March, 2007

Fixing the Transmission

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Well, these pictures are a little late, but here they are. I spent most of last week replacing the broken parts in the transmission. Here are the two replacement bearings from Pelican Parts ($400!) that I pushed into the transmission intermediate plate after heating it up with the orange heat gun to the left. They went in surprisingly easy. Here are the new synchro rings to fix the grinding 1st/2nd gears.

2007 100

Bush Uses Alternative Fuels

Plugs and Cars

An imperiled attorney general, an unpopular war, a hung-over housing market and a presidential approval level of 32 percent: White House officials took all that into consideration and made their decision. They would have President Bush do another event promoting cellulosic ethanol. Thus begins Dana Milbank's story in the Washington Post today.

2007 100
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Trending Sources

Hybrid X

Plug In Partners

T oyota created some excitement with their new Hybrid X vehicle that they unveiled at the car show in Geneva last week. It just might have plug in implications. Here is part of their press release on the new concept car.

2007 100

AC Motor Controller Installed

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Tim, happy to get the controller installed A closer view of the Azure Dynamics AC motor controller. After purchasing hardware from Home Depot to install the controller plate, I came home and drilled all the required holes for the mounting bolts. After squirting all the aluminum and metal caulk around the plate, I realized that I couldn't tighten any of the bolts myself because one end was on top of the car and the nuts were under the car.

2007 100

The First Sawzall Cut for the Controller Plate

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

My first use of a Sawz-All. The hole for the motor controller plate. All the transmission pieces (waiting for new parts) covered up to prevent metal shavings from getting into them. The motor controller plate provided by ElectroAuto before being bolted and caulked in. Today I got to try out my new set of cobalt metal-cutting drills and the SawzAll I borrowed from my dad. Both worked quite well and cut through the steel floor of the rear trunk like butter.

2007 100

A few measurements to not forget.

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

While taking apart the transmission, I took some measurements with a digital caliper. These are probably different from other 914s out there, but I wanted to record them here in case I lose them amid the rapidly increasing paperwork.

2007 100

Make it go away! (The engine, I mean)

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

This morning, Jamie from Corvallis bought my engine and took it away, freeing up much needed garage space. Thanks, Jamie! Engine in Jamie's van with a bunch of extra parts. Me, enjoying my desperately needed garage space

2007 100

More Trending

A Cheap Balancer and Transmission Issues

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

After talking with some engineers at HP and mulling over some ideas, I came up with the attached schematics for an inexpensive battery balancer. This one relies much more heavily on complex PIC programming and uses an off-the-shelf laptop or inkjet-printer power supply to deliver an isolated source of power for the battery charger. Any feedback you have is welcome.

2007 100

What up with GM's Plug-in hybrid Volt?

Plugs and Cars

"GM tries to unplug Volt hype" is not the headline I've been hoping to see out of Motor City this spring. But there it is in a Detroit News Autos Insider piece today. Just weeks after announcing production, perhaps, in 2010, the industry's hometown paper lets us know this is no done deal. The Volt grabbed headlines, lit up online chat boards and dominated the buzz at the auto show in Detroit. There's just one problem: The Volt may never get built. GM continues to spread the gospel of the Volt.

2007 100

Flywheel and Engine Mount Removal

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

I put the engine for sale on CraigsList and have to prepare it for delivery this weekend. There is very little space in my one-car garage so getting rid of the engine while keeping all the necessary components will be good. In order to get a last measurement of the flywheel to housing distance, I got a digital caliper from Harbor Freight Tools for only $29. It's remarkably accurate down to.001 inches and is very easy to use.

2007 100

More Thoughts on Battery Equalization

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Lee Hart, an EV guru on battery maintenance and equalization, has graciously e-mailed with me regarding the best way to equalize batteries. He's currently working on upgrading his battery balancer (see link at right) to handle a wider range of battery technologies and applications. Lee convinced me that the flying capacitor approach that I originally thought would work is not practical in real world situations.

2007 100

Transmission Removed!

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

This was a big evening of figuring out how to remove the transmission with one person. First up was removing the rear portion of the exhaust system, shown here next to my trusty 34mpg 1994 Saturn. Someone else converted a '94 Saturn Wagon to an EV, but I'll keep mine!) Here is the removed transmission. I'll try to take more pictures as I go next time to document the process better.

2007 100

More engine drop pictures

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Blogger just took me off of "spam blog" status, so I can now post more pictures of the engine drop procedure. Here are some 2x4s under the chassis to prevent the car from coming down. I also put 4x4 blocks under the axles to prevent the brake shields from getting damaged in case I lowered the body too much. Here's the primary engine mount after I unbolted it.

2007 100

Woolsey Gets Snarky and Plugs Plug-ins

Plugs and Cars

James Woolsey gets snarky in today's Wall Street Journal. page 11

2007 100

More parts but no instructions or hardware.

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

This week has been a whirlwind and I haven't caught up on sharing all the pictures. Last Tuesday, I received another shipment from ElectroAuto. This one included the motor controller mounting plate (large black rectangle), its rubber mounting posts and the potbox and its mounting plates. Since this kit is the 914 AC kit, I have no idea how to install the controller plate. In addition, ElectroAuto hasn't sent any hardware (specifically the rivnuts) so I can install many of these pieces.

2007 100

blogger issues and engine drop picture

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Apparently Blogger thinks this blog is a spam site and is forcing me to type in characters with each post. This wouldn't bother me, except that it doesn't accept my character input as valid, even though I've tried a few times. I've put in a request to stop this, but it will probably take awhile. In the meantime, I've pulled out the engine and rotated it for easier access to remove the transmission

2007 100

Dropping the Engine

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

The engine just about a foot below mounting height. Engine pulled back about a foot. Hole left over in the engine compartment with dropped engine. Notice the belt that drives the air pump for the emission control system. Well, I worked for the last three hours to drop the engine out of the car. I followed all the directions in the Pelican Parts technical article and didn't miss any attached parts.

2007 100

Days 3 and 4

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

I spent yesterday (Saturday) disconnecting all the cables from under the car in preparation to drop the engine. The shift linkage was especially hard because it moved around so much. My friend John (above) held the shift lever still while I yanked out the linkage earlier today. I also drained all the engine oil and transmission fluid. My buddy Pete is providing some 2x4s later today to hold up the car so I can drop the engine this week. Yesterday was a bummer because I got really sick.

2007 100

The Mountain and Mohammed: Halliburton Moves HQ to United Arab Emirates

Plugs and Cars

The NY Times website reports that Dick Cheney's old stomping grounds, oil services giant Halliburton, is moving their world headquarters out of friendly Texas into even friendlier Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates. Nearer to the where oil action is, and "an Arab boomtown where free-market capitalism has been paired with some of the world's most liberal tax, investment and residency laws," according to this AP article.

End of Day 2

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Most of today was spent just taking the car apart. My friend Pete came over for lunch and we removed the front and rear trunk lids. We also drained the fuel tank by operating the fuel pump with a 12V gelpack battery and took out the fuel tank. I even went so far as to yank out all the fuel lines that go down the center tunnel of the car. There's no going back to gasoline now!

2007 100

Let the Conversion. Begin!

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

I just got back from A & P Specialties where Alan replaced the suspension on the 914 and did a steam cleaning in the engine compartment. Without the battery weight and having the unaligned suspension, the car rides unstable and high. No matter, I'm going to start preparing to drop the engine this weekend. I ran out and got another floor jack and a water-proof label-maker so I can mark all the wires and hoses as I take them out. Today is the last day I will drive the 914 as a gasoline vehicle.

2007 100

The desulfation experiment continues

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

On a more process-oriented note, the 8-volt battery sitting on the desulfator is up to 9.1 volts (from 7.95 volts), so I have warm fuzzies that the desulfation system is working somewhat. I'll wait until the battery gets up to 9.6 volts (float voltage) and see what the specific gravity is. If this experiment works, I might splurge and purchase a $500 super-desulfator and offer to desulfate batteries for the OEVA club.

2007 100

Day 1

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Here is some progress in the first two hours: Covering wrenches with blue electrical tape for battery work. Removing the Engine Cover Taking out the Battery Removing the starter wire from the positive battery terminal Uncovering the fuel pump for draining gasoline Taking out the "classic" WoooGaaa horn The next step will be to take off the front and rear hood lids, which I'll need an assistant

2007 100

Hanging out with the OEVA folks

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

In addition to starting the conversion, the OEVA had their monthly meeting this evening. I got to chat with a bunch of folks about battery management systems and share my excitement over starting the 914EV conversion. Keith on his all-electric scooter Demonstration of a battery equalization system that uses one charger per battery after the main charger finishes with the bulk charge. Whew, what a day. I'm going to bed now

2007 100

She Wrote the Book on Plug-in Hybrids

Plugs and Cars

Sherry Boschert has a piece in Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle Insight section. Read it here

2007 100

Phoenix Rising?: All-electric SUT Debut in LA

Plugs and Cars

Phoenix Motor Cars in California has been working with lithium battery manufacturers AltairNano to come out with a new all-electric car. The car had a coming out in LA last week. Noel Adams blogs the car and the stars. Surf around his site EVFinder.com , and you just might find yourself an electric vehicle.

2007 100

The Great Desulfation Experiment

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Can one revive a mostly dead battery? Several internet sources say yes. Above is a picture of a heavily sulfated 8-volt golf-cart battery I acquired yesterday. It had a floating voltage of 7.85 when I got it and needed half a gallon of distilled water to fill it back up. Just off to the right of the battery I've attached the $250 "Cadillac of Desulfators" and it's merrily buzzing away along with a 1-amp trickle charger. At the end of today, I measured a charging voltage of 8.36

2007 100

Getting Old Batteries and Fixing the VDO Clock

Porsche 914 EV Conversion

Whew, today was a long day. My friend Jonathan was in town and helped me go out to pick up some old, sulfated 8-volt batteries from Pacific NW Yamaha Golf Cars. Bob at NW Yamaha was great and sold me some old 8-volt batteries for $5 apiece. I'm going to use these to test out my 8-volt desulfator system to see if I can revive them. These US-Battery models are the same that are going into the electric car conversion.

2007 100

Plug-in Hybrids in Toyota's Future, Jim Press Tells Reuters; Desires Joint OEM Battery Research

Plugs and Cars

Reuters reports on an interview with Toyota North American President Jim Press that Toyota Motor Corp. is working on developing a plug-in hybrid vehicle and is open to joining with other automakers in battery development. Echoing its American counterparts Ford and GM, Toyota bemoans the unavailability of batteries which will take their plug-ins half as far as their own electric cars could manage just 5 years ago.

2007 100

WNBC TV Does Plug-in Hybrids Right

Plugs and Cars

You've got to see this series of local TV new reports by Chuck Scarborough out of WNBC New York. The Defense Hawk Frank Gaffney and Environmental Entrepreneur Felix Kramer are brought together by the logic of plug-in cars. The best local news report I've seen on the subject. Three great reports, including the full posted interview with TeslaMotors CEO Martin Eberhard.

2007 100