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1/2 1600 First Timer build

woodhavenhunter

Well-Known Member
Hi my name is Heath. I recently purchased a car to run in the Yellowstone Off Road series. It is a series of 4 races in Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota. I come from a pavement racing background, having raced cars from Miatas, Turbo Rx7s, all the way up to a full bolt on Corvette, as well as most recently a 2015 Mustang GT.

I wanted to try my hand at off road racing so I thought it made sense to start at the bottom. Car has not been run in 6 years and needs some updating to be rules compliant for the class, so that is where I'm starting with it.

On the list right now:
Install horn
Install front lights
Make and install rear light bar to be compliant with class rules
find and install bigger fuel cell (was told it was a 10 gallon, turned out to be not even 5)
Install parker pumper
install new drivers seat
wire all lights and electronics
rebuild 32/36 dfav carb
build roof rack for spare tire/tools
get brakes working (they is currently only 1 wheel doing much of anything)
adjust throttle linkage ( pedal doesn't return very quickly)
adjust shifter linkage ( hard to find any gears)
get lead nav mounts put in and set up
put in window nets
make new poly body work
paint engine covers something other than neon colors

I'm sure there will be other things that I'll run into as I tear into it. As of now I have about 7 weeks to get everything sorted.

Have some help from one of the older guys in the series for transporting and questions about the car, otherwise rolling with no sponsors, 1 man show. Hopefully I can find a co-driver that shows up and maybe someone will dump fuel for me.

Here are a few pics of the car when I got it.
 

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51rcr

Well-Known Member
That's all our home country races, where at you at? where that car come from? You know the group of guys from the Bismarck area that run the buggies? they run bypasses on the back. be a nice upgrade for ya. depends where your based out of you can go to the Colorado off road extreme races. there seems to always be some buggies there also.
I would put tire on the back or over engine to keep the weight down lower. Most buggies keep the roof for the easy in and out also. I wouldn't bother with the body, that one looks fine.
 

woodhavenhunter

Well-Known Member
Unfortunately I live in the eastern part of the state, so it will be quite a jaunt for me to come over there to race, but I have it planned out and will be doing it. One of the guys in Bismarck is doing the transportation for me. Lyle. What do you mean bypasses on the back?
 

51rcr

Well-Known Member
there running a bypass shock. Just a better reacting riding shock that's very adjusble
 

51rcr

Well-Known Member
Just a more adjustable better shock. great up grade. so you live by Bismarck? great to see your really into it and going for it. bring spare parts and tools. nothing worse then all that traveling and not be able to get the car going for more laps.
 

woodhavenhunter

Well-Known Member
Oh yeah. That is one of the big downfalls of my car. My rear shocks aren't very good. My goal this year is just to finish every race and not break. If I can do that, I'll be happy for now. A big challenge for me will be not over driving the car. Coming from pavement background I'm used to being able to push the car to limit for entire laps and in traffic with the utmost confidence. This will be very different. And I know no matter how much I push the car, I will be one of the slowest on track, so that will be a different pill to swallow. I'm used to being able to make up for a lot of my cars shortcomings with my driving. No amount of driving is going to make my car able to beat the others on track, so I'll need to just chill.
 

51rcr

Well-Known Member
yeah vw buggies like yours will beat ya. And they can still be fast and a good driver would shine. Iam not VW fan but the 1/2 1600s are something I do like. I like the cost factor and driver. Hardest thing is finding the point of where and what breaks and where to take it easy and where to make time. A good driver is still way fast and easy on a car. Momentum and making time on the brakes and well as fast as you can get whatever acceleration ya have. Just drive 60% at first and then to 80%. One thing is in that slow will feel fast and you will feel everybump. A more set up type of buggy with power and suspension ya wont feel anything you do and have to go way faster to get the same ride and speed of whats happening. Fun factor will be just the same. Actually have to be really good casue ya cant soak up a mistake.
 

woodhavenhunter

Well-Known Member
Progress update. So far I've been able to:
Rebuild the 32/36 carb
Replace all 4 wheel cylinders and shoes
Find out the expensive suspension seat I got doesn't fit
Adjust the valves
Replace the intake boots
Have the door bars cut out and re-welded to make it a door entrance/exit car
Mount parker pumper
Drive the car a little.
Make new body panels

Lead nav tells me the car does 70 in top gear on flat and level surface with minimal debris. I'm thinking the tires are too big. Running 235/75R15 BFG mud terrain KM in the back. In 4th it doesn't want to rev over like 3800. It'll have to do for now. Not sure how that stacks up against other cars in class, so I'm just going to roll with it. Still have a lot to do, but it will come together. Wiring being the big one. Car currently has no lights on it.
 

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woodhavenhunter

Well-Known Member
Got the roof rack made up, as well as the the switches installed and wires run. Tabs for window nets put in. Tonight is new fuel pump, as well as putting all the engine tins back on (painted them gray), New belt, oil change, put the gas tank back on, get the foam into the seats, parker pumper hoses put on the pump, finish up painting the body work, mount the roof rack, and bleed the brakes. Yesterday was very productive, but stayed up until 2.
 

woodhavenhunter

Well-Known Member
Another night of working until 5 am this time and was able to finish the car enough to be brought to transport. The guy who is handling transport is a vw guru. I call him "baja yoda". He is helping to sort some things out with the car, mostly pertaining to brakes, but some other issues as well. I wouldn't have been able to do this without him. Car came out looking decent anyway.
IMG_0764.JPG
IMG_0769.JPG
 

Brian Mc

Well-Known Member
From my experience, bolt on valve covers are very important. And maybe even some skid plate's under the head area. Good luck and have fun with it.
 

woodhavenhunter

Well-Known Member
I have the snap on deal for the valve covers, and there is a washer welded to them that I put a zip tie on the snap to hold them in place. They are very snug, but I will look into the bolt on versions.

I've been told by those that race in the class that the fuel cell is legal. I very much hope that it is. That was one of the disappointing parts of the car or me when I bought it. It was supposed to have a 10 gallon cell, but I found out it wasn't even 5 gallons. Our longest race of the year has 50 mile laps, and I've been told the car will get around 10 mpg...
 

Ol' Curmudgeon

RDC's resident crackpot
Where is the fuel cell? I only see what appears to be a spun aluminum tank? :confused:
 

bajafox

Accepted
Not sure what series you are planning to race but most of them will require a fuel safe. For your own safety you might want to look into getting one

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