Newbie first build question?

Stephen21

Loves Light Bars
Aug 27, 2021
6
Eastern WA
Hey Everyone.

I have the bug.... I need to build a buggy.

I have been researching chassis, suspension and drivetrain options. I have been looking at one ton trucks to use as a donor for drivetrain and whatever else I may be able to re-task.

Then I had the thought: Could I take a 1 ton truck and remove cab & bed, Bob the frame as tight as I can and build the rest with DOM tube??

To be clear, I am thinking of a 4 link on the rear and remove as much frame rail as I can. Similar out front but cut the frame rails just forward of the engine mount.

It would certainly be a little heavier than a scratch built chassis.

Is this a reasonable project for my first buggy? What do you all think?

Thanks.

S.
 

woody

eternal noobie
Staff member
Oct 12, 2010
1,482
54
Toquerville UT
Basically, a truggy....it's been done many times as a budget build...you'll likely end up keeping the frame rails from the radiator mounts back to the trans mounts, and tubing out the rest. If you are keeping ANY of the body, it's a decent idea. But if you plan a full tube project on top, you can save 500-1000# in weight and provide much improved suspension geometry with a tube-only start. Factory frames are heavy and limiting.

The big advantage to the tube-only builds is the link geometry. That's where the "kits" out there shine, because that geometry has been proven.

My old ftoy fit loosely into the "truggy" category, and had all the limitations/problems as a result :)
 

Stephen21

Loves Light Bars
Aug 27, 2021
6
Eastern WA
Basically, a truggy....it's been done many times as a budget build...you'll likely end up keeping the frame rails from the radiator mounts back to the trans mounts, and tubing out the rest. If you are keeping ANY of the body, it's a decent idea. But if you plan a full tube project on top, you can save 500-1000# in weight and provide much improved suspension geometry with a tube-only start. Factory frames are heavy and limiting.

The big advantage to the tube-only builds is the link geometry. That's where the "kits" out there shine, because that geometry has been proven.

My old ftoy fit loosely into the "truggy" category, and had all the limitations/problems as a result :)

Thank you Woody.

Your calling it "Truggy" is spot on. that is exactly what I had in mind and for just the reason you mentioned. Budget. This thing will be 100% "Toy". I can claim a pickup as a "necessary tool" to justify the expense. The truggy won't pass that test. I am going to be counting my pennies.

My thought was to remove every piece of metal that is not necessary to a chassis with an enclosed cab. I wonder if removing the roof and replacing it with a soft top would save much weight??

I have also given some thought to making lightening cuts in the frame rails. This thing will never see 2000# in the bed or pull an 18k # trailer. I suspect that I could shed a few pounds while maintaining reasonable structure.
 

Stephen21

Loves Light Bars
Aug 27, 2021
6
Eastern WA
I spent a couple of hours searching for a suitable 1 ton donor truck......... Where have all of the cheap old 1 tons gone???

So far I am looking at a $7k truck 300 miles away and a much nicer truck for $3500 that is 2500+ miles away.

I am beginning to consider using my 3/4 ton rat truck instead.

2004 Chevy Silverado 2500 4x4
Standard cab
Long bed
6.0 gas motor
4L80 transmission
156k miles

How much difference is there between 3/4 and 1 ton running gear? I do plan on running 37's or larger.

What do you all think?
 

Stephen21

Loves Light Bars
Aug 27, 2021
6
Eastern WA
Color me confused....

I read that 3/4 ton trucks typically use the same axles as the 1/2 ton trucks. If you want bigger then you need a one ton.

Now I am reading about Dana 60's and Sterling 10.5's in 3/4 ton trucks......

They cannot both be right.......
 

JohnnyJ

Loves Light Bars
Nov 18, 2020
6
SE Michigan
Used truck prices are super high right now, as are the people trying to sell them.

From what I can tell you can get a semi-float (least desirable), 10.5" full float (aka 14-bolt), and the 11.5 full float in the 2004 2500. I'm pretty sure diesels got the 11.5 axle. Not sure how they split the semi and full float. Best to pop the wheel cover and have a look.

If you're lucky you have the 10.5 FF, and can pair it up with your 6.0 and 4L80E. I'm guessing you won't want the front IFS. So a good matchup is the 2005+ Ford F250/F350 Dana 60. In some areas you can luck into one needing a rebuild for a few hundred. Other areas the prices are creeping up.
 

Stephen21

Loves Light Bars
Aug 27, 2021
6
Eastern WA
Superduty 60 and Sterling combo's aren't terrible when it comes to axles....$1000ish for the set.

Where are you finding the axles for that price? I have been looking in the wrong places ;)

I have learned that 2005 and later F-250's have Dana 60's and have been looking at trucks in the $3000-$5000 range. Pretty slim pickins. I have seen complete Dana 60's for $900-$3000.

If I can find an F-250 that ticks all of the boxes I think that I will continue down the budget truggy route for my first build.

Would you consider the Ford 6.8l V-10 suitable or is it too heavy? I am also seeing a BUNCH of 6.0 Powerstrokes. I would not have one as a daily driver but as a pampered low mileage hobby car I could probably be ok with a bulletproofed 6.0. Unless.... It is too heavy...

What are your thoughts?

Thanks.

S
 
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