Re: vehicle design project questions???
With a $10,000 budget, you oughta start from scratch. Weld yourself a frame, either tube or square channel. If you wanna go hydrostatic, consider getting the drive system off of a large lawnmower??? 2wd is all that's needed to move a 1000# rolling load (over level ground, right?) As light as it's gonna be, I'd suggest manual steering. Hydraulic steering would be a nice perk, but could also add needless complexity. Basically, your vehicle can't be bigger than 4x8...Hmmm. That limits you to 2 people side by side in any semblance of comfort. What about this...Bench front seat and bench rear seat, rear seaters face aft. Front and rear seats share seat back, roll bar, roof (if applicable). Under the shelf created by the bottom of the front and rear seat, you put your power unit. Now, you could go front wheel drive easily enough (use a sami front axle, or use an IFS from a 4x4 fourwheeler) and the advantage of that would be that you could have a very low rear axle and a nice, flat flatbed in the rear upon which you could place cargo. Removal of the rear seats wouldn't be neccesary, the shelf that it creates would take up minimal space in the cargo area. Or, if you could make the powerplant and transmission fit solely under the front seat, you could have a fold-down rear jump seat a la extended cab pickups (or C-130's, take your pick). Either way, you have a very low, flat platform for your cargo, and you have a simple, durable rear axle to carry your load. On the other hand, you could use the same design and make it RWD (sami axle?) and have a slightly higher cargo platform...maybe have wheel wells like a pickup to clear the axle/tires and still keep the bed low? Do you get extra points for a dump bed? What about for use of alternative fuels? There's a utility vehicle out there called "Raptor" that uses 4 hydraulic motors powered off of a diesel engine...True 4wd, very compact, no need for cumbersome differentials... Some sort of hydro or electric drive would be way easier than dealing with clutches and trannies...and your powerplant doesn't have to line up with your drive axle(s) at all. Moreover, because there's no driveshaft, your vehicle can be much lower (more stable and easier to load). I'd suggest centrifugal clutches, but there's a lot more complication involved in getting them to have reverse and good speeds/pulling ability.
On the eighth day, God made the CJ8, and it was too long, so me tried the 7, but no dice. YJ's and TJ's just weren't his thing but then came the CJ5, and it was good.