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Planning 1946 Australian Buick Special EV conversion

1128 Views 14 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Wayne Alexander
Like the post says…
I have the car and the inspiration
Wanted something different to the previous aircooled car projects I have done
I am inspired by many aspects of custom car culture and hot rodding. Most recently by Jonathon Ward and his derelict cars so plan on keeping the EBuick old and crusty on the outside

Start of the research journey for me, will be taking my time.

Broad goals are something fast that can scare new cars at the lights occasionally and cruise distances in comfort.
Range minimum 150km. More if possible but that will depend on batteries
My skill level is moderate in the fabrication space but I have built cars before with a lot of help for others and will be learning as I go.
I can weld and have assembled an engine before
I know my limits and I do like to learn
I like to do as much of the dumb stuff as possible and also like to spend hours researching and planning to avoid doing the expensive things twice
I plan on learning the basics of evs and work on assembling the right components myself, along with a course and maybe even a qualification from the the ev alliance organisation here in Australia
Just starting on their first few podcasts now

At this stage as a starting point, like the idea of twin warp9s or 11s
2 speed powerglide or maybe even a winters quick change rear end with a transwarp and no gear box. Old school set up compared to a Tesla drive. may not be realistic….
EVs are still a bit thin on the ground here in Aus unfortunately so wrecked one’s hard to come by hence my thoughts on motor selection

Also the long straight 8 and gearbox mean there is a lot of space in the engine bay for a long replacement motor

Any advice or similar conversions that have been done to old buick/chev/pontiac/olds/dodge etc
Would be great to see other ideas and progress for the old lead sleds and how other people progressed them the become evs

cheers from Melbourne

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You should think of the battery, and not the electric motor, as a power source. It nicely interchanges with the iron of that straight-8 you pull out to get good range. I'd go Lexus 450H on that one....keep the motor, whichever you choose, as much in the tunnel as possible.
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Wow just watched the Damien Maguire intro to that transmission.
Very cool piece of kit amazing what is squeezed in there. Thanks for the steer will keep reading watching and learning

if I understand correctly this could run in the tunnel without the need for another motor?
Could use the space in front where the ice motor from the Lexus was to place another electric motor in place or better using that space for batteries?
Unlike your plowing match tractor with six engines with 6-71 blowers on top, you can't just stuff more motor in an EV without adding battery capability.

Before you know it you will have a 3 tonne Tesla or 4.5 tonne Hummer EV piggy on your hands.

Battery horsepower delivery and motor horsepower work together.

More is not necessarily better: mass bites your ass.

And all that extra space it takes up makes gravity and a pain to load all else into a build.

Believe in The Church of Colin Chapman

edit: yes...lock the input shaft and it's standalone. Please keep us up to date here on your build, whichever direction YOU decide to take.
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Thanks Remy
I understand the concept but probably a bit stuck in the bigger is better mentality
Was thinking around the engineering of the the lexus transmission, mostly:
The second motor was used as a starter motor for the ICE up front so it has an input/output shaft and there fore possible point for more power and torque.
Would not need a starter motor for the ICE so would act somewhat like the twin warp concept I thought about
Have just been down and had a look at the space in the buick.
Still plently but yes, batteries are a heavy weight to carry in search of power.
Will do some maths on the battery packs and the weights, but suffice to say I think a re-engineered chassis and upgraded brakes will be part of the build process.
Order of magnitude as I understand it currently is:
Dry weight 1665kg
Curb weight 1745kg
Engine and gearbox approx 450kg (OUT)
Fuel tank not sure but more about space than weight (OUT)
Lexus trans not sure say 100kg? (IN)
Leaves only 350kg ish for batteries to add in
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I'd guess the Lexus trans is north of 150, given the iron of two motors is in it, but I'm just guessing.

Anyone know?
To take a bit of a side track after diving into the very intersting topic of Lexus de-iced hybrid transmission, I keep coming back to the more fundamental question of AC vs DC
People say that DC is not sophisticated and old school. Understand that but what is the disadvantage? Is it that much less efficient?

Could it do away with inverters and that complexity of changing from DC to AC?
Understand will still need a transformer and a controller, but old school in an old Buick might be a good match, or will it lead to many more batteries and even more weight?

Similar question on the pro's and cons of simplicity:
If doing away with a transmission, wondering about finding reverse or using on the street. Seems that a direct drive and old school dc might be more of a drag strip car.

Interested in hearing thoughts on DC vs AC in a big car like this, and direct drive vs transmission.

Thanks again
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DC is low voltage, low RPM. That makes it heavier for a give amount of output power and less efficient because it uses higher current.

There's no complexity unless you are scratch building an inverter, which rare idiots (I'm one) do. There's no transformer.

As far as you're concerned, two battery wires go into a box. One box has three motor wires coming out (AC), the other has two (DC). AC usually has encoder wires going from motor to inverter.

Complexity? Meh. AC vs DC? The world has gone AC and they are cheaper by comparison (people will tell you it's free, then drop $2500 for a forklift motor and its controller) when out of a mass produced car.

A steam engine is old school. Is that also on the table? Old school is your straight 8.

Battery energy is battery energy. Xkg is Y kWh. Always. You want to run for an hour, that's how many kW you can make. AC or DC, the battery DGAF.

Direct drive on a two tonne car will get outrun by a golf cart at a traffic light. The Lexus is not "direct drive".
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AC seems the best just looking to dispel one of the supposed options that are out there.
Lexus is looking like a good option for the power/$ and relative simplicity, assuming that they keep getting done
I have found one going into a C10 chev which is a good watch on you tube, along with Damiens numerous videos

C10 build? 😬

Both of your Youtubers partially show what can be done, not how it should be done. Know the difference and I suggest you do not copy what they do in their builds. Both have open battery modules in their builds exposed to the weather etc, for example, using plywood, wiring rats nests, etc.

Safety nightmares, both of their builds.

One guy knows better, but getting a build or concept up and running takes priority as he has a lot on his plate to get done, and takes on even more. A treat to have him contributing so much material to the DIY community, but most of it has loose ends. He's a hacker genius, and takes shortcuts to get things done, which is a reasonable excuse to do cowboy engineering vs not having an excuse and doing a cowboy build with extremely shallow understanding. Very productive builder. Only one car fire so far.

My $0.02 and personal opinion.
Yeah thanks for the heads up
If this is going to get engineered and insured properly in Australia then it won’t be with half measures
Research continues and will do for some time…

final thought for now. On the Lexus transmission conversions, if you crank up the voltage and batteries, how far can you go until it’s too far?

will probably know one day but seems that there is not enough of this type of conversion done yet…
Anyone know?
You can't crank up the voltage on an inverter beyond the device ratings inside it.

Usually the DC link capacitors (what you're precharging) will get stressed and fail if you exceed their voltage ratings and their operating life will be shortened if you go any higher in voltage than that used in the car from which you rescued it.

The motor insulation should be able to handle some amount of higher voltage, but once you break down the insulation once, you've permanently busted it.

Motosports do push to limits (what @Duncan here does) - for a road car, one side of the road stranding can get you occupational hazard of tow truck drivers - I know of two that were killed, so it's throwing dice, and the widow I bought my airplane from lost her dentist husband when he was changing a flat tire on the roadside. Can't have fun in your 265mph toy when ur 💀
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Any Aussies out there done a Lexus Hybrid de-ICE project?
When George Hamstra and me got together to do The HV 11 inch motor ,I ran it at 350 volts . it has so much power it shattered the T-5 ,5 speed Trans to bits . another tans and drive shaft. and I found out the 12 bolt rear end had damage. so much for a posi. this was in a restored 83 ElCamino
well got all new stuff. put it back together, then asked a cop where my shop was to run a radar on me. I ran down the high way RT 50 s in front of my shop. when I passed him and shut the car off He said I was doing 128 MPH. the speedo broke at 80. If you dont believe me write to net gain and ask them . So, you say DC has no PRMs and not much power???/ LOLOLOL , Ill find a photo on my other computer and put it up
the 83 ElCamino... BTW , I made the bed cover my self out of aluminum


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