Thursday, April 29, 2010


I put the car up on jack stands yesterday and began disassembling it this morning. So far so good, but it's been very slow going. I'm not sure if I should be proud of how well built and how secure everything is, or ashamed it takes so much work to take it all apart. I used to curse engineers that made working on cars this difficult. But then I'm not an engineer, so I guess some slack is in order.

The batteries are out of the first two trays. Later I'll tackle the back box.

I received some encouraging words from George Hamstra at NetGain Motors. I wrote to tell him of the vibrations and that I'm taking the car apart to fix it. I'm worried that the motor may be damaged, which is causing the vibration, or that the out of balance clutch assembly might have damaged the motor. He said that it was highly unlikely that the motor was damaged, especially if I caught it in time. I'd put less than 100 miles on the car since I first noticed it, so I think I should be good. As soon as it's out, I'll test it and report back.

I'm thinking the reason it's gotten worse is likely due to the failure of the pilot bearing that's seated in the hub assembly couples with the transmission shaft. It was new when I put it in and probably helped to mask or limit the vibration. But I'll know more when it's out and I can see.

One thing I haven't mentioned is that I'm going to take this opportunity to improve the car a bit. I'm going to redo the lay out of the batteries in the front end. When I decided to go with lithium cells, I'd already designed and built all the supports for the lead acid. I had figured there was no need to redo the existing supports, so I worked to get the lithium cells to fit into what was already there.

Later I realized the mistake I'd made, it posed two problems. First, there is some debate as to the proper way to orient the batteries. People weigh it on both sides. Some say that you can orient them anyway you'd like and it won't harm them, while others say you MUST keep them upright. The truth is that no one knows for sure. But there is one certainty, and that is the manufacturer says they should be mounted upright. I haven't seen any elaboration on why, but if they say it, that's good enough for me.

The second reason is ease of accessibility. Every month (twice) I'd do some basic maintenance on the car, checking for loose nuts and bolts, and making sure there were no other problems. I'd also tighten all the bolts securing the copper straps that connect all the batteries. You'd be surprised how much they can loosen up in that time. Well, I'd check all but about 7. There were 7 I simply couldn't get a wrench on. I realized early on that this was bad and that I'd have to do something about it. So now I get the chance to do just that.

I think I've figured out a lay out that will accommodate all the batteries in the engine bay, let me get to all the things I need to get to and still let me shut the hood. There will be much more on this as I progress.

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