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1967 Econoline van with Nissan Leaf system

14028 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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The contactors are just giant 12V relays. They can be controlled easily from the round connector coming out of the battery pack. Three wires are ground, and then there is a wire each for the negative, main, and precharge contactors. The Thunderstruck VCU has contactor and precharge signals; I use the ignition to trigger the negative contactor to ensure it is engaged before the precharge. The Leaf shop manual is fantastic (though long-winded) and shows the pinouts of all connectors and how they tie in to the system:

The battery has no computer, but the BMS is a computer. Someone on this forum claims to have gotten the Leaf BMS working with some simple CAN commands, but I can't find the thread or the YouTube video. It involved a CAN board and custom code. This is the largest hurdle. If you can get the BMS to work, you won't have to open the pack. You might have to get clever with the contactor logic, though, as they'll need to be closed for charging to work. If you can't use the Leaf BMS, you'll need to open the pack and swap something like the Thunderstruck BMS in ($1500), and splice all 96 wires. You could probably close it back up afterward, but it is nice to use the serial port to see what's going on with each cell.

I don't believe anyone has gotten the Leaf charger to do anything useful yet.

You'll have to figure out your own heater logic. I'm not aware of any feature to heat batteries in Thunderstruck's stuff...You might be able to rig one of the output wires to trigger at a particular thermistor temperature...I dunno. Maybe you can hack the BMS to get thermistor info...

Cool van.
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One thing that confused the hell out of me is that Thunderstruck uses green for CAN Hi and blue for CAN Lo...Nissan uses green for CAN Lo and blue for CAN high. There's no standard and I just...didn't think about it.
It might be worth asking Thunderstruck and sending them your config. They're pretty responsive and might have ran into similar behavior.

I think CAN is more robust than is commonly discussed. I had horrendous wiring in my first iteration and it was never a problem.
You mean like the output shaft running front to rear? I can't think of any reason not to.

It's long past time for some photos, friend...
Very cool. I'm curious to see how the 7:1 rear gears work out. It's not an option for all RWD conversions, but some people have even put 9" Fords in MGBs, so...could save a bit of cost/complexity vs a TorqueBox or full transmission. I wonder what it's like at highway speeds, though a 50-year-old van may have different ideas as what counts as "highway speed"!

How'd you adapt the yoke to the Leaf motor?

Why the switch from Thunderstruck to Resolve?
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