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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I picked up a bashed-in 2014 Leaf at a salvage auction to transplant into a '79 Superbeetle convertible that we've had.

The Leaf has 78k miles with a lot of front-end damage, but it moves on its own, and was delivered to my driveway for about $4500 for the car, auction fees, and shipping. Unfortunately its from the Atlanta area and only has 9-bars of battery health. I would have wanted a 2015 with 50k miles, but there aren't many east coast Leafs, and I didn't want to pay an extra $1000 for shipping cross country.

The plan is to use some parts from ESDI-EV (like the mounting plate) with a Resolve-EV controller to try to maximize Leaf parts. I'm trying to have an interesting EV classic car, but don't want to pay more than a new EV, which would have modern safety and comforts.

It's more to be an around-the-city car when I want to carry people or cargo that won't work well with my bike or motorcycle. I'll use the Prius for longer trips for now, but may upgrade batteries in the future for more range.

I'll try to document the build here.

My first issue was that I couldn't charge the Leaf with the trickle charger, but I figured out that the damage bent things just enough to prevent latching the charger connector.

Next step is to look for sizing to see if I can relocate the charger/BMS off the stack, say under the rear seats, but seems unlikely. I have more room in the frunk than the ESDI Beetle since mine's a Super.

Any tips would be appreciated.

---mike...
Cambridge, Mass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Here's the donor car at the auction yard. My winning bid was about $2600 plus another $1000 in fees and $900 in shipping (including tip). It was listed as "Run & Drive." I does move on its own, but the passenger front was rubbing against the tire. We pushed back some metal so it doesn't rub going straight, but rubs when turning the wheel.
Car Land vehicle Vehicle Wheel Tire
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Just ordered the Resolve-EV controller! Total came to $1060.

The controller now supports the "gen2" Leaf throttle pedal, where "gen2" means 2014-2017. This was big, because the previous support was only for the 2010-2015 VW Touran, which is a model that was/is not available in the US. With the new support for the Leaf pedal, that's one less thing to scrounge from foreign sources, and I'm sure to get the connector with the wire pigtails.

---mike...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Question: can anyone point me to any threads or resources about opening up my Leaf battery pack and splitting up the modules? Sorry, it's kind of hard to figure out how to do that search without a ton of other things coming up, so I'm hoping someone might recall any such threads.

Background: I can't easily fit the whole battery pack as-is anywhere on the Bug, so I was planning to put some in the cargo area behind the rear seats and the rest in the frunk. That'll be a lot of wiring to connect the two sets of modules in a way that the Resolve-EV controller and rest of the Leaf parts can be happy about.

I would like to know if anyone had recommendations about things like: What wire gauge to use? Use a multi-conductor cable, and if so or round flat (ribbon) and balance between fewer cables to run vs. difficulty bending fat cables? How should break up the modules (half-and-half, 1/3-2/3, other)?

thanks!

Updates: Resolve-EV controller arrives next week. ESDI is on vacation this week.

I got a pair of RV slide-out stabilizers to put under (probably) the bumper supports for when we jack up the bug high enough to get the engine out. Thought it might be a little safer than just relying on jack stands near the center of the car. We'll jack at the transmission, and if we can lift high enough, put on stands, lower the jack, add some blocks to the jack cradle, and lift some more. Then after lowering onto the stands, put the stabilizers at the back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So progress has been made though I haven't been good about updating.

This is what things looked like in the Leaf after breaking through the charging port area. The front was so damaged that I couldn't open the latch for the cover and I couldn't easily get behind the whole assembly. I got under the plastic cover to remove the loop for the latch from the door. Later I hacked away the plastic.

I had problems trying to charge because I couldn't get the plug on the trickle charger to fully seat, but was able to get it to work when I completely removed it from the housing.

123519


Although I'm farther along, I'll post individual updates of the stages.

Please let me know if I shouldn't be posting full sized images in this thread, and if I shouldn't, let me know what the proper protocol for images is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The front was pretty bashed, so I thought I didn't have to worry about fluids, but the radiator seemed pretty full when we went to remove it. That led me to wonder about the a/c system. I had an gauge from an old diy sealer kit, and the gauge was pegged when I put it on one of the fittings. I had to take it to a shop to evacuate the refrigerant. It was only $40 and I didn't have to wonder about releasing the r134 to the ozone layer. It's not as bad as freon, but it's still not good.

Fortunately the shop is literally across the street from the opposite corner of my block, so I didn't need a tow.
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Yeah, the upper radiator support is almost touching the charger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
For those who haven't been wrenching on cars for a long time, I'm posting a picture of the radiator petcock. My son didn't realize that's how you drain the radiator. (Unscrew from inside the downward facing tube under the circular thing.) The radiator hoses are on the passenger-side top and driver-side bottom
123521
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Since we're doing the disassembly rather cheaply, such as without buying/renting and engine crane, we decided to take the drive stack out in pieces. I think this was actually a good approach because it made access to the lower levels easier.

We removed the bumper/supports and radiators and upper support, coolant and some a/c hoses, and cables to allow the charger/PDM to be removed. Also, the cowl and wipers needed to be removed and swung out of the way. We removed the screws holding the charger to the inverter. Note that the two internal bus bar screws need to be removed also. After doing that, the top module came off easily.

Here's how it looked just before removing the charger:
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And after:
123523
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Rinse and repeat for the inverter. If you look at the last photo (previous post), you can see how removing the charger made it much easier to get to the a/c hoses and other things attached to the inverter. Remember the 3 internal electrical connections. I also removed the lower radiator support.

Here's what's left:
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Removing the charger and inverter made it easy to remove the passenger side axle from above:
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Just remove all the screws around it from the gearbox side. Follow the steps for axle replacement from the wheel side. It's nice to know that I won't be trying to get the suspension to work later, so we could just hack away.

Our plan was to separate the motor from the gearbox so it would be lighter to lift. We supported the motor with a floor jack and the gearbox with a scissor jack. We later decided to take the gearbox, too, but if you don't want it, you don't have to worry about wrestling out the driver-side axle. We did need to take off the passenger-side (which is easier) because of the bracket that mounts to the motor. The motor needs to be shifted about 2-1/2 inches (from what I read somewhere) to clear the gearbox.

Unfortunately, there's less than an inch of clearance between the passenger-side motor mount bracket and the frame where the motor mount attaches, so we needed to lift. We decided to leave the motor mount bracket attached to the motor housing because it was something easy to grab when lifting the motor. (Removing it still didn't give enough clearance around the frame.)

After removing the top motor mount nuts, the motor/gearbox could swing upward on the rear mount using the floor jack under the motor. When the motor was just high enough to clear the frame (without interfering with clearance up top), the scissor jack was raised to support the gearbox. (Note: the screws connecting the motor and gearbox had been loosened before lifting.)
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We removed the passenger-side motor mount and the screws connecting the gearbox and motor. The motor was then shifted away from the geabox until the spline was cleared. We each grabbed a side and plunked the motor onto a waiting moving dolly (Harbor Freight).
123527
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Here's the "engine" bay without the drivetrain:
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Note that the gearbox has oil that will spill all over your driveway/garage floor and into your shoe if you aren't careful removing it. We kept the driver side axle shaft connected during removal (because we couldn't get it disconnected), which saved dumping oil out of the other side of the gearbox when tilted:
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Next updates, when I get around to them, will be of removing the engine from the Bug. The next steps in the project are to remove the battery box from the Leaf, and scavenge whatever I'm going to keep so that I can get rid of one of the three non-working cars that are currently occupying all of the driveway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
For future reference, it's usually much easier to drain gear oil from the drain plug than to keep an axle shaft in. ;)
Hah! Back in the days when I had been doing most of my heavy wrenching, it was with cars with engines on the opposite end of the passenger cabin from the driven wheels, with a driveshaft on universal joints between the gearbox (aka transmission) and differential. These gearboxes with half-axles sticking out are somewhat new to me, though not necessarily new technology - the Bug and the '68 Fiat 600D that's behind it in the driveway have that "funny" setup. ;)

Thanks for pointing out the drain plug. When I wasn't looking, my son put the gearbox in hatch of the Leaf, with the half-axle attached, and he apparently leaked oil into the hatch.

By the way, what's a Leaf gearbox worth? I don't need it, but it might be useful to somebody...
 

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Hah! Back in the days when I had been doing most of my heavy wrenching, it was with cars with engines on the opposite end of the passenger cabin from the driven wheels, with a driveshaft on universal joints between the gearbox (aka transmission) and differential. These gearboxes with half-axles sticking out are somewhat new to me, though not necessarily new technology - the Bug and the '68 Fiat 600D that's behind it in the driveway have that "funny" setup. ;)

Thanks for pointing out the drain plug. When I wasn't looking, my son put the gearbox in hatch of the Leaf, with the half-axle attached, and he apparently leaked oil into the hatch.

By the way, what's a Leaf gearbox worth? I don't need it, but it might be useful to somebody...
I wouldn't mind getting my hands on the input shaft out of that box for a small donation to your project. PM me if you'd like to sell.
Thank,
Bill Bitner
 

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really appreciate you posting the costs of the donor car, that helps out a lot in terms of planning and making decisions early on
 

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By the way, what's a Leaf gearbox worth? I don't need it, but it might be useful to somebody...
I'm only guessing, but it (the gearbox, or transaxle) probably isn't worth much. That's not a criticism of the hardware, just an observation of supply and demand. The motor and the gearbox are the two significant components in a typical EV which will routinely outlast the rest of the car, so there's a set in every wrecked car and almost no one who needs them to fix a stock car. DIY'ers want the motors, but there's a gearbox for every one of them - and many using the motor don't even want the gearbox - so not much need for additional gearboxes. There is likely zero demand for people using the gearbox with any other motor, since it would be awkward to adapt an unrelated motor to the gearbox housing pattern and the shaft spline.

My guess is that Bill's offer is the best that you'll get. :)
 

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My classic Mini conversion has a lot of handy Leaf info.

Leaf packs are easily reconfigured. Just cut open the battery pack (with multitool; the seal is a pain) and it's just bricks bolted in. Very carefully disconnect the orange interconnects, and everything else comes apart pretty intuitively. There are videos on YouTube.

I used 2/0awg because it was bigger than what they used on the Leaf. I used orange welding cable, which is very flexible.

It doesn't really matter how the modules are positioned. Figure out your space and weight requirements, and do a bit of testing. It seems like the weight distribution of a Bug can be improved upon, but if you put too much weight up front, you might find the suspension behaves differently. Doesn't matter much for low speeds, perhaps.

You might be able to ditch the VW transmission. I think there are Nissan to VW/930 axle adapters out there. I suspect it would be quite swift with the Nissan motor and gearbox between the rear wheels.
 

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I'm researching putting a Fiat 500E drivetrain into my 63 Corvair Rampside (also a rear engine vehicle) I want to replace the entire drivetrain and the electric motor/gearbox seems to be a good fit by splicing the old/new axles to the connect the wheels to the new motor. Do you know of anyone that has done this?
 

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Not yet. Sounds like the tricky bit would be controlling the motor/inverter...Maybe openinverter.org has more info...?
 
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