evernon's Baja Build

Offroad VW based vehicles have problems/insights all their own. Not to mention the knowledge gained in VW durability.

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JUSSUMGUY
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by JUSSUMGUY » Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:57 am

As to the problem you are having with the rear toe instead of drilling new holes and /or slotting holes remove the coilover adapter and shorten up the bung that the heim goes into. This may require a bit of re-tapping to get the heim to thread in far enough.

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dustymojave
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by dustymojave » Sat Jun 20, 2015 1:29 am

Yeah. Something is off center in that top beam tube. Probably the center grub screw. If the beam has adjusters, that is probably where the problem is at. Might mean cutting an adjuster out and re-welding it in the correct place.
Richard
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evernon
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by evernon » Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:37 pm

Thanks for the info Lee,

It turns out that I was missing both grub screws! I borrowed a couple from an old king pin beam that is in my resource pile & the springs easily centered when I jacked the front off the ground and pushed on the top of the left tire. I think everything is locked in position & now I have to set the camber on the front as the alignment shop has it maxed out to the left to compensate for the off centered suspension.

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evernon
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by evernon » Tue Oct 06, 2015 11:00 pm

I have close to 2000 mile on it now, mostly just driving to work. Alignment is still off but tolerable enough until I get the time to grind holes on the trailing arm plates larger. The front suspension is really stiff in comparison to the rear. If it doesn't break in any, I may be looking for a new front setup that would better compliment the rear.

One real annoyance is that my high beam indicator light is blinding! Since I have no dimmer, the dang thing is bright enough to light up the whole interior. Would any of you electrical geniuses know if there is a way I can tone down the light by about 75%? It has been a long time since I took electronics in high school but I am thinking maybe a resister or two added across the indicator leads.

In an effort to level out the vehicle and even out the breaking force, I am thinking of swapping out the mini-mags on the front with a taller & wider tire. Eventually the 35" rears will also get downsized to a 31 or 32" which will gear me a bit lower & provide more breaking force. What type of tires have you guys had good results with? Trails are pretty rocky around here so I would be more concerned with puncture resistance and durability than mud performance.

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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Tue Oct 06, 2015 11:52 pm

Need a pix of the light.

It is possible that the light could be toned down by a resistor; you might even find a rheostat that many cars have on their dash. Maybe a darker/thicker lense cover could be found.

Re-locate the light (if possible) to where you can see it but it won't be positioned to blind you. :lol:

My electrical classes were in '57 or '58. :roll:

Lee

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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:00 am

I decided to go from a PM to posting what I had written as it might be of some help to others. The blue is corrections or updates.

I'm getting into an area I don't have that much experience in; my media is sand but there are some things I might be able to give you that could help. I have done some off-road not in the sand media so I do have a bit of experience on hard pack.

Tires: I run 30" tall tire on the sand which is pretty standard. Paddles usually are on either 15" or 16" rims and the 16" rim tires are much taller and wider. I think the 15" tires come in two widths but I could be wrong here. My point here is that between gearing and engine can they make or break a tall tire on the sand (in the sand you want to be able to get on top of the sand so you aren't "pushing" through the sand). I think that gearing and engine size can affect a light rail on hard pack just as easy as on the sand.

Too tall of front tire has a lot of drag to it in the sand. The bigger, more powerful, longer wheel base rails are transitioning to the taller/wider front tire but they are also changing over to electric power steering to ease things up and take out some of the shock up the steering column when a tire hits something like a "no-seee-um".

Front suspension is a bugger. I run a glass buggy and as you move the weight towards the rear (shortening the wheel base from the roughly 95" of a stock VW has that too) the spring (torsion stack) start to be too stiff. I don't remember if you have K&L or BJ but the spring stacks are different and won't interchange.

There are some things people have done that I don't recommend like removing springs out of the stack or "nicking" individual springs so that they break when you drive. The idea here was to keep the stack complete so that the grub screws would have an even stack to compress.

There is another option that is, I think, fairly new and that is to keep the spring stack in the lower tube but in the upper tube remove the spring stack and put a through rod (with the required ends) in the top stack. This way the working load stays in the bottom and the upper trailing arms are running free but are held in place. I understand (but haven't looked them up) that there are some heavier duty spring stacks (15%?) that you can replace the lower stack with if you need it.

I do not recommend overload style of shocks for several reasons;the travel is short with them and the shocks are not what I think you would really want or need. If you are going with coil over do it right and if you have K&L get a longer shock tower kit and install it. That way you can get the different spring rates and shock you really need.

With stock spring stacks you are limited to either cutting and turning the beam or installing adjusters. If you go the adjuster route stay away from the AVIS style and get the Sway-a-way design that are carried by a lot of VW shops. The AVIS style is not strong enough for hard use and, while easier to install, has a tendency to loosen up.

Again, I am a short wheel base glass buggy owner/driver with rail owners for relatives and friends. Where we keep our toys next to us is a guy who has a lot of rail friends who ride the dunes hard and some of them are/were constantly upgrading their rails to current thinking (we are getting old and some are dying off or getting divorced so their money is gone). I pick up a lot of information from them based on what they get from some of the areas better builders.

Lee
By-the-way, if you slot or enlarge the holes then I recommend going to larger diameter and thicker washers for more clamping power.

Lee

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evernon
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by evernon » Tue Oct 13, 2015 6:53 pm

I thought about coloring the plastic lense with a sharpie but figured I needed to fix it right. I can't move the light as I had to drill a hole in my wooden dash panel to mount it. I'll ask an electrical engineer when I get a chance - I am pretty sure I should be able to dim it electronically.

Thanks for the info on modifying the spring sets. What I have now is a Thing ball joint beam which I believe is stock with Bilstein shocks. I'll research the option of removing the upper set.

For tires, I already have a set of sand squirt paddles that should work on this. What ever sort of AT tire I end up with up front will have to also work in the sand. Truth is that I live a long way from the sand & have a lot of jagged rocky trails right out my back door. The mini mags would probably due fine in the sand but I am afraid that they don't have enough rubber between the wheel & driving surface to absorb rocks without risking a sidewall puncture or wheel damage.

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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:07 pm

I think it was Marc or Pile on another thread talked about the 29% spring stack. I haven't tried the removed upper stack myself as I really need to build another beam so I can go the the Thing spindles and trailing arm setup I already have. The front end rides OK but is stiff and doesn't follow the ground as well as I want it to even with the upgraded shocks which alone did make a big difference.

If you said I forgot but brakes in front? If not hubs or spindle mounts? Sand steering tires are not for hard pack; street tires on the sand throw sand up into your face so we wear ski goggles and a over your nose and mouth scarf. Street or traction tires in front also don't steer very well and you usually get push; which is where you drive long distances straight ahead even though the tires point in another direction. This means you will rely on your turning/cutting brakes. Spindle mount tires save weight in the front as do hubs but hubs allow you to have different tires for different venues.

Don't forget to add support to the shock towers see the beam build I did)

Lee

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dustymojave
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by dustymojave » Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:18 pm

The Mini Mag tire was designed specifically for use on desert offroad race cars on rocky terrain. It will take the use you are intending as well as most anything.

His Thing beam has shock tower reinforcement built in.

If your stock torsion leaf front end is too stiff for a comfortable ride...DRIVE FASTER!!!! 8)
Richard
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by Steve Arndt » Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:51 pm

dustymojave wrote:

If your stock torsion leaf front end is too stiff for a comfortable ride...DRIVE FASTER!!!! 8)
I have 20% sway a way leafs in my thing front beam on my baja. It is stiff very, very stiff. Great for really bombing hard trails but it doesn't ever move during in town driving.

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evernon
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by evernon » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:30 pm

Finally getting around to tinkering with the front suspension. We took the Bilstein b46-0493VW shocks off to see if they were the cause of the harsh ride. With the shocks on, I could not manage to push the front down more than a couple of inches. With the shocks off, the front moves freeley and seems to be not overly stiff. My new plan us to leave both torsions in place and cut and turn to achieve a little more down angle on the trailing arms. I read through a lot of posts where adjusters were blamed for being a weakness. Sway away apparently made a sturdy model but apparently they have stopped production and the only ones available are "sway away type". I dont need a lot of lift but as ut now sits, the trailing arms are in the middle of the cycle with no passengers. I am hoping that with a different shock and a mild cut and turn (or adjusters), i can achieve a little softer ride. Any thoughts or shock reccomendations would be appreciated!

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bikesndbugs
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by bikesndbugs » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:42 pm

Cut and turn up is just gonna make it stiffer if you really want it softer you can pull a leaf out but I agree with everyone else drive faster it'll smooth out i can barely move my front end but once you get going it smooths out

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evernon
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by evernon » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:26 pm

Hi Lee, What sort of upgraded shock did you put up front?

[quote="Ol'fogasaurus" The front end rides OK but is stiff and doesn't follow the ground as well as I want it to even with the upgraded shocks which alone did make a big difference.

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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:19 am

I went to Bilsteins 6000 https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=bi ... &FORM=IGRE (http://eshocks.com/bil_ORsb.asp?Series_ ... &SubChar=Q) front and rear. They seem to still be around as far as I can tell but I think they were replaced by the 7100 series (http://eshocks.com/bil_ORsb.asp?Series_ ... &SubChar=Q) that has a reservoir which may have replaced the 6100 series.

I normally do not recommend a place to buy things but in this case eshocks were very helpful and the price was as good or better than anywhere else.

Part of the problem was that I have almost no sprung weight up front (a glass buggy and the fuel tank is in the rear seat area. Even an old fart like me can lift the front of the buggy) so mods to the stack of upper torsion stack (at least) might help in my case.

I had used two levels of KYBs with the old "white shocks" (more heavy duty) being better than the silver ones. I also use some Monroe/NAPA shocks which were as good as the while KYBs but cheaper. After a couple of "events" I made some big changes to the buggy which included the body lift, beam adjusters in the front and the Bilsteins. It was well worth the work and expense!

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evernon
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by evernon » Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:47 pm

I removed the front beam from the car last night. Two of the ball joints have torn boots so I assume I need to replace them. I have done some shock research and it looks like Fox and Bilstein both make owner re-valvable shocks that will work with the ball joint front end. Unfortunately my current Bilsteins (B46-0493VW) can only be re-valved by Bilstein and the fee is $130 a shock. I am thinking that I will add in a hook and pin setup and reinforce the tower but will hold off on the cut and turn. If I find that I am hitting the stops to often with less resistant shocks, I will likely add in adjusters down the road. I have never owned a Fox shock but they are not that much more than a Bilstein ($65 more per shock). Anyone have any thoughts about performance, servicability etc. between Bilstein & Fox?

Anyone who drives fast, I have a set of lightly used B46-0493 shocks for sale for CHEAP. Make me an offer!

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