Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Plan Continued

After my friend Travis had determined that he did want to start a winter buggy/rail project we set about finding a suitable donor car. He will be supplying most of the funding while I will be supplying most of the engineering and building expertise. Money is a key issue with the entire project and whenever possible we will be looking to save cash. I began to search for a donor car and kept finding that old VW's were now quite hard to find in fair condition, especially cheap ones. The VW platform would probably also require an engine rebuild to get a suitable level of power which would end up pushing the cash to far past our budget.

We decided that we might want to try for a more unorthodox build. The motor had to be mounted in the rear and the rear wheels had to be driven, classic VW's come in this fashion from the factory making them good candidates for a buggy build but virtually no other (cheap) cars come in this fashion. We settled on the idea of taking a front wheel driven car with its front mount engine and essentially sliding it backward into the trunk making it into a rear engine rear wheel drive vehicle. Though not as easy as it sounds it allows us to chose from any number of cheap domestic vehicles with much higher stock horsepower than a VW. A great example of this concept is illustrated here, they started with a FWD drivetrain and built a spaceframe which moved to motor to the back in much the same fashion we will be doing. The difference is that the car will be a roadcar rather than a buggy.

A few days later another friend mentioned he was going to be taking his old 94 Cavalier z24 to the junkyard due to its rust problems and crummy brakes. I jumped on the deal and told him I would take it away for $200. We had found the donor.

1994 Cavalier Z24 specs:
Purple Couple

Approx: 2860lbs.

GM 3.1l V6 Transversely Mounted FWD

4sp auto w/ OD, open differential

Horsepower: 145@4800 - 145@4200

Torque: 180@3600 - 185@3200

Cast Iron Block - 12 Valve Aluminum Heads

Displacement: 3.1L (3100cc, 192ci)

Bore vs Stroke: 89mm (3.503") x 84mm (3.3122")

Compression: 8.9:1

Fuel Management: MPFI (Multi Port Fuel Injection). Electronic, controlled by ECM

The Plan

I've always enjoyed the raw mechanical sight of old sandrails and dune buggies. They are simple and to the point, everything carefully crafted and shaped to do its specific job, nothing more, nothing less. They are much like an old Harley motorcycle, pure engineering where form truly follows necessary mechanical function.
Being a person who enjoys engineering projects and also seeing a place where I could hone my design and fabriacting skills I agreed to do a low budget build of a street legal sandrail/dunebuggy with a friend. I wanted to document everything from the build for my own purposes and I figured someone else might benefit if they could see all of the hurdles of building a from-scratch vehicle, so everything from the build will be documented here. As a fair warning I will try to provide some general advice for other builders but this blog is primarily for my own purposes and may become very detailed and boring at times.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Blog

Alright, so here's the deal, we've got a 1994 Chevy Cavalier 3.1 L v6. A z24 in other words. What we're doin is strippin' it down to use the drive train and some other components to start creating the dune buggy. Above are some pictures of the car when we got it.