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Old 08-29-2011, 07:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Baja Bug Questions.

I've had a 71 vw bug in my back yard for a few years. It's been in a shed and is still in pretty good condition, no rust or anything. I want to turn it into a baja bug.

This will be my first build so I'm trying to narrow down what I need. I've talked to my friend and I've got him building me a roll cage.

My main question is towards suspension and the engine. I've done a little research and everyone seems to be putting a-arms on. What a-arm would y'all suggest? Some off of a small import and fab it to fit, or what?

Next objective is the engine. Is it better to drop in a new engine or just rebuild and enhance the current engine?


I've got four grand I can invest after the roll cage. Is this a realistic budget for my project? Sorry for all the noobish questions, I apologize in adavance for my lack of expertise.
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well, this is the Rally Racing section. Are you wanting to prep this bug for Rally Racing ?

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Old 08-29-2011, 08:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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First off buy this book, and read it front to back more then once. And go over to the samba.com and read up in the baja bug section. There's all kinds of things that you can do to the torsion suspension to make it better or you can ditch it all together and go with coilovers. And what you do motor wise all depends on what you got currently. But like anything if you go big with the motor then your gonna have to go big with your tranny and CV's and then there goes your money fast.

If it's a super beetle then you can forget about making anything great. The McPherson strut front suspension isn't worth messing with.

Last edited by scoobasteeve; 08-29-2011 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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OTR - That's my buddy and yes. He is getting it ready to be rallied.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:34 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Wow...where to start...

As was mentioned, read read read. You need to know your class rules as well as for how they pertain to suspension and engine mods.

Long travel is nice, but for a stockish rally class, I would stick to a stock VW beam. You will blow your budget fast building an all new chassis. This is assuming you have a beam and it's not a super, if it is a super, sell it and buy a standard beetle.

Engine wise, air cooled vw's are stone simple and will last if built right. If you just slap some big jugs on it and go to town, you are going to have troubles. When it comes to building the engine, get the Gene Berg tech articles, they will teach you all you need to know about making big, reliable power.

Trans wise, start looking for a 3 rib bus tranny.
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Old 09-14-2011, 01:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If you are looking at rallying a Baja Bug in Rally America, you need to read the body rules very carefully. Often times, the vast majority of classes require stock appearing bodies (i.e. baja kit is not stock appearing). They even require stock bumpers.

Download and read the rally rules from cover to cover a few times. There is VW bug that races in the historic class but the technology used needs to be "period technology" i.e. technology that would have been around to build a rally bug in the early 70's.
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