01 September 2008

The Summer of Buggy Part 1

Hello Everybody. This is the other blog scribe. Most of our summer has already been catalogued by my wife. Working at the welding shop has been great. Each day I get to fix things or design and build new ones. As I practice and hone my fabrication skills, possibilities in the realm of buggydom are increasingly apparent. I digress to persue the historical import; during my senior year of high school my brother and I adopted a wrecked motorcycle for $300 and began to build what is called a mini buggy. We finished it by summer's end before we moved to Utah and the rest of the family moved to California. Then one of the sprockets failed. It got pushed onto the moving trailer and was pushed off at my grandparents house in PG, Utah.
While Sam and I were freshmen at BYU, realizing the university had millions of dollars of shop equipment at our disposal, we again began to reinvent the buggy, reinforcing the rear drivetrain and making other modifications as we saw fit. We had no organized plans and no experience apart from owning a few go-karts and reading things on the internet. Once again we were pushed to complete the project by spring when school ended and we would both leave on our missions in May. We diligently spent the week of reading days and finals to complete the buggy in time. Everything worked great and we were able to show a working buggy again to our parents. After buzzing around the block it was time to load it on the trailer to move it to my parents house in CA. As I let out the clutch and gassed it onto the trailer the front left heim joint failed and the nose dive onto the loading ramp. There was no time to fix it so we pushed it on to the trailer and pushed it off in CA.
Once there we replaced the heim joint with a larger size and we were able to drive it again. Aside from the aesthetic maladies of a very loud and obnoxious chain tensioner and a sagging soft front end, if performed well on our neighborhood culdesac. The steering had a bit of a pull to one side due to archaic methods of aligning the front end when we built the control arm mounts. We borrowed the trailer again from my uncle and took it to a local OHV area in Greater Sacramento. I can't remember what it was called. (We had the buggy titled and registered in Utah to avoid legal obstacles in CA. Once titled and registered its much easier to register again in CA.) I forgot to mention that we again had to push the buggy on the trailer. Luckily it wasn't due to and mechanical catastrophes, only an empty gas tank. We unloaded were they run the baja truck events as the size of the buggy wouldn't allow us to run on the ATV trails. Sam took a few laps around the parking lot. I got in and headed for the mile long loop of the baja track. I guess I went backwards but nobody else was there. I was going about 40 mph on some pretty rough terrain. The suspension was clearly too soft. After one small drop the a-arms hit the tie rod on the right side buckling it a little. Now I was driving with one whell cocked to the side. I slowed with the idea just to get back to the car and sort out the issues. I was at the halfway point going up a hill on a blind corner. I was only going about 25 mph when at the crest of the hill 10 feet in front of me I saw a ditch running across the track. It was large enough to swallow the front tires. What ensued as I remember was a rather abrupt stop as the frame "ran aground" and the buggy lurched forward. The harness caught me and I remember hearing the engine stall. I think I was in second gear. Then I looked up and saw nothing but dust. I don't think I could see my hands on the steering wheel. We the dust settled I saw about 50 feet away the right tire bouncing about 10 feet in the air. The spindle had snapped (for the most part due to poor engineering and insufficient welding) and the wheel took it along for the ride. Bummer.

Anyways Alexandria says I must go now. I assure you that this will make some sense in relation to this summer as I continue to explain...but that will be later.

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