Sam and Nate get to work cutting down the rear end of the Beetle to convert it into a Baja Bug.


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Watch as Sam and Nate work onthe rear baja conversion.

It's Nathan's Birthday and what does he want to do? He wants to work on his new VW project. So, with a few tools brought back home, Sam and Nathan get to work cutting down the rear end of the Beetle to convert it into a Baja Bug. The best part is, using the steps taken to build the original Baja Beetle, they do it for free!

Video Transcript

Well, we're back again. It's somebody's birthday today, and for his birthday, he wanted to work on his car.

So here we are. We're going to cut the back up, but as it sits right now, trying to get this thing to roll around much easier. This wheel's locked up. We haven't taken a look at the back of wheels yet, so we're going to jack up the front end, loosen the brake shoes on this side, and try and get this wheel spinning freely. Then we're going to go to work on the back. We'll get the tires inflated back there, make sure they spin freely, so that as we're trying to push this thing back and forth in the garage, it rolls much easier. And then we'll push the car forward in the garage, and we'll go cut up the back of the car.

So, we've got all the tires aired up. It's way much better now that we've got that front wheel, we got the shoes adjusted so they work a little bit better. Now it's time to decide where we want to cut this.

I think past the past right here, so like down here and then across and down.

Well, we're just going to take a straight line down here to the firewall. And come straight down, and then we'll come across the bottom to start. We need to find out at what point our firewall is here.

I think it's a little bit further than that.

Well, this is the point that matters. And seeing is that line right there and that line right there, those lines both match. So we should just cut down.

Oh yeah, let's do that.

So that line right there and that line are the same. The bottom side needs to come higher.

Yeah, it looks good like that. Yeah, I enjoyed it. The good. So that's cool. It's about good enough.

I don't know, can't quite decide. The line I'm concerned about was that line there. So I guess let's just do this. Let's go from here. There. Now we have that line. It just down here now just needs to go. Now you just need to measure equal distances from here and from there.

So it's about 3 in, quite three, it's like two and a bit more than a 16 more than 3/4. Yeah, let's see, 70 mm basically.

Okay, oh, that looks good.

So now we can measure back of out line to there. So we're looking at 85 mm at that point. So let's do the same thing over here.

Let's get the saws of the zaws like that.

At least you got the main part.

Yeah, I think I'll take that straight line straight down to the firewall

Now there we go, and now just cut straight down. That’s the sparky bit, right?

Yeah, you got some goggles. There we go. just carry that down.

I honestly kind of expected it to just drop.

We go and want to come back and file that all down and make those all smooth and I want to break that entire lip off across all the way. We got to get this guy off first. Let's do that.

There you go, weight reduction.

Nathan, what do you got?

Weight reduction.

Well, left to right, our angles look pretty darn good.

Looks right.

Yep, that will do. Now we can just work on cleaning up all of this area, file those down so that they're not sharp and cutting people and then basically from here up to the bottom of the luggage tray and across, we're going to cut out as well, although it's actually more like right down here because weight reduction. That stuff doesn't need to be in there. Think now, let's work on getting this guy pulled out.

There you go.

I win. Get some gloves 'cuz I'm going to cut my hands.

See what I'm doing is breaking all these spot welds. Am I going to end up with a couple of holes in the back of the luggage tray? Yes, but it's better than going through and drilling out every single spot weld and having a ton of holes in the rear luggage tray. So let's see. Hammer Time. Where's hammer? All right, hold on. Uh, grab me a metal hammer and then a wide chisel out of the hammer drawer. Oh man, I pinched my wires.

Oh yeah, there you go.

All right Nate, that's all you. Take it off, back and forth, push it back and forth.

I don't think I I'm tearing it at the right point.

Just keep on moving it. All I got do is a bunch of little movements. There you go, just like that. Full movements though, full back, full forward. Faster, there you go, got one there. See oh, there keep going. Work on that edge , get that big edge off first right there.

I need more of a chisel.

No, just keep moving it. There you go. See, keep going. One more to go right there. Keep going. There we go, sweet. Now just grab all that. There you go. Now that's out of the way.

Those are a lightened weight reduction. So from here, I want to get rid of all this stuff out here, all the way up to that body mount. So now we're going to cut along the bottom side of the luggage tray forward to this body mount up here. So body mount up and then along the bottom of the luggage tray out to here, just because none of that stuff is doing a darn thing for us. What do you say?

Weight reduction.

All right, we're not going to go too crazy right now, but just so we don't cut ourselves while we're working on the rest of the stuff, just going to go through and sand down some of these little sharp spots just so they don't get cut on as much.

Nice, there we go. Very nice. Now that looks proper. That looks good.

All right, go crazy and try and knock off all these guys. We don't need no dang spikes.

There we go. Now just watch.

That one's through already. That one's not. Just try to get just the high side. Yeah, you can feel it. You be, you're on it. You'll feel it high and low. Oh yeah, so like got a safety on the trigger. There you go. Up.

Yeah, so just the one below it now.

What's up?

So the one below it now.

Yeah, okie dokie. They all got to get done.

Well, at least now I conquered my fear of sparks and stuff.

So is that just to make sure that they're all clean?

Yep, just get some of the majority of the rust off, debris out, like all that stuff.

I mean, what else could we do today?

This fender almost lines up with every hole, most holes. You want to stick one hole in, or one fender in, one bolt in rather.

One fender bolt.

That back top one maybe.

Back, back top.

Oh, that one.

The last one.

I might also need to lift it up a little bit.

They all threaded in, buddy. The bolts are four in. I wouldn't tighten them all up. I'd get them. I'd start from the middle and way out. You want the power?

Yeah, it should be good. I like plastic stuff.

All right, that looks good. All right, go. All already looks like Baja.

I still think it's too far back to go that way. No, like too far this way. Yeah, okay.

Well, again, our body our support stops right here. Dude, we just...

I'm trying to see how it would look. Good, maybe about there. Let's see.

Fender is... Be like somewhere. And even that's kind of big and extreme for a baja on here, but we can't do anything until we get that hole down here drilled and then get that bolted in. We got one hole. We got to drill a hole for, but we'll take care of that right now.

And that's how long I've had Ryobi. Not sure how many of you guys remember when Ryobi was blue and yellow.


I'm just trying to figure out how. I think kind of like that.

Guess it's too far back for me either.

Too far back, but this way. See, that looks way better. That nice curve, oh yeah.

I like that. That looks good. That looks so good.

So we kind of got it drawn out. Now we want the fender to line up all the way out. So now we'll start to cut.

How does that look, buddy?

So cool, super good.

Cutting that round edge is going to be a fun one, but.

We'll scribe it on. We'll get some sort of round template, maybe a big socket, scribe it, and then we'll grind down to it.

That's pretty close.

I think that that looks awesome so far.

Just come in and put a bolt through here at the end just to hold that edge. Hold on the edge.

That looks awesome. Boom, Baja.

All right, Nate, what do you think?

I think it looks awesome. Like the way that's like turned, it looks so just like kind of like the traditional look.

Just like truly the first Baja Bug, or what we consider in the industry the first Baja Bug. This is all they did, was they took the front fenders and bolted them on the rear, and well, they took some extra. They actually kept the stock front fenders and just cut them up, but this is essentially all it was, was the first Baja Bug. They just took a right rear fender, bolted on here, and trimmed it up. They probably had more curves and whatnot, so we're more considered about ground clearance and fender clearance, which this should get us a pretty good amount of fender clearance. So that gives us a very traditional and strong, uh the holes in the top, we'll just fill in with some of the material that we have left over from this extra cut to fill in that we'll weld up those three holes. So with that, we'll take this, and we'll use this as a template for the opposite side.

So I've got this back edge pre-cut, everything's in place here. I've got the extra hole drilled at the front. Now we're going to go ahead and mock up our back line, and then we'll take some measurements off the other fender to get our front to rear line, and then we'll trim this guy just like we did that one.

It's pretty darn good. Yep, that's good.

So we've got this shape here all lined up, this shape here all lined up, across the back of the car. Let's see how that looks.

All right, Nathan, there used to be a bunch of sheet metal here.

Yeah, but now it's weight reductionified.

Weight reductionified and bajafied.

Yeah bajafied.

All for zero dollars and some tools, and a lot of work. Yeah, and a lot of tools, but if you have the tools, it's nothing but time, and well, it's time spent with my son on his birthday. I hope you enjoyed it.

Yeah, that was awesome.

Yeah, how do you like the way it turned out?

It's awesome, it's awesome, really nice. Yeah, just one thing is that back here, it should be a little bit more curved, the bottom front edges.

Yeah, we're going to taper those in too, but we'll figure it out once we get some running boards or side nerf bars or something. We'll cut those at that point. What do you think?

Yeah, good idea.

We've got some time off, so we might start to tear down that engine, uh, and or what's that?

Up over there?

Uh, well, we'll pull it apart. Maybe we'll just roll the bug out, and then we'll uh get to work on that uh now that I can see through the heater channels uh from the inside. We need to rinse those out some more, make sure we get all the dust and dirt out of those.

I mean, we probably need to lift the whole body off.

Uh at some point we will, at some point we will, but I need to start thinking about suspension. I do have some Thing spindles and trailing arms. I've had stored for six or seven, maybe eight years or longer. Uh, actually traded a customer a disc brake drop spindle kit that he wanted to lower his Thing, so I traded him a disc brake kit for some Thing spindles, and trailing arms. I have seen somewhere to the fact that they might travel as much as 10 in, whereas a stock bug beam with a lot of work, you can get it to about six and a half, maybe seven in. So if we can get 10 in of travel out of the stock Thing control arms, I think we're doing pretty good.

Even more so, I've thought about testing, making my own ball joint arms, but that's, that's a whole lot of work. I might do it, we'll see how it goes. But anyway, on that note, we're going to wrap it up for today. Life's full of good people.

If you can't find one..

be one.

Later, guys.

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