M.L. Toys
M.L. Toys
HobbyMasters M.L. Toys
I want to go faster.
First post here - I've got two Dune Racers and just completed my first upgrade and getting ready to work on my second which will be a bit more complicated. Since I'm going to have questions on build #2 I figured I contribute with my experience from build #1 first.

Most sources that I looked at will point out that the Dune Racer has one of the smallest amounts of available space of all Power Wheels, but I've actually found that there is plenty of space for everything needed in a 24v conversion and the layout turns out to be really convenient. First off get the kit from EastCoast Powerup - I don't really need to say much about this, anyone reading this forum has already seen everyone else say how great it is - that's how I knew to get it. Wes makes the whole thing really easy and I learned a ton.

Battery Placement:
So I originally planned on putting one battery in the back and one in the front under the hood, and I suppose technically you could do this. The space under the hood is exactly the right size for one 18aH 12v battery. But if you do then there is no where left to put the ESC electronics. You might be able to cram them somewhere in the back but you'd have to cut out practically all of the plastic framing and you'd really be crowding the motors. Much easier solution turns out to be just building a frame to hold a battery under the seat. I made mine out of aluminum I had laying around - took about an hour with a hack saw and a drill and the whole thing is still higher up than the bottom of the shifter housing so you don't have to worry about ground clearance:
IMG_2645.JPG (67.56 KiB) Viewed 2945 times
I cut holes in the steel frame to recess the bolts under the seat and used 4 pieces of PVC conduit as spacers to make the 3 inch deep space required for the battery. Keep in mind that the seat is a slight bucket seat so if you measure 3 inches down from the edge you end up having to shave off some of the bottom of the plastic seat frame to get the battery to fit where the seat dips down in the middle. The second battery fits in the back after removing one section of plastic frame. One note: depending on when you bought your Dune Racer you may or may not have a steel frame piece running across the back. My son's does, my daughter's (2 years newer) doesn't. That piece is pretty convenient for bolting an L bracket on to secure the back battery. I wouldn't trust the velcro alone in this case because if that battery shakes loose your passenger side motor is definitely getting smashed.

Anyway, this leaves the entire hood area free for the ESC electronics:
IMG_2648.JPG (96.97 KiB) Viewed 2945 times
ESC Placement:
So this is where everything just ends up working out great. It turns out that there is only about an inch separating the back of the gas pedal housing from the space under the hood, so you can drill straight through and all of the wiring can be fed directly into the stock wiring channels. In the final build you can't even tell that the car has been modified other than the speed control mounted on the dash. Added bonus: the ESC kit looks a lot like a car engine to a kid, so when they lift the hood it looks like a real car. It also turns out to be a good thing that I chose the "batteries stored separately" option when I ordered the kit from Wes. When you do that he includes a couple of long wires to run the distance between the batteries. I no longer needed those for the batteries but I did need them to go from the ESC to the batteries, so after switching one terminal connector to a spade connector the wiring turned out to be a perfect fit.

Final Results:
I'd say it's almost exactly twice as fast. Hard to say for sure because these things were showing a lot of wear before I upgraded one and had already slowed down from stock just because the stock batteries were dying. But when I look at old videos double the speed feels about right - if not it's darn close. To my eye as an adult it doesn't seem incredibly fast but the kids say it's a huge difference. More importantly the Dune Racers have gone from being junk collecting spiderwebs in the backyard to a toy that gets used every single day. Switching to the 18aH batteries was huge as well. The Power Wheel generally lasts an entire day's worth of play now - and I have 4 kids taking turns so that's a LOT of run time.

Runs well even with a 9 year old and a 7 year old sitting in it together, though it does go fastest when no one is looking and the 3 year old jumps in and takes off on his own. :D

I'd post video, but my wife is funny about that - sorry. There's enough of them already out there on youtube that one more probably wouldn't make much difference.

Daughter is now complaining that her PowerWheel is still stock but I don't want to do the same project twice so next up is a dual chain drive with scooter motors. I'll post all about that when it's done - I'll probably have some questions for you guys between now and then though.

Figured I should probably post a picture of it all back in one piece:
IMG_2667.JPG (119.69 KiB) Viewed 2906 times
Had to repaint because the original green had faded to practically white. My son picked the color, but it turned out pretty decent I think. Aside from the control on the dash you can't even tell it's been messed with.
dfreas wrote:Figured I should probably post a picture of it all back in one piece:
Had to repaint because the original green had faded to practically white. My son picked the color, but it turned out pretty decent I think. Aside from the control on the dash you can't even tell it's been messed with.
Which ESC kit from Wes did you get? I got the DIY kit from last year. Now he has more models.
throw a full face kids helmet on your little one if the wife is weird about the that. great write up and a dual chain set up with scooter motors? anyone know the speed on something like that for a dune race? I am getting ready to upgrade my sons as hes 5 and a very good driver but a speed freak, like his dad.
right now his dune racer is stock but i added a lithium 20ah battery so its goes hours on a charge.

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