Joined: February 26, 2011
|Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:29 pm Post subject: 1st aircooled vehicle, 74 Thing
|So there I was thinking that since I got out of Road Racing cars for 15 years in NASA and SCCA I would finally get a Baja Bug and go have fun in the dirt.
I have always liked The Thing but did not consider owning one until I saw this one for sale here on Samba.
It was located near Reno NV and I happened to be going to Carson City for Thanksgiving so figured I would check it out if it was still available when I got there.
The test drive did not go exceptionally well since it had a very bad shimmy in the streering wheel at anything above 40 MPH. The motor felt very weak considering it is supposed to be a 2110cc stroker. It would not rev over 4500 RPM and was weak at all RPMs. I could tell that the engine did not have any major problems since it sounded crisp and there was no noises or knocking. I asked the PO about the engine and he said he never had it over 4K RPM and did not seem to know there was a problem with the engine.
The PO put alot of money and time into this car and he was only asking $5K. I asked what his bottom price was and he said $4500 so we cut the deal and I went to Reno to rent a trailer.
The ad listed alot of modifications like the 2110 motor with Weber IDF 44 carbs, 930 axles, 3x2 trailing arms, bus gear box with LSD, dual rear shocks, remote oil filter and cooler, eurothane suspension bushings, braced rear torsion tube, re-inforced trailing arm pick up points, Jackman wheels on the rear (looking for fronts), trans straps, adjustable front beam, 4 wheel disc brakes with parking brake, 20 gallon custom fuel tank with factory sender mounted in package tray with outside filler, engine cage, Trimil Exhaust, new steering box, new rear tires (BFG), gauges under dash, upgraded front seats (Honda), 8 point roll cage, fiberglass fenders, hard top, glass slider windows in front and plexiglass in rear, interior and exterior completly painted with LineX. There is more but you get the idea.
The PO had it for about 5 years and said he used it just to take his dogs out into the desert. I looked at the pan and noticed there was not any damage. The pan did have the section below the battery replaced.
there is only one spot of rust that I could find and that is just in front of the drivers rear wheel. otherwise it looks pretty clean.
I have the engine out right now after doing a compression test, checking to make sure it got full throttle and re-setting the timing. I figured that the motor was a stock 1600 and I got duped. It was leaking oil and I needed to know what was inside and wanted to get it fixed so it ran strong. I took it to a local VW engine guy (Matt at BugParts in Paso) and he confirmed that it was indeed a 2110 and somebody spent alot of money on parts but installed the wrong cam and rockers. They attempted to make it a drag motor but had the wrong combo of parts to make it run right. It was originally assembled with new aluminum cases, forged and counter weighted crank, H beam rods, new barrels and heads with large valves, 1.4 rockers, Gene Berg oil pump, 55 amp alternator etc.
we are installing a 120 cam and stock rockers to put the HP and TQ back into the mid RPM range where I want it to be.
While the engine is out I painted the motor compartment, rebuilt the CVs, checking suspension bushings, replacing the spring plates with heavy duty ones (1 was bent), power washed everything, checking shocks, adding bump stops, and checking travel limits.
well back to work for me.
I know basically nothing about Things or VWs for that matter so I will be looking for advise and knowledge from The Samba brotherhood. I have read the Baja Bugs and Buggies book a couple of times cover to cover so I am learning.
Let me know what you think.
Thanks for looking and and future help.