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Welcome to the Electric Car Weblog. In addition to links, news, and tips about electric cars and other forms of alternative transportation we are publishing an on-line diary of our current EV project. Started in August 2005 the chronicle follows the conversion of a gas powered Ford Probe into an Electric Car.

You will find articles organized by categories, along with recent comments, along the right hand column of the website. If you are just getting started with the idea of converting a gas car to electric be sure to check out Your First Electric Car

Welcome and enjoy!

The Knuckle Gods Are Pleased · 16 September 05

Parts removed so far
click to zoom

The photo shows the growing pile of parts removed from Eve over the past two days. Hopefully in a day or two the engine will be joining it.

I’d forgotten about the power steering fluid the other night so that was the first order of business. I didn’t keep the power steering on the first EV and have no plans to keep this one. The problem is that Ford snaked the hoses and pipes for power steering all over the place. At one point they exit the engine compartment and go into the wheel well…what’s up with that?

Remember when I mentioned how much fun it is to tear things apart?

I’m an idiot.

Well, actually, I have a smoothing algorithm in my brain that takes the hard edges off of bad memories, casting them in a rosy, warm glow of fond nostalgia. I realized this last night when I looked down to see bright red blood oozing from otherwise oily black hands. Oh, right, this…

When I show my wife how to work on vehicles I’m always sure to demonstrate how to appease the Knuckle Gods; those bloodthirsty rulers of all things auto-mechanical. Last night’s offerings should mean I’m good for the rest of this project.

There’s a freeze plug on the back side of the engine block which has a razor sharp edge. I met with it on two occassions and each time came away with a little less skin and blood than I started off with. Add to that the normal dings and bruises from working in a cramp, oily compartment and I’m starting to look a little messed up.

Still, it’s kinda fun.

While the power steering fluid drained I got out the hacksaw and cut the A/C hoses to get them out of the way. A bunch of nuts and bolts and pipes needed to be removed before the power steering/anti-freeze/windsheild fluid reservoirs would come out. The anti-freeze and windsheild fluid live in this one big, hunk-o-plastic container. Check the picture at the top of the page and you can spot it in the jumble.

Eve's old gas engineEngine compartment after day two
click to zoom

The two photos show before and after shots of the engine compartment. Lots of little things have been disconnected or removed, which you can’t really see in the image. The exhaust pipe is disconnected and all but two of the transmission to engine bolts have been removed. While loosening one of the bolts the socket shattered like it was hard candy.

What you can’t see (and I can’t really see it all that well either) is the wire bundle around the back side of the engine, under the intake manifold. This leads to the alternator, starter, and probably a couple of other things. I was going to remove the intake manifold to make it easier, but after hitting that freeze plug of doom a few times I’m not to keen about the idea (plus some of the bolts are under/behind the manifold).

I’m not quite sure how I’ll proceed: start jacking out the engine and disconnect anything that’s still hooked up, or skin a few more knuckles and get the intake manifold off. One way or another things are coming out.

Comments 15
  1. Troy Flowers    Sep 16, 2005 19:24 PM    #
    I’ll be joining you very soon. Did my PV Home system 6 years ago and have longed for a EV …nows the time.
  2. Jerry Halstead    Sep 19, 2005 09:00 AM    #
    Good news, Tony. Drop me an email when you start and let us know if you are doing any sort of weblog of your progress.
  3. Ted Jerome    Sep 19, 2005 15:42 PM    #
    Great turn of phrase, Jerry: “I have [a] smoothing algorithm in my brain that takes the hard edges off of bad memories”! Perfect. I have an early version of that algorithm. It’s pretty buggy. ;-)
  4. — Gavin Shoebridge    May 05, 2006 05:08 AM    #

    I too have that algorithm and I’d forgotten about pleasing the Knuckle Gods when working on cars. Brings back painful memories…

  5. — Alan Grant    Jun 22, 2006 13:01 PM    #

    The PS line in the wheel well is to help cool it. With all the pumping and churning it can get pretty warm.

  6. — Steve S    Jul 18, 2006 19:29 PM    #

    “The problem is that Ford snaked the hoses and pipes for power steering all over the place. At one point they exit the engine compartment and go into the wheel well…what’s up with that?”

    This is speed sensitive power steering. It knows how fast the wheels are turning; the slower they turn, the more assist is given, the faster, the faster the wheels turn, the less assist needed. This helps overall handling and “road feel” at hiway speed and is just cool, IMHO.


  7. Jerry Halstead    Jul 19, 2006 06:42 AM    #

    Hi Steve,

    I’m pretty sure the hydraulic hose snaking through the wheel well has nothing to do with this feature. I’m with Alan on the cooling theory.

    Perhaps they have sensors elsewhere and modulate the hydraulics via the onboard computer, but I don’t recall seeing anything in steering assist assembly or pumps that would facilitate this. Do you recall how, or where, it is typically accomplished?

  8. Andy Christensen    Mar 08, 2007 23:54 PM    #

    Speed-sensitive is a fancy way of saying load sensitive… Usually these types of systems use intake vacuum to regulate the power steering pump.

    Take for instance you are driving slowly through the grocery-store parking lot; very little to no engine load (closed throttle plate). This means there is a high vacuum inside the intake. As in most situations when a vehicle is turning sharply the throttle is closed, ironically this is also the time when the operator of the vehicle requires help turning the wheels (especially in a parking lot). So the intake vacuum is plumbed into a fixture on the power steering pump that restricts or allows fluid flow thus raising or lowering the pressure the power steering pump makes which is directly related to the amount of engine inertia-energy it uses. Automotive manufacturers added this function to extend the life of the power steering pump and oil and also to conserve engine power wasted spinning a (rarely needed if at all) ps pump.

    So if there were a couple of vacuum lines coming off the ps pump, these were the controls for load-sensitive pump output.

    Power steering pressure hoses going all over the place??? ... get rid of em.

  9. jerry Halstead    Mar 09, 2007 08:27 AM    #

    Thanks for the info Andy.

  10. Gavin Shoebridge    Mar 18, 2007 05:31 AM    #

    Hi Jerry,
    good to see work is still underway on Eve.
    I keep my eye on your page every now and then as your efforts have given me the inspiration to (finally) perform my own EV conversion after many years of putting it off.
    It’s early days at the moment but here’s the link to the first video of the conversion process.

    And I’ve already made many offers to the Knuckle Gods on this car. They should be appeased!

  11. — Nick Smith    Mar 19, 2007 07:27 AM    #

    Hi Gavin

    I hear from your video that you are a kiwi – New Plymouth is it? I am in Auckland but don’t hold that against me.

    I have done a lot of research regarding building an EV and would be happy to share. Email me on n.smith@peltech.co.nz.



  12. Mark E. Hazen    Mar 19, 2007 13:19 PM    #

    I love my S10 conversion, which costs me only 5 to 6 cents per mile (actual range of 4.9 to 5.6 cents per mile thus far). I get 30+ miles on roughly 50% charge using only 16 batteries for a top speed of 55 to 60 mph.

  13. — James May    Mar 19, 2007 17:38 PM    #

    Hi Mike

    I have just had a look at your site. I think you have made a really nice job of that pick-up. I understand the EV convert sentiment. I don’t want another petrol car now.

  14. Alvan Judson    Nov 18, 2007 00:47 AM    #

    Hi, Jerry. Just thought I’d send you an article I did for our car club on my Electric Spitfire’s 1000 mile service, Cheers, Alvan Judson

  15. — Dave    Jul 18, 2008 11:57 AM    #

    sorry, but when I read about the offerings to the Knuckle Gods, I did chuckle…..been there done that…many times…..being kind of a backyard mechanic, replacing motors and trannys over the years, I’ve made my share.
    Yes the air does get filled with many a good word for those Gods….don’t think it helps my cause much, but makes me feel better.
    I enjoy this site, and am toying with the idea of doing one myself, and maybe a cycle.
    have a great one!