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Big Block Talk! Everything about swapping a big block engine into your cart!



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Unread 12-28-2012, 09:48 AM   #1
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Default BB in my future...opinions for the new guy

I'll apologize first, as I'm an avid forum go'er elsewhere, and these types of posts can be redundant. I've used the search feature here for a couple days, and find some pieces of my answer, but would like a situation-specific opinion from the guru's. I have had my '99 TXT for about 5 years...that thing is a ball, and sees LOTS of hours/miles. It was my wife and I's wedding gift to ourselves, and I added some minor goodies to it, to make it functional for us. Standard 5" lift/rims/tires. Has a rear hitch, cargo box and brushguard with winch. I like lights, so I pushed the electrical to it's limit with head/tail lights and a KC-style light bar up top. She loves it, and I'm forbidden from ever selling it (pretty cool, right?) I collect, buy and sell and restore vintage garden tractors...so, I've been using that self-sustaining hobby to put cash away for the inevitable cart BB upgrade.

Here's where I'm at...we use the piss out of the cart. It summers at my folks place on the lake. Behind their acreage is forest and farmland that we buzz around on all summer. I overload it severely. I don't want to ruffle feathers on safety...lets just say we're safe, but the cart is often overworked. In September, the cart is trailered to deer camp where the abuse continues through December. We use it 50/50 off/on road for moving people, stands and deer recovery. With 4 passengers, it's quickly becoming a dog. The Robin has been great, but I ask too much of it and it's noticeably weaker than when I brought it home and she's breathing heavy these days (smoke). I have the valves as good as they can get, do have a 28 degree in the back, and also recently tried the shorter belt trick. In the winter and spring, it travels to friends cabins, and we get some miles on up there too...it's a ball at Spring 'mushroom camp'.

I would like to go the route of a BB kit to simplify the process, probably one of Tom's, but had questions regarding real world results. I'm also thinking a long travel front end may cure the sloppy control of the cart. It's terrible right now, at any kind of decent speed. I'm hoping for more torque...I need to pull a decent load, up a hill. I'd like more top end, but have no desire to go over 30mph. I think 25 would be great. It must be easier to control, if I'm looking at higher speeds. I'm hoping to have whisper quiet operation, but can work on that down the road if need be. I MUST have something that will last, with proper maintenance. I prefer the idea of a Briggs or Honda with the availability of parts, dealer warranty, and time tested reliability. I guess I'd like to know what kind of life I can expect out of the investment. I'm also hoping for fuel efficiency. Right now, some of our cart rides can last the better part of a day and that Robin SIPS gas. I also wouldn't mind opinions on a set of tires that will get me better snow/mud traction. These All Trails aren't worth a hoot off the pavement. I carry chains, and use them often.

So, considering the options out there (Briggs/Honda/various HP options), $$, and my hopes/needs for the cart's use, what is my best course of action and what can I reasonably expect of it? What is the best bang for the buck, without going overboard. The 18hp? 23hp? Cash is cash, and I don't want to spend what I don't need to. Is the long travel overkill? Would new suspension components cure my woes?

I really have no idea what these conversions change as far as user operation (starter/generator to key start, etc), and will hit up youtube to get a feel for that, when time allows here at work. Also, do I need to be concerned with my rear end? Driven clutch? Brakes?

Thanks all! It's fascinating to read through all the projects here, and I'm hoping you don't mind taking a minute to give me your thoughts on what I'm considering here.
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Unread 12-29-2012, 01:53 PM   #2
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Default Re: BB in my future...opinions for the new guy

I guess I would say go with a 18hp vanguard. There are the most upgrade parts for the vanguards and the 18 will run a great top speed with only a cheap rev kit. You can put a 23hp cam and carb on it I believe as cheap upgrades. The 23 has a little more torque but the v-twin is a huge upgrade over stock the power is more than double. 18hp will spin 22 atv tires no problem. My 15hp clone will spin them. If you have the cash go for the 23hp but I doubt it is necessary if you want to save cash....the 18 will do WAY more for you than stock if you never ran a BB engine you don't realize the difference its night and day. But if you work it hard with big loads then more power is always good.

If you want pedal or key start like a lawnmower is up to you, you do need a clutch that will let you shift if you keep it running. Aftermarket clutches will work nicer offroad but you can use the stock clutches. Of course you have to mount the stock gen and pulley on the clutch if you use that stsock setup, I am with the clone and stock clutch. I don't want to start it all the time the pedal works too nice for me.

V-twin will not give that much more speed than you have now, but the rev kit will let it rev safely to higher rpm and that will make it go faster if you wind it out. You can pull larger tires with no problem that can gear it higher, if you can clear them. Yes a better suspension is necessary to go faster safely 30mph is about the limit in stock based suspensions. But is something you can work on later. It is easier to get going fast much quicker, my clone will rip to 25mph in a few seconds and is fully shifted out. Up a steep hill it spins the tire to limit climbing, does not bog like stock, and that is what limits climbing so you start thinking about posi rear lol.

More aggressive tires are great long as you don't have to worry about tearing up lawns like I do, or some of them vibrate on hard surfaces and wear faster so be careful of that. Its a compromise, but many tires are better offroad than yours.

It will use more gas but not that much more depending on how hard you run it. What will use more gas is some aftermarket clutches make them rev all the time, but you can tune/adjust them.

Its hard to keep them quieter than say a lawnmower. Some use generator mufflers. I doubt the stock muffler flows enough but some use those, some use stock vanguard/etc mufflers with the pipes fabricated to fit. I used a car muffler and its not bad, but louder than stock over about 1/4 throttle. But I don't have a tailpipe on it either and that would help it.

Try using google to search threads here or just start digging through them. There is tons of info here. I have a G9 not worked on ezgo that much everyone seems to have yamis around here or CC.

If your suspension has some travel you might be able to run better shocks to help it. Most go to a double a arm front to get best results (like an atv/utv) some way or another. It can be a problem to have the rear hold a lot of weight as it will ride harder on the trail.
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Unread 12-29-2012, 02:13 PM   #3
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Default Re: BB in my future...opinions for the new guy

If you want Brute-Torque,run a Briggs Opposed-Twin(18hp-694cc).You will have to build the mounts,as no one offers them,but they are nasty in the woods.I can tow a 16' enclosed trailer like its' not even there,it just idles away,but..It drinks fuel,not so bad that you will have to bring gas on a trip,but it won't go an entire week if you run it hard daily!Either a Clone or a VanGuard is the way to go if you are looking at kits.The 16hp Vanny is very durable,easy to find and there are lots of parts availiable to modify it.Hope this helps.
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Unread 12-29-2012, 07:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: BB in my future...opinions for the new guy

My cart stock, no governor, lifted and 22s:

My cart with clone 420/cut&ported head, same clutches but kevlar HD belt, same lift and tires, estimate it will go couple mph faster top end. Had the dump box off for access to engine. Note how long it takes to wind up to near top speed:

Don't know how much faster a vanguard 18 is, but it should be as its more HP. It will rev higher with a rev kit this clone only going to about 5100 right now according to tach (in the distance I was running there). It may go higher if I went longer but not much point to it. I plan to mod it more. Even if the tach is off they only run about 5500 and maybe couple hundred more with my head and 4 degree key. Vanguard and rev kit will hit 6K. The other clone I did with no mods to engine except airbox and muffler does 31mph gps in that distance in video, my stock cart is same setup and did 28 there it would do 30 on pavement (gps).

This is when I got the first clone going, the stock one just no governor. It was not jetted right yet. We raced, he jumped me by a second or so while I was turning on the camera, but he pulls away from my stock cart like its standing still. Torque is huge. Driving out of a ditch by the road it will pull a wheelie over the top with two people, they tend to spin instead with one person.
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Unread 12-29-2012, 08:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: BB in my future...opinions for the new guy

sho knows what he's talking bout here..

LOL..


Nice vids sho.
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Unread 12-29-2012, 08:51 PM   #6
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Default Re: BB in my future...opinions for the new guy

Sho Knows Clones!!!!
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Unread 12-29-2012, 09:24 PM   #7
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Default Re: BB in my future...opinions for the new guy

Thanks for the feedback fellas! Since speed is not my real concern, and the 18 will pull a hill with a decent load, with torque to spare, that might be the way to go. The extra $$ left in my pocket could help out with the front end job.

I guess, in my mind, I'd prefer to have the pedal start, as I do now. But, I will take what I can get.
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Unread 12-29-2012, 09:33 PM   #8
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Default Re: BB in my future...opinions for the new guy

Unless you use the cart in start/stop stuff alot,there is nothing wrong with the Key-Start.I have the key-start,but the kill is thru a rocker-switch,that way if I'm in a bad-spot and the trans won't shift to change direction I can flip the F/R lever,hit the switch for a second,and the trans will shift,then immediately flip it back and it will refire on its' own.Its' great when you get in a bind on a hill,ditch,etc...
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Unread 12-30-2012, 04:01 PM   #9
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Default Re: BB in my future...opinions for the new guy

You can keep the pedal start it depends on the clutch you use as you need the pulley.

I'm only saying if a clone does that, then an 18 should be better.

Some say the 18 is actually faster than a 23 with just a rev kit, due to its size it will rev more. It has less torque but top speed is only about rpm on these. Just saying a 15hp clone has a pile more torque as you can see, though it may not be far behind a vanguard 18 I never tried to look up TQ values on each. Since it will not rev as well hp is going to be less. 18hp vanguard is 570cc the clone is 420cc, for how much difference that makes. The clone is actually a 390cc 13hp that is bored and stroked larger, another reason it may have breathing problems at high rpm (when stock, as you can mod these a lot they are popular with lawn pulling and gokarts). 23hp is 627cc.
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Unread 12-30-2012, 05:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: BB in my future...opinions for the new guy

Just for Comparison-Sake...The 18hp Opposed-Twin is 695cc.There are alot of parts for them as well.The weak-link is the connecting-rods,they don't like to run over 4500rpm,but ARC makes billet-rods for just over $200.The 16 and 18 VanGuards are the most popular of the V-Twins.A quick-mod is to put the 23hp heads on the 16/18hp twins.My Dad has a stock 14hp Vannie in a Yamaha G16 with stock-tires and that thing is a blast in the yard or on pavement.You can drift it around the yard like a race-car!
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