The truth is, I want a kick-ass electric vehicle more than I want to build one.
So, I bought one.
My Rav4 EV delivers 154 hp and 273 ft/lb of torque. Compare that with a 2018 gasoline burning Rav4 with 172 hp and 176 ft/lb of torque. In addition to having an unusual amount of torque, all that EV torque is available at the low end of the RPM range. That means far more seat-of-the pants driving thrills you can hope to get in any other daily driver economy car.
Maybe the title of this post should be “Mission Accomplished.”
I came to the conclusion that 3/8″ PCB was not the right material for my bracket mock-ups because 3/8″ steel will be unnecessarily heavy and more difficult to weld, which could result in a much higher fabrication cost. I decided to go with 1/4″ Lexan because it’s super easy drill and cut with ordinary power tools.
With a complete intermediate drive shaft mock-up and a partial end plate motor mount, I’ve gone about as far as I can go with my Lexan mockup brackets. It’s time to load this thing into the engine bay to get more precise measurements.
Here you see the motor + transmission assembly (with lexan mock-up brackets in place) descending into the engine bay. It was necessary to remove the hood to get sufficient clearance. Admittedly, I had some anxiety because I had never thought to perform a detailed measurement of the amount of space in the engine compartment and compare it with the known dimensions of the AC-75 motor. I had assumed that there was plenty of room because the Warp motors I have seen in other installs appeared to have plenty of room. This is a perfect fit.
Next up: I need to complete the mock-up for the driver-side motor mount. There is also the issue of the CanEV bolt hole not aligning with the rear mount bracket.
I went to the local plastics shop and picked up a nice piece of 3/8″ PVC to use for my intermediate drive shaft bracket mock-up.
The PVC sheet material is easy to shape and cut with a jig saw and yet it is also hefty enough that it can act as a stand-in for the steel bracket which will take its place later. I will deliver the perfected mock-up to a fabrication specialist.
Problem: The motor’s electrical wiring is not in a very convenient location. I’d like to attach a plate to the end of this motor which reaches out to stabilize the other end of my bracket plate.
I can rotate the motor 45° or 90° counter-clockwise to make life easier here. But in the process of making life easier I will need to disassemble the transmission, clutch, and adapter plate, which makes life less easy.
As I mentioned earlier, I am going to need to fabricate a custom bracket for the intermediate drive shaft.
To get started I inserted the intermediate drive shaft into the trans-axle only to discover a new problem.
I used a sharpie to outline where the drive shaft flange conflicts with the adapter plate. I emailed my contact at Canada EV to let him know about the design flaw. He offered to modify the adapter for me if I want to ship it back to his shop.
I declined and opted to modify this myself with a handheld angle grinder.
I sent the clutch, pressure plate, and flywheel to a shop to be refurbished. They look practically brand new.
As I was gathering the gear for the installation I realized that the flywheel and pressure plate don’t use garden variety bolts. After trawling through the selection at a few local hardware shops I came to the conclusion that I’ll need to find the original bolts or I was going to need to spend $50+ for a new set.
After a few hours of rummaging through my storage shed I found that the guys that removed my engine for me did me the favor of saving my crucial bolts and putting them in a ziplock back for me. Wow!
I invited a friend over to help out with the clutch installation. This was new territory for me and I wanted the benefit of his experience. He gave me some helpful pointers on installing the flywheel bearing and techniques for torquing everything just right.
It’s starting to come together. Here’s the new clutch assembly with the Canada EV adapter plate installed on my new AC-75.
This morning I took the filthy transmission to the shop for a rebuild. On the way home I stopped to pick up a gallon of citrus cleaner, a large squirt bottle, some brushes, and a few rolls of shop towels.
Considering that this is a twenty three year old car, this engine compartment is not very filthy. The transmission was very greasy and oily and so is a lot of the gear underneath, such as the shift linkages and some of the undercarriage where oil had splattered and adhered with dirt.
It’s good to have a clean space to work.
I’m considering stripping down the rusty area under where the battery tray was and put some fresh red paint.
This is an estimate. The long block with the intake plenum, exhaust header, fuel rail, and accessories may even be near 300 pounds. (The 90 pound transmission stays.)
Upon removing the engine, I learned about the intermediate drive shaft.
The intermediate drive shaft connects the driver side axle shaft to the trans-axle which is on the passenger side of the engine bay. The intermediate drive shaft mounts on the transmission at one end and bolts to the engine block on the other. This is a bit of fabrication that I had not been thinking about.
The front end work is done. I have installed the new bearings, ball joints, struts, brakes, control arms, and axle-shafts.
I did not install the new sway bar. The new sway bar is a slightly different shape from the factory sway bar and I could not get it past the exhaust pipe. I decided to delay the sway bar install until after I’ve removed the exhaust system in the next phase of the project.
Integra Front End
It’s a satisfying feeling to button up this phase of the project and take it for a spin around the neighborhood.
The first time I drove it around the block I was sure there was something wrong because of the road noise. I put it back up on jackstands and double checked everything. It was all good. It seems that I’ve never driven a car with all the polyurethane bushings and necromancer struts. On top of that, without the back seat and rear carpeting I could hear every little bit of sand kicked up from the road.
Well that’s good. I wanted a stiff suspension that will perform well with the additional weight of a battery pack. As far as the road noise, I will address that after I’ve built the rear battery boxes and installed soundproofing.