View Full Version : Project: Mini Crawler... Coming soon!

08-18-2014, 11:02 AM
OK. Gonna get this thread going. Hope to be able to get some good progress on this in the next year or 2. My son will be 4 in a couple weeks. Keep seeing pictures of that mini Jeep crawler online, so I decided I want to build one. Hope to keep it WAY low budget, and off to a good start so far. Here are the plans as of right now. They are likely to change up a little with time and budget, but this is a good starting point.

Engine: 2001 Yamaha Kodiak 400 Auto
Trans: CVT belt drive auto from ATV. HI/LO/N/R/P
T-case: TBD, but leaning toward a Samurai t-case. Possibly with 6.5:1 low conversion if I decide it's needed, but with LO in the trans and t-case, it may not need it.
Axles: Samurai axles or something else as narrow as possible.
Chassis: all 1.25 or 1.5" tubing. Shooting for Width and Length around the size of my Polaris Ranger. 60" total width, 81" wheelbase. Would like to get it skinnier, but don't want to mess with custom axle shafts and such if I can get away without.
Tires: I'm going to use the 27" Super Swamper TSL's that are currently on the donor ATV at first. If they don't work out, I'm thinking 30-32" tires. I know I can get some JK Rubicon stockers fairly cheap if I don't stay with an ATV type tire.
Suspension: Not sure yet. Air shocks would be nice, but they are too $$$... Might try to find some FOX coilovers from a RZR or something. I need to figure out how heavy this thing is gonna be first, but I'm hoping it's around the same size/weight of a RZR. I have a full set of shocks/springs from a Polaris Ranger 900, that I might be able to try out, just not sure they will have the travel that I want.
Steering: Still up in the air.. Looking into an aftermarket electronic power steering setup that might work for me.. Might try to find a Samurai manual gear box at first to see how it works out. Full hydro might be a little tricky running off the ATV engine, unless I use an electric pump.
MISC: Of course there will be misc stuff added on. LED lights, some tunes, fuel cell, etc.

I'm hoping my son will have fun helping me out with this project, and we will get to enjoy it on the trails when it's complete.

Here's the beginning. The donor vehicle.

08-18-2014, 01:35 PM
Here is a pic of the inspirational rig. Ironically, the 4 wheeler I picked up has the same tires. Might be some kind of sign... that's what I'm going with...


08-18-2014, 02:48 PM
I've seen pics of these before. It would be really cool.

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08-18-2014, 03:00 PM
I really hope to keep it sized small enough for him, but big enough that I can sit in it and drive also..

10-31-2014, 08:12 AM
So my son and I started disassembly to clean and assess what needs repair... I'm making him help me if he wants it to be his, LOL. Show him the value of hard work and the pride in building something yourself...

I figured out it's a 2001 model not 2002. But there's not much different.. So far it needs carb rebuild, new airbox assembly, clutches cleaned, remove broken bolts from CVT cover, and lots of TLC. I'm sure the fluids, a new spark plug, adjust valves, and some other minor items will need work. But looks like it won't take much to get it up and going again. Been sitting for 2 years in my neighbor's back yard.




10-31-2014, 10:01 AM
The chassis will be the fun part of that one.

11-02-2014, 02:29 PM
Yeah chassis will be fun.

Here is some more inspiration. This is a little girl driving this buggy. Sweet rig for sure!


11-06-2014, 07:49 PM
I was looking at parts for a dune buggy and didn't realize how inexpensive the rack and pinions are for those.

11-08-2014, 07:35 AM
That is awesome!

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11-20-2014, 08:56 AM
He can't even wait to finish it.. We are still disassembling and he wants to ride it... LOL


11-20-2014, 08:59 AM
inside the CVT belt housing. It's pretty nasty. Looks like it had lots of mud and water in it for a little while. Primary clutch was full of mud. You can tell by the grooves in the primary sheaves that it was slipping for a while. gonna try it out as is, if it doesn't work out, will buy another primary clutch assembly.




11-20-2014, 09:02 AM
Got the carb cleaned up. (no pics). Need to get fuel tank cleaned out. Started working on electrical to get engine to turn over. Found a couple of corroded connections that need fixed, and a bad starter relay. Bypassed the bad connections with some test leads, and got it to turn over with the start button. PROGRESS!!! next step, get fuel to carb and see if it will start up! Compression seems good. Just hope it's getting spark to the plug.

as you can see by my face, I'm pretty excited that I got the electrical gremlins tracked down in the starting system. LOL


11-24-2014, 07:31 PM
It's alive!! have a fuel leak on the valve and carburetor, so I pulled the tank back off, but it started right up with the fuel in the bowl of the carb!! Just need to replace some seals, and maybe adjust the jetting and put a new air filter on cuz it backfired like crazy.


12-09-2014, 08:01 AM
Got the Kodiak to idle and rev better. Still has a little pop mid to high throttle, I think I need 1 size larger main jet for the exhaust. But it's running a lot better than it was when I started!

Kodiak is running - YouTube (http://youtu.be/a7aPhJvGxDU)

12-09-2014, 08:34 AM
Here are some progress pics. Electrical gremlins and such. Broken wires, damaged connectors, and dirty corroded fuse box...





"New" airbox from Ebay all cleaned up and installed. And went ahead and put back fender back on since I don't need to get to anything under there, and was able to tuck the battery and all the relays and stuff in neatly where they go instead of just dangling around loose.





Blue Angel
12-09-2014, 03:50 PM
Looking good Jason!

01-28-2015, 06:39 PM