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Soren's Budget Single-Seater Crawler


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Well, have been going on with this thing for almost 2 months now, spending every possible second on it I can. So I finally feel like I have reached a point where there's something to show for.

Have been wanting to do my own build from the ground up for many years, and have, like many of you, been drooling over various Buggy builds on Pirate, hardline, difflock etc.

However I was forced to the conclusion that if ever this was going to be, I had to turn down my expectations a lot, simply because if I were to build a top spec buggy I would have to do a major sell-out of all my other toys, and frankly this thing will see so little use, that selling all my vehicles with license plates on them would simply be stupid! :D

So decided on another approach, super tight budget, but more time allocated as I don't have to work my a$$ off for somebody else to get the money for all the nice parts.

This also means that I will not follow any trend, and will be building it specifically for the one place where I'll be able to use it quite a lot in the summer. This means it has to be good at mud/water and tight technical stuff. Have so far been using my 100" RRC V8 and while it is a great hill-killer it's big at the technical stuff and the driveline doesn't like water or mud.

So on the Tech :)

Bought the running gear off a 411 Unimog as I have previous experience with Mog's and because you simply don't find cheaper locking axles, and then there's the portals as a bonus!

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I decided really early on that I would do everything to keep the Torque Tubes as IMO they are a brilliant design, especially for mud/water. But as you cannot divorce the transfer from the mainbox, because they are one unit, I had to get creative. I cut the gearbox to smithereens and used only what would have been the High range input:

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This left me with the ability to use any drivetrain I wanted, except it had to be off a FWD car, as I will need the gearing from the R&P to get the low gearing that is required. I chose this way because there's plenty of various engine options at a low price with this setup, and most importantly they're a lot lighter than conventional 4x4 engine/gearbox combo's.

For budget reasons, and because I wanted to make use it was good at wading, my choice was the VW 1.6TD engine. Only 80hp in stock form, but with the good old Bosch VE pump this is easily increased. And of course it only requires one wire to run :)

Sadly the 020 gearbox that comes with these are a PITA to weld the diff in as you have to take it all apart using various specialty tools. So when't redneck on it instead:

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Simply cut a hole and stuffed in the "Glue-gun" I only payed 30£ for the gearbox, so if it doesn't hold up its not the end of the world.

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Next up was making the basic chassis, and sort out steering and engine placement, sadly because of a bulge in the oilpan for the pickup I enden up having to mount the engine at an angle, no problem though as there's CV's on the driveshaft and there's about 20degrees still left unused:

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And after a behemoth of a project fitting the pedals into the little room I had planned to fit it in, it was finally driven outside under its own power:

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This brings us to about where I'm at now, cage has begun, the front part will be made removable as soon as I get some more tube. Running a single brakedisc setup as this is sublime for water driving and simple as a stick. Only thing its not good at is high speed, but this thing can't go fast!

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Tubing:

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Then drove it outdoors yesterday, this'll give you an idea of how small it is, 88" Wheelbase and at rideheight 192cm's to the top of the cage:

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And I began mounting springs yesterday also, had to adjust the length of the panhard as well to get it to sit straight at rideheight:

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Top spring mounts are obviously not done yet, but it'll have to wait till I get some more tube work done.

Now, I have a lot more pictures but didn't want to post them all, if you have any specific questions I'll see if I can dig up a picture that explains it :)

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I love it all you need is some spikes and it would be Mad Max will watch out for any updates

Interesting call on the torque tubes, I would have thought mounting the fwd trans central and drive shafting out to the axles would have gotten a better weight balance for crawling and been a bigger gain than the torque tubes

Have you thought about airbags instead of coils could be done cheaply using truck parts or if you want get a bit flash and do it with air rams off old farming gear and would give you the ability to control your CoG a bit... planing something along these lines for my winch truck when I get back to it

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Cool. I may have missed it, but why is it wider on one side?

Thanks, well it isn't :D Might just be the pictures that fool you, obviously the top of the cage is offset to one side because of my seating position, but it's exactly 33cm's from the chassis rail and out in both sides. The quite large square room next to the drivers seat (where the passenger would normally sit) isn't going to be filled with anything just yet, am saving that space for a new winch setup that I'm currently dreaming up ;)

I did think you had been quiet on here for a while ;)

Looking good, nice to see the torque tubes in place!

Haha I thought some would be somewhat suspicious ;)

I love it all you need is some spikes and it would be Mad Max will watch out for any updates

Interesting call on the torque tubes, I would have thought mounting the fwd trans central and drive shafting out to the axles would have gotten a better weight balance for crawling and been a bigger gain than the torque tubes

Have you thought about airbags instead of coils could be done cheaply using truck parts or if you want get a bit flash and do it with air rams off old farming gear and would give you the ability to control your CoG a bit... planing something along these lines for my winch truck when I get back to it

Haha yeah I could do that and stop right here, would make it a lot easier :D But I think we all agree that a lick of paint really is in order on this thing :)

Well you're absolutely right about ditching the torque tubes, and that's what everybody has been telling me to do, and that's what all the Euro-Trial guys do, but isn't all this reason enough not to do it? :P I like to be different, but more than that, I've always liked the simplicity of this setup as it's both prop enclosure (no changing U-joints all the time) and link arms for the suspension all packed into one nice heavy duty package. And that's another advantage to building on such a tight budget, I can try something that's a bit risky without ending up with a useless broken moneypit. All done this thing shouldn't be more than 2000£ though that of course won't include all the labor! :D But that's our hobby, so who cares right? :)

Have been thinking about airbags for the 80" So I could change through tyre sizes more easily, however on this one it'll be all simple with coils :)

On another note I've just got in from the workshop, having spend all evening adjusting the front panhard length to find just the right position for maximum bump, while also having the front axle as centered as possible at rideheight. A right pain, but finally I got there in the end, just need to revamp my front bumpstops.

Oh and another funny thing, here's a list of the brands of cars that has donated parts for this thing so far:

Nissan

Land Rover

VW

Mercedes

Ford

Peugeot

Opel

Schäeffer Loaders

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Well you're absolutely right about ditching the torque tubes, and that's what everybody has been telling me to do, and that's what all the Euro-Trial guys do, but isn't all this reason enough not to do it?

LOL I really understand that

Hows this for a parts nighmare... this is the steering for my lada trials truck

Aftermarket steering wheel (cheap unknown brand lol)

Lada steering wheel boss and short length of column

Column made from tube from suspension link from a holden commador

Custom made mounts

Range Rover column universals and short bit of splined shaft

Spherical rod end mount SKF

Suzuki grand vitara powersteer box and universal

Custom made pitman

Modified 80 series tie rod for draglink

Custom made steering arms

Hilux axle and swivels

80 series tie rod

and a Nissan primera steering pump

and finally power steer hoses made from prentice logging grapple hydrolic hoses

I feel sorry for the poor bugger who buys it lol

Right lunch and I'm off to the shed to do some more on my toy....

Hey I forgot to ask how cheap are mog axles over there lol always thought about doing portals....

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Hey I forgot to ask how cheap are mog axles over there lol always thought about doing portals....

Well it depends a lot on which version, for many years the 404 seems to have been the favorite, though it is not the strongest, nor the easiest to work one. It does have one huge advantage though, and that's greasepoints for every moving part, so easier, and cheaper to keep using in a harsh environment. But anyways, the 411 ones I use cost me 500£ incl. gearbox, 404's are usually about 800£. Steering axles of course being the most expensive.

Oh dear me, Soren has gone stiff "Ignition Leads" :hysterical: did not expect that to happen :huh: but anyway it is one of them nice builds, loaded with your ingenuity and lateral thinking out of the box, nice one Soren :i-m_so_happy:

Ole

Haha yeah Ole I know, my head is still in conflict over this choice! :D But the way I've made it, its quite easy to swap in any engine, especially one using the VW 020 gearbox :) So 1,8 petrols is one option, which are also cheap and plentiful, and with everything from carb's, over monopoint to multipoint injection. So a bit for every taste :)

And thanks for the kind words :i-m_so_happy: Like you know, the "using-what-you-got" mentality is a satisfying and challenging way of life, that never allows it to get boring, nor easy! :D

Was out doing a bit of wheeling today in the Disco, so didn't get much done, got the front bumpstops done though, so that's the suspension system basically done, bar of course shocks and finish welding + reinforcements on all the bracketry.

So I couldn't help but taking it out for a little spin this evening, it was quite lively with no shocks though! :D

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Yet another day with other errands, but did manage to get a lot closer to finishing out the spring mounts, fronts are 99% done and rears are actually completely done bar the fact that the cage will tie into the upper mounts, but that obviously won't happen till I get some more tubing :)

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And I've also made my mind up on which shocks to use, I love my Koni's so will be those, and from a DII. Why a DII? Well because they're cheap and readily available, and because they're Eye-Eye mounting which I prefer to the pesky pin of the other coilers. Might very well just buy 4 Britpart ones to start with though just to make all the mounts and run until I can afford the Koni's.

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Yet another day with less progress than I had hoped for, but not bad when you consider it was amongst friends, having a good day ;) Did get a little done on this thing though.

"How to get ribbed in less than 2 hours!"

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Mounted at as much angle ass possible to give as much vertical strength as possible.

And also slapped on the ever-important tow-hook :D

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Great build Soren! I for one love the torque tube principle - it simplifies the suspension no end even though it does tie you to a slightly heavy agricultural transfer box. I guess adapting them to bolt to the chassis and run into a different transfer box (or direct into the transverse engine / box with the diff welded) would be possible - but you loose a lot of the simplicity of the build.

The solution to welding the diff is brilliant! I wish I'd thought of it!

I'll be interested to see how you get on with the VW combo - torque / power curve wise.

Si

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Thanks Si, yeah I did very much consider keeping the Unimog main gearbox as many others do, but there are 2 major problems with it that eventually made me ditch the idea. First off weight, being all cast housing and HUUGE gears its much heavier than the tiny VW gearbox I replaced it with. And second, it really is very agricultural to shift gears in, and you only have 2 low gears which you have to use when reversing, no high speed reversing. Sure the way I've built it now, my reverse is still low, but at least there's no faff using two gearsticks to engage it.

I'm very interested with the power/torque as well! But the few times I've blasted down the gravel road by the house it has seemed quite peppy, however long climbs offroad is another matter entirely.

Oh I also managed to spend a couple of min. on it today, plated the end of the seat crossmember and tied the end of the hoop to the chassis:
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I also bled the brakes a bit better, 'cus I really need to test them to see if I have to tap a booster into the system, would be nice to know now before I get further with it. But should be decent weather tomorrow so hopefully I'll be able to take it for a spin :)

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Are you building it to any sort of club rules Soren ? or is it more for playdays ? Chopping up the gearbox is a great solution to using

the torque-tubes , inspired . I still have 2 404's in the yard and may well have a go at something similar , maybe using 2 steering axles

cheers

Steveb

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At first glance it just looks 'fun' :)

And that Sir, is the very thing its supposed to be :)

Are you building it to any sort of club rules Soren ? or is it more for playdays ? Chopping up the gearbox is a great solution to using

the torque-tubes , inspired . I still have 2 404's in the yard and may well have a go at something similar , maybe using 2 steering axles

cheers

Steveb

Well, there's only one club in Denmark that allows homebuild (ie. no license plate) cars. And I'm mainly building it to suit there requirements. The only big thing that they wouldn't accept is my brake setup, they require at least one brake pr. axle and on separate circuits. But that's something I can always do. But my intended use for it not in any club, it's just for fun and for finding (and pushing) my own limits offroad. Have always had great success with this approach, allowing me to use my beloved 80" close to edge without getting over it because of all the practice in my much more sacrificial "bangers"

I don't fear rolling in my 4x4, and have done it several times, but I fear for it when I drive the 80" simply for the sake of the car, I would hate destroying it. So having something that is without such attachment and value to me is great :)

I say do it! :) I'll post some more in-depth pictures of how I made the input gear :)

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As promised some more info on how I made the input gear on the mog gearbox.

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After cutting the main-shaft with the grinder I found it to be only case-hardened and very easy to work with in the core. So decided to just modify this shaft. On the above picture, the lower shaft would essentially be low ratio, if you were to fit a traditional engine/gearbox combo from a RWD car or 4x4 without the transfer.

making the input shaft was quite easy and simple. Drill it out, crimp in a piece of an old Series pinion, and weld the two together in the lathe so that they would run reasonably true:

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As you might have noticed I utilized some of the Mog shifting setup to enable me to disengage drive through the box. Not something I will be using right now though, so the gear is just tacked into engaged position, but I can easily revert it later if I need it for whatever :)

I then turned down a Series flange to fit inside a spherical bearing and that's basically how that end of the shaft is controlled. I chose a spherical bearing because I could not make sure that the 10mm plate I had welded to the gearbox housing was exactly in line with the rest of the housing, basically because I didn't have any means to do a straight cut as for instance a big band saw would've.

So that's basically it, the cast housing was easy enough to weld with the MIG, just preheat, weld and cool down slowly

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After finally getting the Disco dragged out in the snow to rot (am a bit mad at it right now because of the dead engine) I could finally drive this thing in and begin on some proper fun work instead! Tube has arrived, and so the spaghetti began:

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Nice to finally be able to put a "face" on it.

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Detachable at the front

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And going to split the tube in between these cross bars to make a detachable joint so the whole front section can be removed

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