Sunday, November 23, 2008

Battery Racks

Richard has been working on the battery racks, and reinforcing the rear motor compartment.

This is a view of the rear battery racks:

You can see the new plates which come down from the firewall, and along either side, this will has some rigidity to the rear bumper and boxes. There will be three batteries on either side of the engine. You can also see that the rear apron has been welded back on, the trunk latch, however, still needs to be relocated.

Here we see the front battery racks:

That battery is simply a group-31 sized test box used to validate the fit: 2lbs instead of 70lbs! There will be two batteries at the top, and four across the bottom. This front compartment will also be home to one charger, the DC/DC converter, 12V accessory battery, and the heater relays. The spare tire will have to be relocated.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I drove the Ghia down to Ottawa yesterday, with the back seat full of parts. The drive was uneventful. I had brought along a jerry-tank of gas because the goal was to get to Richards' with just fumes left in the tank. I made it without running out -- and, as I would find out later, with only 1.5L left! So that was the last run for this car with gas.
All photo's are taken at REV Consultants Ltd. in Ottawa, Richard Lane can be seen in a number of them, as I was behind the camera.

Before we started it looked like this:

We took some measurements to ensure we'd be able to tweek the suspension back to its stock ride height:

Jacked it up and disconnected wiring and fuel lines:

Pulled the air intake, fuel-vapor canister and heater box tubes:

Removed the muffler and loosened the motor bolts:

Dropped the engine:


We then stripped the fire / sound insulation out of the engine compartment, and removed any other bits and pieces. The pile of discarded parts has grown quite a bit!

So far, we've worked on the car for only two hours -- I had expected this to take all day.

Ha! We spent the next hour and a half trying to get the gland-nut off the clutch / camshaft. After numerous futile attempts and one bent wrench, we stopped for lunch and to collect our thoughts. After lunch, Richard pulled out the welding machine and welded a 5 foot long 3"x1/4" metal bar to the 36mm socket we'd been using. It was out 5 minutes later.

We cleaned up the flywheel, clutch and preassure-plate and got to attaching all this to the motor using the kit from CanEV.

This is the Netgain Warp9 motor, considerably simpler than the internal combustion isn't it? Cleaner too!

This is the motor with the transmission adapter attached:

These are the parts which will mate the motor shaft to the clutch assembly:

Here they are on the motor:

At this point, we've mounted the clutch assembly (sorry, no photo) to the motor and are preparing to position it.

While I had known we would be missing an inch of room behind the motor (at the back), I hadn't counted on how much room we'd need to insert the motor into the tranny. So a decision was made, on the spot, to remove the rear appron: that part of the car between the two sides of the 'trunk', just in front of the bumper. It will be bolted back on later... with modifications for the 'trunk' latch which is right above the motor's tailshaft (in the way!).

The motor slid right in and was bolted into place:

We then tested the motor by applying 12V to it. It spun right up and made the wheels spin. I couldn't have asked for a better end to the day. You can see a short video of the car running with its new engine here.

The clutch works well too, so the next step is the battery boxes!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Steps forward

The inspection as an ICE went well, and the car is registered and on the road since September 12th.

My wiring diagram is in progress, it will be periodically updated here.
This is a snapshot as of today:

The motor has arrived at REV Consultants, where it will stay until the conversion.
The adapter, contactor and inertia switch have arrived.
The controller is late -- production delays at Logisystems.
The fuse and precharge resistor will be shipped with the controller.
To be ordered:
- Breaker (Hienamann)
- Chargers (Dixon)
- Gauges and shunts (ElectoAuto or KTA)
- RPM gauge and sensor (Equus/CanTire)
To be sourced/supplied by REV:
- Wiring Lugs / connectors
- Dashboard indicators
- Start relay
- Charger interlock
- Battery boxes / insulation / heating
- Ceramic Heating element
- Spaceheater / Timer
- Ventilation

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Second try at inspection

Last week, the Ghia parts made their way here.

Of the remaining outstanding issues, these are solved:
- The new mirror is installed.
- The new relay for the high beams was installed a few weeks ago.
- The headlights have been aligned.
- The new brake and clutch pedal pads are in place.
- The electric windshield washer pump/reservoir is in place and working; though it will be relocated when the batteries invade the front trunk.
- The wiper issues have been fixed.

One last inspection issue remains:
- The back seat fastening clip needs a bit more work, and the existing (replacement) ledge under the rear window needs to be notched out to accommodate the clip. This should be a test of my reupholstering "skills" -- I hope I don't make too much of a mess of it!

So it looks like I'll be back at the inspection centre some time this week.

Once I have proper plates, I'll get the window cracks fixed and an estimate for the door seals and seat upholstery (seems like more work than I'll make time for).

I also want to go see a local suspension place to see about beefing up the suspension. The rear should be easy: just crank the adjustment screws. The front is a bit of another game: it involves the installation of Avis adjusters. The entire suspension needs to be dropped, taken apart, fitted with an adjustment device, put back together and tuned for ride height then alligned. New shocks are probably called for front and back, too.

The other mechanical improvements will include the replacement of the front/back wheel bearings and perhaps the rear drive axles. The transmission fluid (the only one left apart from windshield washer), will be changed to a light synthetic.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Parts, parts and more parts

The purchases have begun.

1. The motor (Warp9) has been ordered from Richard at REV Consultants.

2. The controller (Logisystems 1000Amp, 144-156VDC) from EvSource, along with the fuse, fuseholder, and precharge resistor.

3. The VW motor adapter (CanEV), main contractor (Kilovac EV200) and inertia disconnect switch will be ordered from CanEV -- as soon as I can get them on the phone: its a busy summer for EV supply houses.

4. The various parts for the Ghia are on their way from Karmann Ghia Parts and Restoration.

I am trying to source a cheap DC breaker (Airpax JLE series, probably) in Montreal, but no luck so far. It is likely to come from KTA-Services along with a few other odds and ends (potbox, shunts, rpm sensors); they have very attractive prices.

The intrumentation is a bit of a challenge, I'm pretty sure I've settled on wanting motor amps, motor RPM, pack amps and pack voltage front and centre. But adding four gauges to the dash seems a bit much.
WesTach has some very nice combo gauges:

Which would be way less cluttered than individual gauges:

So I'll try to contact WesTach this week to get a that moving. Individual volt and amp guages are about 58$ a piece from WesTach/ElectroAuto, and the lowest price tach I've found is from Equus being 63$; so the instrument cluster will cost easily 250$.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The SAAQ inspection as an ICE

So the idea was to get it inspected and approved as an ICE before converting it to electric. Burocracy being what it is, I want to tilt the odds in my favour and avoid having to jump through non-EV related hoops when I try to put this thing on the road in a few months.
So off I went last Monday for my inspection at the SAAQ. Bright and early, first appointment of the day. I took the first appointment incase I had to do some running around for parts, repairs, etc. during my one-day-pass for the purpose of inspecting and repairing the vehicle. As it turns out, it was a good choice.

The car didn't pass. Outstanding issues:
- The rear-view mirror fell off when I adjusted it on my way to the inspection...
- The running lights didn't work in front
- The head lights, not alligned and no high beams
- The rubber pads on the brake and clutch pedals were too worn
- The back seat does not stay upright, it needs the retaining strap
- The wipers don't run in low and don't park themselves when turned off

So I spent a few mornings this week getting some of these cleared up.
- The rear-view is now back up, but there is no way it will pass, a new one will be ordered.
- Replaced all the fuses which solved the running lights issue.
- The relay which latches the lights to high or low does not work, one has been ordered. The bulbs themselves are OK. I haven't aligned them yet.
- The brake and clutch pedal-pads have been ordered.
- Bought a few different latches for the back seat, haven't gotten around to trying any yet.
- Wipers are still an issue. I hope to get some feedback from "TheSamba" forums (a great resource for VWs).

Some other issues I plan to address:
- Install the correct 'window scraper' on the drivers side.
- Change out all the rubber seals on the doors and windows
- Fix the dings in the front windshield before they turn into cracks.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Its registered and home

So after a little more taste of SAAQ red tape, I finally got the car registered last week.

Cindy and the kids helped me get it home on Sunday. We took it home on the (little known) ferry from Laval to Ile Bizzard. I keep forgetting to turn off the flasher, something I'll have to get used to! The driver's side floor heating is also stuck 'ON', it was like having a hair-dryer blowing on my ankles. Despite this, things were going well by the time we made it down to highway 20 and St-Charles, so I gave it a go: no problems on the highway, its stable and smooth at 100km/hr -- looks good for the inspection!

At the moment, it sits quietly in the driveway awaiting its fate.

Next steps:
- Get the car inspected and approved for road use, as is.
- Change out the weather seals (dried and cracked in some places) and install a 'drivers side window scraper' (it squeegees the water off the window when you roll it down, and keeps it sealed while its up. This part is missing at the moment so the car is under a tarp.)
- Rip out the ICE components.
- Clean it up and figure out a way to get it to Ottawa in time for mid-September.

At the same time, I have to discuss and nail down the components list with Richard at REV Consultants. I got a quote from CanEV for most of the parts, but again, some of these are undecided. I have to enquire as to the hassle of importing parts from the US, both EV and Ghia-related.

At the moment, the following is looking like the most attractive major components
- VW Type-1 adapter plate and coupler from CanEV
- NetGain Warp9 motor
- Logisystems 1000Amp 144-156V motor controller
- Zivan NG3 charger at 156V-14A with AGM algorithm
- Zener Diode and lamp regulators in parallel with each battery.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Red tape

I went to the SAAQ this morning: apparently the left hand doesn't talk to the right!

What should have been 8$ for a four day transit has turned into: get an estimate of the car's value, have the previous owner come register it as 'in storage', have him pay the taxes for importing the car to Quebec, then I can buy it from him and pay some more taxes, then I pay to register it, thereafter its mine 'in storage' and I can get a one day transit (I don't know what good that's supposed to be!).

I'll meet with the previous owner on Monday at the SAAQ to get it all sorted.

I've found a garage to do any work, he has experience with Type-1's. I'm very happy to encourage his business:

Wouldn't it be great if we all had such initiative?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

And so it begins...

Yesterday, after some calls to my insurance company and the SAAQ (Quebec's department of transportation), I closed the deal for the purchase of a 1972 Karmann Ghia. It will be converted to a completely electric drive, similar to the following:

Sure, its been done before, but, for me: that's the point! This will be my first conversion and the Ghia is relatively simple to convert: its a simple car. The instrumentation is basic, in fact, pretty much everything is basic.

Why I picked a Ghia:
- Its lightweight, 1918lbs, as per the owners manual; I'll weight it myself before and after the conversion.
- It has a small frontal area and is reasonably aerodynamic (21sqft & 0.37, both to be confirmed). - There is a great support community for restoring / fixing / maintaining this car.
- Its a car I want to drive. I don't like commuting to work, but this car will make me look forward to that aspect of my day.

The Ghia runs as-is, I took it around the block near the seller's home in Laval. I still need to get it inspected and registered. I'm getting its 'transit' papers this week so that I can bring it for its inspection on Monday morning. The plan is to have it fully plated and insured as an ICE, then do a converion, have it re-inspected and then re-registred as a EV.