Friday, August 31, 2012

Controls and Boxes

The mechanical restoration is complete and it's time to move the chassis back over to Robert's shop so he can build the bodywork onto this platform.

Ready to load on the trailer for the short ride.

It will be much easier to complete the mechanical controls before the body goes on, so we spent the better part of two days shortening and adjusting the clutch cable ...
... and devising a mount point and cable routing for the accelerator to throttle pot connection. We also replaced the steering coupler disk and added a short throw EMPI trigger shifter. That required extensive rework of the shift rod, but it now shifts crisply without the slop of the worn original shifter. 

We're paying attention to the aesthetics and details to make this a professional looking conversion. Here is the final installation of the new pedal cluster and the brake line all tidied up and tied down. I have a fresh handle and boot for the parking brake that will dress it up as well.

While Robert reassembles all of those beautifully painted body parts on the chassis, I'm doing some prewiring for the traction pack.

Due to the space constraints, these components were scattered all over the eBugeye wherever I could find a few spare inches. Given the luxury of a second chance with a bit more space on the evTD, I decided to modularize the supporting circuitry wherever possible.

The positive box contains the emergency contactor, 10 amp 250 volt DC fuse and inductor to protect the charger and DC/DC converter, and positive run fuse. The positive wires from the DC/DC converter and charger will connect to the right side of the smaller fuse.

Credit goes to Steve Messerschmidt at Rebirth Auto for supplying the schematic and illustration for this which I freely plagiarised.

Similarly, the negative box holds the shunt for the JLD404 Intelligent Amp Gauge and the fuse for the negative side of the pack. The negative wires from the DC/DC converter and charger will connect to the far side of the shunt. Note that in both boxes I used a braided battery strap from the web store. The braided strap gives flexibility to deal with slightly differing heights and angles in the connections and should carry much more current than I'll ever need. I'm currently thinking these boxes will be installed under the seats to get them out of the way, but readily accessible.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Pace Quickens

It's been a long time since we've updated the project, but it's not for lack of progress. Getting the e-Bugeye ready to ship took some of my time, but Robert, Keith and Bob have been full steam ahead. Let's start with the body:

Robert has completed the painting and started a trial fit of all the body pieces in his shop with fender welt cut and in place. I couldn't be more pleased with the finish and look of the bodywork! Here are a few more views:

The color shifts somewhat depending on the brightness and background. The actual color is closest to what you see on the rear clip here out of the direct sun.

Robert has sprayed the inside of the hood area with bed liner and the bottom of the fenders with black undercoat for quieter ride and protection from the elements. The contrast is very effective and will provide a great base for the red accents of the interior and grill.

Final adjustments to the doors and fenders will have to wait until it's mated to the chassis and all the weight of the battery packs and motor/controller are in place.

Meanwhile, the chassis has been at Pro Automotive and Keith and Bob finished out the mechanical prep work so Robert could caulk and spray the chassis with bed liner on top and undercoat beneath.

The front end received new disk brakes, wheel bearings, master cylinder, shocks, and tie rods.

The rear also got new brakes, new half shafts with CV joints and boots, and new wheel bearings to go with the freshly rebuilt transaxle.

All of this prep work led up to the motor installation. It is such a pleasure to have the right tools available to make the job so much easier. 

The Netgain Impulse9 motor on the transmission jack made it a simple matter to install the clutch pack working at a comfortable height. With the clutch installed and a fresh release bearing in the bell housing, it was a breeze matching the height of the car on the lift to the motor on the transmission jack.

The motor just slid into place and locked in beautifully.

Now it's my turn to get to work. The Helwig H60 brushes came in a separate package. The H60 is about 2.5 times harder than the original brushes and features a split brush design, four leads instead of two for higher current ability, a mylar sheath on each lead to avoid case shorts, and a closed terminal connection for maximum seating area. The result is lower carbon dust, longer life, and better commutation.

The H60s are very easy to install, especially since the car was on the lift and adjusted to the optimal working height. The original brush is on the left and the new Helwig H60 is on the right.

The rest of the afternoon was spent installing new clutch and accelerator cables with the guide tubes that go with them. Tomorrow we'll install the new trigger shifter and the tricky little nylon bushing that goes with it.

The chassis will be ready to acccept the body and we'll have something that starts to look like a car!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Goodbye, Old Friend!

Today the e-Bugeye headed for its new home in California. I tagged every loose wire and loaded it up with the rear battery box, spare tire, soft top, frame, and side curtains. It carries a box with the grill, rear bumpers, jack and some other odds and ends that I hope the new owner will find useful and fun.

The e-Bugeye has been in my care for twenty six years and has always been a source of pride and enjoyment, both as a gas car and especially as an electric vehicle. I wish the new owner all the best as he takes the e-Bugeye to the next level. You will be able to follow his project at

The garage now has an empty bay just in time for the evTD to arrive.