73: Sunday 29th November 2009

Made up a model of the frame to hold 3 of the batteries. I put it in the car with the battery model on the top shelf and it looked a bit high up. I put a level across the top of the head lamps to get an idea of how much clearance there was. It was about an inch, but the hood comes down a bit on the inside, so it was tight.

I remembered that the actual batteries have a venting protrusion on the top and it sticks up from the rest of the battery, so the terminals were actually quite a bit lower down. I put one of the actual batteries on the frame and put the level across and there is a good 2 inches of clearance and as this is fixed to body, it will not change position, so I am happy now. Next weekend I will borrow a metal chop saw and go and get some angle iron and bar from the metal suppliers. I am borrowing a MIG welder from a friend. My wife bought me an electronic welding mask last year, so all I need is some gloves and I am ready to fabricate the battery mounts.

72: Saturday 28th November 2009

So now it is time to mount all the other parts. First up to make a template for the motor mount. For this I used thin ply wood. This is easy to cut with a jigsaw and drill.
Next the frame to hold the controller. I added a piece of timber on each side 12 inches long, then joined with more timber going across. First of all I put the across pieces on top, but then I rested the controller on top and I could see there was a problem with the height of the contactors that would touch the hood. Too close for comfort! So I fixed the across timbers underneath and the gave me the important extra inch in height. For the actual tray I will be using angle iron, so I will lose another 1/2 inch there too.
Under the controller sits the heat sink.
This gives me a height problem again.
I tried mounting the controller longways and the contactors sit near the firewall and there is plenty of height there. With the heatsink underneath there is still enough room to clear the hood. I had a rethink though because the tray was mounted effectively on the gearbox and it would move when a load is put on. So now I am looking to mount over the gearbox again, but fixed to the body. The battery cables are very flexible, so they can easily accommodate any movement in the gearbox. I rotated the alarm horn, now I can move the controller all the way over to one side leaving plenty of room to mount the DC-DC converter, the control box I made and the brake vacuum pump. This is a much better place for this.

71: Sunday 22nd November 2009

Today I was just straightening out a few things that I needed to finish up since fitting the electric motor. I remounted the power steering motor and pump. To do this I made a plate to shift the mounting up and back about an inch. I shortened the brace for the new position. When I mounted the plate I used riv nuts for the first time. When I bought the kit, I also bought a 9.1mm drill bit that is the correct size for the 6mm riv nuts. So I drilled 2 holes, screwed a riv nut on the tool, inserted it in the hole then squeezed the riv nut tool and then I had a 6mm threaded rivet in the body. Took about 5 minutes for each of the riv nuts. Much easier than trying to fumble around finding the hole from the other side and getting someone else to hold one side while I tightened it. In some places (like the ones where the PAS pump is mounted) it is not possible to get to the other side without either going through with long threaded studs or having to strip out the interior of the car. Marvellous! The PAS pump now sits further away from the body, so there should be no vibration from the motor.
I also fitted the clutch actuator and with my 13 year old daughter Sydney-Ann's help on the pedal I bled the air out of the pipes. I now have a working clutch again. Fitting the clutch actuator was not so straight forward as I had to undo the top mount to get to 2 of the bolts to mount the bracket on the pipe, and remove the battery tray to access the hydraulic connection.

70: Saturday 21st November 2009

I made up a battery model for 1 battery so I could try it in the engine bay. I tried it out and it looked like I could get 3 batteries in the space I had allocated. I was hoping to get 4 in the front, but it was not to be. I measured the space in the trunk and I could get 7 batteries side-by-side in o.k.
So next I made up another model of the space required for 3 batteries. I tried this in the space and it did not fit, yikes! It was sticking up too far. I thought that perhaps if the batteries were at differing heights the they may fit.
So in an act of desperation I got 3 batteries and placed them loose in the engine bay. I was pleased to see that they would go in staggered and the hood would shut. Next job is to make up the frames for the batteries to sit on and clamp them down. As there was a bit of space above 2 of the batteries and they would be at the same level, this is an ideal place to mount the battery charger. I measured the charger and it is about an inch narrower than 2 batteries. Cool.

69: Friday 20th November 2009

The motor is in. I hoisted the motor on a couple of straps, nice and level only to find that with the clutch and flywheel and spacer all fitted on the motor, it was too big to go between the gearbox and the chassis. I took off the vacuum pump and moved it out of the way to so I could come in at an angle, but this didn't solve the problem although it did help. I removed the top mount form the gear box, and pulled the back end of the motor upwards to make it at angle, then I just about managed to get the clutch and flywheel inside the gearbox bell housing. I released the additional strap to make the gearbox sit level. Lined up the height ready to slide the motor on and as I was explaining to my friend how this bit can be fiddly and take a while, I took my hand off the strap and on its own, the motor slid onto the gearbox all the way home. That has never happened to me before. Normally it takes a while to wiggle it and coax it on. Slipped the bolts in and put back the gearbox mount and the vacuum pump. I put some temporary wiring in place to give the motor a test run on a single 12v battery direct onto the terminals. Before this I put my fingers through the starter motor hole and spun the motor a few times to make sure everything was lined up and there was no snagging or unusual noises. All was fine. I connected the battery and it ran smooth. Then I ran it with the gearbox in 1st gear. It went backwards, but that was the temporary wiring, not a problem. Happy days. I have now found a source of some steel for making battery trays, so come pay day I will be there to buy some. Now I need to make some cardboard battery mock-ups to try and figure out where I can fit them in.

68: Monday 16th November 2009

I chose the 'phone-a-friend' option and my friend and very capable mechanic Mick came round. After about 2 minutes trying to pry the lower ball joint apart he suggested we undo the hub nut and disconnect the hub from the strut. Thankfully I had borrowed the 32mm socket and torque wrench from my brother, so with my foot firmly on the brake pedal Mick took the hub nut off, disconnected the hub and swung it down. Then we tapped the CV joint free from the hub and took it in the garage for a good clean. Mick then fitted the CV joint to the end of the drive shaft and checked it was fully home, fed it back through the hub, we fitted the hub nut, and he left me cheerful to finish putting all the rest of the bolts back in. I fitted the CV joint boot and clipped it on. Then the wheel was fitted back on and after about an hour I was back indoors. A good session. Now I am ready to mount the electric motor. Hopefully I can catch up by the weekend and be ready to start mounting the batteries. Now it feels like I am building an electric car. Up until this point I have just rebuilt the probe and tidied up as original. Everything I had done so far was preparation for installing the electric drive. Now the fun begins. Thankfully I have already had it all set up and working on my garage floor, the next challenge is getting it all to fit in the car. Oh and I still have the fuel tank to remove (don't forget that old chestnut....).

67: Sunday 15th November 2009

So Sunday it is not raining, still feeling a bit rough with the cold, I persevered. My objective was to get the electric motor mounted to the gearbox. First I had to finish off putting the other mounts on the gearbox and other parts and fit the split CV joint boot. I fitted the top and bottom gearbox mounts without incident. This left the intermediate shaft floating in mid air, ideal for fitting the boot. I had never tried this before, but it was easy. The boot is split down the side and has a groove to put glue in. They are universal, so I had to cut off the small end to get the right shaft size, then cut the big end to get the right size for the CV joint cup. Starting at the small end I glued up to the first concertina, lined up the edges and held them together for 45 seconds. Then glued along to the second concertina, held it for 20 seconds, then kept repeating this process until I had the whole side glued. I Then run the glue back along the length of the join to ensure there were no gaps. Always wear rubber gloves as the super glue will stick to skin. While that was left to fully set I fitted the gearshift support rod, the gear selector rod and the cross member again without incident. I fitted the new split boot and clipped it to the shaft and CV joint. I remembered I still had to fit the left outer CV joint boot, but when I looked at it I could see the splines at the end of the drive shaft. With all the pulling and shoving that I had to do to get the other joints together I had pulled the shaft out of the joint...damn. So I took off the left wheel and removed the bolt from the lower suspension joint to give movement to push the CV joint onto the shaft. Unfortunately I could not get the ball joint out of the lower hub. Not too happy after smacking my knuckles several times I packed up for the night. Failed to meet my objective of mounting the electric motor. Not one of my best weekends.

66: Saturday 14th November 2009

Had a bad cold develop on Friday, so I wasn't feeling like doing much, however I wanted to get the gearbox in, but beforehand I still had to sort out the CV joint rubber boot. I went round my brother's to borrow a 32mm socket and a torque wrench and he suggest that rather than stripping all the suspension apart, I could just use a split boot. So I bought one. However it was raining and the shaft was getting dripped on, so I didn't want to fit it right away. I then fitted the left CV joint into the cup. This was really fiddly as I had to hold the shaft with the cage on the end just inside the cup and put the 6 balls in one-at-a-time. I did drop a ball several times and the only course is to go into the garage and clean it thoroughly before trying again. After some time, some swearing and a lot of fiddling and with my wife's help manoeuvring the hoist and questioning my methods I finally got the last ball in, so I shoved the shaft in the cup and fitted the retaining clip. Finally home and dry I greased the CV joint and fitted the boot. As it had been raining a lot, I had limited time to work when the rain stopped. Not ideal with a cold as well. I set about fitting the intermediate shaft to find the power steering pump was getting right in the way. So I unmounted it and tied it out of the way. I then fitted the intermediate shaft in the gearbox end and fitted the front and rear gearbox mounts. I removed the hoist and called it a day.

65: Monday 9th November 2009

I still had 1 drive shaft attached to the wheel end , so I set about cleaning up the the CV joint. All the usual wiping and degreasing went on. The idea was to use some time on Tuesday to install the Gearbox at least onto the drive shafts. Once I had cleaned the CV joint I greased it all again and as I pulled the rubber boot to close it up, it split in two halves. So that was that. I went online and ordered a new boot, but now I have to take the driveshaft out at the back of the wheel so I can get the boot on. It will be easier to clean this on the bench with it all off and then with the new boot it will be ready for the weekend to fit the gearbox and then the motor and then I'm back on track.

64: Sunday 8th November 2009

My wife did a search to see how my blogs etc. were proliferating on the web and came across an article that I submitted to The Open University some time ago about the United Nations Climate Change Conference. I was reading an alumni email and they were asking for articles, so I told them I was converting a car to electric and they wrote back with some specific areas they wanted to highlight in the articles. I wrote an email back and now it has been posted at:

2009-10-05 09:35: 9 weeks till COP15 - OU student converts Ford Probe to electric

So back to the probe....
Before I can put the gearbox back I had to clean all the drive shaft parts as some had been on the floor and picked up dirt. I didn't want any contamination of the constant velocity joints. All the parts had the grease wiped off, then brushed with spirit and wiped dry. This will all be greased again as I put it back together. The photo shows one of the CV joints without the balls, ready to go back together. I used white spirit to degrease the parts. This is normally used for cleaning paint brushes and is like turpentine.

Ran out of daylight, so I used the time to adapt the car engine coolant temperature sensor to measure the motor temperature. I think I mentioned before that the ADC FB1 4001 DC motor has a blind 5/8 UNC thread in the side. In the photo you can see the engine coolant temperature sensor and from the top is the electrical terminal, the hex for fitting it, the threaded part and a straight part. The thread was 10mm and the straight part also 10mm.
The threaded hole in the motor was measured at 16mm deep, so I fitted the nut to the bolt and then measured along 16mm and cut 1mm longer so the nut can be tightened once the bolt has reached the bottom of the thread. I tidied this up with a file, so it would thread easily.
Next an 8mm hole was drilled 20mm into the bolt head to take the straight part of the sensor. The same hole was drilled out to 11mm and 10mm deep to take the sensor thread.
Next the sensor was glued into the hole in the bolt head with 'Super Steel' epoxy this is the same as 'JB metal'. This has many of the same properties as metal, so it conducts heat to the sensor from the motor, through the bolt. This is now ready to be fitted when the motor is mounted in the car. So it just hooks up to the temperature gauge connection and then the original temperature gauge shows the motor temperature. I will need to make a circuit to monitor this sensor and when the temperature gets high it will switch on the fan relays that were for the radiator originally. I shall use the original radiator fans mounted to blow through the area around the motor and controller heat sink. This will keep everything from overheating. The motor also has a switch fitted in it with 2 wires hanging out. I shall use this for the motor controller to limit the current and again this will prevent the motor from overheating in Summer.

63: Saturday 7th November 2009

Well I said I would probably need a comic strip to describe how the drive goes together. Now that I have all the parts and some time here it is:
The previous post showed the motor bearing spacer and key being fitted. On the hub there are 2 grub screws to lock the taper to the shaft. These were tightened using an Allen (hex) key.
Next the motor shaft adapter was added. I had to bolt this from under the hub. There was a collar around the motor bearing that stopped the bolts from going through straight. Raising the adapter up and inserting the bolts half way made this possible, then the adapter sat on the hub and the bolt heads were clear of the collar. After this the bolts were fully tightened. It is normal practice that when something is secured with several bolts or screws to put all the bolts in loose before tightening any of them. Also when tightening to a flat surface, tighten the bolts in a sequence that goes from side to side and tighten them a-bit-at-a-time so that it pulls down evenly this will prevent any wobble and unnecessary stress on any of the bolts.

With the shaft adapter fitted the outer adapters were added to the motor that were used to secure the motor body to the gearbox body and provide the correct distance for the flywheel to sit correctly with respect to the clutch actuator. The photo shows the outer ring placed on the motor.

Next the outer adapter plate was added. This had the holes to fix to the gearbox in it. I made sure it was lined up so the the motor electrical connections were at the top of the motor as the motor controller will be mounted on some bracketry above the motor. The four bolts were tightened to secure both parts of the adapter to the motor.
Next the flywheel was added. This had eight bolts to fix it on and of course they were tightened in sequence to pull it down evenly.
Next was the clutch. The clutch friction plate was positioned central on the flywheel, then the clutch pressure plate. A quick check was made to ensure the clutch was still centred. This can be aligned using a clutch alignment tool, but I have the experience to do this 'by eye' having fitted many clutches in my time. Another check is to look at the clutch plate around the edges and it should be in the same place wherever you check it. On this there are 6 places you can see the clutch around the edges. It was all fine and I was happy that it was centred.
Next was to fit the gearbox on. I had the motor standing on it's end for this and put the gearbox down onto it. The fiddly bit is always getting the gearbox shaft through the clutch plate and at the same time not knocking the clutch actuator as this is a fairly loose fit until it meets the clutch pressure plate. A couple of wiggles and twists and it dropped on fairly easily. The 'straight through' bolts were fitted and the nuts added loose. The 'threading' bolts were then added. It took a few taps with a hammer and a wooden block to shift it over slightly (less than 1mm) then all the bolts went in. I would not hit the gearbox directly with a hammer as this would do 2 things; potentially it could crack the gearbox, and it would damage the lovely coat of red paint I spent ages brushing on (remember the quiet weeks). As I am fitting the motor and gearbox separately, I need to take the gearbox back off. I fitted it this time to check that everything lined up. I gave the flywheel a spin through the old starter motor hole and the were no noises or grinding, so I was happy.

62: Friday 6th November 2009

Today I got my custom shaft key and hub spacer ring back. Cool. The key had to fit a 1/4 inch keyway on the motor and 8mm on the hub. I had a piece of tool steel machine ground to the exact size. I expected this to just about not fit the shafts. As it happened it was a spot on interference fit for the motor shaft, but just a tad too big for the hub. I ground a tiny amount off on my bench grinder and it is so snug that it has to be pushed in to the shaft and won't fall out on its own, but I can still take it all apart as well, so this is just right now. The bearing spacer I had made to 11mm and that is how much it holds the flywheel away from the adapter plate. I wanted 10mm, but this is not critical as the clutch movement is not going to be affected by 1 mm. It will probably remove any slack from the clutch actually. Hopefully I can borrow a hoist tomorrow and finally put the motor and gearbox in. You can see in the photo what a snug fit the key is in the hub.

61: Monday 2nd November 2009

Got some more black paint and painted (the correct side) of the gearbox outer adapter plate. Refitted the painted gearbox end cover. Thats all for today.

60: Sunday 1st November 2009

Painted the final bit of the gear box red. I took the end off the gearbox and de-rusted it, then painted it black. Painted the large outside gearbox adapter plate black, but ran out of paint when I needed just 1 more squirt, so I will need to go over this again when I have some more paint. Unfortunately there is nowhere nearby open at 5pm on a Sunday where I can buy a little tin of black spray paint, so this will have to wait until tomorrow. I guess I will have to take off the fuel tank now as I really have run out of things to do until I get the motor shaft key and the spacer for the motor hub. I have put this off for as long as possible. Hopefully next weekend I can get a hoist and put the motor and gearbox in. I looked at the older blogs and realised I painted the wrong side of the gearbox plate, so that will save a little time in preparation when I get some more paint.

59: Saturday 31st October 2009

Put some more red paint on the gearbox. Nearly all the way round now.

58: Friday 30th October 2009

I was feeling concerned about the taperlock hub having the clutch pushing against it and then moving along the motor shaft, so I went for a rumage through my garage to find a spacer to hold the hub off the motor shaft bearing, so the hub and clutch have something to push against. I came across a wheel bearing that I had from my old Pontiac Firebird Trans-am. I took the out bearing case, dropped it into the motor bearing and then fitted loose, the hub, then the flywheel and clutch assembly. I measured the gap between the flywheel and the adapater plate and it was 15mm. The original engine was 10mm from the flywheel. I have arranged to have 5mm ground off the wheel bearing case, then the distance should be exactly the same as it was on the engine. I have a key being made to fit between the 6.4mm motor shaft key way and the 8mm hub keyway. So with the new bearing spacer and the custom key the taperlock has little to do except just hold it all in place. I feel happier now that I should never need to open it all up to retighten anything. This may seem a bit overkill, but it also a lot of work to fix it later if something goes wrong. Also I got some new bolts (3/8 UNC x 2.5 inch long, hex head) to fix the gearbox outer adapter plate and ring to the motor. The new bolt heads stick up less because of the hex heads instead of cap heads and are 1/2 inch longer so I now have the right amount of thread to secure the adapters and better clearance of the bolt head to the back of the flywheel.