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StudentEV's Daihatsu Conversion

Posted: Fri, 20 Sep 2013, 15:35
by Johny
This is probably obvious but I googled:
Electric car with auto transmission
and got lots of good hits.
Over the past few years I've following a few converters who have used autos and the successful ones appear to be the folk who supply an oil pump to the auto and remove the torque converter.
There is a lot of fandangling to get the auto to change in the correct places but the results are worth it.

The simpler not-very-nice alternative is to leave the torque converter and "idle" the electric motor to keep the transmission oil pump operating. You can always override the "idle" to stop the motor if sitting in traffic for a long time. Less efficient but simpler to convert.

The fandangling to get the auto changing is simpler this way as well - depending on the age and complexity of the auto in question.

Anyway - good to hear that it still on the go.

StudentEV's Daihatsu Conversion

Posted: Fri, 20 Sep 2013, 15:51
by StudentEV
Great minds think alike!

I've thought that at the around town speeds we might be ok to hook it up and just run it in second gear anyway, most autos have that option, if not third as well.

The car is 1983 so should be relatively simple, I agree that it's not ideal to idle, It may depend on the capacity of our batteries and whether there's enough to spare to justify losing range.

Yes we're typical students, no good with deadlines, but having a crack!

StudentEV's Daihatsu Conversion

Posted: Fri, 20 Sep 2013, 18:22
by BigMouse
StudentEV wrote:The implications for conversion would all be the same as the Handi, except this car has an auto trans.

Is this going to be much more complicated than the current setup? It's not something I've thought about previously so I'm going to look in to it.

I will try to post pictures of the vehicle soon.

Auto transmissions are much more difficult to work with for EV conversion. You'd be better off either using the transmission from the handy in the Suzuki, doing a manual conversion on the suzuki, or holding off for a manual transmission doner car. The first two options are further complicated if you intend to keep the clutch. New mounts would need to be made if you tried to use the transmission you already have.

My suggestion would be to wait for a more suitable donor to come along.

StudentEV's Daihatsu Conversion

Posted: Fri, 20 Sep 2013, 19:39
by StudentEV
Thanks for that bigmouse, I was thinking along those lines but this thread addressed the issue pretty well:

DIY Auto discussion

The only real 'pro' offered is that it would be lighter, but it seems not terribly difficult, and that 'many suitable donor's are overlooked because of the trans'.

This car is even lighter than the handi and perfect body, I'm told no rust or panel damage whatsoever which is cool for a car this old. I think it's the perfect donor, based on the lessons I've learned from the current one, minus the auto issue.

I didn't think about keeping the gearbox from the handi, which by the way is now on gumtree at a steal! Haha. It feels like the decision to get rid of it is the right one, I'm anticipating maybe $50 for the car which is a loss but like a load of people have said will save me money down the track. A weight off my shoulders.

If I get this car I will be able to use it to collect the rest of the parts I need for the conversion, which is a bonus over my bicycle, and i'll be able to feel out any other issues it might have.

There are actually a few Suzuki Hatches on Gumtree at the moment so I don't see that getting a manual gearbox would be that tricky, regardless of how difficult it would be to mount, I assume the mounts are the same for auto?

Either way I'm going to inspect the car and talk to the mechanic about it, so I'll let y'all know what I end up doing. If anyone reading this is going 'nooooooo' then let me know, but it seems viable at this stage, and if it works out I'll have 6 months to read up on auto transmissions before de-ICEing :)

StudentEV's Daihatsu Conversion

Posted: Fri, 20 Sep 2013, 23:47
by BigMouse
That entry is a popular one that gets cited often when the discussion comes up. He makes many good arguments for using an automatic transmission, but when it comes down to it, you have to modify the transmission to make it work with an electric motor (or have the motor "idle" when stopped). It's certainly not the way to go if you're doing a conversion on a budget as the modifications and extra parts (oil pump) required add to the fabrication costs. You cost of the adapter plate and flywheel adapter are the same as for a manual, but then you have to modify the transmission to work on top of it. Unless of course you let the motor "idle", but that just seems wasteful.

Also, there is a bit of experience with the common larger RWD transmissions such as the turbo-400 and powerglide. You may end up being a pioneer if you do it with a small transmission. I'd be interested to read input from other folks on here on the topic.

StudentEV's Daihatsu Conversion

Posted: Sat, 21 Sep 2013, 00:37
by StudentEV
Yeah budget might not be what we thought anymore...
unheardofinstruments wrote: I wish I had been more careful choosing donor/host/roller vehicles, a surprising amount of time and money was used up chasing parts and doing repairs to suspension parts, brakes, wheels, rust, paint, windscreen, etc. and although the price was almost free it wasn't worth it when I could have waited for the right one to come along and gotten on with electric vehicle related tinkering and expenses instead. I could have spent more and maybe sold more useful for ICE only bits and recouped the difference and saved on parts too probably had I not gotten a partially stripped roller thinking it would save me some stripping. As with building the cheapest way is to scavenge/gather your materials first, then see what you can make. For a cheap simple build unfortunately old cars are easier in some ways as power steering, locks, windows and computers etc aren't so common but with age comes difficulty finding parts and general decay.
An old rule of thumb of projects; take what you think it will cost and triple it, and as far as time time you think it will take, triple it again. ('Then see if you are much closer' I would add) Image
One can only plug on and enjoy the ride all the more for the blood sweat and tears and swearing.

Johny wrote: Yes, scrap it! It sounds like you will spend more on the car than on the conversion and while that sounds suss coming from me...
Donors in good nick can be found and you aren't in a "must be going next week" kind of hurry.
Let's get the feelers out and try to find a lightish donor.

I should have made it happen then, the cost of inaction! The lesson that you sometimes - not always - have to pay for things in order for them to not be rubbish.

Worst case scenario I am left with a somewhat collectible, drivable, sellable car that won't lose as much value as a handi with no engine :/

Thanks again for all your help guys, I'll keep looking into it and see how things pan out, any advice very welcome!

StudentEV's Daihatsu Conversion

Posted: Mon, 23 Sep 2013, 04:37
by StudentEV
No dice on the car, still searching.