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  View original topic: Starting BAJA
vwkid Sat Mar 20, 2004 5:34 pm

I have been watching this site and absolutely love it. I recently bought a 74 standard beetle. It is stripped down quite a bit but comes with all the pieces. My goal is to make it into a street Baja which will most likely not see to much off-raod time at all. The engine is stuck and i plan on converting the 1600 dp to something a little better just not sure which cylinder psiton combination is the best for the money. Now for a few questions:

I havnt bought a baja kit yet but i hear the Mark V kit is the best to go with. I will definitly go with the wide eye-kit. Now everyone complains about the hoods being not strong enough to use with the springs. Is it possible to just stay with the metal hood? I really dont want my hood to have big cracks in it and hingwa would have great functionality.

I have also read about mounting the front fenders on the rear backwards and cutting them since the holes are supposed to be stronger and the holes line up decently close.

What should i do as far as suspension? I dont need a epensive off-road set up. Would just tough shocks and a heavier sway bar do the trick for the front? Im not sure what to do with the rear but i see a lot of you use the bus tranny? I do plan on running a pretty good size tire on the back mostly for look. any suggestions in this area would be greatly appreciated.

As far as the motor it needs to be gone through. I think i want to stick with the stock crank. I would like to get a good size piston but i dont have the qualifications to the machine work that is looks like some of them may take. As far as heads I really like the street pro ones that are in JC whitney but they are $500. Are they worth it? I do have a brother-in-law who can do valve jobs and stuff like that if it was possible to turn my heads into something similar.

I plan on going with the double tube bumpers as long as the exhaust that i want will clear the tubes.

For interior I dont really feel the need to put a roll cage in because it would be for 90% looks but if there was a cheap stylish one that the body doesnt need to be removed for i would be interested.

I realize this is an insanely long pst but i got all my questions that i can think of in it for now. Just need some imut before i spend the money in the wrong places. Thanks guys (and Gals if any).. :lol:

OnlyVW Sat Mar 20, 2004 7:58 pm

Stock hoods will work if you only use the fenders and not anything, the fiberglass fender work well as long as you put a large washer between the nut and glass, As for motor and tranny, not my area, but yes the bus is better, higher torgue settings, if I am not mistaken. You could try getting newer shocks for car, seen some the JCW catolog. Hope I've been of some help.

vwkid Sun Mar 21, 2004 7:37 am

is the bus tranny a direct replacement? if the tranny in mine is good i may just see how long it lasts before i replace it. what is the best year for the bus tranny to go into my 74?

[email protected] Sun Mar 21, 2004 8:51 pm

vwkid wrote: I have been watching this site and absolutely love it. I recently bought a 74 standard beetle. It is stripped down quite a bit but comes with all the pieces. My goal is to make it into a street Baja which will most likely not see to much off-raod time at all. The engine is stuck and i plan on converting the 1600 dp to something a little better just not sure which cylinder psiton combination is the best for the money. Now for a few questions:

I havnt bought a baja kit yet but i hear the Mark V kit is the best to go with. I will definitly go with the wide eye-kit. Now everyone complains about the hoods being not strong enough to use with the springs. Is it possible to just stay with the metal hood? I really dont want my hood to have big cracks in it and hingwa would have great functionality.

I have also read about mounting the front fenders on the rear backwards and cutting them since the holes are supposed to be stronger and the holes line up decently close.

-----First off, do you want this to be a somewhat "Show car"? Because unless you are a real good metal worker, most mods you want to do will just look flat out crappy (don't get me wrong, metal fenders are a good deal) On the hood, well your pretty much stuck with either the stock hood and apron or the baja kit (unless again you want a fairly chopped up looking car). Just get some FG mat and start doubling up the underneath of the F/G baja hood .Springs are still a bad idea ,How about trying to use a set of the hydrolic struts that are avail (for spring replacment). see if you can find a "blown out" set and then use those locking clips that most mechanics will have in their tool boxes to hold up customer hoods.--------------



What should i do as far as suspension? I dont need a epensive off-road set up. Would just tough shocks and a heavier sway bar do the trick for the front? Im not sure what to do with the rear but i see a lot of you use the bus tranny? I do plan on running a pretty good size tire on the back mostly for look. any suggestions in this area would be greatly appreciated.

--------- Stock setup is actually pretty good for a "dual purpose" car. Sway bars actually get taken off most of the time to give true
"independent" suspension out of the front AND give ground clearence. Shocks won't do much either (except ride quality), If you want "lift" you need a raised beam or lifted spinldes etc... You can buy coil-over shocks that will raise it a bit but you'll reget buying them later on down the line. The bus trann will be usless for you also unless your gonna run huge tires. if your tranny works good now, stick with it. Later on down the line you decide to make it a Tougher rig, than look into it (its not a direct swap). BTW your only gonna be able o use up to a 31" tire unless you change out torsion bars and springplates on your year car.---------

As far as the motor it needs to be gone through. I think i want to stick with the stock crank. I would like to get a good size piston but i dont have the qualifications to the machine work that is looks like some of them may take. As far as heads I really like the street pro ones that are in JC whitney but they are $500. Are they worth it? I do have a brother-in-law who can do valve jobs and stuff like that if it was possible to turn my heads into something similar.

-------If your not gonna machine the heads/case and your are sticking pretty much stock with insides your only options are gonna be 1600, 1641, or 1679 (slip-ins). 1679's run real hot (ask me how I know) 1641 do too, but if your realistic with tire choices and its built well it'll be fine in a baja. those heads (along with anything else in a JCwhipme catalog) are probably usless for you. ----------------

I plan on going with the double tube bumpers as long as the exhaust that i want will clear the tubes.

---------the double tubes mount to the firewall (intended to mount to a cage internally). keep than in mind, at least "back" the firewall up with some heave duty plates etc.. They usually always clear exhauts, its dual carbs that become a problem------------

For interior I dont really feel the need to put a roll cage in because it would be for 90% looks but if there was a cheap stylish one that the body doesnt need to be removed for i would be interested.

I realize this is an insanely long pst but i got all my questions that i can think of in it for now. Just need some imut before i spend the money in the wrong places. Thanks guys (and Gals if any).. :lol:

vwkid Sun Mar 21, 2004 10:30 pm

i must thank you i think you saved me bucnhes of money with upgrades that i thought i needed to do that i no longer have to. i will go with the just getting the 7pc baja kit. i plan on running 30-31's on the rear and something a little shorter and narrower on the front. i think ill work on the hood when that problem comes. the engine is still in the air i really wanna go into the engine my dad hjas a stock 1600 and more power than him would be nice... :D

[email protected] Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:41 am

One other tip is before you even start anything is pick up the books "how to bajas and buggies" by Hibbard and "how to hot rod your VW" by Fisher. While both are older books both give good insight into two things you are gonna be working on/ the vw motor and a baja.

good luck with it!

vwkid Mon Mar 22, 2004 11:10 am

I went and purchased both books off ebay. I will look into them in-depth to get my project headed in the right direction. I have decided to just do a quick rebuild on the dp 1600 that is in there and get everything else set up..i.e. body kit, and interior, an suspension so i can atleast get this thing on the road. In the mean time i will look for a used block and start working from there. That way i feel I will really notice the difference when i finally do get that new motor swapped in. I can't wait for the books to come in the mail :) . It's really terrible when you have to sit at school all week while your car is back at home. Atleast I have time to research the proper parts without jumping into things i guess. And I always have the weekends for my baja!



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