By Don L 1157 Date 2008-11-29 02:25
I'm a high school teacher, and as I contemplate the few years left until retirement I continue to baby my twenty year old Jeep Cherokee. It might or might not last until I retire, but I see in my mind's eye new wheels.
I'm looking at a tube steel, sand rail, kind of frame. Barrien has a 115 inch frame and Beeline a 120 inch. Either of these would do. A mid-engine arrangement would be my most preferred set-up, as this vehicle will be on the road (street legal) more than off. The Subaru 2.5L drive train is at the top of the list with a combination of reliability, availability, and low cost. I would anticipate installing the complete unit into the rear end of my frame. With bad knees, I'm leaning toward the automatic transaxle....it would be a bummer to bend my wheels because I couldn't clutch!! I haven't looked at the details yet, but intend to use Subaru spindles and disc brakes installed on the VW front suspension.
Now, where I live in West Virginia, we get so much snow in the winter that we have (on average) more days off school due to weather that any other county in the state. That means an enclosed, heated cockpit to keep this aging pilot warm, and dry. This may be fiberglass over foam or thin plywood. Alternately, I could use the synthetic fabric used in private aviation to cover wing surfaces over a frame work of wood, metal, or carbon-fiber. Money and man-hours will decide!
Understanding that this vehicle will be my primary transportation, it will have two seats up front, and a platform between the front seats and the engine area, enclosing the platform inside the cabin, and be used for groceries, luggage, or my two semi large dogs. Fenders.....think the front end of a Harley Electro Glide, or what you might see on a tricked out 23-T Bucket.
Mel has opened my eyes to some vary interesting power mods that can be done with the Subaru 2.5L. When you triage the list of things that need to be done in order to get a vehicle on the road, the power mods are near the bottom, but surely something to contemplate!
Hoping to get started this winter.
Don in the Mountains of West Virginia
By Sandsurfer Date 2008-11-29 12:03
Keep in mind that there are many problems with the Subi automatic transmission. Be sure to include a trans rebuild in the budget, odds are you won't be starting with a low mileage trans.
By @Jeff GS Date 2008-11-29 14:18
I've seen a couple of street legal rail buggies and while I too at one time thought that would make a pretty cool cruiser, I think you'd have a very hard time setting one up for all weather driving. I'd lean towards a model with available fiberglass bodywork - I think Berrien has a couple of those. Getting it fully sealed will be a challenge. I'd think too, just getting in and out if it on any kind of a daily basis would be a challenge!
Plan on giving up any kind of utility too, it'll likely have just enough room for yourself and a passenger, and little else. Consider you will be building a completely custom car - including all the little stuff like heat and defroster ducting and controlls, windows, interior paneling and finishing, etc. etc - all will have to be custom made. It can be a fun project, but don't give up having another car for a daily driver for a while!
By Mel Adjusted Date 2008-12-08 22:33
I like your idea of fabric Don L... As a licenced A & P, I have covered many Aircraft with fabric and it would be weather proof, light and easy to repair. Heating with a Subaru would be a piece of cake, and the choice of a automatic transmission is killer. I don't think you'd ever blow one. Locking the diffrential to make it would be easy but you could just look for a front wheel drive transmission and save the BS.... I plan on going automatic in my racer ala F-1, Indy style shifting.
If you go the Aircraft style frame and fabric and plexaglas setup you could likely keep the car under 1,000 lbs. Trust me, you power to weight ratio would be awsome and scarey till you learned how to drive it.
My racer has a 2:1 power to weight ratio and I can leap tall buildings in a single bound. When I turn the wick up on it it makes the faint of heart chit there pants...
At my age.. Everything I buy comes with a lifetime guarantee..
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