Baja Rebuild Diary - June
More News About My Baja 6th June 2001

On Saturday morning I went shopping for parts. I have found that I have a somewhat rare in Australia, German built VW. Instead of having 4 clip window scrapers, I have 7 clip window scrapers. So that means I am going to have real trouble finding 7 clip window scrapers in Australia. In the end I bought a lot of rebuild type rubbers, but I have to wait for the next shipment for the rest.
I managed to find 7 clip inside window scrapers, but they were $58 dollars each. So I thought I'd pass. I need outer scrapers though.

I sanded the rough sections of hammer tone on the pan down, and resprayed it. The paint worked beautifully this time. I didn't need any thinning at all. Mental note, don't paint at dusk in winter again.

I took my bent front end over to my friends house. We put it in the hydraulic press, but it wouldn't bend. So we heated it with an oxy torch. It bent this time, but it also flattened the tubes a little. When Ben lifted the front end out of the press, the grease inside was still hot and melted. So when he tilted it, the boiling hot grease ran out and dribbled down his leg. As you can imagine, it left a nasty burn. Sorry Ben.

For the next tube I decided to take a different approach. We cut half way through the torsion tube with a hacksaw. Then we put the front end on the ground, and belted the crap out of it with a sledge hammer (using blocks of wood to prevent damage). This method worked much better, and did no unwanted damage to the front end.

I then tried to put the front torsion arm back in. It wouldn't go. Hmmmm. The small flattened section of the torsion tube was exactly where the torsion arms inner bearing was. The bearing was also flatten, so the arm couldn't go in. Man, how many silly little things could possibly go wrong, it's so annoying.

I decided to cut the flattened section of tube out, and replace it with a good section of tube (and bearing) from my old front end. It just means a bit more cutting and welding than I first planned.

I hope to build my lift kit this weekend.

Out side view of crushing damage to my front torsion tube.

Inside the crushed tube, note the crushed plain bearing.

My floor pan painted in charcoal hammer tone.

The rust in my old front end, the reason why I'm replacing it.
More News About My Baja 12th June 2001

I have completed cutting and welding my front end adjusters. I had to cut the adjusters out of the old front end, and weld them into the new front end. A good friend leant me his cold saw which made things a lot easier.

I also managed to build most of my lift kit. I am building it out of 50x25x1.6mm RHS. I would have liked 50x35 or 50x30, but I couldn't find any suppliers. But 50x25 will be fine.

I had the body propped up in the air so that I could use it as a template for the side pieces. I made multiple cuts where it had to curve near the front. Then I bolted it in place, and welding it while it was still attached to the body.

For the rear piece, I built it on the pan. I am buying a cast aluminum front piece from SharpBuilt. I will try to post some pics in a couple of weeks. I am sick of drilling holes (for the lift kit).

More News About My Baja 18th June 2001

I went to the 2001 VW's, Fast Fours & Rotaries Jamboree on Saturday, which was an all day and night event. I woke up late Sunday, so I didn't get much of a chance to work on my car.

I basically just checked a few things, look at what I still needed to buy, and done a bit of welding. My car had a clutch cable access hole cut into the tunnel (near the peddles) with an oxy torch. The oxy left a very rough edge. I decide that instead of welding the hole shut, I would just clean it up and strengthen it. It is a very handy hole to have, it makes changing clutch cables very easy. I bend some 10mm solid bar to the same shape as the hole, and joined the ends in the middle of a straight section. I then welded the bar/loop around the edge of the hole. I believe it has restored the tunnel to it's original strength. I will try to post a picture.

I spoke to Mike Sharp today, and my lift kit front yoke and gearbox mounts are on their way. I will be playing with them next. I have also been looking at different peoples designs for ball joint rebound stops.

More News About My Baja 25th June 2001

I received my lift kit yoke and gearbox straps during the week, so I have been playing with them. I am going to make some slight modification to them, but they're pretty good. They use the stock vw front and rear rubber mounts, but with a front and rear strap as well. The only part I'm going to change is the rear section that bolts to the gearbox. It is designed to use the stock engine to gearbox bolts, which is fine strength wise, it will just make putting the engine in a pain, because the gearbox and gearbox mount bolt holes might not line up exactly, which would be a pain when trying to lift an engine in. I'm just going to weld a support between under the bell housing to ensure the bolt holes stay aligned when the engine is out.

My girlfriend helped me out heaps over the weekend. She decided to help me because I kept complaining how my car building buddy Rhys (who owe's me a few weeks of friendly labor) has gone over to England and can't help me. She painted a few parts, including the interior part of the floor pan with black kill rust. I made her do it with a paint brush rather than spray painting, as I find it sticks better to slightly dirty surfaces if you brush it on. It was slightly dirty from some previous welding and grinding.
After the painting she had a go at sand blasting. She seemed to like it. She sand blasted my fuel tank, spring plate cover plates, rear brake drums, and stock rear gearbox mount piece. Thanx Meegan.

Meanwhile I seam welded my front end, welded on some rods and gussets (for rebound limiting), and generally finish off the front end.

I also painted my newly rebuilt 5-rib type II gearbox. I decide to take it to Leons VW at coopers plains to have it checked out, Since I had a feeling it wasn't as healthy as I was first led to believe. In the end it needed four new synchros, a new pinion bearing, gaskets, bushes, selector bits and pieces, and some machining here and there. I also go all the gears back-cut so that it will never jump out of gear (which is a rear pain in Australian soft sand, or trying to climb huge hills). I quickly found out how expensive type II gearbox parts are. At least it should survive the 1915, unlike my 3 broken type 1 gearboxes (2 diff's and a reverse, yes I know reverse is weak and I should've been more careful).

I also done some grinding and welding on the floor pan. Since I had my gearbox and my gearbox mount kit, I could fit it in and see what needed clearancing. I clearanced the horns where needed, and seam-welded the clearanced sections. Someone had also cut access holes for the handbrake cables, so I welded them closed as well.

(blurry) Test assembly of pan, lift kit, and gearbox.