Damon’s Fiat 500e project

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Damon500
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Re: Damon’s Fiat 500e project

Post by Damon500 » Sat, 29 Sep 2018, 21:32

Finally making some progress with removing the centre floor pan section. Next challenge is to remove the boot floor...
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Re: Damon’s Fiat 500e project

Post by Damon500 » Mon, 01 Oct 2018, 21:12

Several hundred spot welds later the boot floor is now removed exposing the additional bracing of the chassis rails which I will also need to remove and swap over into the RHD body.
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T1 Terry
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Re: Damon’s Fiat 500e project

Post by T1 Terry » Tue, 02 Oct 2018, 11:47

Is there a point where you start to wonder when enough is enough Damon? Did you envisage there being this much work involved in creating a RHD Fiat 500e? I think I might have been tempted to transfer the body number and what ever was needed to make the black one RHD ... but you have made too much public knowledge now to go down that path :wink:

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Re: Damon’s Fiat 500e project

Post by Damon500 » Tue, 02 Oct 2018, 17:25

Hi Terry, having driven the 500e - yes I do think it is worth it. There isn’t another EV available now or in the near future within my means that I would contemplate buying or driving - if my calculations are correct I should have a completed 500e on the road for around half the cost of a Zoe.
I knew it wasn’t going to be simple to do the conversion but I have been treating it as a learning exercise so if something goes wrong I’m not relying on a manufacturer or dealer and if it does eventually become simpler to import used EV’s then at least the knowledge is available if anybody else is interested to bring one in.
No I haven’t been even slightly tempted to swap the VIN as then it basically becomes impossible to legally register or insure it as nobody would issue an engineering certificate for the modifications - it’s a bit hard to explain how a petrol engine somehow became electric otherwise... The liability implications of doing that in the event of a serious accident don’t bear thinking about.
It’s past the point of no return now so it’s just a question of how much sweat equity will be invested in the project- the material costs are fairly nominal in the overall budget and my time and a half after hours labour rate of $0 per hour also helps...

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Re: Damon’s Fiat 500e project

Post by T1 Terry » Wed, 03 Oct 2018, 14:03

At least all the bits that move from one vehicle to the other will have the spot welds in the same place to make refitting easier :lol: I take my hat off to you Damon, looking forward to future instalments of the 500e conversion.

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Re: Damon’s Fiat 500e project

Post by Damon500 » Thu, 11 Oct 2018, 12:46

School holidays are now over and back into the project again! Next stage was to remove the boot floor and centre section from the Petrol vehicle to trial fit the boot floor and for the engineer to inspect prior to modifications of the floor pan and welding.
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Re: Damon’s Fiat 500e project

Post by T1 Terry » Thu, 11 Oct 2018, 13:25

Does the cross member section out of the electric body need to be transferred over to the petrol body? The first photo with the electric boot floor in the petrol body shows the multiple spot weld holes but the petrol body doesn't appear to have the second cross member for them to weld onto ...... What a project

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Re: Damon’s Fiat 500e project

Post by Damon500 » Thu, 11 Oct 2018, 13:40

Yes that’s correct Terry, there are actually two to swap- the one in the centre of the boot floor is absent on the petrol due to the spare wheel well and another is mounted directly behind the rear beaver panel.

I will have to cut the chassis rails on the EV to remove the battery mounts to transfer them over but waiting for engineer to inspect before I commence cutting them to pieces.

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Re: Damon’s Fiat 500e project

Post by T1 Terry » Thu, 11 Oct 2018, 15:29

It looks as though the one still in the petrol body fits the electric floor pan, is that correct? At least that should give some sort of reference points to get it all back together.
I've been shuddering at the thought of removing the spare wheel floor pan from the rear of the Prius so I can fit a bigger battery pack .... that isn't even close to what you are doing there

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Re: Damon’s Fiat 500e project

Post by Damon500 » Thu, 11 Oct 2018, 17:17

Yes the existing crossmember seems to be close enough to leave in place with some relatively minor modifications to the boot floor. It will allow me to retain the Australian standard approved child seat anchorages which the engineer requested. Interestingly the RH rear inner guard is quite differently shaped on the EV - possibly due to a different fuel filler setup on the US ICE version so I probably wouldn’t have been able to use the US rear seat back rests anyway.
Once I have all the battery mounting brackets removed from the donor I will trial fit the battery pack underneath to ensure I have all the mounting points correctly aligned before I commence welding in the floor pan and boot floor.
Removing the Prius floor should be comparatively straightforward- just get some good spotweld removal drills and keep drilling until your hands start to ache.. I actually got some great spotweld drills online from SA which were just as good as the ones I earlier purchased for four times the price from the local panel beating supplier!

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Re: Damon’s Fiat 500e project

Post by brendon_m » Thu, 11 Oct 2018, 17:30

Spot weld drill?
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Re: Damon’s Fiat 500e project

Post by Damon500 » Fri, 12 Oct 2018, 18:06

Tempting as that is Brendon i’m trying to minimise the damage when putting it back together later...
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Re: Damon’s Fiat 500e project

Post by T1 Terry » Sun, 14 Oct 2018, 10:55

There is another type that consists of a spring loaded centring point and a very small hole saw. Centre punch each spot weld so the hole saw centring guide locates properly, then just cut away the upper layer from the lower layer in a circle around the spot weld. this way any parts that have to match back together align perfectly, any that don't are ground off the base member so the hole in the top member has clean metal showing ready for rewelding.

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Re: Damon’s Fiat 500e project

Post by Damon500 » Sun, 14 Oct 2018, 18:34

Yes Terry that’s true and it does have the benefit of cutting around the weld rather than through it although interestingly I have never seen them used in a professional panel shop. The downside is that it does leave a much larger hole to weld, 12mm+ which in several cases would either overlap other welds or cut past the edges of the mounting tabs rather than 6 or 8mm drills. Also in my case the VASS engineer specifically requested I keep the hole sizes as close to factory as possible and the minimum possible diameter. This suits me fine anyway as the spot weld locations differ.significantly between the two vehicles and in most cases I’m not rewelding existing panels back together anyway.

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Re: Damon’s Fiat 500e project

Post by Damon500 » Sat, 20 Oct 2018, 18:11

The second engineering inspection has now been completed and i’m now in the final stages of dismantling the donor car- specifically cutting out the battery mounts and extra reinforcing brackets and crossmembers.
This was tricky to cut them out as they were seam welded rather than spotted so I ended up cutting them out with sections of the rails so I could carefully trim them off on the bench.
I had to open up the floor too as I discovered there are reinforcing plates inside the rails to distribute the load on the front battery mounts.
Everything is at least subtly different so I have decided to also replace the lower section of the rear beaver panel and it’s accompanying reinforcement which should mean that everything will line up as it would from factory..
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