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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

Building up a Jeep CJ10 ute which I would like to convert to EV. The original motor is a woefully under powered 3.3L straight six diesel engine, with a whopping 60kW and 237Nm, joined to a 4 speed gearbox. Safe to say I'd like to improve the performance a little.

I'd like to keep the transfer case for low range 4WD, but I'd like to ditch the gearbox. Getting rid of the gearbox and diesel engine means there is a massive amount of space so motor size shouldn't be an issue. Given it's a 4WD it will be important that the motor is robust and sealed though.

From my calculations I'm looking for a motor with around 150kW to be equivalent to the old motor and gearbox.

Is there a recommended motor for vehicles of this size? Budget isn't too much of an issue as I'd rather get the motor right the first time.

Cheers!
 

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A $500 leaf motor can be driven to about that power level,

OEM controller and gearbox could be adapted with some skill and canbus trickery documented in various places here.

As toward 4wd , I think it easier to keep the drivetrain stock save a manual XMSN conversion , otherwise you will need a motor for each axle which gets complex.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
A $500 leaf motor can be driven to about that power level,

OEM controller and gearbox could be adapted with some skill and canbus trickery documented in various places here.

As toward 4wd , I think it easier to keep the drivetrain stock save a manual XMSN conversion , otherwise you will need a motor for each axle which gets complex.
Would a Leaf motor be reliable if it's driven above the stock power level? Any issues with getting parts/servicing on a repurposed motor? I plan to keep this for a while so long term reliability is a concern.

Keeping the transfer case makes the drivetrain very easy, shouldn't have any issue there, and I expect it to be easy enough to adapt any motor to a transfer case. I also have a fairly wide range of gearing to choose from if need be.

Thanks!
 

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Would a Leaf motor be reliable if it's driven above the stock power level? Any issues with getting parts/servicing on a repurposed motor? I plan to keep this for a while so long term reliability is a concern.

Keeping the transfer case makes the drivetrain very easy, shouldn't have any issue there, and I expect it to be easy enough to adapt any motor to a transfer case. I also have a fairly wide range of gearing to choose from if need be.

Thanks!
Depends, are you going to continuously draw 150kw?

If not then yes it would be very reliable, they are good with cooling to a continuous 100kw with intermittent peaks above that perfectly acceptable.

You would need to ensure you are geared down enough as these motors are happiest at high rpm.


In terms of parts And service no hobbiest motor has any such support for long, repurposing an OEM solution gives you the largest wrecker yard selection should something break.

DIY = no support
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Would a Leaf motor be reliable if it's driven above the stock power level? Any issues with getting parts/servicing on a repurposed motor? I plan to keep this for a while so long term reliability is a concern.

Keeping the transfer case makes the drivetrain very easy, shouldn't have any issue there, and I expect it to be easy enough to adapt any motor to a transfer case. I also have a fairly wide range of gearing to choose from if need be.

Thanks!
Depends, are you going to continuously draw 150kw?

If not then yes it would be very reliable, they are good with cooling to a continuous 100kw with intermittent peaks above that perfectly acceptable.

You would need to ensure you are geared down enough as these motors are happiest at high rpm.


In terms of parts And service no hobbiest motor has any such support for long, repurposing an OEM solution gives you the largest wrecker yard selection should something break.

DIY = no support
My gut feel is 100kW constant is going to struggle, but I haven't got any experience with EV so I'm not sure how well it translates to comparing with an IC and gearbox.

I can gear down to 5.89:1, or with some work down to 7.17:1. The transfer case is 1:1 in high range, but gives me the option of a 3:1 reduction as well. If I had to go all out I could get an Atlas transfer case with multiple reductions for better gear selection.

What would be the next common step up from a Leaf motor? Are there any "standard" sized motors?

Thanks!
 

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There have been several extended discussions in this forum of this specific issue (selecting a motor and configuration for a 4WD vehicle); I think it's worth looking for them.

I can gear down to 5.89:1, or with some work down to 7.17:1. The transfer case is 1:1 in high range, but gives me the option of a 3:1 reduction as well.
You may not want to run a transfer case in low range all of the time, and assuming that you want to be able to drive on hard surfaces (not just loose dirt and gravel) you would need to check is your transfer case can be (perhaps with modification to the shift mechanism) run in low range 2WD.
Just the reduction in your axles will be enough for a low-speed motor, but insufficient to take advantage of the speed range available in most EV motor (which run up to 10,000 rpm or more).

An oddball possibility is the motor from the Chevrolet Spark EV, which was designed to run at lower speed in combination with only 4:1 (approximately) gear reduction from motor to wheels. The Spark EV was replaced by the Bolt, which uses a more typical gear reduction ratio, allowing it to use a smaller but more powerful motor.

What would be the next common step up from a Leaf motor? Are there any "standard" sized motors?
No. There are some industrial standards for mounting faces, followed by most of the motors used in industrial equipment (such as forklift trucks) and most of the lower-voltage motors offered by the aftermarket for EV conversions (such as the HPEVS AC-xx series), but there is no set of standards for EV motor sizes.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
There have been several extended discussions in this forum of this specific issue (selecting a motor and configuration for a 4WD vehicle); I think it's worth looking for them.


You may not want to run a transfer case in low range all of the time, and assuming that you want to be able to drive on hard surfaces (not just loose dirt and gravel) you would need to check is your transfer case can be (perhaps with modification to the shift mechanism) run in low range 2WD.
Just the reduction in your axles will be enough for a low-speed motor, but insufficient to take advantage of the speed range available in most EV motor (which run up to 10,000 rpm or more).

An oddball possibility is the motor from the Chevrolet Spark EV, which was designed to run at lower speed in combination with only 4:1 (approximately) gear reduction from motor to wheels. The Spark EV was replaced by the Bolt, which uses a more typical gear reduction ratio, allowing it to use a smaller but more powerful motor.


No. There are some industrial standards for mounting faces, followed by most of the motors used in industrial equipment (such as forklift trucks) and most of the lower-voltage motors offered by the aftermarket for EV conversions (such as the HPEVS AC-xx series), but there is no set of standards for EV motor sizes.
I have found a few threads, but many are looking for something on an extremely tight budget and are discussing miscellaneous scrapyard motors that I wouldn't necessarily be able to find the same.

A twin stick transfer case is easily available to have low range 2WD but I don't want to run it in low range all the time because then I would lack actual low range for off road use. May not be as big of an issue with EV and no clutch though.

There are a few options for further gear reduction, but all of them come at a cost. The simplest would be a gear reduction module bolted between the motor and transfer case, but it doesn't seem these are very common. An Atlas transfer case can give me 4 gearing options with independent 4WD/2WD selection, but they are expensive and having the 1:1 gear would be a waste. Portal axles would be an amazing addition, but the cost is insane.

By my calculations a motor running at 5000RPM gives me a speed of 116km/h which is as fast as this will ever need to go, but obviously on the low end of electric motors.

I'll look into the Chev. I should mention I am in Australia, so the selection of EV wrecked parts is slim to none. I would be happy enough to import, but it adds to the costs and complications of finding a wrecked motor.

I take it that forklift and industrial motors aren't overly useful to me? Funnily enough the diesel already in it is most commonly found in forklifts.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Okay so a bit more research and looks like an Atlas 4 speed isn't a terrible option. It has an additional 2.72:1 reduction on the input of the transfer case, and then has a further gear reduction in low range between 2:1 and 5:1. There are some other advantages of swapping out to an Atlas as they are renowned for the strength and reliability, and it gives the option of RWD, FWD or 4WD in both high and low range.

This would give the Jeep a cruising speed of 108km/h at 8,000RPM with 4.56:1 differential ratios, which work with the factory Dana 44 in the front. Could easily drop this further for a motor with a higher RPM.

Bolting this to a Remy 250 would give me a bit more power at the wheels than the factory motor, about 25% more worst case (considering the diesel at peak torque, no gearbox losses, no gearbox changes and no clutch).

Unfortunately the cost of this powertrain is about $15,000 USD though, before even thinking about a controller and batteries, so it may be worth some more looking into wrecked EV motors.

Is it possible to split a Tesla motor from the drivetrain and drive it independently? I'm guessing in a few years the Model 3 motors will be easy to get, and seem approximately the right size for this application, but they seem to be sold as a unit with the gearbox, which is useless for me.

Cheers!
 

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Is it possible to split a Tesla motor from the drivetrain and drive it independently? I'm guessing in a few years the Model 3 motors will be easy to get, and seem approximately the right size for this application, but they seem to be sold as a unit with the gearbox, which is useless for me.
The Tesla Model S/X drive units use the same casting as the drive end housing of the motor and one side of the transaxle; there's nothing wrong with that, but it makes using the motor separately more difficult, so that is rarely done. It is one reason that motors are sold with the gearbox, but other EV motors are also typically sold with the transaxle, even though they can be readily separated.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The Tesla Model S/X drive units use the same casting as the drive end housing of the motor and one side of the transaxle; there's nothing wrong with that, but it makes using the motor separately more difficult, so that is rarely done. It is one reason that motors are sold with the gearbox, but other EV motors are also typically sold with the transaxle, even though they can be readily separated.
Thanks, that makes sense.

I would need to machine an adapter plate between the motor and transfer case regardless, which could potentially be a replacement drive end housing, but obviously that would depend heavily on the complexity of the part.

The Nissan Leaf looks practically impossible to separate the motor from the rest of the assembly, and my feeling is that it's just a little bit too light duty for this application.
 

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The Nissan Leaf looks practically impossible to separate the motor from the rest of the assembly, and my feeling is that it's just a little bit too light duty for this application.
The Leaf motor simply unbolts from the transaxle. Although I don't know offhand how visible the bolts are, the motor and transaxle have separate housings and the motor has been used with various other transmissions, including by members of this forum.

The Leaf motor was initially limited to only 80 kW to protect the battery, is allowed 110 kW (possibly limited by inverter capacity) with the current base battery, and gets 150 kW with the optional big battery... and I've never heard of a change in the actual motor.
 

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The Leaf motor simply unbolts from the transaxle. Although I don't know offhand how visible the bolts are, the motor and transaxle have separate housings and the motor has been used with various other transmissions, including by members of this forum.

The Leaf motor was initially limited to only 80 kW to protect the battery, is allowed 110 kW (possibly limited by inverter capacity) with the current base battery, and gets 150 kW with the optional big battery... and I've never heard of a change in the actual motor.
That is great to hear about the Leaf motor. I found this image from Nissan which made it look VERY tightly integrated, but looking around it does seem easily separable.



I was basing my assumptions off the 80kW power rating. 100kW constant and 150kW peak puts it around the same as the Remy and hopefully just enough to not feel like an absolute snail. Coincidentally my current Jeep JK has around 160kW, it is slow, but not unbearable and I expect an electric motor to feel a little faster.

Any advice on where to find used/reconditioned Leaf motors? They aren't overly common in Australia, so I'd be looking at importing one unseen. You mentioned they go for around $500 USD?

Thanks again for all the help. I feel like I'm relearning everything I know about cars all over again!
 

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That is great to hear about the Leaf motor. I found this image from Nissan which made it look VERY tightly integrated, but looking around it does seem easily separable.

In all but the earliest variation of the Leaf powertrain the motor is highly integrated electrically with the inverter, with terminals from the motor sticking into the inverter case directly, with no external cables. If there is space above the motor for the inverter (and even the PDM which sits on top of the inverter, I think again with no external cables to the inverter) leaving it there is certainly the easiest way to go... and you have to put that stuff somewhere, anyway. Of course, if the motor is in the original location of a transmission, there is likely no room there for the inverter or PDM.

Any advice on where to find used/reconditioned Leaf motors? They aren't overly common in Australia, so I'd be looking at importing one unseen. You mentioned they go for around $500 USD?
That wasn't me... there are essentially no used EV parts around here, either, and I don't know what any of them would really cost. I assume I would need to get one shipped from the U.S.

I doubt that there are any reconditioned motors available, since nothing will have gone wrong with them. I think they'll just be used.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
In all but the earliest variation of the Leaf powertrain the motor is highly integrated electrically with the inverter, with terminals from the motor sticking into the inverter case directly, with no external cables. If there is space above the motor for the inverter (and even the PDM which sits on top of the inverter, I think again with no external cables to the inverter) leaving it there is certainly the easiest way to go... and you have to put that stuff somewhere, anyway. Of course, if the motor is in the original location of a transmission, there is likely no room there for the inverter or PDM.


That wasn't me... there are essentially no used EV parts around here, either, and I don't know what any of them would really cost. I assume I would need to get one shipped from the U.S.

I doubt that there are any reconditioned motors available, since nothing will have gone wrong with them. I think they'll just be used.
I'm intending to put the motor where the gearbox currently sits, so if I wanted to keep the inverter mounted above the motor I would need to mount it in the engine bay and run a driveshaft to the transfer case. Easily doable, but not a nice solution in my mind. The other option would be a reverse mount motor just behind the cab, but that would depend on the overall height and clearance to the bed, as well as how short the rear driveshaft would end up.

Space isn't something I'm short of luckily. The engine bay is huge, and there are two 80 litre fuel tanks to replace with room to spare. Hoping by the time this project is over batteries are cheap enough to fill all the space and have a ridiculously long range.

I think I've found one wrecked Nissan Leaf here (out of a total of 997 sold), so I'll find out how much the powertrain is if they still have it.
 

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You likely need to make lots of calls pay someone to be an inspector/currier but hybrid and EV drivetrain parts have virtually ZERO market here, I expect getting it to you as expensive as a flight and due diligence of personally picking the motor.


Well what do you know (no affiliation unknown rep)

https://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php?t=201083


Shipping from Japan of a full wreck may be cheaper for you in the long run, see below
 

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Discussion Starter #16
You likely need to make lots of calls pay someone to be an inspector/currier but hybrid and EV drivetrain parts have virtually ZERO market here, I expect getting it to you as expensive as a flight and due diligence of personally picking the motor.


Well what do you know (no affiliation unknown rep)

https://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php?t=201083


Shipping from Japan of a full wreck may be cheaper for you in the long run, see below

Wow they are cheap!


I do have some business in USA and travel there occasionally and can probably get it shipped back for nothing. For $500-1000 I might grab one to play with even if I don't end up using it.



I've also been looking further into the BorgWarner/Remy motors. Looks like the OEM style housing is a bit more budget friendly, and pretty easily available. eBay has used motors for around the $2,500 USD mark.


The advantages of the BorgWarner is there is better information available since they are sold for industrial use as well, and I expect that parts and service will be easier to obtain through BorgWarner than through Nissan. They use a fairly standard mounting pattern and output shaft, which should be easy to adapt to a transmission. They also seemed to be used in a few different EV cars including this Chev concept:


https://www.carsales.com.au/editorial/details/evil-ev-chevy-camaro-ecopo-makes-520kw-115428/


I'm speaking to a few suppliers to see how much a brand new motor is. I'm guessing somewhere in the $5-10k range.


Has anyone seen a DIY conversion using a HVH motor? Any problems with running 350V+ in a conversion?
 

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Discussion Starter #18

I feared that may be the case when I couldn't find a single project using them.


Interesting that much of that thread is discussing building a housing for the cartridge though, it seems that BorgWarner offers a perfectly good housing already. They even offer a lower performance water cooled option, with a ~40% lower continuous rating, which would probably be sufficient assuming ~40kW required for highway driving.


Is there something particularly difficult I am missing?
 

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Remy much talked about, rarely used by us mere mortals.

Nothing easy about them.
I think they're probably as easy to use as any motor that has no available adapter to mount it to a production car's transmission, as long as you can afford a matched controller/inverter. Of course, mere mortals can't afford that...
 
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