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1st post & some questions
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zanderk_98
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 2:04 am    Post subject: 1st post & some questions Reply with quote

Hello all, 1st post here from a novice buggy owner. I've been a 'lurker' on the site for over a year now ever since I purchased my project buggy in September, 2016. I've read every post under the Fiberglass Buggy forum going back 162 pages now, & learned more than I ever thought I could about air cooled VWs and dune buggies in general.

My project is a Manx replica that I believe to be a "Mini Volks" made by Dunbar Inc. I got it as a mostly-complete basket case that had sat in the previous owners field for about 10 years. Idea was to get a simple project that would expose my boys to some of the same fun I had as a kid working on cars with my father. Anyway, over the past 15 months I've redone most of the buggy. It's based on a 1965 Bug (as far as I can tell) with 1300cc engine, king pin front beam, and swing axle transaxle.

As I go into a 2nd winter with the car, I have some questions that I hope folks here can help answer or provide some guidance as I hope to have it close to complete by the time spring weather arrives in my area. On to my questions:

1) Car had no brakes > I replaced all steel & flex brake lines, new wheel cylinders, restored the original pedal cluster & changed to master cylinder to a dual circuit 1968. Bench bled the new master cylinder & entire system but pedal still "feels wrong". Can't find a root cause... Do I need a longer push rod from the brake pedal? I've searched this site many times & can't seem to find the exact answer

2) Wiring > getting ready to wire the car from scratch. Is Rebel Wire's universal harness a good option? I've called & spoken to the guy there in TN & he seems amazingly knowledgeable & helpful. Wiring is the part of the project that I've dreaded the most but winter seems like the time to do it.

3) Steering column > Using the original '65 VW column. How does this assemble? It seems to me like it should have much more in the way of support bearings & a way to tie it into the body. From what I can tell, the outer tube is intended to be simply supported between 1 rubber grommet through the 'firewall' and a second grommet in the dash? The inner shaft simply connects to the rag joint? Seems wrong or I'm missing parts. PS - I also need a replacement original-style 3 wire turn signal switch.

4) Lastly, anyone have any guidance on insurance/registration/inspection specific to NY state? After I figure out the issues above, I fear DMV will be my greatest nemisis
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Dale M.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:14 am    Post subject: Re: 1st post & some questions Reply with quote

As for wiring... A GOOD kit can be a plus!.... Have heard good things about Rebel kits...

As for steering column, I have bracket to stiffen windshield mount that spans tub body, it also supports the steering column at dash and I made bracket at "firewall" to support lower end of column... If column is well supported shaft with bearing at top and rag joint at steering box works well.... DO NOT USE URETHANE (red) RAG JOINT.. The break/tear with out warning at all the wrong times...

As for brakes.... IF you have wrong shoes or the pins in wheels cylinders are install wrong it adversely effect brakes.... Best solution if to always adjust brakes hard out against shoes till wheel is totally locked up... Then back off adjustment till wheel/drum turns free (slight whisper of shoe drum contact)... This centers shoes.... Best bleeding method is lots of fluid, and have someone pump pedal several time and you release bleeder and let air out, repeat till clean fluid... Use catch jar and hose, and communicate with pedal pumper like for pumper "pump it up", and pumper reply "holding" (after about 3-4 pumps)... Repeat process till it get as good as it gets.... Also check steel lines through pan, the have been known to rust through and leak... Vacuum bleeders and pressure bleeders just don't seem to work...

Dale
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jspbtown
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:25 am    Post subject: Re: 1st post & some questions Reply with quote

I agree with Dale.

1. When you bleed your brakes make sure you adjust both shoes hard against the drums. Bleed them all and then back each shoe off equally.

2. Have never used a Rebel kit but have also heard good things about them. Wiring is easy on a buggy. Everything needs a + source and a - source. Then just add the switch into the mix. As you get closer you will have TONS of questions and you can just post them here.

3. On my Dunbar I simply used a section of 3" aluminum angle (Home Depot) to create a ledge for the column to sit on. I put it behind the dash, bent it slightly to match the angle of the column, secured it through the dash with two button head bolts and then used a muffler clamp to hold it is place. You can use the same method where it exits the "firewall". Now that isn't "the best" way (which would include fabricating a support that would tie in with the sides of the body like the Manx style kits do) because it relies on the hood for support but many, many buggies are on the road this way.

4. Sorry...no help for registering it in NY. Check the Dunebuggy archives. They have a section dedicated to registration by State.
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57BLITZ
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:04 pm    Post subject: Re: 1st post & some questions Reply with quote

Simply adding to the above replies . . .

Be SURE that your brake pedal push-rod has the proper free-play!

The upper end of your steering column has a ball-bearing to support the shaft.

The grommets you mentioned . . . that mount the outer column in a stock VW steel body . . . insulate the steering column to facilitate the horn circuit.
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BIGMIKEY
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:57 pm    Post subject: Re: 1st post & some questions Reply with quote

zanderk;

Check out this link. it explains things pretty fully.

https://dmv.ny.gov/registration/register-custom-or-homemade-trailer-or-vehicle

Mike T
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zanderk_98
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:12 pm    Post subject: Re: 1st post & some questions Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses guys!

To Dale M -
I'll double check all the brake parts at each wheel. I'm sure that at a minimum I have the exact same shoes as what came off each wheel but I suppose there's no guarantee that what was installed when I got it was correct. Also pretty sure that the pistons of each wheel cylinder are oriented correctly but I may have missed something. Every part of the brake system is brand new & my bleeding method was as you described - older boy or wife pumping the pedal, hold, bleed, close, repeat.

As others have mentioned, I think I have excessive free play because the push rod attached to the pedal is original 1965 & therefore too short. To make it work, I only have about 3-4 threads engaged in the clevis. As currently set, I estimate pedal moves approx 4" from the at-rest, 'against the pedal stop' position to when the brake begins to apply pressure. Once pressure is applied, the brakes work well - stops almost instantly & if I stand on it, all four wheels will lock up. Part of the reason the pedal moves so far is when I replaced floor pans, the mounting nut on cheap-o replacements is much further forward than the original pans & therefore I had to fabricate my own pedal stop bracket just to make it work.

BIGMIKEY - Thanks for the NYS DMV link. Have you gone through the process for a 'home made vehicle'? I was seriously hoping to avoid most of that.

As for my steering column, I was thinking about fabricating a bracket that mounts to the 6 windshield mounting bolts & spans the width of the dash. Then a simple muffler clamp-type mount to secure the tube in place.
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Dale M.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:56 pm    Post subject: Re: 1st post & some questions Reply with quote

Could be brake "pedal stop" is not there or been moved and pedal is to far rearward to have correct length for pushrod....

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ON the brake shoes where they are mated to pins (slots) on adjusters there are two variations, one type is straight cut and one type is on angle, if angle on adjuster pin does not align with angle on brakes shoe you will never get them adjusted....

Dale
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BIGMIKEY
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:03 pm    Post subject: Re: 1st post & some questions Reply with quote

zanderk_98 wrote:
Thanks for the responses guys!

BIGMIKEY - Thanks for the NYS DMV link. Have you gone through the process for a 'home made vehicle'? I was seriously hoping to avoid most of that.


I have not. I am in Pennsylvania but there is a similar process here. In PA it's called a "Specially Constructed Vehicle".

To me NY looks a little easier. I would get the home built package and at least look through it.

Mike T
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Lo Cash John
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:55 pm    Post subject: Re: 1st post & some questions Reply with quote

It seems nobody noticed but that steering wheel is probably worth more than you paid for the whole buggy. That's an EMPI GTV wheel which are HIGHLY sought after by VW enthusiasts all over the world.

Look on the back side of the spokes near the base (wide end) and you'll see a faint, elongated globe stamping. It'll remind you of the old Pan Am airlines logo.

If the wood is salvageable, and the wheel isn't warped it's probably worth $600-800 (or more) as is, even without the horn button.
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zanderk_98
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:10 pm    Post subject: Re: 1st post & some questions Reply with quote

Lo Cash John wrote:
It seems nobody noticed but that steering wheel is probably worth more than you paid for the whole buggy. That's an EMPI GTV wheel which are HIGHLY sought after by VW enthusiasts all over the world.

Look on the back side of the spokes near the base (wide end) and you'll see a faint, elongated globe stamping. It'll remind you of the old Pan Am airlines logo.

If the wood is salvageable, and the wheel isn't warped it's probably worth $600-800 (or more) as is, even without the horn button.


Well, not knowing what I might have (I just thought it was a cool wood-grain wheel), I took the steering wheel off & investigated more closely. On the back side of one of the 3 spokes, near the center hub, there is indeed a stamping of the EMPI "elongated globe". I placed the wheel down the flat kitchen counter top & it's 100% flat, not warped at all. I used a sheet of paper as a feeler shim all around between the face of the wheel & the counter top surface to confirm it's definitely flat & true.

The wood however does have some areas where it's cracked along its circumference. I took some close-up photos of all these details that I'll post tonight after I download them.

I have no heart strings attached to this steering wheel... If it's worth what John says, send me a PM & maybe we can make a deal. I would sell my wheel to someone who appreciates it for what it is & I'd use the proceeds to help finish my buggy. I do not have the horn button for it, just what you see in my original post.

Alex
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zanderk_98
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:02 am    Post subject: Re: 1st post & some questions Reply with quote

As promised, here's the photos of the steering wheel to confirm it's an EMPI GTV & show current condition - Alex
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zanderk_98
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:06 am    Post subject: Re: 1st post & some questions Reply with quote

If anyone is interested, here's a couple pics of how the partially assembled buggy looks as of a few weeks ago - 15 months into the restoration. I finally completed structural fiberglass repairs to the removable hard-top, cleaned up the brackets & got it remounted on the body. First time it's been back on the body in many, many years.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:43 am    Post subject: Re: 1st post & some questions Reply with quote

like button. Very Happy

The blue color makes it look like a million dollars.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 6:22 am    Post subject: Re: 1st post & some questions Reply with quote

Zanderk, the best thing you can do to get the most profit from that wheel is to place an ad in the classifieds here at The Samba. It's very easy, FREE and is globally considered THE place to shop for aircooled parts.

Put it in the General Parts section with a header that reads "Patinaed EMPI GTV Steering Wheel" and in the ad state that you're seeking the best offer over $500. You're phone will blow up with calls and texts from around the world.

One last thing, if that is a 14" diameter wheel (it does not look like it) you need to say so in the ad and you can double the expected selling price. The 14" wheels are super rare.
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Dale M.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:46 am    Post subject: Re: 1st post & some questions Reply with quote

Lo Cash John wrote:
Zanderk, the best thing you can do to get the most profit from that wheel is to place an ad in the classifieds here at The Samba. It's very easy, FREE and is globally considered THE place to shop for aircooled parts.

Put it in the General Parts section with a header that reads "Patinaed EMPI GTV Steering Wheel" and in the ad state that you're seeking the best offer over $500. You're phone will blow up with calls and texts from around the world.

One last thing, if that is a 14" diameter wheel (it does not look like it) you need to say so in the ad and you can double the expected selling price. The 14" wheels are super rare.


Grant has some really nice wheels to replace it for maybe $100...

Dale
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 8:53 am    Post subject: Re: 1st post & some questions Reply with quote

Couple things to add.

Brakes - its not the wheel cylinders that you are concerned about. Its the adjusters. And this is generic VW stuff at this point - not unique to a buggy. There are several style brake shoes (angled or straight at the adjuster end) and a couple different widths. Brake shoes MUST match the adjusters or the other way around. Problem with a buggy is that you dont know what you have for sure as far as drums, etc. Without looking it up, I though the pushrod was the same for all years, but I may be wrong. The pedal stop may just need adjusted - I think its about 8" from the pedal to the firewall.

Wiring - Our buggy had a homemade harness and I have just worked with that. I did a new buggy build for a customer and used a generic $120 harness and is worked well for me since the owner had a lot of custom things he wanted done with lighting, gauges etc, BUT it was VERY time intensive.

Its WAY better to get that all sorted out and done before you nail the hood and dash down by the way.

Registration - different ways to skin that cat and depends on particulars in your state. Our car came from Ohio and was registered there as a 63 beetle. We just kept it registered as such. Did the same thing with the new build. Car is registered as a 61 beetle. Is that correct? Technically not, but it has worked for us.

Steering wheel - the dash on ours is different and the new one was a Berrien Nostalgia Manx clone. I had a hoop bent from exhaust tubing that looks kinf of like a short roll bar that bolts to the floor and runs under the dash. The steering column is bolted to that. The Berrien used the brace that they sell for dash. The one thing I still dont like with ours is the amount of cowl shake on bumpy roads.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:29 am    Post subject: Re: 1st post & some questions Reply with quote

Good going with the buggy revival!

I realize this might be way too late for you to act on, but IMO the steering wheel/column is positioned too high. On original VW front axle beams, the steering box can be set to two different angles depending on whether the beam is installed on a Beetle or on a Ghia. Ghias had lower seats and roofs so that the steering box is set down several degrees more toward "level" than on a Beetle. The mounting position is set using the standard factory clamp at the box. The clamp has an indent along the edge which contacts a small raised divot on the beam. The clamp also has an indent on the other side of the clamp edge that is farther down for a Ghia. You simply remove the clamp and reposition it according to the car. Here's a shot from the gallery-
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In your case you'd have to remove the column, drill a new hole in the front firewall, and set it down beneath the dash bottom edge. You could fill the original hole in the dash with a gauge or a small plaque. But at least you can look for this clamp and verify its position if you want to consider pursuing this to make for a more comfortable driving position.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 7:58 am    Post subject: Re: 1st post & some questions Reply with quote

My take on the clamp (and yeah, I agree on the column looking high). I concentrate on getting the column and steering box as much in line as possible. Then regrind the slot in the clamp if needed. The nice thing about the higher postion though is that you are not as jammed by the steering wheel.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 8:57 am    Post subject: Re: 1st post & some questions Reply with quote

Smaller steering wheel is easier to get into/out of buggy with and you can lower it.... More compact wheel and lowering it gives buggy more sleeker look....

Dale
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:29 am    Post subject: Re: 1st post & some questions Reply with quote

If you do sell that steering wheel include the adapter and the rest of the parts with it.

Mike T
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