Project Bottomless Money III Chassis Plans




As seen in 4x4 Builder

Shown with D60's and 42" Iroks

Shown with 3.8l V6, D60's front and rear (note the engine cage for clearance). Approx. Weight: 3800lbs.

 Customer Buildups

Peter from Russia

S/C 3.4l Toyota Based Buggy



Tom Anderson's Chassis


Ever wanted to build your own rock buggy but didn't know where to start?  Here's one way to jumpstart your project.  I am offering the plans for the chassis I designed and built as documented here. Advantages of my designs include:

The ability to pull the transmission and transfer case without pulling the motor (via the lower skid plate).

No bars near your head (unlike many homebuilt chassis designs).

A cockpit that is big enough to keep you from hanging outside of the chassis when seated.

A suspension that works excellent for both crawling and climbing (I have seen at least one person crawl Upper Helldorado in one of these chassis). 

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This chassis was originally designed as a 3 seater with room for two full sized Beard (or equivalent) seats up front and a smaller child sized seat out back.

Don't need 3 seats?  You can easily shorten the roof, realign the rear down bars and have a 2 seater with plenty of storage space for camping gear or spare parts.  Or shorten the back end even more and make it smaller and lighter.

Here's a few more pictures of one possible 2 seater configuration.  You are really only limited by your imagination as far as how short/long to make the back end.

Here's the basic parts I designed this chassis around:

Motors - As per the FAQ:

Suzuki: 1.3, 1.6 or 2.0l motor should fit with a Samurai or Sidekick 5 speed and Samurai transfer case.  I used to run a Toyota 5 speed transmission (85 4x4 Pickup) mated to a 1.6 16v motor via an SOS Ringr adapter. A stock Samurai radiator fits perfect up front.

Toyota: 22re (2.2l), 2rz (2.4l), 3.4l, 2rz(2.4l) or 3rz (2.7l) motor found in various Toyota pickups could also be used with a 5 speed transmission and dual Toyota transfer cases. If you run an automatic a 3.4l Toyota V6 should also fit.

Domestic: A Pontiac 3.8l V6, Chevy 4.3l V6, Chevy 4.8/5.3/5.7/6.0/LT1, Ford 5.0l to name a few. An automatic transmission is preferred as it makes the drive train length shorter and allows you to push the motor back to leave enough room up front for a good sized radiator. A 26 x 19" double pass Ron Davis radiator fits if you lay it back at an angle (this particular radiator keeps my supercharged 3.8l motor plenty cool). A manual transmission will work but wheelbase will need to be 102" or above.

Larger motors have been installed by other builders (including big blocks).  Really if you think about it the difference between a 4.3 V6 and 5.3 V8 is only a few inches in length and the chassis is very easy to modify if you want to make the fenders a bit wider to accommodate whatever it is you want to use to power this chassis.

In addition, the belly pan of the chassis is left wide open to allow the transfer case and transmission to be removed from the vehicle without pulling the engine.

 Pictures and build up notes for a Supercharged 3.8l install can be seen here.

Axles: I am running Toyota truck axles from an 85 4x4.  Pretty much any solid axle can be made to fit.  I have personally run 1985 Toyota truck axles as well as narrowed D60's (60" wms to wms) under this chassis.

Suspension: Suspension: The skies the limit. I ran a dual triangulated 4 link front and rear utilizing 2.0" coilovers and provide the numbers to duplicate this link setup. Wheelbase in the plans is approximately 111" and with 39" tires the belly is approximately 23" above the ground. The wheelbase and belly clearance can be changed to suit your needs. For further suspension information see the FAQ.

Moab Hot Tub video clip.

Upper Helldorado waterfall video clip.

Steering: Full hydraulic via a double ended steering ram.  A single ended steering ram could be used but you will need to modify the front link setup.

Tires:  With the Toyota axles and 2" backspacing on the rims up to a 39" tire should fit fine.  A narrow 42" tire also fits. With full width axles a tire larger than 42" in diameter could be used.

Specs:  Outside of rocker to outside of rocker is 58.2", outside of door bar to outside of door bar is 53.6".  Belly to highest point on the roof is 54" and length from front bumper to rear most tube is 133.4". Estimated chassis weight is 250-330lbs depending on bracing.

The plans you will receive are laser printed on 11 x 17 sized sheets of paper.  I have broken down the entire chassis into stages and include a suggested order of assembly guide to help you build your chassis.  The guide lists how I would tackle the chassis build and notes when you should mock up major systems and suggests other systems that need to be considered at that stage. The sheets in the above example are from stage 5 and show the suggested roof bars and bracing.  8 of these sheets are drawings of some of the link mount plates and tabs, switch mount box, seat rails and the rear upper link mount bracket.  These should help you if you want to duplicate the suspension I used. Also, keep in mind, at any time you can change the angles or bracing for a different look if desired.

*** Note - I am not releasing the solid models at this time.

Things to keep in mind:

1. I make no warranties of any kind for the performance or durability of this chassis.  You are buying plans only. If you chose to fabricate something using these plans you assume all risk in the fabrication and operation of the project.

2.  You will need a basic knowledge of tube bending and access to a tube bender, welder, chop saw, etc. Access to a plasma cutter or cutting torch would be very helpful but is not required. The chassis is designed around 1 5/8 tubing with a bend radius of 4.5"***.  Larger tubing  or bend radii could be used with some minor adjustments to the initial tube lengths.  There are no bends over 90 degrees.

*** It has been brought to my attention that the 4.5" radius die is no longer available from JD2. See the FAQ here for information on compensating for different die sizes. It is actually a very quick and easy adjustment to accommodate larger bend radius dies.

3.  The plans are meant to be a guide.  Since there is no way to get the bends to match the plans %100 expect to have to make small adjustments.  Even as I built the first chassis I would double check dimensions when I started on the next tube and if in doubt I would leave a little extra for the cut length.  The plans do have suggested cut lengths and start points for the bends.  It will be your responsibility to cope the tube ends.  In spots where there are straight braces I usually provide a recommended tube size and length, however in most cases your best bet is to measure the distance between the nodes to determine the cut length.

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4.  The plans only cover the dimensions of the basic chassis.  This means gussets, mounting tabs, suspension related mounts on the axles, body panels, component mounts, etc are your responsibility.  However, I will suggest locations for motor mounts, suspension link mounts and air shock mounts.  There are detailed pictures of all the brackets I made as well as sources for most of the components I used on my build up pages starting here.  I will be including drawings of some of the larger link mount plates, this should simplify your work if you want to duplicate my suspension.  I am also creating a set of web pages which will have even more, larger pictures of the various stages for those who purchase the plans. 

5.  I will include a recommended list of material for the basic chassis.  You may want to purchase additional material if you would like to leave extra material on the cuts or if you feel you may have to re-do a section of tubing.

For costing purposes I used approximately (8) 20ft sticks of 1.625 x .120 DOM, and (2) 20ft sticks of the following: 1.50 x .095 and 1.50 x .120 for the main chassis bracing. To save money you can get away with using HREW for any piece of tubing that does not contact rocks.

6.  I am approximately 5' 10" tall and fit in the chassis well.  If you are taller you can increase the roof height and hood height a good 6 inches and still not sacrifice visibility.

The plans cost $120 which includes all drawings on 11 x 17 paper; shipping is included in that price to any address in the Continental US.  I do not offer electronic versions. I accept Zelle as payment, email for payment information. I used to accept PayPal but as of 12/9/2020 I am no longer accepting payment from that "service".

All packages ship USPS, please allow 1-2 weeks for domestic orders although actual ship times are usually much faster.

International customers please read -

As of 10-30-2020 I will only ship to the US. I apologize for the inconvenience but I no longer have any faith in the postal services of other countries.

  Answers to the most common questions -

I do not offer an electronic version of the plans.

I do not accept PayPal for any orders as of 12-9-2020