Something Different

Diesel Club Car

It is not uncommon to see UTVs, golf carts and even small cars/SUVs used as pit vehicles at pull tracks, but they can be quite expensive. To maximize the funds going toward his pull truck, the “Inbred Inline” Cummins-powered 2000 Chevy 3500, and minimize the funds going toward his pit vehicle, Anthony Finkbeiner purchased a 1992 Club Car golf cart for just $500. The only catch was that it was missing the engine—making it the perfect candidate for a small-scale diesel swap.

Lifting the seat reveals the 1989 Kubota Z430 2-cylinder diesel engine that motivates the Club Car.
Finkbeiner installed a small Schwitzer turbo charger from a small industrial loader to boost the performance of the little 2-cylinder Kubota diesel engine to an estimated 10 hp.

As someone who has performed many diesel swaps into full size rigs over the years, including three of his own Cummins swaps, the thought of swapping a diesel engine into the golf cart looked very promising. Finkbeiner found a 1989 Kubota lawn tractor that was in pretty rough shape, but its 25 cubic-inch 2-cylinder diesel engine would work great to power the Club Car. He and his father installed the diesel engine into the Club Car chassis and adapted the factory belt drive clutch to work between the engine and the factory rear transaxle. To get the larger diesel engine to fit well he installed a 2-inch lift for the rear of the cart, which also gives it a nice rake.

From the rear you can easily see the two-inch lift that was necessary to clear the Kubota diesel engine that now resides under the seat.

To improve the performance of the little diesel engine, Finkbeiner upgraded to a small Schwitzer turbocharger he harvested from a small industrial loader. The turbo gulps bite-size chunks of air through a K&N air filter he adapted from a motorcycle while spent gasses are handled by a 2-3/4-inch axle dump exhaust that he fabricated for the golf cart. Then, to wrap up the engine upgrades, he turned up the fuel injection pump some to eke a little more power out of the small diesel engine. He estimates that it is now delivering around 10 hp.

As with most trucks, a good set of performance wheels and tires are a great addition to Finkbeiner’s Club Car with Kenda 18X9.50-8 Pathfinder tires wrapped around 8-inch polished Douglas racing wheels on all four corners.
Finkbeiner painted his golf cart Ford/New Holland Blue to match his “Inbred Inline” pull truck that he competes with in the NTPA 3.0 Limited Pro Stock class

After the chassis, driveline and engine issues were sorted out and the necessary modifications were completed, Finkbeiner went to work on the body. He painted the body Ford/New Holland Blue to match his pull truck then reinstalled it on the chassis. To complete the transformation on the cart, he installed a set of 8-inch polished Douglas Racing wheels that are wrapped in Kenda 18X9.50-8 Pathfinder tires on all four corners. The father and son team finished the cart upgrades and diesel swap in about three months working on it in their spare time. The small Kubota diesel-powered Club Car is now used at diesel events on a regular basis, much to the delight of onlookers as they hear the diminutive diesel rumble coming from the blue Club Car.

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