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captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
1/6/19 2:13 p.m.

Right before January rolled around, it was brought to my attention that the Gambler 500 has been taking place locally to me for the last 3 years. It always sounded like a ton of fun, and the cheap nature of the whole event tugs at my automotive heart strings. I planned to pick up a project sometime around February or March so I could stay focused on getting my e21 ready for it's first autocross events. That would also give me enough time to get whatever Gambler car I pick some much needed test and tune time. Of course I immediately started scouring the Facebooks and the Craigslists for a jalopy that would work. I stumbled on an ad for a 63 swingaxle baja bug with a 1835 single carb. There is another swingarm chassis with a roll cage, but only the 63 has a title. In Arkansas getting a title is simple, but funds are tight and I don't want a bunch of baja junk taking up precious space. I secured the purchase of the 63 only for $650 and picked it up Saturday. He insisted I take a tub of another dual port that was disassembled and other junk poorly tossed into a milk crate. Every time I have bought a VW, it always includes a milk crate and a plastic bin of what is mostly trash. I tried hard to not take the stuff because it all looked useless to me at first glance, but he insisted I take them.

Picking up this 4 wheeled turd ended up being quite an adventure, which honestly made the purchase that much more fun. The field in which the car was parked, is on top of a fairly large hillside (mountain) in the Ozarks. My buddy agreed to drive his truck and trailer to pick the car up, but the guy I bought it from was less than informative on how muddy and steep the path would be or that it was so remote. It took a handful of attempts to get where we were safe to load, and quite a few moments where it wasn't looking like we would make it out at all. You can see in the background a large mud puddle, but can't see most of the slippery hill before or after it. Either way, the car did not fail to impress and was exactly what I was looking for. A haggard old baja that I wouldn't mind tearing up while hitting some trails.

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

After struggling to get the truck and trailer to a dry spot for loading, it was obvious that the car wasn't going to easily make it to the same spot without some help. A tractor was hooked up and drug the beast into position. We tried to roll it up the trailer by human strength, but failed to get it over the ramp humps. The rear cradle and tire rack was attached only at the roof from tearing out the firewall and lower mounts, so we tried to position it against the tractor to push it up the rest of the way. Thank the Lloyd for agriculture equipment!

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Video of tractor pull action.

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All loaded and ready to splash down the hill.

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After getting down the hill and pointed the right direction I noticed the spare tire was just about to slide off the rack. It got tossed in the truck bed, and the only other stops along the way were for food and a quick car wash to knock the mud off. You are looking at a rare and genuine Chevrolet Baja Bug, not much info on them out there and unsure of how many were ever made. At this point I know the car is a little more of a project than I hoped for, but at least it has style for miles.

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

My original and current plan is to spend as close to zero dollars on this until it is proven to be a running machine. The motor turns over, and from what I can tell was left in the field because some old gas clogged up the single Weber setup. It successfully made it through the first two Arkansas Gamblers, so it would be sweet to make it one more time under new ownership. I'm gathering up way too many pics and information to start dumping, but for now it's going to be strictly based on what I need to do first so I can stay focused. To keep my e21 on track I am only going to spend maybe an hour or so per week on it. For now I have a couple cheap parts to order and a few little tweaks to prepare for the first start.

Oil change

Intake seals and gaskets

Clean Weber and assess it's ability to carburate without a full rebuild

Missing carb studs on manifold

Missing rotor on distributor, doesn't appear to be in any boxes or parts bins

Pull exhaust away from crank pulley for clearance

Quick and dirty wiring to test motor

That's the beginning, and if all goes well I will progress on to the next step of making it road worthy. I'm hoping some of the parts I have are worth something to someone so I can use those funds for some other issues I have stumbled upon. The dual Weber 34 icts were a pleasant surprise from the parts forced upon me, and I think could be worth a few bucks. We'll see.

jmc14
jmc14 Reader
1/6/19 2:17 p.m.

Nice project! 

Pattyo
Pattyo Reader
1/6/19 3:20 p.m.

I was seriously looking at this exact ad last night and trying to figure out the logistics of lugging two bajas back to Fort Worth... 

I think you bought the cheapest complete baja in four states.

Good luck!

 

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Reader
1/6/19 6:34 p.m.

Love it.

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
1/6/19 6:57 p.m.
Pattyo said:

I was seriously looking at this exact ad last night and trying to figure out the logistics of lugging two bajas back to Fort Worth... 

I think you bought the cheapest complete baja in four states.

Good luck!

 

Cheapest and complete for sure, but it's rough. So far it looks like the whole spindle assembly on the driver side and tie rod is bent causing a heavy amount of positive camber, and the rear tire wear is showing signs of possible toe issues. If the motor ends up usable I think it could be classified as a good deal. Paint and body on this thing is terrible, but like mentioned before I kinda like the idea of not worrying. It "appears" that the pan is in good shape other than a couple small rust spots, and there's quite a few sheetmetal/drywall screws fastening something to them. I really wish the tires were in better shape, but honestly at this point I feel like I got my money's worth. Especially when you consider these fine artifacts were included in the purchase price.

 

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B13Birk
B13Birk HalfDork
1/6/19 7:16 p.m.

Love it! In to follow along #ABG

dropstep
dropstep UltraDork
1/6/19 8:41 p.m.

I've never seen a swingaxle bug that doesn't have toe issues and eat the inside of tires. We scrapped a few handrails that were built with that set up. Still cheap fun I'd just avoid road miles as much as possible 

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
1/6/19 8:46 p.m.
dropstep said:

I've never seen a swingaxle bug that doesn't have toe issues and eat the inside of tires. We scrapped a few handrails that were built with that set up. Still cheap fun I'd just avoid road miles as much as possible

It's the outside of the tire that's wearing funny, and only the passenger side from what I can tell. Maybe it's not a toe issue? Or it wore funny on the driver side and they swapped tires to even out the wear pattern? I think you would have to dismount the tires in order to do that though.

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

 

java230
java230 UltraDork
1/6/19 9:17 p.m.

Following along! I have always wanted a Baja bug 

dropstep
dropstep UltraDork
1/6/19 11:38 p.m.
captainawesome said:
dropstep said:

I've never seen a swingaxle bug that doesn't have toe issues and eat the inside of tires. We scrapped a few handrails that were built with that set up. Still cheap fun I'd just avoid road miles as much as possible

It's the outside of the tire that's wearing funny, and only the passenger side from what I can tell. Maybe it's not a toe issue? Or it wore funny on the driver side and they swapped tires to even out the wear pattern? I think you would have to dismount the tires in order to do that though.

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

 

I meant outside. Sorry had a dumbass attack. 

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
1/7/19 9:55 a.m.
dropstep said:
captainawesome said:
dropstep said:

I've never seen a swingaxle bug that doesn't have toe issues and eat the inside of tires. We scrapped a few handrails that were built with that set up. Still cheap fun I'd just avoid road miles as much as possible

It's the outside of the tire that's wearing funny, and only the passenger side from what I can tell. Maybe it's not a toe issue? Or it wore funny on the driver side and they swapped tires to even out the wear pattern? I think you would have to dismount the tires in order to do that though.

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

 

I meant outside. Sorry had a dumbass attack. 

No worries. I need all the help I can get from anyone experienced in a swing axle or beetles in general. I had a 66 Ghia for a very short duration of time and have already forgotten most of the info I absorbed. Same for a parts pile of IRS baja stuff that didn't interest me when purchased. It looks like the torsion plate is tweaked on the passenger side, but seems unlikely to cause the issue I'm seeing. Honestly it's the last of my worries, as the front driver side link pin trailing arms and spindle are probably junk.

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Here's the front end bendage. Notice the tie rod arm way closer than the passenger side. The inner end of the tie rod is bent as well.

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Here you can kinda see the spindle is tweaked and no longer parallel to the beam.

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Luckily the passenger looks correct enough I think.

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I'm trying my best to only spend what's necessary to get it roadworthy, but it's tough not pulling the trigger on all new brakes and suspension stuff like I usually would.

 

2002maniac
2002maniac Dork
1/7/19 1:06 p.m.

Very nice!

I also picked up my Gambler project this weekend, but it's nowhere near as cool as yours!

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
1/7/19 1:14 p.m.
2002maniac said:

Very nice!

I also picked up my Gambler project this weekend, but it's nowhere near as cool as yours!

What’s the project and where’s your future Gambler location?

2002maniac
2002maniac Dork
1/7/19 2:04 p.m.

It's a 1st gen Subaru Outback.  I plan on fixing the Heagaskets and converting to RWD. 

I'm near Salt Lake City.  I did the Utah Gambler last year in a saturn vue and had a blast! The course ranged from narrow ridgeline tracks at 10k feet to high speed desert roads. So much fun! I took a bunch of pictures and planned on doing a writeup of the event, but never got around to it sad

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
1/7/19 2:34 p.m.

My father in law has a 98 or 99 Outback with a bad clutch sitting in a field that was possibly going to to be my Gambler car. It would have been a good candidate, but after spotting this Baja I quickly forgot about the Suby.

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
1/8/19 7:59 a.m.

So I took the Weber Progressive apart last night to assess the situation. It was definitely dirty, but also had a bad inner gasket that potentially caused an air leak on the secondary circuit. Everything was dipped in Berryman's, then rinsed and blown with compressed air. All jets and passages appear to be nice and clear now. I made note of the jets, and I think they are probably lean on the secondary circuit, but I need to do more research. Thinking  a 180-5 on air jet secondary and main but I'll see how it runs as it's set up first. A new base gasket and inner gasket have been ordered, I just need to see how many intake and exhaust studs I'll need to seal it up right. I've also ordered new intake seals and gaskets, oil strainer/gasket kit, and a new rotor for the distributor.

Things added to the to do list:

Adjust valves

Adjust timing

 

Main jet: Primary - 137  Secondary - 140

Air jet: Primary - 160  Secondary - 165

Idles: Primary - 50 Secondary - 60

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Nice and cleanish now.

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr


 

 

 

 

bashr52
bashr52 New Reader
1/8/19 8:19 a.m.

In reply to captainawesome :

Captain,

I'm a long time lurker who just casually browsed but never created an account until now. I felt compelled to just to give you some guidance on this build cheeky The best thing you can do right now, is take that junk Pinto carb and throw it as far away form the car as you can get it! There is a way to make them work on a VW engine, but it is very complicated, time consuming, and they will never run as well or work as good as some other options out there. If you have a set of ICT's that came with the car, hands down they are the better option. You will get more power and better mileage.

Do you have any engine shots you can post? There may be some things that I can point out that you may want to address. I'm betting there is a cheap 009 clone installed for a distributor.

Feel free to ask me any other questions that come up, VW's are kind of my thing.

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
1/8/19 9:18 a.m.
bashr52 said:

In reply to captainawesome :

Captain,

I'm a long time lurker who just casually browsed but never created an account until now. I felt compelled to just to give you some guidance on this build cheeky The best thing you can do right now, is take that junk Pinto carb and throw it as far away form the car as you can get it! There is a way to make them work on a VW engine, but it is very complicated, time consuming, and they will never run as well or work as good as some other options out there. If you have a set of ICT's that came with the car, hands down they are the better option. You will get more power and better mileage.

Do you have any engine shots you can post? There may be some things that I can point out that you may want to address. I'm betting there is a cheap 009 clone installed for a distributor.

Feel free to ask me any other questions that come up, VW's are kind of my thing.

Thanks for the info and offer for help, I could probably use it. I know the Weber isn't well loved, but for cheap skate sake I decided cleaning up one carb to just get it going and test the motor's ability to do motor stuff would be the quickest route. I have been thinking heavily on the 34 ICTs and for now they aren't getting sold off. They don't look too terrible and appear to be complete with all the linkage. The distributor looks like a legit Bosch 009 with some sort of electronic ignition. I'm not certain which, and I haven't really looked at it too hard to check. Only pics I have are kinda crappy, but I will take some decent ones this afternoon and report back.

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

bashr52
bashr52 New Reader
1/8/19 9:39 a.m.

Any idea what kind of electric fuel pump you have?

It's kind of hard to tell from the pics but it does look like a replacement distributor. The 009 was only factory installed on industrial engines. Not to say it couldn't be one, but more often than not it's a replacement.

I'd also hook up that oil pressure idiot light. Only thing you have to tell that something isn't right. Are there heat riser connections on that exhaust? Biggest issue with those single carb conversions is no manifold heat. Aftermarket exhausts usually just have the flanges that are welded to the pipes and are often not drilled out. You need a negative flow on one side to promote proper circulation of the exhaust gases, so a good manifold and modified exhaust system are a must before you can begin to tune those center mount carbs. No issues with the duals since the heads warm the manifolds.

You also have an alternator which is nice, is it a single wire type, or externally regulated?

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
1/8/19 9:50 a.m.

Not sure on wires for the alternator right now, but I'd guess single since I didn't notice any external regulator. I think a lot of the wires have been ripped or chewed on, so there's plans to rewire everything, one circuit at a time.

The manifold I have doesn't have the heat riser tubes, and I don't see them in the parts bins. I've read they are pretty important for colder weather, so it would be nice to have. If I had to buy those tubes or another manifold, I'll probably just clean and run the dual 34s.

Is there any way to tell if this is a legit 1835 or just a number someone used to fluff the sales pitch? I know the guy I got it from didn't do it, so I'm hoping the previous owner wasn't blowing smoke.

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP Reader
1/8/19 10:20 a.m.

   Looks like that carb has a "power" valve at the bottom of the float bowl.    You might look for a similar Holley carb that doesn't have that silly feature, I think it's called a Holley 5200 series, it's copy of a weber.   Not sure how to ID a Holley that won't have the power valve.

     The twin smaller webers would be a better set-up.

 

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
1/8/19 10:29 a.m.

I guess I was under the assumption dual carbs suck for off road, especially to keep in sync. I know there are varying opinions about the Progressive Weber for sure. It seems most of what I have read is that they need the proper distributor paired with it to really shine. It's a pile of information that often times is tough to make informed decisions from, so I'm thinking I have two options to test out that wouldn't hurt the wallet and pick which one works best.

bashr52
bashr52 New Reader
1/8/19 10:29 a.m.

Only different between the 1600 and 1835 is piston size (85.5 vs 92). Some people claim you can tell by compression numbers (higher numbers on the bigger pistons), which may be true on a fresh engine. Only way to know for sure is to pull a head and check the pistons. Not knowing the history of the car, I have found that 99% of the time someone sells a used car with a bigger than stock engine, they are either a stock 1600, or maybe a 1641 as that is a drop in conversion with no machining needed.

Good manifold heat is a necessity for cold weather, but I have seen ice on a manifold on a hot summer day. You'll want it regardless to make sure you're getting fuel vaporization.

I know dual carbs are a turnoff for some due to the need for syncing them, adjusting linkage, etc. but you will find that once they are setup correctly, you barely need to touch them. I just throw a sync tool on mine and verify the linkage whenever I check the valves. 

captainawesome
captainawesome Reader
1/8/19 10:33 a.m.

Here's a pic or two of the 34s. I think all the linkage is there and should work. They are the Spain version, which I "think" is good?

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

Untitled by hatchethairy, on Flickr

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP Reader
1/8/19 11:57 a.m.

  I would try using those two weber's instead of the single with the power valve.   Or try to find a weber or Holley two barrel without the power valve, the power valve set-up is a emissions carb, set slightly lean, until there is a load, acceleration, then the power valve should open.   For info and stuff, might look up CB racing they have lots of VW stuff, I bought from them before, other than that I have no connection to them.

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