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Previous Next Up Topic Public / General Discussion / 1/2 ton dune buggy - is it possible? (12416 hits)
By Doc N 3728 Date 2013-07-20 21:39
Aside from the obvious (no roll bar, carpets, alloy rather than steel wheels, smaller fuel tank, etc.), what can a builder do to get his dune buggy's weight down to 1000 pounds?

Are there places where drilled holes in the chassis will not result in failure?
Areas where expanded metal can replace sheet metal?
Any other tips/tricks worth considering?

My reason: a 1000 lb towing limit for our motorhome . . . .
By Paul G Date 2013-07-21 00:58
1000 lb. will be tough, but should be doable. My buggy was 1100 lb. before I converted it to electric drive. I put it on the scales before I started the conversion and got 370 lb. on the front axle and 730 lb. on the rear axle. A aluminum front beam and a chopped windshield with Lexan to replace the laminated safety glass would get you real close. A smaller gas tank (so the weight is less variable) and a somewhat lighter body (easy as the buggy had a resin rich chopper gun body) should get the total down to 1000 lb. My buggy is based on a '64 frame. You will want to leave out all the extras, like carpet, a radio, windshield wipers, and seat belts.
By Doc N 3728 Date 2013-07-21 06:24 Edited 2013-07-21 06:27
RE: ". . . A aluminum front beam and a chopped windshield with Lexan to replace the laminated safety glass would get you real close. A smaller gas tank (so the weight is less variable) and a somewhat lighter body (easy as the buggy had a resin rich chopper gun body) should get the total down to 1000 lb. . . ."

Aluminum front beam isn't covered under Medicare . . . but I'd already thought about substituting Lexan Brooklands screens for a windshield (WA requires wipers, but doesn't require a windshield!). 

A new idea from your post (thank you) is using the hood as a mold for a 2-3 layer FG mat replica hood - I've made replica bumpers and such for my autocross cars in the past.  May not work on the main body piece, though, since the body's stiffness is important.

By Paul G Date 2013-07-21 17:38
I've driven my buggy for the last 22 years in western Washington and have yet to be bothered about the lack of wipers or outside rear view mirror. That is likely only an issue if you need a WSP inspection.
By Brad H 1498 Date 2013-07-21 21:00
I would go for aluminum seats (bomber style from speedway or Kirkey) small aluminum or plastic fuel cell. I have an aluminum steering wheel that weight less than 3lbs in my 57. Light weight aluminum wheels - they are not all created equal, some are heavier than stock wheels. Who needs a windsheild, I haven't had one for 19 years.

brad
By Doc N 3728 Date 2013-07-21 22:17
RE:  "I've driven my buggy for the last 22 years in western Washington and have yet to be bothered about the lack of wipers . . . ."

I've heard that one of these under the seat will meet their requirement:
By Doc N 3728 Date 2013-07-21 22:30
RE: "I would go for aluminum seats (bomber style from speedway or Kirkey) small aluminum or plastic fuel cell. I have an aluminum steering wheel that weight less than 3lbs in my 57. Light weight aluminum wheels - they are not all created equal, some are heavier than stock wheels. . . ."

Aluminum or plastic seats would 'harsh our mello' so I'll go with the pair of VW Sports Bug fronts I've held onto for years and compensate for that weight elsewhere.

Plastic fuel cell - check!  Jaz 12 gallon.

Steering wheel - I have a couple of aftermarket small-diameter ones, but don't remember if they're chromed steel or aluminum centers.

Road wheels - I have several sets of old school slotted alloys in 13 and 14 inch diameters of various pitch circle diameters (finding 13" tires isn't easy any more, though), and a set of 8-spoke 15 inch alloys (4-on-130mm), and a set of FWD Ford hammers (would require adapters).  I'll let the scale be my guide.
By Rick M 333 Date 2013-07-22 01:17
Actually, if your limit is 1K behind the motorhome, you need to take into account the weight of the towing rig as well. If it's anything other than a standard VW towbar (about 60 pounds), you will need to compensate for the extra weight there as well. Sounds like a Tow'd might be your buggy of choice here!
By Doc N 3728 Date 2013-07-22 04:04
RE:  ". . . if your limit is 1K behind the motorhome, you need to take into account the weight of the towing rig as well . . . ."

I think mine is only about 20-25 lbs, but yes, its weight needs to be included.  I added a reducer-extension to mine so I can lock it into the receiver when I take a towed vehicle out for a drive.

By VWStoreChick Date 2013-08-10 04:06
"Road wheels - I have several sets of old school slotted alloys in 13 and 14 inch diameters of various pitch circle diameters (finding 13" tires isn't easy any more, though), and a set of 8-spoke 15 inch alloys (4-on-130mm), and a set of FWD Ford hammers (would require adapters).  I'll let the scale be my guide. "

PLEASE take into consideration I'm not sure what year your Buggy is but if it is 5 lug there is no wheel adapter available to go from : 5 Lug Ford Wheel to VW 4 Lug Hub / Rotor.

This is a huge misconception.  Guys call all the time looking for these.

Also if you choose to use a 13 / 14" wheel please note you can not upgrade to disc brakes.  You need a 15" Wheel to accept and allow clearance for the calipers.

Other than that the guys here have been good at keeping you in the right direction.
Just wheels are a typical problem with being mismatched and customer problems.

If you can go VW or Chevy.  Best matching sets for adapters!
By Rick M 333 Date 2013-08-14 13:40
Also if you choose to use a 13 / 14" wheel please note you can not upgrade to disc brakes.  You need a 15" Wheel to accept and allow clearance for the calipers.

Not true. I've got disc on all four corners with 14" alloys on my Sterling. Yes, the clearances are very tight, but they do clear.
By Brad H 1498 Date 2013-08-15 02:24
A lot depends on the shape of the wheel and the offset. Wish I could fit 13s on my buggy. I miss my big sticky CHEAP Formula Ford slicks for racing.

brad
By filippo g 1437 Date 2013-11-22 01:48
mine is 520 kg   with steel wide smoothies and agricultural rear tires.

frame is not lightened as every mechanical parts. all stock 1200 cc beetle. 28 cm shortened chassis

my lightweight work:

no moquette or carpets at all
clean metal floors and tunnel
no jackstands
no swaybar
no heat
no rear seats
no wipers
lightened engine tinwear
front fiberglass buckets
no bumpers
chopped perspex windscreen

i have single arch rollbar in inox.

if i would have put alloys in role of steel wheels and light tires i could have afford a glass windscreen and wipers to stay in 500 kg.

you can do it. you just have to strip all the useless parts
Previous Next Up Topic Public / General Discussion / 1/2 ton dune buggy - is it possible? (12416 hits)

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