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Old 11-12-2018, 03:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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v8 Rock Lizard Build

EDIT: I've moved the build here: https://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/gene...ard-build.html Lots of ideas and things changed during/after this thread. I still intend to carry forward with some ideas, but the rock lizard moved forward as a more "conventional build" with some sprinkles of go fast parts and potential for racing and seemed appropriate to make a new thread.

Starting my first buggy build, and with it gonna start a build thread on Pirate instead of just browsing around.

TL;DR: Planning to build a rock lizard chassis into a 4800 car. Build plan as of this instant is: ~3500lb car, lq4/4l80 with bolt ons ~400hp, land cruiser based axles with diamond housing, np205, 37s, 16s up front, 16s with ruffstuff trailing arms out back, full hydro, etc.


Background story: I first went to KOH in 2016 and was hooked instantly. Last year I finally was in a position to try and build something I could race, and while looking around for a donor vehicle my sister rolled her 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser. That then evolved into my first race vehicle, and the most gnarly thing I had ever driven or been in (which isn't saying much). It was originally gonna be stock class, but the rules for 4600 are so annoying I said screw it and just decided to try 4500. So last summer and during my last semester of college I built essentially a stock land cruiser with a cage and some shocks.



I raced in a local BOR desert race, then raced at Trail Hero where I ended up flopping it, then raced at KOH 2018 where I rolled on the last hill of lap 1 right before main pit (competition hill I think?) and that bent my front housing and blew the front ring gear so I was out for the race. Then I did two Lucas Oil short course races over the summer. The problem with the 80 was fully loaded it was around 6000lbs, which meant to go fast it would need big horsepower and big axles, which costs big money, so the 80 ended up sitting around for a long time and I had a stock pile of racecar parts just collecting dust.




I had heard about the rock lizard chassis's from Fabn801 based out of the Salt Lake City area for a good part of this year. Well I started looking into them, and a basic chassis weld it yourself kit is $1250! $1500 for it fully welded, and the prices were going up at the end of the year since he had so much demand apparently. So I started brain storming of making a little cheap trail rig since I had all these parts, and my land cruiser gear would hold up fine to a light weight little buggy. But if I had a buggy, why not make it race legal? Not that much to do differently, and even if I don't have the money to make a seriously competitive rig I could have a blast like I did with my slow land cruiser in 4500.

Here is one of the pictures of someone's rock lizard:



Fast forward a bit, and Fabn801 drew up what he calls the "XL Rock Lizard" which uses mostly 1.75" tube. The base chassis is 1.5", which was smaller than I wanted and with a 1.75" chassis that bumps the allowable race weight to 4400lbs which gives me a lot of room for weight margin. Fast forward a bit more to last week and the 1.75" chassis kit arrived! I plan to add a lot to the chassis kit, obviously there's no front or rear bumper, tire carrier, very much bracing, etc. The rock lizard is meant as a trail crawling chassis, so it will get tweaked a lot for me to be happy with it being safe for racing.



The original plan was to run a boosted toyota 3rz since I had a wrecked tacoma I picked up for $400 and the drivetrain was still intact. My buddy had already put together a turbo kit and was gonna sell it to me, but even then that was another $1500 for the turbo setup and to at most push out 350-400hp out of the 4 banger.

Then last weekend my buddy hits me up and says he just bought a 2002 suburban and he'd sell me the engine and tranny for $1000. Well that kicked me from wanting to do a fairly cheap buggy with all parts I had lying around, to yesterday picking up a 6.0 lq4 and 4l80.



While I was also at it I picked up another TK1 sway bar for the front, and a set of Hellfire knuckles. Plus I sold some coilovers and bypasses from the 80 series and the tacoma's drivetrain, so came out ahead overall.





I'm in this slight dilemma where I want fancy stuff, but I have other stuff laying around my shop. So right now I'm kind of following my original plan of a "budget" build with the parts I have, but if there is opportunity to upgrade for not a lot (like the engine and tranny) I'll jump on it.

So right now, that means running FJ80 based axles. I have a full set of brand new RCVs and chromo Nitro full float axles, plus a ton of spares, plus two 9.5 diffs (one already geared and spooled), etc. The plan is to get a diamond housing for the front, and maybe one for the rear, that uses all stock FJ80 components and then run a 9.5 diff up front. That way I can use all the off the shelf parts I have (that I've had no luck at all selling all year), and hopefully they'll last me awhile if I'm smart.

My goal for the buggy is tops 3500lbs, preferably around 3000lbs though everyone tells me that'll be almost impossible to achieve. I'm gonna do a light rebuild on the 6.0 and some bolt ons, so shooting for around 400hp from that. Overall I'm hoping for a fairly lightweight buggy so I don't need massive horsepower or massive components to push it around, and as such hopefully the toyota gear will handle it decently.

At this point I still need full hydro, new shocks (thinking 2.5x16 up front and 3.0x16 out back), a transfer case (at this moment thinking a np205), and the axle housings. I am finishing up the cage on my buddy's 4600 4runner build, and that is leaving my shop next weekend so I should be able to start tacking the chassis together next week I'm hoping. Then fit the engine, then build the engine while I build the chassis. This is my first full tube car, and first time running hydro and trailing arms and more than 250hp, so I'm excited what happens over the next few months.

Goal is to finish by end of April/beginning of May when race season starts to kick off. Try to keep it a fairly mild and slow build relatively, but we'll see what happens.

Last edited by snivilous; 09-03-2019 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 11-12-2018, 09:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Like it . Personally I wouldnt use LC diffs with that much power. 30 spline suff is just too small

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Old 11-12-2018, 10:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The line has to be drawn. Are you comp crawlin or do you want to compete in Ultra4? The axles and weight expectations arenít going to yield results in JV.

Youíve participated once, donít cut yourself short a second time. Your timeline allows to source a more appropriate set of axles to be prepared for your next round of hammers.

I can get you in touch with northern Utah dirt riot and KOH racers
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Old 11-13-2018, 06:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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bet the lc diffs will be fine. i say run them. Can't wait to see the finished product. Now what are you doing with all the left over land cruiser stuff? I know a guy that would love to have it (me) lol.
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Old 11-13-2018, 08:22 AM   #5 (permalink)
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While I have never ran LC diffs, what is the weight savings of built LC diffs, versus a 609. If you are buying a housing any ways....

That said I like the low weight idea of all yota stuff, but you went V8, so how much trickle down effects do you want to happen. What Tcase plans do you have if you go 4l80E?
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Old 11-13-2018, 08:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Your buddy want to sell that 3rz turbo setup?
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Old 11-13-2018, 08:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johny5.0 View Post
Like it . Personally I wouldnt use LC diffs with that much power. 30 spline suff is just too small
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Originally Posted by Juicysluice View Post
The line has to be drawn. Are you comp crawlin or do you want to compete in Ultra4? The axles and weight expectations aren’t going to yield results in JV.

You’ve participated once, don’t cut yourself short a second time. Your timeline allows to source a more appropriate set of axles to be prepared for your next round of hammers.

I can get you in touch with northern Utah dirt riot and KOH racers
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bet the lc diffs will be fine. i say run them.
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Originally Posted by pennsylvaniaboy View Post
While I have never ran LC diffs, what is the weight savings of built LC diffs, versus a 609. If you are buying a housing any ways....

That said I like the low weight idea of all yota stuff, but you went V8, so how much trickle down effects do you want to happen.
The main reason to run the LC gear is I already have all of it, I would be in $2000 or so for a front and rear housing and essentially have everything else ready to rock. I'd love to build some bigger axles, but I'll only run 37 DOTs and not be super heavy, so hoping if I'm smart when crawling then everything can last a year or two. Then save up some cash, sell the axles that will be a direct swap for guys with a stock 80 series and upgrade to some bigger fabbed gear.

I'm not sure how a 609 compares, but I would have to be buying everything from hubs to the 3rd to the housing. Right now all I technically need is a front housing.

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Now what are you doing with all the left over land cruiser stuff? I know a guy that would love to have it (me) lol.
All the LC stuff I had is sold or thrown away, with the exception of a bunch of axle parts. So unless you want some semi float shafts or driveshafts I won't be using.... lol

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What Tcase plans do you have if you go 4l80E?
Already have the 4l80 that came with the lq4, right now I'm leaning towards a np205 since it's $2000+ less than an atlas.

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Your buddy want to sell that 3rz turbo setup?
Yea shoot him an email: support @ srqfabrications . com
As I recall it's everything minus an intercooler and hoses or something. Manifold, blow off, turbo, etc. and all nice shit too.

Last edited by snivilous; 11-13-2018 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 11-13-2018, 09:42 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I see a lot of extra tube in your future to be race legal for bumpers. Plus more room for a legit fuel cell, cooling package, etc. Itís a cool little chassis, but doesnít scream Ultra4 to me. I think you should have sprung for a better suited chassis for Ultra4. Not too late still.
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Old 11-13-2018, 10:46 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Cool project. 4800 is a fun class. IMO, axles are much more easily replaceable in the future than a chassis. I am interested to see how you turn the comp chassis into a race chassis because racing requires some serious space for stuff (big tranny cooler, oil cooler?, 20+ gallon cell, navigation stuff, tools, fluids, spare tire (a must in 37" DOT racing), ample head room, race-jack, spares, radio, etc, etc.).

My example; when I got my truggy project and started cutting it up to be an Ultra4 car, I had some serious limitations. One was the radiator size. I fit the biggest one I could and said "it's plenty!".... If I could do it again, I'd re-do that whole system because at full tilt I can't keep the temps down. But I just don't have the room without making significant changes to the entire front end/ chassis.

I say do it, but, racing something that wasn't initially designed to be raced has its own set of challenges. Not telling you to change plans, just maybe get your big-ass parts first and start organizing them in a mock fashion on your garage floor to assess how much chassis space you need.
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Old 11-13-2018, 10:51 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Cool project. 4800 is a fun class. IMO, axles are much more easily replaceable in the future than a chassis. I am interested to see how you turn the comp chassis into a race chassis because racing requires some serious space for stuff (big tranny cooler, oil cooler?, 20+ gallon cell, navigation stuff, tools, fluids, spare tire (a must in 37" DOT racing), ample head room, race-jack, spares, radio, etc, etc.).

My example; when I got my truggy project and started cutting it up to be an Ultra4 car, I had some serious limitations. One was the radiator size. I fit the biggest one I could and said "it's plenty!".... If I could do it again, I'd re-do that whole system because at full tilt I can't keep the temps down. But I just don't have the room without making significant changes to the entire front end/ chassis.

I say do it, but, racing something that wasn't initially designed to be raced has its own set of challenges. Not telling you to change plans, just maybe get your big-ass parts first and start organizing them in a mock fashion on your garage floor to assess how much chassis space you need.
Thanks for the advice!

This is the pile I've had set up for the last month or so. The chassis being so small and foreign to me is why I went with the welded kit to make sure everything fits well with room to work around instead of just getting a welded one and having to cut it apart. I think it'll be a fun and unique build, maybe not competitive but I'll try some stuff I haven't done before and learn a lot.

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Old 11-13-2018, 11:29 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Look forward to the build. But I'm with everyone else on the weight You should be happy if you come in under 4k ready to race. That chassis is going to fill up real fast.
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Old 11-13-2018, 02:08 PM   #12 (permalink)
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More on LC axles . I ran them with 150hp 2900lbs buggy on 39 reds rig and broke an axle almost every trip out . Sold the buggy because I got tired of fixing it .

My next build will be 609s with 05+ outters . The 05 stuff is super beef and dirts cheap.
Got 2 from scrap yard 100 each . Cut knuckles off and chucked centers
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Old 11-13-2018, 04:56 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Well it seems like the more people I talk to, the more I get convinced that Toyota axles are a horrible idea and the more I look into 609s. I'm thinking if I could actually sell all my toyota axles and parts I could afford like a spidertrax rear end, then save up for a matching front setup. Seems like if it pushes the build back even 4-6 months overall, having a more bullet proof setup that I can eventually crank more power too will be worth it, and since I don't have any housings right now it's not like this slows me down anytime soon.

I need to read up more on housings, I've always been under the impression spidertrax was one of the nicer setups and weighed less but I've never really found good direct comparisons on housing manufacturers.
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Old 11-13-2018, 06:03 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I did a trail gear 9" housing and a set of 99-04 dana 50 knuckles for the front of my 4500 car I'm building. had 550 in the housing from summitracing and 50 for the dana 50
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Old 11-13-2018, 06:10 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Well it seems like the more people I talk to, the more I get convinced that Toyota axles are a horrible idea and the more I look into 609s. I'm thinking if I could actually sell all my toyota axles and parts I could afford like a spidertrax rear end, then save up for a matching front setup. Seems like if it pushes the build back even 4-6 months overall, having a more bullet proof setup that I can eventually crank more power too will be worth it, and since I don't have any housings right now it's not like this slows me down anytime soon.

I need to read up more on housings, I've always been under the impression spidertrax was one of the nicer setups and weighed less but I've never really found good direct comparisons on housing manufacturers.
Spidertrax are nice. But don't be afraid to save some cash and get a set of TG housings. If you are truly looking to build a race car under 4,000lbs. You're going to be looking at Spidertrax knuckles, 3/8' rotors, Wilwood calipers, aluminum block motors, lighter links, smaller transfer cases .095 tubing and every other possible place to save weight. It adds up very fast.
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Old 11-14-2018, 07:08 AM   #16 (permalink)
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A BUILD thread! Hooray! .. Keep it coming!
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Old 11-19-2018, 10:04 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Time to get to work! Until I visit my folks for Thanksgiving.... Got my buddy's 4600 rolled out of the shop and moving on, so time for my own project.

Cleaned up the shop a bunch and made some room, I thought maybe I had made too much room for it until I started laying it out and realized maybe I don't have enough room.



Had a buddy come over and we cleaned the tubes with acetone and then marked all the tube junctions and tube numbers with sharpie since they're etched in normally and a bitch to see easily. It also took a lot of second guessing and moving stuff around and looking at pictures and figuring shit out to get the tubes setup right. There's no instructions with the chassis and the tube names were confusing for a few parts (like the front V brace isn't called a V brace, but the rear V brace is called a V brace, so took forever to figure out what exactly was the front V brace). But we got it laid out!



The cage on the 4600 I just did was 90% 2", and the cage I did on my 4500 last year was all 2", so this 1.75" chassis feels TINY. Very glad I got the DIY kit too, my reasoning was for safety since I wanted to make sure I could fit in the chassis before welding it up and if need be change it so I have plenty of helmet and body room. It didn't even cross my mind to just straight up measure my seats, my 4500 wasn't THAT far off from the 48" wide rock lizard so sure it will probably be fine! Yea no, the seats are each 24" wide, so the seats side by side right off the bat are wider than the entire chassis.



It shouldn't be a big deal to fix, all the lateral tubes will need to be stretched. Potentially I can just widen the roof too and be fine, but right now I'm leaning towards widening the entire chassis since I don't want my elbows being tight with the codriver and the door bars. Luckily all the lateral tubes are straight with the exception of the roof windshield bar, and I already bought a 1.75" die a few weeks ago. Tomorrow I'll order some steel and hopefully have it when I get back from Thanksgiving.

Tomorrow I'll hopefully start tacking it from the bottom up. I might tack a lot of it together and swing the LQ4 in just to see if the engine width or the occupant width is the driving factor for the chassis dimensions. Right now I'd like to still run this chassis, I think it'd be immensely cheaper to modify it than get a different chassis or build my own, and I like to make stuff so modifying it isn't a big deal. However it is really tiny, and the 1.75" tube makes me nervous. I plan to brace the shit out of it, but the last two cages I did were all 2" and this thing looks so small by comparison. I even took some calipers to the tubes to verify they were 1.75" since they looked so small. I still like my overall concept and idea, but I need to seriously weigh the options before I start cutting and welding on this kit.

Last edited by snivilous; 11-19-2018 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 11-20-2018, 05:33 AM   #18 (permalink)
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It shouldn't be a big deal to fix, all the lateral tubes will need to be stretched. Potentially I can just widen the roof too and be fine, but right now I'm leaning towards widening the entire chassis since I don't want my elbows being tight with the codriver and the door bars. Luckily all the lateral tubes are straight with the exception of the roof windshield bar, and I already bought a 1.75" die a few weeks ago. Tomorrow I'll order some steel and hopefully have it when I get back from Thanksgiving.

Tomorrow I'll hopefully start tacking it from the bottom up. I might tack a lot of it together and swing the LQ4 in just to see if the engine width or the occupant width is the driving factor for the chassis dimensions. Right now I'd like to still run this chassis, I think it'd be immensely cheaper to modify it than get a different chassis or build my own, and I like to make stuff so modifying it isn't a big deal. However it is really tiny, and the 1.75" tube makes me nervous. I plan to brace the shit out of it, but the last two cages I did were all 2" and this thing looks so small by comparison. I even took some calipers to the tubes to verify they were 1.75" since they looked so small. I still like my overall concept and idea, but I need to seriously weigh the options before I start cutting and welding on this kit.
Looking forward to seeing the build! My first time to KOH was also 2016, and hooked as well. My only drawback is that I'm all the way across the country (FL), so I'm building a rig for wheeling in a place 3000 miles away .

I'm certainly not an expert in this, but I tend to agree with others that there are questions on using this chassis. I fully understand the thinking behind it, i.e. - get something that somebody has already "designed" to make it a little easier, and the cost is low which helps with the budget. However, I think you are going to rapidly start running into situations like the seats, where it seems like it's just one little change, but that is going to impact several other things in the design, and before you know it you are using about 50% of the existing chassis and have 50% of your own design, with an ever-growing list of compromises.

A simple example on my build was the inner fenders. I thought I could save some time and design headaches by just buying a set of Genright inner fenders and it would only take a few modifications to make them fit my home-built high line fenders. After buying the fenders, and studying things for a while I realized that I would use less than 50% of the Genright parts, and it wouldn't really be what I wanted. Fortunately I was able to return them and get my money back - which I put towards buying a sheet of 0.063" aluminum and built my own - which turned out WAY nicer - but obvious took a little longer





Alternatively, you can pay some more $ up front, and get a chassis which is already designed for this and then your list of compromises will be shorter (and potentially less impactful) and the build will go faster since it's more of a bolt-on process and less design.

Good luck with the build, whatever you decide!
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Old 11-20-2018, 06:11 AM   #19 (permalink)
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very interested in the build keep it going!
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Old 11-20-2018, 06:50 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Thanks for sharing your build here. Sub'd.
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Old 11-20-2018, 08:36 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Looks like a fun build and you seem to have the skills to do it. I kinda lean with the others on the comp chassis for racing, but you have it now, so we will see how it turns out. Personnally I would have chosen to go with the goatbuilt ibex weld-it-yourself kit as it has been a proven chassis at KOH, and their support team is awesome. Good luck man! Excited to see how it all turns out


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Got anymore pics of these inner fenders and how they go around the coilovers? I need to build a set for my ranger and really like this design. Feel free to send them to me in a message rather than clogging up the OP's build
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Old 11-20-2018, 09:53 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Youíre going to want 54Ē+ for more cabin space. Dig through the archives, hardly a single U4 chassis is narrower than that. Mine is 60Ē wide on the outside.
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Old 11-21-2018, 02:29 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Heading to my parents in Colorado and been wondering, is there a point where more travel is detrimental? I'm going to run trailing arms, and have been debating on leading arms for awhile but I was gonna talk to some driveshaft builders and lay the geometry out in CAD to see how much travel I could safely run.

But that's where I got wondering, IF you can safely pull a ton of travel SHOULD you? I've read prerunner guys say that more travel is smoother but it can also be slower unless you have the power to push the tires further down/up each face of the bumps. I've also heard the travel should be rear biased since the rear puts down most of the power so you want it to be able to squat and have more contact with the ground than the front or the car can act weird--and I would still have it setup for the rear to pull more travel, but so far that's the only rule of thumb I've heard as far as suspension travel setup is concerned.

Thoughts? If you could bump all your travel numbers by 4-6" without blowing stuff up, would you?

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Old 11-21-2018, 03:05 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Posts: 5,108
I never thought I'd see a racing rock lizard. They are neat little chassis but damn they are tiny. We put a friend in my chassis then measured it out like he was in a lizard and its way small. Mine is built so if I want I can race Dirtriot with it and it feels a bit small.


I'm curious to how much Lizard is left in the end.
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Eric



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94toytruck is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 11-21-2018, 06:56 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Member # 481234
Posts: 1,037
You asked this question on FB but without disclosing the intended use and class rules of the vehicle.

My opinion, donít bite off more than you can chew. Shock tuning will be an absolute nightmare at best. If you think you need 20Ē-24Ē of wheel travel, then you donít need it. Have you put any thought into the diameter of shock needed? Limited and expensive spring rates? Youíre asking wayyy too much for a single shock 4800 car and a KOH environment.

Build it simple with proven techniques. Have fun. Get seat time under your belt and then you can experiment with whacky ideas if they werenít already debunked with some real world experience.
Juicysluice is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
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