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Discussion Starter #1
I live in a townhouse, and while we have an underground parking lot, I'm about 100% sure that creating a big mess by doing mechanic work on your car is Not Cool with the strata.

However, I've also heard that it's possible to rent shop time from your friendly neighbourhood mechanic's shop, and I get the distinct impression that a lot of people who live in the city do just that when they want to do their own work on a car. And I've also heard (from at least one EV faq) that this is probably the preferable way to go since only the most hardcore mechanics would actually *own* things like an engine lift. I'm mechanically competent enough for the task and it really doesn't seem all that hard. I've personally swapped ICE engines out of cars before, and done electronics work too, although most of that was more than 10 years ago, and out in a village where lots of people were at least shade-tree mechanics.

But I also look at the time to convert an EV in diaries, and it's usually measured in months, if not years. Surely, I can't rent a shop for months at a time! My guess however, is that most of the work requiring an actual shop (swapping the motor and welding battery boxes) could be done in a few days if I worked hard at it (and took a vacation from work).

Has anyone else been in this kind of situation, or should I just give up and look on E-bay for an already-converted EV?
 

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I haven't done one yet (still in the planning stages) but I have a few opinions about what I've concluded so far...

An experienced EVer, with a kit, could do one in a week.

A inexperienced EVer, with a kit, is gonna need a month (or two).

An inexperienced EVer, doing a custom job, is gonna need months.

This is all just over-generalizations of course, but just kind of based on much of the stuff that I've read. I'm sure that there are numerous examples of different times taken. I think that a lot of them are done over time because people had the space and time to do them that way. I plan on doing mine in my garage and taking the time to custom build brackets and mounting hardware. I recently bought a MIG welder and chop saw, along with car dollies so that I can push the project around for optimal clearance. I used to weld a lot but have been out of practice for a while. Hopefully it's just like riding a bike. ;)

I think that if you were to buy one of the off-the-shelf kits for a specific car and go that route, you could do one pretty quickly. I just figure that I'm gonna go the custom route, or at least some hybrid combination of a kit and some custom add-ons like air conditioning.
 

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Yeah, for the most part I'd say retro is about right. My first car took me 8 or 9 months, no kit. I was mostly limited by money, though. If you have the money to buy all the parts right away, and not have to wait, it could be done significantly faster.

I think that's one of the main things that makes kits go faster. The actual work doesn't take very long. It's all the other "stuff" that slows you down.
 

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Re: lost mind

Renting a storage unit big enough to use as a shop seems to me like the best way to go in your situation. You need some dedicated space where you can leave everything sit for a while waiting for custom work to get done. For instance, I had to wait four freaking months for custom springs to get make and did not order them until I had all the weight in the car so as to measure the ride height. Next time, I'll just calculate the weight and order them first. Order a kit and go for it!
Of all the things I've lost, the one I miss the most is my mind.
 

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Re: lost mind

I say just buy a good tarp to lay down and do it in your garage =P
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Re: lost mind

I say just buy a good tarp to lay down and do it in your garage =P
Well, that would be a fantastic idea, if I didn't share the garage with 168 other cars. :p

My "garage" is basically an underground parking lot. I very highly doubt that my neighbours would be impressed with having a radiator and a muffler propped up against their cars.

As for buying a kit as others have suggested, I'll be doing exactly that, for exactly the reasons stated. Canadian Electric Vehicles is just a stone's throw away from me, and their Geo Metro kit is quite complete. They even have a detailed manual for how to get it all done.
 
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