A lot of people are asking me what I would do differently if I was to do a conversion again. So what I think I need to do is go over the problems that I ran into so that it might help those of you who are thinking of taking the bull by the horns and reducing your gas addiction significantly by starting your own conversion. Over the next few weeks I shall list the things that went wrong and what I did to overcome the problems that presented themselves. I will also make a list of parts and stuff that I had to buy to get the job done, so that the cost of the project becomes tangible.
But for now lets start at the beginning.
Choosing the car, It has to be something that you are going to love driving, comfortable, aerodynamic and with great handling. The body is going to need to be free from rust so that it lasts a long time. I have fallen in love with my EV and can't stand the thought of it being off the road for any length of time. It is such a different driving experience. As an EV it has great acceleration and it holds the road on cornering like nothing else due to its lower center of gravity and extra weight and the way it is distributed.
Having a space to work on it is the key to success. It needs to be inside out of the weather. You are going to be pulling it to pieces and you will need to keep things organized and so a clean space is very important. Getting muddled and losing bits and pieces is frustrating and time consuming.
Research as much as you can, I found Jack Rickard and Gavin Shoebridge's YouTube movies a great place to start. There is a ton of information available from those two people. Jack approaches everything in a thorough and scientific way, so spend the time researching all you can.
The point at which you will find yourself stuck and alone, and feeling a little helpless, is when you want to get the motor married to the existing transmission. There are some companies that will do it for you, but you have to send both parts to them and it can take 3 months. That is really painful and I opted to go it alone. It wasn't the adaptor plate that posed the problem so much as the coupling and where to get it and which one would work for my application. No one could help me. On Gav's site he used a Lovejoy coupling and so I called them up and asked which one they recommended. They said they could not recommend one as it was being used in a vehicle, and that could have potential liability issues. That got me a little frustrated. So anyway I ended up having to just pick one and give it a try. It turned out to be too small and shattered within the first 200 miles. It was back to the drawing board and I called Lovejoy again and told them that one of their couplings had failed, and this time the rep did give me a recommendation. Maybe he sensed that I wasn't going to go away.
I had to get the splined insert that had been welded into the smaller one machined and re welded into the larger coupling. The larger coupling was made of sintered iron which you cannot weld onto. I then had to order one side of the coupling made out of stainless steel. It took over a week to arrive and then a few days at the machinist to get it worked on. In the meantime I had to change the spacing between the motor and the transmission by adding more spacers ( 2 pieces of 1/2 inch aluminum), which meant the bracket where the other end of the motor fixed to the chassis also had to be changed.
It has not been a problem since then. It seems to be a really hardy coupling that can handle the tremendous amount of torque that an electric motor generates.