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Author: Subject:  Amateur looking to begin a baja bug daily driver, need ALL the advice
MemberThunderfury 2575
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posted on December 12th, 2016 at 09:36 PM
Amateur looking to begin a baja bug daily driver, need ALL the advice


Hey everybody, over the past few weeks I've been looking into getting a baja bug. In fact, before hearing of the baja's existence i didn't really take a fancy in cars but that's since changed and i've made an account on the forum now! :D

However before I start I'd like to point out that when it comes to cars, I'm more or less a completely newb to the subject. I've only gotten my P plates in the last 8 months so I haven't really had much experience handling many different cars either as many other users may have.

back to the point, I adore the idea of a Baja as a daily driver, and for bashing around in the paddocks and bush trails in my area in my spare time. Not only because I love older style cars, but because beetles sound great, and they look AWESOME...so why not make them more awesome by turning them into an offroad fun-mobile?

So I've prepared a bunch of questions

1. I'm curious as to how effective a Baja would be as a daily car and would it be fuel efficient/cheap to run?

2. If anything goes pear shaped, how much would it cost to find new parts for the bug?

I've been looking online at various websites for modding current beetles into bajas and I've found "VWHeritage". It seems like a good website for finding replacement parts, has anyone bought from the website before?

3. In regards to the model of beetle, I've read a few times online to stay away from the super bug as apparently it's not as sturdy compared to the 73 beetle, which is the suggested model to turn into a baja, is this correct, and what are your thoughts for a good model to look for?

4. Once i've found a suitable model (after scouring the internets of course!), what would be your input on suitable tyres? I'm preferably after mud tyres as my area is mostly bushland (I'm inbetween canberra and sydney, the "Southern Highlands") and the tracks can get really muddy and bumpy.

5. Thoughts on suggested engines? I've been referred to the 1776 engine but the price tag of $5000 isn't so hot.

Would a "stock" beetle engine be enough for flying around on dirt roads and would they still be suitable for quick acceleration in more urban areas such as when i need to turn into an 80K zone? Or would it be more likely to just trundle out of the intersection and pick up speed eventually?

6. Would it be advisable to look into "armouring" up the car such as with some bullbars and a bash plate or would it be better to just use a fibreglass kit to keep it lightweight?

I'd assume the first option considering how I'm looking to use it?
I just don't want to total the car after going over some unforeseen bumps a little too hard.

7. And lastly, I've heard the stock suspension on most beetle models are fine and don't normally need modification for off roading. Is this true? I'm fine with a bumpy ride, as long as it doesn't damage the vehicle.

Thanks everybody, I may have more questions down the line, but these are it for the time being. Once i get my hands on a beetle I'll probably start a progress thread.

And remember I'm completely new to the subject so go easy on me, if you'd like to talk my ear off about beetles too, and how to convert them into a baja, I'd genuinely love to hear it! Knowledge is power! :)




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posted on December 13th, 2016 at 11:38 AM



1. No!
2. Lots a $$$
3. Standard beetle with link pin or ball joint front end not super bug
4. bigger the tyres more power needed to drive them
5. goto answer 4.
6. more weight more power needed, goto answer 5.
7. depends on your driving conditions if you go mad off road and try to be a smart ass. just remember ......a smart arse end up with an arse that smarts !
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posted on December 13th, 2016 at 01:04 PM



I had a baja as my first car on My P's, nothing too special. was the best fun ever.........
http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j92/phatvw/IMG_20160928_093120.jpg

Since then have owned a couple more.......
http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j92/phatvw/IMG_0487.jpg

and in the process of doing a Baja Fasty......
http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j92/phatvw/IMG_20161107_234336.jpg



1. Do it, don't worry about the fue economy.
2. there's tonnes of new and used parts available
3. Any Torsion Bar front suspension beetle
4. Don't go too silly with big tyres as you'll lose your gearing.
5. It's an old car, it won't be zippee in traffic, don't try and drive it like a race car and it'll love you forever
6. Keep it as light as possible.
7. I've had heaps of different set ups, for a daily, try to keep it basic.

My next one will be a '68-'71 bug, mild lift stock body and wheels with 205/75r15 tyres. something like this.........
http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j92/phatvw/09874AA0-FC31-4271-8489-C5A3BE99C466.jpg




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posted on December 13th, 2016 at 02:27 PM



Just get a Beetle and make it an off roader.
See if anyone has a retired rally car for sale.
I used to have one many years ago.
If you can't work on it yourself, forget it.
Parts are generally available from places like Vintage Vee Dub etc.
There are a fair few Beetles still driving around n 2576.




I read it on samba, so it must be correct.

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posted on December 13th, 2016 at 04:00 PM



And keep an eye out for my black '54 before Christmas. :yes: The place will be crawling with 'em !:smilegrin:



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posted on December 13th, 2016 at 09:18 PM



Hey mate.

1. Bajas make great daily drivers. Back when I had mine in one piece I was doing 6-700km a week with the not so occasional 1500km jaunt to Brisbane/Gold Coast area.

2. As mentioned above parts are available new and used everywhere.

3. Steer clear of the strut front end Superbugs. King and link pin front is good for more wheel travel, but requires more maintenance. Balljoint will be a bit more well behaved on road.
For the back the car will likely be swingaxle. Unless you get a semiauto or 76 Beetle. Swinger is fine for your first baja. Just need to remember that they are a little twitchy and unpredictable to drive fast on dirt. But they are predictably unpredictable, if I go too fast round this corner the back tyres are going to try and overtake me.
You can always upgrade to IRS later, that's what I did.

4. I haven't found mud that I couldn't get through yet in my bug with all terrains. It depends entirely how much on and offroad driving that you are going to do with regards to tyre choice. If you only get mud for a few months of the year and are going to spend a lot of time racking up highway kms then all terrains would be a better bet for onroad manners and will last longer. But if you are going to be heading out every weekend and doing boatloads of mud and only need to putt around you local town at 60km/h for most of the rest of the time muddies would be the go.
As for size I would say 31"s straight up. They fit well under a stock guard (might rub a tiny bit of full compression). Give you nice height under the back. And a stock early swinger box has low enough ratios to turn them no worries. I had 31"s, stock swinger box and worn out 1300 single port in my first Baja and got around just fine.

5. As I mentioned above, a stock engine is fine to begin with. Get the car first and start learning as much as you can. You can always upgrade and change things down the track.

6. Don't need armour in a bug. Keep it light and keep it simple. A nice front tube bar is all you need. And a rear cage strong enough to pull out the stuck 4WDs obviously :)

7. Stock suspension is fine to begin with. You will be very impressed with how well the torsion bars soak up the bumps and embarrass the 4WDs. You can mod stuff later on once you get a handle on the basics. It's not hard to cut and turn the front or add adjusters or screw the back up once you know what you want from the car and how you want it to perform.

A bit of light reading in some older threads for you.

http://forums.aussieveedubbers.com/viewtopic.php?tid=89893 

http://forums.aussieveedubbers.com/viewtopic.php?tid=89306 

If you have any more questions just ask mate. There are plenty of knowledgeable people on here to help.


Smiley :)




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posted on December 13th, 2016 at 09:19 PM



Thanks for the feedback everyone, if there's anything else to be said i'd love to hear :)

The vibe I'm getting is it's not the most efficient vehicle for every day use but still a tonne of fun if you treat it right

AA003, HappyDaze, couldn't help but notice you were in the Southern Highlands too, Whereabouts if you don't mind me asking? Also I swear I've seen that black beetle before..

So far I've been looking on the internet a lot for beetles and carsales isn't giving as much luck. But gumtree seems to be going a lot better with that, even if most of the results are somewhat of a drive!




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posted on December 13th, 2016 at 11:18 PM



A Baja as daily for a p plater is all good.
Myself and brother and mates all had Baja's as daily drivers for years. Some of the most memorable years off roading,camping, fishing ect in Baja's.
Easy to work on so you will get mechanical skills up quick. Just keep it fairly basic at first and see if you want all the fruit later.
Word of advice if you start with a swing axle is dont throw it into corners to hard otherwise it is "over",. Literally ! I have much experience in this field!
"Lol but dont do it"
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posted on December 14th, 2016 at 10:05 AM



Yeah don't be a dick like I was on my P's....................

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j92/phatvw/IMG_20160929_161828.jpg




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posted on December 14th, 2016 at 11:27 AM



If your after a project, this is a good start..........

http://forums.aussieveedubbers.com/viewtopic.php?tid=111892 




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posted on December 14th, 2016 at 05:45 PM



Quote:
Originally posted by Thunderfury 2575
AA003, HappyDaze, couldn't help but notice you were in the Southern Highlands too, Whereabouts if you don't mind me asking?


I'm at the North end of Bowral and HappyDaze is at North Moss Vale.:lol:




I read it on samba, so it must be correct.

Sometimes Volkswagen dealers sell spare parts. Amazing isn't it!:lol:
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posted on December 14th, 2016 at 07:12 PM



Wow, didn't expect to get so much help this quickly! Words cannot describe how grateful i am everybody :)



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posted on December 14th, 2016 at 09:09 PM



Also cast your peepers at manxclub.org
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posted on December 14th, 2016 at 11:15 PM



Quote:
Originally posted by AA003
Quote:
Originally posted by Thunderfury 2575
AA003, HappyDaze, couldn't help but notice you were in the Southern Highlands too, Whereabouts if you don't mind me asking?


I'm at the North end of Bowral and HappyDaze is at North Moss Vale.:lol:


Wow that's amazing! I'm near Berrima so g'day neighbours!




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posted on December 15th, 2016 at 06:36 AM



Maybe we should have a meeting...I know a good pub. :yes:



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posted on December 15th, 2016 at 06:47 AM



Quote:
Originally posted by HappyDaze
Maybe we should have a meeting...I know a good pub. :yes:


Scottish Arms?




I read it on samba, so it must be correct.

Sometimes Volkswagen dealers sell spare parts. Amazing isn't it!:lol:
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posted on December 15th, 2016 at 06:58 AM



Perfect !

Email... greg at kirrapak dot com




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posted on December 15th, 2016 at 06:53 PM



Sent out an email, I'm keen to learn some new things!



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posted on December 15th, 2016 at 06:54 PM



Quote:
Originally posted by PHAT BUG
Yeah don't be a dick like I was on my P's....................

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j92/phatvw/IMG_20160929_161828.jpg


How did you manage that! :o




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posted on December 16th, 2016 at 05:55 AM



It was a mixture of things, inexperience/100kph/wildlife/4ft deep concrete table drain



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posted on December 16th, 2016 at 06:50 AM



Unfortunately 'experience' is something you cannot buy...although it can be expensive. :yes:



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posted on December 17th, 2016 at 01:52 PM



Hoo boy mate, that there is one reason why I'm tempted to get a roll cage for mine! :P



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posted on February 9th, 2017 at 11:48 PM



As Blaster or "Benji" is going to be predominantly a street car would I be better of with a slightly smaller street tire with a larger all-terrain on the back? I have seen a few like this and I think the stance looks good but I don't know how it would handle on the street.
And would I benefit from a roll-cage for off-road purposes?




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posted on February 12th, 2017 at 07:20 PM



Quote:
Originally posted by BlasterTheRedBajaBug
As Blaster or "Benji" is going to be predominantly a street car would I be better of with a slightly smaller street tire with a larger all-terrain on the back? I have seen a few like this and I think the stance looks good but I don't know how it would handle on the street.
And would I benefit from a roll-cage for off-road purposes?


If it is going to be a mostly street car you would be best off getting some rear tyres in the 29-30" sort of range. It also depends on what transaxle is in the car.
For handling you want to try to prevent it having too nose down a stance. This wrecks your castor and effects the handling. Standard height in the back with a 28 or 29 inch tall tyre and as big as you want to fit under the front and a cut and turn on the beam or adjusters would be the go. If you can't/don't want to do adjusters you can pick up some castor shims to fit behind the beam that will help give you some more positive castor.
Unless you are going very fast offroad I wouldn't bother with a cage. Just makes the care harder to get in and out of and put stuff into. Makes it heavier and raises your centre of gravity. If you are planning to race/jump a lot probably a good idea. but you won't be doing that with standard suspension anyway.


Smiley :)




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