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Old 03-02-2016, 01:51 AM
DMPstar DMPstar is offline
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Default My 1st conversion, Meltdown VW Scirocco

Hi,

I'm new to the forum, and since I am starting on a conversion I thought I would introduce myself here. I am open to advice from all you experienced conversion folks.

I'm an avid tinkerer, and have been interested in discarded and obsolete things since I could walk and explore. I generally don't like new products, and have a strong belief in user serviceability. I love driving, and seem to be constantly plagued with undiagnosed performance issues in the cars that I love.

6 or so years ago, if I were asked "What do you want to be doing in 10 years?" I would have answered "Taking old vehicles and making them electric". Since then, I have had the chance to work with EVs in the industrial sector, learning a lot about a specific selection of components.

After years of looking forward to the day I could start building my own electric car, and with a mostly finished garage, I finally have found myself in a position where I can actually, truly, forreelz pursue my dream...

I have a few vehicles lined up waiting to have a new life, but I am starting with the 1980 VW Scirocco S because it's been a thorn in my side. A few years ago it was parked in my yard with no insurance, and someone decided to start a fire. Luckily there was no insurance, otherwise it would be gone and I wouldn't have had to store it at friends' places since

But she isn't an easy body to start on:



And with the fenders off, there isn't much metal to hold the car together anymore.




It's going to be an electro-rat project, as I have given up the dream of restoring this car properly. Most of the conversion parts are refuse from my work, and the car has suffered several serious incidents in its life, so a quick grind and patch is going to have to suffice for now. After getting my measurements for the motor mount position, I will pull out the motor and transmission and do some concentrated wire-wheeling.

Expect more updates as things progress.
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  #2  
Old 03-02-2016, 02:52 AM
Duncan Duncan is offline
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Default Re: My 1st conversion, Meltdown VW Scirocco

Hi
First piece of advice - get shot of that rust-bucket and try to find (or make) a decent car to convert
You are going to have to invest a reasonable amount of time and money in your car - if you start with a wreck you either need to fix it up or you will still have a wreck at the end

Find something better! - If you were closer I could give you a Subaru Lancaster in decent condition with a blown head gasket
In fact I know of three of them locally available

I'm sure you can find something better for less than $300

As to what to look for - IMHO you want something a bit special, a convertible or a classic or just something unusual
A Sirocco would be OK (bit bland) BUT not in that condition
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Old 03-02-2016, 07:22 AM
Moltenmetal Moltenmetal is offline
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Default Re: My 1st conversion, Meltdown VW Scirocco

I love the idea of saving things from the scrapyard- I've lived like that most of my life too- but this is a bit extreme!

If I had my project to do over again, and I encourage you to look at what I went through on my E-Fire '75 Spitfire, I'd have scrapped mine and started with a car in better shape. For a few thousand extra dollars (the batteries and the rest of the kit topped out over $16,000), I'd have fewer "legacy issues" to sort out now that I have a fantastic electric drivetrain in there!

You can do better cost-wise than I did, DIYing everything including a motor controller if you want, but especially using Leaf or Volt battery packs- that's the huge savings- but you're still talking about a significant amount of coin to be spent on a car. Do yourself a favour and find one in better condition.

PS: Duncan did the whole scrounge route on his Device- for the drivetrain anyway- so now you've got two very credible votes to ditch the dead dog and start with one in better condition!
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Old 03-02-2016, 10:06 AM
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dougingraham dougingraham is offline
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Default Re: My 1st conversion, Meltdown VW Scirocco

It is laudable that you want to do this but if it isn't worth restoring as an ICE it is probably not worth converting. You want to start with a car that is in drive-able condition or you will be spending far too much time (and time is money) fixing the stuff that has nothing to do with an EV. I thought my donor was in reasonable condition and when I was done I realized I spent about 1/3 of my conversion time just fixing the stuff that was wrong with a 30 year old car. Ideal is a car that is perfect except for a blown engine.

Best Wishes!
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Saving the planet one EV mile at a time!
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Old 03-02-2016, 12:24 PM
DMPstar DMPstar is offline
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Default Re: My 1st conversion, Meltdown VW Scirocco

Thanks a lot for the advice guys.

Quote:
Find something better! - If you were closer I could give you a Subaru Lancaster in decent condition with a blown head gasket
In fact I know of three of them locally available
Thanks for the offer Duncan, but even if I lived closer, my wife has spoken and no more cars are allowed!

You guys are 100% correct that I should ship this thing out. I know how ridiculous it seems to use this car, but I will share a few more details as to why I plan to go ahead (for now) with the meltdown. I tried to avoid rambling on all night with further details, but I suppose that is as inevitable for me as rust is in my province.

For perspective, here is an example of my current daily drivers:

86 MR2



79 toyota pickup floorboards:



I had originally planned to convert the truck first, partially due to how far gone it was. I am now glad I didnt start this thread with that one haha, I may have gotten myself banned. I have no shortage of good vehicles for conversions, and I have 90% of the parts on hand to do at least 2 of them.

Wife's 1982 Rabbit, and pristine 86 MR2 not running:



So why the F am I doing the Mk1 Scirocco? ...

-I loved driving this car, the interior is great, its a rare trim package, and I still have never seen another mk1 on the road. There aren't any for sale in Canada that I can find, so my chances of replacing it with another one are slim to nil. #sentimentallyill

-Its not actually as bad as it looks, maybe I was being dramatic. Or maybe its worse than it looks. Either way, these days I have a hard time getting started on body work jobs that would have been fairly easy for me in the past. Now that it has been so long, you could almost say I am 'rusty' and I need a good hard dive back into it. I have piled up parts for a few years and spent so much time trying to keep this car around that if I ditched it now, I would have a lot of explaining to do to all the gracious friends that have let me park it in their yards for 7 odd years. I said I would fix it and I dont plan on 'flaking' out that promise (ok enough puns).

-This is a prototype/test/make your mistakes here/ project. I don't feel like hacking up a "good" car for my first sloppy conversion. My budget is in the $100s for this one, not $1000s. Laugh, but I have REALLLLLY scavenged to make this possible. I am being very thoughtful on building my drive system to be adaptable to other vehicles, and if it fits into this car then it will drop right into my wife's Rabbit.

-Standing next to a Tesla roadster the other day, I realized that the mk1 Toyota MR2 is still my #1 car for a conversion. Close to the same size and layout of the roadster. I would pull my red mr2 in the garage and spend my time on it, but I am leaving cars like that for after I have cut my teeth on something else.

I think have "dibs" on this 1949 Hillman Minx, last driven 30 years ago, and only 2000lbs with a syncromesh 4spd:


... But again, I really need to polish my skills for a while before taking on a project that I want to be perfect when done.

I have to get something on the road for June, as we have advertised that we will be delivering veggies for our CSA in an electric vehicle.

I am going to close the laptop for a bit and get to work. I'm not here to prove anyone wrong... unless proving people wrong is a foundation of EV conversions...

But again, thanks a lot for the input everyone.

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Saskatoon, SK
Canada
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Old 03-02-2016, 04:51 PM
sholland sholland is offline
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Default Re: My 1st conversion, Meltdown VW Scirocco

That Hillman Minx would make a sweet electric car...
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Old 03-05-2016, 03:48 PM
DMPstar DMPstar is offline
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Default Re: My 1st conversion, Meltdown VW Scirocco

Quote:
That Hillman Minx would make a sweet electric car...
Agreed. So good, and would definitely blow some minds in my neck of the woods (EVs are scarce around here, especially conversions, and especially antique conversions) . It has been sitting on my wife's uncle's farm for a long time, originally in barn storage. The farm has changed hands several times since it being brought there. The car owner is really old and hasn't had any contact with the uncle since he has owned the property, so the Minx is just going to disappear into the ground unless someone comes and charges some life into it. That project is basically a milestone on the horizon at this point, as it is going to need some experienced hands to make it be what it could be....

Nice work with the Civic, sholland! I had a 92 that felt like a well designed car (good EV potential platform), ended up trading it for my MR2. I think Honda has really nailed it with FWD car handling. The cooling system stuff you are dealing with is what I dream about in my idle work time. I would love to build a performer at some point. With the move to taller gear ratio, are you looking for better top speed or better use of torque in mid gears? I am looking into a transmission from a diesel rabbit to see if it has a gear ratio that better suits the lower RPM torque.
Keep up the good work with the electrosports car.


As for the Scirocco project...
I am new to internet conversing, and have always been bad at explaining myself, so I hope I am not coming across as stubborn or ignorant to the advice to avoid the hassles of repairing this car. I joined this forum after I had already established the overall plan to get this car moving again, so I guess I should state the portions that have been decided. Any other parts and design ideas are still up in the air and I would appreciate any input y'all got:

Motor: HPEVS AC50 (not the standard keyed conversion type) with some damage. I have 2 with stripped splines that can be made to work with some machining. Adaptor will be built using parts of the mating gearboxes that have been scrapped at my work.

Controller: Curtis 650A 96V 1238-7601 model. I have some broken controllers that I can mix-n-match to get working.

BMS: Orion BMS, several broken ones that I can patch together to get something going.

Charger: Choice of Kingpan charger (fairly crappy IMHO) or TC/Elcon charger 1.5 KW and 8kW if I can fix them.

Cells: Smorgasbord of 180AH and 200AH LiFePO4 prismatic cells that have been overdischarged slowly. Also 32 180AH cells that may be fairly decent. I have a line on some overdischarged 100AH cells as well. I know the overdischarged cells are damaged, but they are good place-holders for testing or getting the car around the neighbourhood.
Here is my station for recharging overdischarged cells. The bank is all parallel, so I can parallel connect a low voltage cell thru a resistor to slowly bring it back up. I then add the cell to the bank and can charge the next one. When the bank is down to 2.8V or so after "boosting" so many low cells, then I can series them and have a bottom balanced battery for further testing.



I have made it to a place where I can relax about the front end body repairs. The car is still more structurally sound than most of my past daily drivers. The fire and rust damage is mostly isolated to the non-unibody structure.


I started cleaning up the rust, and am more confident that POR-15 will help to seal up the metal for at least a few years. I will keep making a dust cloud with the wire wheel and hopefully do some welding this weekend.
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Old 03-05-2016, 03:58 PM
sholland sholland is offline
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Default Re: My 1st conversion, Meltdown VW Scirocco

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMPstar View Post
With the move to taller gear ratio, are you looking for better top speed or better use of torque in mid gears?
Mostly for top speed, but it would be nice to be able use all the gears.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMPstar View Post
Keep up the good work with the electrosports car.
Thanks! Sure you can buy a used Leaf for less than I'm spending on this, but it's my take on a small modern hot-rod...

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMPstar View Post
Cells: Smorgasbord of 180AH and 200AH LiFePO4 prismatic cells that have been overdischarged slowly. Also 32 180AH cells that may be fairly decent. I have a line on some overdischarged 100AH cells as well. I know the overdischarged cells are damaged, but they are good place-holders for testing or getting the car around the neighbourhood.
Here is my station for recharging overdischarged cells. The bank is all parallel, so I can parallel connect a low voltage cell thru a resistor to slowly bring it back up. I then add the cell to the bank and can charge the next one. When the bank is down to 2.8V or so after "boosting" so many low cells, then I can series them and have a bottom balanced battery for further testing.
I thought I could use some older 160Ah LiFePO4 cells that had sat and slowly over discharged. They would appear to hold charge, but the first drive on them showed they really were damaged and not able to be used. They appeared to have only a fraction of the original capacity remaining. The only way to really know if your cells are any good is to charge then do a controlled discharge to see what real capacity is remaining.
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Old 03-06-2016, 12:52 AM
DMPstar DMPstar is offline
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Default Re: My 1st conversion, Meltdown VW Scirocco

Sholland:
Full support for the hot rod concept. I find I need to spend much more than the price of a comparable product to make something that fits my style. Gotta build it how you want it built.

Quote:
The only way to really know if your cells are any good is to charge then do a controlled discharge to see what real capacity is remaining.
With my day job I have spent a lot of time with battery testing, and had a few chances to see what life is left in "bulgy cells". In agreement with posts i have read on this site, I find that the longer they sit at low voltage, the worse they test.
An extreme example is a 200ah cell that i found sitting at 0.something Volts that had been on the shelf for a long time. It actually melted out the side and vented happy juice until i removed the charge source.
A more positive example is a pack that had gone down to cell voltages around 1V, and tested at about 80% original capacity. Mind you, this was only one test, and I would not be surprised if the capacity was to drop after several cycles. Internal resistance is already noticeably increased. I have a lot of these cells sitting here, and i look forward to being able to drop them into the car and test with some real driving. I plan to make a big resistor bank for bench testing as well, but haven't quite decided on the design yet. I really enjoy building battery test jigs and learning from tests on damaged cells.
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Old 03-07-2016, 11:26 PM
mons2b mons2b is offline
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Smile Re: My 1st conversion, Meltdown VW Scirocco

I for one like your plan. It does add more work having to fix up non ev related issues but you also learn more too. I also like the idea of saving a car from the crusher.

In my country manual cars of any brand are rare and one with a good supply of spare parts rarer again. So you really need to think about what you pick. I dont know about Canada but parts for Euros are more plentiful than for Japanese cars particularly online internationally (the best place to find cheap parts for me) where Euros tend to have been sold in multiple markets with little different apart from the steering wheel position.

I saw a manual car online and bought it from an auction sight unseen and my "gut feel" hasn't failed me yet. I had to learn from scratch how to repair rust and Im still battling to get the transmission out to replace the clutch and confirm measurements for the adapter. (Took all the bolts out but it still wont come off the engine. lol.)

So I say. Go ahead. Make it so. Full speed ahead and damm the torpedo's.

Last edited by mons2b; 03-07-2016 at 11:31 PM.
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