Here is something completely different. Owen has built a tiller steer buggy that while at the moment is electric powered, it is intended to be steam powered in due course. So for a great build article Owen has written below –
OLD 1900 STYLE BUGGY,TILLER STEERING, BUILT ON A VERY TIGHT BUDGET, COST APPROX $1400.
The original idea was to build a steam buggy, a 2-cylinder steam engine coupled to a gas fired mono tube
steam generator. To get the project off the ground I acquired an old mobility scooter and fitted the
electric motor unit and controller with transaxle to the chassis.
The first project was to turn 2 front wheel hubs and 2 rear wheel hubs. The front hubs were fitted to the
15mm axles running on 2 sealed bearings per hub, and the rear hubs were bored out to 20mm and keyed
to independent rear axles running on 2 sealed bearings and coupled by chains to each end of the
transaxle. A local bike shop laced the hubs to 20-inch bmx wheels and fitted the tyres. Disc brake rotors
and calipers have been fitted to the rear hubs. Now need to have cables fitted to an equalizer and brake
pedal or lever.
The chassis was fabricated with 25mm square steel tube with 2mm wall thickness. The front axles and
steering from the Scooter were adapted to attach to fabricated blocks centred on the leaf springs, and
the tiller steering is coupled by tie rod to the front axle, all done in the recommended Ackerman style.
The seat-of-the-pants gearing from the original seems to have worked out ok with 18-tooth cogs at the
transaxle and 28-tooth cogs at the rear wheels, providing a top speed on the flat of about 11km per hour.
Front and rear axles have independent leaf spring suspension manufactured by a local spring maker.
The body panels are 15mm ply, and the floor and mudguards 12mm ply. The curved bonnet and boot
panels were made by Murray de Lues from laminations of bendy ply vacuum bagged to curved formers.
The seat and tiller were fabricated from 7/8 inch steel tube, the seat bottom and back then vinyl
upholstered and buttoned by a local upholsterer.
The body panels were primed with several coats of a single pack thinners based primer, and as expected
dried for sanding very quickly. Not so fortunate with the red top coat, recommended by a local supplier,
which was described as a Valspar single pack thinners based enamel. No mention of “synthetic paint”.
Having had previous experience of enamel paint I expected that imperfections over plywood would be
able to be cut and polished to achieve a reasonable finish. This “synthetic enamel” wouldn’t dry, and
could still be thumb printed after several weeks, and after now 3 months still feels clammy, dry but not
hard. A complaint to the paint provider had a response of “we probably forgot the driers” but would not
accept any responsibility for their oversight. Even a light application of cream polish softens the paint
which transfers the paint to the rag. Very disappointing.
I would have liked to obtain some antique front head lamps, but all available specimens were only suitable for full sized vehicles, and making something suitable for this buggy would be outside my skills range.
The electrical system is all from the original mobility scooter, with a control box located on the
dashboard. The loom goes underfloor back to the motor and controller, and forward to rise from under
the tiller up to the control box and is powered by two 12v 33ah deep cycle batteries
The control box contains an Ignition switch, battery charge indicator, horn, lights, charging port, forward
and reverse potentiometer, and an overall speed potentiometer. Changing a 5k pot to a 1k pot with 4k
resistance on one side allowed for a more controllable speed range, using 135 degrees of pot rotation
each side of neutral.
Although the end result so far is not up to expectations, I have enjoyed the build immensely. The change
to steam driven power is still a dream for the future, but the clock is ticking . . .