1 2 3
JThw8
JThw8 PowerDork
12/1/14 8:52 a.m.

So it all started with a post by sanyarcosean over in the classifieds (http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/200x-classifieds/sand-rail/95699/page1/). I don't remember the original asking price but it was tempting even then. But I am trying to clear out stuff and get back to work on the Wartburg, no new projects. Then he dropped the price and the temptation was greater but still, what would I do with it? There's no place to offroad around my house and making a sand rail street legal in NJ is almost impossible (spare me the shady ways of doing it, I know how but I'd rather not do the shady stuff anymore)

Still I had often thought about building one as an autocross car, applying tricks I learned from Solo Vee and trying to make it handle. I was almost convinced. Then GRM posts up the skid pad challenge, well that was the final straw. Off to central PA goes I. Of course I have neither truck nor trailer but hey, there's a hitch on my Marauder and I'm not afraid to use it.

A few hours later and a stop for some flowers for the wife and it was tucked safely back in my shop.

In an ideal world the picture below is kind of my inspiration but more race oriented than rat. But realistically it's probably better to keep the upper cage structure, I guess we'll see where my sawzall leads me.

Next up, assessment, and plans.

mndsm
mndsm MegaDork
12/1/14 9:03 a.m.

Oh this is way better than anything I had envisioned. Needs alllll the Hoosier.

JThw8
JThw8 PowerDork
12/1/14 9:13 a.m.

Ok, assessment and plans thus far:

Engine: She came with a 1600 single port and a 2.0 bus motor. The 1600 will be the quick and easy path to movement and I will get it running pretty quick so I have it as an option. I'd prefer to use the bus motor for obvious reasons but it will require a conversion to carburetors (currently has an incomplete FI system) and some flywheel modifications at a minimum. There is also the small possibility I'll borrow the subaru motor and adapter from the Wartburg for awhile but honesly for its purpose either of the VW motors should suffice.

Suspension: The rear trailing arms were modified in a most hideous way. I will replace these with stock units. I had considered swapping to the aluminum porsche units but that would change my bolt pattern and as the car came with 15x10 wheels to get some big sticky tires in back I'll keep the 4 bolt. The overall goal is to keep this cheap but functional.

The front beam is a hacked up mess with some pretty poorly fabbed shock towers but I think I can clean it all up and make it work rather than rebuild. The top leaf pack for the torsion beam will be replaced with a solid rod to act as a sway bar, the lower pack will get beefed up and an adjuster added to lower the front. Coil overs may be used on the front shocks if a higher spring rate is needed.

The pedal cluster is crap, the Wartburg is getting converted to a hanging pedal setup so the buggy floor mount set that is in there is perfect for this application.

The steering is rather interesting as well. Stock system but the rebar and angle iron steering column leaves a bit to be desired. I have a center mount buggy rack and pinion left over from another project so that will go into use and a new columun with some u-joints will be built.

This is one way to mount a shifter in a buggy. Not a great way but it works. Its functional and I should leave it, but oh hell no. I'll get a proper shifter box and I want to put a better shifter in the wartburg so I'll buy that now and use it on the buggy then put a stock one back in the buggy when the wartburg is ready for the shifter.

Brakes - This thing was set up for dirt track roundy round work. As such it has rear drums and ONE front drum. All the brake lines are hard lines, no flexible rubber anywhere. WTF. (I should stop and note that any disparaging remarks about a PO are directed to the owner prior to sanyarcosean, he did not do this butchery on the car.) but hey at least they werent fastened to anything so they could all move any where they wanted. Sigh. The car came with spindles and disks from a karman ghia which will go up front and the rear drums will just get reconditioned. New lines, with rubber lines where appropriate, will be run.

Finally I will add lightness by removing much of the unnecessary bits of the rail. Many additions were made (marked in red/pink in the photos) which were not part of the original chassis. These will be removed, along with the rock slider bars on the sides since they aren't needed and everything will get cleaned up.

The_Jed
The_Jed UltraDork
12/1/14 9:21 a.m.

This looks interesting!

Looking forward to living vicariously, as usual.

JThw8
JThw8 PowerDork
12/1/14 9:37 a.m.

So yesterday I got the party started in the usual way, make things fall apart.

First I pulled the motor:

Then the drive axles and transaxle

Next the sawzall and grinders got their turn. Front bracing came out (it wasnt bracing anything)

Let's start a pile of removed crap (the brake lines are in there too)

More cutting and grinding

The pile grows

That's where it sits for now. At one time the rail was skinned and the skin was screwed on so I spent the rest of the day grinding down all the tiny screws sticking up out of the bars so I'd stop cutting myself on them. I'm going to have to weld a lot of tiny holes shut. Ordered a few parts an need to tackle cutting out the floor next.

I'll eventually post a formal Parts Wanted post but I could really use some large sticky tires to fit 15x10 and 15x6 wheels. A carburetor setup for a T4 VW motor and some stock VW trailing arms. So if anyone is looking to get rid of parts and gain my hard earned money give me a holler.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson PowerDork
12/1/14 9:40 a.m.

I absolutlly love this concept. It's one of the things I day dream about doing if I had the skills and time. I really hope for success with this.

I posted a thread a few years ago with some pics of UK Kit cars from the 80's with some sand rail based street/race cars here. https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/cool-old-british-kit-cars/48216/page1/

Here are another couple of pics of UVA Fugative II's and III's Before they released the F33 and Can Am someone was racing a rear engined UVA Fugative in kit car racing, I believe it had a still rear mounted Ford Pinto lump, but was still quite succesfull until people started racing the CanAm with better aero and a mid engine.

I just wish I could find some pics of one actually racing.

Here are some of the F33 and CanAm though

tb
tb HalfDork
12/1/14 9:56 a.m.

Though technically I am plotting to compete against you at the skid pad, in typical grm fashion I really want to get my hands dirty working on your ride. I have been casually watching this project so far and cannot wait to get a close look at it all and even turn some wrenches if opportunity arises.

Between my father and brother we have had at least 3 beetles and 2 buses and 1 ghia vert. but they were gone before I learned much about cars in general enough to do much with them. Years ago I got some decent seat time in a formula Vee and have never forgotten how much fun it was! I know very little about the details of the suspension stuff you are talking about, but keep up the updates so I can learn something new!

Deep down I have always wanted a VW rail or maybe some kind of Manx type vehicle. I do have access to some decent beaches to enjoy these legally...

JThw8
JThw8 PowerDork
12/1/14 10:38 a.m.
tb wrote: Though technically I am plotting to compete against you at the skid pad,

Let's be clear, Im going to the skid pad challenge as an excuse to build this car and to have some laughs. I won't be competitive :)

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse Dork
12/1/14 10:49 a.m.

Subscribed.

EdHigginbotham
EdHigginbotham Editorial Assistant
12/1/14 11:08 a.m.

This is awesome. Can't wait to see it at the Skidpad Challenge!

VWguyBruce
VWguyBruce HalfDork
12/1/14 11:14 a.m.

Cool project. Sounds like you know exactly what you're doing. We were looking at rails on CL last week at work since a couple of us have motors laying around.

I bought the upright conversion manual from Next Gen Upright Conversion You've got the parts right there.

Here's a thread in practice. http://www.shoptalkforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=123238

tb
tb HalfDork
12/1/14 11:23 a.m.
JThw8 wrote: Let's be clear, Im going to the skid pad challenge as an excuse to build this car and to have some laughs. I won't be competitive :)

Understood completely. Like I said, it is just a technicality in that it is a form of competition for some people. I am well past my glory days of trying to actually be competitive in anything I do at this point.

Like many of us, this is just a (largely unneeded) excuse to tinker with my car a bit. I am in it just to have a good time and to see what everyone else shows up with.

JThw8
JThw8 PowerDork
12/1/14 11:25 a.m.
VWguyBruce wrote: Cool project. Sounds like you know exactly what you're doing. We were looking at rails on CL last week at work since a couple of us have motors laying around. I bought the upright conversion manual from Next Gen Upright Conversion You've got the parts right there. Here's a thread in practice. http://www.shoptalkforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=123238

Well it's definitely not my first VW rodeo but I'm always open to advice or "you're doing it wrong" There's so much anecdotal knowledge in the VW community that there's a lot of bad info that's been spoken as if it were fact, no doubt some of that is in my mental database whether I like it or not so sanity checks are always appreciated.

I won't be doing an upright conversion, why bother? Plenty of room in the rail to keep it as is. My whole goal is cheap, simple and quick (the project completion not the car itself) But some of the general lessons in the manual are helpful such as flywheel selection and modification. Im pretty sure I'll go with a 200mm conversion flywheel so I can use the cheaper bug pressure plate and clutches.

petegossett
petegossett PowerDork
12/1/14 1:45 p.m.

I have a set of brand new(old) Goodyear 15x10 slicks. Convince me why I need to drive all the way out there from IL and buy whatever awesome vehicle(s) you have for sale this week & I'll bring them along.

JThw8
JThw8 PowerDork
12/1/14 1:48 p.m.
petegossett wrote: I have a set of brand new(old) Goodyear 15x10 slicks. Convince me why I need to drive all the way out there from IL and buy whatever awesome vehicle(s) you have for sale *this week* & I'll bring them along.

Do you prefer practical -

Or Awesome?

Or seriously if you are looking to sell them maybe we can ship them not too expensively?

Jim Pettengill
Jim Pettengill HalfDork
12/1/14 3:36 p.m.

Just a few rail comments from the foggy past:

1) About 20 years ago there were a couple of very fast sandrail chassis autocross cars in the Phoenix area, I think at least one was rear engine. You have the IRS, so that's good.

2) You have Solo Vee experience, so you probably already know some of the following (probably most of it): the biggest problem is making a rail not understeer like a pig. If the front end is too stiff, it pushes. If it's too soft, the up-and-down movement can make for some really dramatic bump steer, particularly with some rack and pinion conversions. I rode with a friend once who had softened his front end and added a Rabbit rack and pinion, and when he went from on to off throttle, you could watch the front wheels go through about 30 degrees of toe change. scary! A ball joint front end would really help get some camber assistance. Taming the front end is the biggest challenge.

3) For the skidpad challenge, I'd really work on oil control. Vees just used a small sump extension, and it's easy to put on a deep sump, but for the skidpad I'd really consider a dry sump setup - easy to put on VW aircooled engines. Need to keep the oil going to the bearings, not filling up the valve covers.

4) Really big wings! Or suction.

Seriously, a well developed rail can be a really quick autocrosser, and easy to tow with a two bar. Down in New Mexico years ago we had a guy running a 2180 powered Vee with big wings, and he was really fast.

JThw8
JThw8 PowerDork
12/1/14 3:59 p.m.

In reply to Jim Pettengill:

Thanks Jim, good advice. It will be interesting to set this up. I reference Vees but since they are swingaxle/kingpin and the rail is IRS/balljoint it will be very different. I never had too much trouble with pushing with the vee but I can see where it will be an issue on the rail. Part of the problem is the fronts are just too light with all the weight out back. I will be moving as much up front as I can with battery and fuel (3 gallon cell) in front of the front beam but that will only do so much. I would love to slather this with some big wings but budget and good scrounging will dictate if that happens :) Suction was considered as well, it would certainly be interesting.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic PowerDork
12/1/14 4:40 p.m.

I've been wanting to to this with my dad's stalled rail project(stock travel kingpin/swingaxle mild 1600DP, relatively hackery free) for some time now. More of a dual sport locost type thing though.

petegossett
petegossett PowerDork
12/1/14 6:34 p.m.

In reply to JThw8:

Oh you have no idea how bad I want that wagon! I just don't have a need for it, or a place for it. That said, I have to ask - what's the current price?

Oh, and I could ship the tires. I don't know what it would cost, but I'm guessing under $100? I'd let you have the set for $100.

JThw8
JThw8 PowerDork
12/1/14 7:19 p.m.
petegossett wrote: In reply to JThw8: Oh you have no idea how bad I want that wagon! I just don't have a *need* for it, or a *place* for it. That said, I have to ask - what's the current price? Oh, and I could ship the tires. I don't know what it would cost, but I'm guessing under $100? I'd let you have the set for $100.

It's currently listed at $3750 but I have room to work with GRMers :) I will most likely take you up on the tires I just gotta let the bank account recover, after christmas sometime?

JThw8
JThw8 PowerDork
12/1/14 7:30 p.m.

Little bits make the whole so I did some more little bits tonite.

First up, more added lightness when mr. sawzall met the rock rails.

And the pile grows some more.

Then I finished up by starting the teardown of the 2.0 engine. Right now its not makeing a full rotation, I get maybe 300-325 degrees then it stops might be a rust ridge from sitting, might just be something fouling up the valvetrain. I had another one like this one time and I pulled the heads expecting to find something and it was fine. rotated fine with the heads off, I reinstalled the heads and it rotated, never really understood what was wrong but it worked after that. Hoping for a repeat.

It's not an oily mess, I have it soaking in PB blaster so I can get all the cooling tin screws out.

adoyle88
adoyle88 New Reader
12/1/14 7:38 p.m.

I'm very excited about your build. My dad and I had a fun weekend a year and a half ago tossing together a dune buggy similar to yours.

It started as a neglected buggy we got for free when we bought two transaxles from a guy at a VW meet. It had king pin front suspension and the rear was built to accept an automatic transmission. We replaced the front with a ball joint beam and attached a proper manual transmission rear assembly.

We used a single port we had lying around and had a little fun in the field next to the shop.

Here's a time lapse of the build: YouTube.

I haven't heard about the skidpad challenge but I hope your buggy does well.

JThw8
JThw8 PowerDork
12/1/14 7:46 p.m.

How was the power with the single port? Part of me thinks I should make my life easy and just toss the single port in rather than go nuts on the T4 motor.

GRM just announced the Skid Pad challenge here http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/we-challenge-you/95972/page1/

The "no rules" factor always gets me :)

petegossett
petegossett PowerDork
12/1/14 8:07 p.m.

In reply to JThw8:

Sigh...that's still about $2k more than I could scrounge together for it. No problem on the tires, I've had them about a year & a half so I doubt they'll go anywhere unless they decide to roll themselves there.

adoyle88
adoyle88 New Reader
12/1/14 8:27 p.m.

I read the skid pad thread. Sounds awesome. Its got my dad and I thinking about making the 13 hour drive to join the fun (with our cobalt powered car instead of the dune buggy).

The singleport we used was far from fresh and based on the soot blowing out around the number 3 and 4 cylinders, the head was falling off. However, with the buggy being so light, it felt far from underpowered. We raced it in the field against my brother's 1776cc (heavy) Baja bug and beat him by a nose.

With a fresh singleport and street tires (instead of the 31 inch mud tires we had) I feel like you'd have enough power for the skid pad. If you want some more power you could probably find a cam that'll pop the valves open a little more aggressively without even having to get stouter valve springs. I'd get in touch with some formula vee guys for some tips on that.

1 2 3
Our Preferred Partners
1B4GAr85GWJuf2WFDK1ZtPS44wixpuj1E7MVtSNYeWSeMKbXSO9G1j0MBWceGp9k