2019 Activities:



15 April, 2019

Trevor and I spent all day on Saturday finalizing the front end on his Baja Bug update - the steering is installed and adjusted and we modified the fuel tank to fit around the new steering box.  Trevor test drove the car around the shop area and says the steering works great - just like the race car before power steering.  The fuel tank mods were challenging: we wanted to retain as much capacity as possible while eliminating the interference issues and we need it to be "leak free".  In the end, we were able to fit the tank in the stock location with minimal loss of capacity.  We leak checked all the welds before adding any fuel; it took several tries to close up all the little leaks but now, after a couple of days with fuel in the tank, we don't see any leaks.  This is an area that we'll keep our eyes on for a while.....

I picked up our "new" shop lathe today - a 1960's vintage Logan Lathe.  I need to wire in a "phase converter" so we can run the 3-phase motor off our "single phase" 220 power at the shop.  Hopefully, that'll be fairly easy......


07April, 2019

We've had a bit of a break from the Baja Bug update project - I spent nearly the entire month of March in Memphis learning a new airplane for work (Boeing 767) and we were waiting on SACO to manufacture and ship our somewhat unusual "offset input" steering rack.  We could have purchased a standard "center steer" rack off the shelf but that would have forced some fairly acute steering shaft angles and the resulting potential for binding and excess "slop".....  The rack finally arrived just as I returned home from Memphis so we're back at work on the project.


New "Rack and Pinion" steering unit fitted but not "final installed"
We still need to add a steering shaft support bearing near the universal closest to the steering wheel and secure all the hardware.


17 February, 2019

Trevor and I have been steadily making progress on his yellow Baja Bug conversion; the link pin suspension conversion portion is essentially complete but we are waiting for the new steering rack to arrive so we can finalize the steering geometry.  We are also awaiting the arrival of new front wheels/brakes so we can get the car back on the tires - his existing wheels will not work with "combo spindles".  Soon, we'll have enough spare parts left over to build another car.....


New front suspension complete and ready for wheels/brakes


Marking for "fender reduction surgery"
The new suspension allows nearly 10" of travel and would create tire/fender interference problems without some trimming.
We were able to avoid the need to cut clearance holes in the hood for the upper shock mounts - it's a tight fit that required
a bit of "massaging" to get right......


Original fender shape with tape marking proposed trim line


No going back now....


Final fender shape - I really like the new look


Final trim shape block sanded and edges smoothed.
We gained all the clearance we needed and still have a "finished" look.


04 February, 2019

Our Fortin 2.5 Power Rack

Trevor and I made a run to McKenzie's on Saturday; the pre-runner has been sitting in Trevor's garage since we brought it home in September and we haven't had time to work on it between the Baja 1000, work and school commitments......  We've been wanting to get it to a "roller" condition and some of the first things we need for that are the rack and steering control valve.  Now that they're on hand we can mount them up, then fabricate the steering shafts and tie rods.  Once those are installed, we'll make and install "spring carrier simulators" and install wheels/tires so that we can roll it around as necessary.


New Baja Bug Bumper/Beam for the Daily Driver


Partially completed beam/bumper mocked up.

Trevor's 1968 Baja Bug has all the least desireable VW suspension elements for off-road use; it has a "ball-joint" front suspension and a "swing-axle" rear suspension.  He's always wanted to convert it to "link-pin/IRS" like the race car and now seems like a good time.  We've begun at the front end; converting to a link pin beam required fabricating a new beam and installing some "ball-joint to link-pin beam adapters" (we didn't want to change the frame head).  As you can see above, the beam and bumper are complete.  Now we need to mount it, install the arms and spindles, shocks and brakes, then we can fabricate new steering linkages and tie rods.  Hopefully, only a couple more days' work on the front end.


002 IRS transaxle to replace the swing-axle type 1 transaxle

Converting the rear end to IRS is a bit more involved than the front end conversion......  Trevor could use a type 1 IRS transaxle but the bus box is stronger.  It will require some mounting provisions that don't exist on the car now, and will also require that the shift linkage be modified and moved to "above the tunnel".  We could use a 10 degree mount to avoid the shift linkage issue but that causes other complications in our case (type 4 motor with dual Webbers), so above the tunnel it goes.  We will also need to install IRS pivots on the torsion housing/frame horns and we'll "notch" the frame horns so we can set the transaxle as low as possible.  We'll post updates here.



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