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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Heyo, USA, Virginian here.

I recently picked up a lovely dump-runner, grocery hauler, 3-day-a-week-gym-goer for $1500. It runs, okay. 20R motor, got a cylinder running at 80%. 5 speed Manual, no power steering, power-assisted front disc, rear drums.
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I am not super mechanical, but I am patient and have resources. 45 mile range would be a minimum. Highway speeds, up to 70mph. I'd love to be able to travel 15 miles down the road to pickup 2 yards of mulch, etc. The vehicle itself curb weighs 2500. My budget for it would be around $8k, I imagine.

I've been looking around iaai.com for a salvaged Leaf, as that seems to be the agreed upon standard for "easier" "budget" conversions, but that market seems hot at the moment. It doesn't look like I'll be able to find a 20R adaptor plate for my transmission, but I'm not sure.. Older forum posts here point to a company that no longer exists, (http://www.electroauto.com).

Thoughts, advice? Since I found out about the cylinder issue, I've been dreaming of an engine swap to EFI, but lately I've been OBSESSED with the idea of taking this vintage buddy to EV.
 

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I'm not a fan of recommending using a hybrid transaxle as a drive unit for every EV (as has become somewhat popular in this forum); however, I agree that the L110 transmission (from the Lexus GS 450h) could be a suitable fit for a small pickup. For a 4WD, the L110F (from the Lexus LS 600h) would be the equivalent, but unfortunately it does not have a low range.

With these hybrid transmissions, unless you lock the input shaft (which limits top speed) or lock up the power-splitter gearset, only MG2 (the output-side motor-generator) will drive the vehicle... MG1 (the motor-generator linked to the input from the engine via the power splitter) will not be able to do anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the reply and recommendation. I have, so far, been operating under the assumption I could keep the original transmission, since its manual. Is this totally mistaken, or would moving to the L110 just make my life easier?
 

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I have, so far, been operating under the assumption I could keep the original transmission, since its manual. Is this totally mistaken, or would moving to the L110 just make my life easier?
While the Toyota L110 is a transmission, it has been suggested as a motor complete with transmission - you wouldn't use it with another motor.

If you use a different motor, you may want to keep the truck's original transmission, or use a different transmission, or connect the motor to the rear axle without any other transmission... depending on the characteristics of the motor used.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
While the Toyota L110 is a transmission, it has been suggested as a motor complete with transmission - you wouldn't use it with another motor.

If you use a different motor, you may want to keep the truck's original transmission, or use a different transmission, or connect the motor to the rear axle without any other transmission... depending on the characteristics of the motor used.
So, basically, you are suggesting to turn the truck into a hybrid EV?
 

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So, basically, you are suggesting to turn the truck into a hybrid EV?
I'm not really suggesting the L110 at all - that's Bratitude's suggestion. I may be mistaken, but I don't think that he's suggesting making it a hybrid, either; the idea is to use this transmission (which comes from a hybrid) by itself as the motor and transmission for your EV. The input shaft to the L110 wouldn't be used at all: no engine would be connected to it, so it wouldn't be used as a hybrid.

It's not an obvious solution, but it has some potential advantages over other designs:
  • it works with your existing rear axle (or even a 4WD system);
  • the engine motor and transmission fit in the original transmission tunnel, leaving the whole engine compartment available for battery, electronics, or even a front trunk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm not really suggesting the L110 at all - that's Bratitude's suggestion. I may be mistaken, but I don't think that he's suggesting making it a hybrid, either; the idea is to use this transmission (which comes from a hybrid) by itself as the motor and transmission for your EV. The input shaft to the L110 wouldn't be used at all: no engine would be connected to it, so it wouldn't be used as a hybrid.

It's not an obvious solution, but it has some potential advantages over other designs:
  • it works with your existing rear axle (or even a 4WD system);
  • the engine motor and transmission fit in the original transmission tunnel, leaving the whole engine compartment available for battery, electronics, or even a front trunk.
Ah, I see. Appreciate the clarification on that! Fascinating.
 

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Using a gs450h (rwd) or ls600h (awd) transmission
Pros:

  1. 350hp ish
  2. toyota part, most likely drops right in and bolts up to the drive shaft and crossmembers.
  3. leaves engine bay empty, more space for batteries!
  4. simple. not much fab work involved compared to adapting a motor to the original manual transmission
  5. designed to handle the torque.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Okay, I think I fully understand the picture, here. The Lexus GS 450h is just a much better fit than a Leaf for specifically an old Yoda.

The batteries for the 450h seem oddly cheap. I'll look into how many miles a pack you get.

Thank you very much for your thoughtful responses to this, I genuinely appreciate you.
 

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The batteries for the 450h seem oddly cheap. I'll look into how many miles a pack you get.
The battery for any non-plug-in hybrid is tiny, with only about one kilowatt-hour of capacity, which is why it is cheap. It would be useless for an EV, providing a range of about two miles.

Toyota non-plug-in hybrids in general and the GS 450h specifically typically use a 288 volt (nominal) nickel-metal hydride battery (240 NiMH cells in series). The battery is useless for an EV, but that implies that the intended nominal battery voltage is 288 V, corresponding to about 76 cells in series of common EV lithium-ion cell types (NMC or NCA), or about 90 cells in series of LFP (LiFePO4) cells.
 

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Using a gs450h (rwd) or ls600h (awd) transmission
Pros:

  1. 350hp ish
  2. toyota part, most likely drops right in and bolts up to the drive shaft and crossmembers.
  3. leaves engine bay empty, more space for batteries!
  4. simple. not much fab work involved compared to adapting a motor to the original manual transmission
  5. designed to handle the torque.
Okay, but
  • the 350 hp rating is far beyond what Toyota rates this for in EV mode (although it can pass that much power through from an engine, much of that power is transmitted mechanically, not by the motor-generators)
  • the probability that a manual transmission from the 1970's truck and an automatic from a 21st century car with independent rear suspension use the same transmission mount or output shaft size are low, even from the same manufacturer
    • I found transmission mounts for both online, and they are wildly different
    • they appear to both use a sliding spline transmission output, but I don't know the size and spline counts
  • mounting is simple, but controlling the two-motor OEM system is not
These are not insurmountable issues, but they are also not advantages for using new Toyota components in an old Toyota.
 

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@brian_ the Lexus 450h transmission is commonly used in many conversions, some of which were extremely professional and amazing performing vehicles. The transmission output shaft can be adapted to a normal rear differential much easier than anything you have suggested especially a Leaf motor. Also it includes reduction gears so the output speed is more closely matched to an ICE.

In all there are many good reasons to use it. Anyone can Google up a million details and come up with a bullet point list of bad things, that takes very little effort. Brian, you come off as incredibly abrasive and you are scaring off new people with your pessimistic attitude.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for wading in, ELC. I'm glad there's a lively conversation happening here. I'm new here, obviously, but I haven't found Brian to be abrasive, at least not to me. I appreciate his candor, to be honest. I don't know shit about this, I'm glad he's not pulling information.

I've found this discussion really interesting and I'm impressed by the knowledge that both Brian and Bratitude have displayed in this thread. With Bratitude's help, just using some of his language, I've found a TON of info that has sort of convinced me this is possible. I've watched a few hours of Damien's videos on YT.

At the same time, Brian is basically telling me it ain't gonna be a walk in the park.

It's been years and years since I last participated in a forum, it's like Reddit erased 'em. I'm really excited that forums like this still exist and conversations such as this still happen. 😁😁😁
 

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many of the folks over on openinverter have made turning the motors nearly a plug and play afar.

funny I supply couplers for the leaf motor to adapt to what ever you like, but in a conversion like this, I would go with the gs450h gearbox.

there’s plenty of conversions showing the capability. and power. This is modern hot rodding, what the oem original spec was, isn’t entirely relevant.

Example: Nissan Leaf is a 80kw car. The motor is 200kw-250kw capable. Batteries lack proper thermal management to provide the power, but the motor can take it.
 

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It's definitely not going to be a walk in the park, but of all choices the 450h transmission/motor is a great fit. Brian has some issue with it because it's a "hybrid transmission" but it's completely different from other hybrid stuff, been reading that type of post from him all over the forum over and over.

There are two paths you can take with EV conversions, generally. You can go down the tried and tested path of a brushed DC motor like the Warp 9 or you can try to use components from a modern production EV. Benefits and downsides to both. You just have to make that choice on your own.

EV West has an adapter plate that will bolt up to your stock transmissions also: Toyota 22R adapter, EV West - Electric Vehicle Parts, Components, EVSE Charging Stations, Electric Car Conversion Kits

The 20R and 22R have identical transmission bellhousings and bolt patterns so that plate will work just the same on your truck. It could probably be used as a base to modify and fit a different motor also.

I also own a Toyota Pickup, mine is 10 years newer but has the same running gear for the most part. It has a brushed DC motor and Curtis controller from over a decade ago which is still available for purchase. You can check it out here: 1988 Toyota Truck Conversion-Revival I have not really done anything with it since buying it yet. The conversion wasn't done by me but it has a 9" DC motor and was going to run on 144v. Pretty pedestrian but totally functional.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That 88 is ridiculously cool! You're a brave soul traveling all that way for it. I'm relatively familiar with the more traditional Warp 9 conversions, but I'm priced out of that super-fast. I think I had estimated somethin' like $15,000 in parts to get motor, dc/dc, controller and just a few batteries.

With this GS450h conversion, it looks like it would be possible to stay under 10k if I can find the right parts. Tell me if that sounds totally incorrect, but I'm guessing I can find some Long Range Bolt batteries on the cheapish side. By the looks of it, Damien Maguire opened up the gateway to this whole process, if I pursue this avenue, I'm going to have to send him a few bucks, too via his Patreon.

In ya'lls opinion, going the GS450h route, would it be possible to load the truck to near its original half-ton capacity? Obviously this would impact distance, but does it even have the torque to take it?
 

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@brian_ the Lexus 450h transmission is commonly used in many conversions, some of which were extremely professional and amazing performing vehicles.
I did not question that this transmission could be used, or that the result could be good.

The transmission output shaft can be adapted to a normal rear differential much easier than anything you have suggested especially a Leaf motor.
I also haven't suggested anything else, so perhaps you are thinking of someone else.

The use of a drive unit in the same format as the truck's original transmission is an advantage as I mentioned in post #7; and of course the driveshaft can be easily adapted... as I said:
These are not insurmountable issues, but they are also not advantages for using new Toyota components in an old Toyota.​
What I did point out is that the fantasy that this transmission "most likely drops right in and bolts up to the drive shaft and crossmembers", simply because it comes from the same manufacturer as the truck, is not reality.

Toyota's L110 hybrid transmission is a potentially good fit for any compact pickup truck conversion (or the L110F for a 4WD)... and that isn't limited to Toyota trucks because being the same brand has no meaningful relevance.
 

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there’s plenty of conversions showing the capability. and power. This is modern hot rodding, what the oem original spec was, isn’t entirely relevant.

Example: Nissan Leaf is a 80kw car. The motor is 200kw-250kw capable. Batteries lack proper thermal management to provide the power, but the motor can take it.
I agree!

Many components can be run well beyond their factory rating, and it can work if the whole situation is considered. This Leaf example is an excellent illustration of where a different component leads to the rating of the motor. But one consequence of the way these components are designed to work together is that when they are used in isolation and one is to be used outside of its normal limits, custom work is likely required to make that possible... and there is the hot rodding.

To run an old 80 kW Leaf motor at the current 160 kW, or more, requires replacing the controller logic... by replacing the physical hardware (the motor can controlled over CAN by an external processor, but to override the power limit requires internal changes in the controller). The L110 is similar - it's not just a matter of bolting the thing in and getting massive power, but it's feasible.
 

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Brian has some issue with it because it's a "hybrid transmission" but it's completely different from other hybrid stuff...
It's actually not completely different. It's functionally the same as a Prius transaxle, but packaged longitudinally and with a mechanical transmission on the end. Those differences are beneficial in this case (the L100 from the GS 450h would be a far better choice for the Toyota pickup than the transaxle from a Prius), but the two motors plus power splitter design is still a less-than-optimal substitute for one motor.
 
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