New Ride for Baja

DeMinimis - 1-27-2017 at 11:43 AM

Last Fall we became bikeless for the first time in, well, a very long time. Basically, I just hurt and I don't want to break my kids. We've been running around Baja for years in buggies. Frankly, there's no better way to get a family from point A to B, whether it's to go snorkeling, kiteboarding or just to get some tacos. I didn't plan on starting a new buggy build as I already had one I was re-outfitting, but a fresh chassis dropped into my lap, so what was I to do? Chassis built as a sand car, but I'm modifying it into a dual sport (we don't do the dune thing). Hoped to have it done by this Spring, but delays and what not conspired against me (as is often the case with these things). Perhaps next year.

front wheels/tires on the rear for now

These should suck up some bumps

Orig front arms much too wide for the desert, so building narrower ones (getting close).

When finished, it should look similar to this (same body, but this example is different in a number of ways from my build).

Some day.

[Edited on 1-27-2017 by DeMinimis]

[Edited on 2-22-2017 by BajaNomad]

ehall - 1-27-2017 at 12:07 PM

Looks like you got a lot of work ahead of you. Definetley agree on a buggy being the smoothest and fastest way to get places. Just not in my budget right now so Im stuck on the bike or jeep.

StuckSucks - 1-27-2017 at 12:12 PM

Unfortunate to give up the bike, but as the say, "with age comes a cage."

Still, a fun win-win.

DeMinimis - 1-27-2017 at 12:17 PM

Yes, it's been dragging and I've spent a crazy number of hours on the new front arms. My front bypasses will finally arrive Monday. So once I have those, I'll be able to start the final process of the front arms (shock mounts need attention, tube gussets I'm afraid to install for fear of issues with the shocks, and so forth. Looking forward to finally getting this thing standing on it's own feet. After that, I'll knock out the steering, build seat mounts, install the pedals and plumb the brakes. Once it's a true roller, I may turn my attention back to my convertible Bug project. I only have around 80 hours of work left on that (just reassembly). After all these years, and with only 50k miles on it, I'll probably sell it to fund the transaxle and engine for the buggy. Wife will shoot me.

DeMinimis - 1-27-2017 at 12:23 PM

Quote: Originally posted by StuckSucks  
Unfortunate to give up the bike, but as the say, "with age comes a cage."

At least I never succumbed to a quad. You know what they say about those.

DeMinimis - 2-21-2017 at 12:02 PM

Finally got the correct rears on.

Delivered my heavily modified lower a-arms to my guy this AM to finish tig welding. I put way too much time into those expensive pieces of Desert Dynamics junk I got ripped off on.

Too many issue to list (not limited to unfinished welds, improperly place shock mounts, using tie rods jammed into the tubes instead of using properly sized bungs, lies, etc., etc., etc.).

1.5" tie rod jammed into 1.75" tube:

The thin part of the rod end was the only thing inside the a-arm tubes. These would have peeled out right away.

So, after cutting the welds, then pounding out the ties rods, my a-arm tubes were too short, so...

Shock mounts as they arrived. Crooked and unusable (couldn't even install the coilover due to interference with the upper arms).

So, removed the shock mounts and 1.25" cross tube. Notched new cross tubes out of 1.5" and instead of centering between the outside a-arm tubes, I installed them flush with the bottom of the 1.75" a-arm tubes (to lower the shock mounts as this too was needed). Complicated notches, but managed it.

(before I cleaned up the burr)

Tacked in with the coilover portion of the mount positioned, roughly, in the center of the available space, and before I added the center section and the rear, bypass mount, section.

Since the uppers were so bad, i decided it was easier to build them from scratch. It was. The lowers, since out $1500++ (because Dave at DD is a dishonest scumbag), I decided to try and salvage. It would have been much, much, much easier to just build those from scratch as well. Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

[Edited on 2-21-2017 by DeMinimis]

[Edited on 2-22-2017 by BajaNomad]

Pacifico - 2-22-2017 at 09:41 AM

Looks like a fun project, but I know the work that goes into these. I told myself I would never build another one... I recently sold my buggy and bought a KTM. My wife wants me to sell the bike now and gave me the green light for another off-road car. I definitely have the itch for another buggy! If I get another, I'll try to buy a completed one and modify as needed. That's a DD chassis?

DeMinimis - 2-22-2017 at 09:48 AM

Yes, it's a DD. 4/5 seater sand car that I'm modding into a dual sport (desert car) as I don't do the dune thing. Lots of work. Once it's to full roller status, I'm going to move it out of the working side of the shop and start putting my rare, low mile Bug back together. Then, against the entire fam's wishes, I'm going to sell the Bug to help fund finishing the DD. Never enough hours in the day it seems.

Pacifico - 2-22-2017 at 09:51 AM

Nice...Are you going Mendeola and LS power?

DeMinimis - 2-22-2017 at 09:56 AM

Weddle HV-25 and LS-3 crate. I have a modified Honda V-6 on the stand, but I think it's going to be too light for this heavy car (got it for my former Chenowth, but ended up with the DD unexpectedly, so the Chenowth went down the road).

[Edited on 2-22-2017 by DeMinimis]

[Edited on 6-14-2018 by BajaNomad]

Pacifico - 2-22-2017 at 10:19 AM

Here is my old car....miss it! It was a fun, reliable car...

DeMinimis - 2-22-2017 at 10:22 AM

I'll say! 1-5/8"?

DeMinimis - 2-22-2017 at 10:25 AM

Looks familiar

[Edited on 2-22-2017 by DeMinimis]

[Edited on 6-14-2018 by BajaNomad]

DeMinimis - 2-22-2017 at 01:58 PM

Lower arms done.

[Edited on 6-14-2018 by BajaNomad]

Pacifico - 2-22-2017 at 02:15 PM

Quote: Originally posted by DeMinimis  
I'll say! 1-5/8"?

It was 1.5"...

Your welds look great!

[Edited on 2-22-2017 by Pacifico]

DeMinimis - 2-22-2017 at 02:55 PM

Thanks. I wish those were my welds. I suck at tig, so I do all the cutting, notching and fitting and my guy welds them up. Often gives a free tig lesson while at it, but I must be stupid because I still suck.

[Edited on 2-22-2017 by DeMinimis]

liknbaja127 - 2-22-2017 at 08:13 PM

Looks like a great project! May know were there is a Fortin 4 speed,
new. U to U me if you want.

DeMinimis - 2-22-2017 at 08:15 PM

Thanks. Those Fortins are a lot of money (non dog fork). Rebuilds are way out of my pay grade, but thank you for reaching out.

liknbaja127 - 2-22-2017 at 08:28 PM

LS 3? lot of power! We run LS -1 usually prep once a year, spend
around $1,500 to $3,000 per visit, good insurance for being out
in the middle of nowhere! Hope to see you out there some day.
keep the pics coming with your build. I also have a VW project
that I almost have done. 74 Thing. Wife will not let that go!

DeMinimis - 2-22-2017 at 08:58 PM

The Waddle is reliable to 500hp (33" tires). A plain ol' ls3 crate is well below that. Yes, we might to have to meet with at Airstreamwilly's one of these days.

Love those Things. Before I sold the Chenoweth, I considered scabbing a Thing around the chassis. The DD is way too wide to do it. Yup, I checked.

DeMinimis - 4-11-2018 at 12:05 PM

I was about to pull the trigger on a full-size late 70's Wagoneer so I could scavenged the 401, TH400 (Jeep pattern) and front axle (to shorten), along purchasing and building a Ford 9" from Currie. All for that CJ7 project. Then, not unlike Frank Constanza's Christmas epiphany, I thought, "There has to be a better way." So instead, last month, I sold to CJ7 to a local fella that had been pestering me about it for the past year. Now I can get back to what matters.

First thing was to make tube gussets for the upper arms. Did that and tig'd them in place (after lots of cycling the suspension with shocks mounted to insure no interference problems).

Read enough stories about bulkhead issues with these DDs. Don't think I'll have to worry about that now. Added two additional 3/16 (actually .190) 4130 plates to the existing bulkhead (large holes in to-be center plate .25" larger than orig (front) plate, and to-be rear large holes .25" greater than that). Further, I added two 1.25" 1.20 wall 4130 support tubes ("V" shape) to the upper bulkhead cross tube. After a ton of adjusting, I finally dialed in the right side front end to where I wanted it (8 degrees caster, 2 degrees camber at shock mid-travel). Onward to the left side when time allows. Oh, also bridged the lower front mounts back to the bulkhead. These cars were built with 3/4" heims at the chassis (upper and lower arms). When I built the new arms, I went with 7/8 heims on the lower arms (nearly double the static load over the 3/4 heims). Required drilling out all the chassis 3/4 holes (lower only) and adding weld washers. Front end should be stout. Look for my somewhat yearly update in 2019!

ehall - 4-11-2018 at 12:50 PM

Like to see progress. Keep the pics coming.

DeMinimis - 4-15-2018 at 03:14 PM

Some progress.

20180414_152625-800x600.jpg - 177kB

Pacifico - 4-17-2018 at 11:47 AM

Looking good! Good thing you beefed up the bulkhead...all my friends who had DD cars had their bulkheads crack.

Love seeing the progress!

Are you gonna run power steering? I had the Fortin 2.5 rack on my buggy and it was flawless. Quality product with zero issues ever!

[Edited on 4-17-2018 by Pacifico]

DeMinimis - 4-17-2018 at 11:58 AM

Thanks. I have the Howe 118 rack (it's the Howe 2.5 without the hydraulics). Matching that up with Kartek's 400W EPS.

20180416_073939-800x600.jpg - 189kB

[Edited on 4-18-2018 by DeMinimis]

DeMinimis - 6-14-2018 at 12:44 PM

Just about have the front dialed at mid-stroke. Width at 93+/- Much better than the 100" I had with the factory arms.

However, I keep allowing myself to get sidetracked (and hijack my bank account). Picking up one of these tomorrow (buggy back to the rear burner (simmer)):

[Edited on 6-14-2018 by BajaNomad]