Always driving in reverse?

Will it hurt a cars engine to almost always drive it in reverse. I’m thinking about using a 1985, automatic, toyota tercel as the base of an art car - but I need the engine to reside in the back of the vehicle. My simple solution is to just leave the engine where it is, build my art car backwards and then almost always drive it in reverse. So - if I did that, would it put more strain on the engine than usual or is it equivalent to driving forward?

You’ll probably crash before you do any damage to the engine…

Ha! actually I’ll be seated at would normally be the trunk of the car, driving from there with a modified steering system- so I would see where I was going. That’s not an issue.

Just watch you RPMs and your top speed will be relative to that.
Equivilant to driving forward in only first gear.

Anything is possible if you or your tech can do the fabricating.
In Gallup NM , the Shriner’s have a little clown truck they use in parades. Kinda looks like a model-T ( mini sized with exhaust stacks up the sides & a Ranger 2.9 v6 ) but the rear axle is forward enough that, with a couple more Shriners in the bed , it will drive a continual wheelie. The steering wheel is useless and the truck is steered with two brake levers. It will spin in place on the parade route !

Try remounting the entire drivetrain & subframe 180 degrees to drive you forwards…backwards

OK, just as long as you have some practice time and a good modified mechanism. Rear-steer cars are notoriously twitchy.

Ummmm…You are aware that you would be limited to one gear once the transmission is placed in reverse, correct? When you place the transmission in the normal “Drive” position, the transmission will shift from 1st, to 2nd, to 3rd gear, thus allowing you to drive at “normal” speeds. In reverse, you have one gear, thus severely limiting your top speed.

So–In case you had not thought about it, your plan would essentially restrict your speed to about 25 mph. And, the differential whine that you will hear while driving in reverse will probably become very “old” very soon.

I know that artists are supposed to suffer for the sake of their art, but I think that you will be making everyone else suffer also.

I can kind of attest to that. I’ve driven tow motors(fork lifts, fork truck, etc) before and those are rear steering. Very finicky and hard to get used to at first.

Ahh - good idea. So the engine stays in the back - but basically just get’s turned around. That could work.

I’m not transmission expert by any means, but I’ve got to think that an automatic transmission would have a substantially shortened life if run in reverse exclusively, unlike a manual, even at low speeds. How wrong am I tranny guys ?

An “Art car?” How far and how fast do yuo plan to drive this vehicle? For what purpose?

The radiator is placed at the very front for a reason: so that it would run into cooler breeze as the car is driving through the atmosphere. When sitting in traffic or going in reverse, almost no natural breeze is going through the radiator. There’s a small electric fan that cools the radiator if you sit at one place for too long, but it isn’t designed to cool the engine as you hammer the gas in reverse. A hot engine also hurts the transmission as the engine’s radiator also cools the transmission.

If you choose to do that, just take it easy and keep an eye on the engine temperature. Park it and let it cool when necessary. If you can integrate a large scoop for the radiator as a part of your art work, then more power to you

The simplest way to solve the gearing issue would be to have a machine shop make a custom camshaft that will allow the engine run in the opposite direction. This will make all the forward gears reverse gears and vice versa. Some creative wiring should get the starter turning in reverse and away you go!

EDIT: Hmm… I’m not sure that trick would work with an automatic.

Man, this is too funny to pass up.

My simple solution
I’ll be seated at would normally be the trunk of the car, driving from there with a modified steering system- so I would see where I was going. That’s not an issue.

You have no trouble glossing over what are some of the more technical challenges so the rest should be a cakewalk. I can’t wait to hear about this simple steering solution…

Here’s a thought, why not START with a car that actually HAS an engine in the rear? It would be easier to swap a body onto an old VW bug chassis than some of the mechanical obstacles you think are simple. Not to mention the dangerousness of actually driving it on a public roadway.

The title of this post should be- help me build a Shriner’s circus car…

What you’re proposing, a backwards car, has been done numerous times from as far back as I can remember. Google the subject.

And it’s extrememly dangerous.

I recall a TV segment years ago on one that had caused accidents. People were startled into thinking a car was in their lane coming straight at them, it confused people at intersections and rotaries, all sorts of problems were caused.

I very strongly recommend against this.