A lot of questions for Class 5 - 1600 Baja Buggy

Buggy_racer

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So we have landed here, as we are learning about this completely new world! We are trying to get into racing, and has just taken a big leap off the cliff. We have bought a Baja Buggy class 5 - 1600, and now we want to understand what the hell we are doing! So far we have been out in some dunes once. We know we need to upgrade things, we need to buy things and we need to change a things. Hopefully we can get some guidance from this great community. So here are my questions:

Tires
We have 33x10.5x15 on the rear right now, and we need new tires. Not that many options in this size, going down to 31 inch, seems to open up from a few to plenty. So how important is the size here? Is it stupid to go down, or is it a no-brainer? What should we think about for in this decision?

Suspension
We have Fox Shocks around, and we have no idea when they were serviced or how well they are tuned. The previous owner upgraded the fronts, but not the rears. We can't find any markings telling us what kind of shocks it is. Anyone know how to find out what model it is? Is it worth it to send to Fox for rebuild? We don't have the tools to do it ourselves.

Seats
Old seats, we need new. The old are held in place by some removable pins (don't know size) but it looks a little sketchy. How are seats mounted usually today? An under tray welded to the floor? Should we try to find adjustable? It's a small car, so we can't go with any big seats.

Safety
We need new helmets and race suits. It is a ton of different marks. We know we will have intercom in them. Where should we start? I have seen on Rugged Radio they have a version that comes pre-wired and costs about $500 - $600, is that good value?

Hans device, how important is that, is it mandatory?

The goal is to try to make it to a race and see if we can pull it off, after that we might just put up a sign on the car and be done, or we might be hooked for life. Who knows?
 

Bro_Gill

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OK. I would take what you have a race it once (with the exception of the safety gear and seats if they are that bad) and get an idea where you are. I have seen that car and am aware of some of the folks who had it before and it should not be too far off what works for what it is. I don't know if they are still doing races in eastern Washington or not, or even Oregon, but I think there are plans for a race in Hawthorne, Nevada coming up with VORRA. If not, you could always go to Utah or Nevada for some desert racing or trek a little further to Barstow or Lucerne for a smaller organization race to get a feel and feet wet. I know, long drive, but entry fee costs will make up the difference between SCORE and BITD and MORE and SNORE. And you will see some other 5-1600 cars that you probably won't see at BITD. As far as safety, contact Jeff at UPR, he can get you right and make deals on package buys and closeouts. He is one of the best in helping with seat selection too. As far as the car goes, once you do this, you won'
t need that sign.
 

steve0we

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welcome to the sport!!! Don't worry about going fast or winning. Getting to the finish line your first season is the WIN!

This site has TONS of good info, so use the search button and then ask all the questions you need. Welcome to the family!
 

Regardstobuck

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We are new to the sport as well!!! We bought our 3000 car last season and are doing some smaller races this year in the BOR series in Utah. BOR has some very inexpensive races. We are trying to figure out what we are doing so you’re not alone. Keep scouring the forum, lots of good info. If you want to come out and race with us hit me up. Good luck


Sent from my iPhone using race-deZert
 

R. Gross

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Tires - your tire size needs to be coordinated with your transmission gearing. Limited engines produce only so much torque and HP so you do not want to bog down your car by a tire size that is too big.
31" pros and cons - running a smaller tire gives you more low end but if not geared right you lose top end. 31" also allows you more up travel into your wheel wells before the tire actually rubs against the inner fender well which per the rules should be in a stock location with only the fenders being allowed to be raised. 31" tire will put your skid plate 1" lower to the ground.
33" pros and cons - larger tire equal more top end if geared right. skid plate 1" higher off the ground. May lose some up travel if your car has legal fender wells.
Right now both of our cars are running 31" tires, one BF Goodrich A/T's and one Mickey Thompsons but they do not make those M/T's anymore. I heard BFG is making a new 32" x 15 tire that was designed for UTV's that we are going to try out next and split the middle between tire sizes.
Shocks - If it is buggy related, my preference is to send them to Rulo at ORAF in Apple Valley Ca. Not sure if anyone has more wins or prepped more 5-1600's than him, but good price and top notch work.
Seats - whether adjustable or not they should be tied into the cage with tabs or slider rails. If the car is fabbed right the 16 gauge floor pan is basically to keep rocks out of the car and has no structural value. Seats have a huge price range, but until you know if you are in it for the long haul I would suggest a medium priced seat before dumping $1K per seat into the car.
Safety & hans - Don't skimp on a thing. It is your safety. Hans are required, helmets again range in price but even a middle of the road wired helmet is worth the price. Remember that your belts have an expiration date and are checked at every tech inspection.

Getting started I would suggest SNORE or MORE. Mexico with SCORE would be tough for the first time out. BITD does not get any 5-1600's. I believe SNORE had 17 entries at BAP a year ago and 11 at RATR. In a month or so I will be posting a thread to try and rally the troops for a decent turn out for the Midnight Special in August and RATR in December. Get some good seat time and practice before the first race. You will have a ton of fun and remember, 5-1600's are where alot of the top notch drivers started. They are twitchy with short wheel base in both directions and a high roll center they tend to turtle on you. Keep the wheels pointed down and you will be fine.

bap #3.jpg
 

QurtysLyn

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Come on down to BOR. We'll be racing in Jackpot NV, in July (the 7th). That's probably going to be the closest race for you. It's a fun course too.

Get the Hans device, it's worth every penny.

Stick with the 33" tires. Every bit of ground clearance helps.
 

scootin newton

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We just switched from our old 33x9.5 bfg all terrains which were super rad but super old to 33x10.5 yokohamas. Very happy with the change. Doesn't wander as much in ruts with the round tires. We are also running old school 2.0 fox smooth bodies. Eventually going to upgrade to bypasses, but we are still learning how to drive the car so gonna stick with what we have till we absolutley have to upgrade. Find where you want your seats and weld tabs to the cage and bolt them in. I'm still getting used to the hans, hate it, but have to run it so i'm learning to get along with it. Almost like an annoying sibling. Don't waste your money with bitd. Wait till you're able to run with the fast guys before you give your life savings to score. Snore and more offer good old school, family fun, grass roots style racing. Plus you're able to prerun and aren't herded like cattle restricted from everything like bitd.
 

harleys dad

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Welcome to 51600, I have raced and been a part of 51600 since the first year of the class, june of 1977, tire size all has to do with gear ratios mine date back to 1982 with a 542 ring and pinion totally un herd of today. Most have 457 ring and pinions with either a 156 or 150 4th gear. I have run all kinds of different tire sizes in the rear from 30x9-15 to 33 yokos. With my gearing a yoko is a must to get any kind of top speed which isnt hi, mine tops about 67 mph on flat level ground and many will think that makes for a slow car but it has proven itself to be the right choice from Baja to rage. Mike Mendiola set my trans up in 1982 when bus boxes were first allowed in 51600 and like he said how many times are you really going to see 80+?? If your having trouble pulling gears with the yokos on the rear down sizing will help, not knowing what you have makes it hard to give a opinion on tire. Mine runs out of gear quick on a fast road but is very quick threw the gears. Rear torsion bars a 25mm long 300m bar works great As far as shocks, if you have 2 foxes per side in the rear 65Compression 80 rebound worked very well when I ran 2 foxes long ago, 35 compression 30 rebound works well up front and is what I run in the front shocks on mine to this day. Weight is very important, keep the car as lite as you can. I am giving you this info to help take the guess work out as I assume its a older 51600 car.with stub axles non micro stub. My 51600 will be at Rage this year and BAP next
 
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Buggy_racer

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welcome to the sport!!! Don't worry about going fast or winning. Getting to the finish line your first season is the WIN!

This site has TONS of good info, so use the search button and then ask all the questions you need. Welcome to the family!


Thank you steve0we, very fun to start, I hope we can make something out of this!
 

Buggy_racer

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OK. I would take what you have a race it once (with the exception of the safety gear and seats if they are that bad) and get an idea where you are. I have seen that car and am aware of some of the folks who had it before and it should not be too far off what works for what it is. I don't know if they are still doing races in eastern Washington or not, or even Oregon, but I think there are plans for a race in Hawthorne, Nevada coming up with VORRA. If not, you could always go to Utah or Nevada for some desert racing or trek a little further to Barstow or Lucerne for a smaller organization race to get a feel and feet wet. I know, long drive, but entry fee costs will make up the difference between SCORE and BITD and MORE and SNORE. And you will see some other 5-1600 cars that you probably won't see at BITD. As far as safety, contact Jeff at UPR, he can get you right and make deals on package buys and closeouts. He is one of the best in helping with seat selection too. As far as the car goes, once you do this, you won'
t need that sign.

Thank you for the input, we will check out UPR.com (right?) and see what they have. We need new seats, new belts and add a firewall behind the seats towards the fuel cell. The guys who had the car before us are great, and we are talking when we need some input. It would be great to just jump into racing, but we need to fix some things first.
 

Buggy_racer

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We are new to the sport as well!!! We bought our 3000 car last season and are doing some smaller races this year in the BOR series in Utah. BOR has some very inexpensive races. We are trying to figure out what we are doing so you’re not alone. Keep scouring the forum, lots of good info. If you want to come out and race with us hit me up. Good luck


Sent from my iPhone using race-deZert


We want to go to Utah, I have never been there so that sounds great! We need to fix some stuff, and get our heads around how we are actually are going to do this, but after that, we are in! We will check out BOR now. Thanks
 

Buggy_racer

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R. Gross, thank you for all information. A great start on this discussion, it seems to me that there are a lot more options for 31" than 33", so that is also a pro for 31".
Right now we have 33" and I found a BFG M/T KM2 today when looking around, in 33". But you say you have BFG A/T on one car, is that enough threads to get you through dunes? I thought, probably wrongfully, that we needed to get M/T tires to have a chance? How has the A/T been for you?

Shocks, we will check out that name, thank you.

Seats, I need to look again, I don't know if the seats are tied into the cage, good point. Do you have any recommendation on modells that works in a buggy?

Safety and Hans, well it seems we are going all in on this one. I didn't know Hans was required, great point. Also a suit, gloves and boots probably. Any recommendations on where to look for good prices?

We will be looking for all info on 5-1600 racing, so we will be on the look out for your post! Thanks for taking the time.
 

Buggy_racer

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Come on down to BOR. We'll be racing in Jackpot NV, in July (the 7th). That's probably going to be the closest race for you. It's a fun course too.

Get the Hans device, it's worth every penny.

Stick with the 33" tires. Every bit of ground clearance helps.
Hi there, thanks for the input. The 33" is what we have right now, so we might just keep going with it. BOR keeps popping up, so we need to check it out. What are you driving? Thanks again.
 

Buggy_racer

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We just switched from our old 33x9.5 bfg all terrains which were super rad but super old to 33x10.5 yokohamas. Very happy with the change. Doesn't wander as much in ruts with the round tires. We are also running old school 2.0 fox smooth bodies. Eventually going to upgrade to bypasses, but we are still learning how to drive the car so gonna stick with what we have till we absolutley have to upgrade. Find where you want your seats and weld tabs to the cage and bolt them in. I'm still getting used to the hans, hate it, but have to run it so i'm learning to get along with it. Almost like an annoying sibling. Don't waste your money with bitd. Wait till you're able to run with the fast guys before you give your life savings to score. Snore and more offer good old school, family fun, grass roots style racing. Plus you're able to prerun and aren't herded like cattle restricted from everything like bitd.
Thanks scootin newton for the input. The Yokohamas, is that the Geolander M/T you are using? We are looking at those too.

The whole shock thing is a bit of a problem for me, I can't find what kind of shocks we have on the car. I don't see any markings more than Fox. I know they are updated in the front, and older in the back, per input from previous owner. Any tips on how to establish model number on them?

Well we don't want angry siblings in the car, so we will take your advice and try to play nice when we get our Hans gear :) . Thanks for taking the time.
 

Buggy_racer

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Welcome to 51600, I have raced and been a part of 51600 since the first year of the class, june of 1977, tire size all has to do with gear ratios mine date back to 1982 with a 542 ring and pinion totally un herd of today. Most have 457 ring and pinions with either a 156 or 150 4th gear. I have run all kinds of different tire sizes in the rear from 30x9-15 to 33 yokos. With my gearing a yoko is a must to get any kind of top speed which isnt hi, mine tops about 67 mph on flat level ground and many will think that makes for a slow car but it has proven itself to be the right choice from Baja to rage. Mike Mendiola set my trans up in 1982 when bus boxes were first allowed in 51600 and like he said how many times are you really going to see 80+?? If your having trouble pulling gears with the yokos on the rear down sizing will help, not knowing what you have makes it hard to give a opinion on tire. Mine runs out of gear quick on a fast road but is very quick threw the gears. Rear torsion bars a 25mm long 300m bar works great As far as shocks, if you have 2 foxes per side in the rear 65Compression 80 rebound worked very well when I ran 2 foxes long ago, 35 compression 30 rebound works well up front and is what I run in the front shocks on mine to this day. Weight is very important, keep the car as lite as you can. I am giving you this info to help take the guess work out as I assume its a older 51600 car.with stub axles non micro stub. My 51600 will be at Rage this year and BAP next
Hey Harleys dad! Thank you for the input, but it is a lot of lingo here that I don't understand! So we might need to take this one step at a time. For gearing we know we have a really low 3rd adn 4th. We were running in the dunes and topped out at around 45 mph on 4th. We know we need to do something about that. We just got a name on the guys who built the gearbox, Transaxle Engineering | Racing Transaxles . All the numbers here with 457 ring vs 582 ring and pinion is not something I understand, will google later. I know we have a bus transmission, with a special adapter plate for better rigidity. This needs more investigation for sure. I will get back to you on this one.

Shocks, yeah, as I wrote in another answer, I don't know what shocks we really have, and I don't know how to find a model number. Any recommendations?
For the compression and rebound, how can I figure out what we have? Take them apart and read on the shims?
Thanks for the input. Let us dig around a little and see what we can come up with. Thank you for taking the time.
 

Bro_Gill

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As far as shocks go, the outside diameter of the shock is the first thing to look at. I believe that car has 2 2.0" diameter shocks in the rear, which was the standard set-up for 5-1600s until larger bypass shocks became normal, but they work pretty well without the bypasses if set-up properly. Next, look at the shock bodies at the top mount, is the top of the shock welded or does it look like the top is screwed onto the body? This will give you some indication of generation of shock from Fox. Weld tops are older, then the blue screw on tops came, now they have black screw on tops. This just gets you an idea of vintage of the original chock build. For parts and valving, if you plan to come down south for a race, I recommend you contact Kurt Youngs at DC Shock Service in San Dimas, California. He can do rebuilds and revalves and he will even meet you in the desert to do testing and rebuilds and his prices are great.
 

scootin newton

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Thanks scootin newton for the input. The Yokohamas, is that the Geolander M/T you are using? We are looking at those too.

The whole shock thing is a bit of a problem for me, I can't find what kind of shocks we have on the car. I don't see any markings more than Fox. I know they are updated in the front, and older in the back, per input from previous owner. Any tips on how to establish model number on them?

Well we don't want angry siblings in the car, so we will take your advice and try to play nice when we get our Hans gear :) . Thanks for taking the time.
Yokohama Super Diggers... Mud terrains are hard on trannys, axles, cv's, ect... You want some slip...
 

QurtysLyn

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Hi there, thanks for the input. The 33" is what we have right now, so we might just keep going with it. BOR keeps popping up, so we need to check it out. What are you driving? Thanks again.

We race a Class 9. I also help run the organization, so if you've got any questions ask away!
 

Crawdad in VA

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Hello all, new guy here.
I would be happy to crew for any VW-based race effort. Class 11, Class 5 or buggy. I have zero experience in desert racing, but have wanted to do this for a very long time.

I know VW engines and suspension, and can weld and fabricate decently.

I would be willing to pay my own way to get to the event, in time for pre-running. But since I live in Virginia, I wouldn't be able to have much involvement during development of the car. Of course I would be stoked to have a stint as co-driver, but my offer isn't contingent on that.

The SNORE Caliente 250 is coming up in June. Anyone need a hand?
Matt
 
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