Well, were moving again, so since I had not finished (or even started) the fabrication on the motor mounting brackets, I had to pull the new motor from the transmission and bolt the old motor backk on to it so that I could mount it in the car for transportation. I’ll be moving everything into storage until we settle in the new house and then I’ll move it to the new location. With a new job, who knows when I’ll have time to work on it…can’t be much worse than the last few years at this house where I’ve essentially done nothing.
This project never seems to get off the ground. I got my new motors and adapter plate along with the new motor controller. I had my friend Chris build an adapter to the adapter. The original was for a Chevy bell-housing, and I have a VW/Porsche 901 transmission. The adapter is pretty much just a ring, and it all fit up nicely. I’m planning to shoot a small video of the new setup and show it getting installed in the vehicle. Unfortunately my plans to do it this weekend are crushed due to a customer calling me to Oxnard and it will require me to head down on Friday and return on Monday…there goes the weekend. I’ve got camping reservations for the Refuel Races at Laguna Seca and I was planning to have a running car, but that looks to be out of the question at this point. Hopefully I’ll still be able to go to the races and watch even if I don’t have a car to drive. Perhaps that will motivate me to get out there every evening and get this thing back on the road.
I got started on the Porsche this weekend. Noting major, but I installed the tow bar bracket on the front of the vehicle. This is for when I get things closer, I can tow it to a shop for any additional repairs I want done by a professional. I also got the fiberglass rear truck lid installed with the new hinge pivot points, and I removed the torsion bar system. I still need to install the gas struts to lift it, so the project is not complete, but its close. I also did some more rust removal in the engine compartment. After I do the gas strut installation I’ll probably be able to put a first coat of paint on all the rust repair and things will start looking good again. It already looks a lot better with the trunk lid installed again even though its not yet painted.
Besides those few items, I did get a lot of work done preparing the new batteries. I removed all the junk accessories that were on the Renault pack, and I also started preparing the controller for a water cooling kit that I’m going to install. Water cooling kit will probably be my next project after I finish the gas struts.
Just exactly like last year, I had time off from Christmas to New Years and I planned to work on the car, and I was sick the entire time. I looked at all my old post, and its hard to believe it has been a year since I completed all that work. I’m right back looking at the same car as last January. Hopefully this time I’ll get more done before I get busy at my real job. Now that I have all the parts and I’m doing a simpler project, it should be doable. There is a Porsche club meeting in May and also in October that I’d like to take the car to, so lets hope I’m done and able to take it to both.
Ok, this project which was supposed to last two or three months, has now passed three years. I’ve been extremely busy at work and no time to work on the project, but a change in my vehicle status has now prompted me to rethink the project. I have a one to two hour drive to each of my customers, so lots of time to think about the project, but ZERO time to actually do anything about it. My gasoline car that I take to work has run into some hard times, so I had to purchase a backup vehicle for when this car decides to just give out completely. I have a couple of options on what to do with this car when it “passes”. I can go to a wrecking yard and get a new motor for about $500 and give it a new life (of course labor for the remove and replace by me). The car has 250,000 miles, so I’m not sure if that is a good idea or not given the wear on all the other items. On the other hand I just put a new suspension on the vehicle at 220k, so its relatively new. So that brings me to my new idea. After purchasing the second battery pack, I now have enough parts to build two electric cars. My thoughts are to just put the Porsche back together with the parts that came off, after I give it a mild restoration, so it does not rust away. Then I can use all the new high tech parts to turn the Prius into an electric car. These parts are better suited for the Prius anyway if I want to make a long range vehicle. Long range in a 914 is not really all that great of an idea. Putting the old parts back into the 914 will make for a very light car, and its still more power than stock, at probably nearly the same weight. I wont have the range or power I was considering, but it should be an improvement over what I had built in 1995. So that makes the Prius my long range EV and I’d like to see it with enough battery for a 350 mile trip. So now I need to find time for two projects…the first one was going so well, why not add a second? We’ll see how it goes this winter. I don’t expect I’ll find any shop time until September.
Well, yesterday I received my new batteries from EVTV. They bought a bunch of packs from the bankruptcy of Better Place. Better Place was using packs similar to the Nissan Leaf for the Renault Fluence vehicles that they had for their network of fast charging stations in Israel. So Jack sold off these packs “as is” and I was able to purchase one before they sold out. He sold all 72 packs that he obtained in just 4 days. My pack arrived at the UPS freight center on Wednesday and they called me and I arranged to be there on Thursday morning. Since I do not own a truck, I just went over to Home Depot and rented their truck for $19/75 minutes. It worked out quite well and the pack is now sitting on my lift waiting for me to start opening it up to see what I got.
I still have not decided how I’m going to integrate this pack with the CALB cells that I already purchased for this project. I was hoping to purchase a second pack from EVTV if I liked what I saw and then just sell the CALB cells. But with the packs all gone, I’ll have to think of another plan. I’d really like a 50kWh pack so that I can drive to Los Banos to visit my customers. This way all my driving would be electric and the Prius would not be necessary. It is not going to be easy to combine this pack with the CALB’s because of the different voltages, so I may have to choose and then figure out what to do with the other one. Sounds like a second project is in order….but this one has extended to two years with all the delays from family and work matters.
Speaking of work, I got handed another big project in the last week of January that has taken me away from the Porsche project once again. I was making good progress in December and January even without the motor cradle that I had on order. Ironically it arrived the same day as I got the order for the new project at work. Startup on this project is April, so I should be able to get back to the Porsche in late April to resume work in earnest.
Once I start again with the new cradle, I can figure out the motor and gearbox mounting and then everything else goes around them.
I’m putting air conditioning into the Porsche and I bought a kit to install it but I’m not happy with the way the kit installs below the knee pad on the bottom of the dash. I decided that I’m going to try and build a custom knee pad that has the ducting built in. It should leave me more leg room and also look a lot better than the scab on kit. I’m also going to fabricate a custom heater box. I thought I could install my heating elements in the existing fan box but it turnabout not to be that simple. Project is growing a little bit every time I go out and work on it. List is getting bigger instead of smaller. I also found a lot of rust in the trunk that I am wire wheeling out along with removing the factory goop on the floor.
Started to wire wheel away the rust in the front trunk. Gonna take a while to get it all cleaned up and I’ll probably have to hit it with the sand blaster in some of the tight corners. Definitely need to do some sheet metal repair. The car was in several front end collisions before I bought it and repairs were not very good. I’ll add to the amateur repairs.
So I had the week off between Christmas and New Years, and I planned to get a lot of work done on the Porsche. So for the second time I’ve taken time out to work on this project, I got sick during the days I was going to work on it. What a drag. Well, I did go to the store and got an upgrade kit for my welder so that I can MIG weld with gas instead of just the flux core that I have been using for projects around the house. This will make for much better looking welds on the car. I also got a portable sand blaster and some sand to remove some of the rust I’ve found after removing some of the components from the car. I’ll wire wheel it first and then use the sand blaster to get into the corners, and then I also bought some Rust Doctor to neutralize the rust before applying the Rustolium Primer.
I also ordered a tow bar bracket to put on the car for when I need to take it to specialty shops for drive shafts and other items. I also ordered the motor and gearbox “cradle” that I will be modifying to use with my drive-train. The one I ordered is for a Subaru conversion, but it will work really well as a starting point for my conversion. It should save me a lot of time, as well as now I don’t have to build a temporary unit and have a shop custom build off my temp jig.
So even though not much happened on the car itself, I got a lot done in the way of ordering parts and such.
In order to be sure I set the gearbox in the correct location, I decided to check the ride height of the car. Without anything in the car, it sits at about 14 inches from the center of the wheel to the fender edge. With the suspension extended when the car is jacked up, it is about 15 inches, and after loading all the batteries into the car it sits at about 12 inches. So it compressed about 2 inches from all the battery weight. I’ll assume another 0.5 inches after the motor gearbox and cradle are installed. I’ll compare this against the original transmission drive-shaft location and see if I need to make an adjustment to allow the car to run better at this new ride height. I’d like to put it exactly where the original transaxle was, but since I have shorter drive shafts, I may need to make an adjustment to insure correct drive line angles.
There have been so many changes to the original plan, I thought I’d copy that post and rework it to show the new plan…
Here is what I plan to change about the car:
First of all I’m upgrading the batteries from the 20 US125 lead acid batteries to a battery pack of 100 CALB CA series 100Ah cells. That will take me from 120vdc to about 340vdc. Just the increase in voltage alone should help the car perform better. The controller is remaining and is capable of 400 amps. 550×120=66kw of power, and 400×340 is 136kw. That is a 100% increase in power, but it’s better than that because the CALB cells will hold their voltage better than the lead acid (LA) cells. It is also a change from 242 Ah of which really we can only pull about 100Ah from at the current draws we use in an EV to 100Ah from the CALB battery pack. That makes for about a 100% increase in range for the car. But it should be better than that because I did not even include the fact that I will have less current draw from the pack due to the higher pack voltage, and I’ll also have less current draw from the pack due to the fact that the car is going to lose somewhere between 800 and 1000 lbs during this conversion. (There will be about 590 lbs lost just in battery weight). (67lbsx20 = 1340 lbs – 7.5×100 = 750 lbs) I’ll be able to completely remove the front battery rack and the two saddle racks. I’ll be building a two layer rack that will fill the entire engine bay. I’m hoping that all the cells will fit in this one two layer rack.
Second, I’m putting the car on a diet. I’m removing the steel hood and trunk and the steel bumpers and valences and I’ll be replacing them all with fiberglass parts. This should save about 70 lbs.
FRNT BUMPER STK 17.5 —> F/G FRNT BUMPER 3 = 14.5lbs
REAR BUMPER STK 17.5 —> F/G REAR BUMPER 4.5 = 13lbs
Front Stck Deck Lid 30.5 —> F/G Front Deck Lid 10 = 20.5lbs
Rear Stock Deck Lid 31 —> F/G Rear Deck Lid 10 = 21.bs
Total = 69 lbs. This does not even include any of the valences or rocker panels that are being replaced with fiberglass. I’m going to take detailed notes and document all the weight removal from the car.
Third, I’m installing a new radio. The old one was just awful and if I’m going to be spending any time in the car, I needed a better radio. The radio I bought can stream audio from my iPhone and has handsfree telephone capability. I also will be adding a small 8″ subwoofer to fill in the missing sound that the 4×6 speakers cannot possibly do.
Fourth, I’m installing air conditioning. The car is great in the spring and fall, but the summer heat is not fun. Its well over 100 during the summer and A/C is a must.
Fifth, I’m installing heated seats. Just like the A/C for summer, the car could feel better in the winter if my butt was warmer. Heating the seat is more energy efficient than trying to heat the cabin air. Right now the car has two 1500 watt heaters, and it does do a decent job of heating the air, but thats 3000 watts getting used to heat the air, and not making the car go forward. Heated seats are much less power for greater effect. The hair driers will be replaced with a proper electric heating system as well.
Sixth, I’m installing new headlights and driving lights. I had non functional driving lights in the original bumpers, and I am replacing them with real lights. I am also removing the rotating headlights and all the associated hardware and installing fixed lights into the pods on the fenders of the car. The new lights are much more modern looking and will provide more light with less vehicle weight.
Seventh, I’m installing a new fuse-panel. The original fuse-panel in the Porsche is not very good and uses old style fuses. The new panel uses modern fuses and will be much more reliable. I had problems with a couple of the old fuses not making good contact. I had to clean the fuse and re-install to make the electrons flow.
Eighth, I’m going to go over the entire braking system to insure it is working properly. The parking brake has never worked very well. The handle is hard to pull and the cable seems to bind in the tubes. The parking brake does not always hold very tight. I think it is all in the adjustments, so I’m going to go through the adjustment of the parking brake very carefully. The right front wheel seems to drag more than the others. When the car is on jacks, the other three wheels spin fairly freely, but the right front seems to drag and only gets a short spin. I’m not sure if it is the springs that spread the pads, or if it is the piston that is hanging, but I’m going to go though the setup of the brakes for all wheels very closely to be sure that they can all spin freely. this will greatly reduce the power consumed to drive the car.
Nineth, give the car an alignment. Tires seem to wear quite evenly on this car, but a proper alignment should make the car roll smoother and give a little bit better range.
Tenth, the car is getting a new trans-axle. I purchased a BorgWarner 31-03 single speed gearbox that will mate to the new Siemens motor and be controlled by the new AzureDynamics DMOC645 controller. The controller will be commanded by the yet unobtainable (but soon) GEVCU (Generalized Electric Vehicle Control Unit). There will be some sheet metal removal in order to fit the new transmission, which will eliminate more weight, and the transmission is FAR more efficient which should help get more range. In order to get the gearbox to work, I have to have custom axles fabricated. Should not be too hard, but it is custom. That and the custom firewall I have to fabricate in order to install the motor and gearbox are now the most challenging part of this project. Originally it was going to the installation of the A/C system.
So there is the project in a nutshell. I have many of the parts already here, and I’m just waiting on some others to get started. What started as a simple battery upgrade has evolved into a pretty big project. Just building new battery racks and installing them to my existing system would have been too easy. Now I’ve got more batteries, new motor, new gearbox, new axles, and all the other projects.
It looks like I typed them in no particular order…
1 – New Batteries (100, CALB 100Ah)
2 – Weight reduction (fiberglass body parts)
3 – New Radio
4 – Air Conditioning and Heating systems.
5 – Heated seats
6 – New Headlights and driving lights and turn signals.
7 – New fuse panel
8 – Rebuild entire braking system, including the parking brake mechanism.
9 – Alignment
10 – New motor and gearbox.
There are lots of other small items that are really subcategories, so I’ll document them as I complete these major items.
After nearly completing all the battery racks and nearing installing them in the car, my wife convinced me to move to Sacramento, so I had to pack up the project and get ready to move to a new town. The move is good because we will be much closer to her work and also closer to the hospital where our son would eventually be born. I just pushed everything into the back of the new garage and there it sat until a couple of weeks ago. Anyhow we did get moved, our son was born and I got all the other new home projects completed and also put some solar panels on the roof, and now it is time to start back on the Porsche project. In the mean time, I changed the plan. I decided to purchase a eGearDrive and Siemens drive train from EVTV and go for a real change instead of just a battery change. In fact I sold the Thundersky batteries I bought earlier to a guy in Las Vegas and then I bought a set of 100 of the CALB CA 100aH cells. Much larger pack for more range, and still less weight than the lead I took out. It adds some more complexity to the project, but it should be an even better final product. The rest of the plans for climate control, lightening and such still remain.
I’ve got the work area cleared and now I’m about to start fabricating.
I finally finished all the cutting and welding on the battery rack. Now you can see the double deck layout around the motor. I just need to clean up some of the sharp edges and a couple bolt holes need to be hogged out a bit. After that I’ll give it a test fit in the car before breaking it down for paint.
Continued work on the battery racks. Here is the main rack. I modified the outside frame to match the requirements for the thundersky batteries and I raised it 3″ from the main support. I cut out two cross members to allow batteries to be loaded into the lower rack. Now I just need to weld up the bottom rack
Spent today working on designing and fabricating the battery racks. The new design will put 8 batteries on each side of the motor and 22 batteries above the motor. The racks are also now designed to allow for an 11″ motor to be installed. I could use a standard 11 or the interpolled 11. We’ll decide on that when the time comes but for now I wanted to fabricate the racks such that there is room to install the bigger motor. I’m using as much of the old rack as I can. The main frame is going to sit 3″ above the original to allow for the lower cells and the main frame is getting adjusted for the new cell size but the general layout will be similar. The lower racks will hang from the main rack. Below is a picture of the original rack from the engine compartment. I’ll take a picture of the new rack after it gets welded.
Ok. Spent some time getting dimensions and started cutting steel for the ac installation. Here is a quick overview of what I plan to do. I’ll get a better video once I start putting the parts into the car.
Settling back in after the honeymoon took longer than anticipated. Who knew it would take so long to open gifts and write thank-you notes. The generosity from everyone was overwhelming. Thank you all for everything.
Now on to the EV update. I had done a quick layout of the batteries once they arrived and I confirmed the dimensions, but I kept ignoring the height. I knew these were taller, but I also knew that I was using some thin interconnects and did not think the extra height would be a problem. I thought wrong. Once I started detailing the layout and included height, I found that I needed about an inch (perhaps 3/4″) more height. The rack is constrained between the motor and the engine lid, so there was not even an inch to spare.
Plan B is perhaps a better way to go. I’m building three separate enclosures in the engine compartment. One on each side of the motor and one smaller one on top of the motor and the other two enclosures. By moving the cells alongside the motor I’ll be lowering the center of gravity which should help handling. The top cells will now be laying on their side which also lowers the cg for them as well. The same problem existed in the front batter box, so I’m moving it from the old gas tank compartment to the front trunk. this will lower the rack a few inches and move the weight forward, both of which should help to balance the car and lower the cg.
Moving the battery box to the front compartment also means that I’ll have to redesign the layout of the air conditioning system. I was going to build a system similar to what renegade hybrids does for 914 v8 radiator systems. It is a good setup, but does take up the entire front trunk. My new system will be similar to the way the factory did the A/C by cutting a hole in the floor of the trunk. I’ll be building a floor to capture the air between and force it through the condenser.
Now that the design has been redone, its time to get fabricating. I think I’ll start with the A/C system since it is going to go below the battery racks, and that will also force me to finish installing the system in the cabin. Right now it is just hanging by a few screws.
Something I forgot to mention in the list of things I’m changing about the car is that I am also updating the charger in the car. The original setup had a Russco charger, and I upgraded that to a Zivan charger, but both were only about 1500 watt chargers. I’d like to be able to charge faster, so I’m going to be installing a 10kW charger based on the open source charger offered by Electric Motor Works. Electric Motor Werks