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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear colleagues,


as suggested by fellow forum-member brian_ in the new members introduction, I will start a thread for my EV-Conversion of a 1954 Renault 4 CV. For those of you who are not familiar with this nice little french car (rear engine and RWD), here's a picture together with its great-granddaughter Zoe, who is already fully electric and won't need any surgery ;-):





My plan is to document the whole conversion process here step by step.


With this first post I'd like to give you an idea on the rough lines of the conversion. My plan is to keep as much of the originality and driving dynamics of the original car as possible. This will mean that some key values will have to stay within a band of +/- 10% of the original car, e.g. power output in KW and weight. I might make an exception for torque though ;-)


Also for the same reason I want to keep the clutch and gearbox, with the added value of some "classic" feedback and noise. This will be the main difficulty on this car, as the flywheel/clutch assembly is integrated into the engine, so the gearbox comes without a bell housing... so there might be the need to fabricate a custom solution there. I will talkt to you later about that and include some specific pictures for better understanding.


But to start with the simple things, here you can see how easy it is to separate the drivetrain from the chassis on this type of car:





For the technical details, here's my rought plan:


Battery System:
4 x Tesla Modules in 4s configuration, most probably one in the petrol tank compartment, two in the back and one in the front.

No decision yet on the BMS and charger.


Motor:
FIMEA Engineering N50D1, 15KW @96V, 140 Nm of torque, 7500 rpm max.





Controller:
Curtis or Sevcon, tbd.


Looking forward to all your questions, comments or suggestions - I might also have some questions for you too while moving along!


Best regards,
Remi (R4eCV)


PS: Not sure if any of you ran into a similar problem: I had originally written a much longer text as the one above, but once I got to submit it, the system had logged me off and I lost all of my work. Note to self: The next time I will preparte the text offline and then paste it into the forum!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hello Yabert and brian_


Thanks a million for your replies and for your thoughts about the transmission setup.


There are three main reasons why I want/need/should keep the original gearbox/clutch assembly:


1) The main philosophy/strategy of the conversion. I want to keep everything as close as possible to the original. This includes driving dynamics, feedback, noise and even some "sluggishness" of the response of the drivetrain. Also, all changes must be reversible (at least in theory).


2) Local technical regulations for Motor Vehicle Testing in Switzerland: As long as I limit the changes to an "Engine Swap", the testing process is somewhat overseeable (I still wouldn't say easy though). Bigger changes will call for a complete re-homologation of the vehicle, which leads to tremendous cost (in excess of $5'000) just for the testing and certifications. Also, other upgrades (e.g. braking system) will be needed, which would completely alter the character of the car as per bullet 1).


3) I am living in the middle of the Alps, with steep mountain passes over 2'000 metres of height. On a car with such low power (15KW) the possibilty to adjust the power band of the motor through a gearbox can be very welcome in some situations, resulting in less amps and therefore less strain on the system, including batteries.


So for these reasons, the original gearbox is set.


I went down the other road already to check other options. E.g. I had a complete drivetrain of a Renault Twizy on hand, which would have been in the target values as well with a Letrika/Mahle motor with 13 KW. But it just doesn't fit in with the selected conversion strategy, especially regarding originality and reversibility.


Hope you understand where I am coming from
.


Will post some updates regarding gearbox asap, just need to find out which is the best option to include pictures in this forum. In my first post I tried to link to external sources, just found out here that we can also attach some pictures, will try it with this post just to see how these images would show up in the thread....


Best regards,
R.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hello brian_

Again thanks a million for your thoughts.

Regarding the motor options: I am well aware that there would probably better options available worldwide. But in addition to the strict power requirements, the vechicle testing department of my local authority also requests the motor to come with full documentation on CE-certification, EMV compliance and so on. This rules out all the likes of e.g. HPEVS motors, which would be much lighter. The Fimea motor has been successfully used here, e.g. in the conversion of a Mini, and are therefore certified to be used as traction/conversion motors. As it is mounted in the back of the car, the cooling could be a bit of an issue, so maybe it's not even the worst option even seen from that angle.

As said, my favourite would have been the Letrika AMV 7122.

I have been in touch with the owner of the converted Mini who confirmed that the Fimea is a very good motor with a good performance curve. I don't have the full documentation here with me at the moment but will be glad to share it as soon as I can.

For the clutch bell housing I am currently working on the CAD for the transfer case between the motor and the gearbox. Will also share it here asap to get your thoughts on it.

Thanks again & best regards,
Remi.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hello colleagues

it is always a good sign when my ideas match with the suggestions from you experienced guys!

My plan is to build a transfer case to house the flywheel and the clutch assembly.
The transfer case would consist of two round aluminium adapter plates (not sure yet of the required thickness, I started with 15 mm for now), each plate with the specific bolts (for gearbox or motor respectively) on an inner ring and the holes for connection bolts on an outer ring. I would like to mount the gearbox-side adapter plate on top of the existing machined cover as seen on the previous picture.

In between the two adapter plates I would insert a cylindrical tube of 5mm Aluminium, held in place by a milled groove on the inside of the two adapter rings, and bolt everything together on the outer rings.

Here's my first sketch of my idea:







What do you think of this concept guys?


Thanks & best regards,
Remi
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I have checked with a first printout if it would work on the front plate with the bolts and it looks pretty good to me (you can see the outline of the gearbox cover plate on it):



So I will most probably pursue that way. It will take a while as I'll need to identify a good machine shop... I have none on hand at the moment, so will have to investigate further.

But will look into some other stuff in the meantime. One question that comes to my mind: Are there standard boxes for Tesla modules available or do I need to design them from scratch too?

Thanks and best regards,
Remi.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you brian_!

Will look in the battery section if I can find some good practices on battery enclosures. I absolutely agree on the need of a proper enclosure, especially for the underfloor modules, but also in the motor compartment, as they would be exposed to some extent.

I can see that you seem to have a great knowledge in EV conversion there, and you got me intrigued: Would you like to share the link to your projects with me so I can have a look at your own stuff too?

Cheers,
Remi.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
hello brian_

Your story is very impressive. I think I've never met anybody in an online forum just going around helping other people, with over 3'000 posts and no project on his own. Hats off to you sir!

I have quite a collection of different Renault vehicles, from 1924 to today! So eventually I might be able to introduce a few of my other cars too - and having said that I can include the picture of another car of mine today in answer to the question of member @swo regarding the torsion bars. Brian is of course right that the 4CV and R4 have nothing (or, let's say, not much) to do with each other. They are a few years apart, in between them there's even another car: The Dauphine.

Here's a direct comparison. This is my 1976 Renault 4:



and this is the car I am currently converting as per this thread:



Regarding the torsion bars I will need to check the workshop manual. I might even have the one of the R5 somewhere in my office. As soon as I'll get something I will let you know @swo!

Best regards,
Remi.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
...and then I nearly forgot to also give some feedback to @Eddie49 on the non-splined end of the input shaft: As you guessed, there is a pilot bearing/bushing on the crankshaft side holding the whole lengtht (about 30mm) of the non-splined part of the input shaft. Here you can see it:



In my understanding I will need to include some sort of a similar bearing/bushing on a coupler between the motor output shaft and the flywheel in order to support the input shaft. Do you agree?

Best regards,
Remi.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 · (Edited)
Hello friends,

I thought it's time for a little update, just realised now that I completely forgot to keep this log here up to date. So let's go with a few developments:

Here you can see the FIMEA-motor and the flywheel/clutch-assembly in front of the car:

 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
On the next picture here you can see the machined flywheel coupler, mounted on the motor output shaft:



If you go further up in the posts you can see the original coupler from the old engine - so the new one looks pretty OK. Also, I machined a hole into the centre of the motor output shaft and put in a bronce bushing, just in the way it was on the original coupler. This is the pilot bushing, taking in the shaft from the gearbox.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
So let's have a look at the other side, the gearbox side. As you know by now, the car doesn't have a clutch bell housing. So as you can see from the drawings further above I decided to machine two adapter plates, connected with a round metal tube to create the missing clutch bell housing. This is the adapter plate on the gearbox side:



As you can see, the adapter plate is bolted directly onto the gearbox cover, and I had to machine a groove for the control arm of the clutch release bearing, which you can see in the middle.

So this is the whole newly developed clutch bell housing finished:



On the near side you can see the gearbox cover, so from that hole the gearbox splined shaft will go into the the new transfer box, and on the far side the motor will be attached. Stay tuned to see!
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
And then it was time for a dry test, if everything fits together.

The gearbox there is actually not the one from my Renault 4CV, as it was already in the car, but a nearly identical one from a later Renault 4. Some parts were used for quite a long time within the Renault model family!



Again, on the near side the gearbox, then the transfer box (clutch bell housing), and on the far side the FIMEA motor. You can also see the protruding control arm for the clutch on the right side (and on top of the gearbox the stick for the gearbox lever of a Renault 4, some of you might remember that the lever would protrude from the dashboard of the Renault 4 in a very typical way, this was due to the fact that Renault decided to just turn the gearbox around for their FWD models so the gearbox position resulted well in front of the front axle, so the control lever needed to go horizontally all the way over the engine to the very front of the car. On my earlier 4CV, the engine is in the back and the gearstick in a traditional way on the floor, so the gearbox is slightly different to the one shown here).
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
And then the moment for an actual assembly in the car came. The assembly is a two-step-process: First the adapter plate and cover plate have to be mounted on the gearbox side which already sits in the car, then the round tube will go on top of that, and finally the motor/flywheel/clutch assembly has to be slid onto to the gearbox shaft. As I don't have an engine jack I used the forklift to carry out that last step:

 

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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
So this is the situation right now: The new electric motor/clutch assembly is in the car now, and the motor sits on the original motor mounts in the back, as required by the authorities:



So basically that was the motor mounting part. Still have to modify a few details, the height needs to go down a few millimeters, so will modify the mounting brackets, but in general I am pretty happy on how things turned out in this phase.

Next step of course will be the mounting of all electrical components. I will take it step by step and hopefully keep you updated a bit more frequently.

In the meantime, please let me know your thoughts - and of course I am always open for your tips and suggestions!

Best regards,
Remi.
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Cheers brian_ ! Still waaaayyy to go, and I have a feeling that the more difficult part is yet to come.


The following parts are on the waiting list to be mounted:


4 x Tesla modules
SimpBMS Battery Management System
Elcon 3.7 KW Charger
Curtis 1238-7621 AC Motorcontroller
A small DC-DC converter (96-12V), open for suggestions
Type 2 Chargeport
Wiring, wiring, wiring…


Does that configuration make sense so far?


Best regards,
Remi.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Hello aquabiologist,

what a pleasure to read from you! You're the first Swiss that crosses paths with me here on this forum - although I have to admit that I haven't been very active on here.

The EMV approval is a huge issue indeed, and I am glad you are mentioning this, maybe we can even share some experiences.

This is what I understand:
Although the EMV compliance has always been part of the legislation, most vehicles that have been tested before January 2019 didn't have to pass a full EMV test if they were built exclusively for private use and not for resale. As far as I know these vehicles have a "REMARK 178: CHANGE OF VEHICLE HOLDER PROHIBITED" in the field 14 of the vehicle licence. According to some sources, this practice has been abandoned as from 2019 on, requiring all builds to certify their EMV-compliance. I couldn't find out exactly what were the reasons for that change, as nothing in the legislation changed in that period of time.

I am currently following the following approaches:

- I have been in touch with my local MFK back in 2018 asking them what would be required, and at the time they didn't mention EMV compliance, but just CE compliance of the components. Based on this answer and on the fact that the underlying legislation didn't change from then, I will try to base myself on the principle of legal certainty. A very daring approach I know, but worth a try. In my experience, it's always worth trying and speaking with them rather than just complaining. I once imported a 1983 Renault 4 from France that apparently didn't meet the emission standards, and everybody told me that there's no chance it will ever be driving on Swiss roads... but see what happened:



- I am also documenting the build as good as I can in order to have all the technical documentation ready for inspection once the project will be finished. This might be important to prove that the CE marks are present also on hidden parts etc.

- I am trying to use components that have been used before in Switzerland and have the relevant CE marks and other certifications available. This is e.g. the problem with HPEVS products, as they don't have this kind of documentation available. My FIMEA motor e.g. is european built and has the relevant marks.

- If everything fails, I might have the possibility to export the car to my second home in Ireland, pass the NCT there.

- I also hope in changes of legislation and harmonisation with the rest of europe, although it is still patchy there as well, as the example of France showed recently.

I would be very interested to share some experience with you or other Swiss builders on that very topic - I think that we need to act together in order to solve these flaws in legislation or practice. Luckily, Switzerland usually approaches these kind of problems with some common sense. Not always, but most of the times ;-) !

Looking forward to hearing from you again!

Best regards,
Remi.
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
Thank you Daniel!

I know that group and I even know one of your colleagues there personally, we've been discussing these issues just recently.

As said, I don't have a firm plan yet but looking into options. The last and least preferred would be an export and re-import.

I'll keep you posted if I'll be able to find out more here.

At what stage are you with you T2 anyway? :)

Best regards,
Remi.
 
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