Tuesday, July 31, 2007

UPDATE: July 31, 2007

On The Verge

A lot was accomplished today:

The suspension struts were installed, along with the new heavy duty springs. The new springs were calibrated just right. The ride height is just as I wanted. As you may recall, the original car had been lowered about two inches. This has been preserved ... looks cool!

The charger wiring and interlock relay wiring was completed. (The interlock relay prevents the car from operating when the charger is plugged in.)

All sixteen batteries were installed, but not wired together yet. That task is for tomorrow.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be POWER UP day!

Friday, July 27, 2007

UPDATE: July 27, 2007

Finishing up dashboard installation.

(The shop will be dark over the weekend. Next report Monday night.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

UPDATE: July 25, 2007

I'm starting to change the vehicle wiring chaos into something orderly. I have the fuse/relay panel back into it's intended spot ... which it wasn't before. The wiring for the stereo speakers is roughed in.

As you can see, the dashboard has been reinstalled. For the next couple of days, I'll be finishing up the interior work. Next on the agenda: The suspension system will be reinstalled, the batteries installed and the final high voltage hookup completed. Last, but not least, final testing.

The trip to Baskin-Robbins will not be this week. Next week looks very hopeful.

Monday, July 23, 2007

UPDATE: July 23, 2007

Sorry ... No pix.
I worked all day finishing up the wiring under the hood, after I swapped out my Curtis 1221B for the more robust Curtis 1231C. This will allow me to easily pull 550 amps at 96 volts! That a very impressive 52,800 watts of power! (Actually by EV standards, it's rather puny. Some "full-bore" EV's are pulling 600,000 watts ... and more!)
Tuesday, I pick up my new suspension springs. I might actually be able to drive to Pullman for an ice cream cone by weekend.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

UPDATE: July 21, 2007

I spent most of the day pouring over the VW factory wiring diagrams trying to figure out what the heck had happened, previously, to the poor VW's wiring. It had been patched, chopped, and re-connected many, many times. More than one "shade-tree-mechanic" had his hand in the wiring.
I call it: "Explosion In The Spaghetti Factory."
(I have most of it figured out. I applied battery power to the car and ... no smoke. That is good!)
I tested the vacuum pump (provides vacuum for the power brakes) and discovered the pump cycles ON/OFF every few seconds. That's an indication of a vacuum leak somewhere. Hopefully, it's just a hose leak and not the vacuum brake booster.
Saturday is a "honey-do" day. (By previous negotiations. lol) So, today we spent most of the day nailing up the wall covering (5/16" wafer board) on the remaining wall in Jacquie's glass workshop in the barn. It took twelve 4' x 8' panels ... most of which had to be cut to fit.
I'm "sorta hopeful" that the VW will be up and running by the end of next week ... sorta. A lot depends on what the meaning of "up and running" is!

Sunday is a R & R day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

UPDATE: July 18, 2007

Spent all day doing wiring and fabricating a new mount and location for the main contactor and shunt. No picture: Just imagine what yesterday's picture looked like ... today would be the same.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

UPDATE: July 17, 2007

Every aspect of this project presents it's own unique challenge. Now the challenge is wiring. I'm pretty good at wiring and electrical things, but this is no ordinary electrical wiring job. It seems that some previous owner did considerable "cutting & splicing," so nothing matches up too well. The challenge is to integrate the new vehicle wiring with the old car wiring.

Monday, July 16, 2007

UPDATE: July 16, 2007

Vacuum pump and reservoir installed. The vacuum system is needed to power the power brakes. The actual pump is 12-volt DC powered from the aux. battery system. (You can see the pump at the bottom of the picture, just to the right of center.)

I picked up the newly upholstered seats this morning. Looks pretty good, don't they.
(The work was done by Dido Upholstery Shop in Troy, ID.)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

UPDATE: July 15, 2007

I only worked a few hours this weekend. ("Honey-Do" projects!)

Here is the DC to DC converter mounted on the left (driver's side) strut tower.

Here is the main controller (large black box), the main contactor (lower right corner. This is the main ON/OFF switch for the battery pack.) and the shunt that provides the readout for the amount of current (amps) that is being used at any given time. (You are looking at the inside of the right, passenger's side, fender.)

Monday, I go pick my seats that were upholstered. I'm excited about that.

Other details: My stereo CD/AM/FM/XM Satellite radio system from Crutchfield arrived as did the battery charger from Manzanita Micro (PFC-20). On Friday, I took the vehicle springs to Pohl Spring Works, in Spokane, to have newer, heavy duty springs manufactured.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

UPDATE: July 11, 2007

I removed all four suspension strut assemblies. Next stop: Spring winding company for new, stronger, springs. (Probably on Friday.)

Also a few more basic repairs: Replaced the right door window regulator (NOT a fun job!) and the right wing window.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

UPDATE: July 10, 2007

Front battery pack installed. (But not hooked up yet.)

Rear battery pack installed. (But not hooked up.)

Car sitting on computer scales.

This was the weight of the original car, prior to modification.

This is the weight AFTER modification, with batteries and equipment in place.
We've gained about 684 lbs ... about the weight of four passengers. (From here on I'll limit the car to a driver and one passenger.)

Next job is to remove all four suspension struts, springs and shock absorbers. I will take them to the Pohl Spring Works, in Spokane, and have them wind the appropriate springs to bring the car back to it's original (lowered) height.

Friday, July 06, 2007

UPDATE: July 6, 2007

Catch up day.
While I'm waiting for the motor mount to be modified, (See yesterday's entry.) I caught up on some work:
>I installed and adjusted a new clutch cable.
>I installed a new speedometer cable.
>I hooked up both drive axles to the transmission.
>I installed the rear battery box ventilation system, both inlet and exhaust. The rear battery box is now ready for the batteries to be installed.
The next project will be to fit and install the front battery holder. I want to get that done in the next couple of days. I've checked the fitting of the front box and it looks OK, so installation should be no big deal.
As soon as the front battery box is installed, I'll load up both boxes with all the batteries. Next, I'll simply sit all the other stuff that needs to be installed in the car. (The seats are still out being re-upholstered, so I'll add a couple of concrete blocks to simulate the weight.)
With the car weighted down, as it will be, I can then re-weight the car to get the final rolling weight. With this weight, I can then order the stronger suspension springs.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

UPDATE: July 5, 2007

High Hopes ... Almost achieved!

Jacquie and I spent almost two hours jiggling and juggling the motor/transmission assembly to get it seated and properly located. There are four engine/transmission mounts that have to be perfectly lined up ... or it just won't fit. We got three of the four bolted in, but ran into a "show stopper" with the fourth.

The fourth motor mount is one supplied by the kit manufacturer. When I went to bolt in on, as per instructions, I discovered that the bolt holes are 45 degrees off! After a frantic call to the kit supplier, I learned that "there was a change" that failed to be mentioned.

To remedy the situation, I could pull the motor/transmission unit back out of the car, pull the transmission off the motor, remove the clutch assembly and then re-bolt it all back up, rotating the motor housing 45 degrees. I elected NOT to do this.

Instead, I am having a local machine shop weld a steel plate on the motor mount, then I will re-drill the holes to fit the motor. (There wasn't enough metal on the original motor mount to re-drill it.) I expect to get it on Monday.

In the meantime, I'll wrap up the rear battery box job and then do some re-wiring of the headlights. They didn't function too well before the conversion. If I still have more time, I'll work on some door problems.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

UPDATE: July 4, 2007

I didn't work very long today because of the Johnson City parade this morning and the Pullman fireworks tonight.

But I did get the electric motor and transmission mated up and ready for mounting in the car tomorrow.

It's moving right along.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

UPDATE: July 3, 2007

I got back from my Seattle trip, unexpectedly early, so I had most of the day today to work on the car. The project for the day was to attach the VW transmission adapter plate, the motor coupler and install the clutch assembly. (New clutch and pressure plate.) Here you see the electric motor, which was secured to the workbench, using a chain and J-bolts. The purpose of bolting the motor down (the blue rug you see is simply to keep from marring up the paint on the motor) is so the motor attachments could be bolted and torqued properly.
After it was all done, I couldn't help but clip on a 12-volt battery and see if everything spins up. Yup ... it did! No vibration, either.
I probably won't get much done tomorrow, the 4th of July. In the morning, we'll be going to a parade in Johnson City, WA, which we're told is very "interesting." (Look for a report and possibly pictures on "Night Noise.") That evening will be the big fireworks display at the Pullman City Park.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

UPDATE: July 1, 2007

No car work this weekend. I promised Jacquie that I'd work on getting her stained glass workshop set up.
Next week will be a short work week because I have a business trip to Seattle on Monday and Tuesday. I now have all the parts on hand that are necessary to get the vehicle up and running. (Accept for springs. I need to get everything in the car so I can re-weight it and order the appropriate springs for the new total vehicle weight.)
Next week I hope to have the electric motor mated up to the VW transmission and then installed in the car ... assuming all goes well. (I'll have photos of the work.) Following that, will be mounting and wiring the electronic control equipment and associated circuitry. So far, I don't see any "show stoppers."
Just for fun ... from the weekend Seattle (WA) Times:
"It was a classic "American Graffiti" moment. A Corvette had stopped at the light next to Martin Eberhard's new Tesla Roadster. The Corvette driver wanted a race. Jim Woolsey, former CIA director in the Clinton administration, was at the wheel of the Tesla, taking a test drive. He asked Eberhard, Tesla Motors' CEO, what to do, and got the answer he wanted. "TAKE HIM !" said Eberhard.
(And they DID as the article went on to say the guy in the Corvette, came long side at the next light, and said... "What IS that !! ")
Note: A Tesla is a new totally electric vehicle (EV) being developed and about ready to go into production. It's quite "pricey" ... like $90K+. One reason you don't want to drag race an EV - even a 1986 VW Cabriolet - is because the DC electric motor develops full power and torque even at zero vehicle speed. This means that in a drag race, the EV has full power, right from the get-go, while the gas car has to proceed down the road a bit before it gets it's game on.