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Newbie - Intro/Build Post

Posted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:29 pm
by Kugel8x57
Hello Everyone! Glad to have found this forum!

I'm not sure where to put this post. It is sort of a combo introduction and build thread. Anyway, if it needs to be moved, I'm sure the Mods will let me know and put it in the appropriate place.

I'm 57 and I'm a Mechanical Engineer. I do Machine Design and Systems Design and also do Automation (PLC's, HMI's etc.). My wife and I have been married for 32 years, and we have a 14yr old daughter! :D

I got bitten by the VW Bug at the age of about 12. My parents bought a bone stock 1963 VW Beetle that they drove for several years. At the age of 16 it became my first car, and I have loved them ever since. I put Cragar Mags and bigger tires on it and clamped coil-over springs on the stock rear shocks to keep the rear fenders off the rear tires. I replaced the stock steering wheel with a 3-spoke rally steering wheel and the stock shift knob with a wooden shift knob that had the Wolfsburg emblem on it. HA!! I was stylin'!! :lol:

Bone stock engine... it was a dog... especially with the bigger, heavier wheels and tires. But I loved it and I drove it about two years, until it developed an electrical problem AND the clutch went out. At that time I was NOT YET into auto mechanics, so, instead of fixing it, I let it sit. [Several years later, I had it fixed and drove it very briefly, until it overheated due to the mechanic – not me – leaving a rag in the fan area. Unfortunately, I couldn't prove that he did, so I was out of luck. :x I foolishly sold it it VERY cheap. Hind sight is 20/20, nicht wahr?]

Next, I took over my parents 1971 Super Beetle – a German model, purchased and driven in Germany by a military friend, who imported it back to the US, when he came home. It had a LOT more power than that '63 had, but I only drove it over 90mph a couple of times, because the front end tended to start floating on you above that speed! :o :!: Anyway, I drove that until I got ready to go to college and bought a 1961 Chevy Apache 10 SWB Step Side Pickup Truck with 283 SBC and 2-speed PowerGlide Automatic. Then I had a VW Camper Bus, but I don't remember the year. It was not a Westfalia, but it had a two burner LP stove and LP/12vdc fridge, and a “Full Size” fold out bed with curtains, but it was a hardtop (no pop-up). Don't remember how long I drove that before I gave it to my parents and bought a 1963 Chevy Impala 4-door Hardtop (no door posts – 283SBC & 2spd PG Auto).

Fast forward to about 2001. I always wanted to build a Baja Bug, so I bought a 1974 standard beetle, with no engine, no radio, no hubcaps, no rear bonnet and a trashed transaxle. Chassis, pan and body in good shape – not a lot of rust – and I got it for a really good price! Also, bought a 1974 2.0L Ford Pinto Engine (stock ~ 80HP@5400rpm and 97ft-lbs torque@3000rpm) and an Adapter Kit, flywheel and 3 puck clutch disk and HD pressure plate from Esslinger Engineering. I was very excited about this project and stripped down the car pretty far. Removed the transaxle, bought a rear trailing arm stiffener kit and welded that up, removed the wheels/drums all around, bought four (4) new 4-Lug drums and wheel bearing sets (never yet installed), bought and installed new urethane torsion bushings and turned-down/preloaded the trailing arm plates.

2002 - 2003 comes along and two things happen – one bad and one good: 1) One of my best friends (like an older brother to me), a big time car guy that was helping me and encouraging me in my Baja Bug Project (BBP), got colon cancer in 2002 and died in 2003; 2) My wife and I found out that she was pregnant, and our daughter was born in 2003!!

So... life kicked in, big time, and the BBP got put on hold, until now. More to come!!

Re: Newbie - Intro/Build Post

Posted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:22 pm
by bikesndbugs
Post some pictures theres a size limit I beilive its 600x800
You can use a hosting site or just upload some directly to here.
If you happen to know a good hosting site (not photobucket) let everyone know we would all appreciate it

Sent from my LG-H872 using Tapatalk

Re: Newbie - Intro/Build Post

Posted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:31 pm
by Leatherneck
Good intro, sorry to hear about the bad news but yea for the good news. This will work for your build thread, change the name if you want to or leave it as is. Yup post some pics, we thrive off of pics.

Re: Newbie - Intro/Build Post

Posted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:58 pm
by TimS
Welcome. Looking forward to watching this build.

Re: Newbie - Intro/Build Post

Posted: Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:11 am
by CentralWAbaja
Good intro, welcome to the dirt pile! We're g;ad to have you here.

Re: Newbie - Intro/Build Post

Posted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:14 am
by dustymojave

I'm 61 and married 35 years next month. A Bug was my 1st car to drive too. Our son is 23 though. But still, we have some things in common. I'll look forward to your continued story of building your Baja.

With what WAS the best picture sharing site having slammed the door in our faces a week and a half ago, I expect sharing pictures will be a bit of a chore here.

Where are you located?

Re: Newbie - Intro/Build Post

Posted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:45 pm
by Kugel8x57
Thanks for the welcome folks! I will be slow posting pictures, because we will be moving in the next month or two. I've resurrected this BBP, but I'm pretty much in the info gathering, price shopping, designing and planning stages, right now. Also, I've already made some significant changes to my original plan. I'll explain all that in a later post.

For dustymojave: I currently live in L.A. ...... wait for it....... Lower Alabama!! :lol:

Simulated Trailing Arm Assembly: 3D PDF

Posted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:38 pm
by Kugel8x57
3D PDF is attached to this post.

You can download it and then open it with the standard, free, Adobe reader, but you may have to upgrade to a newer version. After you open it, click on the image and it should go "Live" and allow you to zoom, pan, and rotate the model with your mouse/trackball. If it doesn't automatically go "Live", you may have click on the "Options" bar that pops up at the top of the screen and select "Trust this document one time only". Then go back and click on the image. It should then go "Live".

- This PDF shows a Simulated Trailing-Arm Assembly with 235/75-R15 Truck Tire on a 15-7 4-Lug VW Wagon-wheel spoked rim.

First Question: How much HP, torque/abuse will these spoked rims take? I have some adapters to go to 5-Lug Chevy, but I'm wondering it the adapter creates a weaker connection to the drum than just directly bolting up these 4-Lug Rims.

- This is a Coil-over Shock trailing-arm suspension.
- The pivot is shown with 8 deg of angular toe-in on the frame. But the axle housing has 8 deg in the opposite direction so that there is no toe-in on the wheel/tire at neutral position.
- Arm is shown in Full-Up Positon. Center of Wheel is above neutral about 5". This equates to 17 deg above horizontal front-to-rear and should be less than that for the CV Joint, due to a longer radius arm. Full-Down has the same angles and travel in the opposite direction.
- I believe the induced camber, if I am measuring it properly, is 2.36 deg in at the top in the Full-Up position. Unsure about the Toe-In/out. Still have to add a few more axiis and/or planes for proper measurement.

Second Question: Is 8 deg Frame Pivot Toe-in too much? I don't know what it is on a Stock VW. <<<===== Would really like to know this, if someone has this info.

Critique/comments welcome!! :D

Re: Newbie - Intro/Build Post

Posted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:00 pm
by Ol'fogasaurus
Welcome to STS, I was an engineering tech (aka drafter) and am close to 200 years of age now; retired in 2000.

There were a lot of good pix here until Photobucket went rogue/greedy and now they are gone.

What is your use plans for your Baja as there are different bits of advice depending on... Ask and there might ways they can be regenerated.


Re: Newbie - Intro/Build Post

Posted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:56 pm
by Kugel8x57
Mostly street/highway use. Some off-road, probably woods/trail, back roads riding. Maybe some sand/beach riding. But vast majority will be street/highway/interstate... at least to start with... until I get the BUGS worked out of it!! :lol:

Re: Newbie - Intro/Build Post

Posted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:27 pm
by dustymojave
"Lower Alabama"...

Since the highest elevation point in the entire state of Alabama is about 300' lower than my home which is on the floor of a large valley, I would call the entire state "Lower Alabama", aka for purposes of offroading and this forum as "Baja Alabama", or "BA". Like your term LA, BA has other translations. I'll leave those alone. :wink:

If you are concerned about the 4 lugs taking the torque of a Baja Bug... I've never seen a failure like that. Consider that the McLaren Mk8 through M20 Can Am racers of 800+ horsepower with nearly 20" wide soft race tires used 4 lugs for mounting their wheels. And those 4 lugs were smaller than the stock VW 14mm lugs. So are Chevy 5-lugs. No need to worry about whether the VW 4 lug will take the power. And the 4 lug VW to 5-lug Chevy adapters I've encountered I don't recommend for even normal street driving. Especially NOT in the rust belt where you live.

Re: Newbie - Intro/Build Post

Posted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:51 pm
by Kugel8x57
Thanks Dusty! I appreciate your reply and answer to my 4-Lug wheel question.

BTW, were you able to download and view the 3D pdf?

Do you happen to know the horizontal offset angle of the stock VW irs trailing arm?

Also, is 10" total up/down rear wheel travel (+/- 5") sufficient for mild to medium off-road use? If not what would be your recommendation?

Thanks again!

Re: Newbie - Intro/Build Post

Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:44 am
by Ol'fogasaurus
I having problems posting here again so I will have to wait until I get back home to post some pix now that Photobucket has changed.

In a mild to medium situation the "mild" part ceases to exist and the medium part needs better definition :lol: . You should know that being an engineer; I was an aircraft drafter (mostly secondary structure and dealt with mostly "exotics" but some primary structure at several different times) for ~34 years before I retired.

Since Dusty has not replied I will try to add some thoughts later on today as we are motorhoming and going back on the road in a short while but what you are asking about the rear suspension is fairly easy to do but is going to cost you some of your retirement money :wink: . Here is a start:

For medium and above (and for mild in that case) use you will really want to add a Kaffer/Truss bar to support the rear engine mounts aka the pickle forks. You will also want to weld the seams of both the pickle forks and the transaxle mounts to add structure to the spot welds.

Notching the bottom of the spring plates about a 1/4" or maybe a 1/16" more to match the stops on the torsion tube end casting, this should allow you to get the 10" of rear travel.

You will probably want to add some preload to the torsion bars also (free unless you don't have the tools but people do it w/o the specialized tools. Just be careful as those spring plates, if they get loose, are quick and dangerous. For changing the preload I wouldn't go past 26° to 28° max; 22° to 24° should be more than plenty but leave the door open here.

Shocks will have to change as you are going to have a longer travel and you will want to divest yourself of OEM quality spring dampening. I went to 6000 Bilsteins which are not available now from what I understand but have been replaced with the 7000 series if I understand it correctly. The 7000 series has an added gas reservoir from what I have seen.

You will need to change the drive flanges out of the transaxle in order to go to Bus CV joints; this is for the larger diameter of the CV joints . The conversion is easy and the parts are readily available. Don't stint here!

You will need different length half-shaft/drive shafts to accommodate the change due to the bus CVs width.

You will need either bus stub-axles or commercial conversion stubs. Again, this is for the larger diameter of the CV joints.

Next comes the necessary changes to the front end or beam changes.

Hope this helps. Lee

Re: Newbie - Intro/Build Post

Posted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:35 pm
by Kugel8x57
Thanks Foggy. Yes there is some helpful info there.

When I get time to type out my full plan (at least the current one) things will be a lot clearer. I probably jumped the gun on my post about irs travel.

Re: Newbie - Intro/Build Post

Posted: Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:29 pm
by Ol'fogasaurus
Do you want me to hold off on anything else? Won't be home until this weekend anyway.