Central WA Baja

Offroad VW based vehicles have problems/insights all their own. Not to mention the knowledge gained in VW durability.

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CentralWAbaja
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Location: 75 miles east of Seattle

Central WA Baja

Post by CentralWAbaja » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:57 am

Hi my name is Daron and I am a Baja Bug-o-holic…
There I said it!
I admit it!
Will I start to get better now? Gosh I hope not.

Seriously, I have been lurking around here for quite some time and decided it was time to step up and introduce myself and join in on the fun. I feel like I have been getting to know a few of you from a distance so I want to take a few minutes and tell you about me and what I am all about. I am a 39-year-old custom homebuilder. I live 75 miles east of Seattle, Washington. Thus the name ”Central WA Baja”

My family and I have been playing with VW’s for about as long as I can remember. My dad and uncles had some of the “original” bajas in the early to mid 70’s. They called them “Dune Buggies”
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They even built a pink one for my Grandma to drive my disabled Grandpa around in.
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Dads was the purple one
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That's me in the passenger seat
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Dad Then moved on to a turbo 1600-powered homemade rail in the late 70’-early 80’s before deciding to switch his attention to classic cars.
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I bought my first baja at 18 from my uncle for a $1.00 and have been trying to kick the habit since.
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Bigger motor(1835cc) Bigger tires (31's) One beautiful Dog in one ugly azz shortened bug
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Some say old Bajas never die they just evolve…. I am here to prove that to be true….. Or so I thought.

I did my 1st build along with my dad in 1995 (I was 24) I used as much of the original baja from my uncle as possible. But I did start with a new pan and shell. My young loving wife said "If you are going to build another bug…Make it a cool one". After a week of hearing me order parts on the phone, she quickly named the car "VISA". I don’t know any thing about that.



Anyway, so I asked Dad if we could put this bug in his shop for a couple weeks and cut the top off and put in a roll cage?
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6 months worth of evenings and weekends we rolled this out.
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On the maiden voyage my wife informed that we would be expecting our 1st child. Wow that was not what I was expecting! Can you say life changing?



Well... Within a year I was working on Mom & Dad to get back in ( kinda like a drug pusher) “You want to do this… don’t you Mom & Dad?” “C’mon you know you do.” Dad had sold all of his VW stuff years earlier and was out for good… Yea right…. Well a few months later, we turned this
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Into this.
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And for the next few summers my Mom and Dad, my wife and my children (yea 2 boys now) spent a lot of time in the Bajas cruising logging roads and such.

Through the years the white and red bug has seen some modifications... such as tying the cage in better front and back as well as the basic suspension mods. (Cut and turn beam and such.) Centerlines, BFG's fuel cell, even turned it into a true 4 seater as well.

This is how it looks today...still looks pretty good huh?
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Unfortunately about 8 years ago, one morning on my way to work at about 65 mph on the interstate my 10 plus year old 1835 motor decided to lock up and she was done. I was then a member of the “Bajas not running club” I may have been a charter member and just didn’t know it.

The priority was not there, nor were the funds to rebuild at that time and well “You know” My ambitions had grown to where I did not want to just fix the car I wanted to “Evolve it” I have had all kinds of plans over the past few years but when there is time, there is no money and when there is the money…well “You know.” Just really tough to fix it when I wanted to do so much more. I think I was lacking "Inspiration"

My kids are now 14 and 10 and I have owned my own construction company for 7 years now. The bug has been back together and apart a couple times in the last few years but has sat apart for the last 3.

A few months back, while I was looking on Craigslist for a Jeep (Yea I was going to just be done with the VW’s for good) I came across this add for “Baja parts” in San Diego. I do not know how my attention turned to bajas and nor how I ended up on the SD Craigslist… Must be the addiction. Somebody else had lost interest in a baja bug project. It was just about everything needed to build a “Bad Azz Baja Bug” as the add read. The parts list was extensive and all quality stuff. Kings and disks, trailing arms and all of the goodies. All brand new never installed. We settled on a price and I sent my Mom and Dad on a road trip from Washington State down to pick it all up. Inspiration found!

Well that brings us to the new build. No my old baja bug will not be evolving… Yet.

Right now it resides under a silver tarp in the yard. Kinda sad to think about it like that. But with the oldest boy being 14 and well, I think it is only right to pass on my addiction. My wife and I decided not to sell it for parts or even rob it of some of the good stuff. But instead let it rest for a while longer and maybe it will be the next father-son-son project.

THE NEW BUG… It is going to be just another standard chop…NOT!

This is the culmination of a lot of years of dreaming this one up. I have started with not 1 but 2 bug shells and a 3rd pan (just for the VIN) The bug will be widened 4 inches at the windshield, 6 inches at the back of the doors and about 4 at the rear. It will be lengthened about 8 inches of body and sit on about 110inch wheelbase. It will have coilovers and bypasses at all 4 corners.

Here are the specs as of now…subject to change
65-66-69 body-body-pan
Full tube chassis 1 & 1.5x .120 DOM (just the tunnel, rear horns and housing left)
VW type 1…2276 with all of the good stuff inside 0 miles (built 3 years ago)
CB performance heads
CB performance fuel injection
Bus trans with a rare LSD diff 0 miles on rebuild (bought 4 years ago)
10-degree trans mount
C-molly 3x3 arms (Kartek)
Lightened and polished 930 cvs (Kartek)
300m axles (Kartek)
Sportsman micro stub kit (Kartek)
King coilover 2.5x14 rear
King triple bypass 2.5x16 rear
King bump cans 2.0x4 rear
+6 beam 2.0x.120 DOM
Front arms +2.5 moly or +4 DOM (I have both not sure yet may sell them both and opt for new +4 Woods version)
SACO rack and pinion
DOM tie rods and moly heims for ends
Charlyn Power steering with Sweet Mfg pump and Pro Am reservoir
Combo spindles
Pro Am front disk brakes (Kartek)
King 2.0x10 coilover front
King 2.0x10 triple bypass front
Auto Meter gauges
CNC hanging pedals
Kartek competition seats
Simpson 5 point restraints
Fuel Safe 22gal cell
BTR Beadlock wheels
Tires? Probably BF Goodrich muds have not decided

That’s about it for now. I think that the parts collecting is about done. It is just time to build now.

Of course I have been working on this for a couple months but if I just hold out on the build pics for now you will all think I am real fast when I do start posting....







OK OK OK Day one
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More to come...

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petew
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Re: Central WA Baja

Post by petew » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:01 am

PHEW, just saw that last pic. Your were only using the bucket to LIFT the roof off! :lol:

Really cool pics in there. Great that you can do that stuff with your dad. You guys really seem to like ragtops.

BTW, is WA, Wisconsin? Overhere, the state is Western Australia.

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namelesswonder
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Re: Central WA Baja

Post by namelesswonder » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:51 am

petew wrote:PHEW, just saw that last pic. Your were only using the bucket to LIFT the roof off! :lol:

Really cool pics in there. Great that you can do that stuff with your dad. You guys really seem to like ragtops.

BTW, is WA, Wisconsin? Overhere, the state is Western Australia.
I had the same feelings about the big machinery hahah

WA is Washington state (as opposed to DC, the nation's capital).

Project looks cool! I love the history surrounding your addiction =)

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Big Dave
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Re: Central WA Baja

Post by Big Dave » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:54 am

Washington state :)
Pacific northwest. He really isn't that far from Vancover Canada.
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cervelorod
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Location: Eastern Washington

Re: Central WA Baja

Post by cervelorod » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:57 am

CWAB - Are you in the Ellensburg area? I haven't really intro'd myself here yet, I just picked up my bug on Saturday. I live near the dunes in Moses Lake.

The bill of materials looks good!

Rod
Last edited by cervelorod on Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1972 Type 1
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kyle_pc_75
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Re: Central WA Baja

Post by kyle_pc_75 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:20 pm

Thanks for the great, classic pics!

Kyle

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CentralWAbaja
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Location: 75 miles east of Seattle

Re: Central WA Baja

Post by CentralWAbaja » Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:25 pm

Yea, central Washington State. Just about smack in the middle of the state is my town Cle Elum. On Interstate 90, about 75 miles east of Seattle.
It is not Mickey Moused.....It's Desert Engineered!

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ajdenette
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Re: Central WA Baja

Post by ajdenette » Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:05 pm

our vw's are scatered around the yard under tarps hiding awy until I or my father and or younger brother have time to get them back on the road. My van and off roader also sits tucked away in a tarp barn safe from the eliments until I canget money (have the time) to get it back on the road. I grew up with vanagons the beeetles and buses were before my time.

I too was woried about the machinery but i thought he was going to try to lift the entire shell i didnt think he was going to crush it. looks good i just want to see pictures of all those parts layed out :shock:
Alex

|_________oo_oo
/ /__/____[_____\
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Joxracing
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Re: Central WA Baja

Post by Joxracing » Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:56 pm

i like the whit and red 'vert.

and the early pics are way cool.

..you guys like your custom 'verts dont yah..?
:D

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Chris V
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Re: Central WA Baja

Post by Chris V » Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:05 pm

Cool stuff. What's the story behind the frame table? You don't see them around too often.

I've got a (full) size baja with the Trans Am kit like your shorty.

Several of the guys I work with have property/cabins in Cle Elum up the hill from Safeway...it's not a bad drive at all, about an hour east of 405 or so, I like it out there.

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CentralWAbaja
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Location: 75 miles east of Seattle

Re: Central WA Baja

Post by CentralWAbaja » Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:21 pm

What? Doesn't everybody lift a bug shell up onto the work table with a mini track hoe?

I know most of us just grab a buddy to help, but no one was around and me with a new plasma cutter to try out. So grabbed the hoe and gave it a lift.

As for the frame table... yea that's exactly what it i for. You'll see it a lot in up coming pics. Makes for a great way to build. Adjustable screw jack for legs to level it out. it's flat and square. Good for measuring off of. Made out of left over steel from my wife's Barn. :D

And yea you could say we like the verts. Makes for great fun on those sunny days in the mountains. Besides I am 6ft 250lbs and a standard bug is way to claustrophobic. Hitler was a little guy and so was Porsche obviously :lol:
It is not Mickey Moused.....It's Desert Engineered!

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bajaherbie
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Re: Central WA Baja

Post by bajaherbie » Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:40 pm

welcome to the dirtpile.....


and i'll say it first, watch out for that bajaherbie guy :shock:


i really liked the old school pics......
Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.

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CentralWAbaja
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Location: 75 miles east of Seattle

Re: Central WA Baja

Post by CentralWAbaja » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:53 pm

Thanks Bajaherbie

Well I know I said I was going to hold on to these but here ya go.

4inches out of the windshield and dash
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8+ inches out of the rear quarter
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Add 4 inches at the dash and windshield
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Add the 8 inches into the new quarters
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The rear quarters will be using the exterior sheet metal only. And the doors will open and close when complete but in order to have something substantial for the latch to close against I cut these jambs out of 1/4 plate. You'll see in later pics that we lightened them with holes. Looks kinda cool too.
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I started with an angle iron frame at the perimeter. This was to help establish the actual width of the car. It will service as the sill for the door to close against and the rear quarter metal to tie into something at the bottom. It has cross ties to hold the width while the cage is fabbed up. These will all be removed after the cage is established and the body tied into the cage. Only the outer ones will stay. It will show up a lot more in later photos.
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Here it was sitting on the table for the first time. Gotta have the nose sitting on it to look good! Before you ask how I plan on widening the fiberglass nose? My answer is....Haven't read that book yet :? I have a couple ideas but I will figure that out later.

And NO the door frames will not be staying....but it kinda looks like a truggy :)
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That's it for now...more to come
It is not Mickey Moused.....It's Desert Engineered!

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david58
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Re: Central WA Baja

Post by david58 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:14 pm

Leatherneck I hope you are paying attention. :mrgreen:
Hot, humid air is less dense than cooler, drier air. This can allow a golf ball to fly through the air with greater ease, as there won't be as much resistance on the ball.

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CentralWAbaja
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Location: 75 miles east of Seattle

Re: Central WA Baja

Post by CentralWAbaja » Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:28 am

OK... So I really wanted to do a genuine convertible car this time. But they are almost impossible to come by up here and I just could not see cutting up 2 of them either. So I set out to "Mimic" the look of the windshield frame of an early vert. As you may know, the later model "flat windshield" standard bugs do not have a true flat windshield like the early bug. They have a slight curve to them.

Widening one of these? Not even sure how we would do that. :?
So i cut a 3/16 plate "windshield" to re-work the frame to. This held the frame flat as well as let us shape to it. After cutting and shaping I still was not happy with the look.
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Having nothing to compare to has made this quite a challenge. Working off nothing but photos (Thanks to STF for all the cool vert builds)

I finally decided to go to my local VW store... over 100 miles each way. I then traced a cardboard template of an actual early vert flat windshield and then modified my plate version.

More cutting, shaping, and well I think we have the look I was trying to achieve. Thanks Dad! :D

He's done most of the actual work on the frame. I just come in and point my finger, flail my arms around, grab the cut off wheel, tack weld it back together and say "There, make that work." and he has!

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Still a lot of grinding, filling and such to go as well as adding the rain gutter back on, but the frame shape is there....Remember I said "Mimic" the look. Go easy on us. I know it probably is not exactly there but, hey I like it.




You are all almost up to date...

I finally started to bend tube just in the last couple weekends. Body is up on the table lifted to it's final place and the bottom rails are in place.

That was cool. I bought "Bend-tech Pro" almost 4 months ago but I could only design the cage to this point as I just now have the body in place to measure to. But I designed it this far, months ago and finally the first tubs are going in...And they fit. That is the coolest part. It takes a little set up but worth it when the first tube is 8ft long and has 4 bends and notched on each end, and it fit with only very slight tweaking.
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OK your up to date!

Thanks to all of the STF regs. The cool builds and the great photos.
This is a good thing for me as it will make me keep track of this build as well
I just want to give back a little

And for all you guys that need to see pics of cool parts laid out on the floor...I will try to find those pics somewhere. :?
It is not Mickey Moused.....It's Desert Engineered!

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