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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello,

I'm David. I'm brand new to this forum, and I have big plans. I want to buy an old Jeep Wrangler, convert it to electric power, drive it from Detroit to Moab, Utah, and off-road it.

I have lots of traditional ICE wrenching skills, but no experience with EVs, so I have A LOT to learn. I don't care much about range, but 50 miles at least would be nice. The vehicle has to be able to travel at 40 MPH. My budget it $7,000.

My plan so far:

1. Buy Jeep Wrangler
2. Buy wrecked Nissan Leaf
3. Install the drive module parallel to the length of the car such that the halfshafts reach forward to the front diff, and rearward to the rear diff, allowing for four-wheel drive. There are some issues, here, namely the fact that I'd essentially have an open center differential, and my gearing would be out of whack due to the gearing in the drive module AND the gearing in the diffs.

My biggest concern is getting everything to work, since I won't even have wheel speed sensors on this vehicle.

I'd really appreciate some advice on this.

-DT
 

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Nice!

I would recommend instead, unbolting the Leaf gearbox from the motor, and selling it to pay for an adapter from the motor and shaft to the existing manual transmission in the Jeep. This will let you keep hi/lo and I expect it'd be easier to do in terms of installation. You'll also have the nice benefit of _extreme low speed torque_. You'll still drag around the transmission, but you wouldn't need to shift like an ICE manual.

$7k would be cutting it close. Figure that's nearly the cost of a 2013+ Leaf, and you'll still need controllers, a charger, a DC-DC converter, etc...A few grand. It's possible to use the Leaf stuff, but unless you keep a significant portion of the vehicle components together (gauges, shifter, pedals, key, etc), you'll have to hack the CAN bus to some degree. There is info out there to do it, but no source code or hardware that exists out of the box.

Some cost can be recouped by selling the parts you don't use. Presumably the cost of the Jeep is not included in this budget...? Jeeps tend to run $5k and up, and they all seem to need work to drive well on the highway...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The Jeep will cost <$1,000. It's gonna be a real PILE, and hopefully not running.

Why a 2013+ Leaf?

-DT
 

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The early batteries degraded faster than the later ones, particularly in warm climates. After March 2013 they got the "Wolf" 24kW pack, and then later the "Lizard" pack. The 30kW pack also had some degradation problems...I gotta start compiling sources for this info, as I'm just regurgitating loosely-corroborated Internet hearsay...
 

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Hey David, I always enjoy your yearly adventures. Couple thoughts:


The mid drive idea sounds about right. You can always weld the Leaf diff if you want a locked center 🙂


Buy a running wrecked leaf, and take everything out of the chassis, and reassemble it on the bench and make sure it works before putting it in the Jeep. That way you can know which parts are needed and which aren't, and you can plan any modifications beforehand. There was a guy on here and YouTube that converted an MGB gt that way, and it seems to have worked out.

Get one with DC fast charging. If you only have 50 miles of range, it will help a lot to occasionally charge fully in 1/2 hour instead of 4 hours.

Good luck! Looking forward to hearing more
 

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Hello,
Tried to reach you
I have a JEEP with a dead engine for sale in Michigan
EV experience
Access to EV and JEEP experts …
Wanna talk ...
 

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David, Not stalking you but just recently joined this forum because I am researching my own project (much smaller, vintage mini bike electrified).

I can't wait to read about the progress. I promise to keep it mum until you publish. Are you thinking doing it for 2020? Very very ambitious of you. Good luck.
 

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David, Not stalking you but just recently joined this forum because I am researching my own project (much smaller, vintage mini bike electrified).

I can't wait to read about the progress. I promise to keep it mum until you publish. Are you thinking doing it for 2020? Very very ambitious of you. Good luck.
April 2021 is the deadline!
 

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Hey David, I always enjoy your yearly adventures. Couple thoughts:


The mid drive idea sounds about right. You can always weld the Leaf diff if you want a locked center 🙂


Buy a running wrecked leaf, and take everything out of the chassis, and reassemble it on the bench and make sure it works before putting it in the Jeep. That way you can know which parts are needed and which aren't, and you can plan any modifications beforehand. There was a guy on here and YouTube that converted an MGB gt that way, and it seems to have worked out.

Get one with DC fast charging. If you only have 50 miles of range, it will help a lot to occasionally charge fully in 1/2 hour instead of 4 hours.

Good luck! Looking forward to hearing more
Thanks for the input!
 

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Hello David,

Sounds like a fun project. I've mused on similar things before. Here's a bit of an infodump based on my notes, sorry about the bad formatting.

The Leaf motor will do ~206 lb-ft from 0-2800RPM and ~107hp from 2800-10,390RPM as long as you can feed it power. The 4cyl YJ only had [email protected] and 138 [email protected] So a Leaf motor is fine.

Leaf gearing is 7.938:1, motor max RPM is 10,390, so final drive output from the Leaf gearbox is 1309RPM.

6 cylinder YJ/TJ's got 3.07 gearing with a manual trans, no tow package. Auto or tow package manual was 3.55; 3.73 and 4.10 were options. 4cyl got 4.10 manual or 3.73 auto.

With standard Leaf gearing mounted where the transfercase is and 3.07 axles, you get wheelspeed of ~426RPM. For 40mph, you need ~636 revs/mile.

Per this chart: https://www.ntwonline.com/revolutions-per-mile-chart that's a 32.5-33" tire. So your idea is doable if you want to do gear swaps or if you get the right 6cyl manual Jeep to start with. 35" tires give you ~43mph.

For Moab, you'll need to weld the Leaf differential, and unlock the front hubs for all pavement driving or figure out a driveshaft disconnect. That's your cheapest setup, but custom driveshafts will be interesting, as Leaf CV joints are only snap-ring retained in the diff - not good enough for a driveshaft. You'd need to figure out how to convert it to use C-clips or something.

Alternately you can weld the Leaf diff and feed it into the Jeep transfercase, to get stupid-low gear (in low range) and easier front driveshaft disconnect. That just needs one short custom shaft from the Leaf case to the transfercase.

An oddball idea would be to hook up a modified NP205 transfercase "backwards", so low-range becomes a .51 overdrive dual-offset setup. Now you can use lower axle gears and get better freeway speeds regardless of tire size. Cooling of the gears/bearings could be a problem, though.

You're far better off going with Tremelune's suggestion to adapt the Leaf motor to the Jeep gearbox. Here's a possible source for a Leaf spline coupler: https://openinverter.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=569

Or search for Damien McGuire's YouTube channel, he put a Leaf motor in a BMW, adapting it to the stock BMW gearbox with an adapter, and he shows how to make it.

He also sells a Leaf inverter control box for ~$623, ditch the rest of the Leaf bits, wheel speed sensors be damned. https://www.evbmw.com/index.php/evbmw-webshop/nissan-built-and-tested-boards

He also sells Tesla charger control boards: https://www.evbmw.com/index.php/evbmw-webshop/tesla-built-and-tested-boards

Range will be an issue. 40mph makes it easier, but guesstimating 500wh/mile, a 70% degraded used 24kwh Leaf pack nets you only 33 miles, no heat. One leaf pack is 648lb with the housing. Volt packs are 16kwh, water cooled, 435lb with housing, usually less degraded.

How're you going to charge it during the trip? Really good planning?
 

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I bought all the Tesla componants to convert a Jeep someday but I am still waiting for zero ev to sell me the 4.5:1 quaife reduction gearset. Without the reduction gearset it is looking like a lost cause for a solid axle setup because with the stock gear ratio of 9.73:1 and my 37's and stock Chrysler 8.25 w/3.55 (I know super bad idea but I got 3 lol) I will only be able to go like 50mph at 16000 rpm lol. I found a sweet gear ratio calculator while reading on pirate 4x4. It's called the Marlin Crawler Vehicle Speed Gear Ratio Calculator. Not to mention the Tesla motor is just going to explode any solid axles that someone hooks up to it because of the torque it can produce. Looking like the Tesla motor is only going to work in a IFS or IRS setup Wich is going to be pretty hard for me to build right now considering how ignorant I am to this type of fabrication and time and money. The Tesla sand truck guy has figured it out already. Wish I could find out more info on it. All his comments do not appear on my Instagram for some reason anymore

Really considering buying a leaf motor on eBay and Damian's controller now. Was considering the gs450h transmission and Damian's vcu as well just not sure how to connect it to a transfer case yet. The leaf is looking like the fastest option to having a road ready trail worthy wheeling rig.

For the leaf build:
Leaf motor.invert ebay****** 560
Inverter 300
Vcu.******************* 650
ax15.***************** 300
Make Coupler referring to Damian's video.

$1810

Already got 19kwh lg chem batteries and zeva bms.

Gs450h.******* 750
Gs450h inverter 750

Vcu.************ 336
Connect to transfer case? Can it be done?

$1836
 

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Not to mention the Tesla motor is just going to explode any solid axles that someone hooks up to it because of the torque it can produce.
Not really. Torque is power divided by speed. The Tesla motors can produce a lot of power, but so can the big V8 engines that drive the live beam axles in all sorts of vehicles from small sports cars to heavy trucks, rock crawlers to desert racers, and just about every other kind of vehicle. When suitably geared, the torque to the axle will be no different with a Tesla motor than with an engine of similar output power.

Was considering the gs450h transmission and Damian's vcu as well just not sure how to connect it to a transfer case yet.
It is unlikely that Aisin did anything different with this transmission and transfer case in the LS 600h than the many other transmissions and transfer cases they built for other Toyota models, and it appears to be the same one in hybrid and non-hybrid AWD LS variants. So, you can either use
  1. the same Toyota transfer case as used in the LS 600h, or
  2. another Toyota-compatible transfer case that connects to the transmission the same way, or
  3. a divorced transfer case suitable for the rest of the vehicle.
It looks like the LS transfer case is an all-gear design (no chain), which is nice, and it has a worm-gear type (Torsen) centre differential, but it also appears to have no low range and no diff locking, so it probably isn't desirable for an off-road application. Other Toyota/Lexus transfer cases will have different features.

A divorced transfer case is mounted separately from the transmission, connected by a short propeller shaft, so it doesn't matter to the (GS 450h) transmission that there is a transfer case, and it doesn't matter to the transfer case what transmission is driving it.

In looking for information on the LS setup, I found a link to this great cutaway image of the LS 660h/450h transmission and LS transfer case, used in the Lexus LS (XF40) Wikipedia article.
 

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Oh yeah the divorced transfer case. Maybe I will just do that. Remove my gearbox and Hook up my Tesla motor to my np231. Already have a slip yoke eliminator in it. Thats gotta be the easiest path for me right now.

I know the Chrysler 8.25 is pretty good. A lot of people race jeepspeed with them. It's pretty much almost the same size as a Dana 44. Think some people race ultra 4 4500 class with these axles trussed up and win. Really would not mind if it broke cuz I got 2 more. Possibly just turn down the rpms on my Tesla motor to like 3500 rpms like my 4.0 can run at. Then also limit my amps. Although it's just kinda sad to not be able to send it to 16000 rpms like it was designed for haha. Fun thinking about.

A Gs450h divorced to my np231 would also be sweet. Or a leaf motor. But I guess if I ever find a car that would really need a 16000 Rpm Tesla motor I can just take it out of the Jeep and put it in that car and then buy a leaf motor or gs450h.
 

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Right now I got np231 2.72:1
Dana 30 and Chrysler 8.25 27 splined shaft 3.55 gear ratio
37 inch tires.

Not going to ever regear these axles or upgrade to stronger shafts because I am not a billionaire. So it is just not worth it. haha but plenty more free stock drive train parts from rusted out Jeep's I collect. This should be interesting.
The number 1 reason why people break these axles, I guess, is because they let them hop up and down on the rocks and hit the gas which causes the axle shafts to snap. So I will just not do that unless I feel like swapping in another axle.

Soon it would be nice to upgrade the rear axle to a 14 bolt and the front to a dana 60 kingpin. Then I guess make some custom drive shafts to then set up the tesla motor transversely running the quaife 4.5:1 reduction gear setup. This would be the ultimate budget jeep project in my mind. Really gonna need this reduction gear. I don't know how much my np231 can handle. maybe I will go research these transfer cases a little more.
 
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