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Duning in a Baja Bug

Couple weeks ago I picked up a 1970 vw Baja bug off a buddy, totally new to the whole vw thing, from what he told me it has a 1835cc engine with stroker crank and cam, 009 bus transmission, some cheap kyb shocks on stock suspension, new bfg tires, engine cage, new brakes, and other misc.
My question is what all should/need I do to get it for imperial sand dunes? I know that's a loaded question but I generally don't know jack about these bad boys, except that they're badass when built. Right now I'm just trying to figure out what my priorities should be for this season to get it mob-able there
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partybarge_pilot

Well-Known Member
Air the rear way down and take it easy on the corners so you don't roll a bead off. Don't stop unless your facing down hill, momentum is your friend.

If you can find some used 13.50 paddles, that would really help. You won't need much of the paddle left, you just need them to hold air.
 
Air the rear way down and take it easy on the corners so you don't roll a bead off. Don't stop unless your facing down hill, momentum is your friend.

If you can find some used 13.50 paddles, that would really help. You won't need much of the paddle left, you just need them to hold air.
What kind of upgrades should I be looking at though to make going through the whoops, up comp hill and etc easier for me
 

JWHracing

Active Member
What kind of upgrades should I be looking at though to make going through the whoops, up comp hill and etc easier for me
About $20,000 and a lot of suspension and a big motor. If your goal is to run up comp hill, a stock baja isn't going to do it, especially with a VW motor. Stock suspension isn't going to handle the whoops, especially the whoops going up comp hill.

Can you have fun with a baja out in the dunes, absolutely! But don't expect to be able to climb up everything, go fast everywhere, and be unstoppable. It will take more driving skill and momentum to make it places. If racing up the hill is your goal, find yourself a cheap sandrail. The weight between a baja and a sandrail is what makes the difference.

A used set of paddles will be your best investment. 13.00s or 13.50s are going to be the limit in size. Carry a shovel and a tow strap, you will be stuck at some point. Always park pointed downhill and air down. Have fun! I've had some of my best times just cruising my baja through the dunes. The more you do it the more confident you will become in your driving and the more daring you will become.
 
About $20,000 and a lot of suspension and a big motor...
Not looking for a rail, I want this to be my go-to for offroading, I just happen to live 20 minutes away from isd, so it'd be there alot but desert is my backyard, what would be the best bang for my buck engine wise? Like the next step or two from a vw
 

JWHracing

Active Member
Anything watercooled can be done cheap as far as the motor goes, the problem becomes the transmission. Unless you plan to spend 5-10k on a transmission, a watercooled motor is worthless, think Mendeola, Weddle, etc.

For now, stay air cooled and get an 002 or 091 bus trans. If you keep the small motor, an 002 is cheaper to buy than an 091 but not as strong, however it has a 5.32 r&p which means more rpms which means being able to keep your momentum up.

I dune my car in mostly 2nd and 3rd gear. Mine is a full pan, full bodied baja. I have a stock 002 with a single carbed 2180 motor. Full cage, 6" over beam, 3x3s, fox shocks front and rear, triple bypasses in the rear. 12" travel up front, 15" in the rear. I run 8.80 front razors, 13.00 paddles on 8" wide wheels. My car will dune everywhere, however it won't climb Freeway hill or Patton Valley at Gordon's. I haven't had it to Glamis so I don't know if it will climb Olds or not. My car is built as a racer/desert car, not a duner. I have enough years of driving experience though that I can drive it in the dunes no problems. 9 times out of 10 I am the leader in our group, but it will also keep up with all the V8 cars we have in our group. It's taken 10 years of building to get my car to the level it is at, and it is still evolving and improving, and I get better at driving it every time I take it.

In my experience, learn how to drive it well with minimal power and suspension first. Upgrade as things break or as you come across good deals. If you can drive something with minimal power first and make it go, you can make something with lots of power work really well, and also not injure yourself if you get in over your head.
 

Chris Tobin

Well-Known Member
Speaking from experience... Put a roll cage, good seats and harnesses in it before engine and suspension upgrades!!!!
 

burninfuel

Well-Known Member
your doing what we did in late 60's and 70's. 1835cc engine, small mods to improve your power, type 2 trans axle and sand special gears. 3rd is your 4th gear and new gear added for third gear. all close ratio and 5.38 ring gear. 31" tires. when you can beat a 75 4wd blazer up big hillclimbs in Muretta area on hard dirt in second gear.
My last one was a 1776 44 single Weber, trimill exhaust, motor has a German roller crank $4000 back in the day with big cam and max ports and valves, turned way over 8000 rpm. sounded like a banshee out here on Sand Mountain. Just no torque.
 

Steelekj03

New Member
Look for a Honda 3.0 and a 091 or 2D should do the trick. Caging is definitely important and at least mid travel suspension in which a beam front end will work.
 
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