Raptor and rail better than golf cart?

blue oval

May 17, 2022

Mostly everybody I ride with switched over to SXS's and I refuse to over pay for a rubber band car that is obsolete in 5 years. I was determined to find a trailer AND car for the same price and get the whole family out.

2005 Keystone Raptor 3319 fifth wheel and a 2005 Sand Trix sand rail

There is a lot to learn about these cars, but there is a ton of information if you know where to look. For those that don't know, a car like this is built off the suspension design from a Volkswagen bug. The chassis in my rail literally has the frame horns from a bug built in to locate the transaxle and trailing arm pivots. A lot of the technical information I've researched has come from Volkswagen sources.

The front and rear suspension are a trailing arm design, and although limited, they are quite capable. Compared to a stock bug or Class 11 car, the suspension components on my rail are "upgraded". In the front the beam is 10 inches wider (the two parallel tubes, not whoop scissors), and the trailing arms are 2 1/2" longer and uses coilovers instead of torsion bars. The rear trailing arms are called a 3x3 (3 inches longer and 3 inches wider) and also uses coilovers instead of torsion bars.

The front end doesn't have a ton of travel, but it is so light it skips over the top of bumps. You can pretty much grab the beam and pull the front end off the ground. The front is limited by steering tie rods, trailing arm length, and shock setup. I have an 8" stroke shock now, but its common to use a 10" shock.

The rear end is limited by ground clearance at bump and CV angles. I have a 3 rib bus transaxle with Type 2 CV joints, so a pretty limited setup. The Type 2 CVs get around 17 degrees of angle before they start to bind. The normal upgrade for this is the 930 CV joints with around 25 degrees.
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Since I've owned the rail I've done a few things to maintain it with minimal upgrades.
  • Replaced all fuel line with AN braided hose, AN fittings, and fuel filter before and after fuel pump because the bad gas destroyed a lot of the old stuff
  • Replaced rear brake lines with braided lines after discovering the original rubber hose was being stretched at full droop
  • Installed front brakes after discovering aforementioned rear brake line broke and had a wild ride down a hill in Barstow
  • Installed dual brake reservoirs with balance bar
  • Replaced rear trailing arm inner bushings after noticing the driver side was missing the ID metal sleeve, causing the trailing arm to wander
  • Installed 3 inch belt harness with sub belt
  • Replaced rear wheels with better offset and less dents
  • Drilled and safety wired all CV joint bolts after they kept trying to leave the chat
  • Replaced easily clogged air filter and oiled foam cover for a Donaldson enclosure with paper filter
  • Installed Baja Designs sqaudron pros on the A-pillar
  • Installed USB connector with voltmeter since I only have a water temp gauge
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Way better setup than a golfcart in my eyes. Seems like you did a lot of good maintenance and upgrades to make it reliable in the long term
Dude! Thing is sweet Thanks for the info, that was all news to me. And ya how was the water crossing haha. It hasn’t been that deep recently since rail road filled it with gravel.
The water crossings aren't bad, just go slow, stick to one side, and hold your feet up. It's the multiple stream crossings at speed in Afton canyon in an open-bodied vehicle that will make for a cold ride.