Archive | September, 2006

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 (www.electroauto.com), while the controller, a Raptor 1200,  will be shipped directry from the manufacturer, DC Power Systems (www.dcpowersystems.com).  Most of my other components  such as the DC motor, charger, DC to DC converter, etc., were purchased from KTA Services, Inc. (www.kta-ev.com) 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:

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Other 914 Conversions

29 Sep

To date, I know of 3 other Porsche 914s being converted to electric, and 1 more in the planning stage.  Only Steve Lacy has an active blog,  http://914ev.com/blog/slacy/.  I highly recommend that you follow Steve’s blog as well.   I am hoping that others will somehow document their experience on the web, so that we’ll all learn from each other.

To those with electric 914’s, have ongoing conversions or planning one, please join the list!   http://groups-beta.google.com/group/914ev.   

Gentlemen, Drop Your Engines

21 Sep

References: Pelican Technical Article: 914 Engine Removal Made Easy (http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/914_engine_drop/914_engine_drop.htm) and Tech Tips 700 book by George A. Hussey,  Appendix R, Powerplant Removal.

It was good having both references, because in steps that one glossed over, I generally found in greater detail in the other.  Tech Tips included the size of the bolts (mostly 13mm and 17mm) that have to be removed, so that helped save some time as well.  The two differed dramatically in the actual dropping step.  Pelican calls for the removal of the rear tires, lowering of the car to about an inch above a furniture cart, and easing the engine/tranny onto the cart.  Tech Tips, on the other hand, wants you to raise the rear of the car to about 4 feet, drop the engine/tranny onto a plywood board supported by a floor jack, and pulling the rig out, after of course lowering the jack.

I was torn between the two methods for a few days, time spent removing all the components from the engine compartment as well as underneath.  Yes, I didn’t do everything in “one sitting”.  I liked this leisurely approach better, because I ran into a few snags along the way and didn’t end up tired when I reached the final and potentially dangerous step.  Yes, snags like the transmission oil drain bolt freezing up on me, and the CV bolts not cooperating, among others.

The Pelican way won out, but with an innovation that I came up with.  Instead of removing the rear tires, I raised the height of the furniture cart using layers of scrap styrofoam.  I happen to have 1″ thick styros from a tool packaging box, and several pieces stacked together raised the cart adequately.  After the engine/tranny assembly settled on the cart, it took no more than a minute to pull out all the foam until the cart wheels settled on the garage floor.  Here are some pictures:

Here’s a picture of the engine before it got dropped:

And here it is, sitting on the furniture cart:

Since I needed to see the flywheel in order to order the correct adaptor plate for the electric motor, I immediately separated the engine and the transmission, and removed the clutch and flywheel.  Here’s a picture of the tranny:

Out with the Gas

18 Sep

Acronym game: ICE = Internal Combustion Engine

The first step in the ICE removal process is to drain the gas tank.  I made sure I had a minimum of gas left in the tank  by trying to run on vapor in the days leading to the conversion.  I could think of 3 ways to drain the tank, a) by siphoning it out, b) by draining the fuel line through the bottom access hole, and c) by using the fuel pump to pump the gas out.  I opted for the 3rd alternative.  I won’t go into the details here because different models and fuel pumps require different procedures.  The picture above shows draining in action, with a red drip irrigation hose.  It is tapped inside a fuel line by the injectors and tightened with a hose clip.   The gasoline from the 914 went to my truck. 

The next step, of course, is to remove the gas tank.  But first, we have to take off the hood, the trunk cover and engine compartment lid.  This is fairly easy, but a 2-person job.  I knew the hood was going to slide down after the last bolt was removed, so I placed a piece of cardboard underneath which helped prevent any damage.  To minimize frustration during assembly, I bagged and labeled all the bolts.  I even did the same to parts I won’t be needing, so I can easily pick them out when I put them up for sale in the future.

Here are pictures of the car and parts:

      

Weight and Measures

18 Sep

It’s a good idea to know the weight of the car before stripping it of its internal combustion engine and components.  That way, you’ll have a reference when adding the batteries and coming up with the final weight configuration.  This knowledge will help with suspension and brake upgrades as well.

A convenient vehicle scale for me is at the city dump.  They weigh your vehicle as you enter and leave, and charge you dumping fee per weight of the garbage you leave behind.  I wasn’t exactly dumping the car when I drove up, but I nicely requested for a weight reading, and the lady  obliged, and even asked me to get off the car so my own weight won’t be counted.  Result, 2075 lbs.  That’s without a spare tire, near empty gas tank, and also with pre-1975 bumpers.  The original rubber bumbers with shock absorbers are much heavier.

I also measured the ride height of the car at all four wheels to the center of the wheel arch: LF: 24  3/4″, LR 22 1/2″, RF 25″, RR 22 3/8″.