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Dennis58

Ok, So things have changed.

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Hi new member here and have spent the last few days soaking up information and thinking wow things sure have changed.

Background on me;

My first trip to the dunes was Pismo Beach back in 71 when I was a young lad and the VW Sandrail was king with a few V8's out there in the mix.  I have fond memories of my uncle bringing out his two VW Sandrail's  that were nothing more than a VW chassis with the body removed and a single roll bar. Yep living on the edge, ha. In the mid 70's I found myself doing dirt bikes in the Kettleman City hills outside NAS Lemoore CA and I followed that up with a Baja Bug I ran mostly in the mug in Alabama.

The 80's brought me back to San Diego CA  where I bought a 3-Wheeler and started my trips to Glamis with a couple of Navy buddies. We were just poor Sailors back than so our camping trips consisted of tents from MWR rentals, cheap beer and hot dogs. Showers were at the Glamis store if I recall correctly, but boy did we have fun.  We even built a 3-wheeler from a kit using a wreaked Kawasaki KZ1000, that thing was scary fast going up Comp Hill.

The 90's found me refocused on a 30 year US Navy career, family and life in general in addition to relocating away from the west coast. Well now I find myself at age 60 and a couple years out from a second retirement thinking it's time to have that Sandrail I always wanted but could not afford in my 20's. That's about it in a nutshell.

So yes I guess things have changed from what I remember, are VW powered Sandrail still common at Glamis? Looking here and on YouTube I see a lot of SXS, 4-Cly type stuff, V8's ETC. Oh and a lot of Bling and it seems like everyone has a Toy Hauler. 

I guess my idea of getting back into the Dunes is based on a VW powered Sandrail with a 1835 engine that is nicely appointed, I guess this would be considered old school by today standards???????  For what its worth the whole SXS (RZR) thing doesn't do anything for me and WTF is up with the prices on those things. ha

I'm going to put all this together with a custom rig (Photoshop picture to follow at a later date)  to carry all this to the Desert and plan to make around 6 trips per year from Alabama. I will be Solo on these trips so I will be looking to make new West Coast Glamis friends to ride and camp with.

 

Anyway sorry for the long post just wanted to say hi and ask a couple stupid questions.

Dennis

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Don't knock the sxs's until you drive one...they are a good blend of performance and low maint, exactly what you want when you're retired....and they do multiple things well.

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Welcome to GD.com

You have come to the right place.

Have you looked in the for sale forums yet? There are several great cars right up your alley for sale.

When you have the dates you are going to Glamis post them up in a thread and you will find many people on here willing to meet up and camp together.

 

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Just now, realbadlarry said:

Don't knock the sxs's until you drive one...they are a good blend of performance and low maint, exactly what you want when you're retired....and they do multiple things well.

This is great advice. 

Many places to use a SxS. 

Search “papa bear”  on here and look at some of the fabulous places he has posted pictures from.

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Can’t go wrong buying from Craig.

This will get you out about as cheap as possible!

 

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The vw cars are a ton of fun, our first car was a mid engine Mazzone with a turbo 1835 and it was a blast to drive in the dunes, as long as it was smooth, otherwise it beat the crap out of us! I would definitely recommend going with something that has some suspension travel! Also it seems like the vw cars always need to be tinkered with, so keep that in mind if you build one or buy one. Personally I’d recommend modern engine, can’t beat the reliability of a Honda v6 or LS based v8 setup! 

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SXS are awesome all Female's should own one while the men are out driving there buggy,

If you get a car, and just want to drive it, get a LS motor based car, 5.3 are a good car also

A 2D is a good start but will need to go threw 5 times more than a S4,

if it has 930 CV's they are more trouble than they are worth convert them

if you have a wish list and want to drive with very little maintenance  then a LS car sequential transaxle with 934 and 2'' hollows will be very little trouble, SandRoosten  went 7 years of just greasing the CV's and  one clutch with his S4, Stock LS1 and 2'' hollow Tatum  

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Dennis....Welcome Back to the sport and to GD.com

Here is my 2 cents FWIW

Some solid advice from the board so far.  some of us started years ago with VWs and had some of the best times of our lives. However.. the dunes are choppier than they were back then and Long Travel suspension is king.  Not to mention with "maturity" I have come to enjoy the ride and comfort although no Windshields or full body cars for me

If you were the 2210 or 2387 Turbo VW guy  you will definitely want to try a v8 LS car, and be amazed.  2 seat light cars are fun and can tossed around like VW cars.  I was that Turbo VW guy and would now own nothing less than an LS.  The cars are not cheap, but they are more fun than can be imagined and are fun to drive. If you were the dual carb 1835 guy, a Nice Honda or short star v6 car is ideal IMO, and don't fear water in the dunes - it actually fine, and again a nice 2 seater can be nimble and lower cost. 

The SxS's while astronomical in price in some cases for "ride on lawnmower" 🙂 can be bought reasonably depending on what you want. I personally hate being forced on a SxS to wear a helmet and really hate the lawn mower sound. If you want a smoother ride than VW, like to shift and want to feel connected, the Yamaha is hard to beat, its like VW sand car with travel to me but more reliable.  The Polaris RZRs get a bad wrap from Non SxS people but it is probably not deserved.  But Ex VW people usually steer away because unlike a car that you "sit in" lower slung feeling.. the RZR feels like you "sit on" it, not a lot of confidence for a VW car guy IMO.   CanAM is the new IT car, but get your wallet out on that one... 

Also driving a V8, Honda or V6 car feels like VW power wise on steriods - you still rev it up, but it goes where you want when you want and far better, the SxS's still need momentum to keep them going - uits different kinda driving, and most older drivers with old school experience think they are "high strung"

I left out the Subi cars which IMO are most like a VW and are great, but they can be expensive for what they are...  If you can get out with a group and try a few things out...  and decide and let us knoww hat you think...  no matter what you drive in G... its all fun!

Edited by fullthrottleguy

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What do you want to spend - $5k, 10k, 20k, 30k?  Tons of options out there and if you give us a budget, we can point you in the right direction.  This would be a great car if you want a VW:

 

I think you will be very disappointed buying an old beam car like you have posted in another add unless you are always driving on smooth fresh sand.  I guess that is definitely a possibility for you retired folks that get out during the weekdays or for the stretches between the big busy weekends.       6 trips a year sounds like a lot driving back and forth from Alabama.  If that truly is your goal, you may want to look into storage at Glamis during the season for you "rig", trailer and buggy, and then fly into Palm Springs and rent a car.  

 

Edited by evantwheeler

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If all you want to do is dune. Get a rail, no other options.  If you want to dune,desert,mud, mountains,trails,rock crawl.  Get a sxs. It's not the best at all but it does it all better than anything. 

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Welcome aboard. Search the for sale section and I’m sure you can find something in several different budgets. 

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The dunes are much, much, much rougher than they were 50 yrs ago. At your age, you should be looking at the smoothest riding V8 powered sandrail you can find. I'd recommend at least 20" of real travel with a PBS4 or 5 transaxle and 934 CVs for reliability. Which brand of sandrail partially depends on your driving style.

Also, they have storage facilities right here across the street from the dunes, so you don't have to haul your stuff home every trip. You can drag it out on your first trip, store it, then drive out empty and just hook up and drag it across the street to go set up camp. After your last trip of the season, you can drag it all home with you or store it until next season. They'll give you an annual discount if you sign a contract.

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Welcome to GD.com, a great place for information as indicated from the comments so far.  Just bring your own filter.

It appears we had a similar introduction into the sand dune world.  I also started in Pismo Beach the summer of 1972 with a Myers Manx 40 horse VW while stationed at Moffett Field in the US Navy.  I lost count of the number of sand rails I've had since then, not enough fingers and toes.  However, I think I now own my last sand car.  

My last VW- swing axle beam car with a 2276 cost me around $4,000 several years ago.  However, I still see some sand rails very similar to that, in that price range, today.

I think limiting your investment while getting back into the sport is a logical one.  However, the long travel/more power force is a strong one.

We've always got room in our camp and I'd also be willing to give you a ride in my car.

Good luck.

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i'm all for driving rails, but you can buy a used xp900 for 10k and I guarantee it will be the most fun you've had for 10k. dunes, desert, mountains.  it does everything well. you will probably get facial cramps from smiling so much when you drive it...

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Thanks for all the  recommendations I will for sure be looking at all options.

1) My budget for the Sandrail will be around $20K

2) Storage at Glamis is an option for sure, still trying to figure out the "Rig" so to speak. Haven't run across a Toy Hauler I felt was worth the money (quality) or in my size range (25' or less). My tow vehicle is a 2019 Silverado 3500 Duramax Dully so I'm covered there.

3) Something else to consider is a couple of these trips out west will be extended stays with additional locations. I could see myself doing Desert hard dirt driving in other locations. So a rail that can do both would be ideal as well.

  4) More travel, more power seems to be the general theme so I will be researching that a little more. Wrenching on the car is not a problem as I do know my way around a tool box and have been into Classic Car and restoring them for the last 30 years. Reliability would be at the top of my list for whatever I buy.

So here's another question, how much fuel will these higher HP Sandrail use in a 3-day weekend? I saw a few pictures of people putting 55 Gal drums of fuel in the back of their rigs. 

 

Thanks

Dennis

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41 minutes ago, Dennis58 said:

Thanks for all the  recommendations I will for sure be looking at all options.

1) My budget for the Sandrail will be around $20K

2) Storage at Glamis is an option for sure, still trying to figure out the "Rig" so to speak. Haven't run across a Toy Hauler I felt was worth the money (quality) or in my size range (25' or less). My tow vehicle is a 2019 Silverado 3500 Duramax Dully so I'm covered there.

3) Something else to consider is a couple of these trips out west will be extended stays with additional locations. I could see myself doing Desert hard dirt driving in other locations. So a rail that can do both would be ideal as well.

  4) More travel, more power seems to be the general theme so I will be researching that a little more. Wrenching on the car is not a problem as I do know my way around a tool box and have been into Classic Car and restoring them for the last 30 years. Reliability would be at the top of my list for whatever I buy.

So here's another question, how much fuel will these higher HP Sandrail use in a 3-day weekend? I saw a few pictures of people putting 55 Gal drums of fuel in the back of their rigs. 

 

Thanks

Dennis

From Thursday - Sunday Morning I run through about 40 -50 Gallons on a  stroker LS. Thats 2 rides a day and with my foot in it.

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1 minute ago, r3meyer said:

From Thursday - Sunday Morning I run through about 40 -50 Gallons on a  stroker LS. Thats 2 rides a day and with my foot in it.

Do you haul that in or do you get it local as you need it? 

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Just now, Dennis58 said:

Do you haul that in or do you get it local as you need it? 

I have a 45 gallon transfer tank in the bed of my Dmax.  It fits under my roll up metal bed cover so I can keep it all secured.  The transfer pump has a 20' hose on it and a pre filter.  Works awesome.  I wired the pump off a relay to only work if the key is in the ignition so I dont have to worry about someone pulling up and thinking I am a local gas station while I am out on a ride.

On most trips I have less then 5 gallons left.  I put the leftover in my toy hauler tank.  So far my system works well.

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9 hours ago, fullthrottleguy said:

Dennis....Welcome Back to the sport and to GD.com

Here is my 2 cents FWIW

If you were the 2210 or 2387 Turbo VW guy  you will definitely want to try a v8 LS car, and be amazed.  

Just read your For Sale listing, very nice ride and I like the "Corvette" LS1. Lot of learning to do here.

BTW, what is a 2D transmission?

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All these guys saying you need a V8, 934's (that is a size of CV joint), 2" hollows, and an S4 or better transaxle are out to lunch.   You aren't looking to go out setting the dunes on fire or keep up with Robby Gordon, you just want to get out into the sand and enjoy yourself.  You will be fine with a Mendeola 2d transaxle (MD4s), 930 cv's, and combo or king kong spindles in a PROPERLY designed car.  No home built backyard builder crap.  Something with the proper geometry to keep your wear parts alive (suspension heims & CVs).   You will also be more than happy with a mildly boosted Subaru or Honda for power.  

 

Here are some great cars around your budget.   These cars are well sorted out.  You're not going to be worried about fixing crap that wasn't designed properly.

 

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57 minutes ago, evantwheeler said:

All these guys saying you need a V8, 934's (that is a size of CV joint), 2" hollows, and an S4 or better transaxle are out to lunch.   You aren't looking to go out setting the dunes on fire or keep up with Robby Gordon, you just want to get out into the sand and enjoy yourself.  You will be fine with a Mendeola 2d transaxle (MD4s), 930 cv's, and combo or king kong spindles in a PROPERLY designed car.  No home built backyard builder crap.  Something with the proper geometry to keep your wear parts alive (suspension heims & CVs).   You will also be more than happy with a mildly boosted Subaru or Honda for power.  

 

Here are some great cars around your budget.   These cars are well sorted out.  You're not going to be worried about fixing crap that wasn't designed properly.

 

 

Spot on :

“These cars are well sorted out.  You're not going to be worried about fixing crap that wasn't designed properly.”

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BTW, what is a 2D transmission?

That's the model number of the trans....it was generated by the customers.....

"Where you going?  2D trans shop again"

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1 hour ago, evantwheeler said:

All these guys saying you need a V8, 934's (that is a size of CV joint), 2" hollows, and an S4 or better transaxle are out to lunch.   You aren't looking to go out setting the dunes on fire or keep up with Robby Gordon, you just want to get out into the sand and enjoy yourself.  You will be fine with a Mendeola 2d transaxle (MD4s), 930 cv's, and combo or king kong spindles in a PROPERLY designed car.  No home built backyard builder crap.  Something with the proper geometry to keep your wear parts alive (suspension heims & CVs).   You will also be more than happy with a mildly boosted Subaru or Honda for power.  

 

Here are some great cars around your budget.   These cars are well sorted out.  You're not going to be worried about fixing crap that wasn't designed properly.

 

I'm thinking in terms of his age. At 60 yrs old, he doesn't want to get his kidneys beaten into pudding, or spend his weekends replacing broken transaxles or CV joints, or buy and sell cars for 10 yrs to get to the car he really wants.

Another thing to consider is that 1 seller drives a V8 car and the other 2 are selling those cars to move up to V8 powered cars. It's not just the torque and power of the V8, it's also the smoother ride of a heavier car, provided the suspension is sorted out.

Edited by socaldmax

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5 hours ago, Dennis58 said:

Thanks for all the  recommendations I will for sure be looking at all options.

1) My budget for the Sandrail will be around $20K

2) Storage at Glamis is an option for sure, still trying to figure out the "Rig" so to speak. Haven't run across a Toy Hauler I felt was worth the money (quality) or in my size range (25' or less). My tow vehicle is a 2019 Silverado 3500 Duramax Dully so I'm covered there.

3) Something else to consider is a couple of these trips out west will be extended stays with additional locations. I could see myself doing Desert hard dirt driving in other locations. So a rail that can do both would be ideal as well.

  4) More travel, more power seems to be the general theme so I will be researching that a little more. Wrenching on the car is not a problem as I do know my way around a tool box and have been into Classic Car and restoring them for the last 30 years. Reliability would be at the top of my list for whatever I buy.

So here's another question, how much fuel will these higher HP Sandrail use in a 3-day weekend? I saw a few pictures of people putting 55 Gal drums of fuel in the back of their rigs. 

 

Thanks

Dennis

Well if #3 is an important factor you might really want to look more at a SxS.  While a Sand Rail will fly thru the open desert with ease, your not going to be having much fun if you take it to places out west where a jeep would be better off than a Sand Rail or even Dual sport buggy. A SxS while isn't as much fun according to the sand rail guys as a SxS but a SxS is a lot more fun in places like Moab and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  If your retired and want to go exploring places from Moab- Glamis and the mountains in between the SxS will be a much better all around fit.

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Just now, fullthrottleguy said:

Let me add a bit to this....

Just to be clear...  I am not promoting a V8 car because I am selling one.  I like some of the low cost VW and VW like cars people have posted as good get back to the Dune cars for you

The LS engine is unbelievably reliable and smooth, but its heavier and has lots of TQ and requires "heavier parts" for reliability.  I like Honda, Subi, etc. Different strokes etc.

The 2D transaxle is the basic upgrade from the HD Bus the 091, in fact its very similar inside and used the 091 reverse gear, probably its real weak point. that is made for 300-500HP ish if you drive it right, it's an H pattern 4 speed. If you had a bug trans and your buddy had a Bus,  you can get the idea of the difference between a 2D and the "sequential S4"  that lots of people promote.  The S4 can handle far more HP and is most people say because it sequential is easier to drive, just pull or push the handle.  You can still break it, but its more "forgiving" if you drive it "like you are 25"  (sorry old timer making young age envy joke....)  Both require periodic maintenance and rebuilds albeit the 2D behind and V8 requires more, lives nearly forever driven right behind an Subi or Honda. A 2D is heavy 4 seat car you carry 4 300Lbs guys around in and run hard in the dunes in 2nd gear all day will wear out pretty fast, bearings, gears etc, and if you let it go or break a reverse gear and keep driving- the trans will eat itself leading to a bad rap for people with heavy cars and huge tires who the builder should have pout a sequential in the car in first place.  Just for sake of reference  the 2D cost ~ $5,500 and S4 cost ~ $12,000 these parts are not cheap.  Same is true of 930 (CV's) and 934's Lots of factors determine which you want. 

The people says you MUST have and S4 and 934s are being a bit disingenuous.   Its like saying you Must have Diesel 1 Ton truck... yeah its probably better to tow with, but budgets ...... 

As you can see  from the posts, there  are two (and lots more) camps here. The people who like light nimble car - most of us came from the VW world or Bikes and Quads, and those who like the heavy stuff - I think they drive Big lifted trucks daily 😉

IMO neither is bad. But heavy stuff by its nature requires heavy parts and light stuff does not give you the Cadillac ride or that "truck safe" feel. 

You will hear lots of opinions... I still say go to G, look around, go to the drags, look at cars talk to people, get a few rides, set your budget and decide. You can always buy and upgrade cars (swap out later)  if you don't like it... just getting back in is the key

 

 

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