Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Saga Continues....

April, 6, 2008 – End of the ICE age, Part 2

Fully rested and ready to go, I drag my tools back outdoors and prepare to drop the cradle. With all the wires and hoses done, I get the engine hoist and secure the load. One bolt on top and four down below – and these were easier than expected. I figured 24 years of accumulated rust would make this a chore, but happily I was disappointed. We (my wife is such a good sport) drop the cradle on the legs of the engine hoist and El Fiero is now ICE free.

Now comes the next trick – getting the cradle out from underneath rear of the car while still on the legs of the hoist. Those wonderful folks at Harbor Freight just love seeing me come. I purchased a set of jumbo jack stands – 24 inches of pure elevation. I now hook the chain to the vacated engine bay and proceed to lift, and lift, and lift. I needed every bit of those jack stands to get the needed clearance to slide the cradle out with all parts in tact. As a bonus, the entire strut tower came with the cradle. They were as tall as the engine and the added weight may have killed one of my CV joints – a possible causality.

Next came the separation of motor and transmission, A little tugging and a few choice words and they were forever apart. I did not realize just how big and heavy all of this stuff was until I had it right in front of me. The engine was strapped to a cart and will go on Craig’s List in the very near future. A little industrial strength degreaser and the cradle and transmission are once again touchable. My son and I loaded up the cradle and engine hoist to take it to work. I teach a pre-engineering program at a local Career Center and figured with all of my tools at work and a clean and climate controlled place to work, this was a wise choice. Plus think of the added benefit of answering the same question over 50 times in one day – I would imagine that I’ll answer that many again tomorrow. Time to call it a day, put up the tools and get the smell of old grease off from me.

I think that now that the Fiero is in parts I have made a commitment to this project, so here are the details for now.

1984 Pontiac Fiero – 4speed manual with a leaky sunroof.
Warp 9 DC electric motor – http://www.go-ev.com/
Belktronix 144V conversion package (more on this in a bit) http://www.belktronix.com/
Deka 9A31 12v batteries – 100Ah, 144V system http://www.deka.com/

Now back to the package – I did a lot of searching for the system I wanted to use. The Warp 9 choice was made quite a while back, but next came a controller. The Zila is really a kick-butt controller, but a bit out of my price range (I did mention my wife!). Grassroots EV is carrying the Logisystem controller and I almost went that route. Curtis is the standard, but are getting harder to get (plus carry a premium for a price. Kelly is a now making 144V, 500A controllers a quite a bit cheaper than Curtis. Next came the charger – Manzanita Micro, Nivan, Russco as well as a few more. My head was hurting. The PFC-20 is expensive, but very worthy of the price. Zivan has potential, but has a quirk of being dedicated to a particular battery pack and requires an upgrade/update to change batteries. Russco is the cheaper charger, but when you add all of the extras on, it compares in price to the other. Somehow I found a link to Belktronix. I started reading and then I found his system package (see below).

(1) 144VDC, 500A DC Motor Controller(12) Battery Monitor Boards(12) Power Resistors(1) 144VAC PFC 1kW Charger with Isolation and DC/DC 650W Converter with Isolation(1) Throttle Interface Module(1) Vehicle Integration Module(1) Charge Detection Module(1) BatMon Isolation Module(1) Contactor(2) Cooling Fans(2) Mounting Brackets and hardware(1) Installation and Wiring Guide

Bryan is the new guy on the block. Check his site and http://www.evalbum.com/ and you will quickly see that there are not too many of his systems out there. But when you see what you get for the price of a Zila and it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see its potential – I bought the whole package. It’s all integrated – the guesswork is gone. You need batteries, a fuse, cabling, motor adapter and a motor shaft coupler. I can make the last items at work for next to nothing, which brings me to end of day two.

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