Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Kindness of Stangers (and New Friends)

July 11 – July 15, 2008

It’s been quite a week, and I have lots to report on. That dreaded ICE wiring has been solved. The kindness of strangers cannot be overstated. A fellow Fiero owner wanting to do a conversion contacted me and helped me through my mess. Adam, from Marion, OH, is a wiring genius. He has done several Fiero upgrades (bigger, badder engines) and is very verse in the art of wire removal. I went from two jumbo bundles of wires plus the ECM to a handful of wires and everything working as needed – a big thanks to Adam. My engine bay is respectable now and the only things zipped-tied are things I still needed.

Because of my new fondness for wiring, I set out to fix some things, install some others and plan ahead. For some reason a previous owner hot wired some things (the heater fan and radiator fan). After digging through a mess of wires under the dash, I found the one that was cut. I checked it and thought it was dead. But after tracing it down to it origin (a relay in the front trunk area), it proved to be alive and well. I reattached it and now have a properly functional heater fan (no heat, but the fan works). The radiator fan was pulled with the other parts and I just pulled its mystery wire back then. I found my needed “Run and Start” wires off of the key switch. With those, I was able to install my throttle assembly. The Belktronix throttle is different than the PB-6 you often see. It is more of a spring loaded plunger that is activated by your gas pedal directly instead of the old ICE throttle cable. The ICE throttle cable is still used just to make the gas pedal return to an “off” position when released, but nothing more under the hood. I made a bracket with an arm attached to the gas pedal arm. From there, the throttled is positioned under the arm and depressed when you step on the gas pedal – quite simple. I hooked up all of the wires and ran a long lead back to the rear trunk area (this is where I will put the Vehicle Integrator Module). I tapped fuse panel for power and ran a new ground wire to use under the dash. Again, Adam made me a very confident wiring novice! While I had everything open, I found places for my E-meter and Palm Pilot. I discovered two empty switch bays that I plan on using for my rear area ventilation system (more later) and my vacuum pump.

Next up was the rear engine area where I started more heavy wiring. I pulled all of the batteries to have better access (they are still heavy). Since everything was opened I figured it was a good time to put in my ventilation system. This amounts to two 5.25”, 12V fans mounted in the inner wall of the rear trunk. One pulls in air while the other blows it out. The controller will be in this area and a cool controller is a happy controller. I am going to close up this area as much as possible to keep things clean and dry and the extra air will help. The other part of the ventilation system is my motor cooler. There is a shroud available for the WarP9 that lets you force air through the motor to keep it cooler (and a cool motor is a happy motor). The Fiero has a functional air duct on the drivers side (originally went to the air filter) and I hated to see it go to waste. I took a smaller 2.5 inch fan, enclosed it in a Coro-Plas box and ran the vent hose to it. The fan will draw outside air to the motor and pushes it through from the commutator end to the drive end. According to Netgain, this can make big improvements in motor performance – I am anxious to see. All three fans draw about one amp from the car battery (not the traction pack), something I hope to offset with some LED light replacements. Initially, I am using a switch to run these fans, but plan on using some simple thermostats to activate them later on.

When I ran out of the 2/0 cable I ordered another 12 feet (plenty, I thought). I figured I needed 8-10 feet and got a couple extra to make sure. I ended up with exactly zero inches left. I could call that good planning, but in reality I wish I had a few more feet left. I bought 42 feet total. The next price break was at 50’. If I just bought 50’ to begin with, it would have been cheaper (considering the extra shipping for the second order) – live and learn. The plus of the second order was buying a crimping tool (less than $9.00) and it really works. I am still a solderer, but by crimping first, it takes less solder, things stay in place while soldering, and the finished product look better. I made the other motor leads to the controller and ran them into the trunk. I built a frame out of a product called 8020, http://www.8020.net/. It’s very modular and with the right hardware, things slide in the channels. I attached my controller (with its fan), my main fuse, shunt (for the E-meter) and main contactor to this frame to be installed as a single unit bolted in the trunk. I fit in between to the two rear batteries and that made a short run for my dwindling 2/0 cable supply (remember, I had zero inches left). With big, fat green cable going everywhere, I managed to get everything in its place (a lot of trial and error, with an emphasis on error). Next up I re-installed all of the batteries, but did not hook them up. Things are getting real tight back there and I still have more parts coming in my last shipment that need to be installed first. The last thing I need is for my car to take off without a chance to get a short EV grin behind the wheel. I don’t think it counts if your car is going through your backyard being chased as an actual first drive – others may disagree.

I’m taking a few days off to tend to other business at work and with family. Hopefully my other stuff will arrive this week or next and I can hit the road real soon. So until next time…

1 comment:

HRHohio said...

Hello Bob,
I am a fellow Datonian, transplanted to Las Vegas. Grew up in Huber, graduated from Wayne in 88. Greetings!
Just wanted to thank you for your blog. Every bit of info we can get on EV conversions helps. I too have plans for doing a conversion in the next year or so. The plan, SO FAR, is to convert a 4th gen Camaro (98-02) Convertible to EV. I have an 01 Convertible Camaro right now, but it has an automatic tranny. Everyone tells me, its too much trouble/not as efficient as a stick, so I'm selling it and will look for a replacement donor. I'm planning on using the NetGain 11 inch motor and running somewhere between 180-240 volts. Will use a zilla 1k. Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for your blog and keep us all posted. If you want to email me, I'm at HRHohio@yahoo.com.

Take care and all the best!