Compact kids/comp buggy drivetrains


Loves Light Bars
Mar 6, 2017
So a good friend and I are looking at build a comp buggy that will also see use as a secondary kids buggy. We want 48" wide chassis, 104-108 wheelbase, 4wheel steer. the plan is to use 2 front '05 D60, with the long side narrowed to like 65" WMS. So it would have a passenger offset rear diff.

That is the easy part. What we are having trouble deciding on is driveline. We have found a trailblazer 5.3 chassis locally for $500, and also have access to a '03 I6 4200 trailblazer for $100. We are leaning towards the 4200 for cost and the fact that is is a narrow motor compared to a v8, allowing us to offset the engine to the pass side of the chassis, offseting drivers weight, and lessening the driveshaft angle to the rear diff. we would also enterain adding a turbo to the 4200. Transfer case is likely a planetary box and twinstick 205

Obvious issues are the oilpan, weird bellhousing(if not using the 4l60e), tuning. not as common for swaps

Pros- narrower, lighter, simpler in some ways, cheaper(maybe not in the long run?) Unique,

Thoughts from guys that have built the little buggies. This would be the first all tube rig we have built (so far its been a TJ, sami, k30 truggy, bronco buggy)

Ghetto Fab

Spotter Required
Nov 1, 2021
Atascadero, Ca
I don't have any direct experience doing what you're asking, but that sounds like a fun kids buggy! I think if I was building anything for my kids I'd want something way less powerfull than either of those options.

Have you looked at the length of those 4200s and how it compares to other options? I wouldn't imagine tuning to be that big of an issue since I'm sure it uses the same GM software as the LS engines.

Personally, doing my own daydreaming planning on a new buggy, I think I've mentally settled on the LS platform. I like the idea of some of the newer V6 and turbo 4cyl motors, but in the end I think the simplicity of a V8 kinda wins out. It has good low end torque, decent top end horsepower and in a relatively small package. Plenty of parts and upgrades to do whatever you want. Pretty much why you see them in everything.


eternal noobie
Staff member
Oct 12, 2010
Toquerville UT
Richard Hulse has a kids buggy, saw it this weekend. Toyota axles.
Fabn801 has done one too I believe.
A.J. Spaay just relisted his girlfriends kids crawler too.

All 3 would be good references for a build. Stick to 60 degree V6 blocks (3900) or small inline 4cyl blocks for space, short automatics, and a D300/Midnight case for weight/space. V8 simply takes up too much room, and unneeded power.
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