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

78335 Views 349 Replies 40 Participants Last post by  Electric Land Cruiser
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 · #321 ·
Got the coolant and t-case oil systems plumbed and realized the reason I didn't use this PDM was because it had a broken coolant inlet. I was able to goop enough silicone on it to hold for now. Luckily there is not much heat or pressure in an EV cooling system vs. ICE.

I drove it a bunch today and did a 0-60 test. It was able to do 0-60 in 14.5 seconds! That's not too shabby and not far off from a stock brand new 1996 Land Cruiser. I know some of my Land Cruiser friends have trucks slower than that lol!

New top speed 64 mph :D

Battery was around 75F so theoretically it may be faster if the battery was a little bit warmer. Either way this is an excellent result because a stock 1996 Land Cruiser does 0-60 in about 12 seconds and that's with small tires and at sea level etc. I'm really happy with that! Will be a good benchmark for the 160kw inverter upgrade also.



 

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A top speed of 64mph implies it takes 80kW to run at that speed or an efficiency of around 1 mile/kWh, or it's speed limited by the truck's gearing/tires.

If the latter, 160kWh is not going to make a lick of difference except acceleration or grade climbing at highway speeds, which may cook the motor/battery due to inadequate cooling.

I'd leave it alone and build something else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #323 ·
Isak got back to me and said that the PDM should reset any DTCs it may have when you disconnect all power from it. So something must have gone wrong with my charger. I'm not sure what it could have been but it did come from a car that was in an accident after all.
 

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I'm rather surprised that Leaf Spy won't give us DTCs from the PDM.
I noticed this back in September and Turbo added this ability to read and clear "Charger" DTCs in the iOS TestFlight current version out there. v2.0.0 build (4). Im not sure about Android at all. It only requires iOS 8.0 so any old iPod or old ass iPhone would work.

I am also experiencing no charging issues randomly out of the blue with a 2015 PDM in my Westy conversion. L1 was working for 2-3 months until it just randomly stopped back in November 2022. fyi, I've never had Chademo working yet. L1/L2 => OBC no output power - L1/L2 charging and Chademo => 2015 Leaf Charger - Quick charge failing to start. I'm also at my wits end and replacing the PDM seems like my next move too before spring. Anyone have a reasonable lead on one?
 

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Discussion Starter · #325 ·
I noticed this back in September and Turbo added this ability to read and clear "Charger" DTCs in the iOS TestFlight current version out there. v2.0.0 build (4). Im not sure about Android at all. It only requires iOS 8.0 so any old iPod or old ass iPhone would work.

I am also experiencing no charging issues randomly out of the blue with a 2015 PDM in my Westy conversion. L1 was working for 2-3 months until it just randomly stopped back in November 2022. fyi, I've never had Chademo working yet. L1/L2 => OBC no output power - L1/L2 charging and Chademo => 2015 Leaf Charger - Quick charge failing to start
Yeah I saw your posts but really don't have much to offer I don't think. Isak who makes the Resolve-EV controller says you can clear the DTCs in your charger by unhooking it from the 12v battery for a period of time. Worth a try if you haven't already.
 

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Is it possible to capture a successful canbus log from your working OBC that is successfully charging? I only have pieces of a full log from various forums. The best I have is @muxsans successfull L1/L2 charge but it doesn't capture the moment when the plug is inserted so the timing of their log is off for me. Looking for a CAN log of just before plugging in the J1772 connector, seeing the 0x679 message and then the charging messages shortly after. And also if you can grab the same type of CAN log sniffing off the QC can bus if you have Chademo working with your new OBC (this was my original only issue with the OBC/PDM)
 

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Yeah I saw your posts but really don't have much to offer I don't think. Isak who makes the Resolve-EV controller says you can clear the DTCs in your charger by unhooking it from the 12v battery for a period of time. Worth a try if you haven't already.
Yup have done that multiple times. Have also gone through the OBC/PDM and wiring harnesses many times checking every wire. This is very odd that we have the same setup and have the same issues at nearly the same time. I see your charging attempts show -0.84amps whereas i'm only ever seeing +1 to 2A draw from the HV battery (which happens even with normal IGN on and not charging). Have you dove into your broken OBC yet? Im very curious that a new OBC fixed your problem.

Isak got back to me and said that the PDM should reset any DTCs it may have when you disconnect all power from it. So something must have gone wrong with my charger. I'm not sure what it could have been but it did come from a car that was in an accident after all.
Mine did come from an accident as well. But was L1/L2 charging from September to November 2022. Haven't had any luck with QC charging yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #328 ·
@evVanagon was just driving back from CA all the way to Denver the past few days so just getting to reply now. I did purchase a USBCAN-I Plus to attempt and troubleshoot my PDM, but that was going to be an act of last resort.

I only have a small bit of CAN experience using PCAN but I was following someone else's instructions.

I'm not really sure where I would start with recording the CANBUS while plugging in but willing to give it a try.
 

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I'm using a small Raspberry Pi with this can HAT:
Circuit component Electrical wiring Cable Electrical supply Hardware programmer


setup the SPI part of the board using these instructions:
- RS485 CAN HAT - Waveshare Wiki

with this demo code: File:RS485 CAN HAT Code.zip - Waveshare Wiki
  • Open up RS485_CAN_HAT_Code > CAN > python > receive.py
  • copy and paste the first two commands to set up the can0 bus. ***but use 500000 instead of 100000
  • Two commands are these:
  • sudo ip link set can0 type can bitrate 500000
  • sudo ifconfig can0 up

then running this command in a terminal to dump the output to a timestamped file.
  • candump can0 -l
  • go start charging for a minute, then stop charging.
  • CTRL-C to stop recording.

If you can upload this CAN log file it would immensely help.

If you want to read the files yourself:
- then I put the log file through SavvyCan to parse all the contents of the file. It takes a log file AND ".dbc" files to interpret each line.

Computer Font Screenshot Rectangle Personal computer

Rectangle Font Software Parallel Electronic device
 

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Discussion Starter · #330 ·
I'm using a small Raspberry Pi with this can HAT:
View attachment 135232

setup the SPI part of the board using these instructions:
- RS485 CAN HAT - Waveshare Wiki

with this demo code: File:RS485 CAN HAT Code.zip - Waveshare Wiki
  • Open up RS485_CAN_HAT_Code > CAN > python > receive.py
  • copy and paste the first two commands to set up the can0 bus. ***but use 500000 instead of 100000
  • Two commands are these:
  • sudo ip link set can0 type can bitrate 500000
  • sudo ifconfig can0 up

then running this command in a terminal to dump the output to a timestamped file.
  • candump can0 -l
  • go start charging for a minute, then stop charging.
  • CTRL-C to stop recording.

If you can upload this CAN log file it would immensely help.

If you want to read the files yourself:
- then I put the log file through SavvyCan to parse all the contents of the file. It takes a log file AND ".dbc" files to interpret each line.

View attachment 135233
View attachment 135234
To be honest most of this is pretty much over my head but I will try to sort through and see what I can do for you. Don't hold your breath I just got back from a cross-country roadtrip and am leaving again for another road trip tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #331 ·
@Forrest was showing off his FLIR and it made me jealous. My truck has been charging for a few hours today, check it out:







The cooling loop circulates the heat so the inverter and motor are warmed up too. The hot spots are only 72F (ambient 29F). I think the cooling fans come on at 175F or something but they have never come on even with my rinky dink ~9x5 inch radiator.
 

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@Electric Land Cruiser I've been following your build and thoroughly enjoying the project so far. I'm a Land Cruiser guy also and have been envisioning something very similar for my next project. I've had 80s and 40s, mostly. I am inclined to go to the 40 series route simply because of the reduced weight, but am open to what I can find for a good price (maybe even a 70 series roller!) I need to dig a bit deeper into the BlackBox. My previous EV build was a 914, in which I was able to retain the transaxle which made things quite straight forward. My previous 80 was a diesel and I took a few trips out to Colorado to do trails out of Ouray/Telluride. Amazing how little power you have, even with a turbo. Very much forward to having LC offroad capability with EV performance and silence. I got a Rivian last Spring and have already put 20k miles on it roadtripping, so I spend a lot of time on PlugShare looking at DCFC locations. Imagine you are aware, but there is now a CCS/CHAdeMO charger in Ouray, perfect for Black Bear/Imogen! Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #335 ·
@Electric Land Cruiser I've been following your build and thoroughly enjoying the project so far. I'm a Land Cruiser guy also and have been envisioning something very similar for my next project. I've had 80s and 40s, mostly. I am inclined to go to the 40 series route simply because of the reduced weight, but am open to what I can find for a good price (maybe even a 70 series roller!) I need to dig a bit deeper into the BlackBox. My previous EV build was a 914, in which I was able to retain the transaxle which made things quite straight forward. My previous 80 was a diesel and I took a few trips out to Colorado to do trails out of Ouray/Telluride. Amazing how little power you have, even with a turbo. Very much forward to having LC offroad capability with EV performance and silence. I got a Rivian last Spring and have already put 20k miles on it roadtripping, so I spend a lot of time on PlugShare looking at DCFC locations. Imagine you are aware, but there is now a CCS/CHAdeMO charger in Ouray, perfect for Black Bear/Imogen! Cheers!
Thanks! Yeah I agree a 40 seems like the right fit for EV. Make no mistake, converting an old LC is nowhere near the same league as a Rivian haha! I think my LC would totally outperform a Rivian off-road but on road range and driveability and everything else it's no comparison.

Black Bear and Imogene via Chademo sounds like a great challenge! I think I need to prove it out a little more before I try those trails... severe consequences for mistakes or mechanical problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #338 ·
For the past weeks I have been running a different motor than the inverter was originally coded for. When I installed my new torque tube setup I also used a brand new (salvaged) LEAF motor just to make sure it was 100% in case some bearings or otherwise we're damaged by the vibrations.

Technically the resolver code needs to be changed when changing the motor, but the truck runs fine I really don't notice any difference but today I updated the resolver code using LeafSpy. Was easy. Just follow Dala's video, it works the exact same on the Resolve-EV controller. Nissan stamps the resolver code for the individual motor on the underside of its case.

I'll report back if I notice any difference in power delivery or otherwise.

Later this year I plan on installing my 160kw inverter which will use the same method.

 

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Thanks! Yeah I agree a 40 seems like the right fit for EV. Make no mistake, converting an old LC is nowhere near the same league as a Rivian haha! I think my LC would totally outperform a Rivian off-road but on road range and driveability and everything else it's no comparison.

Black Bear and Imogene via Chademo sounds like a great challenge! I think I need to prove it out a little more before I try those trails... severe consequences for mistakes or mechanical problems.
I have minimal expectations in terms of creature comforts, refinement of driving dynamics, range, charge speed, etc. My daily driver diesel 40 required a pretty strong stomach. It really excelled in its natural habitat: cruising backroads and fire trails. Predominantly what I have in mind for this build.

I think I am going to post my 914 on the Land Cruiser forum to see if anybody wants a complete driver in exchange for a roller 40 series. We will see how that goes.

One thing that gave me a sense of relief in the 914 build was the retention of the manual gearbox and clutch as a means of disconnecting the motor in the event that all hell broke loose. I totally hear you regarding the penalty of a failure of Black Bear...
 
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