Like a lot of us, Kevin Carroll started wheeling years ago in a Jeep. But instead of being content just adding bigger tires and lockers, Kevin went to the next level with a full tube buggy. We see buggies with 1-ton axles and 40-inch tires all the time on trails like the Rubicon and Hell’s Revenge, which is akin to using a .50-cal to swat a fly. A .50-caliber is more at home putting holes through steel targets at a quarter-mile away.
“Kevin navigated his buggy over obstacles that we thought were impossible”
Similarly, Kevin’s 2013 Red Dot Engineering buggy is more at home running the most technically challenging trails he can find in Utah, Arizona, and in Johnson Valley. He took everything he learned from the past buggies that he and his friends have driven and put it into this no-nonsense, lightweight buggy that still has a V-8 engine and room for two occupants while tipping the scales at a mere 3,250 pounds. The chassis was constructed from 13⁄4-inch chromoly tubing, and the links were all heat treated for increased strength with no weight penalties. With Spidertrax Spider 9 steering axles and sticky 42-inch BFGoodrich Krawlers on 20-inch TrailReady HD beadlock rims, Kevin navigated his buggy over obstacles that we thought were impossible during our photo shoot. The bar has been raised.
Power for the 2013 Red Dot Engineering buggy comes from an Erod LS3 crate engine that generates 430 hp. Note how the air is drawn through the rear of the intake manifold to allow the engine to be mounted closely to the Ron Davis aluminum radiator. “The wiring isn’t pretty, but it is usually under the hood where it is out of sight but easy to reach,” Kevin confesses.
Steering for both axles is handled by PSC double-ended hydraulic rams on custom mounts. Note the four steel straps used to keep the ram firmly in place even when bound up in the rocks. The aluminum PSC tie rods use rod ends and Grade 9 hardware to connect to Spidertrax steering arms.
The axles are Spidertrax Spider9 steering axles front and rear that reach the trifecta of ground clearance, strength, and weight. They use Spidertrax 35-spline 300M axleshafts, fabricated knuckles, unit bearings, and lightweight Wilwood disc brakes along with CTM U-joints. The third members are True Hi9 Mega Hi9 units with 5.40 Richmond gears, with a Detroit Locker in front and a full spool in the rear.
The 2013 Red Dot Engineering buggy interior is minimalist but surprisingly comfortable with the unique door opening and MasterCraft Rubicon seats. Auto Meter gauges monitor the engine’s vitals, and a Moab 4x4 Outpost Speedy Shifter rows the gears in the Hughes-built TH400 automatic transmission that uses Reid Racing’s new Super Hydra 400 case and removable bellhousing.
A 13-gallon RCI aluminum fuel cell sits behind the seats in front of an aluminum storage box that holds tools, spare parts, and fluids. It even has little light boxes on the sides with LED lights from Baja Designs, as Kevin is in the process of registering his buggy so he can drive it on the street. Both ends of the buggy use triangulated four-link geometry with lower links constructed from 2x0.250-wall heat-treated chromoly and 11⁄4-inch FK aircraft quality rod ends. Fox 21⁄2-inch-diameter air shocks are lightweight and make for easy packaging with the 42-inch Krawlers and 50-degree turning radius offered by the Spidertrax knuckles. The front shocks provide 16 inches of travel and the rears 18 inches.
2013 Red Dot Engineering Buggy
Engine: GM Erod LS3 6.2L V-8
Transmission: Hughes TH400 3-speed auto
Transfer case: Advance Adapters Atlas II with 4.3:1 ratio
Front Axle: Spidertrax Spider9 with fabricated steering knuckles and 300M axleshafts, CTM U-joints, Mega Hi9 third member with 5.40 gears and Detroit Locker
Rear Axle: Spidertrax Spider9 with fabricated steering knuckles and 300M axleshafts, CTM U-joints, Mega Hi9 third member with 5.40 gears and full spool
Springs & Such: Triangulated 4-link with 21⁄2-inch-diameter Fox air shocks (front and rear)
Tires & Wheels: 42x13.5-20 BFGoodrich Krawler KXs on 20x9.5 Trailready HD beadlock rims
Steering: Full hydraulic with double-ended rams (front and rear), TC pump, orbital valve, and reservoir from PSC
Other Stuff: Warn M8000 winch, MasterCraft Safety suspension seats, MasterCraft Safety harnesses, 13-gallon RCI aluminum fuel cell, Aeromotive fuel system, Moab 4x4 Outpost Speed Shifter, JOES Racing Products steering wheel, custom aluminum storage box, Ron Davis radiator, Tom Woods drivelines, Icom 50-watt race radio, Rigid Industries LED lights, Optima RedTop battery