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Chevy S10 Conversion

 

This section has a lot of pictures, so you can learn by seeing.  Regardless of the vehicle you want to convert, what you see here will give you some guidance and ideas.  

 

Parts List
  • Motor Mount - I made this from 1" wide by 1/8" thick stock
  • S10 Motor-to-Transmission Adaptor Kit - (Canada EV)
  • Advanced DC 9.1" Motor, 203-06-4001 - (Cloud Electric)
  • Curtis Controller, 1231C-8601, 96-144VDC, 500 Amps max, 0 to 5 k/ohm input (Cloud Electric or EV Source)
  • Curtis PB-6 Speed Control w/micro switch (Cloud Electric or EV Source)
  • High-current fuse, #201-A30QS500-4 (EV Source)
  • Airpax 250/300 A Circuit Breaker (Cloud Electric or EV Source)
  • Heavy-duty Contactor, Albright SW200 with 12V coil (Cloud Electric or EV Source)
  • #2 or larger Welding Cable (local welding supply store)
  • System control box (See Wiring page)
  • Battery Terminal Clamps, (local automotive store)
  • Misc. wiring and terminals (Home Depot or Lowes)
  • Charging System (See Distributed Charging System page).
  • DC-to-DC Converter to replace alternator to keep vehicle's 12V battery charged, SWS60015 TDK-Lambda (Digikey Corp.)


 

Engine Removed

 

The engine has been removed and the compartment has been cleaned using mineral spirits and degreaser.  After cleaning, the frame was primed with a zinc primer and painted black.

 

Note the motor mount that is bolted in place above the cross member awaiting the motor.  

 

Important: See Tips page, Engine Removal.

 

Motor Mount (home-made)

 

This close-up of the motor mount shows that it is suspended between two rubber engine mounts.  Later, these engine mounts ripped almost immediately because I did not have an anti-torque bar attached to the motor.  I replaced the rubber with metal tangs welded to the rubber mount bases.  There is no reason to mount the electric motor on rubber – there is no vibration.  Mount your electric motor solidly.  

Mount Close Up

 

This shows the metal tangs/flanges welded to the original rubber mount base.  I chiseled the rubber off and burned it with a torch to clean the metal base of all remaining rubber.


Motor-to-Transmission Adaptor Assembly     

 


Add axle or bearing grease to motor housing around shaft.


Slide the spacer ring over the shaft against the motor housing.
Insert lock key into keyway on shaft.


Now slide the taper-lock bushing onto the shaft. 
Make it barely snug against the spacer ring.


Note that the shaft key is even with the end of the motor shaft.
Also note the threaded hole for a set screw that is in the back ring of the taper-lock bushing. Insert and tighten the set screw. Apply lock-tight to the threads.


Slide the hub into place over the taper-lock bushing.

Three counter-sunk holes are provided through the hub into which the provided Allen-head bolts are placed to tighten the hub into place. The three Allen-head bolts pull the hub in over the taper-lock bushing, which causes the bushing to squeeze tight around the shaft. Use lock-tight on the threads of the three bolts. Tighten the three bolts slowly, a little at a time, one after the other consecutively until they are tight according to the torque specification provided with the assembly. If these are not tightened properly, the clutch assembly may wobble causing a very noticeable vibration.


The motor-to-transmission housing is now slipped over the hub and bolted onto the motor with four supplied bolts. Again, use lock-tight on the threads of the bolts to prevent loosening from vibration.


The six stock bolts are used to attach the flywheel to the hub. You will discover that there is only one way that the flywheel will attach to the hub. Rotate the flywheel slowly until all of the holes match the hub holes behind. Use lock-tight on the bolt threads and tighten.

IMPORTANT: Make sure that there is no grease or oily film on the flywheel, clutch disc or the pressure plate. Use paint thinner or acetone to clean these before assembly. If these are not clean, you will experience clutch slipping, which creates vibration that ranges from subtle to extreme. It will make you think that the hub on the motor is loose.


Now the clutch and pressure plate are added. Look carefully in the photo above to see the plastic guide that is set into the center of the hub and clutch to hold them in proper position to each other until the perimeter bolts are tightened. If you don't have one of these guides, they are available at all auto parts stores.


As before, use lock-tight on the threads of the clutch assembly bolts. After all clutch assembly bolts have been tightened to specifications, remove the plastic guide. The motor is now ready to bolt onto the transmission.

 

Motor Installation

 

It’s time to install the motor.  I made a strong wooden frame with the electric winch on top.  A hand operated control made it easy to maneuver the motor into place. I inserted a bolt and connecting fixture in the threaded hole on top of the motor to attach the winch cable.

 

 

 

 

Finished Motor Compartment

 

There’s a lot to see in the photo to the right. 

 

This is a look under the hood as it is today (after January 2010).  There are several things to note in this photo:

 

Motor - You can see the motor mount strap and a large bolt on top of the motor. This bolt goes through a short metal tab that is welded to the top motor mount strap.  The bolt and tab prevent the motor and transmission from twisting from the enormous motor torque.

 

Mounted to the front of the motor, you will see my old oil pan.  It now serves as a debris shield to deflect rain that comes in the front of the vehicle and prevents it from getting into the motor brushes without blocking airflow.

 

Pot Plate - Top right is the variable resistor and micro switch pot plate assembly, which is mechanically connected to the ‘gas’ pedal via a flexible cable.  The variable resistor tells the controller how much current to feed to the motor.  

 

Control Box - The system control box is to the right in the photo.  See the Wiring Diagrams page for details.

 

EVH-PWX16 PowerWheel Controller - The commercial version of my controller is shown dead center in the photo.

 

DC-to-DC Converter - The 600 W DC-to-DC converter is shown in the upper left in the photo tucked in between the battery and the computer.

 

Heavy-duty Contactor - The gray box, mounted to the firewall and behind the control box on the right, contains the heavy-duty contactor that passes the high current to the controller when it is energized.  The control box circuitry and the micro switch control the heavy-duty contactor. For added safety, the contactor opens when your foot is off the accelerator pedal and closes just as you put pressure on the pedal.

Speed Control Installation

 

The photos to the right are those of the original setup under the hood back in early 2007. I started with the Curtis 1231C-8601 controller and the PB-6 Pot Box, as many enthusiasts do.  I have kept these photos because of the popularity of the Curtis and the PB-6 Pot Box, which is shown in the upper left of the upper photo.  

 

Originally, I had a homemade HV battery charger under the hood, as shown to the right in the photo.  Today, I have a distributed charging system mounted to the wall in the garage next to the truck.

 

Back then, the Control Box was much larger than it is today.

 

The lower right photo shows how the speed control (PB-6) is installed.  I added a piece of aluminum angle on the right of it with a larger flat piece screwed on to capture the accelerator cable sleeve.  A piece of scrap iron flat stock was used to mount the control to the remaining plastic plenum for the air-conditioning evaporator.  Note the added return assist spring that helps pull the control arm back and elevates the gas pedal.  A crimp-on closed wire terminal was used to connect the accelerator cable to the control arm with a lose bolt and acorn nut.  You can see the three micro switch terminals with attached wires.  See the Wiring Diagrams page for details.

 

Batteries Installed

 

I purchased a small welding machine, a 14” cutoff saw and an angle grinder to do the metal work.  The metal stock is 1½” by 1/8” think steel angle and some flat stock.  The rack is securely bolted to the frame on each side and holds two rows of eight batteries. Locating the batteries here, behind the cab, provided near perfect balance on all four wheels.

 

The gray box hanging on the right side of the battery rack is a makeshift fuse box.  It contains a 600 A fuse, but 400 A would have been fine.  I drilled some holes for venting in the plastic electrical box.

 

Note the flat-stock strapping across the top of the rack between the batteries.  These straps are bolted on with self-locking acorn nuts.  Holding the batteries securely in place is very important to prevent additional damage and injury in an accident.

 

If you look closely, you'll notice the terminal lugs connected to the terminals with a wing nut.  I have replaced the terminal lugs with terminal clamps for much better contact and to avoid terminal melt-down. I melted 3 terminals before changing to post clamps.  

 

 

Original battery bank - 16 batteries

 

New Battery Bank

 

The entire battery bank was replaced on October 31, 2008, increasing the number of batteries to 24.  Normally, only 20 batteries are needed for a light truck conversion.

 

WHY DID YOU PUT ALL OF YOUR BATTERIES BEHIND THE CAB AND NONE UNDER THE HOOD?

I did this because I wanted a lot of elbow room under the hood to install and remove EVH-PWX16 controllers to test and calibrate them before sending them out to customers.  I didn't want to be reaching and stretching around batteries.

 

WHY DID YOU NOT PUT THE BATTERIES DOWN AROUND THE FRAME TO SAVE BED SPACE?

My choice.  I wanted to easily see and reach all batteries for quick and easy servicing.  They stay clean there too.  I wanted to get rid of the 320 lb. bed and make a lighter one with a special enclosure for the batteries.  Also, when these heavy batteries are placed behind the rear axle, most of the total battery weight is on the rear axle and there is a lot of outward force when rounding corners - not good on slippery roads.

 

ISN'T YOUR CENTER OF GRAVITY TOO HIGH AND TOO FAR BACK?

Too high? No.  There is no handling problem at all.  I usually turn corners at less than 30 mph (humor).  Weight distributed too much to the rear? Yes, a little, however, it has not affected handling at all.  I may move 4 batteries under the hood in the future or simply remove 4 batteries and run with a total of 20. (I have removed 4 batteries since the above writing for a total of 20.)

 

 


New battery bank - 24 batteries - October 31, 2008

24 batteries installed to allow 153 V, 500 A testing and calibrating of EVH-PWX16 controllers (when I was selling them).

I have since remove 4 batteries from the back-most battery rack for a total of 20 batteries. This provides a good compromise between performance and weight.

 

 

Rear-end Work

 

I removed the original bed, sandblasted the frame, primed it and painted it.  As you can see, it looks fresh from the factory.  

 

Note the new-bed rails that I added to provide a firm and flat foundation for the new bed.

 

Also, notice the extensions (shackles) I added to the leaf springs and the air shocks to gain height.  This combination gives me the front-to-rear height balance that I wanted.  

 

 

Bed Framing

 

The original bed weighed 320 pounds.  Using aluminum framing and ABS plastic sheathing, I was able to reduce that weight and provide a nice compartment for the batteries.  Aluminum sheathing can be used as well.  90-degree angle plates and angle brackets give the new bed excellent rigidity.  Self-drilling screws make the frame work easy.

 

The ABS sheathing was attached using countersunk stainless-steel #8 sheet-metal screws.  The ABS sheathing can be painted with standard auto paint if you desire.  

 

Bed detail and additional photos are available for $19.95.  Mail your check made out to Mark E. Hazen - 5215 NE 14th Court - Ocala, FL 34479

 

Finished!

 

Here she is!  The taillights and side running lights are very bright LED assemblies purchased from the local auto parts store.  I added fog lights to the rear, just under the bumper on each side, for backup lights.  For additional safety, I placed a 12-V beeper under the rear bumper that activates when I set the transmission into reverse – a courtesy to parking lot pedestrians.

 

The total conversion time was about 4 months, which included most evenings, most weekends and about 7 vacation days.  My total cost including the truck was about $10,000, which included tinkering, research and development.  

 

The truck is very maneuverable and fun to drive.  It still has its power ABS brakes and cabin air bags.  The DMV had no problems with it because it is basically the same vehicle with a different source of power.

 

Insuring this vehicle was no problem either.  I kept the same insurance company and they didn't care when I told them about the conversion.  They wouldn't give me a discount either. :-)

 

 

The gate hinges are placed so the gate is flat and even with the bed of the truck when the gate is open (down).

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