01 September 2008
The Summer of Buggy Part 2
Back to the story. I added this ironically titled movie "It is finally done this time." You can hear in the movie the clicking of the chain tensioner and how the engine isn't quite dialed in right, namely you can hear the surges and dips in the RPMs. I believe I left off where I saw the tire bouncing away. Sam told me that from his vantage point in the parking lot he saw me drive behind a hill and then didn't see me exit from behind the hill. He did however see a large dust cloud. I unstrapped myself from the buggy and called Sam to come pick me up. He and my mom hopped in the MDX and hauled the trailer to where I was. He was coming pretty fast and I am pretty sure the MDX and the trailer got some air barrelling down the track.
It has been sitting in the garage missing its front tires for almost three years now. Last summer after we returned from our missions we got a few parts together, e.i. stiffer springs and some heim joints but didn't really get much done as we both went back to school for a summer term. Then we got distracted by school, work, and some girls. I thought it would forever cloud our garage like the car under the tarp in Better off Dead. So yes both of us entered the confusing and complicated time of dating, engagement, and weddings. But then the storm lifted and my tunnel vision opened to see the realm of possibility in buggydom. Now that I a married, I needed a hobby. I didn't think I would have the time or money to work on the buggy again but that changed. It started when I began working at the welding shop on campus. We have the best collection of tools that I have ever been previledged to work with. At this point though I still thought that it wouldn't be possible to work on it again because of the aforementioned reasons of time and money. However I realized that one can make time and money, it just takes some effort and budgeting of both the time and of the money. I also began to look at it as an investment. My thought process was as follows. Buy parts, fix buggy, sell buggy, save money x 10 years, and build better buggy and metal shop in the future. Then I'll probably sell that one and make a new one and viola I have a lifelong hobby.
One day, after the mechanics were parting out the broken Hawaiian GEM cars, there were two steering shafts and rack and pinions in the dumpster at work. I decided that these would be a great start to overhaul the buggy. I snapped a picture with my phone and sent a picture to Sam saying essentiallly "I have a plan, we need to fix the buggy." After that I began to research design and parts. My purpose this summer has been to this end: Fix the buggy. I think I have drawn six different models for the front suspension on Solid Edge. I have gone over measurements and plans and know what I want. I talked to my boss about getting the steel and also found out about water jet cutting for all the platework. I am pretty excited. I am very close to actually working on it again. There are just a few problems still. 1. I am in Utah. The buggy is in California. 2. School starts tomorrow. 3. My plans are quickly becoming more grandiose and a few hundred bucks wont suffice in fulfilling them.
We talked about converting it into a two-seater. It would sell for more and would be more fun to drive anyway. Yesterday after checking over the dimensions we would basically have to build a new frame. We would have to carve so much out of the original frame (which is really OK by me, it was a poor design anyway) that there would only be the engine mount left. The extra steel isn't an issue, the average build of a mini buggy is about 250 ft of steel. A local supplier is selling 1 3/16 round tube .120 wall for $0.59/ft. We would need about 100 ft if we just did the front end. So I don't know what we'll do then. The water jet is only $15 an hour so getting our plates cut will be easy. It will just take more time. However I don't think it will take as much time as it did the first time we we're really inexperienced and didn't have any plans to go by. We also lacked tools. I really think that now we could have all the tubes cut and bent in one day, and notched and tacked together in a day more. The plate would be cut in an hour or two while we work on the mills and lathes in the shop. I think most of the time would be spent hooking everything back up, and prepping the frame for paint. The question really is if all of this effort would translate into a higher selling cost. It has to be done and sold by the summer of 2010 so we have some time to do it. After that I'll be in Med school who know where and I definately wont be working on the buggy then. So I guess right now I'll just have to wait.
In short, my mind has been keen on this subject throughout the summer which is why, even though it remains 800 miles away, this has been my summer of buggy.