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  1. #1
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    Default DIY Utility Vehicle

    Has anyone ever considered building their own UTV? I have looked at Gator's and Ranger's, however it seems like the type of thing I could fabricate for a fraction of cost. I have plenty of time, and and am not mechanically stupid, however not brilliant either. Ideally, it would be either a 2 or 4 seater buggy, with a gun rack and cargo bed, be either 2wd or 4wd, and have a ground clearance of at least 14", as we have fairly rough roads on our property. Also, it would need to be able to climb a 15-20 degree hill, while still achieving a decent speed on flat ground. Please refrain from saying just buy one; I want this to be a learning experience and just a fun project to work on.
    One idea I had was to use two Clone 13HP engines- one to drive the front axle, and one to drive the rear, with the front having a centrifugal clutch as well as a torque converter. The rear would have a 1:1 gear box FWD and some slower ratio REV, in addition to a torque converter. This would give over 25 hp of power, and would also let me have the option of driving in either 2wd (turn off front engine) or 4WD (both engines on), with the only real restriction being that I could only have 2wd for reverse- not a big deal for me. Additionally, I would never (knock on wood) get stranded in the woods due to an engine failure or the like- I would always be able to drive using the other engine. I would run both throttles to one cable/ pedal, and when the front engine is off, the throttle would still open and close with the rear engine (would this be an issue???) A relatively small 12v lawn mower battery should be able to run headlights and the electric start for both engines (both have recoil backup). Finally, I could tie in a kill switch to the front engine with the reverse shifter for the gearbox.
    Has anyone considered doing, or has anyone done this before? I would love to hear any ideas you may have, or any issues with my above-listed logic; I am sure there is some. Thanks for any suggestions.

  2. #2
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    SF Bay Area-Ca Olympia WA Salzburg Austria
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    Default Re: DIY Utility Vehicle

    I was thinking of a gator or similar at one time and found a Samurai with a bad transmission and bought it for $1000

    $70 in parts later and my time and it has been a great little off road vehicle with creature comforts... also a ton of mods a person can make it desired.

    Just a thought.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member CliffordK's Avatar
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    Eugene, Oregon
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    Toro D200, Ford 1715, International 884,

    Default Re: DIY Utility Vehicle

    It sounds like you're wanting to make a dunebuggy.

    The dual engine would be an interesting, but I'm not sure it would be necessary. Are you wanting to run it around your own property? Within walking distance of "home"? Then the redundancy may be unnecessary.

    I agree that a small 4x4 might be a good base for your project. Toyota, Suzuki, etc.

    I've been thinking of a self-propelled stripped down fertilizer spreader, but that would be an entirely different project.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: DIY Utility Vehicle

    Quote Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
    It sounds like you're wanting to make a dunebuggy.

    The dual engine would be an interesting, but I'm not sure it would be necessary. Are you wanting to run it around your own property? Within walking distance of "home"? Then the redundancy may be unnecessary.

    I agree that a small 4x4 might be a good base for your project. Toyota, Suzuki, etc.

    I've been thinking of a self-propelled stripped down fertilizer spreader, but that would be an entirely different project.
    I have looked at using a small 4x4, however think that dealing with all of the gears (tranny, axles, etc) as well as the much more complicated electrical system would be a little tough for my little brain. Also, with the dual engines, it seems like a very simple way to make it a 2WD or 4WD on demand, as well as double the power when needed, while still being fairly inexpensive to build. I would mostly run it on our property, however parts of it are a good 1 1/2 hour hike from "home". As I said, it will largely be a project "just because" and I would really like to try and build my own frame for it. Finally, it would be similar to a dune buggy, however I would prefer it to be "utility-capable" as well, with a decent amount of towing power, and hopefully a dump cargo bed. Thanks

  5. #5
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    Default Re: DIY Utility Vehicle

    I just realized that there is also a DIY thread section. I think I should have posted this there instead. Mods- could you possibly move this, or could someone tell me how to do soo? Sorry for the mess-up.

  6. #6
    bcp
    bcp is online now
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    Default Re: DIY Utility Vehicle


  7. #7
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    Default Re: DIY Utility Vehicle

    Interesting concept. I have thought it would be interesting to get an older garden tractor with a heavy hydro transmission (such as a Ford LGT125 or a similar machine from Cub, Bolens, deere, etc), mount a chain drive to the back axle shafts to gear it up (say 50% faster?) and make the wheels wider, then put a box on the back and a bench (or two) in front. Something like http://www.mytractorforum.com/showpo...90&postcount=3 (but with the engine under the bed/seat and the seat further forward)

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  8. #8
    Super Member
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    Northern Fingerlakes region of NY, USA
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    Kubota L3830GST, B7500HST, BX2660

    Default Re: DIY Utility Vehicle

    Might also look into a transaxle from Surplus Center: https://www.surpluscenter.com/sort.a...s&keyword=PTT1 might be easier not to have to re-invent the wheel.

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  9. #9
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    Default Re: DIY Utility Vehicle

    Aaron-thanks for the link.
    All of the transaxles that I saw have a width of less than 3 feet, much smaller and less stable than your average utility vehicle. Would it be possible to legnthen the axle, or would this risk damaging the gearbox from the added leverage? I am now leaning towards putting a regular ole differential axle in the front, connected to a torque converter and then a 13-14hp clone, and then find a 2wd utility vehicle 3-6 speed transaxle with reverse for the rear. I also plan to connect a 30-40 amp automotive alternator via v-belt to the rear engine, powering headlights, a 200 watt inverter, and keeping the battery charged.
    Idealy, the rear transaxle would be something like this, however this specific one is no longer available.
    https://www.surpluscenter.com/Cancel...FAUX+4WD+SHAFT

  10. #10
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    Default

    I was going to do. The same thing, ended up with a jeep. Can drive it to work if i have too. I needed to Cary 4 of us around. Nothing is fun without my kids these days.


    I think you can absolutely do it. I saw a geo metro for sale he other day. Simple setup easy to transplant into a buggy, just not sure about the gearing.

    I put the jeep in 4 low and go anywhere it will fit!.

    I don't know who affords a 14k ATF these days but my budget sure doesn't allow for it.

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