Member's Journal - The Bike Buggy thread

General talk about the Subaru Baja.

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bajaguy
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Member's Journal - The Bike Buggy thread

Post by bajaguy » Sun Sep 21, 2014 12:08 am

I have decided to compile the stuff I have done to my Baja into one thread. Any good pics of my Baja will also be posted here. It's just easier.

Starting from the beginning:

My brother and I were heading off to two separate colleges and we knew we would need another car. I searched craigslist about 8 months every other day.
My searches were as follows, first choice first:
Subaru Baja
Honda Element
VW Golf TDI
Mini Cooper
Nissan XTerra
Nissan Frontier (4 door)

I had pretty much given up on the first two just because of price. It was my dream car, but I was only searching the keyword "Subaru." I was searching for an engine for my VW baja bug and inadvertently I searched baja instead of bug. The first 3 postings were for a "Suburu Baja." Each consecutive ad was $500 cheaper. It had 71k mi and was less than half the kbb value. True, it had many issues and was used as a work truck. I have fixed most but here are some pics from when we test drove it.

Here are the pics that were on CL:
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Here are some pics from the test drive:

Only one speaker worked and the dash was popped out...both fixed
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That piece was not staying in and that was the previous owner's fix. -______- It is now attached from behind.
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Scratches, practically all buffed out now.
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More scratches that buffed out.
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It appears he jacknifed a trailer... The plastic has been repaired with fiberglass, the putty splatters took hours to get off, and the tail light was replaced.
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Again, it was used as a work truck...he still had stuff in it when we bought it. The mossy oak screen was removed within an hour of purchase.
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Other issues included:
Sunroof not working (fixed by plugging it back in)
Wiper control switch malfunctioning (replaced)
Driver's seat belt locking up irrationally (replaced)
Driver's mirror held on by 1 screw (base replaced)
O2 sensor bad (replaced)
Really dirty (hours of cleaning, seats and center console removed to clean, gum scraped off the back window, etc.)


Interesting story from the trip home; The Baja was located 1.5 hours away from home. We were lucky enough to stop for gas before making the trip back home because we got out, closed the doors, and when we came back, the alarm went off. After trying to figure it out, we called the previous owner. He said, "yeah, it's the small button on the remote...wait...OH! I forgot to give that to you!" It could have been way worse.


I have never seen a Baja go as cheap as mine since then. I continue to look and I continue to praise God for blessing me with such an awesome, safe, reliable, and fun vehicle.


Oh, and here is a pic of the baja bug. I do miss it...
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The mods begin:

The first mod I did after repairing the stuff that needed fixing was to hook up the lights that were there "just for show." I unfortunately do not have a write-up, but here are pics of the finished product.

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the switch. wired to the cruise control (moved to a more permanent home later)

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the wire goes down the A-pillar

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It was really tough getting 5 wires through there...I recommend a small gauge wire.

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The next project was to build a bike rack. I wanted to be able to still haul other stuff and several bikes so we went with a roof design. To avoid having to remove the lights or buy a third rail I decided it would be awesome to have them hang over the bed. It also looks cooler and is easier to do stuff to the bikes when they are on the rack. since the 2x4 bed rack is easy to make I went ahead and did that too.

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with the bikes mounted. I've decided velcro straps are the way to go to tie stuff down easily.

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silhouette

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Yakima universal mounts mount to metal brackets that join the yakima trays to the fork mounts. a steel bar was needed to keep the bikes from rocking. With the bar, there is literally no play side-to-side.

(Keep scrolling to see better pictures)


The skid plate:

This summer I was able to front some time to do a few things that have been bugging me for a while. My dad thought it was a good idea to start with the skid plate since mine has been missing the plastic one from purchase. The whole skid plate was built for around $100. We ordered 1/4" aluminum 2'x3' and got a steel square tube pipe to create the frame. To bend the sheet we drove the Baja on the larger portion and drove our full-sized conversion van on the small part hanging over a ledge/curb. It then took some mighty hammer swings to get it to budge. I should have taken pictures...it was pretty great!

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frame mounted with carriage bolts

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the bracket to mount in the rear

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the three risers in the front

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good view

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My dad's a pro at the jigsaw! for the carriage bolts.

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the part that shows. I used a sander to make scratches harder to see by buffing the aluminum sheet.

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naked underside O___O

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mounted. The 5 bolts that hold it up are accessed through the holes in the plate.

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covers well

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I now have protection!


Rear seat conversion:
(if you've read the thread, this is identical)

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Naked... 4 screws hold the cubby in.

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Used a Dremel to angle the places where the wood meets the supports. Did a lot of measuring for this.

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Perfect fit! Well... if I were to do it again I would make the board stick out in the front more to make it fill the area between the seats.

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With a longer board the front part could also be taller.

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Top view

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Sticking a dowel through the drilled holes we used a Forstner drill bit to create the sunken surface for the T-nuts.

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Use the densest foam you can find. I did a little more trimming. If I were to do it again, I would use a single piece and fold it around.

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The two secure mounting options are to spot weld nuts from the bottom and sew the material on with a zipper to allow access to the bolts or use the T-nuts and access the bolts from below. The holes were drilled with the largest bit we had and then expanded with a grinder tip on the Dremel. Fits the socket nearly perfectly.

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A few steps skipped here. Wrapped the vinyl we bought at JoAnn's, removed the two hinge bolts to flip the bench over, and bolted it on. Walla!

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The material is nearly a perfect match. (probably was when the car was new =P )

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(I did extend it out, redid the material, and got seatbelts. pics to come)


Ash tray delete:
Since I don't smoke and don't plan to ever smoke, I decided the ash tray (Which is pretty much useless for anything other than ashes) should go. I fabricated an aluminum panel out of something (not sure where it came from) and bent and cut it into shape using pliers and a dremel. The toggle is the first of many to come. I need to order a bunch of matching toggles for future projects. The screws are drilled straight into the bracket that holds the ash tray in. The screws are bike frame braze-on screws (just because it's cool) =D I figured it would add a little flair.

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the toggle is for the footwell lights

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for now, that's most of what I've done. I'll add stuff as I do more and take better pictures of stuff soon.
Last edited by bajaguy on Thu Nov 12, 2015 9:56 am, edited 3 times in total.
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tomato_88
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Re: My Bike Buggy thread

Post by tomato_88 » Sun Sep 21, 2014 6:40 am

Looks good. That skid guard looks heavy duty. How much does it weigh?

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bajaguy
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Re: My Bike Buggy thread

Post by bajaguy » Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:34 am

Didn't weigh it but it was somewhere around 30lbs including the bracket. Aluminum is pretty light. We used 5051 grade.
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Re: My Bike Buggy thread

Post by bajaguy » Sat Dec 13, 2014 2:55 pm

Got 1 of 4 lights hooked up today and grabbed power from the best source for my auxiliary ports. So if anyone is interested in having something fused separately here's what I did.

This is the auxiliary port I mounted (kinda ghetto mount, but the hole was already there so that's where it went). I've got an in-line fuse holder that I picked up on Amazon.
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This is the wire you want to tap into if you want it to turn off with the ignition. If you want it always powered, there's a thick red wire in the brown plug that will do that.
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Here it is soldered and wrapped up.
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And here's one hooked up! The rest will have to wait their turns. I had to extend the wires since these were taller than my old ones but fortunately they are long enough to go into the lights. So no plugs hanging out anywhere. All junctions remain inside.
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P.S. and if you're wondering how to take off the fuse box, there's a nut on the right and a clip on the top and bottom. But you literally have to unplug everything from it. Have fun =D
Last edited by bajaguy on Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Snorkeled
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Re: My Bike Buggy thread

Post by Snorkeled » Sat Dec 13, 2014 2:59 pm

Love it !!! Glad my old Hella 1000's are getting some use again ! Looks great !!! [smilie=666.gif]

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Re: My Bike Buggy thread

Post by bajaguy » Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:22 pm

Washed it today and took some better pics of the lights, 5th seat, and bike rack. Cleaned outside, inside, and under the hood. Felt really good to get it clean again.

Before:
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After:
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So shiny!
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Better pic of the lights, I use a 20A fuse. Thanks again Ryan!
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Here they are from the back. I wish the previous owner hadn't drilled through the rails, but hey, it turned out nice.
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Yakima mighty mounts, XPORT fork mounts (similar to Thule's but Yakima probably has the nicest, and most expensive, option)
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We made triangular plates to hold everything together. The bar going across keeps the bikes from swaying since the yakima mighty mounts are very good up and down but provide little lateral support.
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Same wiring as before, nicely tucked in there.
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The seat with the extra foam. It sticks out further than before.
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Seatbelts are a direct swap from a '99 generation Outback. The Baja's shoulder belts fit with no modification. I would have used the 2000-2004 generation but those all have 3 point seatbelts for the center occupant.
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Here's the best pic of the rack as a whole.
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The mount in the bed at the top just replaced one of the torx screws that holds the bedliner in.
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For the bottom mount in the bed there were two existing holes but we had to pull the liner out, bend the metal out, and spot weld nuts behind before putting everything back.
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I can take more pictures if you're interested in seeing something specific. Peace.
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Re: My Bike Buggy thread

Post by Zombaja » Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:47 am

I know we're not supposed to say this to guys, but...

Nice rack!

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Re: My Bike Buggy thread

Post by bearrowland » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:43 pm

Great job! I like that skid plate!

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Re: My Bike Buggy thread

Post by bajaguy » Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:48 pm

Done a few things this summer... Here's a little update:


Cleaned behind the back seat. That had never been done. Here's what it was taken down to:
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Epoxied some bolts on the fuel door cover so I don't loose it.
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Cut the power to the fog light relay (ran off headlight power) and connected in ignition power so it is independent. I just grabbed that power from what goes into the left headlight relay from the ignition (green wire).
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Disabled the DRLs using the explaination here:
http://www.lightsout.org/disable.html#Subaru


End result, everything works independently:
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Did a little machining and fixed my broken seat latch. I might make a version 2 that works better one of these remaining summer weekends. I also might be able to make a few for those that need them. Tentatively.
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Re: My Bike Buggy thread

Post by anarchy1024 » Sat Aug 29, 2015 8:30 am

Very, very nice. Maybe I should start my own thread to document everything done to mine. Wish I was as good at metalworking as you and your dad. Any idea how the law works for the fifth seat belt? The plate on the door jamb says it seats four...

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Re: My Bike Buggy thread

Post by mikeeitup » Sun Aug 30, 2015 11:22 am

PM me about the seat latch you made. Mine is broken so I am 100% in need of one!
Mike

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bajaguy
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Re: Member's Journal - The Bike Buggy thread

Post by bajaguy » Tue Apr 05, 2016 11:35 pm

Been a while since I've done an update...

Pretty sure if I were in an accident and the person in the center seat were injured, it would be my liability, yes. But due to the fact that it's the seatbelts and bolts straight out of a Legacy, I feel confident it won't be failing.

As for rear seat pins, I am still working on it. It looks like I might be able to make a few in the coming weeks. I also slightly modified the CAD model. Here's the end of some stock I tested a shallower design in. I'm using this one right now even though it looks terrible up top. Its just stock as it sticks out. Didn't do any machining on that part.
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NEWS!
Well, it appears I didn't write up about changing by timing belt last summer. Well I believe I used the Gates kit from RockAuto. It was an easy afternoon job, unfortunately the local AutoZone didn't have the radiator hoses, but everything has worked fine since. It did require making a tool to hold the crank shaft though...
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I also built myself a new and improved switch panel. This one is slightly thicker and definitely better. The aluminum was already powder coated blue, so I thought I would leave it for now. For clarification, my dad is very good at woodworking stuff but has some tools that can be used for some metalwork such as a welder, angle grinder, and jigsaw. His cousin is the one who taught me to use a lathe and mill. This panel just used a drill press though.
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ROAD TRIP!
I then traveled from Michigan back to Washington in which the only major event was getting a flat tire. Turns out, with 1.5' of extensions, you can lower the spare tire from below. Definitely something I am keeping in my car at all times. Has anyone else gotten a flat when the bed is completely full? That seems to always be my case. That, rain, and darkness seem to be my luck.
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Behold! Camping!
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Thus ended my trip back to Washington.



SPRING BREAK
So I decided to head down to west central Oregon to see family and build a treehouse for break. So much fun! (see treehouse, or at least the progress we made on it)
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On the way down though a girl in Portland failed to see me stopped at a stop sign and nudged me when I had my tailgate down. Bent the bracket, dented the metal, broke the tailgate plastic, broke the trim around the taillight, and broke the black tailgate trim on top. She had good insurance, so that should be fixed soon. It doesn't look too terrible as-is, but it's definitely not closing well.
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Nonetheless, that about concludes my update... should be getting a new tailgate soon and it should be the one that The Subie Recycler picked up off iaai.com over half a year ago. Ironically, it's the same Baja I used for my April fool's prank last year. Here's the pic from the iaai ad.
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Re: Member's Journal - The Bike Buggy thread

Post by bajaguy » Wed Apr 06, 2016 8:51 pm

Correction: as you can see on the belt, I used the Dayco kit, not the Gates.
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Re: Member's Journal - The Bike Buggy thread

Post by bajaguy » Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:37 pm

Got the Baja back!! Everything works just like new! Looks great, too! I went ahead and have them leave it without the badges, I like the look better despite the two guide-pin holes.

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I've now got some parts if anyone needs some. For sale/barter
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Re: Member's Journal - The Bike Buggy thread

Post by bajaguy » Wed Apr 20, 2016 1:24 pm

Updated pic of my rear window stickers. Made myself a custom Baja vinyl. PM me if you're interested in one.

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