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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'd like to introduce myself here and see if it would be feasible to convert a 1984 Isuzu Trooper to electric and satisfy my (somewhat unusual) criteria. This would be a 4WD vehicle used on Belize, Central America. It needs to be able to travel highway (60mph) and rough roads. The furthest it would travel is a 150 mile round trip to the airport. Most trips would be half that. The house is off grid and will have solar panels for charging and I hope the vehicle may also act as a back-up battery for the house system.

I'm a reasonable shade tree mechanic and have mostly repaired my own vehicles since the 80's. My fabrication has been limited to building construction for the most part, but I have a welder and am not afraid to use it. I don't know much about electronics, but I can wire a house and build a PC from components. I want to spend less than a suitable new electric vehicle, but knowing what I have and how to repair it is also valuable to me and will be even more valuacle in the jungle.

The Trooper is basically a Chevy LUV with a long, tall roof. (Drag coefficient of .6 and total frontal area 2.47m2.) Isuzu is well supported in Belize, so parts aren't the problem they would be here. The transfer case cannot be separated from the transmission, so i plan to keep both. As is, it has 82hp and 103ft-lb with a 4 speed and 4:55 differentials and 31 inch tires. Power is adequate but not exhilarating with 0-60 in 19 seconds and a very exciting top speed around 75. It is capable of a payload of 1000 pounds and lots of room under the bed where fuel tanks and mufflers live right now. There is a lot of room under the hood as well.

Wheel Automotive parking light Tire Automotive side marker light Vehicle


I think a Leaf motor has similar power specs to what the ICE has and would work, but maybe a HyPer 9 would be easier to adapt? I'm not sure how much battery I need, but seeing Rover Series conversions advertising up to 300 kilometers makes me think I can get enough battery in this brick for 150 miles. Pretty much all I need to carry in the back is 250 pounds of dog and a paddle board.

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I'm wondering about environmental factors also. Ambient temps stay below 100F, but not much. Humidity is high and fording small streams would be valuable but avoidable.

Thanks in advance for any input or suggestions.

Jerry
 

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Ignore the welcoming comittee. They don't post anything else.

There are a couple of Jeep conversions active on here right now. I'm thinking they may be close to what you're after.

Just because the transmission and transfer case are allegedly inseparable, doesn't mean a different transfer case can't take their place or that the trans has to stay.

Fording streams in an electric is fantasyland. Low cost may also be a fantasy where you are -- you may have to import all the pieces or an entire donor car or two. Of course, most people think "Tesla" in terms of EV cost, so you may be ok there.

If it was my project, I'd use a bent up electric RAV4 as a donor electric
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the fording stream note, that is certainly avoidable. Would be a perk, though.

The vehicle and I are still in the USA. I'm thinking less than 30k USD, I suppose.

Why the RAV4? For the AWD?
 

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... The transfer case cannot be separated from the transmission, so i plan to keep both.
Based only on the Wikipedia page for the Trooper, I assume that this is the Isuzu MSG or MUA5C manual transmission. For the MSG-series transmission, the transfer case is apparently the MSG-5TC. Judging just from this image from Midwest Transmission Center (which may be for a later version):

... the transfer case apparently entirely replaces the transmission tail housing (and even the shifter extension housing); the transmission to transfer case joint is at the "w" in the "Midwest Transmission" caption. Commonly, a transmission has two different tail housings: a long one for 2WD and a shorter one which couples to the transfer case for 4WD. This means that if you remove the transmission but keep the transfer case, the adapter from the motor or reduction gearbox needs to mate with the transfer case appropriately, possibly with an oil seal (if the transfer case and transmission share gear oil) or even an input shaft support or bearing that would normally be in a transmission tail housing.

The easiest way to get rid of the bulk of the transmission would likely be to switch to another suitable transfer case - one which is not so highly integrated with the transmission.
 

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I found an illustration of the 2WD and 4WD versions of the MUA transmission (used in Troopers, but probably not this one).

The image quality is low and the scales are slightly different, making comparison more difficult, but the transfer case portion appears to act as tailhousing, shifter housing, and replacement for the 2WD output shaft. That means it might have some extra parts when used without the transmission, but it might still work out - using the shifter for a forward/reverse switch might be amusing.
 

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Fording streams in an electric is fantasyland.
I'm actually a tiny bit curious about this. Obviously building the battery boxes is up to the engineering for water ingress and otherwise breathability against condensation and atmospheric pressure differentials but most of the components I've seen are IP67. The motors aren't quite so good, I don't think the Hyper9 is better than IP65 which I wouldn't ford (and don't plan to in my conversion), but if you did have good watertight HV connections, confident engineering around the batteries and short term submersion rated components otherwise is there any real concern for crossing deep water?
 

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... Obviously building the battery boxes is up to the engineering for water ingress and otherwise breathability against condensation and atmospheric pressure differentials but most of the components I've seen are IP67. The motors aren't quite so good, I don't think the Hyper9 is better than IP65...
Other motors are better. The HyPer 9 is from a division of Dana TM4, which also sells the IPM 200 range... which are IP67; I'm not suggesting that motor, just saying that there are different specs.
 

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I'm actually a tiny bit curious about this. Obviously building the battery boxes is up to the engineering for water ingress and otherwise breathability against condensation and atmospheric pressure differentials but most of the components I've seen are IP67. The motors aren't quite so good, I don't think the Hyper9 is better than IP65 which I wouldn't ford (and don't plan to in my conversion), but if you did have good watertight HV connections, confident engineering around the batteries and short term submersion rated components otherwise is there any real concern for crossing deep water?
Review skill set, make appropriate recommendations that won't result in a chemical hydrogen bomb.

Musk claimed you could float a Tesla in a flood, no harm, no foul. About 2% of written-off Teslas I see are flood cars.

IP blah blah blah means nothing when there are wires and vents, put together by a shade tree mechanic in a backwater country with no easy access to the components and engineering needed to pull it off. I have a hard enough time getting samples while in the USA and there's nothing more frustrating than being in a place like Thailand for two months and an American company refuses to send parts to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks, Brian, it's the MSG. Probably a 4TC since it isn't a 5 speed. Similar to your picture. The transfer case shares oil with the transmission and is, itself, split in two pieces. The "transfer case" holds the gear shift and the output shaft for the rear diff and the "transfer side case" holds the forward output and the hi-lo shifter. The joint you point out is a plate between the transmission and transfer case with support bearings.

View attachment 126815

Having spent some time looking closer at it, I wonder if I might be able to replace the gearbox with a motor by modifying the main shaft to connect to a motor and make provision for oiling the transfer case. I worry a bit about not having a clutch, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Review skill set, make appropriate recommendations that won't result in a chemical hydrogen bomb.

Musk claimed you could float a Tesla in a flood, no harm, no foul. About 2% of written-off Teslas I see are flood cars.

IP blah blah blah means nothing when there are wires and vents, put together by a shade tree mechanic in a backwater country with no easy access to the components and engineering needed to pull it off. I have a hard enough time getting samples while in the USA and there's nothing more frustrating than being in a place like Thailand for two months and an American company refuses to send parts to you.
As noted above, I'm still in the USA, tiger. But I agree it's a backwater country...
 

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Having spent some time looking closer at it, I wonder if I might be able to replace the gearbox with a motor by modifying the main shaft to connect to a motor and make provision for oiling the transfer case. I worry a bit about not having a clutch, though.
If you don't need to shift, you don't need a clutch... so the only concern would be shifting the transfer case between high and low range. If you only shift the transfer case when stationary, there's no issue.
 

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Thanks, Brian, it's the MSG. Probably a 4TC since it isn't a 5 speed. Similar to your picture. The transfer case shares oil with the transmission and is, itself, split in two pieces. The "transfer case" holds the gear shift and the output shaft for the rear diff and the "transfer side case" holds the forward output and the hi-lo shifter. The joint you point out is a plate between the transmission and transfer case with support bearings.

View attachment 126815
There's something wrong with the attachment... trying to view it gets a "The requested page could not be found" error page.

If it was a better drawing of the MSG internals, it might have been this one:


The corresponding MUA (later transmission, very similar but stronger and heavier) looks like this:


It would be easier to use a different transfer case than to use this one without the transmission, but at least the control levers and some of the mounts of the original unit would be directly usable instead of having to adapt or fabricate something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
If you don't need to shift, you don't need a clutch... so the only concern would be shifting the transfer case between high and low range. If you only shift the transfer case when stationary, there's no issue.
Thanks. With only the 4.55 diffs and a single motor, will I have enough power to get moving and up to speed? With 31" tires I'll hit 71mph at 3500rpm. It looks like a second gen Nissan Leaf has twice the torque and HP as the original ICE, but I'd be running it with half the nissan's gear reduction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Good advice, Brian. "It would be easier to use a different transfer case than to use this one without the transmission, but at least the control levers and some of the mounts of the original unit would be directly usable instead of having to adapt or fabricate something."

So maybe just a divorced transfer case like a Dana 20 with a divorced case adapter like this:


Seems straight forward to adapt the existing bolt-in trans mount and work out shifter positioning. Would need driveshaft work, but I know where I can have that done.

Then it would be easily joined to EV West's adapter for a keyed output shaft.

 
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