I have finally convinced my significant other to let me buy a pos car to convert to an EV. Was not easy, took over a year of begging, chores, and house maintenance :)
I was inspired by what people have been able to do with their conversions and decided i need to try it. If it does not work out, at least i would gain some valuable car mechanical experience. I am not a liberal tree-hugger (no offense if you are one), just want to do this as it sounds fun and cool. Also want to get my kids into something other than tv and video games. (more the kid in me)
My requirements are realistic and minimal:
Drive around Staten Island, NY at normal city speeds, highway speeds if necessary for short bursts. In the New York City 5 borough area, it is very difficult to ever find time to drive without slow traffic anyway.
I need the range to be around 15-30 miles, could be less really to begin with. I will charge it slowly overnight.
Everything has to be done super cheap, it will not be our primary car. Only my second one to drive to the gym, martial arts class, kids sports, Home Depot/Lowes trips and thats about it.
I want to use AC for possible regen, although i am not sure as to how i will implement that for now.
The controller will be Paul and Sabrina's 3 phase AC controller once they are done developing it. At the rate my project is going, by the time i get the motor into the car, they will be on their 4th kit update :)
Will use ebay IGBTs, probably used ones.
I will most likely start with lead acid batteries, lighter/cheaper lower current ones as i need to stack up for higher voltage.
Will try to get junk yard lead acids possibly as well, found a few videos on youtube on reconditioning them to get more life out of really old ones.
I settled on an Audi after reading http://www.metricmind.com/audi/main.htm
First day i brought it over in August 2012, my father in law gave me a nice lecture as to why i wasted money on this piece of junk. We finally bet that if i can either get it in good condition as a gas car in six months or electric in 12, he will buy me a bottle of cognac, or i buy him one. The race is on :)
When i got the car it was misfiring and doing all types of other funny things. Before i decided to do straight EV conversion, i tried getting the engine to work right.
Installed new spark plugs and cables, air filter, oil, antifreeze, cleaned out all air intake/throttle sensors, replaced all leaky/cracked vacuum lines. (by the way don't buy Audi vacuum kits, just use rubber hoses from an auto store by the foot). Be careful and pay attention as to what you remove as i wasted a few hours trying to figure out what went where, as when i pulled one cable off, another would literally crack into pieces. I guess rubber is very expensive in Germany, as they used the cheapest stuff you can think of that becomes brittle very quickly. The good rubber goes to their s&m scene i guess :)
Engine stopped shutting off and stalling, but still smelled like burning oil and antifreeze. I can see oil that was coming up from the valve covers and also a bit of white smoke from the chimney.
Note to all who ever decide to do this kind of thing, NEVER BUY OLD GERMAN CARS. Any parts you need are super expensive.
For example, spark plug cables for an American or Japanese car cost about $20-40. The Audi ones are $150, i found a "good" deal for $89
Another problem is that your regular OBDII reader will not work, you need a VAG (Very Annoying Garbage) compatible reader.
I know a lot of that does not apply as the mechanical stuff is coming out, but keep in mind brakes, steering, suspension, etc.. that is staying and costs money to fix. From what i can tell so far, Audi cars are the most eco friendly cars around, as in a few years after you buy it they disintegrate completely back into the environment. :)
Good luck finding decently priced books on engine work, etc...
Additional parts/problems that will need work after the conversion:
Brake rotors are starting to rust, will need to be etched, brakes replaced. ABS/Antilock controller may need to be replaced. There are a few sites online pointing to re-soldering a few pins to fix it. Will try that before replacement.
Front windshield has a crack.
The window lift motors will need to be cleaned/oiled as they move slowly and seem tired.
Rearview mirror released its liquid, i can live without it really by getting the wide view clip on.
Front drivers side tire has a bubble.
Overall paint job possibly.
Passenger side taillight will need to be replaced as it has been cracked.
Headlight HID bulbs or inverters for them seem problematic. Will see if i will just replace the type of lights.
Piston holding the hood up keeps letting the hood fall on my head.
Speedometer console has a display that is missing lines/pixels. Found how to possibly fix the ribbon cable online. http://forums.audiworld.com/showthread.php?t=1637467
Will not replace. May just end up using custom gages.
After i got the car, i found that after a few rainy weekends it smelled musky inside. While working on a few things i stacked a large piece of cardboard on the back seat, and upon taking it out a few days later, found the whole back seat coevered with black/brown mold.
Removed the bottom of the back seat and found a pool of water 2 inches deep. Cleaned it all out, next rain it was 2" again.
Research online pointed to possible water coming in from the sunroof. Attempted to clear out the drain channels to no avail.
Sealed around the back windows with clear silicone, again rain came back. Had to start using a cover to keep it from getting wet.
Last weekend i finally found the source while trying to wash the damn thing. When i hosed the roof, a waterfall came down from the rear window on the passenger side. Turns out the rubber seal on top of the back window was letting a ton of water in. Sealed it up with clear silicone, no more water.
Slowly the smell is going away.
In the beginning of September i bought a Baldor EM2515T 20HP 3 phase motor for $125 or $150, dont remember, from a junk yard.
They got two pallets full from a school all unit AC replacement in upstate NY.
The motor is 20HP, 480/240V. I may go down the path of playing with the motor windings to get it to go faster at lower voltage. Only after i get it to even move first. This baby is 230lb, ended up cracking the trunk lining wood panel on my new 2012 Nissan Altima while driving it home.
This weekend, 10/13-14/2012 i finally got the front bumper off, ready to remove the radiator. Some of the screws could not budge for the life of me, had to drill them out. "Thank you", Camcar Textron (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torx).
Drained the radiator, it only had a cup of antifreeze, even though i filled it to the brim a few weeks back.
When i drained the oil, it overflowed my collector dish. Had to use plastic bottles to help with the extra oil. Found brown foam and other contaminants in the oil, i guess i found the burned and mixed antifreeze.
Valve cover gaskets (leaking oil on top of engine) along with head gaskets are probably gone.
As i was starting to run out of bottles, i found a large jug with rock-salt from last winter, poured that onto the spilled oil on the cement, it sucked it up. Good trick to know for the future. I have a driveway where i am working, the wheels stand on cement, and between the wheels are rocks.
Which is nice if you leak anything as the rocks can just be tossed around and rolled over. The down side is that finding fallen screws/bolts/bits is a futile endeavor.
Trying to remove the engine, gas tank, exhaust before winter starts and laying on the ground starts resulting in not being able to get up from bed due to back pain. Not sure about removing transmission yet.
I may take apart and clean/fix engine to resell just to know that i have taken an engine apart. Furthest i have gone before is removing the valve covers and cleaning EGR, upper and lower intake ports on a 2003 Ford Windstar (Fix Or Repair Daily, Windbag)
Sold the following:
Spark cables, plugs, air filter $50
Radiator $25 (I cracked a small hole trying to remove it)Catalytic converters $50 each for a total of $100, removed the whole exhaust system first, turns out the guy needed the items closer to the engine. Helped me remove it, i gave him 2 old O2 sensors (most likely bad but may be cleaned) and a sensor from under the valve cover in the engine cam position i believe.