Introduction: EZGO Sport
We bought a new golf cart but our old one was worth only $400, as a trade in. Since I had recently spent $600 on new batteries, it didn't seem like a good deal. So.... I decided to keep the old one and make something Instructable out of it. I had to decide between making a Sports Car or a Steam Punk Snail. Sorry, I went for the Sports Car. (Snail may still be in my future.).
Step 1: Can It Really Be Done?
Before I started cutting, grinding and welding, I decided I better get a vision of what the end result would be. I took some photos and used PAINT to see what it might look like. OK, not bad. Let's take it apart and get going.
Step 2: Let's See What We've Got - Batteries Gotta' Go
On a normal golf cart you sit on top of the batteries, the first thing was to move the batteries elsewhere, to allow the sporty driver to sit lower in the car. So where ya' gunna put 6 batteries?
Two batteries got moved to the rear of the car behind the motor but a battery box platform had to be made. I went to the store to buy some angle steel to weld together a platform. THAT STUFF IS EXPENSIVE. Dejected, I headed home. On the way, I passed a mattress store. I got to thinking, "They take away old mattress AND bed frames all the time." I pulled in and asked if they had any old bed frames that they wanted to get rid of. I headed home with the back of my car FULL of bed frames for free. It was a win/win. Rear battery box was built and batteries installed.
Two batteries stayed in the center of the cart but got rotated long ways so that they would fit behind the seat.
Two batteries left to go. Running out of room. One battery became a stylish console right in the middle of the floor. The battery cover/console is a Sterilite plastic filing box that was turned upside down, shortened and painted. It fit perfectly. One battery ended up at the front of the golf cart mounted to the frame.
Batteries were then wired up using 2/O welding cable.
Step 3: Mechanical Re-do - Steering Wheel and Pedals
Once the seat was lowered, the steering wheel is way up in the air and looked ridiculous (actually, the whole thing looks a bit ridiculous). The steering column was shortened and the angle lowered. Fortunately, the normal golf cart had a universal joint down where the steering column meets the steering box. I just fabricated a new lower angle bracket at that junction and was good to go. Oh, I also had to make an adapter to mount a small diameter go-cart steering wheel replacing the golf cart steering wheel.
The pedals were another issue. They were way to close to seat once the seat was lowered. New brackets were fabricated and the pedals were slid forward about 5 inches.
Step 4: The Rear Body - Fiberglass Fabrication
I had never tried fiberglass fabrication before, and with help from Youtube, I decided, "I can do this." I wanted to preserve and use as much of the existing body as possible.
The rear golf cart body panel was used with the front wall cut down so that a lower seat would fit. At the very rear of the car, a body panel was made like a trunk lid. This is where you would normally put your golf clubs. I decided to create a fiberglass mold to fabricate the final trunk panel. The "buck" for the mold was styrofoam, covered in sparkle, primed and painted (blue in picture). Not as easy as those words imply. Lots of sanding and rework to get what I wanted. A three part mold was made from fiberglass over the buck. Some damage occurred to the buck while taking it out of the mold. It was pretty fragile. The final fiberglass trunk lid was laid into the mold starting with white gelcoat. I included a spoiler on the trunk lid to be sure the cart would stay on the road at 15 mph.
Step 5: The Front Body - Moldless Fabrication
At the front end, I decided to use as much of the existing body as possible but moved it forward and down. I mocked its placement up with paper towels, stepped away and squinted. I liked, what I didn't see, so I went ahead and cut new wheel wells. A structure was welded into place to support the body panel that was now sticking out front. With that in position, there was now a 14 inch gap that needed to be closed-in back to the firewall. I decided to try fiberglass moldless construction to complete the body going back to the firewall. Cardboard was cut and laid on the golf cart to provide a foundation for expanding spray foam. The rough foam form of the body was sprayed into place. My wife said that this was the Lamb-orgini phase of the project. The foam was sculpted to form the profile that would receive fiberglass construction right on top of it. A new set of fender flares were also created at this point. A coating of spackle allowed for the final profile to be created. Aluminum heater-duct tape was carefully laid over the surface (fiberglass does not like to stick to it.) and a PVA release layer was sprayed on the surface. Multiple layers of fiberglass were laid directly on the surface. Some sanding, some body filler, a little primer, and presto it was ready for paint.
Step 6: Painting
The sanding primer was sprayed from cans and a final 600 grit sanding got the cart ready for paint. I went to two body shops to see what they would charge to paint it. Both said they were not interested. I can take a hint. The hint was that I was going to paint it myself. I went to Harbor Freight and bought a $15 spray gun and bought some single stage automotive paint. I set up a spray booth under our deck. I practiced a bit on poster board and went at it. When they say several THIN coats is the proper application, they mean it. At one point, I got heavy handed and got some sags and runs. I immediately wiped them off with a rag and painted over it. It worked out fine. I think I was lucky.
Step 7: Final Trim
1930's Brooklands Windshields, 1950's Bullet Mirrors, Stainless boat latches for the front body panel and we're just about done. One last thing, I didn't like the pointed knife-edge front end of the body. So... a front bumper was fabricated using shaped styrofoam, spackle and aluminum tape. Fiberglass was laid over styrofoam assembly (moldless construction) and the final rough surface finish was created by using a texture paint and the a black color coat over it. The styrofoam was left inside the bumper (not removed) to provide additional cushioning in case I run into something at 15mph.
And we're done. Just in time for the 4th of July Parade.
Grand Prize in the
Motor Vehicle Contest