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Discussion Starter #1
Some folks suggested I post this here, since many of the central themes will be familiar to Zuk folks... anyway, here goes.

I should finally be swapping out the stock Jeep CJ narrow-track axles.

Anyway, knowing that these aren't exactly a hot commodity, I'm toying with the idea of using them as the basis for a tube-framed, single-seat rock buggy. This probably won't be a competition rig, just something low-buck and fun.

Still trying to work out how everything will fit together.

Here's general thoughts on the specs:
AXLES (definite)- front D30, rear M20, 4.10, NT, welded (well, might not weld the D30)
POWERPLANT- something in a 4-cylinder, preferably FI. There are enough 4-cyl Ford, Chevy, Toyota, or Jeep trucks that this should be an easy find. Might convert to propane if its feasible. Still have to research such a thing. Another thought was to use a Harley V-twin or other bike engine, but I'm thinking adaptation to a transmission might be problematic.
TRANNY- preferrably an auto, for simplicity (no clutch linkage to bother with) and so the driver doesn't have to sit on a shifter
REDUCTION- dual TC setup, if possible
SUSPENSION- I'm thinking the easiest/cheapest for this case will be coilovers, possibly located (at least in the rear) with a single half of a leaf spring. Not too versed on coilovers or non-leaf-sprung setups, so also an area for further research

End plan is for something with low CG, single seat, smallish tires (31-32"), light weight, maximum approach/depart angles, and minimum length/width. Minimum cost is also a priority.

Any thoughts from folks that have experience building such a thing (even if it's on a larger scale) would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

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I was thinking about something like that the other day, all this is coming out of my head so it might not work.
If you got a motor/tranny out of a 4 wheeler it would already have kina low gears and the axle gears might be able to be enough if you could adapt a tcase to the output. something like the spidertrax jack shaft for there thorax gear spliter. Build it and post some pics.
if you want more ideas search in the geraral sections and there are some things like that already built.:confused:
 

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If this is gonna be cheap...coil overs might not be the best idea.

Zuki engine would make a pretty good power plant. Light weight with decent power (after a little work).
 

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In my opinion, those axles aren't worth building around. .....Free isn't cheap enough. If the buggy does turn out to be neat, you will have to re-fab all of your brackets WHEN you DO put different axles under it.

I would look at finding a set of Toyota axles if you want to stay kinda narrow.
 

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Am I in the Suzuki section or did I wander somewhere else?

I'm all about cheap and reliable, that's why I went Suzuki Samurai.

Sell your jeep junk and use the money to buy a Suzuki.
Get one that the body is rusted out if all your interested in is the drive-line. (they aren't too hard to find like that in the east)

There are tons of custom creations using the Zuk powerplant, transmission and t-case.
They do quite well in lighter rigs. Strength has never been an issue except in the axle dept.
Most common is a toy axle swap to solve this problem.
If you want to go tube buggy, this will be a good start.

The motorcycle/atv powerplant is a bad idea - why not use a Briggs and Stratton, or a cordless drill -- Because none have enough torque to do what you want.

If common sense (not so common) prevails, a Suzuki is great place to start. Where else can you get 6:1 t-case gears that are easily available and rock solid for under $1000.
 

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the 30's too weak. You can get 44's for $100 all day. Building it right once is cheaper than cheap 5 times. so sell your 20 and 30 to a pavement pounding paper jockey who just wants a replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Cragrat makes sense. Coilovers don't seem that difficult to set up, so long as I find the right cheap parts, research it right, and put them together wisely. The main trouble I'd have with leaves is a less than 90* approach/departure angle. Also agree with you on the 1/4e rear... cheaper than coils with plenty of sproing.

Zuk drivetrains, as you all already know, appear to be lighter and shorter than other makers'. Another big plus.

SilverZuk naturally backs up the choice of a zuki drivetrain, and notes the weaker zuk axles... which, of course, I have stronger replacements for anyway.

For all the folks saying the D30 and M20 are too weak, apparently you don't get what I'm building here. It's a single seat, bare-minimum buggy. No, the axles aren't powerhouses, but they've managed to remain undestroyed in my CJ this long. If I somehow snap these axles with a 1.6L or 22R or other conglomeration of four angry hamsters, which I never managed to do with a warmed 360 V8, then clearly I'll have introduced some extra stupidity into my driving. I'm sticking with these axles because:
1 - they're free
2 - the gears are already low enough
3 - they're narrower than pretty much anything else of comparable strength
4 - they're free
5 - I know how to keep from spinning M20 hubs by keeping them torqued right
6 - I already have a stock of spare parts for them, and know their condition
7 - they're free

44's may be "everywhere" for $100, but then you usually have to rebuild and regear the things, which adds up to considerably more. I won't spend scads of unavailable money on the "right" or "cool" axles for what is essentially going to be a backwoods toy. The most money I think I'll spend on any one item for this is the welder or tube bender I'll need to fab everything. Folks that just dismiss the D30 and M20 as "weak" just strike me as lazy. Feh.

Anyway.

I'll post back when I get a zuk drivetrain. No doubt I'll need a hand from you swell folks in getting the most from it.
 

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How about a honda Goldwing 1500 engine? Adapt the driveshaft to your trans and have dual transmissions. Now adapt motorcycle handlebars in place of a steering wheel. Clutch, brake and throttle all in your hands. I think the single seat buggy idea has a lot going for it. Post some pics when you're through.
 

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Ah! the curse of the engineering mindset. You got an engine or a nice drive train just sitting there looking up at you with those sad little eyes everytime you walk by. "You know" that inner voice in your head starts to speak, "we could make a this or a that with this stuff, if fact it would be SOOO easy, lets just do it!"
Some of the older and wiser guys have coined a phrase "been there, done that" which often really means: "yes I tried to do something stupid like this or that and waste a lot of time and money and it really didn't work worth shit, its now rusting in the back yard, and its gonna take a lot of beers before I fess up and admit it did done that"

For what its worth department...
 
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