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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
O.K. Have a hypothetical question. I have a 1986 Pontiac Trans Am. I eventually want to go with a direct drive and lithiums, but for now I need to do this on the cheap to get started.
My three wheeler project is on hold for the time being, as registering and insuring a specialty vehicle is a ginormous pain in the ass.

What I want to know is this. In order to get the best range would it be better to:
1. Keep the 700r4 automatic and make it work

2. Change over to a T5 5 speed (clutchless or not?)

3. Just go direct drive and use a 12" forklift motor.May buy one and use it anyways.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have thought about it, but if I have to change out the transmission I will just go with the T5 that goes in the F Body. I can pick them up locally for 250 dollars or so. Love the link though, very efficient packaging. To bad they don't offer bigger motors or even the Warp motors. That would be great for instant race car applications.:D
 

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If you could get a low enough rear end ratio, and do lots of freeway driving, I'd guess direct would be most efficient but there's a big but: I don't think you can get a super low (high numerically) rear end ratio for the GM axle, you might have to switch to a Ford 9 inch (there are bolt-in kits, but they are expensive).

I'd vote for the manual tranny.
 

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Depends on size of motor, controller and battery pack. For example if you are using a Netgain HV Motor you have the option of higher rpms, which means your gear ratio can be higher for quicker launches. If you plan of highway driving I would go with 700r4 (but this trans uses much energy and is very heavy) or the T5 transmission. Going direct drive limits your driving ability to motor/rear diff ratio matching. For example: A Netgain motor (non HV) has limits of around 5000rpm's, if this set-up was used direct drive with a very high gear ratio (4:56) you would max out at very low speeds under 100mph or less.

O.K. Have a hypothetical question. I have a 1986 Pontiac Trans Am. I eventually want to go with a direct drive and lithiums, but for now I need to do this on the cheap to get started.
My three wheeler project is on hold for the time being, as registering and insuring a specialty vehicle is a ginormous pain in the ass.

What I want to know is this. In order to get the best range would it be better to:
1. Keep the 700r4 automatic and make it work

2. Change over to a T5 5 speed (clutchless or not?)

3. Just go direct drive and use a 12" forklift motor.May buy one and use it anyways.
 

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Many EVers drive their EVs in just 2nd and 3rd gears, so a 2 speed PowerGlide would be perfect for many.

If you can't burn rubber from a standstill, you'd benefit from having multiple ratios. Likewise, if you need to climb steep hills you'll generally benefit from multiple ratios.
A powerglide has less gears, better off just going direct drive than using a powerglide.
 

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...registering and insuring a specialty vehicle is a ginormous pain in the ass...
Registering a specialty vehicle in Ohio is relatively easy? You just have to have receipts for what you used to build it. You get an app, take that and your vehicle to a designated OSHP inspection station, take the paperwork they give you to the BMV, and ride off into the sunset. One of the reasons I am still in Ohio is to get my street rod built and registered before I move to a state that isn't as "friendly".

As for insurance, your best bet is to get an appraisal and go through specialty/classic car insurance companies.


Back to the point at hand:
...I have a 1986 Pontiac Trans Am...for now I need to do this on the cheap to get started...
If you want to do it "on the cheap" go with the T5. Direct drive, especially in a heavier vehicle like a Trans Am is going to be expensive. You need to have enough battery to consistently pull high amps off to get it moving. If you run the T5, you can better manage whatever energy you have available, by keeping the motor in its most efficient rpm range, and by decreasing the heavy draw to get moving with lower (higher numerically) gearing.

It's also going to be much easier and cheaper to get setup because it will simply bolt in the car (rear mount and driveshaft), and you don't have to spend time and money fiddling with the pump/pressure issue.

It's sort of flat, geographically, around here so you can probably get away with a clutchless setup. I'm not positive but it seems like there are more adapters and kits available for the small bellhousing, so get a transmission from a 60-degree V6 (2.8, 3.1, 3.4) F-body, and you may save there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you Todd,

I didn't realize it would be that easy to register a custom vehicle in Ohio. After reading some of the other peoples problems getting customs registered in other states I just assumed it would be as difficult in Ohio. Ohio seems to like making everything else difficult I didn't imagine they could get anything right.

Now you have me wondering if I should go ahead with my original plan and save the TA for when I have the money to do it right.:D It would be more impressive to have a totally custom build to show off ehh?:rolleyes:
 

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Thank you Todd,

I didn't realize it would be that easy to register a custom vehicle in Ohio. After reading some of the other peoples problems getting customs registered in other states I just assumed it would be as difficult in Ohio. Ohio seems to like making everything else difficult I didn't imagine they could get anything right.

Now you have me wondering if I should go ahead with my original plan and save the TA for when I have the money to do it right.:D It would be more impressive to have a totally custom build to show off ehh?:rolleyes:
No problem. I started my project before I found out what it would take to get it registered, and kind of freaked out a bit when I finally talked to OSHP. I was just using whatever I had/came across, so proving where I got it was going to be challenging. I almost abandoned the ship, but after talking to them (OSHP) a few times, I calmed down and started planning to complete it the right way. I started saving receipts for parts and materials, and replacing the stuff I couldn't verify.

I would suggest giving them a call or three, and talking to them. They were pretty patient with me, and really helpful, because I expressed that I really wanted to do things the right way.

There is also a law being considered in the Ohio House (H.B. 391) now that will make it possible to register a classic vehicle as the year/make/model it look like. It's been kind of hanging in limbo since the recession started, but SEMA is pushing to get it passed. I'm really hoping for that one because it will allow my truck to actually be a 1923 Ford...


As a final thought, I would really take some time to think and crunch numbers to determine which one to do. Even if the Trans Am might require a bigger budget to do "right" it would probably be much, much, easier to reach the goal of actually feeling it move under electric power with. Full custom builds are beyond challenging, because there is almost no end to the available options. Then, every decision you make leads to ten more you need to sort out. A conversion, on the other hand, has inherent limitations that eliminate a lot of the mind-numbing planning process. You can only fit certain combinations of parts, and can only reasonably achieve certain goals - you build to best accomplish your primary objectives, according to those boundaries. With a scratch-build, it is all too often possible to eliminate those boundaries to make the plan "better" - then you find out what else was affected by that great decision, and start modifying all that stuff to match, then find out what the effects of those changes were and... :eek::rolleyes::D It's fun, but seriously challenging.

I would try to figure out whether building the custom, and tinkering with the conversion in the background, or vice versa, was the better plan. Small accomplishments keep the fire burning, and propel you towards the end. Long spans with no perceivable progress drain the batteries. Those projects can be found daily on Craigslist. ;)
 
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