About 12 years ago, my daughter inherited a pink Barbie Jeep Power Wheels that provided hours of entertainment. In 2013, we purchased a Power Wheels Dune Racer, aka the “Green Machine” for my son. We enjoyed them in stock form until I came across an article on crazy dads modifying Power Wheels to make them faster, and knew I just had to do it.
In 2015 or so, I decided to try “overvolting” both Power Wheels to increase acceleration and top speed. I did this by adding another battery in series. For example, a 12V battery in series with a 6V battery = 18V. This increases speed by a factor of roughly 50%.
It worked great, after I looked up how to wire the batteries in series (recently found a better way to do it). It was a hoot, but the thing could barely get going because it would just spin the plastic wheels like crazy. When we tried to turn, it would just plow straight. We tried adding “traction bands”, aka 12 inch bike tires, to the front and rear to get better traction.
“Did it work?”
Barbie Jeep Wheelies
It had so much traction it could do wheelies! Now it could actually turn as well. Of course, just like modifying real cars or PCs, increasing the performance potentially brings in more wear and tear. The shock from the wheelies stripped the motor gears. I ordered replacement gears and used a little superglue (CA) to mount them and we were back in business. To be safe, I removed the rear “traction bands” to reduce the strain on the motors and pinions.
“But is having no traction in the back a problem?”
Barbie Jeep Donuts
It makes it easier to do luscious donuts and hoon around like a hooligan! As you can imagine, not long after this we burned up the motors from running them so hard at a higher voltage. I ordered high performance replacements, but made the mistake of going with a high speed (lower turn) motor. Just like with my Ebikes, I should have opted for one with more turns to increase torque and head shedding capabilities. That may be a story for a future article.
I also modified the green machine to 18V. It is much heavier than the Barbie Jeep, but it could still do a subtle drift:
Green Machine “High Five” drift
We rode them a lot in the street, driveway, and yard, then they didn’t get a lot of use for a few years. I recently went through a 2020 project to refresh the Green Machine and bump it upto 24V. My daughter is now 16, but my son may still have some fun with them.
Power Wheels Articles
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