1 (edited by philikon 2012-04-03 07:40 PM)

Topic: Yes, we built a Super Beetle with dual controls

Last year in the summer, I stole off work for a few hours with my buddies & coworkers Jeff and Erica. We drove to the far end of the San Francisco East Bay to check out some old 911 that I was interested in because it was listed quite cheaply. Naturally the car ended up being a total waste of time, but the journey there turned out to be well worth it as it gave birth to another good/bad LeMon idea.

Jeff and I had done our first LeMons races earlier that year, joining the Jaywatch and Judge Busters teams, respectively. We both love wrenching and hooning and didn't mind the racing either. Erica, on the other hand, already raced motorcycles, but she was not tall enough to fit into either BMW. This prevented her to "upgrade" from superbikes to $500 crapcan cars. Clearly something had to be done. But what?

You might suggest that we just fitted a slider or some foam padding to one of the BMW seats. But anybody could do that! When you've seen creations like the MRolla and find absolutely nothing wrong with it, you are clearly broken. You don't go for the obvious solution. So naturally the first idea that came into our minds was to build a new car that seats short people just as well as tall people. In separate seats, of course. Then there'd be no need for complicated sliders or foam or whatever. So much easier!

Once we had found the solution, we moved on to figuring out the small details such as how to actually make dual controls work. Most cars would probably have the room for a second steering column and a chain that synchronizes it with the main steering column. But would you want to be in control of the steering wheel that was chain driven? In a race? On a track with, uh, lots of corners and other heaps of junk to avoid? Exactly. At the best levels of fabrication excellence such a solution would inspire as much as confidence as a cable operated brake. No thanks!

At this point I remembered that the Volkswagen Super Beetle, before it moved to rack & pinion steering in 1975, had an entirely symmetrical steering linkage: the tie rods connect to a center tie rod that's hinged on both sides of the car. On the driver's side, it connects to the steering box while on the passenger side there's a simple block-off plate. VW would simply fit the steering box to whichever side the car had to be driven from and the block-off plate to the other side. The bolting pattern, ball joints, etc. are identical on both sides.

http://www.vw1302.de/a2/1302dok/technik/fahrwerk/va2.gif

Spurred on by this knowledge and full of enthusiasm and naivete, we proceeded to purchase a 1971 Super Beetle for $500 right in the heart of San Francisco. The engine did not run, but who cared! We had bigger problems to solve and a VW engine would surely turn up between then and the first race. A right-hand drive steering box and pedal assembly was sourced from the UK. Another Super Beetle steering column was quickly found at a local junkyard and a piece of steel pipe from Home Depot made for an excellent mount.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7170/6632093171_8560c9d4ff_b.jpg https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7011/6632092763_1fdc0d7b46_b.jpg

Next problem: how to make two sets of pedals work?

I know what you're going to say. Driving school cars have a second brake pedal for the instructor. But those seem to just operate the main brake pedal remotely via a cable. Again, not confidence inspiring for a race car. Maybe a hydraulic solution? Each brake pedal would operate on its own master brake cylinder and the two cylinders would be hooked up in parallel. Sadly not possible since MBCs default to open when they're not actuating, evacuating all the pressure into the brake fluid reservoir (see http://youtu.be/wCe_iWEpzFA).

Enter John, another coworker, greasemonkey, and holder of an expired amateur pilot's license. He explained to us how small airplanes solved the problem of dual control pedals: a simple mechanical linkage using rotating shafts.

http://www.kisbuild.r-a-reed-assoc.com/RayClegg/Image118.jpg

We mocked up a design on a napkin in the office kitchen. The idea was that the left-hand pedals would sit in more or less the stock locations where they would actuate on the master brake cylinder, clutch cable, and throttle cable, respectively just like normally. The rotating shafts would communicate that motion to the right-hand pedals and vice-versa.

The internets provided sufficiently strong steel alloy stock for the linkage (McMaster to the rescue!). The stock VW pedal assemblies were taken apart quite easily and were modified to fit where necessary.  Then we welded the pedals onto the shafts and fabricated mounts for them.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7165/6842884479_00c3f753ce_b.jpg https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7175/6842898365_b1b7f78a0b_b.jpg https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7001/6842904569_802612364c_b.jpg

We also reinforced the pan in the mounting points. Because, you know, if a VW pan were any thinner metal, you would actually be able to see through it. We also had to cut some pretty big holes into the center tunnel and relocate the cluch cable mounting bracket. Here's a video demonstrating the pedals once everything was finally assembled: http://youtu.be/K1ZufhbMv_g

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7182/6790054950_52aa934703_b.jpg

At this point, we were certain: all the hard work was done. Just pop the body back onto the pan, slab some paint on it, drop the car on some wheels, wire the kill switch, and make a battery mount (properly over-engineered, of course). All in a day's work... easy peasy lemon squeezy!

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7119/6882173476_64fa6f89f7_b.jpg



We were quite pleased.


https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7188/7028274853_ff196344a5_b.jpg

Wait.

Hang on a second.

There was this whole engine thing.

Right.

When I pulled the bug's original (broken) engine away from the transmission, the flywheel decided to stay in the bellhousing rather than come out with the engine. Turns out, the bolts that held it on the crankshaft had sheared. Fortunately, Jeff had a spare bug motor crank around (of unknown origin and condition, of course), so he set out to rebuild the engine.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7168/6437319149_348d9fc002_b.jpg

We also had another ace up our sleeves. A few months prior to acquiring the Super Beetle, I found a 1971 Karmann Ghia in a field in front of somebody's house. It hadn't run for at least 15 years. After we changed the oil and spark plugs, the engine fired right up. See for yourselves: http://youtu.be/0JYVAZAKSFg

It was obvious. This was our race engine for Sears Pointless. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, this: http://youtu.be/BHCWm6HUZow

Even though we had done a valve adjustment and driven the Bug to the shops a few times, the engine was so low on power, it couldn't even climb the hill in turn 1 at Sears Point and won us the first tow of the race.

After unsuccessfully tweaking and eventually exchanging the carburettor, re-timing and eventually exchanging the distributor, as well as replacing the spark plugs, we gave up and swapped in the rebuilt engine. Only to discover that the clutch was worn pretty thin. Mike from the Scrubbing Vee-Bubble-U helped us out with a spare clutch and the engine was once again re-installed.

By this time it was mid-day on Sunday, but the car finally drove!  Ish. The rebuilt engine revved a little more happily, but it quickly developed a terrible crank wobble which eventually lead to the aluminum crank pulley to shear. Now, the crank pulley runs the alternator and fan belt. Its failure meant the engine was without cooling for too long, frying some of the valves. This meant the definite end of the race for us.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7182/7028276597_fa411242f5_b.jpg

We parked the car until the last 10 minutes of race to take the checkered flag. Yet, the Bug had different plans and broke down again, this time in the chicane, completing the very last tow of the race.

We really did a good job naming the car "Ferdinand the Bug". Like how Ferdinand the Bull (http://youtu.be/THdDmWf-a00) didn't want to fight the other bulls but rather smell flowers, our Ferdinand was LeMons car that didn't want to race the other cars but instead just smelled the flowers next to the track.

But don't worry, Ferdinand will be back. With a proper engine.

(For more pictures of the complete build, see http://flic.kr/s/aHsjx62Vzi)

Hella Shitty Racing -- Premium Crapcan Racing since 2010!
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Re: Yes, we built a Super Beetle with dual controls

Awesome write up! Can't wait to see the car on the track more!

Hella Shitty Racing Goin' for Broken '10, Arse-Sweat '10, Arse-Freeze '10, Sears Pointless '11, Skankaway '11, Arse-Freeze '11, Arse-Sweat '12, Sears Pointless '13, Arse-Sweat '13, Northworst '13, Vodden '13, Pointless '14, Button Turrible '14

Re: Yes, we built a Super Beetle with dual controls

I laughed, I cried.  It was tough to watch you guys wrench all weekend, but that's Sears point for ya.

24 Time Loser with Class C, Index of Effluency, I got Screwed and Heroic Fix Trophies who usually races, according to Car and Driver, The Greatest Road Racing Cherokee in History.

Check out our FB Page and follow our various exploits.

Re: Yes, we built a Super Beetle with dual controls

Great to hear the whole story end-to-end!

Cobra Kai (1994 Volvo 940)

Re: Yes, we built a Super Beetle with dual controls

Thanks, guys! Our team is also on Facebook, btw: https://www.facebook.com/ferdinand.the.bug

Hella Shitty Racing -- Premium Crapcan Racing since 2010!
- VOTE FORD
- Ferdinand the Bug (2x class C, 1x class B, IoE)
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Re: Yes, we built a Super Beetle with dual controls

Show 'em a pic of the cage we built for you.. It's a work of art.....  Darren pulled out all the stops...

Gosh, my business card says 'Tech Tyrant'

Re: Yes, we built a Super Beetle with dual controls

I thought I saw drivers in two different seats but was was too mentally slow to put that together. I wish I had known. I would have come over and checked out the car!

The DD: '95 Volvo 850 T5R - ButterCup Yellow
The Tow Vehicle: '97 GMC Suburban K2500 6.5TD - Poo Brown
My Racer: '84 Volvo 245GLT - <strike>Jew</strike> CheapAss Black
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Re: Yes, we built a Super Beetle with dual controls

Evil Genius wrote:

Show 'em a pic of the cage we built for you.. It's a work of art.....  Darren pulled out all the stops...

Oh yeah. Totally. The the cage is beautiful:

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7190/7028273225_a6bd4a6526_b.jpg
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7102/7028273175_859373313c_b.jpg
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7204/6882171302_25b5ee4b38_b.jpg

Hella Shitty Racing -- Premium Crapcan Racing since 2010!
- VOTE FORD
- Ferdinand the Bug (2x class C, 1x class B, IoE)
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Re: Yes, we built a Super Beetle with dual controls

This has got to be one of the most ridiculous, complex, over engineered solutions to such a simple problem as I've ever seen.

I wish I'd thought of it.

Well done!

bs

Re: Yes, we built a Super Beetle with dual controls

bshorey wrote:

This has got to be one of the most ridiculous, complex, over engineered solutions to such a simple problem as I've ever seen.

I wish I'd thought of it.

Deutschland Uber Alles!

24 Time Loser with Class C, Index of Effluency, I got Screwed and Heroic Fix Trophies who usually races, according to Car and Driver, The Greatest Road Racing Cherokee in History.

Check out our FB Page and follow our various exploits.

Re: Yes, we built a Super Beetle with dual controls

bshorey wrote:

This has got to be one of the most ridiculous, complex, over engineered solutions to such a simple problem as I've ever seen.

I wish I'd thought of it.

Well done!

bs

So in essence, the perfect solution to any problem facing a team in LeMons today!  I can smell a new penalty, the "judge phil as your driving instructor!" penalty, complete with the bad indian music that seems to follow him wherever he goes.  Awesome job, looks fantastic!

Bloomington, IN
We'll bring Beer!  Motorpsports
Team Fiery Death! #0 2009 Lamest Day(65th), 2010 American Irony(24th), 2010 Detroit Bull(4th),2012 Capitol Offense (8th) 2012 American Irony (11 th), 2013 Capitol Offense (3rd) 2013 Chubba Chedder (4th, and Judges Choice!)
Toothless Racing Deadbeats #110 2011 Summit Point (61st)

Re: Yes, we built a Super Beetle with dual controls

Fantastic! Welcome to the wonderful world of air-cooled racing!

RetroRacing-Is it supposed to look like that?
1973 Super! Beetle: Judges' Choice 2010 CMP Fall, 2011 CMP Spring- Dead Rock Stars-Nearly arrested at parade, 2013 CMP Spring- finally finished a race! 2014 Barber- I Got Screwed!

Re: Yes, we built a Super Beetle with dual controls

Could I steal your photos for a C/D Good/Bad Idea of the Week post?

Re: Yes, we built a Super Beetle with dual controls

Judge Phil wrote:

Could I steal your photos for a C/D Good/Bad Idea of the Week post?

Absolutely! Full res versions are available on my flickr stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/philikon/s … 236082775/

Hella Shitty Racing -- Premium Crapcan Racing since 2010!
- VOTE FORD
- Ferdinand the Bug (2x class C, 1x class B, IoE)
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Re: Yes, we built a Super Beetle with dual controls

We'll have to pool our engine resources and just have a support truck full.
I'm glad you didn't take me up on the 1600SP, I ended up needing it...
~said, Spank gave me most of another 1600SP, and I have some turbos that need rebuilding. You can walk the same path I have!
...and the other 4 engines are-a-building. Come on by and I'll get you all the bad news you ever wanted to know about.

Re: Yes, we built a Super Beetle with dual controls

God, these air-cooled VW's are so tough to make work.
Cool car.

The Charnal House Geo MetSHO: Turning less laps than a regular Metro, the hard way!

1969 Subaru 360

Re: Yes, we built a Super Beetle with dual controls

I think we were the first team to enter a VW Bug at Altamont.  We thought we brought enough spare parts including an extra engine.  Our weak point is the drive shaft sheered off at the wheel. We did some welding, but it didn't last.  You'll want to toughen that up for sure.  Good luck!

18 (edited by psychoboy 2013-02-20 02:56 PM)

Re: Yes, we built a Super Beetle with dual controls

if you shear an axle at the drum, your axle nuts are probably too loose.

find the biggest guy you know and get him to stand on the end of a 3 foot (or longer) cheater bar. you cannot over torque them.

Team OK-Speed
Regularly losing in Class A
Soon to start losing in Class C

Re: Yes, we built a Super Beetle with dual controls

psychoboy wrote:

if you shear an axle at the drum, your axle nuts are probably too loose.

find the biggest guy you know and get him to stand on the end of a 3 foot (or longer) cheater bar. you cannot over torque them.

Very true. But even with that CrazyMike still broke a stub axle last year at Thunderhill. Since then we always carry spares.

Hella Shitty Racing -- Premium Crapcan Racing since 2010!
- VOTE FORD
- Ferdinand the Bug (2x class C, 1x class B, IoE)
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