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
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
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
We gained all the clearance we needed and still have a "finished"
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.