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big_daddy_jp

66’ cal bug project coming soon!

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It’s been my dream to build a cal bug since my bro D-n-tyke had a couple back when we were super young! I’ve been trying to decide how far I wanna go with this car and what parts to buy to save my time and head ache! For lowering the car, any input would be greatly appreciated. So I’m thinking of welding in adjusters and adding lowered shocks. I want to make it ride as nice as possible and of coarse as cheaply as possible! I’m thinking of running the stock wheels with Porsche hub caps first and then eventually going to Empi 5 spokes. Questions I have is how low can I go with the adjusters? If I clock the rear torsion plates 2 notches it will drop the rear around 5 inches. Can I do this or will the rear be too low? I plan on putting in a mild built 1915cc motor from an old buggy that has dual 44 Weber’s. I know I will have to get shorty manifolds and filters to make it fit but it will be more fun than the 1600cc in it right now! Anyways, as soon as I get the car the build thread will start. Be prepared for lots of questions! Thanks

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I had a Cal look bug back in 1980 -82.  I had adjusters welded in and bought short KYB shocks. It was very low in the front, since I had dual mufflers, I left a little more clearance in the rear. As it was, I went on/off the street at extreme angles so as not to catch the front clip on the gutter area. To get a softer ride, you can take a couple of the smaller leafs out of the front and tweak the adjusters to get the desired ride height.

I was a member of San Diego Strasse Kafers and most of us had dual Webers or Solex carbs. I became an expert at balancing dual carb setups for most of the guys in the club and looking back now, they were a lot of constant trouble. We would have been a lot better off with a single carb setup, a lot more torque and driveability.

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I remember back in the day removing leafs to soften up the ride so I will need to look into that. As for dual carbs, I’m a big fan of them from the dune buggy days. Never ran them on the street though.

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Posted (edited)

California Pacific Jbugs (Jbugs.com) will have everything for you answer wise and parts. My buddy is the tech guys there, has been with the company and building vw’s for 20+ years and is currently doing a body off resto on a 70 bug (lowered, big engine ect) DM him on insta if you have it (Socalsm) or call Jbugs and ask for Sam. They also have tons of how to videos on their site and YouTube. 
 

I am not affiliated with this company in any way, just trying to help out and give a shout out to a so cal local business. 

Edited by dzrtrat1111

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Thanks dzrtrat, I’ve been watching their videos and checking out their site. Now I have the inside hook up! Very much appreciated!

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Quite a few bugs are running air ride for a more driveable car. Like a funco u can air it out and ride low then pop it up and still get into the gas station. I would go this route and remove all the fenders like a rat rod. Post up pics of what your starting with.

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Do they still make select-a-drop kits? I had this done in '78 on my '64 bug. Can't really remember how it rode. Above 55mph the speed wobble kept speed under control...

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well if it's a swingaxle... 2" narrowed beam with adjusters, dropped spindles, and notched spring plates in the back. The car will sit right and have a decent ride

Bug-Spring-Plates.jpg

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4 hours ago, socaldmax said:

I had a Cal look bug back in 1980 -82.  I had adjusters welded in and bought short KYB shocks. It was very low in the front, since I had dual mufflers, I left a little more clearance in the rear. As it was, I went on/off the street at extreme angles so as not to catch the front clip on the gutter area. To get a softer ride, you can take a couple of the smaller leafs out of the front and tweak the adjusters to get the desired ride height.

I was a member of San Diego Strasse Kafers and most of us had dual Webers or Solex carbs. I became an expert at balancing dual carb setups for most of the guys in the club and looking back now, they were a lot of constant trouble. We would have been a lot better off with a single carb setup, a lot more torque and driveability.

No way! Most single carb setups (not stock) Single 44s, Dellorto 45 etc, almost always had a flat spot that was damn near impossible to get rid of. As long as your duals were in good shape, they were pretty easy to get synced and ran way better than a single.

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Drop spindles will give you the best ride closest to stock and will get you 2" lower. To go lower I would weld in adjusters in addition to drop spindles.  In the back you can install adjustable spring plates or you can just reset the spring plates on the torsion bars. Good gas shocks will help control the lowered suspension but it will ride ruffer and bottom out easier as you are reducing the up travel. 

The cheapest way is pull liefs from the front. It will ride like shit and bottom out.  2nd cheapest is cut turn and reweld the front torsion tubes. The back just reset the spring plates.  

A select-a-drop basically pulls the front end down and will make the ride harsh. 

 

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11 minutes ago, SANDPSYCHO said:

Drop spindles will give you the best ride closest to stock and will get you 2" lower. To go lower I would weld in adjusters in addition to drop spindles.  In the back you can install adjustable spring plates or you can just reset the spring plates on the torsion bars. Good gas shocks will help control the lowered suspension but it will ride ruffer and bottom out easier as you are reducing the up travel. 

The cheapest way is pull liefs from the front. It will ride like shit and bottom out.  2nd cheapest is cut turn and reweld the front torsion tubes. The back just reset the spring plates.  

A select-a-drop basically pulls the front end down and will make the ride harsh. 

 

Now if I run a dropped spindle don’t I also need to narrow the beam? 

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18 minutes ago, big_daddy_jp said:

Now if I run a dropped spindle don’t I also need to narrow the beam? 

Impossible to get rid of that flat spot. We were required to run a single when I raced back in the day 

20200404_204024.thumb.jpg.21ad5fd1861e6e62064f32827ea0613f.jpg

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Had a 68

but really feel the 65 with the two tone is hard to beat.  
love the 65 front lights with the small turn signals and the long hood. 

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Drop spindle and beam adjusters & shocks will get you the best ride. If you want a wider front tire, you will want to narrow the front beam.  

The rear you have several options, depending on swing axle or trailing arm. Just pull and adjust torsion bars (Cheapest) Drop spring plates for a swing axle, torsion housing adjuster, adjustable spring plates, or you can go full custom with airbags or coil over.
 

There used be a company that made a stock metal front & rear fenders that were 2 inches wider. Not sure if still around? They were not cheap, but looked good, allowed a wider tire and if you did not know what to look for, you probably would not even notice the fenders were wider. 

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I have been into VW's for last 40 years, and have had many lowered Cal style bugs, back to the early 80's.

As some have said here, lowered spindles are great. For me, the ideal look and ride, is going to be a 2-4" narrowed from beam, with adjusters, and lowered spindles. You can get the car REAL low, and will still ride well. With narrowing the beam, you'll get the room to steer the car, and have the fender clearance. in my opinion the wheels look a better with a narrowed beam too. For the rear, you can just reset the torsion bars/spring plates, it's free.

You can buy a complete narrowed, lowered beam with spindles all complete, and just bolt it in.

For tires, I'd run 135's up front, and a 205 in the rear.

This is my last car, I recently sold it to mom, who is 69 years old, she had one of the first lowered bugs in I would 1979, which happened to be a 66'. She loved this car, and told me I could not sell unless I offered it to her first. It sat very very low, and rode great, I did raise it up a little for her though, as the front apron hit almost everything and took a little "lowered car" skill when driving. This car has the above set up I mentioned above.

ResizedImage_1403011763381.jpg

ResizedImage_1403011784281.jpg

IMG_20160618_134921214.jpg

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https://www.airkewld.com/Stage-1-PRObuilt-Adjustable-Beam-Complete-2200-p/2200.htm

This is one of the best beams on the market. I'd imagine you can find something similar for a little cheaper. This will get the car real low, and still ride great.

 

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I have a stock linkpin beam and steering box, free99 if you meet me somewhat close to my house or work.  :bigrin 

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6 hours ago, Rockwood said:

I have a stock linkpin beam and steering box, free99 if you meet me somewhat close to my house or work.  :bigrin 

For the OP incase you don't know, a 66' is a ball joint, a link pin beam will not bolt up.

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10 hours ago, Wheres Hotboat? said:

https://www.airkewld.com/Stage-1-PRObuilt-Adjustable-Beam-Complete-2200-p/2200.htm

This is one of the best beams on the market. I'd imagine you can find something similar for a little cheaper. This will get the car real low, and still ride great.

 

Damn $2400 ! 

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11 hours ago, Wheres Hotboat? said:

I have been into VW's for last 40 years, and have had many lowered Cal style bugs, back to the early 80's.

As some have said here, lowered spindles are great. For me, the ideal look and ride, is going to be a 2-4" narrowed from beam, with adjusters, and lowered spindles. You can get the car REAL low, and will still ride well. With narrowing the beam, you'll get the room to steer the car, and have the fender clearance. in my opinion the wheels look a better with a narrowed beam too. For the rear, you can just reset the torsion bars/spring plates, it's free.

You can buy a complete narrowed, lowered beam with spindles all complete, and just bolt it in.

For tires, I'd run 135's up front, and a 205 in the rear.

This is my last car, I recently sold it to mom, who is 69 years old, she had one of the first lowered bugs in I would 1979, which happened to be a 66'. She loved this car, and told me I could not sell unless I offered it to her first. It sat very very low, and rode great, I did raise it up a little for her though, as the front apron hit almost everything and took a little "lowered car" skill when driving. This car has the above set up I mentioned above.

ResizedImage_1403011763381.jpg

ResizedImage_1403011784281.jpg

IMG_20160618_134921214.jpg

 

 Thats clean. Always thought the Empis were the best look. Is that color just tan, or is there some green in it? Whats pushing it?

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That is one bad ass ride!

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24 minutes ago, surf and dune said:

 

 Thats clean. Always thought the Empis were the best look. Is that color just tan, or is there some green in it? Whats pushing it?

Those are actually BRM's, not originals, as those are about $10K for a set of real ones, these are speedwell re-productions.

It has a bone stock 1600

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10 minutes ago, big_daddy_jp said:

That is one bad ass ride!

Thanks,

It has a bunch of original rare Empi parts on it from the 80's.

Feel free to ask away when you have questions.

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Thank you! I’m sure I will have a ton of questions!

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