DIY Electric Car Forums banner

Westfalia T3 with Chevy Bolt drivetrain

72280 Views 174 Replies 26 Participants Last post by  remy_martian
VW Vanagon T3 with Chevy Bolt drivetrain


I'm asking myself if DiyEcar is still the best place to put a build thread and to obtain help.
It was the case many years ago when the overvolted forklift motor was the rule, but now?

Well, my plan is to put a 200 hp 60 kWh Bolt drivetrain in a Westfalia... Exciting right?
Yes, but all the electronic and control in the Bolt fear me a bit.
Anyway, I will have the crached Bolt in few days and the West in few weeks.

Let me know if you have advice or help.


See less See more
21 - 40 of 175 Posts
Bolt heart and brain inside a classic body?
if this works this could be pretty big...
This will work and it's pretty big :D
Everybody who consider a conversion today should consider grab the parts on an OEM electric car.
Things are going forward. I've start the design of the integration of the Bolt booster brake and master cylinder in the Vanagon.
The Bolt cluster will sit just over the master cylinder.

The most challenging part will be to find another brake fluid reservoir or modified the original Bolt reservoir.
It need to fit under the cluster and don't touch it (in blue on the picture).
Do someone have advice to weld / fix a Chevy Bolt plastic reservoir to ''any other'' plastic reservoir?


See less See more
Rather than modifying the Bolt reservoir, can you find or assemble tube fittings which will insert and seal into the master cylinder ports, for hoses leading to a remote reservoir or as adapters to a custom reservoir?
Yes, remote tank. I'm open to suggestions for tank and hoses.

Big question here:
Is someone know the load rating of the chevy Bolt front hub?
There seem to be double row angular contact ball bearing.
I would like to replace the rear bearing housing (part 7) and put a disc brake on the Vanagon. The Vanagon rear bearings are one 35x75 ball bearing and one 35x62 roller bearing. My bet is the roller bearing can take a lot of weight and replace it by the double row angular contact ball bearing from the Bolt hub couldn't be enough for a Vanagon Westfalia...

Any tought?


See less See more
I have changed front bearings on my T3s (Vanagons) many times but never had to change the rears. I am told to use VW A4 calipers and passat rotors. Plenty strong enough
Yes, I planned something similar, Audi/Vw disc with the chevy Bolt caliper on the rear. Everything mount on the original T3 rear hub.
But it would be easier for me to simply integrate the Bolt front hub, the rear Bolt disc and the rear Bolt caliper on the rear of the Vanagon.

But is the bearings are strong enough? That the question.

Thanks for the info about the front bearing ;)
Thanks Brian for the GAWR trick. When I'm looking on web with the hub part number, it seem to be use on the Bolt (GAWR 1023 kg) and the Volt (GAWR 1094 kg).
Seem like the Vanagon have a GAWR for the rear of 1300 kg. At least 200 kg short. Maybe 100 kg per wheel isn't that much...:rolleyes:

I plan to take another route to verified the load capacity of the Bolt front bearings compare to the Vanagon rear bearings.
I will sacrifice a hub to measure the ball bearing to evaluate the load rating by comparing with a regular ball bearing with similar dimensions.
My problem at the moment is I don't find the load rating of the 35x62 cylindrical roller bearing of the Vanagon.

The results soon.
Ok, as the load capacity of a car isn't directly liked to the bearings in the wheels, let compare the Vanagon rear bearings and and the Bolt front bearings.

Vanagon: one regular 35x72 ball bearing 6207 (dynamic load rating 2755 kg) and one cylindrical roller bearing 30x62 NU206ECP (dynamic loard rating 4489 kg) for a total load rating of 7244 kg.
Bolt: Seem to be a double row angular contact ball bearing similare to 3308 bearing (40x90) for a total load rating of 6530 kg

Well, based on the bearings alone I will lost around 10% of load capacity. This is similar to the 16% lost in capacity when GAWR are compared.


See less See more
Thanks for the links Electro wrks.
By looking at your links, I found this reservoir used on old BMW 2002.
Seem exactly what I need. I will probably ''machine some hose adapters to mimic the fitting'' as you said.


See less See more
I initially planned to put the charge port on the rear side of the van by cutting a hole in the rear fender. This position in an advantage when you drive a car 1/3 of the years on dirty, snowy road in winter. A charge port in the front (Kia, Leaf) or in the rear is clearly not the best choise weather wise.
But, as you can see in picture, when I consider th easy integration of the charge port on the rear of the van, I change my mind. Worst case, it will be a temporairy position for it.

Also, I started to design how I will integrate the Bolt rear caliper on the Vanagon. Those caliper have electric park brake.
I have to remove the original brake drum, add some Volkswagen Golf/ Audi A3 disc (272mm), design a caliper support and fix this one to the van rear suspension arm.
By adding disc and caliper the original 14'' wheels will no longer fit. I have to shop for 15'' or 16'' wheels.

More to come!


See less See more
An important step in the Westy life, I removed the 40 years old air cooled engine and the transmission.
Now, everything is fully accessible to take measures and integrate all the Bolt bits.
First thing confirmed: there is a lot of space in the rear to integrate motor/inverter, charger, dc-dc and 12V battery/fuses.


See less See more
You can easily sell it if it is good.
Yes, I was really pleased to see the transmission and the old, crappy, dirty fuel burner disappear 24h after I remove them.
Of course I had put them to sell few weeks ago.
I started to play with the Bolt electric caliper and the E-Golf rear disc.
I has to rework the Vanagon hubs to fit the disc and as the caliper it's not bolt-on I planned a small bracket to link the van part to the Bolt part.
Also, as you can see the original 14'' wheels will be clearly too small to accommodate the news disc and caliper.


See less See more
Here the chevy Bolt caliper and the E-Golf disc on the Vanagon.


See less See more
Things are going forwards and I have now a rough 3D model of the Vanagon and the Bolt components (60 kWh battery, motor, power electronic).

I've ordered few laser cut parts to fix the wheel speed sensors (in black on pic) close to the transmission output shafts. I will have the choice to fix 4 sensor on one shaft or the two passager side sensors on one side and the two driver side sensors on the other. No sensor on front wheels.
I will also fix the chevy Bolt wheel bearing seals containing the 96 magnets for the ABS on a shaft collar I will fix on transmission output shaft.
With that, I will be able to use the chevy Bolt powertrain in the room to do some tests.


See less See more
You are all right Brian.
And it's why I plan to put sensors in pair at each side of the transmission output.
I think that 4 sensors on the same output will work, but will cause problem in an even of wheel spin because at the moment, without sensor, this happen: Turn key on, shifter on drive, shafts spin and spin faster with pressing accelerator, at a moment the system detect the problem and reduce the available power, press the brake pedal and I can restart to spin the shafts.

It's interesting that the Bolt system will apparently run happily with no speed input from the other two wheels, but needs the driven wheel speeds.
My bet is that is design to run the car on a dyno / test the car without driving around.
It's interesting that the Bolt system will apparently run happily with no speed input from the other two wheels, but needs the driven wheel speeds.
I did some test yesterday and I have to rectify a fact. With only the two font wheels speed sensors, the car start to reduce power at 40 km/h.
I added the 4 wheel speed sensors on the same output (pic) and I can accelerate without problem.
I also confirm than with the sensors in this configuration, blocking one output shaft (different output rpm between shaft) caused serious problem to the system. The motor try to spin faster.
The mix of ''spin faster'', try to regen without load, try a new acceleration isn't a confortable situation with a motor not solidly fix to a car frame :rolleyes:

So, more tests to come with two speed sensors on each output shaft.


See less See more
It should be possible to turn traction control and ABS off, anyway...
I don't have the choice to disable or bypass the ABS/traction control system.
Considering it will not have the proper information from the wheel speed sensors, the system will probably send me in the ditch in an event of wheels spin on ice/snow or in the case of wheel lock after applying brake.

Anyone have idea?
Removing the ABS fuse simply don't allowing the car to shift in drive mode.
and the Leaf BOLT bits won't have control of the van's braking.
Well, here is exactly the point.
If I connect the 4 wheels brake to the Bolt ABS unit, the Bolt bits will have control of the van's braking.
They will have control with the bad information (front wheel in the rear and vise versa).
The other solution is to bypass mechanically the ABS unit by routing the brake hoses out of the unit and simply put plugs on the ABS unit.

Hope that help everyone to understand my questioning.
Thanks guys for your inputs. I don't put each sensor on each wheel because the small part with 96 magnets in it is really dificulte to integrate.
Conclusion to come in few weeks.

I've cut the Vanagon floor last weekend and tried to fit the battery cover.
This is promising, but seriously it's not designed to fit there. For those who can plan to convert a Vanagon, maybe consider use a battery from a car with a smaller wheelbase / smaller battery because the fit is really too tight. Or maybe think about rearrange the battery module.
I had to cut some structural beams in the van and I will redesign and weld new beams, but it's a complex job.


See less See more
Here is the ring with the 96 magnets for the wheel speed sensors.
I welded it to stainless steel plates and fix it to a shaft collar.
I think I've done an error because the galvanic corrosion between the zinc plated steel and the stainless steel is important.


See less See more
Yabert, you need to hurry up. BusFusion is happening in a couple months and I'm sure you want to show the EV to the other 250 VW busses there, LOL
First time I hear of Busfusion, but it seem interesting. Not too far from here.
Sadly, I will not show this 60 kWh / 200 hp van at the event.
June will be buzzy as I will have my first kid. Hopefully the van will work by may end :D
21 - 40 of 175 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.