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1981 Jeep CJ-5 Conversion To Be Updated

1499 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  67EJeepster
Hey Y'all. My partner and I recently picked up this 1981 Jeep CJ-5 that had been converted to electric about a decade ago. I also have a 1967 Jeepster Commando that I was planning on converting, but when this popped up I could not pass on it. The Jeepster will still get converted at some point, but this is a great starting point for me to learn how it all works.

General info(about me and goals):
  • I personally have automotive training and lots of 4x4/Jeep experience, but no actual EV work.
  • I have goals of getting into the EV industry at some point, either in conversions or at the manufacture level.
  • Have about 7k-10k to spend on the update (mostly batteries and BMS)
  • Goals for the Jeep are to replace the batteries with new ones (have to decide on what batteries still), replace the BMS system, new tires, any small necessary repairs and drive it! Hoping for 75-100+miles of range when done.

Jeep Info:
  • 1981 Jeep CJ-5, originally the 4 cylinder/4 speed. Original transmission, transfer case and axles in place. 4x4 works.
  • Engine replaced with AC-50 motor using custom adapter to the existing SR4 transmission.
  • 34 Lithium Iron Phosphate overseas batteries in series (2 packs) - Have about 50% capacity remaining.
  • Onboard charger (not sure on type).
  • Curtis Controller.
  • Retains much of the original feel of the Jeep which I am very happy about.
  • Power level is similar to the original ICE engine.
  • Uses mostly 2nd and 3rd gears.
  • Originally built by an electrical engineer in the Bay Area.
  • Built using a Canadian Electric Vehicles kit.

Here's some pictures, and I did make a couple Youtube videos to share the project if you are interested. I'll take the links down if this forum doesn't allow YT links.

I'll be lurking and learning quite a bit on here. Thanks for checking this out and let me know what you think!
Wheel Tire Sky Vehicle Automotive tire

Automotive parking light Wheel Tire Vehicle Grille
Car Vehicle Steering wheel Steering part Speedometer
Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive design Car Automotive exterior
Motor vehicle Hood Automotive tire Automotive lighting Automotive design
Hood Motor vehicle Automotive tire Electrical wiring Automotive design
Motor vehicle Automotive exterior Bumper Automotive tire Gas
Electrical wiring Gas Machine Electronic device Automotive exterior
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While waiting for some warmer weather to roll around I did a quick wheel/tire swap with my Jeepster to see how it would look. I like the bigger size (235/75/15 vs 31/10.5/15), but it seems like the added load on the batteries makes the low voltage alarm go off much easier (not surprised). Still looking around for a good battery source that we can trust, and in our price range. I am leaning towards just swapping in the same cell form factor as 300ah versions are now available vs the 200ah in there now, and possibly make the battery boxes a bit more secure and covered for slight off-road use. Hope to have some more updates including an offroad test this spring.
Automotive parking light Tire Wheel Vehicle Hood
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Synthetic rubber Tread
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You clearly need to change out your diff gears for deeper ratioed ones.
If we do keep this tire size on here, that will be on the list. I see CJ5 axles pop up for sale pretty often, a quick axle swap would probably be easiest.
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