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Sometimes, a video goes viral and I have no clue why so many people watched it. Other times, I know exactly why it went viral. A YouTube video of a man disassembling two cars and using their components to build a side-by-side four-wheeler is racking up millions of views. And I’m not surprised in the least, the project is so insanely cool I can’t believe it.

The popular video was uploaded by the huge “Quantum Tech HD” channel. But the kicker is that the mechanic finished this project two years ago. And in his own video, he goes into much deeper detail about how he pulled off this incredible custom. Here’s the scoop.

Donn built the working diesel side-by-side from scratch. He knew it would be a 4WD with independent suspension, both front and rear. So he started with differentials and axles from a BMW E39. Then he pulled a 1.4-liter diesel from a FWD Peugeot. (Yes, Donn is located in Europe, Estonia to be precise).

Homemade side-by-side driving down a two-track in a field.
Homemade UTV | Donn DIY via YouTube

The compact Peugeot also donated a ton of suspension parts, including control arms, and struts. It also donated the steering rack, but Donn had to reverse the system to fit into the little side-by-side. Donn assembled a wooden jig to hold the wheels, suspension, and axles in place before attaching the suspension to a custom frame he welded together.

I guess it’s not technically a “side-by-side,” because Donn installed the diesel engine where passenger seat would go. To get the differentials low enough, Donn created a chain drives system. He also had to engineer new linkages for the shifter and other controls. But overall, he re-used an incredible number of the Peugeot’s components, from the fuel pump to the windshield washer fluid bottle.

Homemade side-by-side UTV climbs a steep bank in the woods
Homemade UTV | Donn DIY via YouTube

He finished his side-by-side in custom sheet metal and painted it green. The new rig even features a cargo bed. And of course, it has front and rear trailer hitches, a winch, and a PTO.

Donn says he already has a 2002 Honda Foreman Rubicon TRX500FA, but is excited to “lessen the work load” on it. He admits that his homemade side-by-side is heavier than a brand new one, but for hauling loads, it is exactly what he needs. And it is much much cheaper than a new side-by-side.

Human ingenuity never ceases to amaze me. I joke that “where there’s a welder, there’s a way.” But Donn used much more than a welder, he is a machinist with a lathe and metal cutter who shaped some incredibly complex parts for this project. What a fantastic way to recycle an old car!

Next, check out the ultralight Jeep engineered for the Marines, or watch Donn’s original video below: