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Planning 1990 Plymouth Laser GS Conversion

1800 Views 7 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  jeremyjs
Good day all!

I have recently been "turned on" to the idea of electric car conversions thanks to a few youtube videos that caught my eye.

The car in question is my 1990 Plymouth Laser GSt FWD Turbo drag car. I have had this project car for 4 years now, and it has actually RAN probably a grand total of 6 months. I built it with the intent of drag racing the 1/4 mile in it, as well as using it for a daily driver. While it WILL run a quarter mile in the mid 11's, the reliability factor is not in my favor. It is a 5 speed manual transmission.

Needless to say, I have upwards of $10-12,000 tied up in the motor of this vehicle, and I am growing weary of the constant tuning, maintenence, and hassle of working on it. However, I must have a project and I would like to remain married during the process.

So here's my thought process. Part out the drag race motor i have built, recoup a small portion of the money I currently have tied up in it. Re-invest this capitol into an electric motor, and do the conversion. Sounds simple enough. Alas, if it were that simple, I would not be posting here.

Based on the "guide to getting started" I will post the specifics.

My skill in automotive mechanics on a 1-10 scale...roughly a 6, with a definitive 10 on my specific vehicle (I have touched EVERY bolt on the vehicle at least 3 times during ownership)

Electronics Skill: I have basic knowledge, enough to do home wiring and install high performance car audio. Have had experience with power inverters as well. Certainly not an engineer.

Fabrication skill: 8, assuming it does not involve welding. I have never welded anything in my life, but I do have a few friends in the machine shops around town and a couple friends that do custom motor mounts and welding thanks to my racing background

Range I would like to achieve...Definitely 20 miles AT MINIMUM, preferably more along 35.

Performance...Well, I would like to still be able to smoke 'em at the strip if you know what I mean. However, I will not be able to swing lithium batteries for my build, so I will be limited to lead acid.

How much money am I willing to part with for this project...Does my wife have access to this forum? I sure hope not. I am assuming I can recoup roughly $1,500-$2,000 minimum for the parts I will be selling from my current motor, and i would probably be willing to invest an additional $500. So let's say a build of $2,000.

Parts I am considering:

Motor: NetGain Impulse 9, WarP 9, Warp 11, Warp 11 HV.
Voltage Controller: I am considering buying this kit
It is 144 volt, so I am assuming this is the best power output I could get for the money
Coupler: I have searched and searched, but i can find no-one that has already converted a 2.0 liter eclipse, only the 1.8. Looks like the coupler and the adaptor plate will have to be completely custom. I ran across this website which seems promising, although i could probably have the adaptor plate done more easily locally.

Ok...Right now, any and all ideas are welcome. I am completely new to this, but I do my research and I learn very quickly. Have at it. I will probably start parting out my ICE and all components within the next month and assuming i have my ducks in a row i will begin ordering my electric stuff around February. Glad to be on board.
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Ah the good old DSM. Training mechanics since 1990.
Ah the good old DSM. Training mechanics since 1990.
Couldn't have said it better myself.
I would just like to say that I am not including the cost of the motor into my build allowance. I am considering that to be a seperate expense. If I can build everything else for $2,000, then I may just spring for the motor regardless of it's $2,950 price tag. I almost don't even care about the cost of the motor. If it was $5,000 it would still be inconsequintial to me compared to the constant upkeep of the ol' 4g63. I spend at least $4,000 on it once a year, in addition to the constant upkeep expense. The idea that I could spend $3,000 ONE TIME is just unbelievable to me.
Hi 4g63

Have you looked at the - finding a good forklift motor - thread in the motors section
I found a newly rebuilt Hitachi motor that looks just like a Warp11 for $100

Then you could spend the motor money on batteries!
I have indeed looked at this thread! It sounds like a great idea to me. I am sure the forklift motors are acceptable to use in an electric car. My fear is this. I am not electrically "inclined", and have had bad experience in the past buying parts I can't use and then being stuck with them. I would hate to drop a chunk of change onto a forklift motor and then find out due to a technicality it cannot be used for it's intended purpose.

I do know I am looking for a series wound DC motor roughly 9-11 inches in size, weighing in at roughly 130-220 pounds...but when I get to looking at all the amps/voltage/etc, it's like my eyes just fuzz over. I understand basic electrical stuff, but the voltage controllers, etc really confuse me.

I am doing my research though...have learned a considerable amount just in the past few days of browsing the forums and watching videos, etc. I do have a friend who builds military weapons devices like servos for missiles, etc. that will be helping me to build the controller if I do not find one cheaply. Hopefully he can keep me from getting tased by my vehicle.

Right now I am trying to compile a complete list of parts I would need. Once I have accomplished that much, I will begin the process of figuring out the most cost effective way to go about purchasing or building those parts. Meanwhile, if anyone on here happens to run across a good forklift motor for the cheap...please let me know. If I can get close to the same performance out of one of these, then I would be a fool NOT to buy it vs. the warp motor.

As I said before, any and all advice is appreciated. If anyone has a pre-made list of required parts for a standard conversion that would get me off to a great start!
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Not too much activity on this thread...rather disappointing. I can't do this without help from knowledgable people on this board.
A clear budget would help. With what you listed above you'll probably have to go with lead and scrounge around for a most of the other parts used.
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