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PSD Motorsports Tube Chassis Four-Seat Buggy - Nissan Power!

Posted in Features on September 1, 2010 Comment (0)
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Photographers: Courtesy of Carl & Kurt Scherbaum

San Diegans are stoked: Off-roading opportunities abound. The Plaster City OHV area is a couple hours' drive, and Ocotillo Wells and Glamis are also close at hand. Those whose rigs are street-licensed can explore hundreds of miles in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Off-roading's ultimate venue, the Baja peninsula, abuts the city's southern flank. It's no wonder companies like Fox Racing Shox, Fiberwerx, Bilstein, Mastercraft, and Sol Tek are all based in the San Diego area.

Native San Diegan Kurt Scherbaum's life in the dirt started off early when he attended the 1975 Baja 500 with his dad and brother. Instead of falling in line idolizing mainstream stick-and-ball heroes, Kurt looked up to the likes of Mickey Thomspon, Parnelli Jones, Frank "Scoop" Vessels, Walker Evans, and Ivan Stewart. Kurt eventually went from race fan to team member, lending his time and talents to the BFGoodrich pit network that dominates Baja racing. He also got to work for one of his long-time heroes, helping with Scoop's racing team as a volunteer from 1987 to 1991.

Scherbaum isn't just a fan and a racing volunteer. He's built a rig of his own: the Nissan-powered buggy on these pages. Why Nissan? "I grew up as a big fan of Datsun/Nissan trucks. I currently own two Nissan Titans," relates Kurt. Based on his experience behind the wheel of his Titans, he knew the Nissan Endurance V-8 would be a perfect powerplant for his buggy.

The Nissan V-8 is right at home in a PSD Motorsports chassis, built by Ed Zimmerman in nearby Spring Valley. Everything fits together nicely now, but it took more than a few weekends and late nights to get the four-seater finished. Scherbaum took delivery of the PSD Motorsports chassis and went from there. The Nissan V-8 was adapted to a Mendeola S5S five-speed sequential transaxle by way of a Kennedy Engineered Products (KEP) adapter plate and clutch. After the engine and transaxle were happily joined, the powerplant needed custom work to complete the intake, exhaust, fuel delivery, cooling, and oiling systems. Over the years, Kurt acquired a garage-full of fabrication tools, and was able to do almost all of the aforementioned custom work himself.

The Endurance V-8 breathes through a pair of UNI filters and an owner-fabricated intake. The engine's lower end is completely stock, and was assembled by Kurt with the help of his 11-year-old son, Trevor. When Kurt needed OEM parts for the engine, he called on Gary Braddy at Mossy Nissan's expertise. Long-time friends Clark Steppler and Jim Wolf of Jim Wolf Technology helped Scherbaum wring extra power out of the engine. A few different sets of cams were tried before a final grind was selected. This motor makes 500 ponies at the crank, and puts over 400 to the rear wheels.

After several months of building, the chassis was ready for final assembly and testing. Thanks to the experience and expertise he'd gathered as a race volunteer and team member, the buggy worked well the first time out.

PhotosView Slideshow

As it sits now, there are 22 inches of travel at every corner, and over 400 horses at the rear wheels. These numbers translate into speed through the rough, and they're impressive: 135 mph in fifth gear at 6,000 rpm. There's more on tap, as the engine revs all the way to 7,500 rpm before hitting the redline

It would be easy to focus on the Mastercraft Pro-4 seats or the Lowrance GPS or the Momo steering wheel or the Auto Meter gauges. While those are all high-quality parts worthy of a build like this, it's the clean way everything is laid out and assembled that makes the final difference. Kurt called on Ben Gibbens of Ben's Wireworks when the time came to get the electricity flowing.

Is there anything left to do? Yes, but only a little bit. Scherbaum plans to add Fox 2.5-inch bumpstops to the rear trailing arms, and add extra plating to the front control arms and rear trailing arms. With those mechanical tasks completed, the buggy will be stripped down to a bare chassis, completely powdercoated, and then re-assembled. While it's hard to call such a process "a little bit," it's not such a crazy amount of work when compared to the effort it took to get the project to the point you see on these pages.

With a platter-full of OHV areas within close reach, Baja at his back door and a high-powered, long-travel buggy at his fingertips, there's no question that Kurt Scherbaum is one stoked San Diegan

Two more Mastercraft Pro-4 seats are in the second row, and just behind them is a Ron Davis aluminum radiator with forced airflow coming from a pair of 14-inch Spal fans. There's a 22-gallon Fuel Safe fuel cell just below the radiator. Scherbaum uses a Wix fuel filter designed for a gas station fuel pump for no-nonsense fuel filtration.


PSD Motorsports chromoly tube chassis four-seat buggy

Kurt Scherbaum/San Diego, CA

Nissan Endurance V-8

EFI system designed by Extrudabody Performance Fuel Injection, built by Kurt

Mendeola S5S five-speed sequential transaxle

Suspension type and travel:
PSD front A-arms, PSD +2 buggy trailing arms, 22 inches of wheel travel per corner

35-inch BFG Baja T/As

Pro Comp 15x7.5 with beadlocks

Passenger comfort:
Mastercraft Pro-4 seats, heated and with adjustable lumbar support

Patient, supportive family:
Wife Michelle, son Trevor

Late-night buggy builder's fuel:
Tuna sandwiches!

PhotosView Slideshow


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