Building an MG-TC pedal car: Part 4

   Posted by: Mark   in Pedal car

Refer to the Introduction for links to all of the posts in this project.

This post is focused on the steering and drive components of the pedal car. These two areas have been the source of 95% of the problems, stalls, and headache for me. Admittedly, the primary reason for this trouble is my decision to use bicycle wheels instead of the plan’s plywood wheels. But no matter what I do, I can’t convince myself to eliminate the wire wheels. So I’m stuck with trying to come up with efficient ways to make it all work.

One of the commenters on the Introduction post indicated that he had built one of these years ago and used go-kart parts for the steering, which resulted in me searching for some parts I could use. I did find some web sites with decent prices, and am now waiting for a couple of sets of ball joints and tie rods, $20 with shipping. I may also break down and buy a cheap MIG welder for a few things (I’ve been wanting one anyway), but haven’t decided on that yet.

It seems I am now regularly finding ways to improve on this whole project. Bearings are so cheap that using pipe fittings and brass bushings seems silly. Kingpin assemblies are relatively inexpensive and much more clean than what the plans call for (though I am still a bit impressed with that whole assembly, made with pipe fittings). Chain drive doesn’t look all that difficult, especially with the decision to use bicycle wheels anyway, and the possibility of having a welder (though this raises some issues such as braking and coasting, but I’m planning to put together a summary at the end of all of this to address some of these things).

This post will be updated after the tie-rods and joints arrive.

*** UPDATE 3/5/09 ***

The ball joints are here, but only one tie-rod made it. They apparently only had one in stock, but the other should be coming (soon?). I expect to get a bit done this weekend, and look forward to posting some pictures!

*** UPDATE 6/8/09 ***

Hot dog! All the steering came together tonight, praise the Lord! I have a few bolts to replace since I got the wrong size, but I figured out how to make a pittman arm without any welding! Man, I’m so excited to get over this hurdle. I’ll post pics as soon as  I have the correct bolts (tomorrow?). I still need to attach the steering wheel, but that’s the easy part.

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This entry was posted on Monday, March 2nd, 2009 at 4:28 pm and is filed under Pedal car. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 comments so far

Jason Fabbri

Fantastic write up. I’ve been searching for exactly what you have here. I too am wanting to use bicycle wheels, but I’m also interested in adapting a bicycle sprocket for the pedal mechanism. I’m really looking forward to your next installment!

April 18th, 2009 at 6:05 pm
Jason Fabbri

One more comment as I see you’ve put a bit of thought also into a pedal assembly. I was thinking that if you used two rear wheels from a bike that has a coaster brake, you may be able to retain that braking mechanism. That is if the rider simply slams the pedals backwards the brake on both rear wheels would engage. If the pedals were mounted dead center and a secondary gear in turn engaged the wheel sprockets, it just may work. Would likely need some welding but sounds like you’re headed in that direction anyway.

April 18th, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Hey Jason, sorry I didn’t reply here more quickly. I did email you, but should have replied in the comments, too.

I like your idea of a coaster brake. I think you’re right, though, that welding would be required. I thought I might be ready to spring for a welder, but decided to wait until I can get a decent one instead of a cheapo unit. But I did figure out how to do the pittman arm for the steering, and hope to post pics in the next day or two.

Hope to see you again around here!

June 8th, 2009 at 9:51 pm

I have searched high and low for just this kind of site!! And I am very impressed with all of this. I do have a question on what size wheel you used as I am going to undertake this very project using your pics as my templet. Any help would be greatly apprecitated. I am on the shoestring budget so as you know I am looking for any inside tips I can get my hands on.!! Once again great site.

September 12th, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Stevenson Projects is pleased to announce the new website with MGTC Pedal Car plans and much more!


November 3rd, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Do you know of any sellers that will allow you to buy a mechanism similar to the one you have here?

November 10th, 2011 at 3:35 am
José Cardoso

Hi Mark,
Last year I bought the plans To Stevenson Projects and just started it last weekend.
I am Portuguesel and, you know, we use metric system for measuring. On the layout for the body side I found, I think, something is wrong – in the front of the car the partial measures are 1/2″ longer than the back of the car. I have been insisting with Stevenson but one month elapsed without reply. Maybe I am missing something, but would you pls confirm if you have found this difference too?
Pls forgive my english.
Thanks a lot in advance.

November 14th, 2012 at 11:56 am

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