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Discussion Starter · #101 ·
Apparently some other people have done some pretty wild things with a LeSharo. Here's one with GM powertrain (V8) and truck axles... even using sections of the truck's frame:
4 X 4 Beach RV Camper

As a bonus, at the very end of the video we see the original Winnebago placard, showing
  • GVWR: 6,340 lb / 2,870 kg
  • GAWR-front: 3,090 lb / 1,400 kg
  • GAWR-rear: 3,250 lb / 1,470 kg

The same search yielded another interesting project:
Gil's LeRiviera V8 GM conversion
The Riviera had a front half-frame design (a GM favourite of the era) shown in the 6th and 15th photos. It was apparently bolted to LeSharo frame, as shown in the 16th photo... although that is not described in the text.

If the Renault part of the LeSharo has a stub frame like this, and the RV part of the LeSharo has a frame under or as part of the floor designed to bolt to it, then the Renault cab may not have any structural role... and may not be suitable to take structural loads.

And mostly for amusement, here's a link to the classic photo from the Winnebago factory of VW Eurovan cabs and half-chassis, bolted back-to-back for shipping. The structure behind the cab is only floor-level frame rails, so they're easy to bolt together (rails overlapping) and are not attached anywhere above the floor.
http://www.rialtainfo.com/tours/images/factory_11_ev.jpg
That 4x4 looks like it has about the same lift on it that mine will get. Doesn't look too crazy! :rolleyes: And good find on the GAWR for the rear axle! Seems like I'm going to be close, but within range. . .

Some awesome posts! The LeRiviera is my same year too ;) Hillarious on the Winnebago factory!

I am considering doing some visual modifications (probably temporary) to get this thing considered for a Burning Man mutant vehicle. . . trying to think of something hillarious/artistic that I could do with the solar array on it. . . Hmmm :p Have I mentioned rain catchment from the solar panels filtered and funneled into the water storage tank?
 

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I am not too concerned about the back axle. . . I could be wrong, but that thing just looks pretty beefy. I have been thinking about turning the rear wheels into dualys, just because it would make me feel more comfortable about the carrying capacity of the rear.
I doubt that dual rear wheels make sense. Aside from whether or not they will fit, you can probably get single tires to fit with greater load carrying capacity, so if the tires are the limitation a dually setup is probably not required to fix it.

One of the problems with a dually approach is that suitable wheels are rare down in these sizes, because no one has sold dual-rear-wheel vehicles in North America with less than 16" wheel diameter for decades, if they ever did.

The stock tire size is 215/75R14. This is an old size, mostly used only for trailers now, but you can still get motor vehicle tires in this size. Although the placard suggests that it is supposed to have load range D commercial or truck & van tires, even an ordinary passenger car tire (P215/75R14 Standard Load) has just enough capacity for the GAWR, and a common "Euro-metric" general purpose tire (215/75R14 Standard Load) has a reasonable margin.

The overall tire diameter (of a 215/75R14 tire of any type) is just under 27 inches. There are few tires left in production for a 14" wheel, but if you change up to larger diameter wheels and go a bit larger overall you should be able to get more capacity.

If you can fit in LT225/75R16 or 225/75R16 commercial tires, you can use the same ones as found on Ram ProMaster commercial vans... they're 29.3" overall diameter, and if you were to inflate them to their maximum (which is a very hard 80 psi, so don't go that high unless you have to), a pair can handle 5,000 pounds of axle load. Or - and this is what I think would be best - the tires of a single-rear-wheel Ford Transit, which are 235/65R16 commercial type... only 28" overall and even more capacity, so you could use more moderate pressure.

What tire size will fit will depend on the Leaf front, not the lifted LeSharo rear.
 

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There is a fair amount of overhang off the back-end, so the back axle will indeed take more than half of the weight. That being said, I really don't think there is any concern of reducing the load on the front! We are adding a lot of weight to the vehicle, and mainly off-setting it rear-wards about half-way (adding 1000lbs of batteries to the center.) I'm thinking the current load on the front may be at about 150% - 175%? (Rough estimate!) And it seems like this may be within reason considering how generously things tend to be rated these days. . . but more research is needed.
While we're just making educated guesses now, it is straightforward to anticipate the weight distribution between the axles. The method is the same as used in aviation to track the "weight and balance" of an aircraft. For each object, the objects mass (or weight) and distance from a reference point are listed, along with the moment (product of mass and that distance). The total of the moments, divided by the total mass, is the average distance... or the distance from the reference point to the centre of mass.

Of course not all of the LeSharo's component masses and distances are known, but you can start with one list item for the entire vehicle, and subtract what you take out (or cut off), then add what install (or weld on).
 

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So the next question is! What kind of 00 wire do I get?? Does it matter? Is stranded best? I'm guessing less stranded/flexible in this case since it doesn't need to be moved much. . . ?
The more strands, the more flexible, the more expensive.

Electrically, any will suffice.

You will want it as flexible as possible. Vibration will shatter your terminal connections for one. For another, I suspect you are seriously undervaluing how bendy you require the cable to be.

Cheap-ish heavy cable would be welding (could be used) cable, since welders need to snake and bend their lines all over the place when welding.

That looks to me like wire you'd use for permanent infrastructure wiring. Minimal stranded-ness for the length. I suspect you'd find that just about impossible to use. Tightness he's bent it to is pretty much the sharpest bends you can make and it'll spring out if you let it go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #106 ·
Ok, it's been a long long while, but believe it or not, I usually don't totally abandon projects, I just have to wait for them to resurface sometimes.

Something has come up which I am interested to discuss with all you creative people. I have been Reconditioning lead acid batteries, and i am totally amazed by the results! I follow this recipe to a T, and make enough solution to fill as many car Batteries as I want. How to recondition a car battery at home

The cost in materials is about $5.50/battery. But what's really amazing is that by all my observable means (I should really get something to measure amps i/o) these batteries seem to far outperform the lead acid they once were. They seem to perform more like a NiFe batterey in terms of their voltage response curve and temperature during heavy charging (a lot cooler than lead-acid!). I would rough guesstimate that these are out performing a new deep cycle by 4:1.

I have heard of people doing an EV with a reasonable range with 10 or 12 lead-acid Batteries.... This makes me think that if I put 20 of these in series it might make a pretty rocking pack! One that might be capable of driving a lESharo, say 50-60mi.... Alas, maybe not a LeafSharo, but I am now considering doing a more traditional conversation, since I (potentially?) just scored a diy Battery pack in the $110 range.

But I still really want that regen!! Which is why I am bringing this to you all. Where can I score an A/C motor+controller on the used/cheap/salvaged side? Something big enough for my 1,800+lb vehicle (80k, to ... 50k min? I only want to go 45 on flat.) Copart for a really totalled Leaf or Volt? ... But... Yuk. Maybe.

Where else might I look??

Did I mention these Batteries charge up to 16.5V each, and continuing giving and giving good amps at 9V? So I am thinking output of 20s pack might not be too terrible to drive all of these 400V motors you see.

This project may be dropping back into my budget of get'er'done.

Any helpful thoughts or leads on cheap regen? High efficiency drive trains? Or just a kick in the pants for good 'ol dc forklift motors in series?

Ps- I am also thinking of solar-EV Limosuines. Cheap doners, krunkxury ride, and long enough for the solar panels required :E)

Really, if I can get a prototype made, I want to build an EV upcycling business around these Batteries!
 

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Something has come up which I am interested to discuss with all you creative people. I have been Reconditioning lead acid batteries, and i am totally amazed by the results! I follow this recipe to a T, and make enough solution to fill as many car Batteries as I want. How to recondition a car battery at home

The cost in materials is about $5.50/battery. But what's really amazing is that by all my observable means (I should really get something to measure amps i/o) these batteries seem to far outperform the lead acid they once were. They seem to perform more like a NiFe batterey in terms of their voltage response curve and temperature during heavy charging (a lot cooler than lead-acid!). I would rough guesstimate that these are out performing a new deep cycle by 4:1.

Did I mention these Batteries charge up to 16.5V each, and continuing giving and giving good amps at 9V?
Epsom salts are a hydrate of magnesium sulphate. Lead-acid batteries use sulphuric acid as the electrolyte. When used to dissolve sulphate deposits magnesium sulphate is more effective than, for instance sodium sulphate. Any sulphate provides the sulphur needed for the battery to form sulphuric acid in the electrolyte as the battery is charged.

So magnesium sulphate hydrates (such as Epsom salts) can be used to recondition a battery, but the end result is still a lead-acid battery with the same operating voltages as before. The erosion of the plates by sulphation and later attack by the magnesium sulphate may create a rougher plate surface meaning more surface area and performance more like a typical starting battery than a deep-cycle battery. It would be interesting to see the results of testing the capacity of the reconditioned batteries.
 

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Discussion Starter · #108 ·
Ok, so I finally bought a motor for this project! It's not what I expected but I found a great deal, so I am hoping I can find some way to make this work.

I have a Ford Siemens, pv5133-4ws20, 250V AC 3-phase motor. I believe it's something like a 60kw motor, designed for a pick up truck.

I found this site, where it seems they have paired this motor with a Solectria 445TF

I notice the same controller for sale here on eBay:

Seem like a good fit, and good deal? I am thinking about jumping on this controller too...

Also, I am wondering about the "inverse-shaft" on this motor... Instead of a drive shaft, there's a hollow drive tube spinning in the center of this thing... What's going to be the best approach to get traction to the wheels? Some kind of transmission or transaxel? Would it be crazy to install this right between the back wheels, get the axel inserted in and turn the whole axel directly? Is this insane?

I am considering making the vehicle a hybrid electric... Powering the back wheels with the electric, and leaving all the petrol stuff intact to drive the front wheels. This way if I needed to charge, I could put the eMotor in regen and just drive it with the gas and charge at the same time. Also, because this Ford motor might be a bit underpowered at times, I could engage the petrol at the same time if I needed too~. I remember hearing about this idea for a hybrid somewhere on this forum.... Good idea? Or not as simple as it sounds...?
 

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Very interesting project.
For me as a semi-trained engineer AS degree and little experience using it outside of technical repairs.. I think you cannot make an RV fully electric outside of very low mileage use.

A hybrid makes the most sense. The chevy volt comes to mind as it's power is sufficient when it counts.. up hills etc.
You don't have to reinvent the wheel as much. Getting it to fit in front (or as a rear pusher?) is another story. And where to hide the battery pack with will then be both your coach battery pack and truly efficient hybrid generator for making 120 volts for emergency home use during brownouts or while camping. Any hybrid is a great generator due to it cycling on and off on battery only about 45 minutes out of every hour depending on draw loads. Such a setup would give you 70mpg for the first 15-25 miles or so off the battery.. and maybe around 35mpg thereafter without running out of charge ever. And to get regeneration on such a heavy vehicle will be a huge savings in fuel over the stock setup.

So you definitely want to keep the ICE.

Another solution I like is due to how I replace prius batteries for $50 after dumping the old one on ebay.. That being to do exactly as winnebago did and take a Toyota Highlander hybrid and cut it behind the front doors and mate it with the body of the coach and it's existing rear frame. Welding is old science after all. That's a serious rig with about 30mpg after all that and boy.. they run forever with little work needed.
 

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I think the Leaf parts are only a solution for the master cylinder, not for the disks, calipers, & pads (front) and drums, wheel cylinder, & shoes (rear).

Adding a vacuum pump probably is simpler. I don't know how much noise it would make or how much power it would use.
This is why, after doing much research into piecemealing EV components into my Rialta and the Lesharo my friend ended up giving away to the scrap yard.. I realized EV's are only for commuter use for two reasons. One being that the average RV sees 2-4k miles per year and the average commuter sees 20k. So the cost of the ev conversion never gets returned. Even if you think you will be driving a lot. only musicians and salespeople do really in my experience. I could be wrong but the other reason is this: An RV really needs to be able to refill or keep going if you run out of charge. So a hybrid makes tons more sense. In particular the amazing chevy volt.

Then you get to realizing how hard it really is to even convert say a Rialta into a turbo diesel with the exact same frame it was designed to go into.. petrol gas eurovan to diesel European grey market sourced eurovan conversions are not that easy to do.. or maybe that guy Noah on ROGA Facebook group made the mistake of going too new and keeping the years the same. Still, it was all VW same model just three years newer. Even with a team of engineers at his work.. it took a year to do.

So much easier to weld a volt or maybe closer in size, Toyota RAV4 or highlander hybrid onto these Rv's in the exact same way that winnebago did with the Renaul/VW front ends. And forget towing unless you really cool the tranny.Rialtas are worthless without a$250 tranny cooler add on radiator up front. easy enough job to do.but the Toyotas are reliable. just monitor the tranny oil temps or it will die so fast you won't believe it. I've seen one go in 10k miles doing the mountains of Alaska.

But I saw you got the motor already.
Why not follow the EV West model of doing such kits? Hmmm hard to say it fits here.
 
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