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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Good Morning,

I am looking for some global wisdom from folks who own, maintain and still drive their Azure Dynamics Transit Connect mini vans.

Since purchasing our Azure Transit Connect a little over a year ago for my local service business, I have had the luck to drop the battery pack to manually top balance one half of the pack (ESS1) after the main contactors welded themselves shut after returning back to our shop after a service call. All four main contactors have been replaced. The 12VDC battery was also recently replaced when the Azure diagnostic software revealed the 12VDC bus was occasionally dipping to 10VDC which triggered three DTC codes whenever the van was shifted into reverse. Worked fine in drive. Battery voltage when the van is turned off is 12.5VDC and 14.6VDC when running.

I am convinced that there is something else going here (other than being an orphaned AZD) which is causing the van to draw excessive current when accelerating. Pulling onto a freeway onramp will easily draw 130-140A from pack which exceeds the contactors 120A rating.

I had the opportunity to test drive another AZD Transit three years ago and I remember the van feeling more spirited and not so whiney. It was a 2012 verses my 2011.

So what has been your experience with your Transit Connect? Does your AZD transit Connect sound like mine in the video? I know these vehicles are orphaned along time ago but trying to get the most of what I have and perhaps help others in the process.

The software on both BMS modules, DMOC, and VCU have been flashed to the MY 2012 versions.

Thanks for your input.

https://youtu.be/AVvjq5SMUdo

Eric
 

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Welcome to the forum, and good job on working through the bugs and keeping an old EV running. Those are the perfect vehicle: an EV truck that can carry stuff.

My first thoughts are that the 120 Amp current rating of the contactors is too low for EV operation. Higher rated contactors are available these days and may provide more margin for operation.

Is the vehicle heavily loaded with tools and equipment?

140 Amps doesn't seem unreasonable for acceleration.

Is that the speedometer in the instrument panel--is it stuck?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. I appreciate your input. You're right. The perfect vehicle in my case--An EV that can carry stuff. The van is generally loaded with my tools and materials. Testing was performed when the van was unloaded. Even with a background in electronics and shade-tree ICE repair the AZD Transit has been a lesson in EV tech and patience.

Yes, I agree the contactors, standard Panasonic AEV14012's, are the nearly the same ones used in the gen 2 Toyota Prius, are underrated. I have been debating designing a drop-in contactor replacement kit for the transit that has higher current rating and equal or higher isolation rating (for safety and so not to throw isolation DTC's) but don't want to overlook something in the powertrain. I'm afraid to floor the accelerator so I keep the regen low and torque low in software -- but even when I had the torque set to high, the van seems not as spirited as the MY2012 I drove a while back on Long Island.

Is there anyone in the Northeast U.S. that has a working AZD Transit that I could simply take for a spin and compare? Will be willing to travel -- in my e-golf.

Eugene from Eugene's Green Garage in Bridgeport, CT and Dave out in California have been a tremendous help. Both have been very patient with me and a great resource and sounding wall when I wanted to drive this van into a pond in the times when the vehicle turns into more of a a project car then a work vehicle. Eugene currently has a MY2102 in his shop but t is not running due to bad cells in the pack.

The gauge on the left is the range indicator -- which is reading a little higher in our twenty degree New England climate since I have it set to "basic range estimate" in the AZD software.

Plug for Eugene: If anyone have any working cells for an AZD Connect, contact Eugene. He can be found by searching for "Eugene's Green Garage, Bridgeport, CT"

Thanks again,
Eric
 

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Yes, I agree the contactors, standard Panasonic AEV14012's,
120A is a continuous rating.

If you have an older e-golf (24kWh) you'll have the same contacters inside ;)

Max. carring current:
120A Continuity
225A 3 min.
400A 30 sec. (38mm2 wire)

welded contacters occur when disengaging under load / closing without precharge. A bigger contacter will not fix that.
 

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Hi EELLEY i have the same Transit and i have the same problem, only with the pre-charge relay on the EE2 side. Changed to relay LEAFs, same. Regarding the transmission, I have such noises, and the problem was in one bearing in the gearbox, unfortunately, the gearbox was dry and I had to fill it with oil, I also replaced the left wheel bearing. The noise is gone. Try,
I think it’s okay, it's a car!
I have another question: as I understood you made any corrections in VCU software, so how can you did it? You use TCBEV program, or another way? (We need a password)
BR (sorry for my English)
 

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Regarding the transmission, I have such noises, and the problem was in one bearing in the gearbox, unfortunately, the gearbox was dry and I had to fill it with oil, I also replaced the left wheel bearing. The noise is gone.
I own an AD Transit Connect electric which has a whining noise that seems to come from the centre front of the car and is varying with drive speed.

The noise I hear in my Transit is quite similar to what Eric reports in his youtube video linked above. I compare this to the lack of whining noise in the test drive of a factory new car shown here:

I bought the car 2-3 months ago, with the noise already there. No idea about how or when it appeared.

Iura, could you please share some info about how you solved your transmission noise problem? Which transmission bearing did you replace?

I am worrying that my transmission may lack oil and the next thing I plan to do is to check and change/fill oil on the transmission. I found a plug in the lower front part of the transmission. Is this where you filled oil, or is this plug for draining oil? I think there may also be a plug somewhat higher up and behind the CV axle seen to the left in the picture.

Wood Font Cuisine Ingredient Metal
 

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Hi to all and happy New Year.
Gnist, i don't know what was Eric's problem, but in my case we took down the gearbox, changed all bearings (its 6) and fill the new oil. It’s not a hard. I found specification, take a look before you will start.
About plug, i don’t know, maybe. We fill the oil in open box.
Also, we changed left front wheel bearing, its regular Ford part.
Nothing difficult, it is possible to do max in two days.
Good luck
 

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Good Morning,

I am looking for some global wisdom from folks who own, maintain and still drive their Azure Dynamics Transit Connect mini vans.

Since purchasing our Azure Transit Connect a little over a year ago for my local service business, I have had the luck to drop the battery pack to manually top balance one half of the pack (ESS1) after the main contactors welded themselves shut after returning back to our shop after a service call. All four main contactors have been replaced. The 12VDC battery was also recently replaced when the Azure diagnostic software revealed the 12VDC bus was occasionally dipping to 10VDC which triggered three DTC codes whenever the van was shifted into reverse. Worked fine in drive. Battery voltage when the van is turned off is 12.5VDC and 14.6VDC when running.

I am convinced that there is something else going here (other than being an orphaned AZD) which is causing the van to draw excessive current when accelerating. Pulling onto a freeway onramp will easily draw 130-140A from pack which exceeds the contactors 120A rating.

I had the opportunity to test drive another AZD Transit three years ago and I remember the van feeling more spirited and not so whiney. It was a 2012 verses my 2011.

So what has been your experience with your Transit Connect? Does your AZD transit Connect sound like mine in the video? I know these vehicles are orphaned along time ago but trying to get the most of what I have and perhaps help others in the process.

The software on both BMS modules, DMOC, and VCU have been flashed to the MY 2012 versions.

Thanks for your input.

https://youtu.be/AVvjq5
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eelley
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eelley
Good Morning,

I am looking for some global wisdom from folks who own, maintain and still drive their Azure Dynamics Transit Connect mini vans.

Since purchasing our Azure Transit Connect a little over a year ago for my local service business, I have had the luck to drop the battery pack to manually top balance one half of the pack (ESS1) after the main contactors welded themselves shut after returning back to our shop after a service call. All four main contactors have been replaced. The 12VDC battery was also recently replaced when the Azure diagnostic software revealed the 12VDC bus was occasionally dipping to 10VDC which triggered three DTC codes whenever the van was shifted into reverse. Worked fine in drive. Battery voltage when the van is turned off is 12.5VDC and 14.6VDC when running.

I am convinced that there is something else going here (other than being an orphaned AZD) which is causing the van to draw excessive current when accelerating. Pulling onto a freeway onramp will easily draw 130-140A from pack which exceeds the contactors 120A rating.

I had the opportunity to test drive another AZD Transit three years ago and I remember the van feeling more spirited and not so whiney. It was a 2012 verses my 2011.

So what has been your experience with your Transit Connect? Does your AZD transit Connect sound like mine in the video? I know these vehicles are orphaned along time ago but trying to get the most of what I have and perhaps help others in the process.

The software on both BMS modules, DMOC, and VCU have been flashed to the MY 2012 versions.

Thanks for your input.


Eric
Hi Eric
"The software on both BMS modules, DMOC, and VCU have been flashed to the MY 2012 versions."
If it possible, can you share any information how its possile to flash and what soft you use?
Thanks
 

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Gnist, i don't know what was Eric's problem, but in my case we took down the gearbox, changed all bearings (its 6) and fill the new oil. It’s not a hard. I found specification, take a look before you will start.
About plug, i don’t know, maybe. We fill the oil in open box.
Also, we changed left front wheel bearing, its regular Ford part.
Iura,

thanks for sharing and a Happy New Year to you! :)

The engineering drawings confirm that the two plugs I saw are fill and drain plugs. I'll open the fill plug this weekend to check oil status of my transmission.

Interesting that you mention the left front wheel bearing. The same wheel bearing is bad on my car, however I suspect it's not the source of the whining noise. I hear noise that I associate with a bad wheel bearing when turning to the right at about 40-50 kmh speed.

I've ordered a new wheel bearing and plan to have it changed late next week. Fingers crossed it's actually the source of the whining noise ...
 

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Iura,

thanks for sharing and a Happy New Year to you! :)

The engineering drawings confirm that the two plugs I saw are fill and drain plugs. I'll open the fill plug this weekend to check oil status of my transmission.

Interesting that you mention the left front wheel bearing. The same wheel bearing is bad on my car, however I suspect it's not the source of the whining noise. I hear noise that I associate with a bad wheel bearing when turning to the right at about 40-50 kmh speed.

I've ordered a new wheel bearing and plan to have it changed late next week. Fingers crossed it's actually the source of the whining noise ...
Hi,
I think the bad wheel bearing is a normal fault for the car.
Yes, check oil status, and if needed, change it, it will be good.
About whining noise: maybe this is the noise of a motor or HV motor inverter, and its normal? Can you compare such noises with other EV cars, maybe "Leaf"? I watched your video, very, very good car, my congratulation. What about HV part, its Ok?, what is a real range in a city?
 

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About whining noise: maybe this is the noise of a motor or HV motor inverter, and its normal? Can you compare such noises with other EV cars, maybe "Leaf"?
The noise in Eric's video is quite similar to what I'm hearing. Comparing this to the lack of noise in the test-drive video by the two Spanish (?) speaking guys, I believe the noise I'm hearing is the symptom of a fault.

What about HV part, its Ok?, what is a real range in a city?
I can't find any HV-problems on my car.

When I got the car it would not accept charging, there were no lights in the floor shifter and the shifter could only be brought out of park by pressing down in the shift lock override slot. I fixed this by replacing the worn out 12V battery and replacing a broken earth return from the floor shifter.

I get a range of around 115 km from a fully charged battery. The car is on winter tires and I'm quite happy with the range.

I have some noise from the steering servo pump and the brake booster vacuum pump. Planning to investigate those issues later.
 

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The noise in Eric's video is quite similar to what I'm hearing. Comparing this to the lack of noise in the test-drive video by the two Spanish (?) speaking guys, I believe the noise I'm hearing is the symptom of a fault.



I can't find any HV-problems on my car.

When I got the car it would not accept charging, there were no lights in the floor shifter and the shifter could only be brought out of park by pressing down in the shift lock override slot. I fixed this by replacing the worn out 12V battery and replacing a broken earth return from the floor shifter.

I get a range of around 115 km from a fully charged battery. The car is on winter tires and I'm quite happy with the range.

I have some noise from the steering servo pump and the brake booster vacuum pump. Planning to investigate those issues later.
I noticed some noises from my steering pump too, nothing done, i think that the pump is so noisily. Have you any schemes or softs to check the car, i can send you links?
 

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The noise in Eric's video is quite similar to what I'm hearing. Comparing this to the lack of noise in the test-drive video by the two Spanish (?) speaking guys, I believe the noise I'm hearing is the symptom of a fault.



I can't find any HV-problems on my car.

When I got the car it would not accept charging, there were no lights in the floor shifter and the shifter could only be brought out of park by pressing down in the shift lock override slot. I fixed this by replacing the worn out 12V battery and replacing a broken earth return from the floor shifter.

I get a range of around 115 km from a fully charged battery. The car is on winter tires and I'm quite happy with the range.

I have some noise from the steering servo pump and the brake booster vacuum pump. Planning to investigate those issues later.
Ok, I will be glad, if you share any information about your problems and successes. The car is rare, no one knows, how to repair it, any information will be helpful for us.
 

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An update.

I had the left front wheel bearing replaced which took care of the typical broken wheel bearing noise I heard when going through right hand turns.

I still have a whining noise from the centre front of the car which varies in pitch with the driving speed. The noise is unchanged when going straight or through curves both left and right. There is no difference in the noise when reversing, coasting, braking or whatever. This provided the driving speed is unchanged.

When driving slowly the whining noise has a low pitch and a beat related to the driving speed. I managed to record the noise with the transit crawling. I then uploaded the audio to youtube and played it back at one quarter of the original speed. I then counted the number of beats per minute within the noise.

When recording the noise, I used TCBEV to observe that the engine was running at around 525 RPM. Counting over a 10 second period, I found the engine noise to have a beat of around 3.65 beats per second, or 219 beats per minute. Dividing 525 by 219 I get a relationship of approx 2.4 between these two numbers. So, for every beat in the noise, the shaft coming out of the electric motor will have turned 2.4 times.


I then had a look at pictures of the internals of a BorgWarner eGearDrive 31-03 transmission published by @boekel here: http://boekel.nu/foto/14/2014-08_borg_warner_egeardrive_31-03/

In the picture below the engine drives the shaft and gear to the right which then drives the middle gear which indirectly drives the final gear and differential. The end result is a reduction of rotational speed by a factor of 8.28.

Looking at the picture, it's not possible to count the number of teeth on the first and second gears, but I estimate there are 26 teeth on the smaller first gear and 63 teeth on the second gear. Dividing 63 by 26 I get approx 2.4. This is the same number I got for the relationship between the beat in the noise I hear from the front of the car and the speed of the electric motor.

Automotive tire Crankset Gear Bicycle part Rim


Based on this, my thought is that the whining noise I hear is coming from the transmission and is related to the middle gear. Perhaps there is a damage to the wheel bearings supporting the axle going through this gear?

I am very interested in hearing what others make out of this. @iura?

I am now thinking that I probably will have to get the transmission (and probably the electric motor?) out from underneath the car, open it up and check the internals.
 

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Correct, scientific approach to the problem.(y) Did you check the oil level? If the box is dry, add some oil and listen the noise again. If you hear any differences (I think), it's more the box, then motor problem, or when you put down the box, listen for only motor noises.
Yes, I think, that drivetrain can have any kind of noises, and i have it, but not like that, and i trying not to pay attention for it.
Waiting for the news
 

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I jacked up the front of the transit, removed the steel box protecting cables passing under the right side CV-axle and opened the transmission oil fill plug.
BorgWarner 33 03 transmission fill and drain plugs

Immediately oil started flowing out. I guess around 0.2 liters was lost.

The fluid had a reddish color and seemed to be clean and uncontaminated. Viscosity appeared as I expected it to be.

I guess when the transmission was filled, the car was level and the transmission was filled to the bottom of the fill hole.

Picture shows fill plug to the left of the CV-axle
and drain-plug partly hidden behind the bracket to the right.

Now I know for sure that the reason for the whining noise is not from lack of fluid in the transmission.



With this settled I have started to look at how to get the transmission out from the engine bay.

The electric motor and the transmission are bolted together and hanging on engine mounts on both the sides of the engine bay. In addition the transmission is supported by a mount from underneath.

My current though is that to remove the transmission, I would have to:
  • place a support under the motor to take weight off the three engine mounts
  • disconnect and remove the motor controller box sitting on top of the motor and transmission. (I would love to be able to get the DMOC out of the way without having to drain coolant.)
  • remove the 12v battery, the battery box and probably some other stuff in that area.
  • remove the steel structure connecting the transmission to the left-side engine mount.
  • remove left and right cv-axles from transmission
With this done I am thinking it might be possible to remove the transmission:
  • disconnect the transmission from the bottom engine mount
  • remove the bolts that secure the transmission to the motor
  • slide the transmission away from the motor taking care not to put pressure on the motor or transmission shafts. Would also need to avoid damaging the coupler connecting the motor shaft with the transmission shaft.
@iura, you have had your transmission out from the engine bay. Did you find an easier way to do this? What can you share form your experience?
 

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Depends on the wheel bearing problem you had. If it bottomed the CV joint out, you may have race damage in those feedthrough bearings.
Thanks for your input.

I did try to check for damage to the CV joint. The wheel bearing was changed by a professional mechanic experienced in servicing transit connects. I specifically asked him if he thought there was damage to the CV joints and he did not believe there to be. He had never before heard the type of whining coming from the engine bay of my transit.
 

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I jacked up the front of the transit, removed the steel box protecting cables passing under the right side CV-axle and opened the transmission oil fill plug.
View attachment 126739
Immediately oil started flowing out. I guess around 0.2 liters was lost.

The fluid had a reddish color and seemed to be clean and uncontaminated. Viscosity appeared as I expected it to be.

I guess when the transmission was filled, the car was level and the transmission was filled to the bottom of the fill hole.

Picture shows fill plug to the left of the CV-axle
and drain-plug partly hidden behind the bracket to the right.

Now I know for sure that the reason for the whining noise is not from lack of fluid in the transmission.



With this settled I have started to look at how to get the transmission out from the engine bay.

The electric motor and the transmission are bolted together and hanging on engine mounts on both the sides of the engine bay. In addition the transmission is supported by a mount from underneath.

My current though is that to remove the transmission, I would have to:
  • place a support under the motor to take weight off the three engine mounts
  • disconnect and remove the motor controller box sitting on top of the motor and transmission. (I would love to be able to get the DMOC out of the way without having to drain coolant.)
  • remove the 12v battery, the battery box and probably some other stuff in that area.
  • remove the steel structure connecting the transmission to the left-side engine mount.
  • remove left and right cv-axles from transmission
With this done I am thinking it might be possible to remove the transmission:
  • disconnect the transmission from the bottom engine mount
  • remove the bolts that secure the transmission to the motor
  • slide the transmission away from the motor taking care not to put pressure on the motor or transmission shafts. Would also need to avoid damaging the coupler connecting the motor shaft with the transmission shaft.
@iura, you have had your transmission out from the engine bay. Did you find an easier way to do this? What can you share form your experience?
To be honest, I was not present at the disassembly, but the mechanics removed it quickly, in about three hours (the car was on a lift). The bearings already changed with me, we managed to assemble them before the evening. There were no particular problems.:)
I think it's better to compare noises step by step: raise the car, listen, remove one CV joint, listen, another, listen, and so on.
Why remove the DMOC , in my opinion it does not interfere to remove the box?
 

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Why remove the DMOC , in my opinion it does not interfere to remove the box?
Some of the bolts connecting the transmission and motor are hard to get to with the DMOC in place. Also, the DMOC is partially resting on the same steel structure that connects the transmission to the left engine mount. It might be sufficient to tilt it slightly up in the front.

@iura, I believe you mentioned that you replaced all the bearings? Do you have data on the bearings, inner/outer diameter, width, type of bearing? Looking at the pictures by @boekel, it seems that all bearings are standard deep groove ball bearings.

In another thread about the BorgWarner 31-03 transmission, @kennybobby said:

Those helical cut gears impart an axial load component to the gear shaft that must be reacted thru the bearings--but those 8-ball deep-groove radial bearings are not designed or able to carry much axial load. 'Forward' motion causes an axial load on the shaft in one direction, and 'Reverse' changes the axial load in the other direction, so both end bearings will 'get loose' over time and whine...

Angular contact ball bearings or thrust roller bearings will be required to solve the drivetrain issue.
I think this is an interesting observation.

In a BorgWarner PowerPoint presentation of the 31-03 transmission from 2011, the page below can be found. Seems they thought deep groove ball bearings was the right technology at that time.
Product Plant Organism Vegetation Font


In a Youtube video from 2018 BorgWarner show an updated design with a beefier bearing on one end of the second shaft and state that they are using tapered roller bearings. This bearing type handle axial load well.

Font Gear Line Wood Engineering


At this point I speculate that using only deep groove ball bearings in the BorgWarner 31-03 transmission turned out to be a bad decision resulting in early bearing failures. Thus the revised design.

Looking back at the Azure Transit Connect Electric today, I think it's fair to say that it in many ways was a prototype vehicle. Design errors like this has to be expected.
 
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