Ideas and Tech Stuff

Suggestions and Ideas on Sandcar construction

Posted here are some thoughts and ideas on constructing sandcars.  During the last few years we've completely rebuilt a few sandrails and built a couple from the ground up, learning a lot in the process.  Items will be continually posted to this page, and we welcome suggestions or ideas that you would like to share. Email


Think outside the sandrail industry:
When I began the construction of my rail, I gathered catalogs from many different parts suppliers: street rod, hot rod, circle track and road-racing, boating, electronic, etc.  I did not order from every single catalog, but I did get ideas from each one.  For example,
Gaffrig Performance, a boating supplier, has some very cool gauges that are waterproof (therefore sandproof) and trick angled bezels to point the gauges at the driver.  Speedway Motors, an established Street Rod supplier has aluminum steering wheels with either black, blue, red or purple rims and trick purple anodized quick release hubs.  Longacre, a race car accessories supplier, has a great rearview mirror that clamps to your rail and some neat switch and gauge panels.   Tired of paying too much for those weld-on tabs for your floorboard and lights?  Check out A & A Mfg, they make 'em and they are cheap.  Look to industries outside the sandrail/VW community for interesting and effective technologies and products to use on your car -  there's some really cool stuff available.


Don't Believe Everything and Get a Second Opinion
If I had a buck for every time I said, "Dammit, that guy at (insert shop name here) was wrong," I'd have enough cash for a six-pack. For example, Fred, a guy at the local buggy shop told me that the company I bought my tranny from was terrible.  He said they've got terrible customer service, the transmission will break right away and I should have bought one from him instead.  Well, the transmission is great,  their customer service is top-notch and two other people I know have had the same good experience with them.  I'm not sayin' you should disbelieve everyone, but if someone tells you that a company or product is really bad or really good, ask someone else- you might be surprised at their answer.  Sometimes people are set in their beliefs and won't accept new ideas, so be wary of the old  "Ya can't do that" or "I wouldn't do that", especially if it comes without an explanation.  If someone tells me something can't be done, it's a sure way to make me try to do it and prove them wrong.


On making floorboards
Though many people like perforated floorboards in their cars, I prefer a solid sheet of aluminum.  I used an 0.090 thick sheet and had it sheared to approximate shape by the supplier.  Cutting up a large sheet of thin aluminum with a jig-saw is very loud, very slow and a huge pain.  I took my measurements  to the metal yard with me and had the guys there use the shear to cut the floors to size.  It cost a little more for the extra cuts, but they got the floors cut to size in a few minutes and saved me a couple hours of work.  I rounded the edges with a belt sander and then punched a few holes and dimpled them with a tool from Irvan Smith.    The dimples add a little strength, too.  Got some neat stainless button head screws with nylock nuts to hold them to the chassis.  Some companies are powder-coating the floorboards in near-chrome to provide a more scratch resistant surface, and then putting a heel pad where your feet rest.  I've also seen some solid floors with spray-on bedliner under your heels instead of the heel pad.


CV Joint Preparation
Submitted by Matt on 6-01-02
.....polishing of the internal of the CV joints. With the CVs apart, you can easily observe numerous small ridges on the surfaces where the ball bearings ride. Left alone, these can, in some cases, cause a great deal of heat due to friction and actually shorten the life of the CV.
These surfaces are easily polished with the proper attachment for an air-powered die grinder, or even a Dremel. Of course, care must be taken to only polish this surface, and not remove material to the extent it will change the shape, or cause a too loose a fit.

Stock Shift Rod Modification
If you are using a stock shift rod with a stock or short-throw shifter, sometimes after a few weekends in the dunes the shifter becomes stiff and difficult to use.  One of the reasons this happens is that the cup on the shift rod (that the ball of the shifter fits into) becomes full of sand and prevents smooth movement. An easy way to prevent this from happening is to drill a 1/4" hole through the bottom of the shift cup to allow sand to fall through.  The cup is made of hardened steel, so use carbide drills in a drill press and begin with a small pilot hole and work up to 1/4"

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