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Stuck at B · 8 May 06
I’ve been supporting the local economy lately: buying up lots of their old car parts and then paying a local shop to press them into place.
Last week marked the end (well, almost) of the brake and bearing work. As for the rest of the items in the “B” alphabet we are still stuck on the Battery part, but making some progress.
On the front end I replaced both calipers and the brake pads as well as the front left bearing. Checked out the struts and they seem to be in fine shape. So I put the half-shafts back in place (really more like 1/3 and 2/3rds shafts), tightened everything down and put the wheels back on.
The back end got a similar treatment. Since I didn’t have much success finding rear disc assemblies I finished replacing the old drum hardware, including the rear bearings.
The bearings aren’t at all what I was expecting. All of the cars I’ve worked on in the past have had tapered bearings: pretty easy to pop out, inspect/replace, and grease up. I use the old style technique of spreading grease on my palm and then squooshing it through the bearings…even showed my wife how to do it with the last set we worked on. They make devices for doing this, but what’s the fun in that?
None of that with the Ford Probe bearings. As you can see they use huge sealed bearings that cost about $50 each and require a hefty press or special equipment to pop out and replace. But I figured since I had everything taken apart I might as well ensure the car has as little rolling resistance as possible.
The struts on the back are less firm than the front, most likely because they aren’t supporting as much weight. I’ll probably need to replace them at some point, but I decided to wait until the battery issue is resolved and I know exactly how much weight they’ll need to handle. In the meantime I put everything back together and bolted the wheels back on.
With all of this put back together and the wheels back on there was only one thing to do: roll Eve out into the driveway and clean the garage!
Seriously, a winter’s worth of working on Eve in the corner of an already messy garage had turned it into an unmanageable mess. My Sunday was spent cleaning things up and organizing all of Eve’s old and new parts.
The next item on Eve’s agenda is nailing down the batteries.
This photo shows the two front battery boxes used for the last EV. They worked well: insulated, leak-proof, and cheap to build. Not all that stylish (unless you like baby-blue) they were built large enough to handle the 12volt SCS225 batteries with enough room for possibly upgrading to slightly larger deep cycles down the road.
My hope for Eve is to NOT use flooded lead-acid batteries this time, maybe get a battery that offers more options for a clean layout.
To do a little what-if layout I cut up a fluorescent light fixture box into approximately 30” x 4” x 2.5” sections. Two sections stacked on top of each other is roughly the same size as one of the batteries.
Thirty inches seems to be a pretty good size, fitting lengthwise across the engine compartment, either in the space where the radiator used to be or in a flat pack above the motor. Not needing to water the batteries means they can be put in place and, hopefully, left alone for their lifetime.
A few things make laying the batteries out difficult. The brake booster and cylinder jut out and monopolize a whole corner. And then there are three big engine mounts to work around. The old radiator opening is usually on the small side, no matter what battery you use. I’m not sure how integral it is to the front end’s support, but it may be possible to cut it open a bit more and then shore up with a rigid steel frame around the batteries.
Lots of room in the back. With this particular battery I can even squeeze one in the center hump where the muffler used to run. One or two could go into the space for the gas tank, maybe more if I modified the shape a bit. There’s a couple butt-shaped depressions for the back seats that keep it from being a perfect battery mounting spot.
Of course the trunk is a fine place too, as you can see. I could do something like Peter did with his lithium batteries, mounting them horizontally in a “sandwich” configuration with insulation below and above. The really big win with this approach is not having to cut a hole in the trunk and/or welding in a battery box.
The other thing I’m considering is dropping down to a 120vdc pack. That’s ten batteries instead of twelve, and if I use the Horizons it means only 550lbs of battery weight. Five batteries in the back (275lbs), maybe one battery down the center, and four batteries up front would provide nice weight distribution.
I ran the numbers through the EV calculator and range wise I’d be losing about six miles or so. Acceleration wouldn’t be as good, but probably more than sufficient. It would also be cheaper…money that can go towards making a BMS.
No, the big problem with these batteries is getting the company to SELL them. I’ve gotten a price for a single battery, but have yet been able to get a quote for the ten or twelve that I’ll be buying along with the freight to ship them.
If there’s anyone else in the New England area that is interested in buying these batteries drop me an email. We can get a better price per battery and probably for shipping if we buy a pallet of 30.
p.s. the only thing left to do with the brakes is get a new booster. After all of that work cleaning it up it still doesn’t keep a vacuum very well. A rebuild kit would work too, if they sell them.
UPDATE: No go on the batteries, the price stays the same even if I buy a dozen. To add insult to injury they don’t provide any warranty if the batteries are used on an EV. Time for plan B…