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  #1  
Old 07-20-2012, 08:19 PM
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Default Wolfswagen '69 VW Beetle / Baja Build

On July 1st, 2012, I started my latest (and first EV) project. The donor is a 1969 VW Beetle we've owned since 2001, but it's been in storage since 2003. The body is in great shape, and it even has the factory floorpans still. The car was stripped to just a shell before putting it in storage, so getting the body off the pan was easy. The pictures show where I am in the process, and I plan to add more photos each week.

Although there are a great number of EV kits out there, I've decided to piece this car's conversion together from different sources. If all goes well, I should have this car on the road by Thanksgiving.

Today was constructive - I cut the rear off the body, cleaned and painted the transmission, and painted the new front spindles and rear drums. I'm converting the front to disc. I also received the "unused" Curtis 1231C-8601 from a fellow Ebayer at a great price. Earlier this week the VW adapter from Rebirth Auto arrived, so I ordered a lightened flywheel and a clutch kit in order to keep the assembly moving along. I hope to order the motor in a couple of weeks...

Robert
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  #2  
Old 07-20-2012, 10:11 PM
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Default Re: Wolfswagen '69 VW Beetle / Baja Build

Welcome fellow Bugger! Looks good so far! What do you have in mind for motor, batteries, range, and typical use?
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:30 PM
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Default Re: Wolfswagen '69 VW Beetle / Baja Build

Be sure to replace all the bushings and get a real good set of shocks. You may want to upgrade the front sway bar to a heavier duty one. Urethane bushing will give you long life but will be a bit stiffer. I chose to use urethane bushings. Be sure your doors shut solid and that you replace all your rubber seals including the pan to body seal. Be sure you have a good steering box. Transmission mounts are now available in urethane as well as bushings. Have used them for years. Nice to see another VW being converted.

Pete

Love photos. Keep em coming.
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Old 07-21-2012, 06:45 AM
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Default Re: Wolfswagen '69 VW Beetle / Baja Build

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggythewiz View Post
Welcome fellow Bugger! Looks good so far! What do you have in mind for motor, batteries, range, and typical use?
Thanks! I've been comparing notes between the WarP 9, the Kostov 10" and the ME1002 for a motor. I hope to be able to reach 70 mph (with quick acceleration to 40) and get a minimum of 50 miles out of it. I want to build it as a 120V initially, with 10 AGMs (Optima D27M or similar), with an upgrade to lithium and 144V when the AGMs give out in a few years. We live a quick 6 miles from work, so this car will become our daily driver (selling all other vehicles to fund the project - I just sold my '71 LeMans beast).
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Old 07-21-2012, 06:57 AM
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Default Re: Wolfswagen '69 VW Beetle / Baja Build

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Originally Posted by onegreenev View Post
Be sure to replace all the bushings and get a real good set of shocks. You may want to upgrade the front sway bar to a heavier duty one. Urethane bushing will give you long life but will be a bit stiffer. I chose to use urethane bushings. Be sure your doors shut solid and that you replace all your rubber seals including the pan to body seal. Be sure you have a good steering box. Transmission mounts are now available in urethane as well as bushings. Have used them for years. Nice to see another VW being converted.

Pete

Love photos. Keep em coming.
Thank you, Pete. The car is getting 100% new bushings, bearings, and even stainless bolts where possible. The car had its original fenders... I tore out all the seals years ago before putting it in storage, so it'll have all new rubber everywhere. I'm converting to one-piece windows for a cleaner look (and less weight). I'm going to tighten up the steering box when I align the front, but I may replace it soon.

During the winter, I'm going to find another tranny and rebuild it with custom ring & pinion - it sounds like gearing is the number one issue with Bug conversions. There's plenty of power at low speeds, but it wraps up quickly. If I can spread the gears out a bit and make 1st actually useful...
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Old 07-21-2012, 06:58 AM
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Default Re: Wolfswagen '69 VW Beetle / Baja Build

How much are the AGMs you're looking at? You're not going to get close to 50 miles with them. Especially with how short your commute is, you'd be best off going with a small lithium pack for starters, then adding on to it later.

I don't think you'll be saving much with the AGMs, and the amount of rework it causes will be significant.
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:11 AM
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Default Re: Wolfswagen '69 VW Beetle / Baja Build

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggythewiz View Post
How much are the AGMs you're looking at? You're not going to get close to 50 miles with them. Especially with how short your commute is, you'd be best off going with a small lithium pack for starters, then adding on to it later.

I don't think you'll be saving much with the AGMs, and the amount of rework it causes will be significant.
Batteries and chargers will be the last thing I decide upon, and it'll be based on what's remaining in my budget. The Optimas are $200 - $220 each, but I've seen a few AGMs that are cheaper with better rating for amphours (the best Optimas are 66ah if I remember correctly). The problem is that the other batteries are around 80 lbs, while the Optimas are just over 50...
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:30 AM
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Default Re: Wolfswagen '69 VW Beetle / Baja Build

These are marine batteries, correct? If so, they will not last long as they are not intended for traction applications. My first pack was marines (29DC) and they lasted about a year. I would expect a 14-22 mile range (50-80% DOD when new) with a group 27 battery pack, but I don't know how those optimas are rated.

Building the battery racks/boxes takes longer than any other part of the project, so it's not really something you want to redo.
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:35 AM
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Default Re: Wolfswagen '69 VW Beetle / Baja Build

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggythewiz View Post
These are marine batteries, correct? If so, they will not last long as they are not intended for traction applications. My first pack was marines (29DC) and they lasted about a year. I would expect a 14-22 mile range (50-80% DOD when new) with a group 27 battery pack, but I don't know how those optimas are rated.

Building the battery racks/boxes takes longer than any other part of the project, so it's not really something you want to redo.
Although I've built many cars and several motorcycles from a bare frame, this will be my first EV, so I definitely appreciate any/all guidance, assistance, and recommendations! I expect to make mistakes, but thru your comments I should make fewer of them.
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:52 PM
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Default Re: Wolfswagen '69 VW Beetle / Baja Build

Today's update. I've installed the transmission, removed the rear suspension and added more parts to the front suspension. Next will be reinstalling the rear suspension with new bushings (and paint), dropping the torsion arm two clicks per side (it is a Baja BTW), and bending the new steel brake lines.

I'm waiting on a few small parts to arrive, which is why it looks like I'm working haphazardly. If only shipping from California didn't take so long...
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