Project Long Travel SCU Part 4

Time to test the Sand Cars Unlimited

Dec. 01, 2006 By Mike Lyon
Time to head to the dunes because Project SCU is finally ready for some serious drive time! We headed out to the Imperial Sand Dunes to put our car to the test and see what it can take. We had minimal problems and maximum adrenaline rush!

After 3 long months of assembly we couldn't get to the dunes fast enough. Once we unloaded and headed for the dunes, we first noticed a couple very loud squeaks! We thought it was the bushings in the trailing arms but upon closer inspection we noticed that the hood of the car was slightly rubbing the top of the King shocks causing the squeaks. This was an easy fix once we got home. We also noticed the signature King shock 'clacking' in the bypass shocks. This is normal but took some getting used to. We found the clacking was loudest when going slow, in choppy sand. Once we were on the gas we hardly noticed it.

As we headed for the big bowls we got a chance to stretch the legs of the turbo charged Honda 3.5 engine that we got from Don at Sand Cars Unlimited. We are only running 5psi of boost so we can avoid running straight race gas and we were definitely impressed with the power. It's not a torque monster like a V8 would be, but it has decent bottom end and plenty of top end. Once the turbo spools up the car gets up and goes, plenty of power! The Mendeola 2D transaxle that Dave Mc Dowell built for us worked flawlessly after a quick shifter adjustment.

The car handled like a dream. The shocks and chassis design seemed to work great together. Coming into a turn while hot on the gas, the car was predictable and easy to manage. The front end turned when expected and the rear end would slide if you let off the gas. The shocks aren't perfectly dialed in but the ride was smooth and landing from jumps was ultra plush. The Howe Performance power steering made turning effortless. Needless to say we are very impressed with how it performed!        

We also took the car on a night run through the dunes. Duning at night is a whole different experience. You feel like your going twice as fast as you actually are. The interior lighting we installed in the car proved to be very handy, especially the very trick billet Fabrication Specialties 4-panel mirror. It has 2 strips of LED's that are very bright. It makes for getting your seat belts on and yourself ready for a night run very easy.

The ACRO lights worked great as well. We noticed the 2 lights in the nose lit up part of the interior of the car and a decent area in front of the car. Their view is some what blocked by the design of the full body and the front tubes on the chassis. The 4 ACRO lights on the roof turned night into day and allowed a certain comfort level cruising at a decent pace through the dunes. We had also installed an actuator to adjust the light bar. Our original reason for this was so we could tip the light rack down without unbolting anything so the car would fit in our trailer. It turns out its very handy while duning at night! We bought a trim switch and bracket from a boating supply house and installed it on our steering wheel. It makes it easy to adjust the light rack on the fly without your hands leaving the steering wheel!

We topped the car off with an 8' whip with a custom printed flag that has the logo on it. Scott at Sansational Gear made us our custom flag. He can print any design you want on a flag! Catch him at his store in El Cajon, CA or at Gordons well in the vendor area on large weekends.

Project SCU complete!!

We are very happy with our 2-seat Sand Cars Unlimited long travel car. It's very stout, handles like a dream, and has plenty of power. We received tons of compliments in how it turned out and we'd highly recommend seeing Don at SCU for your next car! If you see us taking a rest stop in the dunes stop by and say hi, but if you see us ripping up the sweet bowls of Glamis, steer clear of the roost!





Sand Cars Unlimited
Mendeola Transaxles
King Shocks
C&R Racing
HOWE Performance
Fabrication Specialties
OMF Performance
CROW Enterprizes
ACRO Lights
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