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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
As some of you may know my first EV build was 2001 Mazda Miata, it’s still in the Garage here and on EVAlbum, but it has found a new owner. It was a lot of fun to build and drive, but it did not serve my primary goal - become a gas independent family. Since my wife does more driving than I do, and our family consists of more than 2 people, the 2 seater Roadster was not up to the challenge. It was heartbreaking to let it go, so much love and dedication went into that car, but on the bright side it has better future as an EV than any stock Miata could ever hope for. OK, enough sentiments…. :)
After much research and planning I found the donor that would fit all my family needs, yet still sporty and pretty cool looking, high quality and in great mechanical shape, 2002 Mazda Protégé5.
Land vehicle Vehicle Car Motor vehicle Mid-size car

While working on Miata I fell in love with Mazda’s engineering, its simple, elegant, well thought out design, high quality parts, and reasonable cost. Protégé gets highest reviews all over the Internet, there are specialized forums, tons of technical info, upgrades, etc. I found complete workshop manual, schematics, everything I would need to take it apart and put it back together.
My main technical goals for this EV are – automatic transmission and LiFePo4 battery pack. The rest is pretty standard DC conversion, Warp9 motor, etc. I am hoping to become one of the first customers for not yet existent but already so popular DC controller designed by Tesseract and Qer from this forum, keep up the good work guys, customers are waiting in line. :)
Before I get flamed for automatic transmission, let me just say up front, I have read every single word on every single EV forum and mailing list regarding auto tranny conversions, so its unlikely that you will tell me something I don’t already know. I am inspired by couple of successful auto conversions, by SGC and couple of other folks. I am convinced that it will turn out very nice, plus I have no choice in the matter, because primary driver of this EV refuses to learn the stick, so there you go…
Interestingly enough, this particular Protégé came with sport auto tranny, so it can be put in semi-manual mode, very much resembling clutchless manual conversions. But, again, main goal is to make auto tranny work just like OEM, truly automatic and as efficient as possible. More on that later…
Technology Cylinder Electronic device

So far I already have Warp9 sitting in my garage, batteries have been ordered, but will take 6-8 weeks to deliver, all small parts have been ordered thru Ebay and various EV suppliers. I hope to get motor in and most of the work done to get ready for controller and batteries. Then I will be at the mercy of Tesseract and Qer to finish the controller ( hurry up guys :D ) and Elite Power to get my batteries.
 

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well that all sounds very exciting... I can't wait to see your numerous detailed entries in this build thread (subtle eh?)! I have actually greatly considered the Protege in many different generations as a very good candidate for an EV conversion. Good luck and keep the info coming!
 

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Nice! That is one nice looking donor car.

Do you have any info on the gear ratios of the transmission? I just got a ADC FB1-4001A for my Civic, and I have gone through the calculations and found that the 9" will handle all 4 gears, where my little 6.7" could only take 1st and 2nd gear.

Also, do you have a model number for the car and the transmission computer? Some of the newer (2000+) vehicles can have the transmission computer reprogrammed to what you want, and that would be sweet. My 1996 Civic isn't programmable, but the gear ratios work out nicely, and my new beast motor will help out a lot.

I too had to do an Auto-EV since no one in my family will drive a stick (benefit for me since no one takes my car!) And so far so good, have over 60 EV miles on it and no problems, except the tiny motor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Do you have any info on the gear ratios of the transmission?
1GR - 2.816
2GR - 1.497
3GR - 1.000
4GR - 0.725

I don't have the model of the ECU yet, I will look for it. Do you have any info or links regarding reprogramming of the ECUs? The only thing I need is to move shift points to higher RPMs, I have an idea on how to do that later, but it would be much easier to just change it in the stock ECU.

Thanks
 

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Also, what's the Final Drive gear ratio?

I don't have links for Mazda ECU's, so a google search would be in order. Search for performance ECUs, programming ECUs and chip upgrades. Also the dealer may have equipment for reprogramming the ECU.

1GR - 2.816
2GR - 1.497
3GR - 1.000
4GR - 0.725

I don't have the model of the ECU yet, I will look for it. Do you have any info or links regarding reprogramming of the ECUs? The only thing I need is to move shift points to higher RPMs, I have an idea on how to do that later, but it would be much easier to just change it in the stock ECU.

Thanks
 

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Dimitri,

You'll have your first and second build done in less time than many of us (me at least) will take to do our first! Great choice for a very practical and fun conversion. I won't bug you about the auto tranny... you gotta do what you gotta do. I'm sure it was hard to sell the roadster, my condolences.

Can you share more about your LFP pack? Cell size, quantity? Why did you choose that supplier...? Has there been any break on pricing?

I'll be wanting to have two LFP packs (45X160Ah) for spring. Hoping the price will soften.

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Can you share more about your LFP pack? Cell size, quantity? Why did you choose that supplier...? Has there been any break on pricing?
I decided to use 40 cells of TS LFP160AH for a nominal pack voltage of 128V. Initially I wanted 45 cells, but for many reasons decided to lower to 40. One of the reasons is that I want to use PakTrakr as my Battery Monitoring System and it only goes to 40 cells, also I can fit 40 cells entirely in the back of this car and will just need to upgrade rear springs to hold 500Lb of lithium. And of course 40 cells cost less than 45 cells :D while providing enough power for my projected range of 50-70 miles.

I bought from Elite Power because their price is competitive with direct orders from China, yet I have a peace of mind in dealing with US company and not worrying about customs, etc. I'd rather not post prices here, you can call or Email them for a quote. There has not been any major price break yet, but if these cells last as they claim, they should be cheaper than LA even at today's price.

Battery cost is the largest chunk of my budget, so I am saving every penny on other parts, buying from Ebay and cherry picking EV suppliers, instead of buying a whole kit like I did with my first EV. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This is the sport auto shifter I mentioned...
Gear shift Vehicle Car Family car


While still collecting parts and planning the conversion, I decided to take care of some things that are not EV related, like changing brake rotors and pads. Old rotors were pretty worn out, so I found a good deal on Ebay for a complete kit, 4 rotors and 4 sets of ceramic pads for $199 shipped. Previous owner had painted calipers, but the paint was all chipped, so instead of scraping the old paint, I decided to repaint it, looks cool, eh?
Land vehicle Alloy wheel Vehicle Car Wheel


I also put in my favorite in-dash media player and XM Radio.
Car Vehicle Vehicle audio Center console Technology


Oh, and the pedals too....
Blue Fashion accessory Electric blue Jewellery Games


OK, this car had its last gas dinner :) , once the tank is empty the engine will come out. Poor ICE doesn't know its days are numbered :(
 

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I decided to use 40 cells of TS LFP160AH for a nominal pack voltage of 128V. Initially I wanted 45 cells, but for many reasons decided to lower to 40. One of the reasons is that I want to use PakTrakr as my Battery Monitoring System and it only goes to 40 cells, also I can fit 40 cells entirely in the back of this car and will just need to upgrade rear springs to hold 500Lb of lithium. And of course 40 cells cost less than 45 cells :D while providing enough power for my projected range of 50-70 miles.

I bought from Elite Power because their price is competitive with direct orders from China, yet I have a peace of mind in dealing with US company and not worrying about customs, etc. I'd rather not post prices here, you can call or Email them for a quote. There has not been any major price break yet, but if these cells last as they claim, they should be cheaper than LA even at today's price.

Battery cost is the largest chunk of my budget, so I am saving every penny on other parts, buying from Ebay and cherry picking EV suppliers, instead of buying a whole kit like I did with my first EV. :)
Thanks for the response. Big bonus to be able to have a single bat box! I'm glad to hear, surprised even, that Elite is able to be price competitive with a direct order. It is definitely less risky. I'll contact them re. a quote. I haven't seen the 160Ah cells listed on their site, will check again and inquire.

I keep telling myself... if they last and perform as advertised, they will be better and less expensive in the long run. Let's hope that is the case!:rolleyes:

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
OK, today was officially first day of the project, I jacked the car and started unplugging and removing everything around the engine.

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Mazda Mazda familia


I'm going to need some advise from experienced auto mechanics, since its not really my field, so I am learning as I go.

I knew that auto tranny has a cooling loop for the ATF fluid, but I didn't expect it to be in same radiator as the engine. I was planning on removing the main radiator, but found that tranny hoses go into it as well. Obviously it must have 2 separate loops, since there are 2 separate fluids, right? So what should I do? Keep the big radiator only for tranny? That would suck....

Also, I am trying to remove the engine without removing transmission, not sure if its a good idea, seems pretty complicated. I wanted to avoid extra work of removing drive shafts, etc.

It seems that one joint shaft is supported by the engine itself, so after I put Warp9 in I am going to have to fabricate new support for that joint shaft? That's a hassle I haven't planned for :(

Front drive seems more complicated than rear drive, Miata was much easier to work with :)
 

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...
I knew that auto tranny has a cooling loop for the ATF fluid, but I didn't expect it to be in same radiator as the engine. I was planning on removing the main radiator, but found that tranny hoses go into it as well. Obviously it must have 2 separate loops, since there are 2 separate fluids, right? So what should I do? Keep the big radiator only for tranny? That would suck......
Nope - just get a separate transmission cooler. They are sold at auto parts stores mainly for people that tow RVs and such.... Here's an example:

http://www.etrailer.com/pc-TRAN~HH41019.htm?utm_source=froogle&utm_medium=ppc
 

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Ok, since I am the only other NutCase that has done an AutoTranny, lemme give you my knowledge:

For the transmission cooler, yes it usually uses the bottom half of your ICE radiator. But you can remove that and get a Transmission Cooler. The are usually used as add-ons for towing packages and are rather small. Usually go for $30-$40 and can be installed anyway you want. I still have my radiator installed due to laziness, but it will be removed and I will install a transmission cooler when I install my new motor.

I left my transmission installed when I removed the engine, but the transmission was self supporting and the drive shafts weren't dependant on the engine for mounts. The annoying thing was I had to separate the torque converter from the engine through a small hole under the car, and manually spinning the engine and transmission to get to the next bolt.

You're going to have to make your own adapter plates and coupling because none exist for an auto, and EV suppliers won't make them, but once you have your transmission it's really easy to make one. Check out my site for my journey into AutoTrannyWorld.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
SGC,

I follow your blog and have your Auto Tranny PDF doc. Your conversion inspired me to do an AutoTranny myself. Thanks for sharing the info.

I just ordered the tranny cooler on Ebay for $40 shipped, nice :)

Now I just need to figure out how to take the damn engine out.

Wouldn't you still need to unbolt the TC from the drive plate thru a hole even if you taken engine out with the tranny attached?

Thanks
 

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Wouldn't you still need to unbolt the TC from the drive plate thru a hole even if you taken engine out with the tranny attached?

Thanks
Yes, but it would have been much easier if the transmission/engine was more than 2 ft off the ground! And to make it worse, the car jacks were sinking into the mud while I was under, so the space was getting smaller and smaller. I thought I was just loosing my mind, but the jacks sunk 3 inches in the few hours I was working on it.

I really should update that PDF too.
 

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SGC,

Now I just need to figure out how to take the damn engine out.
dimitri,

Just a thought, Go by the local Mazda dealer and ask the service manager if you could post an offer to have one of the line techs, come and help you pull the engine after normal work hours or on the weekend.

$50.00 bucks and a case of beer or somesuch might save you a lot of grief and broken parts (car and personal body parts).:D

Might also be a way to make some good contacts for all of those MAZDA only questions.;)

Good luck.
Jim
 

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OK, today was officially first day of the project, I jacked the car and started unplugging and removing everything around the engine.

View attachment 2166

I'm going to need some advise from experienced auto mechanics, since its not really my field, so I am learning as I go.

I knew that auto tranny has a cooling loop for the ATF fluid, but I didn't expect it to be in same radiator as the engine. I was planning on removing the main radiator, but found that tranny hoses go into it as well. Obviously it must have 2 separate loops, since there are 2 separate fluids, right? So what should I do? Keep the big radiator only for tranny? That would suck....

Also, I am trying to remove the engine without removing transmission, not sure if its a good idea, seems pretty complicated. I wanted to avoid extra work of removing drive shafts, etc.

It seems that one joint shaft is supported by the engine itself, so after I put Warp9 in I am going to have to fabricate new support for that joint shaft? That's a hassle I haven't planned for :(

Front drive seems more complicated than rear drive, Miata was much easier to work with :)
Make sure you take careful measurements of where that shaft support is as you'll need to put it back there when you put in your electric motor.. there's a lot of pics and info on that on my site.. or for a short reference, check out Brian's "Saturn Project" thread as he just did one similar.. most of us incorporate that passenger side 1/2 shaft mount into our new motor mount. It seems harder than it is.. just some noodle work.
 
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