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Thread: High Ground Trail/Off road riding

  1. #1

    Smile High Ground Trail/Off road riding

    I picked up an old, but in great shape, VW Dune buggy last fall. I was able to take it past Jim Creek as the water was very low. I've 4wheeled with my Polaris Sportsman but as with most places I'm familar with, there are lots of mud and water to cross. My dune buggy is a more relaxed ride, driving actually, and it's quite a bit of fun but I have limited ground clearance for Water and Mud as the motor sits in the rear and it is a "flat" 4 cylinder and the suspension is stock VW beetle. Other than putting on taller tires, which I plan to do, does anyone know of some decently "dry" riding areas. I've never been to Eureka and I don't know how muddy and deep the water gets and I've wheeled all over Knik over the years. I know "Alaska" and "Dry" don't usually go together up here but there's got to be some areas that offer my rig some seat time. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Member oldakcop's Avatar
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    You can try out of Sutton on Jonesville Rd. But the area around the old mines and pits (with what you describe you are looking for) isn't all that large (in square miles). Once you get outside of the pits, the trails may be too narrow/steep/muddy. There are a lot of old mining roads that you can use to criss cross the area, but they all tend to peter out into some sort of ATV trail. You'll just have to explore....

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    Member Superx's Avatar
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    Petersville

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    There are a bunch of trails around the midpoint of the Denali Hwy (such as the Roosevelt Lake trail) which might be good for this.

    If you're not planning on driving with another vehicle, you may want to think about adding a winch at some point.

  5. #5
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Old, but in great shape buggies can have a lot of issues. Is the frame still solid? They always have a pinhole somewhere that traps water and rusts them out from the inside. One jump and they fold like a knife.

    You will need to know and understand the engine. While simple, they have their annoyances. Be sure to have the correct cooling tin!! Especially under the cylinders!!!

    The steering boxes are known to explode when you hit a rock etc....

    The shifter needs to be smooth.

    If you put steering brakes on it, you can brake the spinning wheel and get yourself out of a lot of predicaments.

    Water and VW engines do not go together. There are kits for the distributer etc.. I would worry about getting the clutch wet.

    The transmission may need to have a strap kit put on it. Otherwise it busts out the front mount.

    You can raise the ground clearance. If you go with big tires only, you will have no low gear. Does it have a bug or bus transmission?

    Mike

  6. #6

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    The frame seems to be in great shape. Nice paint on it, no visible rust and or holes in the frame. I don't know which transmission it has but it does have the mount. I'm very familar with engines and the air cooled, while different, is simple. Yes, have to cooling tins... I'm not looking to be jumping it or going fast where the ground is rough. I'm just taking it easy while enjoying being out. Hopefully I don't blow up the steering box. As for taller tires, I'm gonna go taller than the ones I have but not a huge amount. Saw a website where a guy that runs his Baja Bug took his front spindles, cut them with a band saw, located them down 2" and welded them (really good welding I would imagine) back together and got an additional 2" ground clearance up front. I'd consider that if I can find out how strong they'd be from talking with others. If not, I'd consider buying the raised spindles.

  7. #7

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    Has anyone made the run down the trail at Eklutna lake? I know that's pretty dry and basically a "road" but I don't know if it is boring or not, meaning the areas available to ride are quite restrictive? Anyone familar with the types of vehicles allowed there? Any other suggestions for different areas are very much appreciated.

  8. #8

    Default Eklutna

    is the old homestead road along the lake. It does allow ATVs Sun thru Wed but if you can sell the Rangers on the buggy being an ATV I want to shake your hand and buy you a beverage.
    10 says you don't get it off the trailer.
    Mike
    Mike
    www.alaskaatvclub.org
    There is a faster way off the mountain, might hurt a little though.

  9. #9
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Echo View Post
    is the old homestead road along the lake. It does allow ATVs Sun thru Wed but if you can sell the Rangers on the buggy being an ATV I want to shake your hand and buy you a beverage.
    10 says you don't get it off the trailer.
    Mike
    And $10 more says that if you do, you will regret it. They don't like ATV's there.

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    Also, Eklutna is closed to ATVs until April 1. See http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/asp/chugachsnow.pdf

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    The way to raise the front end is NOT to cut the spindles. It is to cut the torque tubes and reweld them. You will need a longer shock for the front end.

    I had a book on it. Will look tomorrow. If so, you can have it. They also make an adjustable front tube adapter. Cut 2 " out of the lower tube and you can adjust the front end. Feeling frisky, get two, do both tubes. BTW - If you have a spindle with the speedometer hole in it. It IS the weakest link. I forget which side.

    The problem with buggies in Alaska. There is alot of room, but there is a lot of traffic. 30 MPH in a buggy feels like 15 MPH. You need a lot of room. For example, the loop that I ran south of Alamogordo NM, was 55 miles long. Eureka has the best trails for a buggy. Remember that there are other people out there.

    Mike

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    Smile Buggies

    Oh man some great ideas out there. Knik always was the best place for me, but hatchers and petersville had some good old mining trails that were exciting too. As for raising the beast cut the tubes in the front... look at the center of the torsion tube and you will see a set screw and a nut. The idea here is to do one tube at a time. First mark a line along the tube about 10" long either above or below the set screw, then cut about 1 1/2" to 2" out on each side of the set screw(of course the front beam must be disassembled first) then move the center cut piece so the line on it is about 1" to 1 1/2" above the line on the tube and then weld it back together. this will make the torsion leafs push down harder on the trailing arm thus holding the nose of the Bug or Buggy up higher. As for strength on the front end do you know if it is a link pin front end or a ball joint? If it's link pin then no worries but if it's ball joint then you might want to put limiter straps on to keep from over extending the ball joint... or if you can find them just get some VW Thing front spindles and this would solve any breakage problems also,but they are hard to find. On the back, if it's stock VW torsion tube then just pull the spring plates (the car must be jacked up and then the spring plate needs to be jacked off it's stop using a floor jack and chain to hold things)and carefully remove them from the splined torsion bar. Then move them down normally 2 splines will be enough. I run 31" tall tires on my Bug(down right now for rust repair) and have little problems with gearing, but if you are planning to go mountain climbing then you will want to change your gearing or get Bus reduction boxes. Oh and for water they do sell a distributorless ignition system now, but a piece of foam under the dizzy and then spray everything...cap, dizzy body and such with clear lacquer (spray can) and you will be good to go.
    Olspeed (Mick)
    It's not a car... it's a VolksWagen

  13. #13

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    Any Baja Bug owners out there? I'm thinking if you take yours off road, I would be able to ride in the same areas and conditions....? I'm know I'm some what limited on riding/driving areas until later in the season while things dry out and the spring run off pipes down... Anyone else have ideas where to ride? Thanks,
    Mike

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    Default If a 4 wheeler can go...

    There your rail will most likely get there also. Get a cheap 2 ton come-along, some chain and (I know it sounds silly) a boat anchor for when there are no trees to winch to and last but not least some "V-BAR" tire chains when you need "four wheel drive" and you can go just about anywhere. Check out http://www.arcticaircooledvws.com/ as they have been talking about some people starting a off road group. Also here are a few pictures of mine and a few others old Bugs.
    olspeed (mick)
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