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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi fellow EV Conversion enthusiasts, experts and those searching to learn more that stumbled into this build. Please enjoy the show of someone that does not know what they are doing, learning on the fly, making bad decision and trying to improve and or recover. Maybe i should have named this the I dont know what I’m doing build.

I was planning to get a little further into the build before starting a thread, but there were some interest in it. So, I’m starting now and maybe it thread will have some great info from experts that other folks searching will learn as well.

My most favorite car is the 2003 Mitsubishi Evolution 8. I really like the way it looks , handles and the steering response is like driving a go-kart on rails . It was a powerful car from the factory and this particular one had about 556 whp . All wheel drive is a huge plus when trying to put the power to the ground. But a big turbo on a 2.0 L Turbo car with low compression ratio is terrible to drive on the road. I wanted the instant power of an Electric drive unit. Unfortunately the interior (other than the Recaro seats is cheap Lancer like.

I actually owned a blue 2006 Evolution 9 before this. But i sold that when i got married . Then later when i was ready again, searched for a never driven in snow/salt southern state Evo, to avoid all the rust problems. Chassis on this one had about 96,000 miles. Here are a few

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More posts on the progress..
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
My original plan was to use two Warp 9 DC motors and keep the transmission etc.. I bought the Warp 9 motors then later learned about tesla drive units progress and availability and change of plans. Lost money in the buying selling the Warp 9’s.

But before getting the drive units i started tearing it down and selling items to help fund. I made about 11,000 USD . I have limited tools. So the car is on jack stands, no engine hoist either. I just lifted it as high as i could, took apart as many things i could to drop the engine and trans from the bottom and slide it out balancing it on a jack lol.

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Engine bay after drive components out:

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Engine Bay cleaned up and ECU wiring harness chopped down.
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Part of the harness I removed about 8 lbs :
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Drive shaft, rear diff and gas tank also removed:
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I saw that Mazda Miata folks would convert their power steering to manual. So i figured to save some battery juice and do the same. If i dont like it i will add one of those inline electronic power steerings. I have in the past disconnected the power steering and circulated the lines leaving fluid in the rack. Worst driving experience ever. It was very difficult to steer at stand still which was expected but equally the same when moving. I think fluid in the rack squeezing through the small chambers created resistance.

Basically this is what I did watching this guy’s miata:

Here is my rack:
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I started out by removing the pinion housing . I removed the two bolts at the top holding the housing. Also, at the bottom there is a cover screwed on that you have to remove to get to a nut holding the pinion and stem down.



Next up was trying to get the pinion and shaft out of the housing. The seal was holding the shaft pretty tightly in the housing and wasn’t coming out easily. I didnt want to damage the stem top protruding piece, so i took a nut to cover over and went to town knocking on the ground till it slid out. This helped preventing the top portion from mushrooming or getting damaged.


Once its out the seal slides off the shaft pretty easily. The other end you have to remove a C-clip to slide out the valve body.



Here are the pieces apart.


Next up, I unbolted the driver side inner rod and took the rack out of the housing from the passenger side. There is a hydraulic piston disk on the rack in which I had to cut out.



A friend helped weld the pinion so that the top shaft and bottom pinion gear are one solid piece. Otherwise there is a very slight play in the design to direct fluid in the chambers with steering input .



After cleaning up the inside and greasing everything up , I assembled it all back together and capped any ports to keep moisture out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Upgraded factory subframe to a tubular subframe for some weight savings and additional clearances/space it would add.
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I’m keeping the power steering and I also didnt want to deal with vacuum pumps for brake booster. So i got a brake booster delete as well as a different master cylinder that would be better fit for manual braking and reduce the heavy/hard brake feel.

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On the car
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As is it felt much better pressing the brake pedal. Also when i had pushed/rolled the car and braked it felt way better as well compared to with booster but no vacuum. To clarify the pedal travel was longer and less hard compared to oem master cylinder with booster without a vacuum source. Otherwise at this point i dont know yet about stopping power per leg force while driving. That will be reported later once the car is drive able.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The plan is to get Model S Small rear drive unit and front drive unit. So I cutout the rear trunk spare wheel well. This was a bit of a pain to do. I used a plasma cutter but my circuit breaker for the garage couldnt handle the current. So i could only cut 1-2inches at a time. Start stop , start stop etc.. It looks great afar but up close its a little rough. I’ll clean it up with an angle grinder later on.

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I removed the rear subframe that was in the way. Purchased partially built rear tubular subframe mainly to help with the control arms.
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On the car:
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I decided to get the Stealth EV kit. As some of you already know from previous posts in other threads. Very well packaged thanks to Matt at Stealth EV. It did get lost at at the freight shipping but found a week or so later and was delivered to me with no sign of damage thank fully.

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Everything that came with the drive unit as a kit laid out for you all to see. Two drive units so i got two of everything but only one acceleration pedal.
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Long story short, i had the drive units professionally installed by local. I didnt like the work done for the money way over budget i spent. I agreed to a lot of compromises to keep it way below budget but lesson learned and I will do it myself now.

More photos to come and your feed back or suggestions for the upcoming part will be greatly appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
So what i learned is the front drive unit will not fit in the factory intended orientation. I should have done a better job measuring it all before committing to it. The firewall, antilock brake module steering shaft etc.. didnt allow in relation to where the wheels hubs/cv are. It was installed in reverse orientation in which i was ok with. But closer look of the mounting points I wasnt thrilled about, also it sits taller with its 60 degree or so angle it takes up a lot of usable space leaving me limited options for battery space.

So i now plan to use a small rear drive unit in the front of the car. It will also be installed in reverse orientation and I will do something to the oil pump as needed and or run external pump. But i dont wan this to turn into a debate about the bearings and running them in reverse..

Ok , I bought a lifting kart to help move, position and lift the rear drive unit. I measured and centered drive unit so that the shafts are close to equal length as possible. Here is what it looks like in the engine bay.

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What I’m having trouble with is should I do tubular and the overall design . I searched and looked around what some people did in this forum and on youtube etc.. Examples the rear wheel drive CRX build thread, Tesla Bimmer ... I became aware of Send Cut Send and Fusion 360 Im trying to figure out how to use.

So I am thinking of doing something like the Tesla Bimmer. I’m using cardboard to shape things. Take photo to use as canvas in fusion 360 size it up and trace most of it and make appropriate edits.

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There will be two of these plates "boxed up”. Also a “C” clamp like bracket to weld on the frame rail and then this will be welded on that. I’m thinking of 11 Gauge Chromoly. The frame rail i believe is 16 gauge. So I will need to be careful welding different gauge materials. This is just the start, i will then make a bracket for the side support. And other mount bracket that will bolt to the subframe points over the steering rack using same bolt spots. They look strong enough to support.
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Another option is instead of that front plate bracket at the front, i can use a tubular design for the front mount. The Evo has a front center member/brace. It bolts and runs from under the subframe to the front chassis bottom support. Normally the transmission would have mounted there as a front roll support. This is not my car but another EVO to show as an example. What you all think ? Issue with this is , the bar would be slightly to the driver side and not directly under the motor mount. I dont know how well it would be to support if I used chromoly tubing and got a cheap mechanical harborfright tube bender to make a slight S bend . I would say around 3-4” of an S bend.

Think of the below transmission as the drive unit. Only that the motor mount on the drive unit will be to the left/passenger side of the brace bracket unless i made an S bend.

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Really cool build, totally unique! Are you going to try any performance traction control tuning to try and mimic the Evo's advanced diff and suspension computers?
 

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Are you going to try any performance traction control tuning to try and mimic the Evo's advanced diff and suspension computers?
That would be nice. Unfortunately, with only one motor per axle the only part of the Mitsubishi All-Wheel Control system which can be duplicated is the front-to-rear distribution (Active Center Differential), not the AYC (Active Yaw Control) feature. The closest possible functionality is the now-standard-on-everything use of individual brake application to determine side-to-side torque distribution.

There are Quaife limited-slip differentials for the Tesla drive units, but a passive mechanical diff isn't close to active torque distribution in functionality.
 

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I saw that Mazda Miata folks would convert their power steering to manual. So i figured to save some battery juice and do the same. If i dont like it i will add one of those inline electronic power steerings. I have in the past disconnected the power steering and circulated the lines leaving fluid in the rack. Worst driving experience ever. It was very difficult to steer at stand still which was expected but equally the same when moving. I think fluid in the rack squeezing through the small chambers created resistance.
Yes, the bypassed hydraulic system will add resistance, but even properly de-powered I think the steering will be too heavy. De-powered racks are great to keep the quick ratio typical of power-assisted systems while ditching the complexity and numb feel of the hydraulics; however, there's a reason that normal cars don't come with unassisted quick steering - it's just too heavy. The de-powering scheme is good for cars with very little front weight (such as rear-engine or mid-engine creations, or even a Miata with the engine set well back), but with a drive unit and who knows what else in front, I think it's dicey for the Evo.

An electrically-powered alternative to the de-powered hydraulic rack and aftermarket powered column is the whole system from a stock newer car of the same configuration.
 

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... I also didnt want to deal with vacuum pumps for brake booster. So i got a brake booster delete as well as a different master cylinder that would be better fit for manual braking and reduce the heavy/hard brake feel.
...
As is it felt much better pressing the brake pedal. Also when i had pushed/rolled the car and braked it felt way better as well compared to with booster but no vacuum. To clarify the pedal travel was longer and less hard compared to oem master cylinder with booster without a vacuum source. Otherwise at this point i dont know yet about stopping power per leg force while driving. That will be reported later once the car is drive able.
Boosted master cylinders without the boost do feel terrible. On the other hand, longer travel with less force (the result of the smaller-bore master cylinder) - necessary to be able to stop without assist - is almost universally considered undesirable by enthusiasts. We have a Triumph Spitfire with front disk brakes and no assist, which works quite well (as does the unassisted quick steering rack), but it's a much lighter car.

One thing to check, in addition to whether the pedal force required is acceptable, is whether the brakes can be fully applied before running out of master cylinder travel.
 

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What I’m having trouble with is should I do tubular and the overall design . I searched and looked around what some people did in this forum and on youtube etc.. Examples the rear wheel drive CRX build thread, Tesla Bimmer ... I became aware of Send Cut Send and Fusion 360 Im trying to figure out how to use.

So I am thinking of doing something like the Tesla Bimmer. I’m using cardboard to shape things. Take photo to use as canvas in fusion 360 size it up and trace most of it and make appropriate edits.

View attachment 122268


There will be two of these plates "boxed up”. Also a “C” clamp like bracket to weld on the frame rail and then this will be welded on that. I’m thinking of 11 Gauge Chromoly. The frame rail i believe is 16 gauge. So I will need to be careful welding different gauge materials. This is just the start, i will then make a bracket for the side support. And other mount bracket that will bolt to the subframe points over the steering rack using same bolt spots. They look strong enough to support.
View attachment 122269


Another option is instead of that front plate bracket at the front, i can use a tubular design for the front mount. The Evo has a front center member/brace. It bolts and runs from under the subframe to the front chassis bottom support. Normally the transmission would have mounted there as a front roll support. This is not my car but another EVO to show as an example. What you all think ? Issue with this is , the bar would be slightly to the driver side and not directly under the motor mount.
While the brackets fabricated from cut plates are great, I don't see the need for it in this case. Wouldn't two simple tubes (one straight across the top and one vee-shaped under the bottom) and some plain plate gussets work?

The system which mounts the front of the stock transaxle to the radiator support element of the body makes sense, but it's probably not supporting the weight of the powertrain, just resisting drive torque. The front mount of the Tesla drive unit supports about half of the unit's weight, all of the time. I'm not sure that this is where the load should go.

... if I used chromoly tubing and got a cheap mechanical harborfright tube bender to make a slight S bend . I would say around 3-4” of an S bend.
If you're only bending one tube (for any bracket), it might make more sense to pay a shop to do it than to buy equipment. If buying something, the cheap pipe benders (assume something like this) are great if they work for you... but they are notoriously poor for smoothly bending structural tubing. By coincidence, this just came up in another thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Really cool build, totally unique! Are you going to try any performance traction control tuning to try and mimic the Evo's advanced diff and suspension computers?
My only plan is to add limited slip differential to both drive units some time after the build is done .

In the US market we didn’t get the AYC (Active Yaw Control) . For the 2003-2004 US cars came with viscous center diff (In exception to the MR I think). And the 2005-2006 had the ACD (Active Center Diff). I owned both a new 2006 Evo 9 and this used 2003 Evo 8 . I prefer a much simpler system of the 2003 US Evo over the extra technology of the later model years or other markets had.

The suspension doesn’t have any advanced controls . I believe only differences were the MR came with Bilstein struts and the others with Macpherson struts .
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
While the brackets fabricated from cut plates are great, I don't see the need for it in this case. Wouldn't two simple tubes (one straight across the top and one vee-shaped under the bottom) and some plain plate gussets work?

The system which mounts the front of the stock transaxle to the radiator support element of the body makes sense, but it's probably not supporting the weight of the powertrain, just resisting drive torque. The front mount of the Tesla drive unit supports about half of the unit's weight, all of the time. I'm not sure that this is where the load should go.


If you're only bending one tube (for any bracket), it might make more sense to pay a shop to do it than to buy equipment. If buying something, the cheap pipe benders (assume something like this) are great if they work for you... but they are notoriously poor for smoothly bending structural tubing. By coincidence, this just came up in another thread.

I think you maybe right . The weight was suspended by the two side mounts brackets visible on the left and right side . The front and rear mounts resisted the drive torque.

Honestly I couldn’t decide if I should use cut plates or tubular. I looked through what people did. Found design from Tesla Bimmers car which he recommended using fusion 360 and send cut send service in his video . Also a friend was doing it as well with his build . I decided to “copy” the BMW’s design that worked for him. Any reason you would sway toward the tubular design ? Cost , simplicity, overkill with cut plates ...?
 

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In the US market we didn’t get the AYC (Active Yaw Control) . For the 2003-2004 US cars came with viscous center diff (In exception to the MR I think). And the 2005-2006 had the ACD (Active Center Diff). I owned both a new 2006 Evo 9 and this used 2003 Evo 8 . I prefer a much simpler system of the 2003 US Evo over the extra technology of the later model years or other markets had.
Although AWC (with both ACD and AYC) started with the Evo VII, and S-AWD with the Evo IX, the U.S. market apparently didn't get it until the Evo X (which was the only Evo we ever got in Canada).
Next-generation Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Introduces super-all-wheel control (S-AWC) for supercar handling
October 01, 2009 — CYPRESS, Calif.

The most extreme version of a S-AWD was the high point of sophistication in mechanical control of torque distribution, for Mitsubishi and the world. Since then, manufacturers have generally fallen back to open axle differentials with only occasional simple limited-slip designs, usually simple clutches for one axle in AWD configurations, depending entirely on computer-controlled application of individual wheel brakes for traction and stability control. That's probably good from an initial cost and maintenance standpoint, and it works well, but it's disappointing for a fan of mechanical design.

The replacement for complex mechanical systems and applying brakes on driven wheels individual motors is the use of individual motors per wheel, or at least per axle. All AWD EVs use a motor per axle (or per axle group in the case of some heavier commercial vehicles) - as this Evo conversion will - and while one motor per wheel has been rare, more are coming.
 

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Any reason you would sway toward the tubular design ? Cost , simplicity, overkill with cut plates ...?
In aluminum, these cut plates look good and probably work well, although it would be a nightmare to clean out the many corners and cavities if driven on real roads. In steel, they seem like an invitation to rust to me. Some of the companies (such as Wisefab) which supply modified suspension intended for drift cars (mostly designed to allow greater steering angles) use a lot of this design - in aluminum - which is the easiest approach for their fabrication... but no one does this in production, because it doesn't make sense in high volumes and it usually isn't the most efficient use of material.

Jon Volk's TeslaBimmer brackets are impressive - we had a good look at them in the DIY Electric Car discussion of his TeslaBimmer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
In aluminum, these cut plates look good and probably work well, although it would be a nightmare to clean out the many corners and cavities if driven on real roads. In steel, they seem like an invitation to rust to me. Some of the companies (such as Wisefab) which supply modified suspension intended for drift cars (mostly designed to allow greater steering angles) use a lot of this design - in aluminum - which is the easiest approach for their fabrication... but no one does this in production, because it doesn't make sense in high volumes and it usually isn't the most efficient use of material.

Jon Volk's TeslaBimmer brackets are impressive - we had a good look at them in the DIY Electric Car discussion of his TeslaBimmer.
I was thinking of using Chromoly Steel for most strength . But off course I would paint the metal to not leave exposed to the elements .
 
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