4Springs' Brumby

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4Springs
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4Springs' Brumby

Post by 4Springs » Tue, 04 Jan 2011, 01:34

We have a Subaru Brumby which has been with us for some time. Our mechanic says that the engine is about kaput, and we need to decide what to do with it. My wife is very attached, and so she is somewhat receptive to the idea of giving it a new lease of life as an electric vehicle.

I suppose I'd better do a

Table of Contents

Planning Stages

Requirements & Donor Vehicle
Battery
"Vehicle Modification Application" form (application to modify a vehicle in Tasmania)
Motor & Controller
'Before' Photos


(I'm hoping that putting this post up will make sure that I actually complete this project! Peer pressure will get me through...)
Last edited by 4Springs on Fri, 28 Jan 2011, 15:49, edited 1 time in total.

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4Springs' Brumby

Post by 4Springs » Tue, 04 Jan 2011, 01:51

Requirements
I will mainly use this vehicle to travel to work and back – a distance of 15 km one way. I hope to convince them to allow charging at work.
I’d also like to also use this vehicle for less frequent trips to our nearest city. This is 30 km via a hilly, windy road, or 40 km via a much flatter, faster road. Depending on where we are going, we may have access to charging.
So the longest trip is 80km, but hopefully would be very infrequent.
I’d like to be able to approach 100km/h, although not necessarily on those long trips.
I’d like to be able to use 4WD, and to tow heavy loads at very low speeds. This is not something that I do every day, but it would be nice to have the option.

Oh, and I'd like the whole conversion to cost less than $10k. I don't actually think that this is possible, given my other requirements, so I'd settle for $15k!

Donor Vehicle
The WAV (Wife Approved Vehicle) is a Subaru Brumby.

Kerb weight 920kg
GVM 1650kg
250Mm on the clock (ok, 250,000km, but that doesn't sound so impressive Image)

I could remove the rear differential & tailshaft, making a 2WD vehicle. This would save about 84 kg, and increase drivetrain efficiency. I don’t think I will though, I’d like to keep the 4WD option. I can always remove them later on if needed.
Based on Goombi’s figures, I should be able to remove the following:
Motor 102kg
Fuel & Tank 75kg
Radiator 10kg
Exhaust System 22kg
Total removed 209kg
Stripped kerb weight 711kg
Add 163kg for the theoretical two passengers (from NCOP14)
This allows up to 776kg worth of electric motor, batteries, etc.

Goombi did a great conversion of a Brumby, getting a really impressive range. I'd like mine to go a bit faster though, I think his would only get to 90km/h in a pinch. Mine is a country commuter vehicle - 100km/h speed limit, and not much in the way of traffic.
Last edited by 4Springs on Wed, 05 Jan 2011, 13:07, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by 4Springs » Tue, 04 Jan 2011, 02:32

Battery
I think I’ll use AGM lead-acid batteries. These are my reasons:
•     Cheap
•     Readily available
•     Low maintenance – they need no Battery Management System, and (presumably) no equalization charging
•     No free acid to spill out in a crash
•     Can be mounted in any direction
•     Are available in batteries (rather than single cells), means less connections to make, and less to fail
•     Can be run to 100% depth of discharge by a newbie without actually killing the battery
As this is my first conversion, I’d like to make the battery as simple as possible, getting me on the road as soon as possible. I can always upgrade to a different battery once it comes time to replace the AGMs.

Based on other people’s conversions of about the same weight, I should be able to get 100km of range using about 20kWh of battery capacity. This is if I drive slowly and carefully – not at 100 km/h!
My theoretical calculations make it a bit less than 100km, but surely I'll be able to get 80km if I drive carefully? I don't really mind if I have to go to 100%DOD on these trips - they should only happen once in a blue moon, and the AGMs look like they can handle the odd 100%...

144V looks like a nice common voltage, good for going at reasonable speeds. So 20kWh / 144V = 140AH.
I can see two likely canditates in my web research on AGM batteries:
Century C12-140DA (140AH, 41.5kg)
Lifeline GPL-30HT (150AH, 43.5kg)
The Lifelines are listed as more expensive (almost double!), but have better cyclic use DOD specs. I have learned from this forum though that it pays to shop around to see if I can get a better price.
I also looked at FullRiver (too heavy), Neuton (lack of info on cyclic use), PowerSonic (too heavy, although cheap).
Any suggestions of other AGM batteries in the 140-150Ah range?

I think I read somewhere about someone putting in some zener diodes to get the voltages equal across each battery when charging? Is anything like that required?

Cheers,
Christopher
p.s. I'm amazed at how active this forum is - 11 people have viewed my thread before I've even finished writing it!

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Post by a4x4kiwi » Tue, 04 Jan 2011, 11:39

I Hope it is kosher to post responses here.
With Lead Acid batteries don't count on getting too much more than 18 months out of them, especially if you use them to near capacity

Also the capacity will decline over time so you would need budget say 2x capacity to have the batteries last more than 18 months.

Another thing to note is that the batteries will significantly degrade if you discharge more than 80%.

A rule of thumb for lead acid is to budget your battery capacity to be 200% of your longest trip requirements because with LA you only have about 50% usable due to the Peukert factor. http://www.smartgauge.co.uk/peukert2.html

Sorry to put a dampener on the lead acid. Per km, Lithium is actually cheaper in the long run (thanks woody for the calculation), even though the up front cost are higher.

BTW, I have the zener balancer on my Hilux LA battery pack. See
my blog

Cheers, Mal.
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Post by coulomb » Tue, 04 Jan 2011, 13:48

4Springs wrote: Low maintenance – they need no Battery Management System, and (presumably) no equalization charging
I wouldn't say that lead acid needs no equalisation; all cells need some form of balancing. Sealed lead acid relies on the higher voltage cells gassing, just as with floodeds, but with sealed, you have to be careful that the volume of gas produced is quite low, such that the hydrogen and oxygen can recombine into water.
Can be run to 100% depth of discharge by a newbie without actually killing the battery
Well, maybe. Every complete discharge will take a fair bit of life out of the battery. It's best not to go over 70% DOD, as has been noted. It's certainly not as disastrous for lead as it is for lithium, though.
As this is my first conversion, I’d like to make the battery as simple as possible, getting me on the road as soon as possible. I can always upgrade to a different battery once it comes time to replace the AGMs.
It is said, I hope mostly in jest, that everyone murders their first pack. If that is even partly true, then a "training pack" of AGMs will make that first mistake a lot cheaper.
Based on other people’s conversions of about the same weight, I should be able to get 100km of range using about 20kWh of battery capacity. This is if I drive slowly and carefully – not at 100 km/h!
That sounds more like a figure for a Lithium pack, and for a fairly light vehicle (e.g. compact car). Remember the need to double the capacity for lead acid, compared to lithium; this is real.
My theoretical calculations make it a bit less than 100km, but surely I'll be able to get 80km if I drive carefully?
I don't think you'll have that much control over it. Starting off a heavy vehicle is going to take hundreds of amps, and hundreds of amps from a smallish pack is going to be very inefficient and hard on the battery. By accelerating slower you can reduce the current draw, it's true. But you can't do much about hills; they cost stubbornly the same potential energy no matter how much you want to baby your pack, and there is a definite limit to how slow you will want to climb them (because of other traffic, but also because of the amount of time that the pack, controller, and motor will be subjected to high current).
I don't really mind if I have to go to 100%DOD on these trips - they should only happen once in a blue moon, and the AGMs look like they can handle the odd 100%...
As indicated above, I'd really try to avoid 100% DOD; the last few percent of DOD will be panic stations anyway. You could maybe aim for 90% DOD in the blue-moon cases, but remember that your range near the end of the 18 month (give or take) life will be considerably less than when they are nearly new, so you may need an extra allowance for fading.
I think I read somewhere about someone putting in some zener diodes to get the voltages equal across each battery when charging? Is anything like that required?
I don't know much about sealed lead acid. However, I think it would be a good idea; it means that an unbalanced pack will be a lot easier to get back into balance, since at least some of the excess energy of the higher voltaged batteries can be dissipated in the zeners, rather than in gassing, which has to be strictly limited.

Sorry to dampen things also, but hopefully you will be better off with more realistic assumptions.
Learning how to patch and repair PIP-4048 inverter-chargers and Elcon chargers.

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Post by 4Springs » Wed, 05 Jan 2011, 02:19

Yes please, posts most welcome!

I had a look at your blog Mal, and soon realised that this was where I had seen the zener balancing! So I've now bookmarked it, to go back and study later.

From those replys, it looks like the 20kWh battery pack might not be up to the 80km trips, even if they were very infrequent. I can't really go much bigger than that (at lest in AGMs), due to weight. However, I can cut out the 80km trips, by making sure that there is a place to charge at the halfway point (and enough time to charge). So this makes my longest trip about 40km.

I thoroughly agree with Coulomb's comment about a beginner's first battery. I'd rather get on the road quickly, with something that is maybe not quite perfect, than spend ages researching, learning, assembling, perfecting, and then accidentally blowing up the perfect battery! Besides, if I start out with a heavy lead sled, then when I do upgrade to Lithiums, I'll appreciate it that much more...

I sent off my "Vehicle Modification Application" form today. This is (as far as I can tell) the first step you need to take to modify a vehicle in Tasmania. The form is mainly geared towards putting in bigger ICEs of course, so I had to cross through lots of it. I attached a page describing what I'm intending to do. Apparently I'll either get a letter back saying "go for it", or an appointment with an engineer to look over the vehicle. It might depend on how proffesional I sounded, or perhaps on how busy they are at the moment.

Cheers,
Christopher.

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Post by 4Springs » Thu, 06 Jan 2011, 00:29

Motor & Controller
I worked out that I'd need about 20kW to run my vehicle at 100km/h on a flat road. So I'll need a motor that will do at least 20kW without overheating.
After some discussion here, I've tentatively decided on the Kostov 17R. This will handle 30kW continuously, and has heaps more power available to help me get moving in the first place.
From the Kostov graph, at 144V, I'll need to be able to supply the motor with up to 500A for short periods (50kW), or about 300A continuously. I think that 50kW should be enough power - the Brumby's ICE was rated at 60kW when new...
The Kelly KDH14800D controller looks like it would do this job comfortably.    The next model down, the KDH14600D would also do the job, but only just. I like my components to be comfortable, they are less likely to break. At US$1359, it is a nice price too. Not sure what it would end up costing me once freight, customs etc. are factored in though.

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Post by 4Springs » Sat, 29 Jan 2011, 02:27

I received “approval in principle” from the government.
This is a letter that basically says they are ok with the concept. It tells me I have to go and talk to an Approved Engineering Signatory (AES) beforehand. It also says that I have to complete the conversion in 6 months(!), or else I’ll have to submit a new application.
So I called my nearest AES – he is in Perth (Perth, TAS is much smaller than Perth, WA!). This is about 40km away – nicely within the theoretical range of my theoretical EV. My parents live nearby, so I should be able to drive it to the inspection place, then go to my parents place to charge it up. I called him, and faxed him the letter from the government. He said that he didn’t need to see the vehicle before I start. So I can get started! I found a Brumby service manual at the library, and photocopied (don’t tell anyone) the sections on removing the engine, exhaust & fuel systems. It will be interesting to see how I go, given that I don’t have lots of large tools here. I’ll try to get by without buying extra tools, but will do if I need to.
So far I have:
•     A lifting attachment for my tractor. I spent a day at Dad’s place fixing this up, and tried it out the other day. It is very jerky, so I won’t be lifting anything delicate on the hydraulics.
•     An endless chain borrowed from Dad. So I can attach this to the lifting attachment, and slowly lift the engine out of the bay.
•     A welder borrowed from Dad.
•     Lots of wood (logs) and a chainsaw. I’m thinking that I might be able to cut stands to put the vehicle on. A wooden stand will be very stable, but also quite large.
•     One third of a three bay garage. Not a huge amount of room in there, but hopefully adequate. Good light, cool in summer and sheltered in winter.

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Post by 4Springs » Sat, 29 Jan 2011, 02:44

"Before" photos!


This is the vehicle. That bullbar looks heavy...
You can see the garage behind, and some of the "stuff" I'll be competing with for room.
Image


Hmmm. This'll have to go.
Image
The spare wheel fits in above the gearbox - I've removed it here to show the engine better. It may never get put back in - it weighs a fair bit.


Plenty of room to move on that suspension! Most of the extra weight is to go at the front of the tray.
Image


I have to fit about 500kg of batteries in here.
Image

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Post by 4Springs » Sat, 19 Feb 2011, 16:40

DKEL and I spent a couple of weekends (thanks Duane!) and removed the following:

10.5kg fuel tank (empty) +
1.3 misc fuel related bits +
8.1 exhaust - front +
4.1 exhaust - mid +
4.4 exhaust - rear +
1.8 other bits +
17.7 spare wheel, jack, bracket +
10.6 radiator (full) +
100 engine (estimate - my bathroom scales don't go that high!)
=
158.5kg total removed

1010kg Weighbridge weight -
30 petrol in tank at the time (estimate 40 litres) -
158.5 parts removed
=
821kg stripped +
43 Kostov Motor +
498 Batteries (12 x Century C12-140DA) +
100 misc charger, controller, cables, brackets etc.
=
1462kg kerb weight as an electric vehicle +
163 allowance for 2 passengers from NCOP14
=
1625 kg
GVM is 1650kg!

I have the original bumper to fit if I need to remove the large, heavy-looking one. The orignial weighs 5.7kg. I'd guess that the big one weighs 20-30kg.

So I'll continue on this plan. I'll run it over the weighbridge again once I'm finished, to see if I need to remove the bumper to make it legal. If it still isn't light enough, then I can always remove the rear diff & driveshaft (about 80kg apparently).

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Post by 4Springs » Sat, 19 Feb 2011, 17:09

The adapter plate and coupling looks easier than I imagined. As far as I can tell, I don't even have to remove the gearbox.

Image
Image
I'm no mechanic, but I'm calling these parts (from left to right):
Pressure Plate, Driven Plate, Flywheel, Bell Housing.

The Bell Housing bolts onto the gearbox via the bolts around the outer edge. The motor will bolt onto the Bell Housing with the bolts around the inner edge. I'll have to have a plate made to fit this stud pattern, and the stud pattern on the motor. This should be relatively easy, I can take this Bell Housing and the motor along to a metal fabrication place.
I also need to get a flange made to adapt between the drive shaft on the motor, and the 8 bolt holes on the flywheel. I don't have the motor yet, but it looks like it has a round shaft with a slot along it. So I need to make sure that my adapter plate is thick enough to give enough clearance, and then the flange can slide up and down to a certain extent to get the flywheel in exactly the right position.

I weighed the flywheel, it is about 10kg. This is about 9kg too much! An electric motor doesn't need a flywheel, and that extra weight is going to cost more power to spin. I can remove the ring gear around the outside myself, which should make it more aerodynamic. Hopefully I can get someone to turn down the flywheel itself. I don't want to loose its strength, but I don't need all that weight. Even a couple of kilos would be worth doing I reckon.

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Post by T1 Terry » Sat, 19 Feb 2011, 17:38

I also need to get a flange made to adapt between the drive shaft on the motor, and the 8 bolt holes on the flywheel

Are you planning to use the flywheel with the electric motor? Are you keeping the clutch?
The flywheel can be machined down to the diameter of the pressure plate and the back machined flat to the outer diameter to the relieved area of the casting. You could even machine it thinner if you really needed too. The weight mass was to overcome the rough pulses of the 4 power strokes provided by the original ICE and as the clutch won't need to slip to take off smoothly it doesn't need a large area to dissipate the heat generated. If you are keeping the clutch I'm guessing it's for easier gear shifting, you could replace it with a brass button clutch to hold the extra low down torque better.

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Post by Adverse Effects » Sun, 20 Feb 2011, 16:50

you will have room under the tray for battery's climb under and have a look

and if you take out the rear tail shaft you will have lots of room

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Post by 4Springs » Sun, 20 Feb 2011, 17:13

Yes, plan on keeping the clutch, for easier shifting of gears as suggested. It also makes the mounting of the motor that much easier. Haven't heard of a brass button clutch before, I'll have to look into that.
Adverse Effects wrote:you will have room under the tray for battery's climb under and have a look
There is a bit of room under there, I could fit at least two at the front of the tray (ie., underneath). There is a bit of room at the back as well, where the fuel tank was. Harder to mount them, but I'll definately think about it!

Cheers,
Christopher.


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Post by Thalass » Mon, 21 Feb 2011, 18:32

I approve! Brumbies need to be preserved. I wish i had the money to do the 2x AC conversion i wanted to do to a brumby. :(


I have to agree about the batteries. I don't think it's worth going with lead, especially if you're in the country with lots of 100km/h+ driving to do in order to get anywhere. You won't have problems with weight and volume, though, so if you assume you're going to kill your first pack (haha) then it may be worth it for you. But i wouldn't expect a long life out of them. I suppose it gives you time to save up for a real pack. :P

Good luck!
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Post by DaviD46 » Sun, 27 Feb 2011, 04:19

Goombi has done a great Brumby conversion
See: - EV BRUMBY 2WD- REGEN 11 kw 144 volt-Hybrid (in: General EV Discussion)
& site - http://www.evbrumby.mysite.com
Which has since passed to me.
The hybrid concept was abandoned, so it's just a pure EV (but I have an inverter generator (needs to be 4-5KVA) which goes in the back - the EV equivalent of a jerry can!)

11Kw motor
12 x 12v 120Ah SLA powersonic batteries
It's happy at 60-70Kph and will get to 80+Kph (on the flat)and really fun to be driving
Range - can manage 50+Km but gets sluggish when batteries are low.
It's not very nippy off traffic lights, but perfectly good for running around, christened "the Stealth Brumby" by my offspring.
Hope this is of interest & encouragement (it's well worth doing & by that time there may be better battery options)
Cheers
DaviD
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Post by DaviD46 » Sun, 27 Feb 2011, 04:27

Strongly suggest you keep the clutch - I'm trying to workout how to re-fit a clutch in the Stealth Brumby. Currently motor connects directly to gearbox drive shaft and gear selection can be hairy.
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Post by 4Springs » Sun, 27 Feb 2011, 18:40

Thanks for the encouragement!
I've been reading posts in this forum for some time, and I think that early posts from Thalass gave me the idea of converting the Brumby, although he hasn't done his yet...
Then Goombi showed how it could be done. I considered buying the Stealth Brumby at one stage, but decided that I should convert one myself. I also considered doing exactly as he had done, but then decided that I'd like to go a bit faster. I'm using 140Ah batteries, so I'll be very happy if I can get the same range, but with the added option of going a bit faster on shorter trips.
I'm glad that the Brumby went to a good home, "running around" sounds like it will have a good life...

The battery question is a vexing one, I'll be glad when someone invents something that makes the choice easy (a 200V 1kAh battery the size of an AA would be good). At the moment though, upfront cost is the main deciding factor.

Build it now, with acid & lead
or put it off, 'till later, instead.

Cheers,
Christopher.

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Post by 4Springs » Fri, 25 Mar 2011, 02:07

My motor has arrived!
There are two small wires coming out of it, which I have decided are probably the "termal cut off" shown on the diagram.
Kostov 17R diagram
These wires are showing open circuit, so presumably they connect if the motor gets too hot. I wonder if I can find the wire that supplies the high temp warning light on the dash...

There is a wire shown on the diagram labelled "sensor bearing output (rpm)". I was hoping that this meant it had a sensor in there that I could connect to a tachometer. No sign of this wire on the motor though.

There are four mounting holes on the business end of the motor. I'll get an adaptor plate made up, and use these holes to attach it to the motor. Then I'll attach the plate (with motor) to the bell housing. There are no holes on the other end of the motor though. How much support will this motor need? Do I just attach it at one end, or do I need to make up some kind of bracket (maybe a strap?) to go around the middle? I was assuming that I could attach a bracket to the other end - there is a nice strong piece of chassis directly underneath where that end will be. The only way that I can do that though is if I put a bearing in the bracket, and supported the shaft that comes out that end.

Next step is finding someone to make up an adaptor plate, and turn down that flywheel.

Christopher.

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Post by Johny » Fri, 25 Mar 2011, 14:03

4Springs wrote:These wires are showing open circuit, so presumably they connect if the motor gets too hot.
That would be unusual. Thermal protection devices are Normally Closed as this is a safer way to wire them (broken wire causes warning as well).
When you checked for open circuit, did you use a high resistance range? It's possible that these are thermister wires and may measure up in the 50 K Ohm range.

Yes, you should support the motor somewhere else besides the front plate. Have a look around at some build blogs/photos. This seems to be a common problem.

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Post by evric » Fri, 25 Mar 2011, 14:11

It is usual for EV motors to have Normally Open contacts for the over temperature switch. This is probably to simplify the switching of dash lamp without the need for additional relay or electrics. ie. Engine overheats - dashlamp lights. Some of the Kostov motor drawings show an additional thermistor output as well.
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Post by Johny » Fri, 25 Mar 2011, 15:15

evric wrote: It is usual for EV motors to have Normally Open contacts for the over temperature switch. This is probably to simplify the switching of dash lamp without the need for additional relay or electrics. ie. Engine overheats - dashlamp lights. Some of the Kostov motor drawings show an additional thermistor output as well.
Thanks evric. Understood.

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Post by 4Springs » Sat, 26 Mar 2011, 01:53

Yes I did try on a high resistance range. Also tried swapping the leads in case there was a diode in there somewhere.
It is a bit of a nuisance to test this feature! I don't think I'll have any overheating issues though, it's not like I'm using it to race or anything. I'll just hook it up as a normally open contact and hope for the best...

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Post by seligtype3 » Sun, 27 Mar 2011, 00:06

4Springs wrote: There are no holes on the other end of the motor though. How much support will this motor need?


Aha, good to know. I've got a 17R in the post as we speak and I was wondering what the back looked like. I'm thinking I'll probably make a strap around the middle of mine and up to some existing engine mounts.
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4Springs' Brumby

Post by 4Springs » Sun, 27 Mar 2011, 19:18

Other than the four on the front face, the only mounting hole is the one at the top with the eye screwed into it. I'm thinking that I might use this one - put the motor upside-down, and run a bar underneath it. The motor would be high enough above the bar that I could put in an engine mount between them. This means that the electrical connections will be underneath the motor.
There are engine mounts on the bell housing, which is handy. There were no mounts on the ICE, so I'm not completely convinced that I need them for the motor. It looks easy enough to do though, and that bar would be useful to mount other things on. It might also help with controlling any torque movement. I'll keep the tourque rod, which attaches to the top of the bell housing.

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