Hello All - well its been a few months now since the MKII Chaos Buggy was finished, and so far I've clocked up just over 1000 Miles! - and every one has been an adventure and a lot of fun, I've made a few changes to the buggy along the way which i'll cover in a bit and repaired a few bits after an overly exuberant off road day (funny story see the days out photos from our local college). so lets cover the changes;
So found a small issue with the front wheel arch brackets early on whilst driving through Kendal - basically the brackets (5mm thick flat bar) were picking up too much vibration /motion which they transferred up the bracket and into the cycle wing making it shimmy like crazy, this inevitably lead to failure of one of the driver side brackets (it sheared off) forcing me to make running repairs and nurse it back home, that weekend I decided to cut some tube along its length and weld it to the flat bar along its full length effectively building a hollow "D" section for the arms of the brackets, this stiffened the brackets considerably and now I get virtually no wobble on the brackets at all - eventually I will probably do the same for the rear brackets but they dont seem to have the same issue as the fronts due the brackets being a lot shorter
Also noticed a very small oil leak from what I originally thought was the crank oil seal, after a little investigation it turned out to be the "o" ring seal on the dipstick!! quick fix and no more oil leak
On my last run I also noticed an over heating issue, the buggy only has a small 1000cc engine and on the motorway you need to work it hard to get up to motorway speeds, recently pushing it hard up the hills around Penrith (pulling about 4.5k revs) I noticed a large increase in temp (Driven that road before pulling the same speed without such a large increase of temp) so I pulled off the motorway thinking id sprung a leak however after backing off the throttle and exiting via the slip road the temp dropped quickly - in fact by the time I had got to the car park area of the services It was back to normal, so I drove straight back on to the motorway and took it a little more steady on the way home, I will check the cooling system out to ensure everything is working correctly, at non motorway speeds it stays at the same temp all the time - so a little cooling investigation is in order!
So for the first 1000 miles 3 minor faults isnt so bad I think!! - Happy Man :)
Now early on in those 1000 miles I decided to give the buggy a proper shake down test off road, to see what she could do (see the days out pictures) so a good friend of mine (Steve) was roped in and we took advantage of our local colleges off road course, I took loads of video with a pair of action cameras mounted to the frame one forward facing on the drivers side and the other rear facing on the passenger side it was a great day and fun was had by all - the buggy came hope very very dirty (which is how it should be) but it also came home slightly the worse for wear..... Let me explain, to break the buggy in softly we took it out into one of the fields where there was a couple of hill descents one quite gentle and the other not so much!! the first went without a hitch and enthused with this success we decided to try the steeper one - which would of been fine if someone had not excavated the very bottom of the hill with a scoop, not that it was deep - the problem was that it was exactly the right size for my wheels and tires - so when we came down nice and slow we came to an abrupt halt at the bottom and then rolled up and out of the ditch, it was the thump when the nose of the buggy hit the ground that was the painful bit, later on when we looked at the video footage you can actually see the front wheels travel all the way on the suspension and the cycle wing pushes past the indicator!!, anyway no major damage, apart from Steve talking in a high pitched voice for a while, a small dint in the front lower aluminium panel and me bending the top of the steering wheel over!! - A new steering wheel, use of a rubber hammer on the panel and some Ice for Steve was all we needed.
I have to admit if the sun was shining (or at least it wasn't raining cats and dogs) I've taken the buggy out for a quick blast - even if its just to get something from the local shops!! - any excuse :) - Its been great and I'm looking forward to seeing what she is like on snow this year (if we get any)... But..... I miss building her!
So..... I've started thinking about the next model the MKIII, and a few additions to the tooling in the garage, first off lets cover the new tools for the garage (and no that's not me!!!!)
First off I'm going to make some modifications to the hydraulic tube bender i built - I'm going to get another forming head and follower so that i can form 1.75 inch Cold Draw Seamless (CDS) tubing, the MKII uses 1.25 inch with a 2.5mm wall (Ah metric and imperial together lol) but due to the increased power output the MKIII is going to have and the increased stresses, I thought it wise to move to the stronger CDS and increase the diameter so that it meets roll cage rules probably stick to the 2.5mm wall though. the other addition to the garage is going to be a Belt fish mouthing tool, I've seen a few of these in operation and it makes shaping the end of tubes a breeze, think of a really big belt sander with end rollers the same size as the tube you want to attach to, with a 100mm wide zirconia belt running over it, as usual I'm not going to buy one (REALLY EXPENSIVE) I'm going to build a smaller bench top version I can use in the garage, probably powered by a 1 HP 240v electric motor, I've already started the design so shortly ill post some renders from the design software and build progress when I get started - keep an eye on the menu structure of the site as it will be changing soon to accommodate the new tools and the start of the design for the MKIII!!!
And finally the MKIII - what can I say - I love building and fabricating these things almost as much as driving them (sometimes more) now that only minor tweaks are required for the MKII my mind has wandered to what the MKIII would look like and what would power it, I have learnt a MASSIVE amount from the MKII construction, what works what does not etc and the MKIII will take all of this into account and build upon it. So a few things I've decided so far:
It WILL be mid engine again - weight distribution is great on the MKII and I want that again on the MKIII
It WILL be 4 wheel drive! - Yes you heard it here first its going to be a 4X4 buggy this time
It looks like the donor vehicle will be an AUDI TT series one Quattro either the 180bhp or the 225bhp version (Now you see the need for stronger tubing!)
It will have assisted braking this time but will still run twin master cylinders with a balance bar (I have found a twin cylinder brake servo system that should work perfectly)
I am toying with the idea of building the lifting jack into the chassis like the Dakar racers do (Only a thought at the moment)
It will be a twin seater like the MKII
I'm going to move the fuel tank from behind the seats, but im not sure where to yet
I'm going to design all the suspension mounts and brackets up front and have everything water cut locally (this will save YEARS!)
Its not going to be quite as wide as the MKII - the MKII is 230mm wide which is a pain in the arse as all transport trailers are narrower!!! I'm not sure on exact width yet think wider than a TT but narrower than the MKII
It will have lockable storage somewhere in the chassis - not sure how much but something would be good
I am considering a removable windscreen complete with a plugin wiper / washer - only considering at the moment
I am going to use a after market ECU something like a mega squirt or similar to control the engine
I am investigating ways to control the TT rear Diff which will become a front diff, so i can control the drive provided to the front wheels
I am going with a fully digital dash (of my own design) mated to a second screen in the centre console to handle additional info and satnav etc (again my own design)
So that's my thoughts so far, still a massive work in progress but the MKIII is on the board!! watch this space for further updates!!