Project Baja! ---- 1970 VW Baja Bug

Discussion in 'Gearhead Garage' started by ninefivezero, Sep 26, 2009.

  1. ninefivezero

    ninefivezero infinite resolution

    Messages:
    12,313
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Somewhere on earth.
    So welcome to my project thread, where obviously I will post updates and pictures of the work I'm doing on my 1970 VW Baja Bug.

    Original thread with many more pictures, can be found here: http://www.tweak3d.net/forums/off-topic/oh-good-lord-i-bought-new-car-1970-vw-baja-bug-47703/

    As stated in that thread, I am a total car novice, and am learning as I go. For help, I'm reading and posting at a VW forum, and have three books: Baja VW Bugs & VW Buggies Book by Jeff Hibbard, John Muir's How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot and the VW Beetle & Karmann Ghia 1954 through 1979 All Models Haynes Repair Manual.

    Info:

    1970 VW Bug
    7-piece fiberglass baja kit
    1600 single port motor, stock
    4-point roll cage, tube bumpers all around

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    ====================================================================

    So anyways, I started getting to work yesterday.

    First thing I did was replace the seal between the fuel sender and the tank.

    [​IMG]

    Before, the car (and garage) always smelled like gas, and when the tank was full, you would end up with a little puddle of gas on the tank. In that picture, you can see the crumbled bits of the old seal, and the new rubber seal in the package.

    $8 part.

    [​IMG]

    Next, was to remove the old side-view mirror and install the new one.

    $0, came with car.

    [​IMG]

    So shinny!

    [​IMG]

    Then, time to deal wit the window rubber. This is for the rear side pop-out windows, which were stiff, cracking, and leaked.

    [​IMG]

    This was a huge pain in the butt, getting the new seals into the small channels on those windows took me a long time. There is probably some trick to it, but whatever, it's done now :p

    $0, came with car.

    [​IMG]

    I intend to give this car a complete once-over, so I'm stripping the inside completely. Door panels off, and while they are still solid, they are certainly not clean. I plan on keeping the fabric, but I'll probably replace that backing.

    [​IMG]

    My first real purchase for the bug, a pair of Corbeau Baja SS seats with sliders. These are supposed to be very good seats, and will allow me to have 4/5-point harnesses for when I take the bug off road and especially at the dunes. Now the tricky part is mounting them.... Not sure how to do that, I'll probably have to get my coworker to help me weld a custom bracket. These were not cheap, but safety is something I'm taking very seriously, so it's worth it. The seats that came with it are pretty crappy, and it only had a lap-belt. Plus, these seats save ~50 pounds!

    $300, would be $400+ tax/shipping new, plus the cost of the sliders, not sure what those are worth.

    [​IMG]

    Once the seats were out, I ripped out all the carpet, which was either just laying on the floor, or glued on with a spray-on adhesive, which left a mess behind.

    [​IMG]

    To my surprise, there is almost NO rust on the floor pans, which is a great plus, because that is often a problem area with cars of this age. Really, there is just a small bit of surface rust, which will be cleaned up and treated.

    [​IMG]

    Continuing on the subject of rust, this is the lower frame of the drivers door, and this is the most serious rust I've managed to find on the car so far! It is the only spot I've seen so far where something has actually been eaten through, instead of just surface rust.

    Not bad, eh?

    So on the menu tomorrow, is gutting the back half of the interior.

    More to come.
  2. mistawiskas

    mistawiskas kik n a and takin names

    Messages:
    30,009
    Trophy Points:
    98
    Location:
    Rogue Valley Oregon
    That is so frigging awesome!! That is the kind of project car I want right there. I've always wanted one. Looks like you're going to be really thourough on your project.

    Another vehicle i'd like to build is a 4X4 subaru or suzuki. Booney crasher FTW!
  3. tweakmonkey

    tweakmonkey Webmaster Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,855
    Trophy Points:
    78
    On the window seals, did you check for rust inside the rubber? Sometimes it'll get trapped in there.

    The seats look good.
  4. ninefivezero

    ninefivezero infinite resolution

    Messages:
    12,313
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Somewhere on earth.
    Yah, I checked. when I pulled the old seals out, the channels were still very clean and shiny (I cleaned them out anyways, didn't come up with much)

    I also need to clean the surface of the car body where the rubber contacts, it's really dirty right now, but that's easy.

    I read over your project thread last night and specifically looked at how you cleaned up the pans, but maybe you can give me some more tips.

    Since I don't have anywhere near the rust you had, I have a lot less work, all I probably need to do is clean up the sticky residue left behind from the carpet, wire brush (?) the surface rust off, then spray it all with some kind of sealant?
  5. -=Lurker=-

    -=Lurker=- **BANNED**

    Messages:
    10,116
    Trophy Points:
    78
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Digg the seats. Nice work so far.
  6. tweakmonkey

    tweakmonkey Webmaster Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,855
    Trophy Points:
    78
    [​IMG]
    Nice, that'll clean up like my Porsche did.

    The rust is not bad at all. Did you poke through into the outside at all?
  7. tweakmonkey

    tweakmonkey Webmaster Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,855
    Trophy Points:
    78
    From this picture:
    [​IMG]

    It looks like quite a bit of orange coloring from rust. I know it's mostly surface rust like mine, but I'd still use a drill with wire wheel, and a shop vac and dust masks... to clean up the loose rust. I used a large wire brush, but it's pretty silly to do it by hand. :D

    After that's all removed and it's mostly shiny bare metal, I'd use the Eastwood Rust Converter stuff I used (the 2 part kind) and the Rust Encapsulator which paints over everything with nice thick paint. You should wire-wheel/ brush it off all those door panels and stuff while you're at it.

    You can buy the Encapsulator in red I believe.
  8. -=Lurker=-

    -=Lurker=- **BANNED**

    Messages:
    10,116
    Trophy Points:
    78
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  9. tweakmonkey

    tweakmonkey Webmaster Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,855
    Trophy Points:
    78
    Edit nevermind, I haven't tested Por15, but I have heard it works well too.
  10. ninefivezero

    ninefivezero infinite resolution

    Messages:
    12,313
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Somewhere on earth.
    Got a little more done today.

    I stopped by a used sports store where my friend works, and something caught my eye:

    [​IMG]

    A used Thule roof rack with locks for $40!

    I was looking online for one, and saw a new setup of 4 towers and the cross bars for $50, but it wasn't a locking rack. The cheapest locking rack I found was like $250! I"m going to add a box to it and mount some lights on it as well. I think it looks great with the rack on, and will look even cooler with the gear box on it. (and be useful!)

    [​IMG]

    So I kept working at gutting the interior. This is the rear 'shelf' which looked good, but was completely loose, and rattled and banged all over the place when you hit a bump in the road. Not sure how I'm going to rebuild it, but it had to go.

    [​IMG]

    The rest of the removed interior. The carpet-headliner was a bitch to get off...

    [​IMG]

    Interior totally gutted. Found out some more about how this car has been put together, and also saw how generally rust-free and good of condition the body is.

    [​IMG]

    I did find one surprise, this cut/tear on the inside under the quarter window. Won't be a problem though.

    [​IMG]

    I bought something else today, through craigslist. A VW Beetle tow-bar in great condition. It clips right on to the front beam on the bug then onto your tow-ball. With this I can tow my bug to the shop if I break something and can't fix it :p Also, a good way to get it to the dunes or whatever.

    Cost me $60, new online shipped was $110.

    Next priority is to finish sealing up the cabin, scraping the rug-interior-glue off, and treating the rust.

    [​IMG]

    Also. I need ideas. While my side windows are in very good shape, the front and rear are trashed. The windows would probably cost ~$200 to replace, plus around $50 for new seals (current seals are fine btw) and I don't want to spend that money.

    Any ideas on improving them a bit? I"m not expecting miracles, just trying to improve it noticeably.
  11. tweakmonkey

    tweakmonkey Webmaster Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,855
    Trophy Points:
    78
    If there are any leaks you can seal them up with urethane or rubber caulking etc. For the windshield... maybe keep your eyes open for people parting out beetles. I don't know if the super beetles are cheap. You'll probably be able to find a nice rear one for cheap. The fronts might need to be purchased new. But I bet there are some really cheap places to get glass. Nice glass is especially nice in bad weather, bright sunlight and at night time.

    Back seat area looks great. Once it's all cleaned up you can shoot some fresh paint on there and the interior will be a lot fresher if it's not great already. Maybe you can secure the battery with some metal, and build a box of something plastic.

    Great find on the roof rack and tow bar. That rack will come in so handy. I guess I could find something like taht on my Porsche but it's not like I would take the car camping. /jealous
  12. -=Lurker=-

    -=Lurker=- **BANNED**

    Messages:
    10,116
    Trophy Points:
    78
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Get a dry cell battery like an Optima and a good battery box since it's kind of inside the cab with you..

    [​IMG]
  13. ninefivezero

    ninefivezero infinite resolution

    Messages:
    12,313
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Somewhere on earth.
    The seals on the front band back window are fine, the rears I replaced. Now what needs work is the doors, which while the seals are in good shape, there is actually a pretty big gap around the locking mechanism on both sides, and the windows in the door are not a tight seal.

    Also, there are lots of little (drilled/whatever) holes in the pan/body where things had been attached I'm guessing, but have been removed, so gotta plug those so water isn't getting in that way and soaking into the new carpet I install. Shouldn't be a big deal. I just need to figure out all the wiring and whatnot...


    The guy I bought the tow bar from was selling a used rear window, but it was $100. Then I'd need to replace the seal to reinstall it, which is another $20. Trying not to spend that kind of money right now if the seal is tight... I'm hoping to just use some scratch filler and buff the shit out of it or something...

    I don't think I'm going to do much interior painting since I'm going to put new carpet back in, much like it was when I bought it. Of course I'll do some treatments for the rust and whatnot, but why paint something I"m just going to glue carpet over...

    As for the battery, it is sitting in a holder which is welded to the pan, it just doesn't have something to hold it tight. I'm thinking of just adding some rubber to the bottom (to absorb shock/keep it quiet) and a strap across the top to hold it down tight. I kind of like how the battery was covered in a box, and of course there is that kill switch hanging out in the open now... Not sure if I want to rebuild a shelf like it had, or one just around the battery to keep it protected while freeing up a little more rear storage space.

    Decisions, decisions.

    Great find on the roof rack and tow bar. That rack will come in so handy. I guess I could find something like taht on my Porsche but it's not like I would take the car camping. /jealous[/QUOTE]

    Hmm. You thinking that so if there were to be an accident I wouldn't have a battery spilling acid all over me? (don't know anything about dry v. wet)
  14. -=Lurker=-

    -=Lurker=- **BANNED**

    Messages:
    10,116
    Trophy Points:
    78
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Yes. Safety should be your #1 concern.
  15. super_Chris

    super_Chris Tactical bacon

    Messages:
    4,278
    Trophy Points:
    53
    Location:
    CA, USA
    To be honest, the battery acid leaking on your probably isn't that big a concern. But it is silly to have a battery in a passenger compartment. They release hydrogen gas when charging(running), so basically, no smoking in your car ever.

    Costco sells deep cycle batteries for a decent price. To be honest you don't need an optima, and from what I've seen the Optima brand can be hit an miss.

    The bitchen thing about deep cycle's is that they can be discharged completely without damaging the battery. With a traditional lead acid battery your screwed the first time you do that. Deep cycles also tend to be much stronger. Mine can run my radio, with 1kw sub/amp for hours.
  16. -=Lurker=-

    -=Lurker=- **BANNED**

    Messages:
    10,116
    Trophy Points:
    78
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  17. ninefivezero

    ninefivezero infinite resolution

    Messages:
    12,313
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Somewhere on earth.
  18. anfpak

    anfpak Newzgrouper

    Messages:
    146
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    CALIFORNIA
    hey 950. this is exactly the kind of thing i am looking for (but i want it to run while i work on it and be a convertible) but i would be set on this in a heartbeat. what did this run you?
    i'm wanting the best dune buggy i can get (with of course lowest cost so i can fix it up myself).
  19. -=Lurker=-

    -=Lurker=- **BANNED**

    Messages:
    10,116
    Trophy Points:
    78
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    An old Baja Bug is by far the cheapest go fast buggy you can buy for the price. Aside from that, they are very simple engines/chassis to work on and parts are cheap and available everywhere.
  20. ninefivezero

    ninefivezero infinite resolution

    Messages:
    12,313
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Somewhere on earth.
    There is lots more info about the car on the linked thread at the top of this thread, but I paid $2,500 for it.

    I see you live in Cali, which is the home of the Baja bug and much of the buggy/rail scene. I wish I lived in Cali for buying a Baja, the selection is much bigger, they are not common cars in Washington...

    (but other than that, NW for lyfe)
  21. fornik8her

    fornik8her Junior Member

    Messages:
    806
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    5000 feet Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Looks like a flat front windshield, they are easy to replace the seal with the help of a friend some sealer and a long piece of maybe 1/4 " rope.
    The inside floor doesn't look too bad but be sure to check under the pedal assembly where the rear brakeline runs. Notorious for rusting the line under there.
    The seats you got look like they will do great off road but will make it a bit of a pain to get to anything behind them in the back.
    Personally did the baja Conversion back in 78. Lots of fun. :D
    I had to weld up a cover flap for the exhaust to keep the rain out, don't know if you have the same issue but - Harbor Freight Tools - Quality Tools at the Lowest Prices might help.

    Good luck