Picture of Make a Racing Powerwheels Jeep
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jeep front.jpg

This Instructable will show you how to build a Racing Powerwheels Jeep. The Jeep runs on 24 volt rechargeable batteries and is equipped with disk brakes, digital dashboard featuring voltage and motor temp readouts, pneumatic rubber tires, working headlights and taillights. The Jeep has swappable gear ratios and can reach speeds of around 25-30 MPH with a small adult on board.

Caution - This project is intended for adults...letting a kid on one of these would certainly end in disaster.

Like any project, there are a million ways to go about it...there are ways to make lighter, faster cars. It's all about tradeoffs and what your time, budget, and skill set are.

I built this Jeep in the hopes of participating in the Power Racing Series set of races that are held at Maker Faires around the Country. Take a look at the video of a recent race to give you an idea of what these little cars are capable of. For more info on actual events and rules, check out:

For more of my other nutty projects, you can also check out

powerwheelsdetroit.mp4(516x290) 28 KB
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Step 1: Find Your Donor Car

Picture of Find Your Donor Car

To get started, find a car you like and can fit into (barely). Look in Craigslist, garage sales, trash day for good deals. I scored the slightly weathered blue Jeep for $15. We really only need the body, so if its mechanicals don't work, that is fine.

Next, start stripping off everything you can from under the body. We need to drop as much weight and unneeded parts as possible.

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I would definitely purchase...Ever consider building another?
masterbuilder4 months ago

I am now dreaming of a day when I can build this. I can just imagine hauling butt down a bike trail, but nobody could tell me to leave because I have too much swag and I'm too fast.

My only problem is that batteries and the controllers and stuff are too expensive for me. How easy/deadly would this be to do with a gasoline chainsaw engine, or even better, a harbor freight predator engine?

kent rato5 months ago


kent rato5 months ago


wbannister9 months ago
could u weld me up a frame for ££

XD Very Cool!

thbigbro11 months ago

Can you give me a little help in selecting a motor? You said yours was running about 4hp, what rpm is it running at and where is a good place to find one?

jamiep (author)  thbigbro10 months ago

Industrial DC motors or scooter motors or huge outrunners are a starting point

rasterweb10 months ago

This is a beautiful build... There's a few thing you'd probably find out from racing it, like the fact that those rims won't take much lateral force before destruction. Welding gussets in place will help. For the motors, some teams moved towards watercooling to keep the motors from overheating. Since you'd need to drop it to 40 amps for the 2014 season, overheating may not be as much of an issue though. The detail on this build it truly amazing though. :)

Always interesting to see what you'll build next, keep on being creative!

BLR_RAVI10 months ago
just the color
Eric T11 months ago

yours is awesome

Eric T11 months ago

Darn I just sold my old chain saw to my uncle. that would be awesome! What is the recharge time on yours?

Darthorso11 months ago

Oh my god you deserve a favorite and my vote just for the front image!

It's damn hilarious I fell off my chair XD

Xamu11 months ago

Well done, sir. What's the total weight of this thing?

bogie712911 months ago

I've been wanting to make something like this for quite a while now. I've already got the body for it - a cast-off grocery cart. I want to use mine to haul all my fishing supplies down to the end of the 1/4 mile+ long fishing pier (since I don't have a boat.) Since I'll be walking alongside my cart, I don't need speed, but I do need torque. I'll be hauling 8 rods/reels, 2 coolers w/ice, a bridge net, two fishing chairs, two tackle boxes and a bait box. I'll also have a cutting board for filleting some of the catches for use as bait. I didn't know where to start - now I do. Thanks for this instructable. It will be an invaluable assistant when I get ready to start. Wow! Thanks.

nwary1511 months ago
chiporty11 months ago
What was the cost
Squidyman chiporty11 months ago

Under $500 from what I can tell.

mephisto196911 months ago

The smile at the end of the vid spoke volumes. Although you've just confirmed what I've always thought. You Yanks are nuts. Keep up the great work.

kaiga11 months ago

How long is the runtime on those batteries, does the motor get too hot first?

BikeHacker11 months ago

Really cool!

razamatraz11 months ago

Awesome, although I suspect this would end badly for some adults too. "Hold my Beer and Watch this" comes to mind.

jamiep (author) 11 months ago

lol...yeah, my neighbors never know what I am building month a huge dinosaur costume, the next a Jeep. :)

dorybob11 months ago

Great instructable and thank you for introducing me to another delightfully weird part of maker space.....the power racing series. Have you convinced your neighbors to compete down the cul-de-sac or are you, like myself, the neighborhood nut job? You can take the Fifth on that. Great work.

baecker0311 months ago

wonder if a box alum frame, brush less motor and lithium battery would make a big difference..

kurokikaze11 months ago

It's awesome but my kid will probably kill herself on this :)

dunnos11 months ago

That is awesome! I especially like the paint job

DustySeven711 months ago

if you made the rear lights go off the brake pedal, added turn signals, and a seat belt; your vechicle would technicaly be street legal

wkearney9911 months ago

The added traction of the rubber tires has got to be rough on that drivetrain. At least with the plastic the kids get some braking from the tires skidding. Too much traction for kid use is sort of a bad thing. For an overgrown kid, however, I bet it's a blast.

jamiep (author)  wkearney9911 months ago

With the differential, the rubber works great...but the top heavy nature of an adult on it makes cornering and adventure... I have rolled it once ;) lol

AMCGT11 months ago

That's very cool. It seems to be very tough and very quick for such a small car. And it looks great too!

Two words "Freaking Awesome"!
Thebomb09111 months ago


niki637111 months ago
Omgosh I wanna do that awesome idea
nodcah11 months ago

This is awesome!

andrea biffi11 months ago

That is so professional! I want (to make) one!! :-)

jdrury211 months ago

I could see the benefits of that. like a small lifan 125 pit bike motor chained up to the back under the seat with a heat shield and a gas tank under the hood. and a suicide shift connected to the lifan 4 speed trans. ohhh. man I'm gonna make one now !

jdrury211 months ago

Could u build one of these but with a gas dirt bike engine if u wanted to

M3G11 months ago
This is awesome!
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