Build your own electric drift trike with an old golf buggy and a few other parts. This project came about after I found 2 electric gold buggies down the tip which I managed to pick up for $5 a piece! The rest is made up from a pedaled trike slider which I also picked up for a fiver at the tip.
For anyone who hasn’t seen an electric golf buggy before, they are just like the ones you push but have a motor attached and run off a 12v battery. There is a potentiometer speed adjuster and a on/off switch as well. They aren’t terribly fast but if you add an extra 12v’s, then you really get some good speed out of the motor. I know that the motor is only rated to 12v’s but I have been running this trike for a while now and haven’t had any issues. The amperage of both batteries is below what the motor is rated to as well.
This is quite an easy mod and doesn’t require any welding etc. All you need to do really is attach the top half of the pedalled slider to the bottom half of the golf buggy. There is some wiring that you will need to do along with a few other mods but none are very hard.
I’m very happy with the finished product and so are my boys! Check out the video to see it in action.
Step 1: Parts and Tools
1. Electric golf buggy. eBay. Also try your local golf club; they may have old ones that they can sell you. I was pretty lucky to get a couple down the tip but it’s also another good place to check out.
2. Trike slider – eBay. You can usually pick these up pretty cheap at places like Kmart or if you are in the US Walmart. You only need the front section
3. A bunch of bolts and nuts. The sizes will depend on how you attach the frame of the golf cart to the slider.
4. Extra length of wire. You will probably have to extend the control wires
5. Plastic, waterproof plug – eBay
6. 2 x 12V battery – eBay
7. Battery clips – eBay
8. On/off switch – eBay.
8. 10K Potentiometer – eBay. You don’t need this if you are going to use the original controller.
9. On/off switch – eBay. Again you don’t need this if you are going to use the original controller.
10. Seat – I used the one that came on the slider.
11. Brackets for the seat. I just used a few L brackets that you can get from the hardware store
5. Soldering Iron
6. Pliers and wire cutters
7. The usual tools that you would need in this type of project.
Step 2: Pulling Apart Your Electric Golf Buggy
The main part that you will use from the buggy is the back wheels and motor section. However, make sure that you keep everything else as the parts might come in handy making some other sections later
1. First remove the controller from the handle bar.
2. If you are able to, un-plug the wire from the controller (or cut it if you have to but make sure you leave enough wire so you can re-attach later) and pull the wire free from the frame
3. Remove the handle bars
4. Remove the front wheel
Step 3: Wiring-up the Plug for the Battery
Next you will have to wire another plug that connects the battery top the motor controller. However, if you do have the original connector and can use it, then just skip this step and move onto the next.
1. First cut the original plug off
2. Next, wire-up and attach the new plug
3. To make sure that the plug doesn’t get caught on anything whist the slider is moving, it’s best to secure it to the frame. I used a cable tie to do this
Step 4: Wiring-up the Battery
Next you need to wire the 2 batteries in series. This will allow you to draw 24 volts from the battery. The motor is rated is only 12v’s but I haven’t had any issues with overheating etc.
1. To wire-up the batteries in series, you need to connect the positive terminal from one battery to the negative from the other one. Attach a tire to the battery terminals.
2. Next, attach a red wire to the positive and a black to the negative. If you aren’t using the controller from the golf buggy, then you will also need to wire-up a switch to the positive wire.
3. Attach the plug to the red and black wires from the battery
4. Plug the battery in and test the motor and ensure that everything works.
5. Lastly, make sure that the area that the battery sits in is non-conductive as you don’t want the batteries to short. I added some plastic around the edges to ensure this won’t happen.
Step 5: Attaching the Front Section
Attaching the front wheel will probably be different for each build. The important point here is to make sure that you have some good, strong anchor points to connect the back and front sections together. I was quite lucky as the 2 parts fitted quite well together and there were more than enough anchor points.
1. Line-up the front section with the back and work where to join them together.
2. Once you have decided how this is to be done, you next need to drill the holes to allow you to attach the 2 parts together. Make sure that the front and back sections are square on and everything is lined-up as best as possible before you start to drill.
3. Once you have the fist hole drilled, add a bolt, nut, washers and a lock washer. You may have to add extra washers to act as a bush in some places. Don’t do up too tightly yet
4. Keep on drilling and adding all of the bolts and nuts. I added 4 in total which was enough to make it secure.
5. Lastly, trim off any excess bolt lengths to tidy them up.
Step 6: Removing Excess Parts on the Frame
Now that you have the drift bike together, it’s time to remove some of the excess from which won’t be needed.
1. Un-screw any parts from the golf buggy that isn’t necessary like the umbrella holder etc if you haven’t already.
2. With an angle grinder, remove any other sections that are in the way. Remember though, some parts add rigidity to the frame so if you remove a section that adds strength, you may have to add a couple of gussets to add the strength back. I added a bracket to ensure the thing wouldn’t fall apart on me.
Step 7: Adding the Seat
I used the seat from the slider but you could use a plastic school chair or something similar.
1. First decide the best place to add the seat. I found that the battery compartment had a little room in it for me to attach some brackets so I used this area.
2. Next work out how much you need to trim the brackets so the seat will be at the right height. The higher the seat, the harder it will be to stay in it if you are doing a gnarly slide. You also need to make sure that there is enough room to pull the battery out if necessary.
3. Attach the brackets with some small nuts and bolts and drill holes into the battery case to secure the brackets into place.
4. Once you have all of the brackets into place, cut to size and attach a piece of ply wood and attach it to the tops of the brackets.
5. Attach the seat to the ply wood
6. Lastly, place the battery into place
Step 8: Adding the Speed Controller - Best Way
The step after this one shows how I came up with a different solution on how to control the speed of the motor. I broke the original controller by trying to remove the knob so just came up with my own version. Although I thought it was a good idea, it turned out that it was a little fragile and the pot broke so I guess it wasn't so good. Definitely easier to use the controller that came with the golf buggy.
1. Work out where you want to mount the controller. You need to be able to turn it off and on easily and also be able to turn the knob as well.
2. Attach the wires to the controller and test top make sure that you have wired it up correctly.
3. Add some foam tape to the inside if you find that the bracket section is too lose
4. Drill a couple of holes into the handle bars and add the bolts to attach the controller to the handle bars
5. Test again and make sure the on/off and pot works.
Step 9: Adding the Speed Controller - Alternative Way
This is what I came up when I broke the original controller. The pot in the controller is 10K and I just happened to have one handy. Better though to just attach the controller to the handlebars like in the previous step. I added this step just in case you do brake it. The solution that I came-up with works ok though.
1. Extend the control wires so they can reach the handlebars
2. Next secure the wire to the frame of the trike with some cable ties.
3. Take off one of the handle grips. You can do this easily by spraying some WD40 between the grip and the handle bars
4. Drill a hole near the top of the handle bars. The wire will thread through this and out the end.
5. Solder the wires onto the pot. I also had to trim the connectors slightly so they could fit inside the handle grip.
6. To ensure that the pot is held into place, attach a plastic washer to the end of the pot and push it down the grip. Make sure that the hole in the end of the grip is large enough to push the end of the pot through
7. Attach another plastic washer and nut and finally add the knob
8. Push the grip back into place on the handle bars.
9. Test to make sure everything works
Step 10: Add a Foot Rest
To decide where to add your foot rest, I would suggest that you have the person who will use the trike the most, take a seat and work out the best place. I used the handle bar from the golf buggy for the foot rest
1. Cut the handle bar section down to the size that you need it
2. Decide where the best place to have the foot rest and secure in place with some bolts