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1996 Toyota Land Cruiser
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This truck was advertised on here for a couple of years: Toyota Truck Conversion

I ended up buying it on a leap of faith and it turned out to be a diamond in the rough! Sad story with this truck, the owner converted it about 10 years ago spent a bunch of money on it but before he installed batteries he took his own life. I don't know the specifics but having experienced that type of event with friends and family I know the specifics don't really matter. I can tell he loved this truck and must have spent hours and hours and hours on it. It's a shame he was never able to drive his creation.

I paid $1000 for this truck but I had to drive 30 hours to get it and 30 hours back home. And I promised the family I would finish it and not just part it out.

Here's the truck. It's a 1988 with 200k ish miles. Pretty dang good shape no dents really and the interior is still good with no tears or cracks.






Has a crazy custom instrument cluster which is pretty sweet IMO





Plugs on the front BEFORE Nissan did it!








Ok so now the weird part. This whole truck was built around a house AC unit! Yes! This whole truck was built around the AC in the back here is the electronics panel:



Behind the panel is the AC, it's very hard to see. But you can see the 5000 watt inverter that was used to run it!!! I will be removing all the AC stuff, it's just not important for me. I guess AC is important in that region haha!





This motor has never been run except for testing at low voltage and it has never even been pushed out of the garage until I got it. This is just corrosion from the environment. I am assuming it's all just cosmetic...

The conversion does look complete, however. I am excited to hook it up to 144 volts and see what it does!

Parts list that came with the vehicle. Looks like all high quality stuff. Probably similar to what's on the market nowadays honestly.





Assuming it all works, getting it all for $1000 + $800 in gas is a bargain! Assuming it all still works...

 

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$1000 eh? Hard to beat that for a nearly finished project. Truck looks great.

I love quirky solutions, I hope you at least give the AC an attempt before yanking it out. Never seen that before.

I think it's kind of you to complete someone else's project, though, the motivation is that you have a nearly-complete project too, so, probably the best decision for you too.

My EV project was also born out of someone passing away, and I drove 3000 miles round' to get it. But I waited until his family were literally going to call the scrapyard to shred the car before I adopted it. No one in the car community wanted it. I think he was doing a V8 conversion on a small car. I had no interest in pursuing it, and, it was barely started when I bought 2 of his cars (to merge), and got someone else to buy the 3rd.

Shame to hear about the owner taking his own life. I think that people suffering from depression can often benefit from something larger to sink their teeth into and look forward too, helps the minutia of the day fade away. Sad to know he never got to see it running. Similarly, that's part of why I started my EV project, not depression as much as anticipating I might be headed that way, and wanted a bit more of a positive anchor that wasn't dependent on or involving other people.
 

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This doesn't have anything to do with the EV conversion, but...

The truck appears to have dual rear wheels, with the outer wheel missing on the driver's side, but perhaps it just has very different tire sizes on the left and right rear, or a spacer behind the passenger side rear wheel. It does not appear to have a proper full-floating rear axle designed for dual wheels (as indicated by the five-bolt pattern on the driver's side), so it might have one of the goofy and potentially unsafe "dually conversions" which were thrown together to put more tires under the rear of overloaded motorhomes built on Toyota truck chassis; in this case, they would widen the tire setup to look better under the wide rear body. If it does have an adapter setup or spacer on the other side, consider replacing all that junk with properly fitted wheels and tires.
 

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1996 Toyota Land Cruiser
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
No duallies, just single rears. The spare has a little less offset and tucks up more. Also the custom rear cab is extremely heavy. On the inside it is fully built and welded thick aluminum. the rear had supplemental air springs added, but they were rotted and collapsed. First order of business will be to cut out as much of the un-needed metal as possible.
 

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At 144 volts, it appears to have been set up for twelve 12V lead-acid batteries, with some under the hood. Where do the rest go? Is it excessively heavy even without batteries? It would be good to know specifically where you stand before launching into modifications.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Yeah my guess was the batteries were intended to go under the hood. There is plenty of space for 12 of them. The weight in the back is all from the custom bed work on the inside. I will try to get some photos of it when I get to it. I have by no means abandoned my Land Cruiser project and that is my main focus still so this is my side project. This truck is also super moldy and everything so I'm avoiding getting inside it until I get a chance to properly clean it.

His father said that he bought the first 3 batteries and that's what's under the hood. It was enough to spin the tires on jack stands and test the systems but not move the vehicle. He needed "6 more" I guess for 108v which might be minimal viable voltage to drive it around.

e: I have been collecting old car batteries and have more than 12 of them to choose from so my plan is to check it over and then power it up and see what it does with the right voltage. From there I will plan next steps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Must be silver truck energy in the air tonight. I sent off paperwork for title work on this truck today right before you bumped it.

If anyone is in the Denver area and wants to mess with an EV but doesn't have one themselves you are welcome to come join my madness and start with this truck!
 

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1971 GMC 1500
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Must be silver truck energy in the air tonight. I sent off paperwork for title work on this truck today right before you bumped it.

If anyone is in the Denver area and wants to mess with an EV but doesn't have one themselves you are welcome to come join my madness and start with this truck!
checking SOUTHWEST direct flights now... please hold, ha ha
 

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OK, there they are the batteries, I totally missed that scrolling (I mean reading) your entire thread before. I am not a purist or one of them even weight distribution race guys, I am just wondering how having what looks like maybe 6 (four on top and what maybe 2 below) heavy batteries across the top of the engine bay in FRONT of the wheel wells impact the vehicle handling. And yes of course I see the elephant camper in the back of the truck, I am just sayin' ha ha. I am converting a 1971 GMC 1/2 ton truck so just looking for ideas on where I want to place my batteries, so yeah just spit ballin'
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Yeah I also don't think that the battery location is very well thought out in this truck at all. Or the overall build in general. Right now my plan is to add batteries and test the truck as-is and then strip it all down and start over. Probably a LEAF battery under the bed between the frame rails if it will fit. A little truck like this might exceed 100 miles range on a 30kwh LEAF battery and performance should be decent with 100hp and 5 gears to choose from.

Again if anyone is in the Denver area and wants to screw with an EV I have batteries on the shelf to test this truck I just am focusing 100% on my Land Cruiser at the moment.
 

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Probably a LEAF battery under the bed between the frame rails if it will fit.
I was thinking exactly the same thing on my '71 but the leaf battery pack is like 4' wide and the space between my frame rails is only like 3' and it's a V8 truck so you may wanna measure yours. I love following this frankentruck build (hope I am not offending you, mine is uglier than that, ha ha) lets finger out the battery placement together, my Plan B is to just put it in the bed of the truck maybe upside down to still have a shallow flat bed for when I transport a Christmas tree once a year, ha ha
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I was thinking exactly the same thing on my '71 but the leaf battery pack is like 4' wide and the space between my frame rails is only like 3' and it's a V8 truck so you may wanna measure yours. I love following this frankentruck build (hope I am not offending you, mine is uglier than that, ha ha) lets finger out the battery placement together, my Plan B is to just put it in the bed of the truck maybe upside down to still have a shallow flat bed for when I transport a Christmas tree once a year, ha ha
Yeah probably it's not as simple as that. I like your idea about turning it upside down and into a new bed floor. The LEAF pack is really strong reinforced steel designed to take on speed bumps and curb and anything else on the highways and byways. Ultimately I need to open the pack anyway and reconfigure for 144v and have a custom BMS so who knows what the end result will be.
 

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can you share more about your custom BMS please which one you chose and why, I am completely ignorant when it comes to BMSing but I am also considering the 2016 Leaf 30 kWh battery

I would like to find something that is plug and play so that I don't need to break the seal on that 5 year old battery

also if you know how to test the remaining life of the Leaf battery pack prior to buying it that would be really helpful as well, I think some of the older ones are sold when they hit 50% capacity so a 24 kWh ends up being just a 12 kWh
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
can you share more about your custom BMS please which one you chose and why, I am completely ignorant when it comes to BMSing but I am also considering the 2016 Leaf 30 kWh battery

I would like to find something that is plug and play so that I don't need to break the seal on that 5 year old battery

also if you know how to test the remaining life of the Leaf battery pack prior to buying it that would be really helpful as well, I think some of the older ones are sold when they hit 50% capacity so a 73 kWh ends up being just a 36 kWh
First you will have to open the pack to use another BMS and reconfigure for a different voltage. No way around it. The LEAF BMS is inside the battery box and all the cells are in series so if you want lower voltage they need to be split up and paralleled. I'll probably use a Daly BMS or similar with Bluetooth etc.

You can download the app LeafSpy and plug in to the OBD on a LEAF and see all the battery stats including actual capacity. I tested my 2013 24kwh and it has only 17kwh of usable capacity left which is about normal. You have to do that with the car fully together I don't know how you would measure capacity with the pack outside of a vehicle.

You can count on LEAF packs degrading all about the same rate. The newer the LEAF the more healthy the battery, generally.

Tire Wheel Motor vehicle Automotive tire Hood


Hood Wood Publication Motor vehicle Grille


Rectangle Plot Slope Font Parallel
 

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also if you know how to test the remaining life of the Leaf battery pack prior to buying it that would be really helpful as well, I think some of the older ones are sold when they hit 50% capacity so a 73 kWh ends up being just a 36 kWh
There has never been a Leaf pack with as much as 73 kWh capacity. The Leaf Plus or Leaf+ pack is rated at 63 kWh, and none of them are even four years old yet; any Leaf prior to model year 2018 had no more than 36 kWh when new. Yes, that means that truly early Leaf packs, which were 24 kWh when new, may have 12 kWh or less capacity now.
 

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just came across this Wolf Tronix video called Solectria E10, Lithium Ion Battery Upgrade, Part3 where he does three cool things to his 2013 Nissan Leaf donor battery pack:

1. jumpers the Leaf battery safety switch plug thingie because his battery did not come with one
2. turns the battery relays on outside the vehicle without any stock harnesses
3. is able to read the battery voltage with a basic multimeter

hope you find this useful
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I wanted to put the word out to anyone in the Denver area who wants to learn about EV conversions etc you can work on this truck! I have tools and parts and batteries etc we just need to put some elbow grease into it. I'm currently focused on my other project so this one is just sitting but it's a perfect learning tool to get your feet wet!

 
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