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The Electric Land Cruiser EVJ80 - Nissan LEAF + Resolve-EV

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Hello everyone and welcome to my first EV conversion project. I love cars. Driving and modifying them and everything that goes with them. I like racing and autocross, taking relaxing drives on twisty mountain roads, and driving on gnarly 4x4 trails.

My conversion is a 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser FZJ80.





For my first project I have chosen a large, heavy, inefficient, 4WD SUV. Makes sense right?! To me it does and this is my rationale:
-There is a lot of space to mount things.
-There is not just space for lots of batteries, but the GVWR of the vehicle allows for 1400lbs of cargo in the original configuration.
-The original 6-cylinder engine is unreliable (for a Toyota) and underpowered, why keep it?
-The chassis and axles of the Toyota Land Cruiser are legendary due to its incredible off-road prowess and durability.
-EVs work just as well at sea level as they do at 13,000ft on a mountain.
-Land Cruiser values, especially 80 series, have been going up and up and up so now is my last chance to own one and an EV conversion justifies it to my wife!

-Most importantly, as a dedicated off-road rig this vehicle will be driven almost exclusively at very slow speed less than 20mph and very short distances. The normal 4x4 trails I do are 5-10 miles long, a really long trail is 20 miles. The appeal of silent running, no fumes to smell, and smooth torque delivery appeal to me in a 4x4 vehicle. With Rivian, Hummer EV, F-150 EV, Alpha EV Truck, etc I think the writing is on the wall about 4x4 EVs and how effective they can be. Better jump on the bandwagon!

Your skill level with auto mechanics and fabrication
I have had 4 or 5 dedicated "project cars" in the past with various stages of upgrades, modifications, and custom work. I have rebuilt engines from a bare block, assembled cylinder heads, rebuilt suspension, brakes, exhaust work, etc. Rebuilt engines stock and also rebuilt them with aftermarket parts for big HP. I swapped the engine and transmission in my daily driver and drive it all of the time. All of my vehicles run on E85 fuel (cuts your carbon emissions by about 40% believe it or not and it's cheaper and makes more power). I can weld, cut, grind, paint, and turn a wrench. I currently own 9 or 10 cars (I think I am forgetting one).

I have a lifetime of experience with RC vehicles and I build and fly UAVs. Soldering, wiring, designing circuits, and crunching amperage and voltage specs is what I do nearly every day. I'm pretty much 100% self-taught or learned from mentors, I have no degrees or certifications except from the FAA so please be kind if I am doing something wrong :whistle:

The range you are hoping to get (how many miles/charge)
20-30 miles range with my initial build would be a good starting goal or about 2 mi/kwh.

What level of performance you are hoping to get
Enough to drive around town and drive on local 4x4 roads and trails and eventually go to Moab for the real terrain. I will tow it if needed.

How much money you are willing to put into your project
Whatever it takes but likely will cost $10k or so before it drives under it's own power.

What parts you've already considered, if any.
I have already acquired a 2013 Nissan LEAF SV which I will use as a donor for my motor, inverter, DC-DC, chargers, and battery pack.


Short term I just want to get it running. Long term I have lots of ideas. Assuming I have a fully functioning fully electric 4x4 truck there is a lot of stuff that I could do with it. I am now researching DIY wind turbines and river water turbines and of course have been messing with solar for years. All of which I eventually want to harness and do a fully-electric "Overland" trip through the wilderness of Colorado and Utah and maybe beyond. Of course that is probably years in the making, but it is my long term goal.

My own personal EV history: I have owned a 2013 Nissan LEAF SV similar to the salvaged car I bought. I owned it for a year and then sold it as the battery degradation started to really take hold. I really enjoyed the EV lifestyle on those perfect weather days when I could drive everywhere I wanted. In the middle of winter when the heater would barely keep the windshield clear on those dark nights trying to coast down hills in order to make it home....didn't enjoy that so much. During my EV ownership I got to understand what it is like to live with an EV, charge at public places, get ICEd at the charger, plug in at home every day, and check a location's elevation before driving there.

While owning the LEAF I read about a guy in Arizona who set the record for the longest distance driven in a 24kwh LEAF and it was over 180 miles! Yes that's right, a 24kwh LEAF drove 186 miles on a single charge. The kicker? He did so at a maximum of 24mph and drove for nearly 8 hours! Link: 100 Mile Club, 200 km, 300 km, 200 Mile Club (24kWh LEAF) - My Nissan Leaf Forum

When I was a kid I loved RC trucks. I loved the fast ones that could hit the big jumps. Unfortunately, the little NiMh batteries wouldn't run very long at all, 10 minutes or less. Then I got into RC rock crawlers. Little trucks that were geared really low and built to drive very slowly up rocks and other challenging obstacles. Well, guess what? That same crappy NiMh battery that only lasted 10 minutes in my fast truck, actually lasted well over an hour in my rock crawler! Guess what I learned that day.

The biggest enemy we have as EVers is speed i.e. wind resistance. There is no wind resistance to speak of at less than 20mph. So if my EVJ80 Land Cruiser can go 20-30 miles around town, maybe it can do 30-40 miles offroading?
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Discussion Starter · #282 ·
I will be releasing a long form Christmas special on my YouTube channel from my trip to Moab this year. I have been neglecting the channel but I will be putting a lot more work into it from now on. I upgraded my PC and now editing 4k is a breeze compared to before. I had been trying to keep the videos chronological but I decided to just go straight to the good stuff and do the 4x4 driving first!

Be sure to subscribe to my channel www.youtube.com/UniqueMobility!

Teaser:
http://instagr.am/p/CmPbrGYOWvO/
 

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Discussion Starter · #284 ·
I had some buddies over and we installed my drivetrain. It fits just about perfectly. I went to start the truck and test it out but it's not working :(

It won't charge and won't go into any drive modes. Did a little troubleshooting and it seems there is no communication with the inverter or possibly PDM.

I parked this truck several months ago when I pulled it apart for upgrades and it's just been sitting. I tried a second Resolve-EV controller that I have on the shelf and it gives the same behavior. I used LeafSpy and it shows the battery is live but there are no other ECMs communicating. I guess I will start by tracing wiring. All I can think of is a mouse or something chewed on the wires because the truck has just been parked.



 

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Discussion Starter · #289 · (Edited)
Rules that out, good.

What are the cell voltages from leafspy--min/max/avg
I am unable to see the individual voltages or deltas, I think it has to do with my 2017 battery and 2013 other LEAF hardware. I remember the same thing happening when I first got it running.

The battery seems healthy from what I can tell. I parked it at 73% and it's at 71% now. The DC-DC works and the contactors are working also. It's at 377 volts. SoH is 89%.
 

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I am unable to see the individual voltages or deltas, I think it has to do with my 2017 battery and 2013 other LEAF hardware. I remember the same thing happening when I first got it running.

The battery seems healthy from what I can tell. I parked it at 73% and it's at 71% now. The DC-DC works and the contactors are working also. It's at 377 volts. SoH is 89%.
What cell voltage and temperature restrictions does the Resolve-EV unit have built in or programmed?
 

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Discussion Starter · #291 ·
What cell voltage and temperature restrictions does the Resolve-EV unit have built in or programmed?
Not sure, really, I don't think it's published. I have an email out to Isak from Resolve-EV and waiting on a response.

Temperature should be ok it's been in my garage slightly above freezing.

It's been cold and snowy so I haven't done a lot of troubleshooting but it's supposed to be warm and sunny today and tomorrow I'm going to dig into it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #292 ·
Well I feel a little dumb. The sensor plug on the motor was not fully seating. I pulled one off a spare motor and now everything works. Was simply throwing a couple DTCs.

It works now. Boy does that motor spin smoothly!

Still won't charge, working on that and finishing installing the driveshafts and motor mount.

I had LeafSpy in the wrong mode I am able to view everything now. Battery survived hibernation.



 

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Physical location in the pack of the four cells around number 55 would be interesting to know.

I wonder if they are in the middle of the sandwich and are the hottest temperature during charging? Or the end, where they're coolest? Would be nice data to try to pick apart.

@windraver: do you notice this in your cells, where the middle/end cells, physically, pick up a bit more charge than the others?
 

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Discussion Starter · #295 ·
Glad to hear it was something simple like that (y)

There seem to be some pretty "big spikes" (on that graph)
...& what does the blue line represent?
It looks big on the graph buts it's only 26mv from the lowest to the highest cells which is actually pretty good.

I believe red lines are cells being shunted and blue lines are not.
 

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Physical location in the pack of the four cells around number 55 would be interesting to know.

I wonder if they are in the middle of the sandwich and are the hottest temperature during charging? Or the end, where they're coolest? Would be nice data to try to pick apart.

@windraver: do you notice this in your cells, where the middle/end cells, physically, pick up a bit more charge than the others?
I don't have enough data yet to say. On the original 24kwh pack most cells were pretty consistent. With all these 40kwh packs, its been inconsistent likely due to the modules possibly not being from the same battery pack.

The errors above sound familiar though. I need to check if I got those before and how I dealt with them.

edit:
@Electric Land Cruiser

Have you done a hard reset? (disconnect 12v, disconnect HV battery (HV battery powers the BMS even while 12v is disconnected)
What are the BMS DTCs?

Sometimes ghost problems occur when you had other errors and you have to clear them before things work again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #298 · (Edited)
I solved the motor DTCs it was just a bad plug. It still won't charge I'm wondering if it's leftover like you said. I will try to disconnect everything, the 12v and the safety disconnect, and then see what happens.

The BMS says no DTCs found so I'm at a loss for the charge issue at the moment.

Still putting it back together. I welded in a motor mounting bracket and it looked beautiful then I realized it interferes with the front driveshaft so I have to redo it tomorrow :whistle:

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After a clear and restart, no DTCs on the Mtr/Inv side?

If no DTCs, I would recheck all connectors:
PDM charger connection.
The PDM to charge port (29/30)
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If you modified the charge port (extension,etc), then I would check that continuity is all good still.

Also did you setup the quick charge? I know that part was separate (and I didn't have it on the 2013 so I didn't bother)

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You can also switch Leafspy to a "year" instead of BMS or Mtr/Inv as it might instead return DTC for the PDM which I don't think the other modes will return.

I'm pretty certain something knows why the PDM or Resolve EV isn't starting the charger. If all else fails, I'd check with Isak at Resolve EV and see if he has some suggestions.
 
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