2016 - Volume #40, Issue #3, Page #03[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
“Made It Myself” Side-By-SideLorne Reimer can take multiple riders with him in his home-built side-by-side. He turned an abandoned Yamaha Big Bear 350 ATV into a mini-bus on 4 wheels. He even customized it to match his good ear.
“I like to hear my grandkids, and my right ear is kind of deaf,” says Reimer. “I moved the steering post and other controls to the right side of the machine so I can hear them better.”
Reimer started by stripping down the Yamaha to its frame. He then split it down the middle both ways. This let him keep the front suspension unaltered. When the steering post (which he took from an old garden tractor) was mounted to the right, only one steering rod had to be lengthened.
When he put the pieces back together, the chassis was 13 in. wider and 30 in. longer with the mid-mount engine now under the new rear seat. Moving the differential to the left required only one shaft for front-wheel drive.
“Widening the back was the easiest part of the job,” recalls Reimer. “I just cut out the center of the rims, added a 6 1/2-in. collar to each side and reinforced them both. I used a long angle iron to keep everything aligned.”
The added length and width gave him room to add a rear bench seat. Originally, it was a removable seat in a late 90’s Expedition. The seventh passenger seat is a captain’s seat mounted on the front center rack.
“All seven seats are equipped with seat belts,” says Reimer. “For safety’s sake, I also improved braking power with upgraded front discs and calipers.”
Using mostly old components and salvaged items kept the price down. Reimer revamped heavy-duty hydraulic lines for roll bars. They proved ideal for mounting an LED light bar and an air horn from an antique car. The thumb throttle was remounted as a foot pedal beside the rear brake pedal, and the footgear shifting was modified with a hand-operated lever.
The stainless steel muffler came from a minivan, while the gas tank and footrests came from the same garden tractor as the steering. The bumpers were retained from the old Yamaha, but resurfaced with rubber coating Plasti Dip spray. Rubber belting fills in between the fenders to contain flying mud and water.
Reimer mounted the rear seat using specially designed attachment plates. This allows him to easily substitute a utility box equipped with similar plates for the rear seat.
“I mounted a rear hand grip behind the seat using a handle off an old washer cart,” says Reimer. “Total expenditures are well under $1,000. It has worked flawlessly on numerous treks into the hills, giving rides to family and friends.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lorne Reimer, 9236 County 6, Cavalier, N. Dak. 58220 (ph 701 549-3335; email@example.com).
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