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Unread 07-29-2013, 10:47 PM   #1
Not Yet Wild
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Houston, TX
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Default Hunt Buggy: Project Catorce

Howdy! This is my first post, but I thought I’d jump right in and share my restoration/customization of a 1990 Club Car DS.

Phase One: Base Cart

For the past couple years I’ve been considering building up a golf cart as a hunting buggy and neighborhood cruiser. Some friends have a tired old EZ-Go at their place. After numerous trips cruising around on it over the years, I began to think that an electric cart might be ideal for our ranch. Slow as it was, it was quiet and didn’t disrupt things nearly as much as a truck or ATV. However, it would have to offer more power and range than the run-down EZ.

So, the research phase began. After learning a little here and there, I started liking the idea of a Club Car for the aluminum frame. Then, after more reading more it became clear that a Series motor would be a good fit for my needs. I also read plenty here on Buggies Gone Wild extolling the virtues of running a 36V motor on a 48V solid-state conversion, which I was planning. So, I began looking for an older Club Car DS. With all the modifications I was planning, it didn’t make sense to start with a nice cart. I was searching for an inexpensive “project car.”

After several weeks of trolling Craigslist, I found one. It was a 1990 Club Car DS that had been rode hard and put up wet. But, it supposedly had a mostly-good frame, motor, and transaxle so it sounded like a possibility. Best of all, the guy only wanted $300 for it. I loaded up the ramps and straps, jumped in the truck, and went to look at it. Later that day it came home with me.





It was indeed in rough shape. The body, seat, and roof were trashed. The F&R switch had been ripped out. The seat was town, moldy, and rotten. The frame was cracked in two spots (more on that later). Any steel parts were rusty. There was also considerable corrosion across the frame and battery tray.



But, the cart rolled easily and the steering box seemed to work fine so the big things seemed ok. First step was to get this dirty bird stripped down and cleaned up. Time to bust out the pressure washer.



The bath helped a lot. 23 years worth of dirt and grime started to come off.



Next it was time to remove the inefficient and outdated old 36V resistive coil/V-glide system




So long scrap. Now it was time to start the frame cleanup and polish.



A good rust removing wheel took care of most of the corrosion. For the real rough stuff the angle grinder with a wire wheel was called in.

Put the hurt on a couple rust removing wheels



Next up, a few frame repairs.
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Unread 07-29-2013, 10:53 PM   #2
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Default Re: Hunt Buggy: Project Catorce

Looks like a great start! Good luck with the build.
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Unread 07-29-2013, 10:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: Hunt Buggy: Project Catorce

Frame repairs started with patching a few sections in the battery tray. Before, getting ready to remove the rotted section:



After, patched with 1/8” aluminum flat bar.



Phase II: Rolling Chassis

Now it was time to give the chassis some attention. First up was to flush the differential fluid. I was skeptical what would come out, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it was 90W gear oil, and it didn’t look too bad. No metal shavings or “burnt” smell. The bearings all seemed to rotate smoothly as well. Refilled with 75W-90 synthetic.



Next was a brake job and new brake cables. Turned out the passenger side cable was frayed and had not been working for a long time by the looks of the drum. It was full of mud and dobber nests.



While I was working on the transaxle I figured I’d go ahead and clean/sand/paint the axle tubes



Much better.



While I was in a painting mood, I decided to go ahead and strip/sand/paint the rusty steering column. It made a big difference



At this point I was ready to address one of the biggest challenges with this cart. It seems in the past the front leaf spring mounts on the passenger side were cracked and then broken off.



Someone had rigged up some hose clamps as a “quick fix” but there was no way that was going to fly with me. It needed to be repaired properly. There was also a crack in one of the welds joining the seat pan to the frame. I’m a welder, but I’m not setup to weld aluminum, and I didn’t want to drop the $ on a spool gun, different wire, different gas, etc. So, I made a few calls and found a guy that could do it pretty close. I loaded up the chassis to take it over. Sure is nice and light like this!



$100 later I had a repaired frame. Not the prettiest welds in the world, but they should serve the purpose.



Now I was resting easier, with a good frame and transaxle. I knew I had a decent base to build on, so it was time to order some upgrades.
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Unread 07-29-2013, 10:56 PM   #4
Rode hard, put up wet!
 
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Default Re: Hunt Buggy: Project Catorce

Looking good so far TxAg. Keep the pics coming with the progress and Welcome to BGW!
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Unread 07-29-2013, 11:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: Hunt Buggy: Project Catorce

Thanks alot guys. I got a little ahead work-wise, so some of this will be past tense. But I imagine the posting will catch up with the actual work pretty quick!
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Unread 07-29-2013, 11:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: Hunt Buggy: Project Catorce

Looking good. Let me know if you need any stock parts i have a lot from previous builds.
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Unread 07-30-2013, 05:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: Hunt Buggy: Project Catorce

Looking good! I picked a 03 for a pretty good price. Well about 900 more than you paid, but I want the same thing as your build, a hunting buggie. I got hooked on hunting hogs at night with thermal and night vision. It's amazing how much you more you see at night in the woods when on a golf cart. Can cover a lot of ground and I use my PVS-14 to see where I'm going so I don't need head lights.

Can't wait to see what she looks like when your done.
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Unread 07-30-2013, 06:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: Hunt Buggy: Project Catorce

Looks like you're made a lot of progress already. Looking forward to see a nice cart when you're done. And nice Tundra also.
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Unread 07-30-2013, 09:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: Hunt Buggy: Project Catorce

Thanks fellas. Rics-I'm jealous of your NV; maybe down the road for me. Pitbull, back at you on the Tundra.

With the frame ready, tt was time to order some goodies! I settled on a 6” All-Sports Super Sport lift kit, and some 23x10.5 4-ply Desert Duro tires mounted on 12x8 Rhox aluminum wheels. The All Sports kit is a double A-arm design with Heim joints. Hopefully it gives me decent travel and should be tough! I would have loved to do the All Sports Long Travel kit, but I just couldn’t see dropping over a grand on suspension for a cart that will go 25mph tops.

I went thru East Coast Custom Carts (site sponsor) and Rob was great to work with. Soon I had the order placed and the fun stuff was on it’s way. In the meantime, it was Back to Work!

The next order of business was to get the chassis ready for the lift kit, and that meant it was time for the stock front suspension to come off. It was looking tired after many years of use and abuse.



All removed, and headed for the scrap bin (except for the tie rod and hubs).



I then moved to the rear of the cart to fight the notorious rusty front spring bolts. With a little pre-soak with Liquid Wrench, and some “massaging” from an impact driver they came loose. The driver’s side bottom shock bolt, however, was a different story. Had to call in the Sawzall for this one.



With the stock suspension components removed, and waiting for the lift kit to arrive, I turned my attention to a few cosmetic projects.

First up were the dash panel and dash pockets. Many years of sun exposure had left them faded and crusty. I decided to try and paint them a nice gloss black. I drilled out the rivets, and removed them from the frame. Then, I gave them all a good scrubbing with soapy water to remove the grease and dirt. Next, I sprayed them down with Windex to get any remaining oil off. Finally, I lightly scuffed them to improve paint adhesion. I used a Valpsar paint especially made for plastic, and was quite pleased with the results.

Getting ready for paint.



First coat.



Dash panel looking good.



The rejuvenated dash and steering column.



Now that the dash was done, it was time to restore a few of the chassis parts. First, the tie rod. Cleaned, stripped, masked, and ready for paint.



Much better.



Next, I decided to fog the stock back bumper in a nice satin black to match the rest of the future chassis accesories.



Finally, it was time to clean/strip/paint the delta tower so that it would match the All Sports kit gloss black powder coat.



While I was working on the paint projects, the first big boxes showed up from EC Custom. Receiving the wheels and tires was better than Christmas morning!



Now it was time to work on the hubs. Once again, I was a little worried what the wheel bearing grease would look like when I removed those dust covers. But, once again it wasn’t too bad. Crusty, but decently clean. I removed the worn-out bearing seals and all 4 wheel bearings, then gave them a nice long soak in some solvent. The dirt that came off the bearings turned the solvent brown!



I gave the outside of the hubs some serious scrubbing, and inspected the races and bearings. One bearing showed some scarring on the inside, so it got replaced.

Then, I re-packed all the bearings and tapped in new bearing seals. I used a Marine-grade grease, so it should be fairly water resistant. Now the hubs were ready for installation once the lift kit arrived.



The last step for lift install preparation was to do a final frame polish. I also took the opportunity to recondition the steering bellows a little.

Looking pretty, and ready for the lift.



Next step: Getting excited about giving this chassis some elevation change!
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Unread 07-30-2013, 10:24 PM   #10
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Default Re: Hunt Buggy: Project Catorce

You're putting in some serious work. Your cart is going to be show room quality.
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