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1967 Econoline van with Nissan Leaf system

14031 Views 58 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  stable
Hello all!

I am just about to install my leaf motor in my van.

I have a few 1967 Ford Econoline HD vans to work with. and almost 2 complete Leaf systems.

Leaf parts:

2014 motor
2014 VFDrive
2014 6.6kw charger
2014 24kw battery (66,000km)

The charger, drive, and battery all match and were salvaged from a single car.

I also have a second motor, inverter, transaxle, driveshafts etc just in case.... (2016 model)

I have a fiat 20spline clutch fitted onto the motor shaft

I am purchasing 7.4 - 1 ratio gear set for the Ford 9" differential.

I will run the motor directly to the driveshaft

I would prefer to use the Leaf pack as a whole unit still in original case. It fits on my van floor easy for now.

I have the Thunderstruck VCU kit with pedal and contactors.

I have MOST of the Leaf wiring harness that will be needed.

And now my big question::::::::::::::::::

I hope to use the battery as it is. I see it has all the bms, contactors, heaters etc in it... Is it possible to use this battery in its stock form with the Thunderstruck system? I mean use the Leaf battery, Leaf contactors and Leaf charger all in its orriginal metal shell with the Thunderstrukc VCD?

Although I have read a TON of stuff over the last decade and built a dozen or so RC ebikes etc,,,, I am a newbie to the Leaf stuff. But very eager to learn!

Looking forward to working with you guys through my project. As soon as i figure out these last wiring bits ill be rollin!!!!!!

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I had this issue when I first built my Mercedes. Use the command to measure the throttle (thmeasure, I think...) and monitor it while blipping it. I found that poor routing of the ground wire (and grounding it to the chassis away from the VCU) resulting in a lot of noise on the line. This led to the throttle signal occasionally going out of bounds. When that happens, the unit shuts down and has to be power cycled to come back online. I think it’s a safety feature. Check your throttle wiring, make sure it’s twisted, and ground it directly to the VCU. Avoid running it near the inverter or power cables.
I have emailed Thunderstruck about the issue. Sent them a picture of the config file and my set up.

As i took some pictures for them, i thought i would share them with you! Sorry they are from a gopro, all i had to take pictures with.

shnitzel View attachment 120638 View attachment 120639 View attachment 120640
thanx Jeff! ive watched all your videos.... ;) i do have my throttle grounded to the same point as the VCU. both grounded to the aluminum case of the inverter. the battery is also grounded there. and the throttle wires are routed far from any other cables.

John at Thunderstruck has lead me to a relay issue.

when i turn on my ignition toggle it sends 12v to the precharge relay and the main (-) relay in the pack. then when it senses voltage it turns on the main (+) relay.

i havnt opened up the leaf pack. so far i have just tapped into the 3 relays inside. i am assuming the bms will still keep the pack balanced without the whole car attached??? i am assuming......

i checked for running voltage after VCU startup... i clipped my voltmeter to the high V terminals on the inverter and it reads 383v at precharge, then the VCM clicks the high V contactor and turns solid green on the light. and then the voltage starts to drop off slowly while the green light is still lit. then when i reset the 12v toggle it starts over....

so i have to learn more about how to make this pack work. i dont want to open it up if i can help it. but am willing to do whatever it takes!

so, volts dropping after the main contactor "sounds like it closes".. this is definitely my problem.

Jody Willcock
Ahhh, I see what you’re saying, now. The inverter has a resistor that will bleed off the voltage in the capacitor slowly. If you close the contactor and open it, you may see the voltage drop slowly back to 0 in the inverter. Perhaps it’s an issue of the contactor not closing at all, and you’re hearing the precharge contactor open? Maybe it’s just a little wiring issue.

I can’t help much with the Leaf BMS, I’m afraid.
does the precharge relay stay closed during running???? i have my main(-) contactor wired to the precharge relay circuit. so maybe after the VCU sees everything is good it drops the precharge relay? if so this would also drop my main(-) relay and i would not have a circuit anymore.....

or does the precharge relay stay closed during running?

That would probably do it. The precharge contactor only stays on during precharge. I have my negative contactor wired to key on, and the positive and precharge contactors controlled by the VCU.
Thunderstruck tells me:

"Reverse has no regen. When the motor is in reverse idle or neutral it does some interesting coasting action without any regen. In the vehicle you will have enough parasitic drag to slow it down."

so then its time to figure the driveshaft out and the battery bms.


Well, that makes perfect sense, then. Very good! I doubt you’ll be able to use the Leaf BMS, and you may have to crack the pack open to wire up some sensing leads. I’ve used the TSM BMS, and I’m happy with it.
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