without debate.

If doing without luxury is so cool, why are you here web wheeling on a computer when you could be outside welding with 2 nails and a car battery? Drum brakes and carburetors are nostalgic, not better.

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Built it then. If nothing else, this forum here on Pirate has proved that everyone has a different idea about what makes an expedition vehicle. From the silly to the exotic down to the outright stupid, they all seem to be represented here somewhere. So build it and prove us wrong and have a great time doing it!
Werd. You know what you want, build it. Just don't be surprised if you get advice when you ask for it.
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Old 03-06-2009, 11:19 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Sorry, I didn't mean to give off an aura that I wasn't listening to your advice. Sometimes I tend to drone on and can be scatter-brained. I am far from making up my mind, but it is sounding like a buggy wouldn't be a wise choice. And you are right I should cut the web-wheeling and start producing something.
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Old 03-14-2009, 11:09 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Jeebus, this is Pirate. We all know that no matter what the project is, a BIG pile of tubing is the best thing to start with. Seriously. Build whatever the fuck you want/need and it will end up mo' betta than anything you could buy. I decided to build on a truck chassis because I want to get this project out of the shop and on the road ASAP, but given the time/choice, I would have stripped a Deuce down to the framerails and running gear and built-up from there. Enclosed space, comfort, storage, security, whatever. What's the problem?
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Old 04-05-2009, 07:42 PM   #22 (permalink)
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2006 baja 1000 Bart Dixon and I went 10 days down the Baja pennisula in Rock crawlers. ( Buggies) We cheated and had a chase truck that hauled a majority of the food and gear ( plus the cook) and met us each night with dinner ready. We hop scotched down between towns and stayed at a bunch of different places that we made reservations at before hand.

It was by far the best offroad experience I ever had and completly changed my habits regarding offroading. The bUggies did great on every thing we drove them on including large sections of hiway.( baja Hiways, but paved none the less).

Crawl magazine did an extensive feature on the adventure, caled Baja Libre or something of that nature. Buggies could make for some great adventures long distance, but I have to say, I sold the buggy with getting into a street legal car again after 15 years. Places like Moab are great in a buggy, but its just too big of a hassle to deal with the cops. I had a california license plate and insurance. The only issue was mud flaps and tire coverage and I got pulled over ever day I was last in Moab. All kinds of full bodied cars had the same issue as me and drove right on by.

A full bodied car just seems the better choice based on my experience. My next one will be very exotic, but look like a regular production based rig just for the sake of driving on the streets.

I love lurking in this forum. Thanks for the great stuff guys.
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:02 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I must say that while in Baja I get jealous of all the buggies running around. It looks so care free to just jump in a VW based buggy and ride off into the desert!
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:55 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I think the hot ticket would be to build a buggy type vehicle out of the truck cab of your choice. You would have a locking/enclosed interior space, it would look like a production vehicle (to some extent), and you could use any parts you like and place them nearly anywhere you like to improve functionality or serviceability.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:12 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I think buggies are cool for many uses, with the right roof rack, you can haul just about anything. The real question is what do you want it to do, wheel travel on and offroad manners, conveniences, accessories etc... Buggies probably perform the best on extreme offroad conditions, but expeditions should be considered in their entirety. What is the overall goal, and then figure out the best equipement to achieve that goal. Either by modifying a mall-crawler or building a buggy, I would consider the desired result, and work backwards.
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