Planet 4x4 - Building a Rock Racer - Part I

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Building a Rock Racer Buggy - Part I

This is a multipart series in the concept, build, and using, a competition Rock Racing Buggy.

Part I

(Click on Pics for larger Version)

Building a Rock Racer takes time and planning. In this multipart series, we will look at a build in progress that Andrew Paulson is currently undertaking. The target is to be able to compete in some of the X.R.R.A. and W.E. Rocks events. It will also serve double duty as a trail rider so, a two seater version was given the nod. Visibility and overall balance was also important so a mid engine design was also decided on.

Since this rig was planned for Rock Racing events a Chevy 6.0 was sourced for a power plant. These are potent engines from the factory and there is an abundance of power upgrades on the market if needed. The power to weight ratio should be very good. Cooling is handled with a Ron Davis aluminum radiator.
A GM TH350 (3 speed automatic) was grabbed for the shifting duties. Being a common transmission, there are a host of aftermarket parts and when all else fails, replacements can be found fairly easily. For a transfer case, no expense was spared on a Lovell clutch driven pneumatic unit. The one here in the picture is an Atlas used for mocking up the locations but as of this writing, the Lovell has been delivered. The advantages of the Lovell is that with the clutches, the front and rear can be flipped in and out without everything binding up. The shifting is done pneumatically (with air) so there are no levers, it is simply done with the flip of a switch.

Axles are Spidertrax units with custom Ford 9" centers flipped upside down for the reverse rotation of the mid engine setup. The rear with get Dana 60 outers and both ends will get ARB lockers with 4:88 gears.
The structure itself is being built using 1 3/4" Chromoly tubing for maximum strength and weight savings. Seating is handled by PRP and the rest will be pretty much custom built. Link material for the suspension will be 1 3/4" DOM with 1 1/4" Flex Joints on each end. Damping duties are taken care of by 2.5" diameter, 18" travel, Fox Air Shocks on each corner.

Here are some of the goodies ready to go in. You can see the CNC dual master brake system along with the components for the CNC cutting brake system for cutting tight corners. Also shown is one of the bump stops for handling those big air jumps and two of the suspension links are also pictured.

Stay tuned as part two shows more of the components being added, some modifications in the cage design, and the motor gets fired up! The goal is to be competing this year. Think Andrew will make it? Lets wait and see.

Planet 4x4



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