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'71 Wagoneer

4319 Views 60 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  sierrablue
Well, I'm new here. My daily driver is a '71 Jeep Wagoneer--I'll list the specs below for anyone who's interested. I can add links to my Full Sized Jeep forum build threads too, for anyone who's interested.

So a little background, I just turned 18, and am looking to start a degree in mechanical engineering next fall. I've grown up with a bunch of cars, our newest being a '96--I took to older cars after my parents. When I was born we had 4, now we're up to 6, one of them being my Jeep. We had 7 briefly, when I had two Jeeps for a few months. I'm also super into the outdoors and just love being outside--biking, hiking, kayaking, white water rafting, etc.

Back in 6th grade I learned about what releasing large amounts of CO2 is doing to the planet, and since then have been trying to figure out the best way to make the classics I know and like, sustainable. I learned more about the other advantages and everything of EVs later, but that was what got me on this path.

Back to the Jeep, I want to keep it looking mostly stock. I'm not looking for a massive lift and massive tires--there's no reason for it. I want to keep it as a 4x4 daily driver/family wagon. I want to keep the bench seats, install my rear shoulder belts (fronts are already done), maybe shave some weight. I'd like at least a 300 mile range, which is what it has now, and similar power to what it has now.

Note: Right now I'm gonna have to be paying for college--unless I find some incredible deal, I'm not doing a conversion in the immediate future. I just can't, financially, and because it's
my daily--I can't just take it down for a few months.

So initially I wanted to retain the factory transfer case, and tie one or two motors to a three on the tree for the Jeep. Then I could put batteries in place of the gas tank, exhaust, and engine, and if I moved the spare tire to right under the hood (presumably above some batteries there). That would open up a ton of space behind the rear axle, which would also keep the weight low. I figure the controller can go behind the dash, as there is a lot of space there, and it would keep it dry. Otherwise it can go up on the firewall somewhere.

I decided that that idea wasn't the best, just because the drivetrain is so naturally inefficient. In 2wd it would have to go through the transmission, transfer case, two u joints (one of which is at a not super great angle), and through the Dana 44 diff and axles. Now, it has locking hubs, so the front driveline wouldn't have to be spun, but still, that's not a great way to use your power.

So then I've been trying to figure out the best way to improve the efficiency, and about the only one is to put the motors at the diff, either with fully independent suspension swapped in, or with a solid axle built to bolt right into the factory leaf springs. Probably I would still use the Dana 44 outers, so I could even still retain the locking hubs and 2wd option if I wanted to.

My other idea is to do fully independent suspension on all 4 wheels. Plus side there is it makes it have less unsprung weight, and it should handle better. Down side is that'd be a lot more fabrication, it'd add some overall weight, and in order to give it decent, Jeep-style flex, I'd have to do long control arms and would probahly want to go for coil overs.

Obviously I have to have regular brakes (legally), although I want regen to do most of the work. I also want to retail the original gauges (I have the speedometer, fuel, and temp gauges, an amp light, and an oil light). I want to use all LEDs to minimize draw.

It still has crank windows, a manual seat, no rear defrost or wipers, non power brakes, etc. I plan to keep it that way, although I may wire in power mirrors, but those shouldn't be drawing any power unless you're adjusting them. I have a modern (but original looking) sound system. I know heated seats are the best way to go for an EV heater system, and that's not my *** option, but if that's what needs to happen, that's what needs to happen. I plan to do Toyota electric power steering on it, and have it shut off at 30 mph or so.

I know it's heavy, and the aero is awful, but that's my goal. Hopefully some people will be interested, and be able to help me out with my dumb questions as I learn more. I've been hearing a lot about new battery technology and I'm excited to see where that goes too.

Current specs:
-stock (Jeep put them in) Buick 350, Buick original 4-barrel intake, HEI distributor
-TH400 automatic transmission
-Dana 20 transfer case
-stock Dana 44 rear end (6-lug conversion)
-'74-'76 Wagoneer D44 front end (6-lug, disc brakes)
-custom headliner
-3"tailpipe, Flowmaster 60 or 80 series
-225/75r15 tires (needs new ones but I'm sticking with the size
-steel wheels w/hubcaps (will be going to stock Jeep forged aluminum slots, from a '76)
-braided stainless steel brake hoses (well bled)
-LEDs in place of most lights, plugged into stock sockets
-custom headliner
-front shoulder belts, have to build some brackets and install them and I'll have rears



I'm sure there's stuff I've forgotten but that's all I can think of right now.

Thanks in advance!
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It's mostly filtered and recycled. Sometimes they put it into oils for combustion engines again, however a lot of people don't like the idea of not using "new" oil(馃檮馃檮馃檮馃檮馃檮馃檮馃檮), and Valvoline's 50% recycled and 50% new (Nextgen I believe it was called), fell through for this reason. Otherwise it gets filtered and then burned in things like Union Pacific's steam program (which are incredibly cool but also not exactly low emissions).

Also if they're like the FSJs, some of it ends up wherever it's been parked...馃憖
Thanks!
FSJs don't leak oil, but they mark their territory. :)
150kWh+? this will be fun to follow. Why not opt for a smaller battery pack to save on weight and expenses and attach a fast charger to the car? Which school do you go to that you need to drive 300 miles for per day? Real CO2 savings would be to move closer to the school I bet (speculation not backed up by anything)
150kWh+? this will be fun to follow. Why not opt for a smaller battery pack to save on weight and expenses and attach a fast charger to the car? Which school do you go to that you need to drive 300 miles for per day? Real CO2 savings would be to move closer to the school I bet (speculation not backed up by anything)
150+ because I have a car with the aerodynamics of a barn door and that weighs the same as two '99 Subaru Impreza GC8s. Saving weight w/o basically building a new one, on that scale, is absolutely pointless. At that point I should build a homemade aluminum tube chassis and a fiberglass body, using the original for a title and to make the body lines match up. Also it has a full frame, and if you have the V-8 and upgraded brakes (which I do), it's rated for like 6000 lbs of towing (though it doesn't have the wheelbase to really deal with that not gonna lie), and is just a very very overbuilt SUV. It's literally an overbuilt 4x4 half truck with a station wagon body slapped on (ok the frames are very different between the wagons and the trucks, but they are built to very similar strength standards).

Also I would like to (making the incredibly bold assumption that I ever find someone, that is) have a family someday, and enjoy being able to go places. I plan to keep the Jeep, and I don't want to have to stop at every single town to recharge it for hours. At that point I'll just load down my commuter bike and trailer. And I plan to bike a lot for commuting in college, however the college I have committed to is a 13+ hour drive from my house. And as I mentioned previously, I'm not doing the conversion in the immediate future, for two big reasons: 1) I don't have the time or resources (including money and not having done as much research as I'd like, hence I'm here), and 2) we're at kind of a critical turning point in EV tech, with new battery stuff coming out from Europe (and the Americas too), it seems a shame to build something on old technology that's going to be behind the times (and show it when I'm frustrated that I can't get from a to b in one shot) in six months. It's not just about the emissions--it's also about the reliability and long-term cost, even if emissions are my primary concern.
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Thanks!
FSJs don't leak oil, but they mark their territory. :)
No problem!
That's fair :D
150 is overkill.

I was planning 180 for the F-450 which is about double your curb weight. The stock market has put that battery gobbling project on hold.

Your money is better spent on fast charging than on lugging around too much mass.
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You running around the continent with your trailer queen at 9mpg with a 5 ton rig is not saving the planet. So yeah, we can all agree that you are not doing anything but consume max petroleum, but you never did sign up as a "greenie" - this is merely a sucker exploit for you to make money as an "expert".
ELC has actually designed & built a DIY EV (have you?)
...& is now going "out of his way" to share this technology (& what & how he did it) with the "off road" folks
...& he should be praised (y) not ridiculed :confused:

Shitting on a new generation of kids wanting to make a difference is not cool - it shows you're an uninformed ass. OP is a lot more informed, as are most kids...they are always the ones the fix the older generations f*ups and are naive, motivated, innovators.
The older generation (who has experience doing stuff) are who train & educate the youth
...& after we train them...maybe...hopefully they can help fix things
As for "older generations f*ups", were ALL learning as we go

Remember, things like Asbestos
...or adding Lead to things like paint & gasoline
...or even internal combustion engines, were very useful & seemed like a good idea, at the time

Shitting on that enthusiasm is not cool,
But, as adults it's our job (older generations) to help "inform the youth"
...& question "wild ideas" (like a 300 mile range in an old DIY EV Jeep)

Converting a 15mpg truck to 60MPGe is OP doing his part
That's "if" it ever gets finished & put "back on the road" (which LBH doesn't always happen)
...& "blowing" 20K - 25K to convert an old Jeep to an EV, IM(adult)O should be questioned

Some of us here are changing it for the better as we speak.
Please elaborate ;)
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150 is overkill.

I was planning 180 for the F-450 which is about double your curb weight. The stock market has put that battery gobbling project on hold.

Your money is better spent on fast charging than on lugging around too much mass.
So how many Kwh SHOULD I be looking at? And
how much range would you expect with that? Like I said, I want to be able to actually drive it on long trips, and I don't want to have to worry about "can I make it the 30 miles to town in this weather?" If I keep it at the height it's at, and have 4x4 still, it will absolutely be able to make it--assuming I don't run out of energy.
ELC has actually designed & built a DIY EV (have you?)
...& is now going "out of his way" to share this technology (& what & how he did it) with the "off road" folks
...& he should be praised (y) not ridiculed :confused:


The older generation (who has experience doing stuff) are who train & educate the youth
...& after we train them...maybe...hopefully they can help fix things
As for "older generations f*ups", were ALL learning as we go

Remember, things like Asbestos
...or adding Lead to things like paint & gasoline
...or even internal combustion engines, were very useful & seemed like a good idea, at the time


But, as adults it's our job (older generations) to help "inform the youth"
...& question "wild ideas" (like a 300 mile range in an old DIY EV Jeep)


That's "if" it ever gets finished & put "back on the road" (which LBH doesn't always happen)
...& "blowing" 20K - 25K to convert an old Jeep to an EV, IM(adult)O should be questioned


Please elaborate ;)
I agree with most of what you said here--I just have no idea how to say a lot of it w/o the potential of ticking people off (something I don't like to do).

If I go through with it, which I would love to, only reason it would not happen is if I wreck it or decide to buy a new Alpha (the Californian EV company not the European company). Or both. The only other thing would be it I wind up being single and don't need a full sized station wagon for myself, in which case I'd wanna build a Subi or a Mustang or something. The body and frame are solid on the Jeep, and it runs and drives as is. It's not going to turn into one of those "well, while I'm at it" things where it ends up just sitting for years.

The way I see it, if it's a bad candidate for an EV conversion, then it's an awful candidate to keep burning gas (or diesel, or whatever it's burning). And $20-25k? Still way cheaper than a new car (a new car that presumably still sucks gas or has expensive software updates, or what have you), and it looks and functions WAY better than a new car. Also, at 12k miles a year (which is what I'm at now), an EV conversion will pay off after 5-7 years, in oil and gasoline alone. Assuming in that time that NOTHING else needed done to the combustion engine (which we all know is never gonna happen). Now, that money still needs to be set aside for $15k (hopefully tops) in 10-20 years for new batteries when the ones in it replaced.
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You can buy a Chevy Bolt EV for $18k after rebates and tax credits...The ID2 from VW is a hatch that will likely be $25-30k.

You'll see lots of new cars for the same or less $$ than a conversion. As far as going any distance with a DIY that's not a trailer queen, you need to understand NOBODY will touch a DIY for repairs on the road.

As I said, batteries are expensive - the solar twerps have seen to that since they are happy to not pay lead-acid prices, From what I can tell, they are the ones propping up pack, cell and module prices. There are over 3M Model 3's out there and it's still $7k for a pack.

The reality of an EV is you "fill" it every day at home, at night. What's the realistic range you need for your 95th percentile daily use? That other 5% you can rent or use an ICE. Example, the Bolt is my daily, but if I need to haul, or if I'm high centering on snow on the driveway, out comes the 4x4 ICE pig. Not counting this strange, incessant, snow we've had the past three weeks, the ICE truck sits an average of two months between use.

As I said, build for that 95th percentile, and if you are foolish enough to venture out beyond 200 miles (AAA premium tow distance), build a cooling system for the battery pack where you can DC fast charge it. It's a lot cheaper to rent or keep a standby ICE, though, and hauling around an extra ton of battery daily is very poor engineering, IMO.

If you are DIY an EV, you have a place to charge. Daily.
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But again, I don't like new cars. The screens and plastic everywhere, their general external size vs. internal size is just stupid to me. And I don't like the leather, personally. It would drive me crazy being inside a cramped new car (esp. a Bolt or a little VW thing)(not to be confused with a VW Thing...). Also, I don't want two cars of problems to deal with.

I don't plan to haul trailers like at all. I have the trailer hitch pretty much exclusively for carrying the bikes, and maybe for occasionally yanking stuck people. It's nice to know that I can haul a trailer, but that's not what I do.

What I'm hearing is I should sell the Jeep and buy a 2.3L Fox Body Mustang and build it the way I want it (keep it a 4 cylinder short term and electric ultimately). But that's not my goal here. I'm asking how to build this existing Jeep for my given goals, not what my goals should be.

Looking at any ICE car that is halfway cool, I've noticed that if you ask about improving mileage/etc., they always tell you you're using the wrong car. You ask about improving Jeep mileage and they say to buy a Subi. You ask about improving Subis and they say buy a Honda (at which point you're at a generic, boring, and not especially capable car). You buy the Honda and ask, and they tell you to buy a Prius. You buy a Prius and they tell you to buy a Tesla. You buy a Tesla and everyone rips on you because of the stereotypes, and you forget about the outside world. Oh, and you're in debt at least $80k for a good one.

My point with the above paragraph is that no matter what I pick, people are GOING to take issue with it and tell me I'm doing it wrong. I want to know how to make this Jeep, that I like, except for the fact that it has an inefficient ICE setup, not have an ICE setup. And I want to do it right w/o compromising the Jeep.

I realize I'm stubborn and/or a dreamer, buy whatever you call it, I know the technology is there. And maybe it's not the BEST setup ever, but there are far worse options.

Goals:
-300ish mile range--can be shorter to start to keep price down. I plan to drive it in the cold and snow--I need to know it won't leave me stranded
-similar power as the SBB V8 (to the wheels, not the flywheel)
-Use existing '71 Wagoneer frame and body
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So what are you guys thinking as far as the fully independent suspension swap vs. building axles to bolt in to the existing leaf springs (and probably keeping the Dana 44 outers)?

I'm kind of leaning towards the second option because then I can retain the locking hubs (and thus 2wd) (I would do CV joints in the axle), and it'll still handle pretty much the same, so it should feel more or less stock, despite being totally different. It's less fabrication and I'm clearly not going to be autocrossing it or anything.

Also, with the regen braking, could I just take the rear brakes off and run a single master cylinder for the fronts? Save some weight (and headaches)?
Let me guess, Remy posted something insulting and mean spirited directed at me? Thanks @Functional Artist for defending me, but honestly you should just put him on Ignore. I put him on ignore a few months ago and my forum experience is so much nicer not having to read his mean, nitpicking, poindexter garbage.

@sierrablue Sounds like you do have some realistic battery size estimates in mind already so go for it. As for switching to independent suspension, that probably isn't realistic. The only reasonable way I can think to do it would be to body swap your Jeep onto a newer SUV chassis like a Ford Explorer or something. Lots of work, probably more than even EV conversion. The whole point of a "Jeep" is the solid front and rear axles and heavy duty transfer case. That's how they can perform offroad. If you don't offroad then I can see going to independent but that's a step backwards IMO.

Regen will help but don't remove physical brake parts. At high battery you can't regen but you need to still be able to stop :)

Fox body Mustang honestly will probably easier to obtain your goals, and would be a sweet conversion too.


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You get zero regen with a full battery...

Regen also simply does not have the stopping power that friction brakes do.

A motor vehicle is not road legal if it does not have brakes on all wheels (FMVSS). It also needs the redundancy in the event of a failure of one braking system (forward or rear) - FMVSS.

Go ahead and ignore me. Your loss, like his. He posts lies and deceptions that are out of context or just ignorant and his rebuttal is to encourage others to ignore those who expose him so he can continue to do so, unchecked. A book-burner.
Regen will help but don't remove physical brake parts. At high battery you can't regen but you need to still be able to stop :)
True... and it's not just the high battery charge case that the friction brakes need to cover.
Yeah I realize that regen only goes so far. I think I read somewhere that the regen on trains for instance, yes they have SOME batteries, but most of the excess power is released as heat? I mean I know they have physical brakes too, and that it sucks to lose that excess power as heat like regular brakes do, but is there a way you can set it up to bleed the energy that way?

Yeah I know I have to keep hydraulic brakes of some sort. I'm hoping to downsize them though if I can, although maybe I don't want to. I'm kind of gathering that regen is a lot less like regular brakes and more like me driving the Jeep as it is now with no overdrive--if I don't drive it fast (which can be a lot of fun ngl...), I can basically drive it with one foot, using the brakes for sudden stuff and to hold it back at a stop. Maybe a little moreso (like engine braking, downshifting?)(only reasons I don't use that are 1) it brings the revs up and thus hurts mileage, and 2) w/o the brake lights coming on I'm afraid I'm gonna get rear-ended)(I do like to use it on ice because it keeps the wheels from actually locking but slows them down rapidly), I don't know...
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So from a mechanical aspect, I'm kind of thinking build a motor/gearbox assembly that goes right in the middle, and figuring out how to mount the D44 axle tubes up to it, and run CV joints instead of u joints in the front. I know the D44 really well (and like it); it would allow me to retain locking hubs, so in the summer it will drive like a normal rwd car, reduce wear and such on the front end, and should improve range since I won't have to be spinning the front end all of the time; AND it would make it easy to use the factory springs+perches, as well as retaining the wheels (it'd still LOOK bone stock, and let's be honest, very 1970s).

My two concerns with that plan are 1) whether or not that would be too much weight for the center of the axle, although as I think about it more, if it's right in the middle, it shouldn't be a problem... and 2) in the rear, yes the frame and floor pan go up a lot for the axle, but there's a pretty good sized cross member right there...I'm worried it might add too much height and either a) hit the floor/cross member, or b) significantly reduce my ground clearance. Hmmmmmm...this will take some drawing and calculating.,,
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Lot of stuff but yeah regen is like engine braking. High regen is like engine braking in a low gear, it can slow you down on a hurry.

Most EV VCUs can turn the brake lights on when regen happens.
Sweet! Thanks for all the insight and patience--I realize I'm not super well-versed in EV conversions yet.
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