Desert Rides

Off-Road Discussion Forum

To build or not to rebuild

Post VW tech, projects, and questions here. If you've got a beam and an air-cooled engine, this is your place to post.

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Postby bajablood » Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:47 pm

As some of you may know I purchased a SS 12 car about 2 years ago. Ive raced it 3 times and have had fair to good results. I recently had my motor built up and plenumed by chris tool. The motor runs much better and is significantly more powerful. It had a buss box that was a crapshoot to run for 300 or more miles which was expensive and unreliable. So I bough a 5 speed. It had a square fuel cell mounted high in the chassis so I bought a floor mounted tunnel cell. The front suspension has short arms and just a coil over so it cant keep up with the speed that the rear is capable of and blows through the travel. Ideally getting longer front arms and lift spindles which I have plus another shock to aid in dampening would drastically improve the front.

My dilemma:
Class 12 has low car counts
race gas is expensive
VW engines are expensive
the install for everything I would like the car to be would be between 6 to 8k all said and done and in the dirt.
Do I A sell a brand new engine, a brand new 5 speed mendeola, and all the knick knacks and to get maybe 15k?
or do I suck it up plunk the money down and enjoy this thing and race it when the numbers come around once or twice a year.
A comparible car with everything this thing would be is for sale for 20k. Is it even worth it?
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Postby 9rocky » Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:15 pm

We raced class 12 for a while. Loved the class, but hated the cost of the motor. That is why we built our class 10. Difficult decision, because as a purist, class 12 is the ultimate class. Back in the old class 10 days, I would just wish we could race one, because I thought they were the baddest cars out there. Chris Tool is a great choice, because he builds great reliable power, and does not stick it to you too hard on the money end. I would say, go enjoy it and go racing.
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Postby bajablood » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:38 pm

Thanks for your reply. I'm in the process of overhauling the Grinch (5 car) so if I do end up rebuilding the 12 it will have to wait and the money will have to be yelling at me saying hello!!! 12 car. I've got some great friends in offroad a few of which have offered to do the work at a very reasonable price but even at that I'm not sure if its a reasonable class anymore. It sucks because I love to drive the car and the irony of a single seat thrashing through the desert is peaceful to me.
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Postby 9rocky » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:46 pm

The motor is definitely an issue. The Ecotec is the greatest thing to happen to racing. A brand new motor for $3500 is hard to compete with. We have put 4300 race miles on one without touching it, and it still leaks down good. We are good friends with Chris and George Jimenez and love VW motors, but their time may be coming to an end soon I am afraid.
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Postby ACME » Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:06 am

Keller did/does it with a non Plenum, 002 bus box car that's narrower than most and his tranny bills weren't a budget breaker. As Kevin said 12 is a great class but the numbers are a little soft. At the Record/CODE races they get a pretty good turnout of 12's so there is another option... As for the ecotech being the best thing; it has changed a few classes and they are more cost effective compared to the options we had prior but not the sole answer to the issues facing the sport. IMHO 12 should have a pump gas option motor and if the Plenums went away or were phased out it'd be a huge cost savings and maybe we'd see a resurgence in the class as the motor costs seem to be the single biggest issue. I can appreciate progression but the fairly open rule book in desert racing has hurt a lot of classes like 12 and it did so in 10 until they found a cost effective option started by the 3000 guys.
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Postby bajablood » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:32 pm

Why there can't be a smaller cheaper water pumper engine option for 12? People are so against the idea but the only reason 12's numbers are soft and 10's were!, was because of the engines. Its laughable that you only get 2000 miles out of an engine and that's considered great performance. Good is 1000. Not to mention the cost of race gas. Carbs are so annoying compared to the FI. I can go on and on. Theres a 3 cylinder ecotec why not run that in 12? I brought it up in the 12 thread and I got lynched and 80% of the lynchmen don't even race anymore let alone own a 12 car.
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Postby CentralWAbaja » Fri Jul 04, 2014 6:29 am

The purest in me hates seeing more and more ACVW engine classes being upgraded to W/C. But with that said after just building a 2l T-1 this last winter for my ol'school play car and spending 5k doing it on a budget with not the best of the best parts. I don't think I could ever get myself to race any ACVW class either. (OK maybe a 9 car I wanna do that in the worst way lol) As a fan I hope there is enough purest out there to keep class 12 alive....and yes if W/C is in the future I will still watch them.

As for your specific question Zac should you rebuild or sell and.....do what? Would a w/c option get you out more then 2 times a year in the 12 car? Maybe maybe not? Is that what you are asking really or are you asking if there was a W/C option in 12 would the class grow back up some and give you more options for the 2 times a year you do race 12? I think if this question is about you and your program Zac you should focus on what gets YOU in the desert and racing the most times each year. I understand the desire to do different things but if that means you get out 4 times a year vs 6 then that is the question you have to ask yourself as to what is important. You are one of the true "Love the desert" guys out there, and is why we decided to associate our little sticker company with you. And because of that, I just want to see you get out in the desert as many times a year as possible. If you feel like heading up a W/C option in 12 is going to do that, then by all means get on that soapbox, but if there is too much pushback from the ACVW purest then maybe 12 isn't in your best interest?

Just my opinion FWIW...you know I am a fan and will follow along either way.
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Postby bajablood » Fri Jul 04, 2014 9:47 am

Whats up Darren? thanks for chiming in! If there was a 3 cylinder engine, it would get the longevity that the current ecotec provides, be cheaper on tranny and drive trains, cheap on gas, and would allow people who have cars but cant afford the cost or failure risk to race with the current engine rules a good way to get back out there having fun in 12 cars. It would promote interest in 12 VS 9 and 11 being the only affordable entry level class. 16, 12 and 10 probably all cost close to the same to race but 10 is doing great because its a much faster and reliable class car due to the power of the ecotec. Class 12 is not supposed to compete with 10 in speed or cost so why not have a less powerful engine that would not eat mendeola transmissions for lunch?

This wasn't intended to be the subject of discussion but TO ME is a major reason why rebuilding is questionable in my opinion.

Erik has a great 12 car ready to rip and boy does it ever. But whats the point in racing 4 other people for all the work it will take to re prep the vsar no matter how well he may do? He doesn't mind the cost of the engine which is cool, and admirable. Does he mind that theres hardly ever anyone to race? Not really sure, but I do.

Theres no doubt in my mind I could use the money more wisely but SS car racing is so fun. But the cost and lack of people to race against is making it not worth the fun.
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Postby 9rocky » Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:24 pm

Ford, gm, and dodge all have 1.3 liter engines that are roughly 125 hp. Trans will hold up at this level. Seems to make sense to take some of the cost out to get people out racing. That power level would also differentiate the class a little further from 10. Pump gas also will help reduce cost.
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Postby bajablood » Fri Jul 04, 2014 2:09 pm

Yeeeeaaep! I can't brin it up anymore on Rdc. They hate me for bringing it up already. Oh well.
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Postby MikeAdams » Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:28 pm

Don't do what I did... wait until I had the money to do everything "right" and end up just sitting on a car not doing anything. Recently, I've gotten off my ass to finish my 16 car knowing it's not going to be competitive but at least I'll have a car in the mix. If I run more than 2 races a year it will be a miracle anyway.
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Postby ACME » Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:01 pm

Another option is go where the cars are and CODE/Record still seem to get quite a few. 12 is a great class but there's a lot of guys in your shoes with hardware rusting away due to the motor package costs and to do it right you'd need BITD/SCORE/SNORE & MORE to allow the same format/packages and we all know how that goes... IMO lose the Plenums and make it open compression w/race gas and stock exterior (no changes) DP intake end castings or bigger CC pump gas motors with stock end castings & whatever is inside the stock DP end castings goes; then work into a WP option.
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Postby PahlM » Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:23 pm

So what's the plan Zac?
bajablood wrote:I was officially burnt out on desert racing for 10 hours. The bug is starting to bite again!
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Postby bajablood » Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:02 pm

Not to rebuild. Its an extremely fun car but the turnouts are low and the cost to race my 12 car is almost 2x the amount as my 5 car. Pretty set on selling off all of my 12 car stuff.
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Postby PahlM » Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:25 pm

I can't imagine having two cars to budget for. That car is great but with the low car count I like the decision. VW motors are just no fun anymore!
bajablood wrote:I was officially burnt out on desert racing for 10 hours. The bug is starting to bite again!
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