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badassdubs Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:49 pm

My first build thread on the Samba. So let me intoduce myself. I have been building cars for myself for years. Owned over a 100 so I have been busy. I'm sure some of you have seen them, maybe not. I do everything myself. So here are a few and then we will get started with my build.

In Progress.

There are more but this is enough.

This '80 vanagon I have had for 10+ years. It has been a good storage shed. I bought it for $150 from a guy that just needed it gone. Ran but had 40psi on one bank and 100psi on the other. Difficult to start. So it sat.
Fast forward to this summer. Time to get it going. Wanted something different so I opted for a vortec 4.3 V6. I found a motor with 73K on it. Also picked up the harness and ecu for a total of $225 out the door. Purchased a KEP adapter and a IMI hi-torque starter. I already had a set of Sanderson street rod headers so those went on also. I built my own powder coat oven years ago, so most everything gets it.

I modified the original harness myself, saving $500. And it runs.

Suspension time

What a nasty mess. Hours of sand blasting. Then into the oven and then installed with all new parts. Koni adjustables and CIP 2" lowering springs.

The front header was not repairable so I decided to change it out and also put in a new windshield. Still working on it.

I have always hated the bumpy brown dash so that was stripped and powder coated. A 12 volt outlet also installed.

These came a few weeks ago from

I powder coated these tonight. Still needs an orange pinstripe.

And last but not least. I am also putting a porsche 996 gauge cluster in.
I have managed to get the speedo, volts and water temp working but still struggling with the fuel gauge. I will be putting in a classic instruments gps speedometer sender so that the gauge will be dead on.

Still a long ways to go. Decided to put rear discs on so that is one more thing to do.

syncrodoka Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:55 pm

Very impressive build, thanks for sharing. =D>

dobryan Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:54 am

Love the 996 gauge cluster! (And the rest of the build). :D :!:

Zeitgeist 13 Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:06 am

mad skillz

vspecter Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:22 pm

We will need more pictures of your ride!! Awesome machine!

purplepeopleeater Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:26 pm

Nice, you don't mess around on projects.

Where in washington are you?

dubbified Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:32 pm

oh man.. bawsssss! yea.. that's very.... :shock:

rubbachicken Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:37 pm

very nice 8)

Syncroincity Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:51 pm

Wow, excellent stuff! We need more madman-artisan input... Keep 'em coming! :)

Crankey Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:02 pm

looks like you'll have some bread in that box ! :lol:

sweet work man, you in Wa. too, cool !

badassdubs Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:31 pm

Thanks guys. Far be it from me to do anything normal. :D I'll try to keep you entertained as much as I possibly can. Have been learning alot about the vanagon. This is my first one. Lots of good info here. The suspension was a PITA, but you guys already know that. :wink:
Made a simple special tool for putting in the f & r lower suspension bushings. I get a pic up tomorrow. Here is the best way to get a ball joint out when you can't get to it with a press. Gotta be careful though. Finish it off with a die grinder on one side and it pops right out.

The 996 cluster was given to me 8+ years ago. You can see it only has 12K on it. It is a canadian cluster, was changed out for a U.S. cluster when it was brought into the states. If you turn the right knob at the top of the cluster and hold it for 5 seconds it will automatcally switch the readout to MPH from KPH. How cool is that!!! I have a cordless drill hooked up to it in that pic spinning the sending unit as fast as it can. Yup 8 mph. I noticed that the analog speedo to the left is at 8 mph also. If my thinking is correct the analog also changes to MPH and I will have a 300 MPH speedo. 8) I just might need that. :lol: Yes I am in WA. I live in Monroe about 25 minutes N of Seattle.

Crankey Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:00 am

very cool man. always good to learn of creative people nearby.

welcome here, hope you stick around.

skinny66 Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:24 am

That will be one trick ride !!
Keep us posted.


shadetreetim Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:32 am

Sweet. Waiting for more pics.

xoo00oox Sat Dec 24, 2011 4:40 am

You've got a great combination of skills, imagination, and energy. Looking forward to watching your build.


Mark Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:46 pm

Updates, keep them coming. =D>

badassdubs Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:02 pm

Thanks again. Here is a simple tool I made to put in the front or rear control arm bushings. Be sure to use lots of spray silicone. For the front I was able to use my press but the rear doesn't have enough depth to use a press so I used a C-clamp. Start with a 2" O.D. piece of pipe. Then take a socket with a taper on it and pound it into the pipe with a BFH, creating a flare. Once that is done I took my cutoff wheel, you could use a hacksaw also, and cut a bunch of slots so that you can clamp it down with a hose clamp to meet the same dimensions as the control arm. I used a craftsman 1 7/16 3/4 drive socket for the taper. When using the C-clamp you can't get it all the way through because of the plate. Just take a bolt, run a nut up to the end of the threads. put it in the bushing. Hold the bolt with some vise grips and thump away. Don't be shy with the silicone.

For the front lower ball joint I use a long extension with a 36mm K-D socket. Run the extension through the upper ball joint hole and put the socket on top of the ball joint and press it in. Make sure that you put a socket under the ball joint so that it can pressed all the way in.Worked for me.

One question. Years ago I pulled all of the heater related items so that I could convert over to water cooled. I also pulled this vent that directs heated air back to the rear. I have never seen one in another van. Is this not so common a part? Does it work well? If not I will put in the rear heater instead.

back to the rear

SteelB12 Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:34 pm

That suspension looks sweet!

levi Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:25 pm

All of the diesels I see in Europe have that raised center.
Was your van originally diesel?

badassdubs Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:50 pm

levi wrote: All of the diesels I see in Europe have that raised center.
Was your van originally diesel?

Mine was originally air cooled. I can't remember what engine the van had that I pulled this from. It was about 10 years ago.

A couple of shots of the fubar'd header panel. And the new one is in. Welding tomorrow.

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