ATV Features

Project Super Quad, finished and ready run with knobby tires set up for trail riding.

Project: Super Quad. Part 5

Building a street bike powered sand quad.
By Paul Sayegh | January 1, 2013

Photos by Paul Sayegh


Starting a Suzuki GSX-R1000 4 cylinder engine for the first time that has been installed in a Bombardier DS650 quad makes for a pretty exciting moment. There’s some extra anxiety if you have bought a used engine and never heard it run. You just don’t know what to expect.
In this photo you can see how we used an air grinder tool with a Dremel cutting disc to trim the plastics. The best way to make this quad look as high performance as it runs was cutting “Dumbo’s ears” a bit.
Since most of the modifications and fabrication work is now done on our project quad, we decided to temporarily hook up the wiring harness, add some fuel and see if the engine would run. When we bought our used engine, it came with the all the handlebar controls and electrical accessories. With the help of a wiring diagram we hooked everything up and let most of it just hang out of the way. The only connector that wouldn’t reach was to the fuel pump at our rear mounted gas tank.
One of the most challenging parts of this portion of the build was the electrical system, mainly because we decided to retain the stock wiring harness.
Once everything was hooked up came the moment of truth. We turned the key on, the gauges lit up and the fuel pump started to run. A nervous push of the start button and the engine immediately came to life and settled to a perfect idle. Anyone who has built a project can relate to this feeling of excitement and relief. The sound of 165hp was like music and my anxiety was quickly replaced with excitement. The neighbors probably weren’t as excited as I was.
What I didn’t like was the bulkiness and size of the wire harness since it contained all the wiring for accessories and lighting. I don’t ride at night and I decided to strip all the excess wiring out of the harness so I could get rid of the unsightly and unneeded connectors, sensors and bulk. It sounded so simple, but I regretted this decision after spending two frustrating days with my nose buried in a wiring diagram for little benefit. Also, some parts can’t be removed or bypassed without a fault code being generated in the computer system. Even the original kickstand switch has electronics built in.
However, a wiring diagram and some resistors were all it took to keep the computer thinking that the senders are still there and not trip a fault code. The pile of cut out wire was not worth the effort.
The newer the engine, the more sophisticated the computer system. For instance, bypassing the clutch switch so that you don’t have to pull the clutch when starting the engine makes the computer think that the engine has no load and will change the computer programming and redline setting. Ultimately I substituted diodes and resistors in place of some components to trick the computer into thinking that components were installed. I could write an entire article (maybe a book) on this subject but I’ll leave it at advice only; If you want to save a huge headache, use all the original components and switches, plug them in and tape them out of the way. We mounted the computer on a small fabricated plate under the seat to keep it dry and safe.
Before final assembly a decision had to be made to either paint or powder coat the frame. Powder coating is more durable and expensive, but painting is easier to touch up should a frame modification need to be made later. Several builders recommended no finish at all until after a season of riding in case modifications were needed. I was pretty confident that we had everything right on the chassis and decided to powder coat everything before assembly despite the warnings.
Check out that nice little pile of hardware, upper right. We re-plated all of the nuts, bolts and brackets with a yellow zinc finish. This helped the project quad look brand new.
However, the yellow we chose was now established in the beautiful custom wheels that had arrived from OMF. Changing powder brands might yield a different color. One call to OMF and a jar of powder was delivered to my door! I took the frame and powder to Adam Grosswiler at Wion’s Powder Coating (Sacramento, CA). Grosswiler walked me through my options, made suggestions and completed the frame in an afternoon. The finish was beautiful and our naked frame and brackets were transformed into a factory looking quad. We also powder coated many small items in black such as foot pegs, fuel tank, front hubs and brackets and a chrome color was used for the bumpers and steering column.
We arrived at the color choice for the Project Super Quad frame after the wheels we ordered were delivered from OMF Performance Products. The wheels featured a set of bright yellow bead lock rings, which is what we decided to match. To make things easy for us, OMF also supplied us with a jar of powder, which is what we gave to Wion’s Powder Coating. Wion’s then went about the process of transforming all our fabrication work into a beautiful finished product. They completed everything in one afternoon.
In my opinion, assembly is the most fun part of a project like this. You get to see your vision come together in front of your eyes. During the build, I sent the entire batch of nuts, bolts and hardware to a local plating shop to have them re-plated in a yellow zinc color, like original. We started off by installing new wheel bearings in the front spindles, bolting on the brake rotors and installing them on the front suspension arms. The rear swingarm assembly and the front suspension were bolted on, followed by the old wheels and tires. My first indication of how nice this quad was going to look happened when the new Race Tech shocks we special ordered were bolted on. They are pure eye candy in red, gold and black. Even more pleasant was how perfect the quad’s height was right out of the box. Initial suspension feel was exactly what we ordered; a plush compliant suspension for duning and hill climbing.
In our opinion, the stock handlebars on this quad were terrible. The shape was not right for this big quad. So, we opted to use a set of bars from a Can-Am Outlander. They fit perfectly, adding the needed height and width we wanted for comfort.
The engine was installed without issue thanks to our prior forethought and removable frame section. The steering shaft and controls were not as easy. The stock steel handlebars were terrible. They were too narrow and had too much sweep backwards to handle this big quad. The solution was luckily discovered while I was standing at the parts counter of Elk Grove Powersports, while gazing at the new Can-Am Outlander quad. The bars looked perfect. I took a coat hanger, duplicated the handlebar bend and took it home for a check. They turned out to be the perfect width, height and angle and were much cheaper than aftermarket bars. Many hours were spent wrapping the wire harness and hoses with anti-abrasion sheathing and tie-wrapping to the frame.
We also used a power brake bleeder, upper left. It can bleed an empty brake system rapidly, and without making a mess.
The next chore was assembling the chain. We decided to use the top-of-the-line 530ZVM-X chain from D.I.D., due to it’s low friction X-ring design and better wear resistance for sand use. There’s no doubt that it’s heavy duty, but we wanted to be sure we didn’t break a chain on this 165hp beast and encounter other “collateral damage.”
It was time for final installation of the custom made Sprocket Specialists sprockets and the gold colored D.I.D 530ZVM-X chain. The 530ZVM-X is D.I.D’s top of the line high performance, low friction X-Ring chain with the highest wear resistance rating and that’s exactly what’s needed for sand use. There may be some builders that question using the beefy 530 chain size, due to its weight. Downsizing the chain and sprocket size is a pretty common weight saving modification for racing. However, with 165hp and the anticipated speed capabilities of this quad, the thought of a chain breaking and becoming a projectile next to my leg gave me nightmares and no shortcuts would be taken on drive components. D.I.D does not recommend using a “clip style” master link in these applications and this chain only comes with a rivet link. We used D.I.D’s KM501E tool to rivet the chain together with almost factory looking results and I found it simple to use.
This particular chain comes with a rivet link, which is being installed, above. To do this, we used D.I.D.’s KM501E tool. It was easy to handle and enabled us to rivet the chain together for nearly factory looking results.
It was time for final installation of the custom made Sprocket Specialists sprockets and the gold colored D.I.D 530ZVM-X chain. The 530ZVM-X is D.I.D’s top of the line high performance, low friction X-Ring chain with the highest wear resistance rating and that’s exactly what’s needed for sand use. There may be some builders that question using the beefy 530 chain size, due to its weight. Downsizing the chain and sprocket size is a pretty common weight saving modification for racing. However, with 165hp and the anticipated speed capabilities of this quad, the thought of a chain breaking and becoming a projectile next to my leg gave me nightmares and no shortcuts would be taken on drive components. D.I.D does not recommend using a “clip style” master link in these applications and this chain only comes with a rivet link. We used D.I.D’s KM501E tool to rivet the chain together with almost factory looking results and I found it simple to use.
Check out how clean the fabrication and assembly work looks on this quad. We had to be clever and creative in how we mounted all the components for the GSX-R engine and electronics. The computer was conveniently mounted underneath the seat.
We installed the brake reservoir, installed a hose fitting in a piece of aluminum and C-clamped it to the master cylinder. Using a Motive Power Bleeder, we had the air bled out of the brake system in short order. We also found some very trick billet brake hose holders made by American Star Racing that worked great with our new Speedline’z. They add a professional look as well as functionality.
Outerwears Pre-Filters were chosen to help keep the sand off the filter media, and ultimately out of the engine.
The remainder of the front suspension components were bolted together. The original tie rod ends were rather worn so we picked up American Star’s Pro XS Chromoly Racing Tie Rods and then aligned the front end. We also picked up some Outerwears pre-filters and shock covers. We installed the Outerwears on both air filters as well as the crankcase breather. My past experience with these has been great and I can’t imagine hitting the sand without them as they significantly reduce the sand particles from reaching and sticking to oil soaked filters.
We ended up buying new plastics for the quad, which came bare and with no decals. So, we hired a local sign shop to make all of the custom decals. It only seemed appropriate to name our new quad “DS1000” after the conversion that was done.
It was time to fit the plastics. Bolting on used and scratched plastics on a freshly built and painted quad is heart wrenching. The 11 year old plastics suck the beauty out of the new paint and detail work. In addition, the rear plastics on the DS650 remind me of oversized Dumbo ears and certainly didn’t offer any modern appeal. We decided to buy new plastics and trim them down in size and use the old plastics to experiment with different cutting techniques.
The Race Tech shocks, right, were custom built for our Project Super Quad. They fit really well and the colors add the perfect amount of eye candy, too.
We found that using an air powered grinder with a Dremel cutting tool worked the best. It cut well and generated just enough heat to make a smooth edge. After we perfected our cutting technique we cut the new plastics using tape to mark the cut line. Our plastics now looked great and the rear was much more modern looking with the majority of Dumbo’s ears trimmed off. We added some custom decals made at the local sign shop and our quad was looking great and the Super Quad DS1000 was born.
Here’s a sneak peek of the quad with the OMF wheels and sand tires. We’ll have a full ride test next issue.
It was time for a test ride and luckily I live in a rural private road area. A few laps around the property and dirt roads proved one thing. It will wheelie, go sideways or spin the tires at any speed, at any time and with every twist of the throttle. Eye watering speeds are achieved in seconds. Two words describe the performance ... Scary Fast!
Next issue, we’ll bolt on our custom OMF wheels with some paddle tires and head for Sand Mountain in Nevada. We’ll report back about how it runs, as well as product evaluations. Stay tuned.

 A Few More "ATV" Stories...

Project: Super Quad. Part 5
Yamaha Introduces 2015 Raptor 700R
Duning On A Pro Racer's Ride
Pair Of Aces

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Hustlin' Race Quads
When Brett Sanderson shows up to Dumont or the sand drags, he brings a double threat in the form of these two drag bikes. Wait until you see the details and workmanship on these beautiful ATVs. Nice!

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