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Fab Junky
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498 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm gonna get some flame for this one but moving from trucks to a RZR has been the best thing I have done in a long time. With 2 RZRs so the wife drives her own, she actually likes going offroad vs tolerating my habit. I got a 2014 RZR XP1000 2 seater in Feb of 14 after KOH and drove the crap out of it for 8 months and loved every minute. I did identify several issues with them and I now understand what some of the guys at KOH were saying about RZRs so I have set out to improve the stock platform.
Here is my carnage list from those 8 months and 1400 miles:
  • Cracked a sway bar mount
  • Bent both lower a-arms and both lower radius rods (radius rods are easy to straighten in a press because they are solid 3/4" bar)
  • Snapped a front engine mount bolt that then wrecked the mount and caused the muffler to snap off the 90 that goes in the header
  • Cracked the rear cargo tub plastic in two places from hauling tools and stuff (they were even in tuff bins)
  • Wore down both door hinges to the point that you had to pick up the doors to close them (Most likely from chassis flex because these suckers are bolted together)
  • Bent the cage when a friend rolled it while drifting (He didn't know that you never lift while in a drift) Amazingly no damage to the plastic from this!
I also sent off all my shocks to Holtz and had cross over rings installed with a full revalve front and rear to try and reduce the bucking out of the rear. While the shocks were out I also ordered 4 seater tenders for the front and new 2 seat fronts that I put in the rear. The new setup was a lot better but I still had a modest buck every time I hit a forest road water bar annoying the crap out of me.
Now on to the reincarnation.

My primary goal was to build a fully welded chassis around the core stock frame, similar to what the desert racing guys are doing. By doing this I could eliminate the chassis flex and have a cage I fully trust in a crash. Second, I want to street legal this sucker and a "home built" chassis with a few things like turn signals a horn, windshield and wipers qualify as a dune buggy in NM. They will not street legal a stock SXS at all, ever. Third I want to eliminate the bucking out of the rear. Fourth, I want a real gas tank (18+ gal) for a decent range. Doing 31 mile road in the Jemez Mountains out and back had me on the E light.

With the groundwork laid, I did a bunch of measuring and starting modeling the new chassis in Solidworks. Here is the first iteration of my concept:


There was a lot I did not like with chassis #1 so I went to idea #2 and dropped a little weight in the process, friends convinced me to drop the Dukes of Hazard window entry and make it a little easier to get in and out. I started coloring what was left of the stock chassis in red:


Better but I then I got inspired by the Rip Rod and started thinking about 30's Fords. My friend had this sitting in his yard and I was amazed at how close the dimensions are between a RZR 1000 and the 37 Ford:




Now being full motivated I moved onto design 3 - 30's style Ford RZR with a little Bouncer style thrown in, bonus is that it was a little lighter than #1 or #2!


I didn't like the flow of some of the chassis so I modified it again and lost a few more lbs of weight. Here is #4:


Then my friends talked me into keeping the stock RZR clip and I was feeling inspired by some of the sick Class 10 cars, so I tweaked all the dimensions again and came up with chassis #5 which was the lightest of all at 210 lb for everything that isn't red (20 lb drop from chassis #1):


Time to cut steel????
 

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Looks awesome.

Since it seemed like you wanted to change up the body, I think I saw somewhere they make a Ford Raptor shell similar to Trophy Karts that goes on the RZR.
 

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Fab Junky
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498 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Looks awesome.

Since it seemed like you wanted to change up the body, I think I saw somewhere they make a Ford Raptor shell similar to Trophy Karts that goes on the RZR.
I have seen that build thread on RZR forums and that is a totally awesome body but way out of my price range. I am thinking really hard about a Toyota grill/hood/fenders, all doved and welded together making a 1-piece front end. Similar treatment on the rear with some bedside skins shortened and pulled in. Going to the U-pull and Pay on Friday to get the skins, we'll see if they end up as the final product.
 

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Fab Junky
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498 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Here are pictures of cracked plastic cargo tub:



Here is the very slight crack in the swaybar mount, cracked paint is the main indicator:


The biggest damage occurred on my last trip out before the tear down. Broken engine mount bolt tore up the mount, the tube rubbed a bunch on the frame bracket and the muffler got destroyed.




And while I was at it I took a look inside the muffler and saw that a bunch of the packing had been blown out. It would be worth checking this occasionally because it clogs up the spark arrestor.

 

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Fab Junky
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498 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
On to tear down!





And the pile of plastic I removed!


With the body out of the way it is time to play with the suspension and see how much clearance there is. The front is very tight with 30" tires. Factor in bump stop compression and the tire might hit the frame at full lock. Any larger tire would definitely hit.




A little comedy and one side cut down to a possible starting point!
 

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Fab Junky
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498 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Half a RZR!



The complete basic chassis cut out:


It ended up being real easy to work on half the car at a time and no chassis table was required. Driver's side first:



I added some elbow room by bulging the door area like many other builds have done.



You may notice that none of the tubing splices are straight. This is intentional with both tubes being cut at an angle and holes drilled in the stock chassis where the splice is performed (In these pictures I have not angle cut the B pillar rear shock tie in yet). This method ensures there is no stress concentration of a straight tube splice and the holes are plug welded to spread the load out on the joint. I have a very nice aircraft repair manual that details these and other splice methods acceptable for aircraft. If it is good enough for a bush plane, it is good enough for a RZR. Many other builds I have seen do not splice this way but they really should for maximum strength.
 

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Fab Junky
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498 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
The vertical door bar is designed to accommodate the stock seat frame which is what I am thinking about keeping but if I have time I am going to make a larger gas and lower the seats.


Front and rear frame sections added:




By cycling the rear suspension, I have identified a problem. The rear lower frame tubes are going to have to be moved as they do not clear the stock arms, let alone some larger aftermarket ones:



I now have plenty of front tire clearance for much larger tires if I ever go bigger than 30's:


If I build a long travel system I'll have even more clearance. BTW, these are 5/2 wheels not 4/3.
 

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i love this build. Just be careful, weight kills sxs's and puts alot of stress on the drive system which equals heat in the CVT and will kill belts.

for a play car .083 and .095 wall is plenty.
 

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Fab Junky
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498 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Very nice to see you back at it in the garage. Looken great! I've been eyeing Richards 900 for a while. Its pretty amazing just how much fun these are....
Driving Richard's 900 last year sealed the deal on going this way. I am grateful he let a guy he barely knew take his ride out. Thank him again for me. It is good to be fabricating again. I have an update I need to load.
 

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Fab Junky
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498 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
i love this build. Just be careful, weight kills sxs's and puts alot of stress on the drive system which equals heat in the CVT and will kill belts.

for a play car .083 and .095 wall is plenty.
Agreed, everything is .095 wall 1.5" OD and down, no 1.75" except what is left of the stock chassis. Starting with a 2 seater also helps in the weight department.
 

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Fab Junky
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498 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
With the drivers side burned in it is time to start on the passenger's side. Out of curiosity, I pulled the frame bolts to see if the chassis would move any. It didn't really move so that made me happy. The experiment of welding a chassis without a frame table worked.


A nice shot of the chassis prepped for welding on the new chassis pieces.


The passenger side went together quickly because I cut and notched most of the pieces as I build the driver's side so it was only a matter of tacking it all together on the car. The car is really coming together now that the top section of the cage is tacked in:



A few more additions:



My new Supertrapp that cost less than half any RZR specific exhaust. I can't wait to here it.


Back on all four, it is starting to look like something!


 

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Fab Junky
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498 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
After building the front to accept the radiator, I decided to move the radiator to the back for better protection, allow a stronger frame design in the front, and get rid of the coolant lines through the cab.

With some 1" silicone tubing, aluminum couplers, and recycling portions of the stock aluminum tubing I cut, bent and re-beaded the tubes to make a clean radiator move.




With the radiator moved, I decided to move the battery to allow a new gas tank in the future that can go all the way across the cab for much more range. AGM/Optima battery to come when this one dies.


The stock c channel was at the perfect angle to build in a diagonal battery mount.


I failed to mention in the overview, but I have found the stock steering to be too slow so another goal was to add a steering quickener to speed it up. I was debating between 1.5:1 and 2:1 but settled on 1.5:1 for now as I don't want to overdo it or overstress the EPS. If I change my mind in the future it will be easy enough to replace it with the 2:1 unit. The steering u-joint angles are now a lot better than stock and the sloppy adjustable steering column is gone.



And finally I decided to change some of the tubing flow, dumping the x braces and using more straight v's. A main driver is it is much simpler to put together and now there is a set of tubes that have no splices going from the top of the car all the way to the bottom at the B pillar. This is the only place in the whole car that had this opportunity.




She is really starting to look like a car again.
 

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Fab Junky
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498 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Definite yes to having a winch, I have a Warn ProVantage 3500s that is going back on.

I was going to wait on building a new gas tank but as I look at the stock seat locations, I understand why the stock machine has 2 parallel tubes behind the seat. One is truly structural for the car and is hidden under stock plastic (Only one left on my car) and the second is part of the bolt on cage and provides harness mounts at the correct height. I don't want the extra weight of a second tube, it doesn't look good, and I want a larger gas tank anyway so out comes the stock mount, tank and mounting brackets.

Pic of the stock seat height and measurement to the roof (8.5")



Here is the seat where it will sit with a custom tank I am designing and the measurement to the roof (12.5")



I should also mention I picked up a full inch by removing the stock seat adjustment stuff and lost several lbs of crap at the same time. They never worked that great anyway. Add some dirt/mud and they don't work at all.

The seat sits 4" lower, the harness mounts will be at the correct height and the whole cab feels a lot better when I sit in it, as opposed to feeling like I am sitting on the car. Visibility would suffer for a shorter person. Corning should improve with a lower CG and my side/shoulder is more protected now. Unfortunately it also means more work with a custom tank to fabricate because I can't stomach the price of a custom fuel cell ($2k++, I called). I think I can build one for under $1k and because it isn't a race car, I don't need a bladder but one could be made eventually should I change my mind.
 

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Fab Junky
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498 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I took a little time off and made a junk yard run to measure various trucks to see what might fit well as a front clip (besides a old Ford). I ended up figuring out a Sammy front end could be narrowed and it would fit really well. A Toyota would also fit if narrowed but has a lot of curve in the fenders at the A Pillar and not planned at all but a perfect fit is a VW bug front end. I almost put the saw to work for a clean 73 bug but made a few calls from the yard and found out that getting a one piece front end to NM was going to cost a fortune. I do have a friend that has a baja and he let me borrow his glass to trial fit it anyway. My first two cars were Baja bugs so I have a soft spot for them.

Here is what it looks like:



http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8659/16665799841_2541d615bb_b.jpg[img]

Most amazing is a winch fits perfect behind the license plate flat!
[img]http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8601/16665799981_56d332d8fd_b.jpg

I am not going to do a bug on this car but it is nice to know it could be done. I am too used to seeing them with big tires now and the 30's look too small under all that glass. If you love baja bugs, now you know how to build a modern one, given how rare a bug is these days.
 

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Fab Junky
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498 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I have to briefly hijack my own thread! I knew these would look sick as trucks and Rhys Millen just proved it with his RZR Raptor!

 

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Insurance poor
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10,064 Posts
Keep it going. :smokin: I know I (as well as others) like the see the wheel being reinvented. I love my rzr, but there is much room for improvement. The sad part is, I don't have the time or desire to do it. I'll make it better with aftermarket parts, but just don't feel like doing what you are doing. Good job :grinpimp:
 
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