Baja Rebuild Diary - October
More News About My Baja 1st October 2001

I'm trying to get back into the weekly updates groove. Over the weekend I basically just started putting the gearbox and engine back in the car. The engine is in and bolted up, I just need to wire it up and test drive it again. I have put the gearbox in each gear and rocked the car back and forth and all the gears appear to be there which is a good sign.

I also decided to try a different method for making the throttle cable step around the gearbox. I decided the friction and drag in the metal zig-zag tube I made for the throttle cable was probably the reason it got stuck on a couple of times.  After my near death experience due to the sticking throttle, I decided to make a better throttle bowden tube. I decided I needed a standard late model throttle bowden tube. Unfortunately you can buy them anymore (or I was told). But I found a good second hand one. It was a bit short so I needed to slightly extend the one in the fan shroud. Hopefully this will fix my sticking throttle problems.

Most of my weekend was taking up transporting cars. I left at 9am Sunday morning and got home 5:30pm Sunday arvo. I had to go north, pick up the car trailer, go further north, pick up my partly panel beated Baja body, go way south and drop the Baja body off at Bill's house to be painted. Bill is retired so he can put all his time into the car. Hopefully it will be painted within the next two weeks. Bill had completely stripped both the doors of paint already (I dropped the doors and Baja kit off on Thursday). I was surprised that the doors had absolutely no rust at all in them. Pretty good considering all the trips up the beach so far, and the fact their 33 yrs old.

Then we headed north again, picked up a '58 body and floorpan on the way through (maybe a future project of mine or Rhys'). Then we dropped the '58 off at my house, continued north to drop the trailer off, then north further to drop my friend off, and then finally home.
This weekend coming I will be getting the pan ready to have the body bolted straight on.

More News About My Baja 8th October 2001

I got the pan drivable once again on Sunday. As I said last month the throttle bowden tube that I found was too short (as you can see in the picture below, click for bigger pic). So I spent quite a long time welding an extension onto it, but it was worth it. The throttle works really smooth now, and I didn't have any problems with the throttle sticking. It took a long time because I had to weld a bigger diameter tube, then a smaller diameter tube, then another big diameter tube end on end onto the original bowden tube. I had to do this to make the fan shroud throttle tube fit nicely into the tube extension.

I also made an extra bracket for my nose cone strap. I found the nose cone strap kept trying to fall off the back of the nose cone (due to the shape of the type 2 gearbox). So I made a bracket that will bolt to one of the nose cone studs. The bracket is sitting in place in the pic above. I marked out the position and welded it on later (once it was off the car).

I took my mate Rhys for a drive around the yard on the floorpan. He just laid on the the passengers side of the pan and held on. I got him to hold the kill switch so if the throttle got stuck again he could switch the engine off real quick. I took it down to the grass first. I gave it a squirt in first, acceleration and wheelspin. Then into second, acceleration and wheelspin. Good fun but Rhys was a little scared.

Then we went to the bitumen. I gave it a squirt in first and we started accelerating real fast, we got part way through the rev range and I got a little too scared to rev it all the way out (I didn't want to know what happens when it comes on power in first). So I short shifted it to second and got on the power again, more underwear browning acceleration. I backed off the throttle with a smile on my face and looked down at the passenger side floorpan to make sure Rhys was still there. He looked up and said "that's crazy". I know, I love it.

I get the doors and fiberglass kit back from the painters this weekend, and the body back next weekend.

More News About My Baja 15th October 2001

Not much happened this week. I just continued getting the pan ready to have the body bolted onto it this weekend. I got all the fiberglass kit back on Thursday. It looks pretty good. It's not the colour I was originally after but it's still pretty cool. I was hoping to put a picture up but I forgot to take one (doh!).

I made the last 6 pieces of my lift kit. The 6 bits between the shock towers and the body. I also made another mod to my front gearbox strap to stop it sliding backwards on the nose cone. I covered the inside of the pan with sound deadener, and fitted as much of the lift kit as I could.

More News About My Baja 22nd October 2001

I went and picked up the body on Saturday morning. I decided to take the floorpan down to Bills house so that we could bolt the body straight on the pan while we were down there. That way I didn't have to tie the body to the trailer.

It was a bit of a hassle to fit the pan on Brads trailer. Brad made the trailer just big enough to fit a beetle on, so my baja's mud tyres hung over the side of the trailer. I decided that probably wasn't real safe and had to put stockies on the back to fit it on the trailer. The trailer had other issues like broken floor plate welds and tail lights that didn't work, and the worst part no shocks at all. It made it an interesting trip.

We lifted the body on while the pan was still on the trailer. It was a bit tricky, but we did it without wrecking anything which was good. Trying to get all the bolts through all their holes was a different matter. Trying to line the pan to body holes up on a stock vw is hard enough without trying to get the bolts through a 2 inch lift kit at the same time. I use windscreen sealant on the body to pan seal rubbers, and ended up getting the stuff everywhere. We got a few bolts in, then gave up and decided to take it home to do the rest.

The tow car.

Just off the trailer, and the mud tyres are straight back on.

Once I got it home I decided to use a bottle jack between the chassis tunnel and the body to try to help line the bolt holes up. This technique worked very well and I managed to get all the lift kit bolts in. I am very happy with how the lift kit turned out. It was the perfect size, all the corners lined up perfectly and there are no gaps anywhere.
I will have to try to get a picture up soon.

More News About My Baja 30th October 2001

Sorry I'm a day late with this weeks update, I was too busy yesterday.

This page is starting to get a bit long and is probably causing older computers to crash, but I'm not going to change it just yet. I have a new website location sussed out and I will change everything when I move there.

I didn't get too much done over the weekend, as I went 4x4'ing to Mt Mee with some mates in their Range Rovers. I could feel the itch to go offroad in the baja real bad, I wish it could've been there :(

I cut the hole for the steering column, and I have been playing with that quite a bit. I've been trying to work out where I want to mount the steering wheel. I can either space it 2 inch below the dash, and have it inline with the steering box, or I can raise it 2 inch to sit back flush with the raised body (and dash). But if I raise it, then it will be higher than steering box and the standard rubber coupling will have to flex more than it normally would. So I thought about using a universal joint in the steering shaft.

So I spent about an hour (or more) on Sunday trying to pull the universal joints out of an old green L bug in the back yard. Unfortunately large ants had decided to make their home in the bolt holes of the steering box and the steering shaft tube. So trying to take everything apart was quite dangerous. There was also some venomous spiders hiding around the place, so I didn't want to lie on my back under the car in the grass to try to get the steering coupling off. But you have to get under the car to get to the steering coupling? That's what you think.

I went to the shed and got some wreckers tools. A large hammer, a metal chisel, and an VW axle (used for hitting things). In a short period of time I had cut a large hole in the body using the hammer and chisel, and could now get the the coupling from above. I also cut myself on an old cut brake line which hurt, and is a good way to get an infection.

And after all of that I found that the splines on the L bug and beetle steering boxes are different and I can't use the universal joints anyway, DOH!

I also spent ages cleaning the old glue and insulation off of the hood lining and rear luggage area in preparation for the new hood lining to be installed by a friend of a friend this Saturday. It took hours and I think I probably now have asbestos poisoning. Fine insulation particles ended up everywhere.

I also installed a few seals and things in the doors, and trial fitting the rear mud guard just to see the tyre to guard clearance and get an idea of how it will all look.

More News About My Baja 31st October 2001

I told you I'd get some pics up soon.

You can see how the engine sits further to the right now with the kombi gearbox (note air filter to body clearance either side)

Tyres to guard clearance isn't too bad.