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neohic

'74(ish) VW Dune Buggy Build

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Another work day that seems slow with not much to do but watch things dry. Ah well... needs to be done!

 

Made a tape line at the rear and around the front beam mounts. Used course scotch brite pads to rough up the finish. Half prepped:

 


 

I've used the Herculiner bed liner in the past with really good results. I've had zero issues with it over the last six year in the bed and along the sides of my Eliminator. It really comes down to the prep. Application goes fast especially in a flat position like this.

 



 

Nothing finer than bed liner! I'll let it really dry over this week and then it'll get flipped back right side up.

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Alright, so I didn't let it sit for the week. Everything was dry and looked great, and I needed something to do this morning. So it got flipped...

 


 

... and then I lost all sense of accomplishment. That needed to change.

 


 

Bed liner next weekend I suppose and then new parts start going on.

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Another round of bed liner! It's getting warmer outside and it was super nice to have the door open while working out in my shop. The sun went high enough that it cast a shadow into the shop and all my heat suddenly went away. Ah well... the torpedo heater worked really good last time so it went back to assume its position.

 


 

I taped off the VIN also in case of any impromptu future reference.

 


 

Mmm... more progress...

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Oh, what a day. Suspension and steering systems are now complete. I need to make up the hardlines for the brakes, but everything else is in place. Had to make up a few tools today out of wanting to just keep going and not run into town. I did the ball joints that needed an adapter for my ball joint press (piece of pipe with a plate welded to it), and then I needed bearing race punches for the front calipers. I still had the spindles and drum brakes off of the chassis, so...

 


 

... they were obviously the perfect size.  :yes:

 

Shocks were next. Three of the four went just fine, but I can't believe I never notices the right rear lower mount.

 

Left...


 

Right...


 

Ratchet strap, block of wood, and a BFH made short work of shaping that up. Otherwise, everything else just dropped in place as it should. All I have left of the parts I recently ordered are taillight parts (lenses, gaskets, and trim), and a trigger shifter.

 



 

Nice to have some big progress like this... even if all you notice are the bright blue cheap-@$$ Monroe shocks. :roll: Transmission seals, lug bolts, and front sway bar bushings on their way.

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Little bit more today... hit a road block. My goal was to get the brake lines done. I got close though... maybe half credit for showing my work? :laughin: Ran short on one line, kinked another, and should've grabbed one more union.

 





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Brake lines done. Went a little long with one but it'll be under the car, I guess. It was nice to finally start adding some new fluids to this thing.

 



 

Next came the pedals. I did need to bleed the newly finished brake system anyhow. I wanted to clean them up first but I also wasn't happy that I didn't modify them in any way yet. It's subtle, but I couldn't let one piece go unmodified.  :roll: 

 


 

And then it happened... it's now a roller!

 



 

My shop got a little cleaned up, rearranged some, and then things got a bit flipped upside down for more finishing.

 


 

Right now the plan is to leave the body alone. I've made the decision to let things stay with some patina... at least until I have the time to really do it nice. We've made a bigger decision to put the house up for sale soon. Time to get this thing as done as I can! FAST!!!

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There's been a few changes since the last update. Pretty much everything is painted, back together, new parts added, and it's looking like a car again.

 


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The engine for now is going to be a stock 1600cc. It's currently sitting under the table in my shop waiting to be gone through. Not sure what it all needs, but it doesn't have much for compression. Stay tuned.

 

As for today, we had a showing on the house today, so I didn't get a whole lot done. I and got myself a quart of Red-Kote to line the fuel tank. Really good stuff!... stinky though. I made up the upper mounting tabs on the tank and finished the welding, then put the tank outside to vent as to not get remarks on the house like "smells like paint" or "made my husband high".  :roll: 
 
 
Looks like strawberry syrup!... smells like chemicals. I had a little time to kill before we had to get out of the house so I turned my attention to the dash. It'll get wrapped in black vinyl when it's done, but this is what I'm thinking right now...
 
 
Overall, I like it. It's the same shape as what was there, but here's my issue with it...
 
 
... notice it? From my view, I only see from about 35 mph to 80.
 
 
I suppose about 30 to 70 is really the important range to keep an eye on, and the fuel gauge is completely visible too which is nice. Obviously those blue dots are place holders for other gauges. It'll be a temperature gauge and an oil pressure. Trying to find a nice set of gauges that sorta match either the speedometer or the tachometer is proving to be difficult. Apparently Sunpro is no more... which is a real bummer. I like the classic look of that tach and I was hoping to keep that going. We'll shall see.
 
In other news, my harness came! Very cool to see everything labeled and easy to follow.
 
 
I'll make up a filler panel between the bottom of the hood and the top of the front bulkhead to serve as a place to mount the fuse block and to just fill the gap. There's about 4" of open space up there.
 
 
Getting closer...

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Hmm... progress. :D I've really liked how every buggy has this goofy gap between the hood and the front bulkhead. Here's my fix... 

 




 

... I'm using it threefold. It's a mount for my fuse block, a filler panel, and it'll be grounded to the chassis so it can be used as a ground bus as well. I put a couple coats of paint on it and in the meantime I finished my windshield assembly. New glass was cut locally.

 


 

The headlight buckets got put back together too. More black with a touch of chrome... recurring theme?

 


 

The fuel tank got a coat of the same black paint and things really started getting real!

 



 

Makes for a nice, cozy spot for the things. It'll get a gasket along the top of the filler panel too.

 


 

More tomorrow.

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Got a little further with eating my whale today. I went as far as running the front wires to the front, the rear to the rear, and the dash and column wiring sorted.

 



 

But of course I ran into a problem. I was using the late model wiring instructions with the Rebel harness as my column came from a '74. I put everything where (as far as I knew) it needed to be and with turning the key the wiper motor started turning... and turning... and turning. Didn't matter where the switch was positioned either. I turned the key off, checked everything over, and tried it again... same result, and then it stopped... and then nothing. Now I'm hoping that I didn't just cook my switch or the wiper motor. Granted, nothing let its "magical electrical smoke" out and nothing smells burned, but I'm still not getting my hopes up.

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Little by little, I'm getting there. I only got to spend a few hours on it this weekend which was kind of a bummer. Things started where I left off with the wipers. The wiper motor works just fine when power it put directly to it. The switch is kind of wonky when testing that. Pretty sure the switch is bad which I find odd as there really isn't all that much to go wrong with them. As for what I accomplished?... well, not much. I found out that my brake light switches are bad, so I moved on to the horn and that went well.

 


 

I'm waiting to finish the wiring up front until I get the indicators I ordered last week. They're little motorcycle units that mimic the headlights and they'll get mounted somewhere on the front bumper. Everything forward of the front bulk head under the hood is finished though... which is kind of a nice thought.

 


 

The footwell side of the front bulkhead has a little more to go before I can drop the hood on. The headlight circuit is mostly figured minus the dimmer. Next on the list is figuring out the hazard circuit. Things really would've been so much easier if I would've been okay with using factory switches.

 


 

"Only eight circuits," I thought. "Should go pretty easy," I thought.  :roll:

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... still at it. The wiring is going pretty good. A bit slow, but it's still going. Things were getting to the point where the dash needed to be finished so I can make sure I've got all these colorful strings going to the right place.  :roll:

 

Mock up...

 


 

New gauges and all wrapped up...

 


 

... and mounted...

 


 

Logically, what's the next thing to set in the car before hooking things up? Seat belts and at least one seat to make sure everything feels right.

 


 

New driver's seat view (not that the hanging wires will stay)...

 


 

My oil pressure and temperature gauges are admittedly kind of cheap. I found them on Amazon, but the reviews both there and from outside suppliers were pretty good. I was having a tough time finding something that I really liked. What I was hoping to do was to either match the speedometer or the tach. Unfortunately, Sunpro gauges are now hard to find as the name was bought out by Bosch and they really cut back on their gauge lines, and VDO gauges really don't look like anything special for their prices. These were inexpensive, came with senders, have LED back lighting, and I think they look at least on par with the simple looks of the VDO gauges. As for the switches, they are a nice quality and I was able to get them in the colors that I wanted. They're only triggers for the relay bank. The blue one farthest to the right will put power to a USB socket that tucks away nicely.

 



 

Next on the list is to finish up the front wiring. It's nice to have the hood on it again (fingers crossed I've got everything right so I don't have to pull it off again), and it's also nice to give this little guy its face again. I found a neat set of marker lights that are intended for motorcycles that look close enough to the headlight buckets that I'm happy with them. The problem with them is that they're only a single filament bulb and there's no room for adding another socket in them. What I get to do now is gut the housings and turn them into a double filament housing to I can use them as parking and turn signal lights. I've got a plan... just need to do it. Until then, I added a couple tabs on the front bumper so they'll hang on either side of the license plate.

 


 

Don't see them? That's the idea.  :chillin:

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The last couple days has worked out for a few new working systems that include the USB socket, front turn signals, front marker lights, and high/low beam headlights. Had to take apart the column... again :wall:  ... to clean the contacts in the dimmer trigger ground along with fixing the pins in the column harness connections.

 



 

... loose wiring has since been finished.

 

I also decided to install the windshield after a couple close calls with it leaning against the wall in the shop. The next logical step was the wiper arms and blades. Found myself another unexpected project... apparently I need to extend the arms.

 


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Well folks, that's it for now. This car, the Eliminator, and the Ape are all making their way out to Colorado this week. Had I had my ducks in a row a little better and had more ambition when it counted, then I probably would be driving it onto a trailer instead of pulling it. Ran into a huge roadblock with the engine in the form of cracks and sloppy dowel pin holes. I've got everything for a full rebuilt minus a good, rebuildable engine. In the future, there'll be minimal wiring to do along with whatever happens with an engine.

 




 

... until next time, little guy.

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Back to the top! Kinda wish this was a productive update, but it isn’t. :peep: After moving to Colorado this little car sat. It got pulled out once to wash all the bugs off from being first on the trailer, it got the cover pulled off of it a few times, but most of all it just sat. While I don’t have an indoor parking spot for it, I miss seeing all my stuff in one place of my own. After getting my little shed moved a few weeks ago, I got the itch to keep going.

 

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Up to the house!

 

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My property is on a hill. Glad the brakes were finished before I left my old shop!

 

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Sleep tight, little buddy. My goal is to have a shop right where it’s sitting this coming spring. Maybe it’ll get finished then? Who knows... 

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How big of a shop Ben? 

 

Make sure you have the drain plugs pulled out of the floor of the buggy, otherwise I feel you’ll have a bathtub full of water in the buggy in the spring! 

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After months of fighting about it, the city hasn’t budged on the footprint of my future shop. I can only go up to 90% of the primary structure on the property. This puts me with a footprint that I’m okay(ish) with being 16’x26’. Bear with me... my last shop was almost 14’x24’ and it was workable. What kept it workable was that I had 24’x36’ right next door for cold storage... which I won’t have. However, I also don’t have a pile of Jeeps and VWs anymore! So, 16’x26’ will be adequate and it’ll also have a 10’ lean to. I found a loop hole too!!! I can build up to 200sq.ft. without a permit and I can use up to 25% of my property... super easy to stay within with small structures.

 

Moral of the story is I’ll have my 16’x26’ shop with a 10’x26’ lean to, my current 6’x12’ shed that’ll get turned into a greenhouse (for food... geez), a 10’x20’ shed for putting a vehicle in, and my house that fits within a 19’x26’ footprint. It’ll be like my own little community!!

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sounds like a plan!  are you digging into the mountain or filling in the valley?  or does the bottom flatten out more than I remember?

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The bottom corner where the buggy is sitting is the most level spot in the property. Going to be cutting in and backfilling to clean things up and building. 

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