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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Ol'fogasaurus
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:28 pm

I have never played with Fox shocks before but most of the guys who run rails use them but none of them still have a BJ front beam either. They have either gone with K&L with gas shocks or Uniball A-arms. I can post some pix if you like.

The hook and pin bit is a very good thing to have as it protectes the shocks which VW used as "stops" on their stock non-offroad sedans (I am sure you already know this, it for those who read and don't know). I did post the dimensions for the hook arms and can repost them if you like.

Lee

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evernon
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by evernon » Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:49 pm

Both upper balljoints feel tight and well greased even though one has a torn boot. Think I will just replace the boot and re-grease one of the uppers. Both lower balljoints feel pretty loose so I will proceed with replacement on them. They are pressed in right? I am guessing that I won't have any luck trying to remove or install these without a press. Hopefully I can weld in the pins and reinforcement to the beam and shock towers without overheating the needle bearings.

I am leaning towards the Bilstein 7100 shock for the front. If they are too stiff out of the box, a custom valve stack is only $15 per shock and the install looks fairly simple. I haven't found any negative feedback from users except that the finish doesn't last.

Ol'fogasaurus
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:56 pm

DSC04068.JPG
Yes, the BJs are pressed out. One thing though, I recommend that they are replaced in side pairs. If the upper one is tight then it/the uppers may have been replaced singularly. The stock BJ lower ball-joint is a weak spot as they can pull out if you pound them too much.

I did a build a a BJ beam a while back and there is some good information added to it by others but the pix are Photo bucket held now (I still have them if you want me to post). If you are going to go with that style of shock I would stiffen up the shock towers (I now use a length of angle iron I can post pictures if you want), hook and pin it and replace the BJs with good quality BJs. Don't go for the Class 5 BjJs (I think that are what they are called) BJs for more travel as they don't last long.
013.JPG
If you want to raise the front beam then see if you can find a Thing (Type 181) beam or spindles (the one on the left is a Thing spindle and the stock Bug is on the right) in lieu of adjusters but they are not all that bad to have also. The lower BJ is facing down so it stronger (the stock Bug spindle can be used) and won't pull out but the upper stock Thing BJ spud is fatter to accommodate the increased loading so the alignment spacer is different because of it. I think I remember that the stock upper spindle, BJ and adjuster can be used but it isn't quite as strong. Notice that the spindle bung is located differently too to give about a 3" lift (not a full 3"s but about 3"s). To find the you will need $$$ or luck like I did.
009.JPG
This shows the setup for a Thing spindle. Notice the direction that the thing, on stock arms, lower BJ faces. to accommodate the different spindle.
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evernon
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by evernon » Sat Mar 31, 2018 7:24 pm

I do have Thing spindles and I have found German ball joints @ Jbugs for $30. Probably worth it to replace the two uppers while it is all torn apart.

I can get the 7100 shocks custom valved for an extra $20. Anyone have any suggestions? Bilstein has a valving guide that lists 180/75 for a Baja front. In the stock form though, they come 220/115.

Ol'fogasaurus
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:41 pm

I think doing all new BJs is a good and safe thing to do. More likely to get you home on all 4!

Not sure about the valving of the shock but if the higher pressures were to be used I for sure would want them to be backed up by new BJs all the way around. :wink: I'm not sure what my 6100s are set at.

Try pricing out the equivalent Fox shocks :shock: .

Lee

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evernon
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by evernon » Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:26 pm

The equivalent Fox shock is about $60 more per shock. Valving is a complete mystery though. I have read a few posts that state that foxes are generally a little softer than Bilstein but it all comes down to valves. If you spend an extra $250, you can get adjustable compression added to the reservoir on the Foxes which would be cool but is out of my budget.

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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:45 pm

The Fox equivalent to Bilstein shocks I was looking at were in the $2100 to $2400 range for the Bilstein equivalent but I can't find the same web site now. They do have much cheaper, in approx. the same equivalents based on what I am now seeing doing a search.

Apparently the 6100 series of Bilstein now is https://www.summitracing.com/search/pro ... ies-shocks but I can understand going up to the 7100 series allowing you to change the setting like you said; they just weren't available at the time I bought but came out soon after.

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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by Volksmeister » Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:22 pm

I also use galvanized plumbing couplings to press ball joints! Glad I'm not the only one...

-Levi
I'm not who I am!

Ol'fogasaurus
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:42 pm

I did check with the pros before I did it especially when saw that they were using the same things.

The first time I had a BJ pressed out I was allowed to watch. The first one was in there and being ornery, when the pressure gauge read 12 tons before it let go and the whole press jumped. The first BJ I did by myself was about the same, when it let loose the whole press jumped and scared the crap out of anything with weigh that was near by; they hit the floor with a lot of noise. Just make sure you go to a proper strength parts as not all fittings are the same.

Pressing in is much easier. I was told that you have some flexibility to being perfect aligning the notches in the BJ and the imbedded marks on the arms but you could use a sharpie and get a straight line on the BJ to align things if you are that much of a perfectionist.

I always stand way to the side when applying pressure via the hydraulic jack... just-in-case.

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BAJA-IT
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by BAJA-IT » Fri Apr 06, 2018 6:11 pm

When I do ball joints I lube the splines with a little anti-seize, they go in easy and come back out easy.
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Ol'fogasaurus
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Fri Apr 06, 2018 7:23 pm

I've never heard of that being done before. The ones I was playing with were so badly abused I wonder... Interesting.

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CentralWAbaja
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by CentralWAbaja » Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:44 am

What are ball joints.....
It is not Mickey Moused.....It's Desert Engineered!

Ol'fogasaurus
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:44 pm

Its where you get a hard force to them and they fail :oops: . Great for some uses, marginable for others. Good for replacing the spindle's spud on the other type of beam :roll: :lol: .

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evernon
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by evernon » Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:07 pm

Got the ball joints pressed in but the camber adjuster seems to not fit as far down the shaft as it did on the old upper BJ. I am wondering if the ones I had replaced were from a bug instead of a thing? Does anyone know if the thing upper BJ's are a little thicker? Seems like I will need to either have the camber adjusters machined or purchase ones with a larger hole.

Ol'fogasaurus
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Re: evernon's Baja Build

Post by Ol'fogasaurus » Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:45 pm

DSC04087.JPG
DSC04096.JPG
Bug spindle.JPG
Bug spindle setup w/BJs.
Thing spindle.JPG
Thing spindle setup w/BJs.

Oh yes, the upper Thing BJ are a bigger diameter because of the loads are different (more) with the way the Thing spindles are mounted. They are hard to find and can be expensive. The Thing setup is stronger with the lower BJ mounted so it won't pull out like a Bug lower BJ can.

I have been told that, unless you are going to beat the snot out of your car that bug upper BJs can be used with their stock adjusters. If you are going to work the front end then look for the proper adjusters.

Lee
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