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Thinking of building a 'gas' powered buggy

Posted by KevC___Ireland (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 7, 04 at 11:37

Hi Guys,

My kids have a plastic Graco Grande 12v buggy we bought 'em for christmas 2 years ago and this thing has me driven crazy. It takes 16 hours to charge the 22AH battery and it runs for 20-30 mins before it dies, then tears come.... You know the story. I looked at buying a second battery but at $85($105), I'm not taking the bait.
My wife made a suggestion a few weeks ago that is germinating in my brain since. I hate when she does that.
I'm thinking of chucking the toy and build a 'gas' powered buggy. I'm pretty happy with building the frame and such but engine & brakes would be my concern. I have a set of wheels with a rear diff axle, chain drive set up. An automatic transmission would be nescessary but has anyone suggestions on a power unit & transmission?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Thinking of building a 'gas' powered buggy


I remember putting a 12 volt lawn tractor battery in one of those cars for the kids. I had two of them, while one was running the other was charging. They charge much faster too of course and cost about $20 bucks apiece here. I had to make some minor changes to the connectors to get it to work, but no problem. It didnt take long for the kids to burn up the motor after that, since I think the short duty cycle of the motor took into account having a lousy battery :).

As far as the trans/clutch setup, you might go to and see if their go-cart parts would work for you. They have a bretty big selection.


Here is a link that might be useful: Nothern Tools go-kart parts

RE: Thinking of building a 'gas' powered buggy

Hi Kevin, you did not say how old your kids were and how fast you want them to be able to go, but if tears come when it won't go, I am going to assume that they are still pretty small.
Like Kurt says, go carts here for older kids have gas engines ranging from the smallest on up to quite a few horse power. Centrifugal clutches make them almost like automatic, mash the gas and you go. but gearing it down enough for small children would probably be a problem, or limiting the throttle, govenor etc.
They are making smaller and smaller gas engines like those echo motors on the little mantis tillers, and on those motorized skate boards or scooters. I am under the impression that most of those are two cycle and probably rev higher, which gets back to the speed limiting factor unless you go thru a gear box or a jack shaft with pulleys or sprokets to reduce the speed. Plus, the loud mad hornet sound would surely get on my nerves.
Would making room someway for a bigger, deep cycle battery like those that run trolling motors for hours, and handling the conversion for the connections and current flow be an option to consider. Just some thoughts off the top of my head. Good luck and keep us posted!
Bill P.

RE: Thinking of building a 'gas' powered buggy

I rode as well as my kids, a trike made from a 7 hp Techumseh engine , it had the cpmet belt system to a shaft that had a chain drive to a diff rear. rpms increase the pulley changes ratio It was a blast to ride but a little hard to steer, I suspect the rear with the diff was some yard mower rider type, another place to look for/find parts and drives is the Jeg's catalog for hotrodders, they have a jr dragster thing that you can glean ideas from. The trike had [?] abesto strips on bands on each rear side of the axle diff to help steer, a straight line stop meant both grips needed squeezing... My advise basd on experience, upgrade to disc brakes...My mom was showing off for company one time as a man was throttling it and starting to move then deaccelerate to steer, ya need throttle to steer and also needed to slide a bit... well mom sits down cranks the forks left to miss her car and yanks the throttle open being a long forked trike, it went straight to her new LTD and put a long gash in it...Boy were all us boys glad she done it to her car and not one of us..I think too much power is better than not enough cuz if the kid goes up a hill and not enough power it may roll backwards while if it had enough power it could dig itself a blocking hole til the kid decides the next step and catches his/her breath....

RE: Thinking of building a 'gas' powered buggy

Buy a lawn tractor hydrostatic transmission/differential off of Ebay. They include breaks and speed control. Many sell for < $100. Another approach is to take an old lawn tractor and strip off mower deck, sheetmetal and make a new body.

RE: Thinking of building a 'gas' powered buggy

I would go with the old rider lawn mower idea. I would think shipping from NT might be a bit steep to get stuff shipped over to you. And the lawn mower should have about all the parts you would need.


RE: Thinking of building a 'gas' powered buggy

My kids have a go cart with a 5-HP Briggs "Raptor" engine. Centrifical clutch, but no governor, solid live axle. I only let them have about 1/3 throttle. Even so it goes like a bat outta hell around the circular drive. They (and I) love it, but they're 11 and 13. I'm close behind.

I'd build a real go cart and detune it to their competence with gearing and throttle. Heck, five year olds competitively race quarter midgets.

RE: Thinking of building a 'gas' powered buggy

Get one of those self propelled push mowers.
Hook up the drive drive mechanism to drive a small go cart.
It would go slow, or use pulleys to get more speed.
It would be easy to set up.

Of course a cheap riding mower without a deck is the best.
I got one out of the local paper for $100.

Pooh Bear

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