Sand Rail Engines That Are Perfect for DunesSand rails have gained in popularity in recent years even though they have been around since the 1960’s. As more people visit tourist areas in the desert southwest, especially Nevada and California, sand rail rental agencies are opening up and giving people a chance to experience these exciting vehicles. They are made to be extremely lightweight so that they do not get stuck in the sand or damaged by terrain they are run on. Sand rail engines are unique in their design and are made to function ideally even under the extreme conditions some riders put them under.
Sand rail motors were originally borrowed directly from Volkswagen Beetles. In fact, the term dune buggy was coined because most original sand rails were actually modified Beetles. They were ideal because they did not weigh much at all compared with other motors. And they were air cooled which helped keep the mechanics of sand rails to simple minimum. Chevrolet Corvair and Porsche motors were also used because, though slightly heavier than Volkswagen motors, they were still light and air cooled.
One aspect of sand rail design that has not changed much over the years is the position of the motor; it is always placed in the rear or middle of the chassis. This is beneficial for several reasons. Rear mounting helps to keep the vehicle balanced when traveling on sand dunes. It also keeps passengers safe from excessive heat and possible fluid leaks. This could pose a problem for a front mounted engine since there are no body parts to protect riders.
Today, sand rail motors can be both air cooled and water cooled. The suspension of modern vehicles is much improved compared to older models thanks to new technology in computerized motors. Sand rail transmissions are usually manually, but you can also find automatic models.