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My engine blew up in my truck 190k miles. Rebuild is $4k, crate is $10k. Junk yard wants $2.5k for just a used engine, miles don't matter. So now I have this truck that I dont know what to do with. I thought huh maybe I'll look into converting it to an electric vehicle. So this is my second stop. My first stop left me with more questions which is what led me here. I know that my truck is heavy which most posts I have seen said to get a smaller vehicle. I like my truck. I live on a farm and may use it to move stuff so 4x4 and torque are handy. I live 30 miles from work so 75 mile range would be benificial. I am unsure of exactly what all I need. I know I need a motor and batteries but then I saw controllers and lots more. What I know

07 Nissan Frontier @ about 4000 lb curb weight
AC or DC - Doesn't matter to much. I think Torque is DC but range is AC. Not 100% about that either.
Recharging - I was thinking of putting solar panels on top to help charge, as well as a plug to plug it in.
Range - 75 miles
Speed - 70mph
Price - Well if i want to spend bookoo bucks I'd buy a tesla. Keep it reasonable.

I understand some of these items aren't cheap but at 50$ a week minimum in gas and 10k engine. 13k is looking like about there for 1 year payback. Im not opposed to going more and definately wouldnt be afraid to go less lol. I still am unsure how this will work anyhow because the truck computer is looking for sensors and stuff that wont be installed anymore, and how much of my wiring would I have to cut out/replace.

If this just isn't a thing that can happen i guess ill have to look at a smaller truck but 4x4 is a must at this point. So if you think this truck can't make it please suggest another truck that can.

Thank you for your time and clarification
 

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13k is looking like about there for 1 year payback. Im not opposed to going more and definately wouldnt be afraid to go less lol.
I'd buy a wrecked Nissan Leaf and use that as the donor vehicle. Then I'd buy a second Leaf battery pack and either parallel the battery modules (if you want to use the complete Leaf system as is) or use Wolf's twin pack BMS system (if you're discarding most of the Leaf control system).

The Leaf's curb weight is ~3400lbs so you should be ok assuming a large part of your vehicles weight is in the ICE and transmission.

A good wrecked Leaf should be less than $5K and second battery less than $3K :cool:

If you require 4x4 then an alternative approach can be found on the LandRover conversion (here) but that pushes up the total costs with the AC51 motor typically costing $4700 on its own (here) and weight could become a problem because you'll need the transmission.
 

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The Leaf's curb weight is ~3400lbs so you should be ok assuming a large part of your vehicles weight is in the ICE and transmission.
Is about 800 pounds a "large part" of 4000 pounds? Nuts&Volts is converting a Nissan 300ZX, which has the same engine as a Nissan Frontier with V6. A Frontier could also have a 4-cylinder gas engine (smaller displacement, might be lighter) or a 4-cylinder diesel (probably a bit heavier than the V6).
...
Engine 516lbs
Trans 165lbs
Oil/ATF/Coolant 47lbs
Full exhaust 105lbs
Driveshaft 23lbs
12V battery 35lbs

Big things left and my estimates
AC system - 35lbs
Differential - 110lbs
Air Intake - 20lbs
Fuel tank w/ gas - 160lbs
Engine Harness - 15lbs

Overall about 1200lbs out of the car which gives me plenty to add a large battery system back in.
That's a lot more than 800 pounds, but to keep four wheel drive with a single electric motor will require some sort of transmission, as well as the transfer case, front and rear driveshafts, and both final drives (differentials)... some of which are not in the 300ZX list, of course.

An alternative is to use at two motors so there is one per axle, which would eliminate the transfer case. Each motor would need an inverter and some form of transmission (only single-speed with the proper motor).

Going further, two complete drive units - motors with inverters and transaxles - could be used so there is one per axle, which would replace the transfer case, driveshafts, and final drive units. That would require a different rear suspension.
 

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After converting the LandRover 4x4 , which is 3500Lb its unrealistic to expect 75miles @ 70mph , its not going to happen unless you spend mega $$ on the latest tech batteries and loads of them , which is going to bring your weight up in a fight against range & speed.

Mine has AC51 which most say is gutless, but its efficient, & can do 75Mph in the LandRover ( 60 was flat out with ICE) but only for short bursts, If I sustain that speed I might get 10 miles range, Sitting on 55 MPH I'll get maybe 60Miles ,

I can tell you right now unless you are set on an EV conversion , the most economical way out of your pickle is to buy another Nissan with a bad body & do an engine swap.

Unless you want to keep driving the same car for the next 15-20 years its not going to be economically viable to convert to EV ( buying new parts that is) but if you Love your car & want to do the project for the challenge then go for it.

I think a Bollinger B1 might be for you .

https://youtu.be/-dav55oUJ-w

PS Solar Panels wont help , if you had a roof the size of a Semi-Trailer full of panels , Yes , but one or two might give you an extra mile or two per day, thats it.
 

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My engine blew up in my truck 190k miles. Rebuild is $4k, crate is $10k. Junk yard wants $2.5k for just a used engine, miles don't matter. So now I have this truck that I dont know what to do with. I thought huh maybe I'll look into converting it to an electric vehicle. So this is my second stop. My first stop left me with more questions which is what led me here. I know that my truck is heavy which most posts I have seen said to get a smaller vehicle. I like my truck. I live on a farm and may use it to move stuff so 4x4 and torque are handy. I live 30 miles from work so 75 mile range would be benificial. I am unsure of exactly what all I need. I know I need a motor and batteries but then I saw controllers and lots more. What I know



07 Nissan Frontier @ about 4000 lb curb weight

AC or DC - Doesn't matter to much. I think Torque is DC but range is AC. Not 100% about that either.

Recharging - I was thinking of putting solar panels on top to help charge, as well as a plug to plug it in.

Range - 75 miles

Speed - 70mph

Price - Well if i want to spend bookoo bucks I'd buy a tesla. Keep it reasonable.



I understand some of these items aren't cheap but at 50$ a week minimum in gas and 10k engine. 13k is looking like about there for 1 year payback. Im not opposed to going more and definately wouldnt be afraid to go less lol. I still am unsure how this will work anyhow because the truck computer is looking for sensors and stuff that wont be installed anymore, and how much of my wiring would I have to cut out/replace.



If this just isn't a thing that can happen i guess ill have to look at a smaller truck but 4x4 is a must at this point. So if you think this truck can't make it please suggest another truck that can.



Thank you for your time and clarification


Brochar,
Where are you located? I've seen a bunch of wrecked EVs available on Craigslist recently. I agree with Kevin that the leaf is a good option for a truck, but maintaining 4x4 capabilities is a challenge. I just purchased a 2018 Nissan Leaf, which has noticeably more torque than my previous 2013 model which people are practically giving away now days, so if you are not in a rush you may find an affordable solution.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I live in South West Missouri. I only have to drive to work 3 days a week. 70 MPH is the max, the speed limit is 55 but you never know when you need that extra bit to get you out. I have about 15 miles of 55 mph and 15 miles of 40 mph. I was also thinking I may have to do a dual motor system to provide the torque i needed. It is starting to sound like my truck may just be dead without dumping bookoo money into it. What are the components that are required for a conversion? I know batteries and the motor but what else? All suggestions are awesome as far as what parts to get, but making the list is going to be hard if I don't know what is suppose to be on the list.

I have also been thinking about making my own battery banks out of 18650 batteries.
 

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Get a Tesla drive unit and mount it where the transfer case is.
Is the idea is to use the two outputs of the Tesla drive unit - which normally drive the axle shafts for the two wheels on one axle - and connect them to the front and rear driveshafts?

This sort of thing has been done with engines and transverse transaxles, but has one major problem: gearing. The Frontier's axles have another stage of gear reduction in them, so the top speed of the vehicle, as limited by motor speed, will be reduced by the final drive ratio. For instance, if the truck has 3.54:1 final drives, and the Tesla has a motor-speed-limited top speed of 155 mph, then (if the Frontier's tires are the same diameter) the truck would have a top speed of 44 mph. Maybe this is manageable with the tallest (lowest reduction ratio) ring-and-pinion gears and tall enough tires.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks all for the responses. It seems that converting my truck over is going to cost entirely to much. I guess its a lost cause. I just dont see how tesla can make a vehicle that can go so far at the speeds they do and I can't get my truck to go 30 miles to work and back without just buying a Tesla. I guess EV tech isn't where I thought it was.
 

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I guess EV tech isn't where I thought it was.
I'd recommend buying a >2014 Nissan Leaf and driving that... it will cost you $2-$5K depending on how much work you want to do yourself.

EV conversions really only make sense when your converting a 'cherished' vehicle and can overlook the true cost :)
 

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It seems that converting my truck over is going to cost entirely to much. I guess its a lost cause.
For the budget of most do-it-yourself builders, that's true... and that's why in most of these discussions an early response includes "what is your budget?".

I just dont see how tesla can make a vehicle that can go so far at the speeds they do and I can't get my truck to go 30 miles to work and back without just buying a Tesla.
For a start, Telsa only builds cars, not trucks with poor aerodynamics. Also, they build their bodies in aluminum, and still end up heavy compared to gasoline-engined cars of the same size, because batteries and motors are heavy; Tesla's hardware in a Frontier would not have typical Tesla performance.

You could buy the same parts as Tesla (and using salvaged Tesla components is a very common suggestion in this forum), and settle for lower performance (in range, acceleration, and top speed) due to the truck's higher mass and drag. Another limitation on performance is that the do-it-yourself project is likely to be a poorly integrated design with unsophisticated controls, because those are expensive aspects of the vehicle to develop. To be realistic, even that lower-performance project is going to be expensive: Teslas are expensive, and any aftermarket build (with new parts) is much more expensive than a factory build, because buying parts at retail is not a viable way to manufacture a vehicle.

If you took a random old pickup truck and bought modern components for it - engine, transmission, etc - it would be an expensive and inferior product compared to modern production trucks. That's not a problem with technology; it's a problem in the difficulties and efficiency of manufacturing a complex product.

Also, there really is nothing special about Tesla. Many companies build production EVs, they all work fine, and they're all very expensive (compared to gasoline-engined equivalents). Tesla gets a lot of performance only because they put in a huge battery, and have an even higher price as a result.
 

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EV conversions really only make sense when your converting a 'cherished' vehicle and can overlook the true cost :)
I think they can also make sense in two other circumstances:
  1. the project is fundamentally recreational or educational, and the high cost is justified on that basis
  2. the end vehicle will be of a type or configuration that is not commercially available (such as a 4X4 pickup), and for some reason highly valued by the builder
This is similar to any custom automotive work. No "hot rod" or other substantially modified vehicle actually makes practical sense for transportation compared to just buying something.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
My thoughts where that I could get on here and people that have dealt with converting vehicles would respond with something along the lines of "hey if you use 2 motors. have one that spans the vehicle from left to right that has slip yokes on it to drive the front wheels and another that hooks straight to the rear end you could still have 4wd and torque. to get the added mileage you may have to add a bunch of weight into batteries so boost your suspension a little. these are the motors I recommend and this is the batteries I would use but if you wanted to pay a little more heres these batteries." or " hey if you use 160vdc itll help make the batteries last longer/shorter. unless you want AC then go with xyz voltage to make the batteries last longer but when you get into amperage per hour you may try this or this." or "This is a list of components you will need to get in order to do an EV conversion." These types of responses is what I thought I would get. I got hey buy this other vehicle and and modify it because its been done and proven. Just a dissapointment that it was an all out this isnt possible because it weighs to much already and go get this thing over here. I need a truck for the farm and it will double as a driver to work without having to dump gas into it. I haven't given up on my truck just yet. I just wanted to get some more info about ideas or good products or whatever info I could get. I'll figure something out. I'll do more research into EV and find out what I can come up with.

Thanks
 

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My thoughts where that I could get on here and people that have dealt with converting vehicles would respond with something along the lines of "hey if you use 2 motors. have one that spans the vehicle from left to right that has slip yokes on it to drive the front wheels and another that hooks straight to the rear end you could still have 4wd and torque. to get the added mileage you may have to add a bunch of weight into batteries so boost your suspension a little. these are the motors I recommend and this is the batteries I would use but if you wanted to pay a little more heres these batteries."...
That would be nice, but even in conventional vehicles which have been around for decades, using engine (and transmission, and suspension) technology that has been around almost as long, with thousands of enthusiasts doing modifications, it's hard to get that much agreement on the best formula for a particular modification.

For instance, the earliest generation of Mazda Miata (MX-5) was introduced about 30 years ago. There are multiple companies offering parts to swap a GM V8 engine into this vehicle. Putting aside the silliness of this swap for a moment, consider that despite this long-running and very well understood base vehicle, and the most popular engine the world to swap into it, the multiple companies involved have different approaches and any of them cost far more than the resulting vehicle is actually worth. Throw in newer technology, and it gets even more difficult and more expensive. I just don't think it's reasonable to expect EV conversions to be easy in comparison.

... or " hey if you use 160vdc itll help make the batteries last longer/shorter. unless you want AC then go with xyz voltage to make the batteries last longer but when you get into amperage per hour you may try this or this."
Now you're getting into the complexity of the design. Everyone has a different combination of performance expectations, cost constraints, tolerance for risk, mechanical ability, electrical ability, computer expertise, regulatory restrictions, and even local climate and road conditions. Available technology changes significantly over a period of a few years, yet DIY projects commonly take several years. As a result, not only is there no one "correct" design, there isn't even a set of guidelines to follow.

... or "This is a list of components you will need to get in order to do an EV conversion."
You can actually get that, either from someone who has done a conversion and is just listing what they used, or from a company which is selling a kit and undoubtedly won't take responsibility for it actually working for you. Among the problems with these sources are that they are not likely even proven to work (let alone optimal), and that they are specific to a base vehicle.

These types of responses is what I thought I would get. I got hey buy this other vehicle and and modify it because its been done and proven. Just a dissapointment that it was an all out this isnt possible because it weighs to much already and go get this thing over here.
You're looking for the result of the experience of others, which is good, but a significant part of that experience is that the type of vehicle is very demanding. That doesn't mean that a conversion isn't possible, only that others have not had much success doing it.
 

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I would recommend you consider the EV4U conversion course (see here) because it's a modest investment and after three days you'll have built an EV :cool: Then you can apply that knowledge to your own build :)
That's an interesting idea! :)

The workshop does one specific conversion, of a vehicle type which few people will actually want to do for themselves (but is the cheapest and easiest), but a participant could go through it and ask themselves at every step "what would I need to consider for my vehicle?"
 
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