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big_daddy_jp

Is this build over my head???

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I wonder sometimes if this question ever comes to mind when people are trying to do a build project. I mean some of the simplest questions asked worry me on how well built these cars will be and how safe they will be for the people riding in them. Is it just me?

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I’ve had a few builds halfway through that I wished I’d went another direction.  

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Nope. You learn by challenging yourself and making mistakes

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53 minutes ago, big_daddy_jp said:

I wonder sometimes if this question ever comes to mind when people are trying to do a build project. I mean some of the simplest questions asked worry me on how well built these cars will be and how safe they will be for the people riding in them. Is it just me?

I think about that exact thing too. When people are planning on putting their family in these machines they build but can't figure out simple problems on their own. Worries me about some very important safety measures that are overlooked. 

Our builds have a priority list. Number 1 is always safety of occupants. Number 2 is safety of occupants. Then so on down the list, durability, performance, etc, fashion, glitter.  

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If someone is actually asking the question, they are already on the right track.

Overconfidence can easily lead to disaster.

 

Questioning your own abilities allows you the freedom to ask for help or more expert advice.     Arrogance typically makes this nearly impossible.

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Even with the simplest things, there can be a better way of doing something you have done 10x's before.

Costs nothing to ask, does not mean the answers you get are valid, practical or any better. Sometimes it is funny/scary to hear how others might do something :blink:

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7 minutes ago, journeyman said:

If someone is actually asking the question, they are already on the right track.

Overconfidence can easily lead to disaster.

 

Questioning your own abilities allows you the freedom to ask for help or more expert advice.     Arrogance typically makes this nearly impossible.

Questioning is a good first step. The second step should be listening to the advice people give you. I just shake my head at the decisions people make because they don't want to spend the money to do it right, or someone told them it didn't really matter, or any number of reasons they ignore good advice.

At that point, I stop trying to help, because I'm just wasting my time typing.

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Another thing to think about is who is offering the advice? It take some time on GD.com to learn who knows what. You can tell over a period of time those that know and  those who may be guessing.

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55 minutes ago, Richard H said:

Another thing to think about is who is offering the advice? It take some time on GD.com to learn who knows what. You can tell over a period of time those that know and  those who may be guessing.

I stll get a good laugh out of those posters who give expert advice on everything from RVs and SxS to sand rail chassis design, even though they've never designed or owned anything.

:lmao:

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I have always done most my own mechanicing on my heavy equipment, I’m mechanically inclined just fine. I’ve built old cars and done enough to get my in to trouble. I like reading how others work on their cars. I like asking so as to possibly do it a better way. Cleaner wiring. Better ways to run fuel and brake lines. And I appreciate others not only asking questions, but posting how they are doing things, especially when they add their own touches, so as to let me have the option to do it a little differently or better if I choose. 

And I’m pretty sure all those old timers back in the 50’s, like @jjoseph99 ‘s dad, who built their own sand cars out of cut up frames would disagree with you as well. People building things and learning as they go has progressed this sport to what it is today, and if asking questions is wrong, well, I don’t want to be right. 

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1 hour ago, ROBERT L said:

I’ve had a few builds halfway through that I wished I’d went another direction.  

Currently there with my current build (should've ditched the beam), but will soldier on and see how it performs with better weight distribution than my old buggy.

25 minutes ago, Hondo said:

I think about that exact thing too. When people are planning on putting their family in these machines they build but can't figure out simple problems on their own. Worries me about some very important safety measures that are overlooked. 

Our builds have a priority list. Number 1 is always safety of occupants. Number 2 is safety of occupants. Then so on down the list, durability, performance, etc, fashion, glitter.  

Yep, although not knowing the answer is different than not figuring it out.  Good place to start are sanctioning body CCRs and expand from there.  

 

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Another thought: I'd rather dune with a guy who built his own buggy (within reason) than a guy who just pays someone else to do everything.  Unless that someone else is also duning with us, you end up having to help to get him out after shit went wrong...

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7 minutes ago, Rockwood said:

Another thought: I'd rather dune with a guy who built his own buggy (within reason) than a guy who just pays someone else to do everything.  Unless that someone else is also duning with us, you end up having to help to get him out after shit went wrong...

Just because you asked how to mount a part doesn’t mean you understand how it works. If you don’t understand how it works or it’s complete function, you are no good at fixing said problem. So whether or not the builder is there makes no difference. Take a cv for instance. You may have asked how to install it and even clock it on the axle but don’t understand cv angle. Now you have a broken cage out in the dunes. The cv’s come packaged complete and ready to install but you don’t realize that there is a direction for the star and cage to align for the cv to operate correctly. Many things to know when it comes to “building” your car or just simply buying parts and assembling. Those are two VERY different things. Just because you have a set of tools and you understand lefty loosy righty tighty doesn’t mean you are capable or even should build a sand car. Especially when there is more than one seat in that car!

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1 hour ago, big_daddy_jp said:

Just because you asked how to mount a part doesn’t mean you understand how it works. If you don’t understand how it works or it’s complete function, you are no good at fixing said problem. So whether or not the builder is there makes no difference. Take a cv for instance. You may have asked how to install it and even clock it on the axle but don’t understand cv angle. Now you have a broken cage out in the dunes. The cv’s come packaged complete and ready to install but you don’t realize that there is a direction for the star and cage to align for the cv to operate correctly. Many things to know when it comes to “building” your car or just simply buying parts and assembling. Those are two VERY different things. Just because you have a set of tools and you understand lefty loosy righty tighty doesn’t mean you are capable or even should build a sand car. Especially when there is more than one seat in that car!

Yes.  Hence "within reason"

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Some of the questions I see make me think they may just be looking for options and opinions. I have built several street cars and offroad cars. I worked in heavy machine for years but still ask what people think and take the advice. Some is good and some is bad best to know the difference.

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1 hour ago, Rockwood said:

Currently there with my current build (should've ditched the beam), but will soldier on and see how it performs with better weight distribution than my old buggy.

Yep, although not knowing the answer is different than not figuring it out.  Good place to start are sanctioning body CCRs and expand from there.  

 

Absolutely,  getting answers and asking questions is the first step. Definitely "why" is much more important than "how" something works. 

When I decided to build my first car from scratch years ago, I picked the brains of a lot of successful fabricators. I did lots and lots of research. I then put all my information together and figured out the "why" certain things are done.  I then built my first car. I crashed it a couple years after. I studied all the potential failures and fixed those designs before I built the next.  The new car design is 100% better than the last in both safety and performance.  

Most of the time the majority do certain things the way they do because it's proven and it works. 

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Sometimes people don't put 2+2 together.

For example, after a couple of yrs without any CV problems, I suddenly started breaking stars and cages and had to replace a few out in the dunes, no fun for anyone. I knew that limit straps stretch, but it didn't dawn on me that MY limit straps had stretched!   :lol:

Of course even though I had adjustable clevises on them, I was at the limit, so I had to buy new limit straps and start all over at the other end of the adjustment range.

Another time, my alternator would stop charging, but it seemed to only happen at St Anthony's. I bought a couple more alternators and kept swapping them out and they all tested fine, max. current, but for some reason I'd run my battery down on long dune runs, only up in St. Anthony's.

I finally dug deeper into it and found out the original owner had never put in a resistor or charging light in the circuit, so none of the alternators were charging properly. My theory is since I was at higher altitude and losing power due to that, plus much longer, higher speed runs, there was a higher heat load and the fans were running much more, drawing more power than the alternators were putting out intermittently. Once I added a small 150 ohm resistor in the harness, the problem was solved.

In the process, I found a lot of interesting answers on the net, including sand possibly getting into the brushes and preventing them from making good contact, which I thought was an interesting possibility, considering the alt is down low near the rear tire. 

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I love helping people out, but as much as that's gratifying, I have to keep in mind the limits of my knowledge.

For example, I know what good TIG welds look like, but I'm not the guy to tell anyone how it's done, or what to do to improve the welds. Same thing with chassis design. I know good triangulation when I see it, I could probably add some cross bracing to a pic and it would be correct, but I've seen some bracing on cars that was better than average or anything I could suggest, like how some builders do their front bulkhead or how they mount the power steering with minimal tubing, yet with absolutely no flex.

For that kind of stuff, I leave that to actual fab guys who know a lot more than I do. I absorb everything I've read or heard, but that still doesn't compete with a builder's experience.

My specialty is diagnostics, electrical and electronics, why doesn't this circuit work and how to fix it. The challenge is diagnosing it remotely, which is something I also did as a defense contractor. I've even had to tell a technician that he had his test  equipment set up wrong from 2500 mi away, based on the messed up waveform he was telling me he was seeing.     :lol:

One thing I've learned the hard way - never trust test equipment you borrowed or even the electricity in the wall socket unless you verified it yourself. I've even seen o'scopes that were allegedly calibrated a week or two before that weren't accurate enough for our needs.

Fortunately, even a Harbor Fright DMM is good enough for RV or sand rail use. 

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Posted (edited)

I really enjoy the build and remodel threads here. I wish there were more.  Sometimes I see things I would do differently, but still respect that persons choice. I do not care for those that blast an idea then offer no other solutions. Pretty much sums up where there ranch is for me.

Edited by Richard H

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9 hours ago, CRUSTY said:

Even with the simplest things, there can be a better way of doing something you have done 10x's before.

Costs nothing to ask, does not mean the answers you get are valid, practical or any better. Sometimes it is funny/scary to hear how others might do something :blink:

Well said....I've done a few upgrade threads on here and have learned a lot from people with a lot more experience than me!  There's a ton of knowledge and experience on this site.

~jw

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For me personally I am always learning- something I got from my Dad.  Being older, I have the "wisdom" of having screwed up a lot and know better, not to mention I probably spent 50% of my life's income on something automotive or automotive related.

I read everything I can about the subject, go watch someone do it, take pics and videos etc.  and ask a lot of questions.

My career started as an engineer so that mindset is valuable and I was a product manager, so I plan everything out first and iterate as needed.

I usually get into it and say, what else does in need .... A few areas I know people can do better than me and I let them do it - Tig, precision machine work and lifting anything heavy for the most part.

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Please don’t get me wrong. I am all for people asking questions that help them in a certain direction. My point is, there are times when I come across a situation that is over my head at work. I ask the question and receive the info but also understand why it is what it is. Then there are those that ask a million questions and don’t know why they are doing it. Then it’s makes you wonder if they should even be there or if this job is “over their head”. Same goes with building a sand car. Most people can unbolt a part and bolt another one in its place. It takes a better person to know whether the bolts need antiseeze or loctite and if it needs loctite which color? A mechanic knows the Right bolt to use for the application, the torque spec of the bolt, and the torque pattern to use. These are the safety factors I think about. Asking what could be the problem with a car, what part to fix it, and even pointers on how to change it are one thing. Asking how to pretty much build and assemble your whole sand car is another story!

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Still feel that everyone should be comfortable asking "their" question here on this board. We all are at different levels in knowledge of this "hobby".

Keep on asking.

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So then at what point do you use your own brain and figure out things without asking a million questions?  Maybe try a forum search and see what comes up or maybe even google the damn question? Most people on here that know the answers don’t mind helping and that’s including me. My knowledge, as I’m sure most of the others, came from years of busting knuckles, reading books, and countless hours of just plain trying to figure it out. If you want to take on a build project you should at the very least be knowledgeable about what your working on. If not, take some time and try to figure it out on your own for once! We can tell by the step your in on your project what step is coming next and can figure out the question that is coming! If you need us to tell you how to build your car step by step than this project is over your head. That’s when we worry about safety factor. If you didn’t know the answer to this small thing, than what is being overlooked that could be dangerous down the road? I guess it’s another case of the ones that know, know, and the ones that don’t, won’t.

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I've built about 10 cars ...the last 4 Halloween I've had a brand new one and every one I learn something new I want to change so I sell them and start over ....usually its hp related or gear selection....safety should be #1 concern with any build #2 good reliable parts #3 accessibility to work on items in the car ....have fun season is right around the corner ...

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