Baja Kits -


a Rough Introduction to the Fiberglass


Baja kits are manufactured by about 20 different outfits. I've been trying to track down some details on 'em, and my wish to make a segment on the Baja Page about the different kits has turned out to be a monster! This is a rough introduction, don't get me wrong, but I wish to notate the problems locking down some solid info on what's with a baja kit, and how to install it!

So it goes like this -

Baja kits are manufactured by about 20 different outfits.

You wish for directions, and there's a couple of cases where you can actually get 'em but they're sketchy at best. They describe how to "size up the rear shroud" and "draw a line below the fender" and the like. No one is going to tell you where to cut, it seems. I adhere to this principle, not by emulation but by instinct... if you cut your VW sedan, it's your problem, don't follow any weak advice you get from motorheads like me!

Please feel free to send me any info on baja kits, since this is weak at best, but I had to start somewhere.

The components are:

- Two front fenders
- Two rear fenders
- One hood
- One shroud
- One nose piece

And that's why it's called a 7-piece kit.

Or, you can go with a one-piece front end and that takes away two fenders, a nose and a hood and replaces it with a one-piece front end, thus the 4-piece kit.


Pros and cons of the one piece front end:

PRO: easy to lift the front end and work on stuff.
CON: you lose the trunk.
PRO: looks cool, baja to the bone.
CON: you lose the trunk and it's hard to mount the headlights.
PRO: I ran out of pros.
CON: You lose the trunk, it's hard to mount the headlights, and it's more work mounting the front end.

I think you get the idea, I like my trunk thus I do not favor one piece front ends.


How to mount a baja kit, where to cut excluded:

- remove the stock fenders.
- mount the fiberglass fenders.
- mount the rear shroud, wherever you like it to be, and attach it with hot-melt glue. Do not lose any rear window vision in this step.
- draw a line from the edge of the shroud to the fender, then add a few inches. This may or may not be where you cut.
- remove front bumper, headlights, hood, running lights and anything else that might be remotely in the way.
- mount the fiberglass hood.
- size up the nose piece. Figure that the nosepiece will tuck underneath the front fenders to some miniscule measure.
- add a few inches. this may or may not be where you cut.
- CUSTOMIZE.

Again I must stress the fact, any cuts you make are your problem, not mine, thus cut long then cut again then cut again I don't care, cut 20 times if necessary.

If you cut too much, Take the Baja to the Welder and Have him Fix It. The only people I trust to weld sheetmetal are professionals.

So, you've mounted the shroud, fenders, nose, hood - hey, you have a 7-piece baja kit installed. Congratulations!


MOUNTING THE ONE-PIECE FRONT END

- do the rear as described above.
- many one-piece front ends mate to the body about 4 inches from the door hinges so draw a line 8 inches from the hinges, then chicken out and draw another line 12 inches from the hinges and figure out where YOU want to cut, it really isn't my problem so I wish you luck and happy VW trails, the welder will take care of you if you pay him nicely.
- you'll need to weld hinge brackets onto the front end, this is the pivot point for the front end, it varies from kit to kit so CUSTOMIZE.
- mount the zeus fittings into the remaining metal, and fasten the front end into place.
- weld stalks onto the body, say down where the front tunnel-access panel is, and stretch them up to where the headlights will mount. This Is Tricky! I cut and welded maybe 7 times before I got the stalks right on the one-piece front end I did - the major body cuts only took 3 tries - thus you see that headlight aiming is critical. Most aftermarket road-legal headlight kits have some eccentric adjusters built in. Plan B is to grind some washers to an eccentric shape and adjust thereof, but this is hard since the muthers tend to wander a bit under offroad conditions and you re-aim your headlights every month.

(It's Hard being the SandLizrd - first I dodge all questions about cuts, then I try to explain the arcane science of aiming headlights on stalks 8-or-so inches long so nobody messes it up tooooo severely -)


Brothers and Seesters, you gotta run with me on this, you'll get it.


You Gotta Help Me Here!