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I'm building an electric '47 Chevy; I expect the curb weight to be around 3500 lbs.

I've been told that the AC-51 would get it moving based on math. But I'm horrible at math and depending on a guy trying to sell me a motor. Should I listen to him? But I think he's just happy if it gets up to 60 mph.
Honestly, I drive 60 in the slow lane. So I need something that goes 90 (I live in a lawless town folks). Should I get a second job and buy a the AC34x2 motor for $9K?

Is anyone ripping up used Chevy Volts? I'd love to buy one for all my parts. Would that move my car?

So many questions.
 

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People are parting out anything that has electric in it: volts, pria, tesla, chrysler, VW, etc. Stuff is priced accordingly, but there are sometimes good deals to be had if your lucky. Back when I used to come here daily, the AC motors were in vogue, but they might only make 60 mph, so do a bit of research here in the motor section. Or be patient, one of the forum experts will be along soon....
 

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People are parting out anything that has electric in it: volts, pria, tesla, chrysler, VW, etc. Stuff is priced accordingly, but there are sometimes good deals to be had if your lucky. Back when I used to come here daily, the AC motors were in vogue, but they might only make 60 mph, so do a bit of research here in the motor section. Or be patient, one of the forum experts will be along soon....
Thanks for replying! This is my first conversion and I don't see a lot of people converting a heavy classic like this one. ICON's 49 Mercury seems like the closest, but that's using 2 Tesla motors.
 

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I would not buy a new AC motor. There is no value there.

There are tens of thousands of EV motors available in junkyards for $100-200. The inverters for them are probably that much again. Then control boards to control them are that much again.

You should easily be able to get a motor, inverter, and controller for the inverter for under $1000 total.

For your needs, a 2nd or 3rd generation Prius transaxle would be sufficient. Lots of guys paying $150 for the whole motor and subframe. $150 for the inverter. Then, depending on which, head over to OpenInverter.org or EVBMW.com and buy a control board. Both Johannes and Damien are friends and collaborate on each other's products (Johannes does mostly software). Johannes' Prius Gen 2 kit is all but plug-and-play. Damien's Prius Gen 3 kit is a control board swap, few screws and you're ready to go. They also created a tuning procedure for any motor, so, you don't have to pair your motor to an inverter, you can use anything you want.

To get the transaxle to work, I think on the Gen 2 you have to weld the planetary gears, and the Gen 3 you can lock the input shaft, but don't hold me to that.

There are other options too. Lexus GS450H if you want something transmission-like for RWD. Nissan Leaf motors, Teslas, etc. But, a Prius gen 3 dual-motor controller I think is what you'll want to do.
 

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I would not buy a new AC motor. There is no value there.

There are tens of thousands of EV motors available in junkyards for $100-200. The inverters for them are probably that much again. Then control boards to control them are that much again.

You should easily be able to get a motor, inverter, and controller for the inverter for under $1000 total.

For your needs, a 2nd or 3rd generation Prius transaxle would be sufficient. Lots of guys paying $150 for the whole motor and subframe. $150 for the inverter. Then, depending on which, head over to OpenInverter.org or EVBMW.com and buy a control board. Both Johannes and Damien are friends and collaborate on each other's products (Johannes does mostly software). Johannes' Prius Gen 2 kit is all but plug-and-play. Damien's Prius Gen 3 kit is a control board swap, few screws and you're ready to go. They also created a tuning procedure for any motor, so, you don't have to pair your motor to an inverter, you can use anything you want.

To get the transaxle to work, I think on the Gen 2 you have to weld the planetary gears, and the Gen 3 you can lock the input shaft, but don't hold me to that.

There are other options too. Lexus GS450H if you want something transmission-like for RWD. Nissan Leaf motors, Teslas, etc. But, a Prius gen 3 dual-motor controller I think is what you'll want to do.
Thanks for your reply-it's generous! I've seen eBay posts for Tesla rear drive units and didn't consider Prius or Lexus. I'll check them out!
 

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I remain a fan of the Nissan Leaf. You can get running, driving cars for $6-8k pretty easily, the batteries are big but easy to reconfigure, and if you kept the truck's gearbox, you could smoke the tires at low speeds and your top speed would likely be limited by fortitude or transmission's ability to spin at 10k RPM without coming apart.

The Leaf motor has a nice feature where the gearbox simply unbolts from the motor to reveal a face that's reasonably easy to mate with existing manual transmissions.

You can squeeze a highway-capable conversion for $10k all-told, but $15k is a more likely estimate.
 

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I remain a fan of the Nissan Leaf. You can get running, driving cars for $6-8k pretty easily, the batteries are big but easy to reconfigure, and if you kept the truck's gearbox, you could smoke the tires at low speeds and your top speed would likely be limited by fortitude or transmission's ability to spin at 10k RPM without coming apart.

The Leaf motor has a nice feature where the gearbox simply unbolts from the motor to reveal a face that's reasonably easy to mate with existing manual transmissions.

You can squeeze a highway-capable conversion for $10k all-told, but $15k is a more likely estimate.
Thanks for this. I saw this on Thunderstruck (AC/Large Motors Kits), which got me thinking about how powerful the Leaf motor is. But the '47 also have a straight-6 back in day, so the motor should work:

120739
 

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If you're gonna spend $3k, why not spend $6-8k and get a running car that you can test (and use) the batteries with? Also comes with contactors, throttle pedal, HVAC, wiring, and people are still working on ways to utilize the charger, BMS, DC/DC converter...You do have to go find a car, take it apart, and then get rid of the chassis and what not...

The most expensive part to buy is the batteries. The leaf batteries degraded quickly until mid-2013. They got even better in 2015. They are the cheapest OEM batteries you can get, but they're larger and slightly heavier per kWh than Model S or Bolt batteries.

Lotta ways to skin this cat at the moment...Too many, I'd say...
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
If you're gonna spend $3k, why not spend $6-8k and get a running car that you can test (and use) the batteries with? Also comes with contactors, throttle pedal, HVAC, wiring, and people are still working on ways to utilize the charger, BMS, DC/DC converter...You do have to go find a car, take it apart, and then get rid of the chassis and what not...

The most expensive part to buy is the batteries. The leaf batteries degraded quickly until mid-2013. They got even better in 2015. They are the cheapest OEM batteries you can get, but they're larger and slightly heavier per kWh than Model S or Bolt batteries.

Lotta ways to skin this cat at the moment...Too many, I'd say...
Awesome reply. I started looking at the Nissan Leaf motor and batteries. I love the idea of buying a running car, but I just finished tearing apart an S10 pickup for my chassis, so tearing apart an EV and then scrapping it would be (insert complaint here).

Thunderstruck has a motor/inverter package for $3000 but I found the same thing on eBay-$500 with a Thunderstuck VCU for $825 = $1325

A full 2015 Leaf battery pack would set me back $4500 for 100 mile range.

Would I need a manual transmission? I've been told on this forum that a manual NV3500 transmission would be great, but could I connect the driveshaft to the Nissan motor? What if I connect the motor directly to the differential? Will the wheels spin too fast?
 

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Would I need a manual transmission? I've been told on this forum that a manual NV3500 transmission would be great, but could I connect the driveshaft to the Nissan motor? What if I connect the motor directly to the differential? Will the wheels spin too fast?
In a Leaf, the ratio of motor speed to wheel speed is about 8:1. That's tall enough that the motor is within its allowed speed range when the car is going 90 MPH, but has enough reduction to provide sufficient torque at low speed. If you connect the Leaf motor directly to the input of your rear axle, you will have the axle ratio as your speed ratio, which is too tall for decent performance (but could go stupidly fast if only 80 kW was enough power). You can settle for the lower acceleration, or add a fixed-ratio gearbox, or change the rear axle ratio to the shortest (highest number) that you can find, or use a conventional manual transmission (and maybe never even shift it out of 2nd or 3rd gear)... all of those approaches have been used in some conversion.

I'm not sure why you would want to specifically use the transmission from a Nissan NV3500; it's big and heavy for an 80 kW motor, it wouldn't bolt directly to the Leaf motor without a housing adapter and a shaft coupler, and it isn't set up specifically to fit in a '47 Chevy. If you're using a conventional transmission, why not use whatever fits the Chevy? The could be the original 3-speed, or whatever more modern replacement is commonly used (but you don't need overdrive ratios or more than 3 speeds).


Just curious - is this a '47 Chevy car (which would presumably be a Stylemaster or Fleetmaster), or a '47 Chevy pickup (the Advance Design generation)?
 

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In a Leaf, the ratio of motor speed to wheel speed is about 8:1. That's tall enough that the motor is within its allowed speed range when the car is going 90 MPH, but has enough reduction to provide sufficient torque at low speed. If you connect the Leaf motor directly to the input of your rear axle, you will have the axle ratio as your speed ratio, which is too tall for decent performance (but could go stupidly fast if only 80 kW was enough power). You can settle for the lower acceleration, or add a fixed-ratio gearbox, or change the rear axle ratio to the shortest (highest number) that you can find, or use a conventional manual transmission (and maybe never even shift it out of 2nd or 3rd gear)... all of those approaches have been used in some conversion.

I'm not sure why you would want to specifically use the transmission from a Nissan NV3500; it's big and heavy for an 80 kW motor, it wouldn't bolt directly to the Leaf motor without a housing adapter and a shaft coupler, and it isn't set up specifically to fit in a '47 Chevy. If you're using a conventional transmission, why not use whatever fits the Chevy? The could be the original 3-speed, or whatever more modern replacement is commonly used (but you don't need overdrive ratios or more than 3 speeds).


Just curious - is this a '47 Chevy car (which would presumably be a Stylemaster or Fleetmaster), or a '47 Chevy pickup (the Advance Design generation)?
Hi Brian, the chassis is a 1998 Chevy S10 pickup, with a Code504 kit to accept the body of a '47 Chevy Fleetmaster Coupe. The S10 originally had an automatic trans, and the manual trans would be the Chevy NV3500. I like the idea of the manual trans, but that think I could shed the weight. Instead of using a trans what about a gear reducer like this?
 

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Hi Brian, the chassis is a 1998 Chevy S10 pickup, with a Code504 kit to accept the body of a '47 Chevy Fleetmaster Coupe. The S10 originally had an automatic trans, and the manual trans would be the Chevy NV3500. I like the idea of the manual trans, but that think I could shed the weight. Instead of using a trans what about a gear reducer like this?
Ah... sorry for the confusion - "NV3500" is also the name of a Nissan van. Of course you meant a New Venture Gear 3500, which would work fine. Even an NV1500 might be adequate, but a stock Leaf motor would likely be right at the NV1500's input torque limit.

So this isn't really a '47 Chevy conversion at all - it's an S-10 conversion (to electric) and a rebody (with a '47 Chevy coupe body). Yes, then the usual manual transmission for an S-10 makes sense.

The belt drive from Thunderstruck can't handle the torque or power that this project needs. There was actually a belt drive used in the Solectria conversion of the S-10, but that used two motors with a belt for each one, and much less power per motor than the Leaf motor would provide.

There is a reduction gearbox from Torque Trends called the ev-TorqueBox which is intended specifically for this purpose (connecting an electric motor to the propeller shaft of a pickup truck), but it's not set up to accept the Leaf transmission (so you would need adapters) and it could be considered expensive. The motor might even fit in the transmission tunnel, complete with the gearbox, in this type of installation.
 

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There will be some adaptation requiring precise machining or fabrication either way. The 8:1 gearbox on the leaf motor bolts off to reveal a flat face with an output shaft. This is what you would mate to the NV3500, but no off-the-shelf adapter exists.

The 2:1 TorqueBox would work well to connect the motor directly to the rear differential, but you would need to make sure the motor was positioned/angled properly to avoid driveshaft wear (equal angles on both ends).

I expect the transmission adapter would be $1-2k, TorqueBox is $3k, custom driveshaft is probably $1k.

 

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Based on the great guidance from this thread, I picked up a 2014 Nissan Leaf motor with 24K miles from a local recycler last night!


View attachment 120849
I can help with an adapter for the Leaf motor. I went through this same exercise myself to adapt to a Mazda Miata transmission. The tricky part was getting the part that
will mate with the leaf end. The rest is some machining on a lathe and some welding. Should cost under 1K (depending on local machinists rates).
 

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Is it common for a machinist to take a motor and transmission and build a high-precision adapters for them that won't vibrate at 10k RPM? Is this easier than I think it is? How do I vet a machinist for this kind of work?
 

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There are very clever people who can literally take a photo of the items you have and make plates to fit, it is specialised so probably costs

Sent from my moto g(8) power lite using Tapatalk
 

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Is it common for a machinist to take a motor and transmission and build a high-precision adapters for them that won't vibrate at 10k RPM? Is this easier than I think it is? How do I vet a machinist for this kind of work?
Since we did it ourselves, "I don't know" is the only real answer I can give. We aren't really machinists or welders by trade, so the pro's could do better work than us. I'm guessing it isn't all that hard. Making the leaf end coupler, that was hard for a non-prof machinist.. lol
 

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There will be some adaptation requiring precise machining or fabrication either way. The 8:1 gearbox on the leaf motor bolts off to reveal a flat face with an output shaft.
How many teeth on that spline and can you mike the O.D. of the spline & of the non-splined shaft sections?

An end-on closeup photo of the shaft might be useful to some...you actually can make drawings from photos 🤓
 
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