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model T conversion help please

2246 Views 34 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Duncan
I started with a 23 T where the engine needed rebuild. I was offered this 300 lb caterpillar forklift motor ,sweet spot 1800 rpm ,series wound motor that i have mounted in the car,direct drive no clutch engine plate is shown it came from a 15 000 caterpillar forklift machine. the T nets out at 1500lb with the ice components removed original speed 35 mph at 1500 rpm. the electrics should balance out to 1500 pounds aftermarket disc brakes stop like a normal car.
I have run the motor direct drive to the driveshaft at 750 rpm on a `12 volt battery . I am anticipating 48 volts to give me just over 35 mph of 50 Km/hr this is a much as I wish to go on 100 yr old wooden wheels.
the batteries are nominal 48 volt from a bmw 130i which at 3500 lbs gave a 200 mile range. there are 8 units 4 under the floor as shown and two under the front seat replacing the gas tank ,two under the back seat cushion.
I have watched the videos from benjamin nelson, scotty vw van and garcia vw van.
nelson and scotty are using lead acid batteries.
The motor i got from a forklift mechanic who now being self employed has no time. a second tech said the same thing and a third does not want the liability. i found an octogenarian who has built 4 electric vehicles SLA and does not want the unknown liability of working with Lithium . the new crop of enthusiasts want AC motors regen and computer algorithms.
I have a main contactor, throttle box. 48 volt 12 volt converter throttle pedal and hydraulic brake pedal mounted to the front floorboard.
i bought a forklift that has a suppex motor and controller that are not compatible with a series wound motor.
I am acutely aware of the need for compatible components.
what i need is for someone to tell me what model controller to buy as well the bits and pieces. what i don't want to do is acquire bits and pieces from various sources that are not compatible. the choices are dizzying. i can sorta figure it out but lack the assurance that my thinking is correct.
I am well aware of what i can fabricate but humble enough to admit my limitations.
I live in the niagara falls canada area. [email protected] 905 9888648

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As remy has said you need something more than just your brakes on your car. Imagine you in your car at top of the hill descending and you start rolling downhill how would the brakes fare with a load of passengers?
He has aftermarket disc brakes.

If they're sufficient to stop a loaded modern vehicle at highway speeds, how are they insufficient for putzing around town, even if it goes downhill?

Non-issue to me. The brakes are probably 10x what's needed.

From a limited search I found out that it can be complicated to implement resistor braking with a series wound motor.
Forklifts generally use "plug" braking, which is putting the motor in reverse (while moving forward). Even my 1969 York forklift, with SCR & Capacitor speed control, has plug braking.

But again, it's a non-issue if he's installed disc brakes on the vehicle.


I'm not actually sure what the OP is asking us to give advice on. It seems he has 100% of what he needs to figure this out, and experience with it.

Are you planning on converting it to lithium? Did you want alternative motor sources since your forklift supplier is unavailable? I'm missing the big picture of your request here.
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American side is flatter than the Canadian side overall imho.
The American side isn't just flat, it's all on the upper side. You can't even see Horseshoe Falls from the US, just the crappy little American Falls. The US side is a sheer cliff the whole way. The Canadian side ranges from lower lake, to upper lake (top of the falls), to the hill that rises away from the water, up, and above the falls.

The downhills he's talking about are mild and long, it's not braking on the edge of a ravine. Old ladies and their walkers go up and down them around the casinos:

Water Water resources Natural landscape World Coastal and oceanic landforms

Water Water resources Azure World Coastal and oceanic landforms

I find it hilarious that people with DUI's and such, or SouthAm/Euro/Asian tourists who only got a US visa, and can't get into Canada, thinking "well we'll just look at the falls from the US side", and they go out on that expensive observation platform that reaches right to the edge of the border, looking back at the crappy American falls/Bridal Veil falls (which aren't even 30% waterfall, they're like 45 degrees down to the lower lake most of the way), and are like "Oh wow! It's so beautiful, it's so amazing. Niagara Falls is a wonderful place!", and have literally no idea what's just a thousand feet farther down the cliff. The geography is such that you just barely, just can't quite see anything at all of Horseshoe Falls.

Anyway, I digress.

They're not rappelling over the edge on the US side. Braking is a non-issue with ordinary OEM brakes.

The only reason there's any braking concern is because the "brakes" on a Model T are a greased up cotton rag pressed against the transmission, and they're basically a suggestion. See SuperFastMatt's breakdown of the Model Y vs. Model T:

(Relevant section is at 10m30s)

You can do resistive braking instead of plug braking on the DC motor. Plug braking is basically putting the car in reverse and feathering the throttle. You're actually spending energy, to lose energy, so it dumps twice the heat into the motor than you actually remove from your momentum. Resistive braking is simple, but less powerful. Just a big dummy dump load. oven or stove or dryer element, not sure what the right ballpark would be. You'd want a heat shield separating it from the wooden car body though. It's only 10x as much heat to dissipate as an adult on a bicycle. It's really just not a lot of energy.
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Does now cause me to think this is a Canadian project but there were horse drawn touristy things on the American side, too.
Oh, I didn't know anyone was confused about that. Can you guys not see the Canadian flag under his username? Also, first post: "I live in the niagara falls canada area. [email protected]" Specifies Canada and Canadian address.

The US side (Buffalo) isn't touristy. It's a rust belt crime-ridden dump. There's no hill above or below the falls, you have no idea you're anywhere other than an industrial park until you're half way over the Rainbow Bridge, through customs. From the Canadian side you're above the falls looking down at them any time you look southeast. The falls are on the US side, so you can't see them from the US side. It's just the edge of a cliff. You see them from across the water on the Canadian side.
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