Tangible Small Car Progress and Mobility Scooter Salvage

After what seemed like forever building up a bill of materials, I finally ordered the first batch of parts. I would have spent longer designing and measuring stuff out in CAD, but BMI Karts was having a pretty irresistible sale on some stuff I would eventually need so I couldn’t help but to get out the credit card. I got a set of wheels, a steering column, steering spindles and brackets, a pair of tie rods, a steering wheel, and a pair of pedals. After receiving the parts, the steering wheel is probably too big and the pedals too heavy but I paid $4 total for both of them so I’m not crushed. The wheels are all free wheels with inset bearings but I have an idea to resolve that issue which I will divulge soon below (last paragraph, not that soon).

I finally got my Benz! I was also lucky enough to come across a mobility scooter that happened to be on craigslist in the same area so now I have a key component of the real ‘Murrican playset. Because the sellers were actually quite a ways away from where I live, some extended family living in that area were nice enough to run my errands for me and meet me halfway for a hand-off which is why I had to wait so long to actually tear into it.

Instead of pulling apart the car right away, I decided to piece out the scooter so I could figure out what parts I’ll be able to use. Going into it, I already knew I was going to try and pull out a differential or transaxle, so everything else was just gravy. I ended up finding what I was looking for, which is why I was looking for a scooter specifically instead of a chair like a hoveround which has a pair of independent motors instead of an axle driven by a single motor.

So here’s what I needed, just gotta unscrew a few bolts and clean it up, right? Well, yes. But also, no.

I got the transaxle out of its bracket thing and started taking off the wheels, one nuts at a time. Two nuts in, the outside split rim popped out with a pretty loud bang. There was still one nut pretty tight on there so the rim was actually bent out a little which you can see in the fourth picture. At this point I got some safety glasses and put one foot on the wheel as I loosened the last bolt from a distance. It was pretty suspenseful because I was pretty sure I was going to get seriously injured, but I was too impatient to take more safety precautions. On the last turn of the last bolt, the rim popped out with so much force that it actually blew my ratchet out of my hand and threw it against the wall 5′ away. The pressure in the tire was so great that I guess the glue couldn’t hold the rims together and it blew them straight apart. You can see in the last picture the tubes nearly popping out of the tire. For the second wheel I got slapped in the face with some common sense and let the air out before I took it off. That went nice and smoothly with no damage caused to me or my environment.

So here’s all the stuff I need all disassembled and wiped down with half a roll of wet paper towels. To finally complete the thought about the free-spinning wheels I had in the first paragraph: the scooter rims are actually the same size as those in the wheels I bought, so I can just take the tires and tubes from the BMI wheels and put them on these scooter rims, easy peasy (probably not). I took the huge motor off because I’m planning to use the Turnigy Aquastar 1/5th scale boat motor (taking a page from Charles Guan’s book) and its accompanying Aquastar 200A ESC because, according to Hobby King, it can handle the 36V I want to push through it. Unfortunately, this huge axle is too big for the Benz by about 8″ so I’ll probably have to find a bigger power wheel. I still appreciate the thing for what it is, so I might keep it around to do some other stuff with (it was cheap so I’m not heartbroken).