Sunday, June 8, 2008

What a Week!

June 2 – June 8, 2008

I am going to add another day to this week’s blog because I just do not want to wait another week to update what I did today.

I did spend the week cleaning my lab at school and did not finish it, but that is what summer is for – I’ll get it done. I think it was Tuesday that I was talking with a friend about batteries and he told me he had a stash of dead (and I mean dead) back-up batteries from several systems he had been working on and I was welcome to them. This just solved my core deposit problem. I loaded up my truck they are now awaiting a trip to my battery dealer so I can order my traction pack – twelve, 9A31 Deka Intimidators! In preparation for installing my 12 pack, I made up six battery models to test out configurations in the car. My plan was to always do six in the front and six in back. I looked at several other Fiero set ups, but a lot of them used 6V batteries and managed to get 20 of them stuffed in there. My 12V, 12 battery pack was never intended to be a long distance conversion, so I gave up the few extra miles for the weight savings – and we are talking about 200-300 pounds at least. One thing I did not want to sacrifice was my spare tire and what little storage space I have. The spare usually fits up front, but it is going to the back. I have it crammed between two of the rear batteries in what used to be the rear trunk. If I ever need it, I will have to pull those batteries, but at least I will have it. The other four batteries fit neatly above the motor with room to spare on each side for the electronics. I only had to remove one small bracket in the rear to make everything fit. Up front was a different story. I knew things were tight before I started and it would require some cutting. Since I have opted to do without A/C, those things could be removed to make room. The low hood also made it challenging, but thanks to my Saws-all and sacrificing part of the front trunk, I have room for three batteries now. The other three went where the radiator use to be. I was a little concerned putting them that forward, but upon further review, there is a frame member that cages in those batteries and lots of contact points to attach everything. So as it stands, most of the weight is above the axle/wheels and for the better part it is balanced (6 front, 6 rear). I hope this also improves the Fiero’s handling – we’ll have to wait. I picked up another bed frame today and will start cutting and welding next week.

The other great news is part of my first electronics order has shipped. It includes my controller, throttle box, main contactor and system integration module. It’s a start and I can get started with its installation along with the batteries. I can feel that EV grin starting up as I write.

I fixed that leaking transmission seal. I had to take most of the passenger side apart, but it wasn’t that bad – maybe an hour. It’s to the point that I now know more about the rear end of a Fiero than I ever thought possible, and am glad that I do. And for all of you out there thinking about doing a conversion, don’t fear what you don’t know. I have done a lot of car stuff during my life, but nothing like this. Just some basic tools (socket set, combination wrenches, screwdrivers, a hammer or two) and a desire to finish what you start and even you can do it. Time is on your side when you do a conversion because you always have to wait for something – and this can be a good thing. Take time to plan what you are doing and always take the opportunity to fix things as you go. Enough of my soap box time.

Finally, I ripped (cut, destroyed) out the old gas filler tube to make room for my battery charger connection. I found a three pronged, 20A twist connector and plug at one of my electronics surplus stores in town and it’s a perfect fit where the tube use to be. It was a fight getting it out, but well worth the trouble. When done I will be able to use the current door (with lock) to hide my secret plug connection and it is just a few inches from where I plan to install my charger unit – life is good.

So until next week…..

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