French Tickler Buggy

Bebop

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2019
Location
TN
Since I'm new here, I figured it'd be good for me to present my rig. It's a brand new build, with used parts where I could make them work.

Specs are :

Chassis : Bent Fab Evo3R
Engine : stock 5.3 Vortec with wet NOS plate (about 600 internet hp)
Trans : PTC TH400, RMVB, 2000rpm converter, Ultrabell
Transfer : 3:1 Atlas2
Front axle : 14 bolt, housing built to my specs by Jake Burkey of BKOR, Mark Williams 40sp spool, 4340 40sp shafts and RCV Big Bells, 13 bolt shave, 05+ F250/350 outers with BJE.
Rear axle : 14 bolt, shaved, Detroit locker and 300M 35sp Black Mamba shafts. Will be swapped for a steering axle in the near future
Driveshafts : 1410 all the way
Tires/wheels : Raceline, 43 SXs
Suspension : 2.0 Coilcarriers + 2.5 Triple Bypass Radflo on Riot Trailing Arms + PAC Racing SwayBar
Steering : PSC with XR ram
Misc : Heated seats, Hydroboost, Griffin FRONT Rad, GoatBuilt Fuel cell with stock Silverado pump, Winters shifter, Moroso Accusump, Holley ECU, Front AND rear 8274 winches etc…

Tim from Bent Fabrications started on the roller September 2018 and I picked it up from him right before Christmas that year. Him and I and my best friend Donny thrash built the front 14 bolt in a day and a half right before I picked it up. I finished the buggy in my single car garage during 2019 and it's about ready for a test drive.

I'm originally a lightweight crawler guy, samurai enthusiast and even had a campbell moon buggy for a little while. After riding around on the east coast, I decided I wanted more of a bigger trail riding rig. I'm a firm believer that suspension/tires are more important than engine output so I built the buggy accordingly.

Fav place to wheel on the east coast : Harlan & AOP (for very different reasons).

I learned a lot during this build and can't wait to shake it down at RBD. That's provided that I don't encounter any last minute issues with it, in the next 2 weeks.

Some pics during the build :

















Finally, at ride height when I measured the weights to order springs, which is pretty much how it sits as of today.



I enjoy TIG welding, wiring and the challenge of turning something that's in my head into a tangible object.

Little pic of definitely not my worst weld :



I ended up putting all the electronics into a waterproof amo can. The front 1/4 turn plug hosts all the chassis wiring. The engine wiring goes through the back hole but another quick disconnect plug will be added in the future.







Also I'm pretty sure I was one of the first people to try to fit some Big Bells in a 05+ SD axle. I've become very familiar with these and was able to work with RCV and Nick Barna of BallJointEliminators (both great companies) to make this happen. I'm a unit bearing / CV shafts / hydroboost guy for life haha

Hope the buggy doesn't break in half its first time out and I'll be happy with it.
 
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CasterTroy

Motarded
Joined
Mar 21, 2005
Location
Wallburg
Very nice.


Welcome
 

Croatan_Kid

How's your hammer hangin'?
Joined
Nov 4, 2007
Location
New Bern
Yep. Kind of a shame we didn't meet for lunch yesterday! I'd like to check that rig out!
 

Bebop

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2019
Location
TN
My next ride after RBD is probably going to be New Years at AOP. Still not 100% but big probability.
 

Chris_Keziah

Joe Dirt @ Rev Limit Fab
Joined
Dec 1, 2010
Location
Winston-Salem
This thing is just too cool, welcome to NC. Look forward to seeing this thing on the trails.
 

Bebop

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2019
Location
TN
Shit, my ugly mug is already posted here haha
Glad you guys like the video and the build.

Tim is awesome ! Very very cool dude, has tons of knowledge and will build a great product !

I chose a tubular front end cause I didn't want any bodywork and I like the look of the tubes better. It made my life way harder and I would advise anyone that wants a front radiator to go with his sheetmetal front end. Live and learn !
 

Bebop

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2019
Location
TN
Thank you ! But it's far from done.

Now starts the tuning phase of the build. Engine needs tuning (I'll do the bare essentials on Thursday then it's gonna be off to DKGoodrich sometime soon), suspension needs tuning (I'll play with it some then I'll spend some time with Jake Burkey), interior needs tweaking, lights aren't there yet, I need to finalize the harness then pull it out to insulate it + add raychem boots, add rear steer, a bigger engine, I've got a ton of improvement ideas, new engine skid plate, steering ram skid plate, and so much more.

I expect the tweaking/tuning phase to last about 1 or 2 seasons. When I'm done and happy with how it performs, I'll tear it down and cover the chassis (paint or powder hasn't been defined yet).

I'm a notorious overthinker and can't leave anything alone so I expect this phase to last a while...
 

Bebop

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2019
Location
TN
Little RBD recap after I took my buggy out for the first time this long weekend.

I will start by saying that out of the 2 days of riding we had, every issue that rose up wasn’t related to the chassis nor the suspension. These were the key factors of why I knocked on Bent Fabrication’s door and I can say Tim delivered! Both of them performed excellent. The springs and shock valving are way off (I threw the shocks and springs on to make it to RBD), but it shows incredible potential already. Can’t wait to spend some time tweaking these with my buddy Jake from Busted Knuckle Offroad!

I took it very easy on Thursday night, rode all day Friday with no issues and decided to beat on it Saturday.

Here are the extensive list of the issues I had with it:

- Loose lug nuts (my dumbass fault 100%)
- Loose beadlock ring bolts (new racelines tend to do this it seems, I’ll keep a look on them)
- Burped all air out of a tire.
- Bent the passenger sway bar arm. It seems like the bracket on the link is a little off compared to the driver side. The arm bent itself very early in the ride on Thursday, then stayed there. I guess it found its happy place. I’ll keep monitoring but won’t do anything unless I see it move some more.
- Bent both front square lower links. I guess they didn’t like my driving style. Will change for bigger/stronger.
- The engine is pretty worn. 7ish PSI at idle and 19ish at WOT. I’ll try a couple of things, but if I can’t fix it for cheap, I’ll just run it until it blows.
- The torque converter gave up on the way back to camp on Saturday, right after a proper bouncer beatdown. Symptoms are textbook converter failure (high pitched whirring noise, trans slips in all gears, builds up A TON of heat). I can’t be super mad at it since it’s a used unit with unknown past and still allowed me to drive the buggy back on the trailer and inside the garage.

Overall, the buggy feels great!

A little on the bigger side since I’m used to samurais, but the 45deg steering angle helps maneuverability a ton. It front digs very nicely.

I never felt like I would hurt the axles at any moment. Big bells are an amazing peace of mind. I was really glad RCV allowed me to play with these and offers such a nice product at a solid price point. Not cheap, but in the ballpark of the higher end shafts from other manufacturers that don’t offer the upside of the orange units (CV joints and best warranty of the market).

Stability is incredible. It feels like you can run it on its lid without actually rolling over. It probably comes from the fact the suspension is stiff but still, very impressive. All my friends agreed the grip is insane and as a buddy that has plenty of circle track experience noted, this unit has a lot of "forward bite". It really wants to climb over the obstacles with its front end.

Front rad cooling package works well. Stupid easy to bleed and no issues during the ride. I’m glad I put the radiator there. Another good thinking by Bent Fabrications.

Lastly, the unit feels way underpowered. I need to get a real number on weight but it’s not “ultra light”. I’d ballpark it around 4000lbs. I’ve been denied on a couple of obstacles due to the lack of torque/hp IMO. It doesn’t spin the tires as quickly as what was needed for these big climbs. I guess it’s a good thing to help me learn the vehicle. But it shows that if you want to do rockbouncer shit, you need a big thumping engine. I hope that adding NOS and a transbrake during the transmission rebuild will help mitigate the issue.

Here are some pics:

On the go:



Arrived at RBD:



Buggy in its element (I love these pictures :cool:)



 

Bebop

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2019
Location
TN
Drivetrain is out for rebuild/upgrades.
Gonna sell my LJ, need some $$ back in the piggy bank.







While everything is out, I'm looking into modifying some stuff to make wrenching on it easier : better wiring harness routing and disconnects, shutoff valves and dry breaks connectors for the fluids, new engine mounts, etc
 

obullfish

Carolina Trail Blazers
Joined
Nov 21, 2011
Location
Candler N.C.
Drivetrain is out for rebuild/upgrades.
Gonna sell my LJ, need some $$ back in the piggy bank.







While everything is out, I'm looking into modifying some stuff to make wrenching on it easier : better wiring harness routing and disconnects, shutoff valves and dry breaks connectors for the fluids, new engine mounts, etc
LJ?
 
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