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Old 09-12-2011, 11:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Project: Fireant

I have been wanting to build a new buggy for a while. Well I finally graduated and found a job so it is time to start construction.

My plan is to build a small, light, fully independent rig that is really fun to play in but doesn't fill the same role as my lsx powered buggy on 42s. Basically a really fun offroad gocart that I can beat on without a large $$$$ investment.

Specs:
109.5" long x 64-66" wide x 64" tall
1500cc of toyota fury with a 5 speed transaxle
BMW 3 series Diffs
86" wheelbase
33" tires
Hoping for 16" of travel, but it is all up to the shafts
2 Seater so I can play with friends
Room for a turbo upgrade as money permits
Also hoping for $2k budget without shocks. I still haven't decided on shocks so I don't have them in my budget yet.

The project started over Labor Day weekend when the local you pull yard had a 1/2 off sale. Picked up the motor, wiring, ecu, and transaxle for $370 including core. I could have done better, but it was there and the timing was right.

Then a quick 5'x9' chassis table was built and the fun began.
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Old 09-12-2011, 02:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Looks like fun.
I think an Australian made a "Fireant" buggy.
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Old 09-12-2011, 02:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I thought you may be recreating this thing

Good luck with your build.
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Can't wait to see this thing come together.

that pic of the Currie jeep was from the ARCA days!
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Old 09-12-2011, 07:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks, I didn't realize there was a fireant rig. Should have known... I named it that because I am allergic to the things and this one is going to come back and bite me in the ass.

Got some more work in on it today. Got the rear diff mounted up. Then set the motor in and started changing the plan. Since I am using two rear differentials I had planned on flipping the front. With so little room to work with, I decided to flip the motor around and flip the rear diff. This offset the motor and opened up a good 5 inches or more of passenger compartment. It does put the rear diff on the coast side, and I will have to figure out the pinion oiling but I can fit in it now.

The new motor layout leaves plenty of space for a rear driveshaft. I think I might even just cut down the CV shaft and mate it to a BMW driveshaft to link the two. The CV cup on the motor has plenty of travel so I wouldn't need to incorporate a slip.

Of course the new motor location doesn't come without any issues. The rear cross bar had to include a way to get around the distributor. I am 6'6" tall so I need all the room I can get. I will have to put a little bubble in the firewall to close it up.
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Old 09-12-2011, 08:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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$2k budget? this should be interesting...
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Old 09-12-2011, 08:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Before you get too far, you might want to verify your diff flipping. If the driveshafts turn counterclockwise when in drive (when viewed from the back of the buggy)you won't need to flip the diffs. If they turn clockwise, you'll have to flip them. You have to flip both or leave them both normal to get them to turn the right way regardless of whether you use two rears or a front and rear.

Cool buggy concept. light and cheap with junkyard parts
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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IIRC, the original FireAnt ended up in France a few years back. Someone (Jean Luc I believe) picked it up for use in Eurotrial type events.

Looking forward to your budget build...the 3 series axles are interesting for sure...keep the pics comin!

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Old 09-13-2011, 06:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Before you get too far, you might want to verify your diff flipping.
I have been through the diff flipping about 6 times, and still check it every once in a while just to make sure I didn't get it wrong. The CV side of the motor was the original back. When I spin the CV in front of the rear diff "forwards" it spins the rear pinion the correct direction. I am sure I will check it a few more times though.

So far I am close to my budget.

Motor, trans, harness, ecu $370 -- still have to return core
Steel -- tubing, plate, links $250 -- still need aluminum for rear links
Diffs, Shafts, Unit Bearings $265 -- The shafts aren't what I want, but RCV is not in my budget....yet (Got lucky with a limited slip for the front. Rear will be welded up)

So total so far is $885

Left to go,
Seats $485
Fuel Cell $35-160 depending on what I get
Tires and Wheels - Planning on used so around $3-400
Hiems $200
Body Panels $100
Brakes $100 -- might have a hook up on some free take offs to get this to 0
Steering $50 -- leaving out power steering for now, just a simple rack but the knuckles are designed for 0 scrub on the 33's.

So another 1260 or so. Totals to $2145 but that is without horse trading and rumaging the parts bin for anything crazy. I made sure to take advantage of the 50% at the junkyard so I have the fuel pump, fuse block, wiring, grommets, relays, random lines, misc other crap that nickles and dimes me to death.

$2000 without shocks is probably unrealistic, but if I don't set a budget I won't know when I break it. Honestly I will be super happy if I can pull it in under $4k, but I am shooting for 3k with shocks.

Last edited by DownNDirty; 09-13-2011 at 06:42 AM.
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Old 09-13-2011, 06:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Looking forward to your budget build...the 3 series axles are interesting for sure...keep the pics comin!
I am curious as to how they hold up. They were the only thing I could track down with a 2.92 ratio! This lets me have a theoretical top speed around 60-65 on the rev limiter. I know that my friends in the BMW world put some serious power to these things but they all switch to the 4.10 or 3.73 ratio for better acceleration out of the corners.
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Old 09-13-2011, 03:22 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Did you not get the obligatory ..." is it right hand drive" question...

Dig these uber cheap and creative builds..

Jeff
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Old 09-13-2011, 06:09 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I always like seeing the campfire conversation come to life!!
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Old 09-13-2011, 08:32 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Looking forward to watching this one come to life.
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Old 09-13-2011, 09:29 PM   #14 (permalink)
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definitely watching this, i kicked around using a 7" diff from an older subaru and did some research on LSDs and such. Seemed many people wanted to trade them for the larger diffs in order to use bigger tires and/or more power. Its been a while back, but I like the idea of a small light car diff and independent suspension front and rear.

I dont think it will be too long before we see people building decent quality side by side type rigs in their garages and kind of surprised I have not seen it on here already.
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Old 09-14-2011, 06:51 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I dont think it will be too long before we see people building decent quality side by side type rigs in their garages and kind of surprised I have not seen it on here already.
Maybe I will start a trend, . The idea here is a grown up version. This should be about the same envelope size as the 900xp but hoping to squeeze more travel, bigger tires, and about double the HP out of it.

Not really a lot of progress to show today. Trying to get the motor harness sorted out and the motor to fire up. This is not quite the same as wiring up a lsx motor. I am actually having to weed through alldata diagrams to figure out what in the world I am doing. This motor actually came with a computer that monitors the motor speed versus the AC compressor speed and will disable the AC if the two are dramatically different. WTF! Right now it appears as though there is no ground being pulled on the coil and thus no spark. I am not sure if I have a wire unhooked, a missing ground, or if my ignitor box is toast. Hopefully I can sort it out pretty quick. Only 2 weeks left on the warranty for the motor.

Things are also slowed down as I am trying to put a new fuel system, exhaust, and front driveshaft in my other rig for a trip this weekend. If anyone knows these tiny little motors I would love to ask a few questions. I will say that the economy of something this small is really starting to show. I changed the oil in it and the entire setup cost $12. Filter and all 3.5 quarts of oil. Really puts the $100 tow rig changes into perspective. I started sorting out the fuel system and the return line on the rail is a 1/4" setup. Guess I won't need to throw a big pump on there. I also picked up the aluminum for the rear camber control links. $15 added into my budget.


edit: Safety wise I know the electrical boxes should be closed up. I am borrowing a friends chassis table and he is still building the shop. A little more plumbing and the inspector comes out and it can all be closed up. I am sure we aren't supposed to be in there working but from the pics I am sure you can see there are quite a few projects already going on. I know he is ready to kick me off the table so he can start his new chassis.

Last edited by DownNDirty; 09-14-2011 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 09-14-2011, 07:00 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Did you not get the obligatory ..." is it right hand drive" question...

Dig these uber cheap and creative builds..

Jeff
Jeff, it was going to be right hand drive, but due to the motor location I had to go normal on this one. My big butt just wouldn't fit on the right side. The drivers seat will be able to go back 3 inches further than the passenger due to the motor layout and keeping such a short chassis. I really wanted to build it 101" front to back so I could put it on the trailer sideways and pull the tires. It would have allowed me to fit more rigs on the trailer and thus saved by splitting gas more ways. However I got stuck with a motor and trans that was 300cc bigger than what I wanted and believe it or not, that made a significant packaging difference.
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Old 09-15-2011, 06:04 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I couldn't help myself and had to contiue working. Stupid addictions. I can't seem to get enough of working on this thing yet!

Got the main rear tube work done, added the A,B, and C pillars, and added in the rear camber plate. Motor still doesn't run, but I am going to figure that out.

The existing upper cage structure looks really tall, but there are more bars going in to close it up and build the window line. The plan is to close it down to a 24"x24" window so I can use factory nets and not have to have them custom ordered. I have to save money where I can, and I am trying to build this thing as safe as possible. Even though it is going to be small, light, and cheap it will be going 50-60 and if I yardsale I want to make sure that myself and my passenger are safe. One place I will gladly blow the budget is safety gear, hince why the seats are 25% of my budget.

The rear suspension is going to be a semi-trailing arm setup with two camber control links. These links will let me adjust the camber as I see fit and also have it change throughout the range of travel. The mount for the control links is integrated into the chassis. All 1/8" plate with plenty of room for the heims and misalignment spacers between them. I will probably end up doubling up the steel at the bolt hole to increase the surface area for the bolt, but for now the 1/8" seems to be plenty beefy.

The rear tube closed up nicely. In reality I could have stretched the back so that ended with the edge of the tires, but I am still trying to only take up a little trailer space so I can get this to the trail with my other buggy.
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Old 09-15-2011, 08:08 AM   #18 (permalink)
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looking good clippa, I'm ready to see your big ass in this little buggy haha
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Old 09-15-2011, 10:11 AM   #19 (permalink)
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looking good clippa, I'm ready to see your big ass in this little buggy haha
It's gone look like a modern day Fred flintstone. He gets stuck, just puts his feet down, head out the roof and stand up
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Old 09-15-2011, 02:52 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Looks good Clippa, I thought this build was gonna fly stealth until it was done though?
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Old 09-16-2011, 09:58 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Got the rear diff mounted up. Then set the motor in and started changing the plan. Since I am using two rear differentials I had planned on flipping the front. With so little room to work with, I decided to flip the motor around and flip the rear diff.
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I have been through the diff flipping about 6 times, and still check it every once in a while just to make sure I didn't get it wrong. The CV side of the motor was the original back. When I spin the CV in front of the rear diff "forwards" it spins the rear pinion the correct direction. I am sure I will check it a few more times though..
Did you already weld the transaxle differential yet? If not (and if it's in gear) you might want to just recheck things again. Because it sounds like you're spining one CV one direction and the other is spinning the other way, which would happen if you put the trans in gear and have an open diff... I just can't quite fathom how you could have two matching diffs, and flip just one, and get everything to work out right. But I might have just misunderstood what you wrote...

In either case, cool little project!
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Old 09-16-2011, 12:04 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Got the rear diff mounted up. Then set the motor in and started changing the plan. Since I am using two rear differentials I had planned on flipping the front. With so little room to work with, I decided to flip the motor around and flip the rear diff.
Quote:
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I have been through the diff flipping about 6 times, and still check it every once in a while just to make sure I didn't get it wrong. The CV side of the motor was the original back. When I spin the CV in front of the rear diff "forwards" it spins the rear pinion the correct direction. I am sure I will check it a few more times though..
Did you already weld the transaxle differential yet? If not (and if it's in gear) you might want to just recheck things again. Because it sounds like you're spining one CV one direction and the other is spinning the other way, which would happen if you put the trans in gear and have an open diff... I just can't quite fathom how you could have two matching diffs, and flip just one, and get everything to work out right. But I might have just misunderstood what you wrote...

In either case, cool little project!
That's how it works in the toyota world. The diffs are matching, they are the exact same from and rear. But I maybe missin the point, I just woke up.
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Old 09-18-2011, 04:50 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Even with a spending this weekend I managed to make progress. Picked up a set of used truxes mts in trade for some plasma time. Talk about helping out my budget
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Old 09-20-2011, 07:16 AM   #24 (permalink)
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you have this thing finished yet?
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:52 AM   #25 (permalink)
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You know I've had this same idea but with using the front and rear diff out of the newer (third gen) Explorer.

I'll be watching this.
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