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Suburban Runabout Three Wheel Scooter

Suburban Runabout Three Wheel Scooter

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Published by Jim
Build a 3-wheel, 30 MPH, 90 MPG mini-car. Don't pay $10 on Ebay, get the plans here for free.
Build a 3-wheel, 30 MPH, 90 MPG mini-car. Don't pay $10 on Ebay, get the plans here for free.

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Published by: Jim on Jun 09, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/15/2014

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Build the Economy Champ:3-WHEEL SUBURBANRUNABOUT
Fig. 1. The photo o! the Incomplete Run-about above shows Its Inner structure.It'll go 30 mph getting 90 miles/gallon.
• This small, easily-built runaboutlooked good when it was first intro-duced in
SCIENCE
&
MECHANICS
back in 1961, when gasoline sold for abouttwo bits a gallon. Today, with the costof the fuel about $1.30 a gallon and noend in sight to its spiralling price, thecar represents an idea whose time hascome.Fuel economy? With its 3.5 - HPClinton engine, the runabout will reacha respectable 30 miles per hour, andat this speed use less than 1.5
quarts
of gas for each hour run, which repre-sents about 90 miles to the gallon.This is a one-person vehicle you canuse for trips to the commuter trainstation, or your wife can use it for hershopping trips. You sit in a comfortablypadded seat that is suspended on 44shock-absorbing rubbers that isolateyou from road bumps and vibration.Steering is controlled by a lever, andstart and speed is controlled by amotorcycle handle bar throttle grip onthe steering lever. Brake is controlledby a motorcycle hand brake lever. Noneof the driving controls are operated bythe feet. If it takes you longer thanthree minutes to leam how to drive it,it's because you are so enthusiastic toget going you haven't had time to payattention to what's happening.Even with all parts purchased new,this runabout should cost less than$700, including the weatherproof cab.Check the license requirements in yourarea before driving on public streets;some states require lights, hom, fen-ders and the like.The basis of the car is the Clintonengine, a ball-bearing, horizontal shaftmodel that is an improvement on theone used in the 1961 car. It developsits 3.5 rated horsepower at 3,600 RPM.A centrifugal clutch connects the en-gine to the single drive wheel via a jack shaft, with chain drive. All theparts you need for the drive system,includ'ng the wheels, can be obtainedthrough major automotive supplyhouses, small engine shops, motorcycleshops, and hardware stores that caterto industrial and fanning needs. Thebest bet is to show your supplier theseplans so that he can provide.you withthe correct components. Note that youmay have to change bolt hole locationsfor mounting some of the componentssuch as the pillow block assembly.The steel material needed can bepurchased from a steel supplier likeRyerson, which has outlets locatedthroughout the country. Cost of thematerial itself, based on per-foot andper-pound prices, should be less than$60. See if the supplier has randompieces in stock that are somewhatlonger than what you need; this willbe cheaper than paying $20 for eachpiece that must be cut from standardstock. You could wind up paying asmuch as about $160 in cutting charges.
 
Frame Construction.
Cut the frontaxle to length as in Fig. 4. Mark the10* end cuts with a protractor or bevelsquare and use a new blade in yourhacksaw so the cut will not run off toeither side. This is important becauseaccuracy of the 10* king-pin inclinationof the steering assembly depends uponthese cuts. After cutting, check with asquare and file ends, if needed, tomake them square with the axle sidesand at 10* with top or bottom sur-faces of the axle.Cut the two frame rails (Fig. 4) tosize in the same manner. The 6* anglecuts on the ends control the casterangle of the steering assembly. Whendrilling the 5/8 -in. holes through framerails for the rear axle' align ends of therails and damp one on top of the otherso you can drill both holes at the sametime. You will then be certain that therear axle will parallel the front axlewhen assembled. If you use a home;workshop size drill press to bore theholes, start with a small drill (about1/4-in.) and gradually work up to the5/8-in. size. (5/8-in. drills with 1/2-in.shanks are available.)Unless you have your own arc-weld-ing equipment, you are probably goingto have your runabout frame welded ata local weld shop. It would be a goodidea to cut and fit all frame partsneeded to have welding done at onetime. It will be cheaper this way.Going back to the front axle, youwill next make the spindle yokes (Fig.4). Shape these from 1/4 x 1-1/4-in. steelbar stock by heating and bending itaround a forming block and then drill-ing the 3/4-in. spindle holes. A 3-in.length of scrap steel about 1 in. squarewith 1/4-in. radius round corners groundon each end could be used for a form-ing block. However, since this is quitea job in any home workshop, we havelocated a source of supply where theyokes may be purchased, bent anddrilled. In either case, weld the yokesto the ends of the axle as in Fig. 4A.Now place the 6* cut ends of theframe rails against the back side of theaxle and square with it as in Figs. 2and 6. Weld the rails to the axle. Awooden block cut exacdy 8-in. long andclamped between the rails will holdthem in position. Be sure the rails are4 in. on each side of the axle centerand that the bottom of the axle tilts 6*forward as in Fig. 6. Locate and clampthe seat support to the frame rails andweld in place. This completes the basicframe.

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