Tuesday, March 23, 2010

On the Road

The car is together and inspected. We had just have a very nice weather weekend and drove the it about 20 miles total around town. Worked well More details to come.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Another task Done

The Netgain Impulse 9 and transmission are now installed, but not as smoothly as I would have liked. I initially had what I thought was the same problem that Roger ran into with the left side motor mount as the holes in the mount and the holes the motor did not line up. The holes didn't quite look to be 45° off as Roger observed but they were off at least 30°, maybe 40°. So trying to save a buck and the time spent at a welding shop, I re-extracted the motor, separated the transmission, removed the flywheel, clutch , and pressure plate. Finally I was at the point where I could rotate the adapter plate to the next set of bolt holes. The only option was a 45° twist. When I temporarily attached the mount to the left side and 'eyeballed' everything, it looked good so I reassembled all of the flywheel and clutch components, recoupled the transmission, and put the bugger in the car.

Again no cigar.. The holes were still off, but now in the opposite direction by about 5-10°, I guess that was to be expected from a 45° twist but nevertheless, I was really miffed at this point and had to take a long break from working on it. ( The black dots on the picture below indicate the position of the holes on the motor mount relative to bolt holes on the motor )

Once I calmed down, I made a cardboard template marking where I needed to drill new holes and took the mount to my cousin's shop where we welded on a piece of steel plate and redrilled it.

And after modification, it bolted right up.. So, finally the motor's installed. A nice milestone in the conversion process. Now hopefully no other big messes.

I don't know why the holes in the mount and and the ones on the motor were out of alignment by such a small angle (uncorrectable by rotating the adapter plate as that only gives 45° steps). There is a slight difference between my motor and the ones used by Roger and Rob (who both used this ElectroAuto kit. Rob used this mount without modification). My Impulse 9 has no length to the tail shaft. I know it can't be determined from this picture but that probably makes this motor a different model and the perhaps the arrangement of the motor bolt holes is a little different. Though it seems pretty unlikely..

Monday, July 13, 2009

Done Struttin'

All the struts, shocks and springs are installed. I had to redo the front ones three times. The first time, I forgot to install the little spacers between the bearing plate and the retaining nut. Doh.. The second time I used the original spacers but they turned out be so worn that the brand new bearing plates wouldn't turn without resistance. The third time I installed new spacers and all was well..

My fuel tank arrived.. 16 Interstate U2300 batteries (242Ah 6V ).. They are about 64 lbs each. The black one is the 12V auxiliary battery that will power the 12V electrical system on the car, with help from a DC/DC converter.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Front Cartridges

The front strut cartridges. You can see the new one (top) versus the original. If the original one was operating correctly the piston would be fully extended like the top one. There was a lot of leaking oil from these originals. The new struts and shocks are KYB and came with the ElectroAuto kit.

The left side strut cartridge retaining nut was frozen solid to the strut tube. You can see a large amount of rust and pitting. Also shown on the lower left is the old retaining nut that required the grinder to remove it, and a new one on the upper left. Miraculously, the outside threads still worked following the grinding (I only nicked the threads a small amount) and after cleaning with a wire brush and applying a little grease, I was able to secure the new cartridge inside the tube with the new nut.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Update: May 18, 2009

All the struts and shocks have been removed and I have the rear shocks and springs ready to reinstall once I locate some new lower shock mount bolts. The local 'stealer' wants almost $5 each. Both lower mounts on the rear shocks were frozen so it was necessary to cut them out. I had a similar problem with left side front strut and destroyed the strut mount plate in order to grind off the top retaining nut. That mount plate was pretty well shot anyway so no extra harm done other than turning a relatively short time job into a long one. The right side one looks OK but I'm going to go ahead and order two from Arizona Autohaus. The struts and shocks on this car were way beyond the time they needed replacing. Both front bump stops were completely disintegrated along with the dust boots indicating a number of pretty hard bottom outs have happened. I found this useful forum topic on removing the cartridges from the strut. That will be the next task and I am sure the strut cap nut will present some resistance after not moving in 20 years.

Here is a comparison of the new (top) and old (bottom) rear spring and shock absorber. Notice the partially missing eyelet on the old one, some collateral damage from the removal process. The new spring has fewer coils but it is composed of thicker windings and will carry the additional battery weight while maintaining a stock ride height. These springs and shocks were part of the ElectroAuto Kit.

I got a bit crazy with the grinder while cutting off the bolt head on the left side and nicked the shock mount on the trailing arm. Probably no harm done but since the car will be about 300 lbs heavier in the rear I'd feel much better if I can build up this weak spot with some weld beads.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Update: May 14, 2009

I've been suffering from a chest cold for about two weeks so things haven't moved along as quickly as I had hoped. I've had the hole cut out in the trunk for a while and like so many others who have installed this kit I had to "expand" it some in order to fit the frame for the battery box. About an hour with the angle grinder did the trick and I was finally able to set the rack on the trunk floor. There is still some clearance to add for a few bolt heads and make the cut outs for the battery box ventilation duct work. 8 batteries will be installed in this rack. I did get the brackets riveted to the underside of the car in the tunnel that once housed the old exhaust system. These brackets will hold the PVC conduit that will encase the high voltage, high current cables that connect the rear battery pack to the front. I also installed a relay and fuse block on the firewall. These are low voltage components that are used in the conversion. Finally, last night I started swapping the rear springs and shocks (thinking a 15 minute job). I only got as far as removing the nut from left side lower bolt. Once removed, the bolt would not budge since it has solidified to the steel sleeve that goes through the lower shock eyelet. I tried the penetrating oil and my BH (big hammer) to no avail, so it's time for the grinder.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Motor Adapter and Coupler

I have the ElectroAuto adapter plate and coupler attached to my Impulse 9 motor and also finished attaching a new pressure plate, clutch disk and flywheel. I installed new pressure plate and flywheel bolts also. Here's a picture of the motor with the spacer, adapter plate, coupler and pressure plate (lightly fitted) attached and chained to the workbench. This is necessary to keep everything solid while tightening the various bolts. Pressure plate bolts were torqued to 55 ft-lbs (74.6 N-m). The blue foam pad is protecting the motor against scratches from the chain. Note the pressure plate lock bar attached to the adapter plate (upper left).

From a lesson I learned on Roger's blog, I trial fitted the ElectroAuto right side motor mount to the back of the motor to be sure it and the adapter plate were oriented correctly. Here is the anti-rotation bar attached to the back of the motor to keep it from twisting while torquing everything.

With this setup, the next step was to set the distance between the pressure plate and the adapter plate. This distance is rather critical so the clutch operates correctly. The instructions say adjust the distance between the pressure plate surface and the adapter plate until it is 1.30" (33.02 mm) then snug all the hex bolts around the coupler which tightens the taper lock and measure again. This time the distance should be 1.28 +/- 0.01 (32.25 +/- 0.25 mm). I was just unlucky and ended up loosening and adjusting the coupler distance about half a dozen times before I was satisfied. To loosen the snugged taper lock coupler you need to back out the hex bolts and tap on the heads. The instructions call for a brass hammer, I didn't have one so I used a moderate sized iron one. It worked OK though I did bend a few of the hex bolts. I could still use them but I think Tim has a much better suggestion of using a puller and buying longer hex bolts.

After I torqued down the pressure plate I applied a little grease to the back of the clutch release plate and installed it with the retaining clip. I cleaned the machined surfaces of the pressure plate and flywheel with some alcohol before installing the clutch disk and flywheel.

I opted to use a new flywheel because the original appeared to be cooked with scorch marks indicating some pretty heavy clutch use. I didn't notice any slippage during the short time I drove the car under ICE power but nevertheless the flywheel would need to be resurfaced or replaced. I chose to replace as this gave the opportunity to upgrade to a lightened flywheel. The stock flywheel weighs around 13 lbs (5.88 kg), my new lighted one is about 8 (3.62 kg). Unlike a 2 or 4 stroke ICE, an electric motor does not require the heavy rotational mass of a flywheel to smooth out its operation. In fact in many EV conversions, they have removed the flywheel, clutch, and pressure plate entirely and couple the motor output shaft directly to the input shaft of the transmission. There are plenty of web posts describing the advantages and disadvantages of going with or without a clutch. My kit is designed for a clutch setup so that is the path I am following. As far as the lightened flywheel, less mass to spin up should mean a little better performance and efficiency. Some folks who have converted cars have removed the old starter teeth around the flywheel again for weight savings and for a possible reduction in drag. I'm actually going to be putting these teeth to use to measure the motor RPM. I'll post more details on that in future posting.

Here is the edge view of the original (right) and the new lighted (left) flywheels. The new one is precision balanced, of course.

The motor with everything attached. The clutch alignment tool is installed and I am ready to torque the 9 flywheel bolts. The flywheel lock is just visible at the top center of the picture.