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Discussion Starter #1
>How much weight in Batteries are you carrying on board your little
>car? Remember these little cars are
> > not designed to carry much weight. Your car needs to sit level. Good struts
> > with strong springs will help.

My experience with VW vehicles led me to believe that the factory VW
was a little conservative given what I had seen in the field.

>When I've measured the car at the tops of the wheel arches to the
>ground, the car actually sits just a tad higher than as a stock diesel.
> I'll measure this every few years or so. And I believe the F/R
>heights are at about the same proportion as a diesel. BUT, those diesel
>#s were probably on old springs and struts (I had the car as a diesel
>for only three months).

The ride height numbers that were used as benchmarks were taken from
a clean low mileage gas rabbit ( in 1991 you could still find one like that).

>My understanding is that the EA VoltsRabbit kit was designed to keep the
>total weight under GVWR. The Rabbits have quite a wide spread between
>curb weight and GVWR. 2000-lb stock diesel Rabbit. 2940-lb VoltsRabbit
>(these were the actual weights on the scales) with 16 US-2300 (US-125 @
>65-lb apiece) battery pack. GVWR is about 2900-lb, but of course that
>changes with upgraded components. When I hop in, though, at ~180-190lb,
>then the car will be over GVWR (the 2900-lb GVWR). With this last pack,
>now US2200 @ 60-lb each, I've dropped 60-80lb.

Actually I was more interested how the weight was divided. After
much head scratching we had a battery pack layout that gave us the
same 60%-40% weight distribution that the Rabbit had as a gas car
which was ideal for fast drives into town over the mountain roads we
use to get there.

>I've noticed that these Rabbit and Golfs (I'm talking stock gas/diesel)
>do tend to have more nose-up than many other cars. So be it. I like
>nose-down a little more.

Much time, money,and beer has been spent trying to resolve this one.

>My mechanic says he could custom build a front brace for me across those
>strut towers. I've thought about it. I don't know what a brace across
>the rear towers would look like, probably the same deal more or less
>straight across, which on most days with the rear seat back sitting up
>would be ok, but on the odd day I have a big box to put in there with
>the rear seat folded down, would stop the show. Also would probably
>have to modify the hold-down straps for the rear battery box to open the
>lid fully.

I would check to see if there has been any distortion caused by the
weight of the batteries and all the miles as a EV. The easiest way to
do this is to measure the distance between the top shock absorber mounts.
According to the Robert Bentley Service Manual the distance between
the front shock mounts (center to center) should 42 1/8" and the
rear mounts should be 40 5/32". A tolerance of plus or minus 1/4"
is acceptable. If the top mounts are distorted by the weight of the
batteries, the top of the body where the strut assembly fastens will
be pushed up into domed shape and the distance between the shock
mounts will be smaller. At this point a very thorough examination of
cars floor pan by a body and frame shop should be done.

> > Have you looked at the underside of the car to be sure you don't
> have some cracks in the floor pan at the suspension mount points

>Thee car was last on the shop hoist about three years ago. Everytime
>it's been up so where I can get underneath it, a crack has never been seen.

We have used the original prototype VoltsRabbit in our Hands-on
classes as a teaching aid, which involves taking the conversion apart
down to a rolling chassis and then having the class members install
the EV parts and drive the car out of the shop. While this teardown
and re-assembly process is happening I check all the places where
cracks might develop and for any other potential problem
spots. Since it is the same car every time any damage would be easy to spot.
We have yet to find anything failing or failed. This car has been in
service 19 years.

>I believe the alignment has always been this way as a conversion. But I
>may dig back into the older records from the mid-90s and double check
>the alignment #s.

Having past repair records for any car is one of the best diagnostic
tools you can get. Check the alignment numbers in chronological
order and see any trends in the alignment numbers have started to form.
Then my advice is to show the alignment technician your numbers and
then have the alignment checked giving special attention to what
might cause the changes you have noticed.

>It's quite possible that the issue is from an accident. When I was
>shopping around for a place to have the car painted and minor body work
>done back in late '96, one shop did note clamp marks on the seams on the
>underside of the body, indicating the car had been realigned in a
>bodyshop after an accident. It's conceivable that if there was actually
>an accident, and say the car was pushed against a curb (or driven
>against a curb), that could have bent the rear axle beam a bit. Just
>speculation, though.

Old news you have to fix it now.

> > Go Lithium. Lighter in weight and you get to go further per charge. :)

Same car different more expensive problem.

Mike Brown
Electro Automotive, POB 1113, Felton, CA 95018-1113 Phone 831-429-1989
http://www.electroauto.com email [email protected]
Electric Car Conversion Kits * Components * Books * Videos * Since 1979


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Discussion Starter #2
Good Show Mike, we need more details like that.

By the way, the modified coupler you sent me works great. It fits the GE 11
motor 1-15/16 inch motor shaft that has a built in 1.78 inch adapter plate
that connects to any flywheel and manual transmission there is in either
manual or automatic.

The coupler is now on a WarP 11 motor with the adapter plate you made for me
four years ago for the WarP 9 motor that I modified to 1.78 inch thick that
fits either a manual or automatic transmission.

I just got done testing out A GM TH-400 today that was converted to manual
shift by TCI. It can either drive the automatic with a torque converter or
without the torque converter by use of a pump drive. It does not need any
vacuum modulator, step down cable, governor, or any electronic control unit.
It's old school design.

Without the torque converter it only took 2.9 AH per mile climbing up a mile
long hill where my manual took about 3.0 AH per mile. This setup would be
ok for a normal vehicle with a high speed rear axil in the 2.76:1 to 3.01:1
in a vehicle that weighs about 4000 lbs.

But in my EV that weighs 7000 lbs with a 27:1 1st gear or 19:1 2nd gear, it
had way too much torque at the start which it would spin the wheels at time.
So to drive it on snow and ice, I install a large 12 inch torque converter
that has a 1.8:1 ratio at start and at 1700 rpm it becomes 1:1 ratio.

Today, I turn on the ignition key to start the motor and turn on the idle
control and I thought it was not running. So I open the hood and the motor
was turning!! That how smooth it was. The raise nose section and centering
ring on the coupler centers the nose of either the pump drive or torque
converter.

Ny EV drives very smooth with no mechanical noise as it did with the old
1975 manual transmission that was in it.

Therefore I say Good Show.

Roland






----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Brown" <[email protected]>
To: "Electric Vehicle Discussion List" <[email protected]>
Sent: Saturday, November 20, 2010 5:46 PM
Subject: [EVDL] Voltsrabbit Kit: Weight, Ride height, Springs, and Cracks in
body


>
> >How much weight in Batteries are you carrying on board your little
> >car? Remember these little cars are
> > > not designed to carry much weight. Your car needs to sit level. Good
> > > struts
> > > with strong springs will help.
>
> My experience with VW vehicles led me to believe that the factory VW
> was a little conservative given what I had seen in the field.
>
> >When I've measured the car at the tops of the wheel arches to the
> >ground, the car actually sits just a tad higher than as a stock diesel.
> > I'll measure this every few years or so. And I believe the F/R
> >heights are at about the same proportion as a diesel. BUT, those diesel
> >#s were probably on old springs and struts (I had the car as a diesel
> >for only three months).
>
> The ride height numbers that were used as benchmarks were taken from
> a clean low mileage gas rabbit ( in 1991 you could still find one like
> that).
>
> >My understanding is that the EA VoltsRabbit kit was designed to keep the
> >total weight under GVWR. The Rabbits have quite a wide spread between
> >curb weight and GVWR. 2000-lb stock diesel Rabbit. 2940-lb VoltsRabbit
> >(these were the actual weights on the scales) with 16 US-2300 (US-125 @
> >65-lb apiece) battery pack. GVWR is about 2900-lb, but of course that
> >changes with upgraded components. When I hop in, though, at ~180-190lb,
> >then the car will be over GVWR (the 2900-lb GVWR). With this last pack,
> >now US2200 @ 60-lb each, I've dropped 60-80lb.
>
> Actually I was more interested how the weight was divided. After
> much head scratching we had a battery pack layout that gave us the
> same 60%-40% weight distribution that the Rabbit had as a gas car
> which was ideal for fast drives into town over the mountain roads we
> use to get there.
>
> >I've noticed that these Rabbit and Golfs (I'm talking stock gas/diesel)
> >do tend to have more nose-up than many other cars. So be it. I like
> >nose-down a little more.
>
> Much time, money,and beer has been spent trying to resolve this one.
>
> >My mechanic says he could custom build a front brace for me across those
> >strut towers. I've thought about it. I don't know what a brace across
> >the rear towers would look like, probably the same deal more or less
> >straight across, which on most days with the rear seat back sitting up
> >would be ok, but on the odd day I have a big box to put in there with
> >the rear seat folded down, would stop the show. Also would probably
> >have to modify the hold-down straps for the rear battery box to open the
> >lid fully.
>
> I would check to see if there has been any distortion caused by the
> weight of the batteries and all the miles as a EV. The easiest way to
> do this is to measure the distance between the top shock absorber mounts.
> According to the Robert Bentley Service Manual the distance between
> the front shock mounts (center to center) should 42 1/8" and the
> rear mounts should be 40 5/32". A tolerance of plus or minus 1/4"
> is acceptable. If the top mounts are distorted by the weight of the
> batteries, the top of the body where the strut assembly fastens will
> be pushed up into domed shape and the distance between the shock
> mounts will be smaller. At this point a very thorough examination of
> cars floor pan by a body and frame shop should be done.
>
> > > Have you looked at the underside of the car to be sure you don't
> > have some cracks in the floor pan at the suspension mount points
>
> >Thee car was last on the shop hoist about three years ago. Everytime
> >it's been up so where I can get underneath it, a crack has never been
> >seen.
>
> We have used the original prototype VoltsRabbit in our Hands-on
> classes as a teaching aid, which involves taking the conversion apart
> down to a rolling chassis and then having the class members install
> the EV parts and drive the car out of the shop. While this teardown
> and re-assembly process is happening I check all the places where
> cracks might develop and for any other potential problem
> spots. Since it is the same car every time any damage would be easy to
> spot.
> We have yet to find anything failing or failed. This car has been in
> service 19 years.
>
> >I believe the alignment has always been this way as a conversion. But I
> >may dig back into the older records from the mid-90s and double check
> >the alignment #s.
>
> Having past repair records for any car is one of the best diagnostic
> tools you can get. Check the alignment numbers in chronological
> order and see any trends in the alignment numbers have started to form.
> Then my advice is to show the alignment technician your numbers and
> then have the alignment checked giving special attention to what
> might cause the changes you have noticed.
>
> >It's quite possible that the issue is from an accident. When I was
> >shopping around for a place to have the car painted and minor body work
> >done back in late '96, one shop did note clamp marks on the seams on the
> >underside of the body, indicating the car had been realigned in a
> >bodyshop after an accident. It's conceivable that if there was actually
> >an accident, and say the car was pushed against a curb (or driven
> >against a curb), that could have bent the rear axle beam a bit. Just
> >speculation, though.
>
> Old news you have to fix it now.
>
> > > Go Lithium. Lighter in weight and you get to go further per charge. :)
>
> Same car different more expensive problem.
>
> Mike Brown
> Electro Automotive, POB 1113, Felton, CA 95018-1113 Phone 831-429-1989
> http://www.electroauto.com email [email protected]
> Electric Car Conversion Kits * Components * Books * Videos * Since 1979
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> | REPLYING: address your message to [email protected] only.
> | Multiple-address or CCed messages may be rejected.
> | UNSUBSCRIBE: http://www.evdl.org/help/index.html#usub
> | OTHER HELP: http://evdl.org/help/
> | OPTIONS: http://lists.sjsu.edu/mailman/listinfo/ev
>

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Registered
Joined
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Discussion Starter #3
Mike Brown wrote:
[snip]
>> My understanding is that the EA VoltsRabbit kit was designed to keep the
>> total weight under GVWR. The Rabbits have quite a wide spread between
>> curb weight and GVWR. 2000-lb stock diesel Rabbit. 2940-lb VoltsRabbit
>> (these were the actual weights on the scales) with 16 US-2300 (US-125 @
>> 65-lb apiece) battery pack. GVWR is about 2900-lb, but of course that
>> changes with upgraded components. When I hop in, though, at ~180-190lb,
>> then the car will be over GVWR (the 2900-lb GVWR). With this last pack,
>> now US2200 @ 60-lb each, I've dropped 60-80lb.
>
> Actually I was more interested how the weight was divided. After
> much head scratching we had a battery pack layout that gave us the
> same 60%-40% weight distribution that the Rabbit had as a gas car
> which was ideal for fast drives into town over the mountain roads we
> use to get there.

I took the car to the scales in San Rafael in 1994, measured total
weight, and F/R ratios (I rolled each end onto the scale up to an
arbitrary line I drew just behind the front seat - I couldn't decide if
that arbitrary line location really mattered, but that's how it was
done). Diesel: 65/35, EV: 60/40. The car handles quite well. I
would have no troubles going down the other side of Wolfe Grade into San
Rafael with all its zigs and zags right along with the gas cars.
However, I've been staying away from that grade for the last year or so
to try to help the batteries last longer. I go around the west end of
the ridge through San Anselmo if I'm going to downtown San Rafael. Same
with keeping a lid (200-250A) on the amp draw coming up the hill to the
apt unless a car is following me (I can keep the amps down about 80% of
the hill climbs to the apt); I think the batteries appreciate the lower
amps.
>
[snip]
> I would check to see if there has been any distortion caused by the
> weight of the batteries and all the miles as a EV. The easiest way to
> do this is to measure the distance between the top shock absorber mounts.
> According to the Robert Bentley Service Manual the distance between
> the front shock mounts (center to center) should 42 1/8" and the
> rear mounts should be 40 5/32". A tolerance of plus or minus 1/4"
> is acceptable. If the top mounts are distorted by the weight of the
> batteries, the top of the body where the strut assembly fastens will
> be pushed up into domed shape and the distance between the shock
> mounts will be smaller. At this point a very thorough examination of
> cars floor pan by a body and frame shop should be done.

I have the manual and will measure one of these days, likely next
monthly battery maint. when I have the rear seat folded forward.

I went back through my car work papers, all the way back to 1994. I
found one other alignment sheet, from 2002 (I thought I had one back in
the 90s sometime, but apparently not). Pretty much the same #s for
2002, 2005, and 2007. Notably, the driver's side front caster is
significantly off all the way through - it is out of range. Apparantly
that caster is not adjustable. I know that the driver's side A-arm at
the bottom has a slight bend in it, but I believe it is the front part
(the flange) is slightly bent by someone with an errant jack or
somesuch; I remember noting it back in 1994.

I think all in all the reason that this rear alignment issue is getting
my hackles up is that this is the first set of tires I've had on this
car that have racked up a fair # of miles. The first set, which I got
in 1995, were Goodyear Invicta GLRs P175-70R/13 with a 240 treadwear
rating (if I recall). They rolled great, but lasted all of 15K miles.
The front tires tended to round out the corners while the rears stayed
mostly flat across the tread. The Integrity's I have now are
P185-70R/13 with something like a 440 treadwear rating. They take
significantly more power to roll down the road (I can feel it on the
freeway and see it on the amp gauge). I got tuned into the inside
shoulder on that rear tire wearing out at 17K back in 2007. Got it
moved to the front shortly after. Now at 25K and some change on these
tires. 25K was my basic goal. I have to wonder if 10mm wider tires
will tend to wear on the shoulder more on a large negative camber car.
When I was experimenting with 34/29psi F/R tire pressures (instead of my
standard 44/34), got a 3" screw in the corner of that rear tire. Being
back at 44/34 tends to lessen the weight on the inside shoulder of that
tire.

I'll need to take the car into the mechanic within the next year to get
the brake fluid changed (something I really don't like fooling with -
bleeding the brakes in the apt carport, yucky fluid and solo bleeding).
It will be up on the hoist and we can give it an extra close look for
any cracks. And heck, maybe I'll finally get the car down to the SVEAA
rally next Sept, and ask Mike to take a look. He's never seen the car.
No flat tow anymore - it will have to be trucked down (gotta figure
out that scene if I do it).

I keep thinking, isn't one of the fatigue spots the arms of that rear
suspension? It's always got a twist on it towards negative camber,
right? Add in batteries, more twist, more fatigue. They were mass
produced according to '70s econo car standards. Add in years of SF
streets with potholes and collisions with curbs - I wouldn't be
surprised if the car had funky alignment before I got my hands on it.
Wish I had the alignment baselined before I converted it. Oh well...
>
Chuck

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Discussion Starter #4
Shock tower braces (both front and rear) used to be bolt-on tuner items
(I haven't raced VWs in years), you shouldn't need to have them custom
made, just do a web search.

Mike Brown wrote:
> >My mechanic says he could custom build a front brace for me across those
> >strut towers. I've thought about it. I don't know what a brace across
> >the rear towers would look like, probably the same deal more or less
> >straight across, which on most days with the rear seat back sitting up
> >would be ok, but on the odd day I have a big box to put in there with
> >the rear seat folded down, would stop the show. Also would probably
> >have to modify the hold-down straps for the rear battery box to open the
> >lid fully.


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Discussion Starter #5
Mike Brown wrote:
>> I've noticed that these Rabbit and Golfs (I'm talking stock gas/diesel)
>> do tend to have more nose-up than many other cars. So be it. I like
>> nose-down a little more.
>
> Much time, money,and beer has been spent trying to resolve this one.

Now this statement makes me wonder just what has gone on ;^>
>
> I would check to see if there has been any distortion caused by the
> weight of the batteries and all the miles as a EV. The easiest way to
> do this is to measure the distance between the top shock absorber mounts.
> According to the Robert Bentley Service Manual the distance between
> the front shock mounts (center to center) should 42 1/8" and the
> rear mounts should be 40 5/32". A tolerance of plus or minus 1/4"
> is acceptable. If the top mounts are distorted by the weight of the
> batteries, the top of the body where the strut assembly fastens will
> be pushed up into domed shape and the distance between the shock
> mounts will be smaller. At this point a very thorough examination of
> cars floor pan by a body and frame shop should be done.

Well, here's the #s I got today (I just went ahead and did it...):

F: 41-1/2"
R: 40-1/8"

I double/triple-checked the measurements. So, the front shock tower
distance is narrow outside of spec. The rear is within spec.

I looked in my Bentley manual, which is likely the same as yours, and
didn't see this measurement anywhere. Chapter 3 - Suspension and
Steering. Is it going to be the same for all years? 500lbs of
batteries in the front may be enough to pull those strut towers together
a bit. That's about 200-250 lbs more than a diesel engine. Have you
measured your tan car, Mike? Another EV-Rabbit of similiar config is
Anna Cornell's bunny, and I may try to sync up with her to measure her car.

Chuck

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Discussion Starter #6
The concern if I recall the discussion correctly was clearing the top of
the Sevcon DC-DC converter as it is mounted in the VoltsRabbit kit on
the side of the driver's shock tower. Per the other part of this
thread, a stock brace might not fit because of the slightly smaller
dimension I measured between struts, center-to-center, that I measured
today.

Paul Wujek wrote:
> Shock tower braces (both front and rear) used to be bolt-on tuner items
> (I haven't raced VWs in years), you shouldn't need to have them custom
> made, just do a web search.
>
>
Mike Brown wrote:
>>> My mechanic says he could custom build a front brace for me across those
>>> strut towers. I've thought about it. I don't know what a brace across
>>> the rear towers would look like, probably the same deal more or less
>>> straight across, which on most days with the rear seat back sitting up
>>> would be ok, but on the odd day I have a big box to put in there with
>>> the rear seat folded down, would stop the show. Also would probably
>>> have to modify the hold-down straps for the rear battery box to open the
>>> lid fully.
>
>
> _______________________________________________
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> | Multiple-address or CCed messages may be rejected.
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>


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