It’s Alive!

12 Jun


What a Weekend!

8 Nov

I made a lot of progress last weekend. Installed a dedicated 20 amp circuit (for the battery charger) in the garage, replaced the front struts and torsion bars, installed a tow bracket, and did some more in-car wiring.

I used #10 wires for this dedicated circuit, not an easy task threading them through the metal conduit. Test lamp says circuit is OK!

Thanks to my friend Ricardo, we were able to finish the front suspension work and towing bracket installation on Saturday afternoon. College football season sure gets in the way. Had to rush to Berkeley for the Cal-WSU game (season ticket holder, Go Bears!). Good thing it was an evening game.

Here’s the front suspension, with the old parts:

Did the work in the driveway, better than the cramped garage:

Here’s a close-up of the tow bracket.  It was made by David Lee, who goes by the handle dlee1967 at  His website is  This is a great addition, especially if you’re planning to tow the car to shows and EVents, not to mention the shop if needed.

Here’s an image from David Lee’s website:

Progress Report

24 Oct

It’s slow going, but we’ve made some progress.  I’m now confident that this car will at least be drivable by Thanksgiving!   “Cream puff can come later”,  the engineer who built my controller said the other day.  Ain’t that the truth?

 Let me show you some pics and tips.

 I’ve installed the new shocks with 180 lb. springs.  To raise the height of the car, I added a “spacer”, actually a plumbing nipple, as suggested by Tim K.   I disassembled the old shocks myself to get to the recycled parts, but didn’t trust my puny spring compressor on the 180’s, so I took it to a shop for assembly.  I liberally greased the lower mounting bolts because if I have to remove the shocks again to adjust the height, I don’t want to go through the same hardship when I removed the originals.  Here’s a picture of the shocks before installation:

The motor, transmission and shift linkage have likewise been assembled and mounted.   Shifting was more like an art form with this car, so I bought a  kit and replaced the linkage bushings.  The firewall bushing was a bit difficult to install, (what isn’t in a 914?) but a cup of hot water to soften up the plastic bushing did the trick.  Picture below shows a bad/worn bushing.


I may have mentioned this already, but I also bought a new pilot bearing for the flywheel, and also felt and crush washers.  Inexpensive items, but worth replacing while they’re all taken apart.  Kudos to Pelican Parts for technical notes that even I, a novice, was able to follow.

Motor/transmission mating was done on a long furniture mover which facilitated their installation to the car.  No hoists, chain, or heavy lifting involved.  An assistant and a couple of jacks were all I needed.

Brand new clutch is finally installed.  I had to enlarge the pilot holes using a drill press, a 5 minute job.  That’s after wrestling with the cover assembly for half an hour trying to get them in properly, and cutting my thumb in the process.  Those spring “fingers” have sharp edges! 

I don’t own a clutch alignment tool, but I have a disassembled transmission available, so I guess I guess you make do with what you have.  Lesson learned: dry fit the parts first.  The ElectroAutomotive motor adaptor installation guide wasn’t very clear, so I ended up guessing wrong and installed the plate upside down.  It would have been so much easier to fit it first to the transmission to get the proper orientation.  Good thing loctite hasn’t set yet.

What to do with the gaping starter hole on the transmission?  Make an aluminum cover from a traffic sign.  (Thanks to Jim B, a commercial real estate developer, who has a stack of brand new traffic signs in storage!).  What else to make out of the aluminum sheet?  How about the potbox holder? 

1st cut, it looks much better after trimming and filing:

Back side shows stand-offs, plastic pieces picked up from the scrap bin at Tap Plastics.  In case you’re wondering, the sign says FIRE LANE. 

Potbox installed.  Cable and spring are not yet adjusted.  The newly installed firewall bushing is on the lower right hand of this photo:


22 Jul

I sure feel like a shopaholic buying parts and stuff for this project.  Let’s look at some pictures of what I recently bought:

Bilstein shocks, 180 lb. Weltmeister springs, and a couple of 2″ diameter nipples to serve as extensions to raise the car about 1.5″ net, since the new springs will lower the car.  Hopefully the car will level off  back to specs when the batteries are on board.

22 mm Sway A Way torsion bars:

KYB Strut inserts:

Nothing’s better than Sachs! 

Since I bought this brand new clutch,  it became necessary to have the flywheel “turned”.  It cost me only $40.00 at a local machine shop.  Contrary to popular belief, the flywheel is not turned on a lathe, but wet ground by a cup shaped, diamond edged “stone”.    Shown below are the flywheel and a new pilot bearing, crush washer and felt washer fresh from Pelican Parts.

Went over to Harbor Freight Tools to take advantage of one of their perpetual sales.  Riv-nut tool, not bad for $16.99.  Also picked up a box of nut rivets, a couple bottles of thread lock (permanent and removable, and stainless steel cable ties.  Another item on sale were ratcheting wrenches, so I picked up a box of metrics. 

Other items from sales past:

I was also able to put in some work on the car, like prepping up the engine compartment for the battery rack by removing the latch and other things that will get in the way.

Critical Part Has Arrived

6 Jul

When people ask when I’ll resume work on the car, I’d either say when I get around to it, or when parts are in.  Well, now that  I’ve committed the funds and time to the project, I would like to share with you a picture of the component that got  me going again.  Finally, I got a round tuit.

A Round Tuit

Meanwhile, I’ve received the  pedal cluster that I sent off to be rebuilt by Eric Shea  of  fame (  The price I paid was well worth it.  Here are  before and after pictures:

My “kit” calls for two 250A/160V circuit breakers, strung together,  serving as the main emergency disconnect.   So after deciding to locate these two near the driver’s seat where the speaker used to be, and near where the high voltage cables will transverse the two battery clusters, I used silicone caulk to “glue” the two breakers together.  A nail kept the handles together.  A hefty bus bar, 1/4″ thick  by 1″ wide, linked the two breakers. 

More Delays

7 Feb

It seems like a never ending story, but more important things keep me from spending more time on this project.  Maybe soon, real soon …

 Since the last post I’ve restored the back window, flipped the power cords from the rear to the front trunk, and exposed the rear wiring harnesses.  Hooked up the old 12V battery to the power cords, and was able to get the headlights and turn signal to work.  From pre-conversion I know I’ve got a “sticky” dimmer switch, and the wipers and horn don’t work, either.  These may or may not be that easy to fix, but since I don’t really need these to get this car rolling, I’ll put postpone this for later.

I’ve started to clean the transmission casing, and took a hard look at the clutch parts.    I’ll have to consult an “expert” to see if I’ll need a new clutch disk or pressure plate.  It was reasonably OK  while running the original engine, and I don’t think the electric motor will exert as much strain on it.  You see, the electric motor doesn’t “spin” while the car is stopped and your foot is off the accelerator.

I’m Back!

2 Jan

After a hiatus of about two months, I finally worked on the car yesterday.  New Year’s day, I know, but I did it to set the tone for this coming year.  Let’s get this show on the road as soon as possible!  Now, if I could only get those critical parts on time.

Overseas vacation, two bouts with winter colds/flu,  college football season (we’re Cal Bears season ticket holders) and of course my occupation all conspired to keep me away from spending meaningful time with the 914.   So what am I up to now?

Yesterday, I removed the rear window.  It was rattling badly, and  since I need to eventually remove the back firewall pad, anyway,  might as well clean and re-set the window while there’s no motor out back and I have easy access from the front.  After removing the top and side rollbar pads, the window practically popped out by itself.  The old “glue” was so dried out, the pads were the only thing holding it in place.  Today after work I spent an hour or so removing the old butyl residue, and decided that I will repaint the whole area with POR-15 since there’s some spots with surface rust.  I also removed the 2 rear targa latches because one is broken, and the other needs to be reconditioned.  Translation: rust removal and repainting.  I bought 2 replacement clips from a guy in Florida who was parting out his 914, and they also need reconditioning.  I’ll work on these the next couple of days, and paint them in the weekend.  I’ll also flip the two (+) battery cables from the rear to the front trunk, where the auxiliary battery will be located.  Might as well do this now while I have access to the center tunnel!

Rust Patrol

30 Oct

POR-15 is amazing.  The floor pan and  the front firewall  look great.  I’ll post pictures after the pedal cluster comes back from being rebuilt by Eric Shea.  Lesson learned: do not use an expensive brush to apply POR-15.  Next time it will be the 3-for-a-dollar  Chinese made brush set from Dollar Tree.

Next I decided to attack the engine compartment.  I removed the rubber weather stripping, air deflectors, and the old battery tray.  Removing the tray was a lot easier than anticipated, thanks to a reciprocating saw and a very sharp chisel.  The “hell hole” wasn’t hellish, afterall.  In fact, it was surprisingly rust-free.  Here’s a couple of pictures:

I used a grinder, wire brush drill attachment, an assortment of  manual wire brushes, and the chisel to clean up the area.  Treated with the POR-15 prep regimen, misted the area with a garden hose, and blow dried with a shop vac.  Now it should be ready for painting, maybe in the next day or two as time permits.

My license plates are here.  Hmmmm, guess what it means?

Pedal to Rusty Metal

14 Oct

Here’s a picture of the floorpan after I’ve removed the pedal cluster.    This is my weekend project, prepping and treating the front cabin area with POR-15. 

The wires with the label goes to the brake light switch.  I was going to rebuild the pedal cluster myself, but eventually decided to send it out to Eric Shea for exchange or rebuild.  I wasn’t planning on this, but it has to be done.  It will be too much hassle to wait until something breaks later.  Might as well get this taken cared of while it’s disassembled.  

Is this what project managers call “scope creep”? 

What’s Next?

29 Sep

I’m waiting for 3 important components, the motor to transmission adaptor plate, motor mount, and the controller.  The first two are being fabricated by Electro Automotive (, while the controller, a Raptor 1200,  will be shipped directry from the manufacturer, DC Power Systems (  Most of my other components  such as the DC motor, charger, DC to DC converter, etc., were purchased from KTA Services, Inc. ( and are ready for installation.   I really enjoy working with Ken of KTA Services and Shari of Electro Automotive.  They truly are assets to the industry.

I really don’t mind the delay, because there are lots of things to do as far as getting the car ready.  This car is more than 30 years old, and the restoration part of the project has its own unique challenges.  Next step is to “rustproof” the car.  I discovered surface rust in the center tunnel area, the pedal cluster, and behind the dash. 

This spells W-O-R-K: 

Perhaps the hardest step in this project is the fabrication of the battery racks and the (optional) boxes.  This will be tackled later, after the rustproofing phase.   In the meantime, I made some battery mock-ups using styrofoam held together by toothpicks and masking tape.  Here’s a picture of the mock-ups sitting in the spare tire well: