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Looking to do my very first EV conversion. I have a 46 CJ2A that has been in my family for 40 years. My entire generation learned to drive in it at my families ranch in the Rockies. My brother managed to dork the motor 20 years ago and the poor thing has sat since.

My brother and I just inherited the ranch and have been looking for some fun toys to play there. Considering the cost of UTVs, I think getting this old Willy’s going as an EV would be fun, have sentimental value, and give me a good first toe in the water of doing an EV.

I’m hoping some of the great, experienced, folks here on the forum can help me figure out the best conversion I can do with this vehicle.

A little about the CJ2A. Curb weight is 2120lbs. The L134 engine weighs about 400lbs. Stock HP - [email protected], torque [email protected]

My application is simple, will be an on property only vehicle, need to keep 4wd capability and all 4 seats. Will do very minor off-roading, but property does have some areas of 30 degree inclines over a couple hundred feet. Range is not a big issue as it would probably only be driven 5-10 miles a day. I would like to do this on a budget of about 8k or less.

My thoughts so far:
Motor - An 11” forklift motor with specs similar to the L134 and mate it to the factory transmission and drivetrain. I have read a bit about forklift motors, but I am a bit confused on how I would set this up as most people are looking to get speed out these motors while I am looking to make it climb a tree at 5mph (like the L134 would). What kind of voltage would I run on this?

Battery - LiFePO or Leaf batteries.

Let me know what you think, I’m completely open to thoughts and opinions.
 

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Hi - great idea!

You will need volts to get high rpm from that motor
BUT you don't need high rpms!

For a road vehicle - 70 mph/4,000 rpm then I would say you would need 144 volts

But it sounds like 40 mph and 2,000 rpm is what you want
Your 11 inch motor will probably be 48v - I would say go up to about 100v

BUT if you have the controller with the motor then sticking to 48v would probably be OK

With the forklift controller which will be about 200 amps you will have plenty of torque

With a car controller (500 amps +) you may have too much torque in the lower gears

For batteries I am very impressed with my Chevy Volt pack

https://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php/2012-chevy-volt-battery-93101.html
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the info Duncan.

How well would an 11" perform at 48V? That seems like a good way to get this done on a budget using a forklift controller. Would a 13" motor provide more torque at the same voltage?

If I am understanding this correctly, volts=speed amps=torque. So, if my application is going to rely heavily on torque, will I need to find a battery with a high constant discharge rate?

Hadn't thought about the volt batteries, will have to look into those.
 

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Hi - a forklift controller will limit you in three ways - rpm, torque, and voltage

200 amps - which is about what you will get will PROBABLY be enough - but if it's not then you only have to change the controller

As far as battery current is concerned if you get a Volt Battery you would split it into the seven "48v" modules and add the two "24v" modules to get eight in parallel

200 amps divided by eight is only 25 amps

I'm pulling 1200 amps from mine!

Thinking about the 200 amps - I expect that 200 amps with an 11 inch will be MORE torque than your old IC engine ever produced - but you won't be able to rev as high - maybe 2000 rpm with 48v
 

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Great project. I love old Jeeps, and the space and versatility of the drivetrain make it a pretty straightforward platform for conversion.

Someone around here once said "the horsepower is in the batteries" and considering the output of the Wily in stock trim...you won't need much!

The Nissan Leaf is my answer to everything it seems, but availability counts for a lot. A Leaf motor is about $500 and has plenty of torque, but it will be a bit harder to adapt to the bellhousing, as not many have done it...That said, that's usually a custom affair anyway. The Leaf motor has a 10k rpm redline at around 400V, so you figure it'll do a bit over 2,000rpm at ~100V. That's about $1000 and 100lb worth of Leaf modules (12). The 24kWh battery pack is the one to get (the 30kWh had some issues), the later the year the better. The 2011 batteries lost charge pretty quickly. I believe they introduced the "lizard" battery around 2013. Volt and even Bolt battery prices are coming down in price, but I don't know much more about them than that. Whatever configuration works for your goals!

Aftermarket controller, charger, and BMS are gonna run you about $2-3k I expect. You can get away with less with a DC motor (very common setup around here), but I don't know much about them. I just bought some stuff from Thunderstruck, but haven't used it yet. Orion is another option for BMS, and there are a few different controllers depending on what motor you go with. The rest is wiring, tools, bits, and a bunch of research.

For a car that mostly sits and doesn't go far or fast...it's hard to beat an EV! Let us know if you put any kind of a build thread on a Jeep forum for the Jeepier bits...Offroad folk have a soft spot for EV conversions because you can literally do super-controlled crawling up a standing tree if you're geared for it.

Errybody loves pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the info guys. Here are a few pics of the Willy's now, plus one with my grandparents, my brother and I sitting on the hood about 1984.







 

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AH poo. I just did a basic rebuild of a 48 CJ2A for the same reasons expressed above. And as my Wife drove it around the block on it's maiden voyage I could track her progress by the loud popping due to the stuck exhaust valve on #4.

Well, I've a UQM 100 powerphase AC sitting on the floor.
Winter is coming, that's build season in ND.

Post pics as you go please. Lessons for us all.
 

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I have had zero luck finding a forklift or motor locally. No scrap yard carries them, or has even be able to point me in the direction of a local one that does. So it looks like I will have to find one online.

I found this one on Ebay, looks to be a 12" or 13"? Read through the forklift motor thread, but still feel like a dog looking at a pocket watch when it comes to telling if it's any good.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Clark-2774339-Electric-Forklift-Drive-Motor-From-a-Model-ECS25-36-48VDC/273503660299?_trkparms=aid%3D1110001%26algo%3DSPLICE.SIM%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20140131123730%26meid%3Db894e8a740ad4d0a8127668729c6c714%26pid%3D100167%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D15%26sd%3D362702124721%26itm%3D273503660299%26pmt%3D1%26noa%3D1%26pg%3D5411&_trksid=p5411.c100167.m2940

This company also sells a 48v 350A controller.

The Volt batteries are looking really, really good. The 24V and 48V modules are just right to give me lots of options. This has really go my mind rolling.

So I drop 400 lbs removing the ICE, Forklift motor is 200lbs, batteries add another 200-400 lbs. I'm only 100-200 lbs over stock!
 

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Don't try "scrap yards"

Look for Forklift repair companies or motor re-winders

My experience is that you have to go and talk to the people who actually do the work - the office wallahs will not know about their secret stores - and you need cash or beer to extract the spare they have been keeping just in case
 

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I have had zero luck finding a forklift or motor locally. No scrap yard carries them, or has even be able to point me in the direction of a local one that does. So it looks like I will have to find one online.

I found this one on Ebay, looks to be a 12" or 13"? Read through the forklift motor thread, but still feel like a dog looking at a pocket watch when it comes to telling if it's any good.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Clark-2774339-Electric-Forklift-Drive-Motor-From-a-Model-ECS25-36-48VDC/273503660299?_trkparms=aid%3D1110001%26algo%3DSPLICE.SIM%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20140131123730%26meid%3Db894e8a740ad4d0a8127668729c6c714%26pid%3D100167%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D15%26sd%3D362702124721%26itm%3D273503660299%26pmt%3D1%26noa%3D1%26pg%3D5411&_trksid=p5411.c100167.m2940

This company also sells a 48v 350A controller.

The Volt batteries are looking really, really good. The 24V and 48V modules are just right to give me lots of options. This has really go my mind rolling.

So I drop 400 lbs removing the ICE, Forklift motor is 200lbs, batteries add another 200-400 lbs. I'm only 100-200 lbs over stock!
I actually am planning a conversion with a 1948 Willys jeep! I'm glad someone else is thinking the same thing. I am looking for a daily driver. I drive about 1.5 miles to work, and I think this would be a pretty fun and useful project.

Here is a website that I found extremely helpful!
http://www.grimmjeeper.com/gears.html

This lets you put in all your gear ratios for the jeep (The willys ones are already there, you just have to pick them from a list). This lets you make some good decisions on your motor.

I'm looking at the AC-34 @48v. Here is the power graph for that motor

This lets me make all sorts of decisions. I can see the power band for the motor goes all the way to about 2,000 rpms. At 2,000 RPMs the jeep will be moving at 32mph in 3rd gear. That is just about perfect! If you can get your hands on the power graphs for the motor you are purchasing, you should be able to use that gear ratio page to figure out if that will work for you.

It looks like I am going about it backwards from you. I am planning on building the battery myself, and then buying the motor mostly new and put together. I can't wait to see what you end up doing! :D
 

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I actually am planning a conversion with a 1948 Willys jeep! I'm glad someone else is thinking the same thing. I am looking for a daily driver. I drive about 1.5 miles to work, and I think this would be a pretty fun and useful project.

Here is a website that I found extremely helpful!
http://www.grimmjeeper.com/gears.html

This lets you put in all your gear ratios for the jeep (The willys ones are already there, you just have to pick them from a list). This lets you make some good decisions on your motor.

I'm looking at the AC-34 @48v. Here is the power graph for that motor

This lets me make all sorts of decisions. I can see the power band for the motor goes all the way to about 2,000 rpms. At 2,000 RPMs the jeep will be moving at 32mph in 3rd gear. That is just about perfect! If you can get your hands on the power graphs for the motor you are purchasing, you should be able to use that gear ratio page to figure out if that will work for you.

It looks like I am going about it backwards from you. I am planning on building the battery myself, and then buying the motor mostly new and put together. I can't wait to see what you end up doing! :D
Thanks for the links, the gear ratio one will be really helpful. I had looked at the AC-35 motor, but I don't think it has enough continuous torque to do well in my application. I will likely be pulling lots of steep grades as our property if fairly rugged. I've got my feelers out for a nice used motor, but no dice yet.

Speaking of the AC-35 motor. I just came across one on eBay right now for $1500 (https://www.ebay.com/itm/HPEVS-AC-35-Motor-transmission/372807959691?hash=item56cd16048b:g:eZIAAOSwrL9dqQxP)

I have considered building my own battery pack as well, but it is hard to beat the energy density and plug and play option of some of the prebuilt packs.

Good luck with your build and make sure you start a thread on it, would love to see it!
 
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