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My 1998 Dodge Dakota (5 speed, 2.5L) was easy to shift without the clutch after a little practice. If you timed it right and put on slight pressure the shifter just "fell" into place. I have driven manual vehicles that are harder to get right. With my '51 Dodge 1 Tonne, the choices are double clutch between gears or figure it out and skip the clutch pedal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #122 ·
Well, sometimes it seems my clutch problem has fixed itself. I borrowed a transmission jack, and was all ready to tear into it, when I decided it would be a good idea to drive it around a bit and get reminded how it was behaving. Now it works just fine. After talking to a friend with some mechanics experience about the changes I made, I was sort of leaning towards the idea that cleaning my transmission and leaving it disassembled for a year had possibly introduced corrosion on the splines - so the clutch plate was not able to float freely and therefore not disengage completely. Maybe it just need to be cycled a few times to get back into its groove? I also think that part of it might have been that I was not familiar yet with the sound the motor makes. The Hyper-9 has a very distinct hum to it, which is made more noticeable when the clutch is in and you just spin it up. I think I might have been hearing that, and imagining it was coming from the clutch.

Anyhow, I drove it another 5 miles today, and decided that it is going to need cooling for the controller to handle the hills we have here. Climbing the big hill on the way back to the shop I saw the temperature in the controller go up to I think over 70C. I ordered a cooling plate, and will plumb that into my coolant loop when it gets here.

I also fiddled with the steering a bit today, as the manual steering gearbox had lots of slop. It was rocking several inches side to side, and the steering wheel was on crooked to boot. I made a stab at aligning the tires, but I am not so sure that was the best idea. Has anyone tried getting lower rolling resistance tires, and does one see an improvement in mileage?
 

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Discussion Starter · #123 ·
Well, I think I basically completed my truck today! I had put in a new chill plate for the motor controller, and today I made some time to fill the system with coolant, and resolve a final leak (more hose clamps to the rescue!). With just forced air cooling, the controller temperature was getting too high as I climbed the big hills around here, now after 5 miles of driving, it had gotten up to about 7C over ambient, and was quickly cooling down with the water pump going.



There are still some little odd jobs that I should probably do, but I think I can basically start taking it out on the road for some longer testing trips now. I do not have great instrumentation for how much power I have used from the pack, so it will likely take some time to figure out what my functional range is. I will need to get started on my off-grid charging routine.

I feel like I may have underestimated just how much power hill climbing was going to take, and I am still a little leery of really giving it full throttle. The most power I pulled was about 45kw, and I have seen regen get up to about 7.5kw when set at 30%, and I am rolling down a big hill.

Anyway, this has been quite a project. I think I will probably sign off this thread, and start a new on about the road testing phase. More to follow.
 
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