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JeepEV: Electric Vehicle Conversion Project
Motor and Clutch

< Part One >

+ Part 1: The original setup:

    -- Preparation
    -- Installating the drive motor
    -- Making the Motor Mount
    -- Testing the Motor (Playing with Power!)

+ Part 2: Adding a Pilot Bearing (After initial test drives)
+ Part 3: Transmission/Transfer-Case swap (Update)

The Preparation:

     Now for one of the most important parts of the conversion, the Electric Motor. For this conversion I am using the Advance DC 9.1" electric motor. This motor weighs around 150lbs. and has dual shafts. It can safely spin up to a max of around 5000 rpms. This conversion is also being done as a Clutch design where the original clutch and pressure plate assembly will be reused. A clutch is not necessary for an electric vehicle since the motor doesn't idle or spin when not accelerating. Therefore the clutch is not needed. However, the Jeep has a Peugeot transmission which is known to have weak syncronizers. This is what convinced me to keep the clutch in order to remove some stress form the syncronizers while shifting.

     The electric motor will mount up to the transmission roughly the same way in which the gas engine did. Prior to receiving the motor, I sent my exsisting Clutch disc, pressure plate, and certain measurements to an out-of-state machine shop. They then fabricated a new flywheel that would allow the pressure plate to mount on one side, while mounting to the motor shaft via a hub on the other side. The reason why a new "flywheel" was created (rather than reuse the old flywheel), was due to the fact that I sold the gas engine and had to sell the flywheel with it. The machine shop also sent an adapter plate which mounts to the motor casing on one side, then bolts to the transmission bellhousing on the opposite side.

     The new adapter plate however comes machined only to mount to the motor, and it is then my responsibility to have it machined to bolt up to my transmission bellhousing. This involves having the holes drilled through the adapter plate and cutting the adapter plate to match the contour of the bellhousing, both for aesthetics and to ensure it doesn't block anything. The trick is that the mounting holes for the adaptor plate must be drilled precisely enough so the motor shaft and transmission shaft are perfectly centered. This would be very hard to try to line up with the transmission in the Jeep, so it was removed first. Removing the Transmission in this Jeep requires the transfer-case and driveshafts to be removed as well.

Motor / Clutch Page Photo
With both driveshafts removed, the Transmission and Transfer
case are removed from the Jeep as a whole assembly.

     Luckily for me, some knowledgeable members of the Austin Area EV Club (to which I belong) agreed to spend some of their time on weekends helping me with the Jeep project. The very first thing we did was to pull the remainder of the drivetrain out of the Jeep. This consisted of the Transmission, Transfer-Case, and driveshafts. Once removed from the vehicle, we quickly realized we'd forgotten to drain the transfer-case fluid, as dark red pools of liquid quickly appeared all over the garage floor. Next, we proped the motor up on end with two 2x4 blocks of wood. Once stable, we assembled the hub, new flywheel, adapter plate, and clutch components to the motor. With everthing mounted as it would be when installed in the Jeep, we lifted the transmission and transfer-case onto the top of the motor, inserting the transmission shaft into the clutch disc until the splines lined up and were firmly seated.

Motor / Clutch Page Photo Motor / Clutch Page Photo
The new "flywheel", hub, and clutch pressure plate
assembly are mounted to the electric motor.

     After positioning the transmisison and transfer-Case on top of the motor assembly, we first determined the size of each of the holes through the transmission bellhousing using a large set of drill bits. Next, we tapped (partially drilled) the holes into the face of the adapter plate using a drill. This marked the centers of the holes through the transmission bellhousing so they could be drilled accurately later. After the holes were tapped, we used a permanent marker to trace the outline of the bellhousing on the adapter plate. The adapter plate was then taken to Austin EV group's preferred machine shop where the holes were drilled and the adapter plate was cut to the contour of the Transmission bell housing.

Motor / Clutch Page Photo Motor / Clutch Page Photo Motor / Clutch Page Photo
The adapter plate is tapped and marked, and later returns from
the machine shop cut and with holes drilled through it. The transmission
and transfer-case are then set upright on the motor and bolted to it to
ensure a proper fit.

« December 2003 »

The Installation:

     After the motor, hub, clutch assembly, adapter plate, and transmission had all been assembled and checked for a good fit, the transmission and transfer case were removed from the motor. The transmission and transfer case were reinstalled in the Jeep using a large floor jack, blocks of wood, and some creative manuvering on everyone's part.

Motor / Clutch Page Photo
The transmission and transfer case are
reinstalled in the Jeep.

     With the transmission and transfer case reinstalled in the Jeep, we focused on installing the motor. The motor installation would have been easier if we had used an engine hoist and lifted the motor into place using the lifting socket on the motor. However, it was important to have the electrical terminals on the motor facing up for easier access. This put the lifting socket pointing downward, thus it was of no help. We ended up not using an engine hoist, but using some creative methods instead to support the motor during the installation. First we slid the motor under the Jeep and pulled it forward and up onto the front axle. We then ended up using a big floor jack and two tie down straps for the install. The jack was placed under the adapter plate end of the motor, with one strap wrapped around each end of the motor for support and stability. Three of us supported the weight of the motor by pulling on the straps, while two of us guided the motor assembly to line up with the splines on the transmission input shaft and made sure the transmission bellhousing holes line up correctly.

Motor / Clutch Page Photo Motor / Clutch Page Photo Motor / Clutch Page Photo
The motor is pushed into place under the Jeep, then set up on
the front axle and manuvered into place carefully using the jack
and straps.

     Once the motor was lined up and bolted to the transmission bellhousing, we had to find a way to support it. The motor couldn't simply hang off the transmission bellhousing because all that weight would destroy the rubber transmission mount. We wedged several blocks of 2x4 and 2x6 resting across the axle (and front tie rod just for balance). We then wedged a block between the new "platform" and the motor. The motor weight was then supported by the front axle temporarily while we worked on a permanent metal motor mount.

Motor / Clutch Page Photo Motor / Clutch Page Photo Motor / Clutch Page Photo
The motor is firmly bolted to the transmission bellhousing.
Blocks are placed on the front axle to support the weight.

« January 4th, 2004 »

Making The Motor Mount:

     With the motor now positioned in its final place, a motor mount had to be fabricated to mount the motor to the frame of the Jeep. The main part of the motor mount is a large O-Clamp (with two pre-welded tabs on it) that clamps down onto the motor casing. The goal was to use this O-Clamp and weld metal to it so it would be able to mount to the frame rails. We decided to remove the passenger side engine mount that was left over from the Internal Combustion Engine, and would've removed the driver's side mount as well, except that it is where the track bar mounts to.

Motor / Clutch Page Photo Motor / Clutch Page Photo
The O-Clamp is placed on the motor to take measurements.
The old passenger side engine mount is removed from the frame.

     Next we had to determine exactly how we would mount the motor mount to the frame. Welding was out of the question, as it was necessary that the motor and mount be removable for future maintenance. Instead, we decided to use two of the threaded holes that the old engine mount used as mounting points for the passenger side of the new mount. However, this same method could not be used on the driver's side, since the old driver's side engine mount was to remain in place. Instead, we were lucky enough to find two holes in the frame that were already threaded, but had never been used. Aparently they were drilled for use with the optional 4-cylinder engine that this Jeep never had. We were able to cut some u-shaped steel that was donated to me and use it as "L" shaped brackets. these brackets were cut and drilled to screw into the frame, with one bracket at each frame rail. Once bolted up, these "L" brackets gave a nice flat surface to weld the rest of the motor mount to.

Motor / Clutch Page Photo Motor / Clutch Page Photo
The O-Clamp is placed on the motor to take measurements.
The old passenger side engine mount is removed from the frame.

     To bridge the gap between the tabs on the O-ring and our new "L" brackets bolted to the Jeep Frame, we used some hollow square tube steel. We cut the square steel at about a 45 degree angle on the end that would attach to the "L" brackets, and left the other end at a right (90 degree) angle. On the passenger side of the mount, we ran one piece of tubing on either side of the O-clamp tabs up to the "L" bracket attached to the passenger side frame rail. Once we had clamped the metal in place, we spot welded it together. Next, we worked on the driver's side part of the mount. For this side of the mount, we did not have to cut any angles in the end of the square steel. Instead, we were able to just run the steel flat from the "L" bracket to the motor O-clamp tabs. However, for fear of making one of the o-clamp bolts inaccesable, we had to attach one piece of the steel to the top of the "L" bracket, while the other was attached to the bottom of the "L" bracket. Once again, we spot welded the driver's side of the mount to hold everything together.

Motor / Clutch Page Photo Motor / Clutch Page Photo Motor / Clutch Page Photo
Square steel tubing is clamped to the motor O-ring to form a bridge
between it and the "L" bracket. Once everything is in place, the
entire assembly is spot welded together.

     After everything had been spot welded in place (and had cooled down), we pulled the entire new motor mount assembly out of the Jeep and took it to a welding shop, where it was permanantely welded together.

Motor / Clutch Page Photo Motor / Clutch Page Photo
The entire motor mount is removed from the Jeep
to have the final welds done at a shop. Note: the top
of the O-clamp is removed in these pitures.

     Once the motor mount had been welded, I used a wire-brush attachment on a grinder to remove metal particles, rust, etc. from the motor mount. Next I primed and spray painted the motor mount.

Motor / Clutch Page Photo Motor / Clutch Page Photo Motor / Clutch Page Photo
The now welded motor mount is cleaned and painted a nice bronze color :)

     The final step left was to install the motor mount in the Jeep. The motor had to be jacked up higer than normal in order to slip the motor mount on and clear the eletrical terminals on the motor. It was a tight fit, but a good fit. I inserted and tightened the four bolts which attached to pre-drilled holes in the frame, and removed the Jacks. Finally, the motor/transmission/transfer-case were all reinstalled again!

Motor / Clutch Page Photo Motor / Clutch Page Photo
The motor mount is fastened to the frame and clamped to the motor.

« January 18th, 2004 »

Testing the Motor (Playing with Power!):

     With the motor securly installed in the Jeep, I was itching to see it spin-up and run. The problem is that this motor's typical voltage is 144 volts DC. At the time, the best I could do was give it 12 volts from a battery. I didn't have a 12 volt battery capable of withstanding that kind of load, but luckily Chris Robison (of AustinEV) did. He brought down his spare Optima yellow top (a battery commonly used in AC powered EVs). We had to bridge two of the motor's terminals with a battery cable (A2 and S2), then apply power to the other two terminals (A1 and S1). We used my set of jumper cables to connect between the battery and motor, then we gave it juice! I must say it was satisfying seeing the Jeep's new propulsion system running nice and quietly.

Motor / Clutch Page Photo Motor / Clutch Page Photo
The motor is hooked up to a 12-volt optima and given its first spin!

Remember, More photos are in the Photo Gallery!