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Baja Bugs and Buggies: How to Prepare VW-Based Cars for Off-Road Fun and Racing
I don't think it was originally planned that way, but there's no doubt that the VW Beetle is a car perfectly suited for off-roading.
With the torsion-arm front suspension, and a lightweight engine coupled to a transaxle, the Bug is an off-road natural.
In this book, veteran off-road racer Jeff Hibbard, shows you what you'll need to do in order to build your Beetle for off-road action, whether for fun or for all-out racing.
You will learn what parts and components break and what you can do to prevent that from happening. Plus, you will learn how to spend your money on things that count.
So, if you are seriously wanting to build the ultimate VW Bug-based off-road machine, VW-Based Baja Bugs and Buggies is the must-read DIY guide!
Book Excerpt: VW-Based Baja Bugs and Buggies
FRONT SUSPENSION AND STEERING
Probably the most common VW-based off-road vehicle is the Baja Bug, or play buggy, with a 1500cc or 1600cc engine and swing-axle rear suspension. This combination has enough power to go where you want, but not enough to tear up the stock transaxle.
TABLE of CONTENTS:
The reason one car can hot foot it across the rough stuff and another can't, when both look the same, is suspension preparation. As good as the engine and transaxle are for off-road use, the Volkswagen suspension, both front and rear, is far better.
You'd swear Dr. Porsche had designed the VW suspension for racing the Baja.
This chapter details modifying the Type-1 front suspension for off-road use. As you may already know, Type 1 refers to the Beetle, Karmann Ghia and 181 Thing vehicles only.
Although the more ungainly bus and Type 3 use front suspensions similar to the Type-1 design, they're not used with any frequency off-road.
MacPherson-Strut Suspension - Before getting into front-suspension modifications, there's one thing you should know. Now all VW Type-1 suspensions are created equal.
The MacPherson-strut front suspension originally used in the '71-and-later Super Beetle and Beetle convertible is not suitable for off-road use. Simply put, it's not durable.
Torsion-Arm Suspension - Other than allowing for a high degree of wheel travel, what makes the VW torsion-arm suspension so adaptable to off-road use is its durability.
Much of this is directly attributable to the suspension geometry. The wheel moves back, up and away from an obstacle. This reduces the shock loading on the VW suspension components.
The suspension geometry on most other cars allows only for vertical travel and a small amount of front-wheel compliance - deflection at rubber-bushed joints.
Subject: Off-Roading: Rails and Buggies: How to build a VW-Beetle-based Baja Bug or Buggie. ISBN-10: 0895861860 | ISBN-13: 9780895861863 | HPBooks 60
- Transaxle and Clutch
- Front Suspension and Steering
- Rear Suspension
- Frames, Roll Cages and Skid Plates
- Driving Lights
- Wheels and Tires
- Fuel tanks
- Building a Baja Bug
- Safety and First Aid
- Driving Tips
- Solutions to Off-Road Breakdowns
- Publisher: HPBooks
- Author: Jeff Hibbard
- Pages: 160 - Over 200 b&w photos and illustrations
- Binding: Paperback - 8.5 x 10.75 inches
- ISBN: 978-0-89586-186-3
Above: Luke Smith's dune buggy. Luke built this street-legal machine back in 1990. Sumter, S.C.