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Discussion Starter #1
I just found out that one of the funnier cars to race in Lemons on the west coast -- a team that loves the VW Vanagons so much that their racecar(s) AND support vehicles are all Vanagons, have taken their lemons car and are racing in the NORRA Mexican 1000 (a less serious ver of the Baja 1000).

2015_LeMons_Race


I know a MarkVIII has survived being on the dunes so I'm a bit tempted to pull out swap out the tbirds current bilstein setup with something lifted w/ reservoirs :)
:)



OMG someone's racing a VW Camper in Baja
I can't believe these cars are about to race each other


Shall we rebuild/make a second tbird?
 

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I would opt to make a second one. Theres a bunch with salvage titles on dashub so you can get a few cheap and not feel bad.
 

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That would definitely be cool. Because you have so many hours into the setup of your current car, I would also opt for a second Thunderbird. The necessary modifications to make a car do well off road would have you changing too much from your road race arraignment.

The shortcomings that I have come up with for off roading these cars are-

No easy/ reasonable way to lift the suspension. (but this may not be needed as seen with the Porsches that race)

A good shock setup will be key.

Reasonable tire size is limited to 29".
Any size will work in the front because the fender can be trimmed but the rear fender well is the limiting factor. I was playing around with a 31" tire template last week and I think it will fit, but barley. The body ribs in the rear fender well will probably need to be massaged. And driving fast through Mexico probably wouldn't be a plan with it.

Approach angles- if you need decent appoach and decent angles, you may need to be willing to cut some of the "frame" in the front and back and loose the inner bumpers. And make good skid plates.

Weight and weight distribution- you know what these cars weigh and the fact that they are nose heavy. I got my dune Lincoln down to 3,220 pounds- with 1,940 front and 1,280 rear. The two ways that weight could be moved more to the rear would be a battery relocation and a fuel cell.

With all that being said- I think a Baja style race in one of these cars would be awesome. If you do move forward with building a bird and running this race and need a pit crew member, let me know. I may have to fly down and check that thing out.
 

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An MN12 with the right suspension could compete; that VW looked like it had 4" of clearance...

Cutting the fenders off would give plenty of clearance; but the stock suspension would not handle heavy tires very long.

Relocating the control arms further outboard to decrease the cantilever effect of spacers is possible with custom driveshafts; this allows considerable latitude on the rear suspension. :)

The front is a tougher nut to crack; the mods for the Tebow NASCAR monstrousity seem the route to go; 4 link heavy?

If KD reads this he may drive up here and punch me. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
That would definitely be cool. Because you have so many hours into the setup of your current car, I would also opt for a second Thunderbird. The necessary modifications to make a car do well off road would have you changing too much from your road race arraignment.

The shortcomings that I have come up with for off roading these cars are-

No easy/ reasonable way to lift the suspension. (but this may not be needed as seen with the Porsches that race)

A good shock setup will be key.

Reasonable tire size is limited to 29".
Any size will work in the front because the fender can be trimmed but the rear fender well is the limiting factor. I was playing around with a 31" tire template last week and I think it will fit, but barley. The body ribs in the rear fender well will probably need to be massaged. And driving fast through Mexico probably wouldn't be a plan with it.

Approach angles- if you need decent appoach and decent angles, you may need to be willing to cut some of the "frame" in the front and back and loose the inner bumpers. And make good skid plates.

Weight and weight distribution- you know what these cars weigh and the fact that they are nose heavy. I got my dune Lincoln down to 3,220 pounds- with 1,940 front and 1,280 rear. The two ways that weight could be moved more to the rear would be a battery relocation and a fuel cell.

With all that being said- I think a Baja style race in one of these cars would be awesome. If you do move forward with building a bird and running this race and need a pit crew member, let me know. I may have to fly down and check that thing out.
- Your comment on Approach/Decent Angles is interesting.
- I wonder how much of the rear fender you can cut away.
- As far as picking the right suspension is concerned, how much travel would you need for a viable desert car? Class 11 VW bugs do it with totally stock suspension :)

Also, besides having a large amount of travel and a big reservoir, I need to research more about the principles of off road suspension. While this is purely a mental exercise for now, it's an interesting one.


As far as building a second tbird is concerned, the biggest challenge I have is that I only have a one car garage in SF.


-g
 

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As far as building a second tbird is concerned, the biggest challenge I have is that I only have a one car garage in SF.


-g
I bet that's an expensive $/sqft garage, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So I did a little more thinking/daydreaming and floated the idea to my friends. They all seem game if (like lemons) I'm writing most of the checks and storing the piece of crap.

* I'm not sold that we can get enough vertical travel in a suspension of the tbird nor am I 100% certain after fixing that stress crack from track driving that the tbirds unibody is up to the task.

* My machinist buddy agrees that the Mexican 1000 is probably a more reasonable race to attack vs the Baja 1000 since you won't have to deal with the likes of Robby Gordon pounding you in the ass with his trophy truck, flipping you over, and then flicking you off as he passes by. He also says that says that most cars are "one and done" write-offs after a race like this and agrees that a body on frame vehicle stands a better chance of not breaking in half.

* Now, I know what I'm good at and while I think the logistics challenge of something like this would be fun, I honestly am not sure my fabrication skills are up to dropping the tbird chassis onto an F150/250 chassis. I would be better off starting with a vehicle that is cheap but is body on frame.

* My teammate brett suggested a Cherokee but F-that; if we do this, I want to do it with something interesting. I'm not sure we can campaign in the "RV class" (which the Westafalia will win as the only car in that class if they finish and having met those guys I'm pretty sure they will).

Which led me to this:


Just seeing that it's possible to offroad a crown vic is encouraging and this guy says he fit 33" tires under the cop car. Now, there's an ex-taxi in down the street from me which is already missing a fender -- not sure if crown vics also have an inner fender but that's gone too. I wonder if he's a motivated seller :)
 

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My bird is about the worst thing I've ever been in for driving on gravel so I don't think dirt would be much better. Wheel spin and the car just floating sideways off the gravel make me suggest looking elsewhere. You'd want long suspension travel and soft to max out traction I think.

I like the tiger shark Crown Victoria.
 

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Wasted trucks are pretty cheap, and a 4wd chassis will bolt up to almost anything; I've seen it, lol.

A pickup frame and suspension is pretty well self contained, if you find the right one.

Chevy parts are cheaper, and most of the monsters I've seen have been someones car welded on a chevy SB chassis.

I saw a 80 Toyota Corolla that would throw 50' roosters, lol. There were several bodies on that frame, IIRC.

You would only need to route the electricals and controls into the cabin; that can be pretty simple, depending. (A 350 and a 3 speed don't need a lot, lol.)

A modern 4WD ford is cable and electrical only, no hard linkages at all.

It just depends on what you want to do. :)

I do like the Panther setup!
 

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I think it's possible to do an awd tranny swap out of a mountaineer


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Transfer cases form 4.0 would be easy to come by, 5.0 maybe a little hard.
 
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