Baron's Budget Beast (Subaru Sherpa)

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Joined: Sun, 03 May 2009, 16:11
Real Name: Jordan
Location: South Coast, NSW

Baron's Budget Beast (Subaru Sherpa)

Post by BaronVonChickenPants » Mon, 04 May 2009, 01:08

GDay one and all,

New to the forums but not the idea of EV, I have just begun the embryo planning stages of my first EV, the Mk I Budget Beast.

Building on the platform of a Subaru Sherpa, I know this isn't very original but I'm familiar with these and there's plenty of pioneers out there to learn from their experiences.

1/5/09 - It begins....
After aquiring the sherpa for all of $200 this set the scene for some impromptue EV planning. The sherpa has a recently rebuilt motor but blown headgasket (Dodgy Brother Inc did the rebuild) so I have spent the past few days researching ICE rebuild vs EV build and also pulling down the ICE, turns out the engine is fine just poorly installed gaskets and 26 year old re-used head bolts lead to failure after 2 weeks.

So for now it's just some new bolts and gaskets and we'll be off again with the fossil fuelled 2 cylinders of raw power, leaving plenty of time to plan, scrounge and build the EV platform.

I'm going with a 48V platform, Stage 1 will be starting with some cheap reco car Lead Acid batteries so that I'm not to upset if i destroy them. Stage 2 will be to progress to 8 x 6V 225AH deep cycle batteries and Stage 3 will be TS LiFePo, probably looking at the 300AH cells but will depend what is available/affordable by then.

Motor and Controller:
Motor and Controller will basically be whatever falls in my lap/shows up for the right price at the right time, vaguely targetting forklift/hydraulic pump motors ala ForkenSwift, if push comes to shove I'll be looking at Curtis or Kelly controllers in the 300A range.

The thought of building a controller has crossed my mind but in reality I couldn't be bothered and for the sake of $200-300 for a ebay curtis, it's just not worth it, I'm not after anything fancy.

Plan to use the stock 4 speed manual in a clutchless arangement BUT what I'm noticing with all the small car and/or 48V conversions is people struggling to pass 60km/h but having no trouble taking of in 3rd or 4th gear, clearly due to the electric motors low rpm torque characteristics and the gearbox being designed for a high rpm torque curve of an ICE.

To get around this my theory is to connect the motor to the gearbox via a chain drive with a ratio of somewhere between 2:5-3:5 depending on the characteristics of the motor I end up with, I foresee a box of not quite right cogs before I get a combination I'm happy with but thats all part of the fun.

Other stuff...
Toyed with the idea of using an alternator from a diesel engine to provide auxillary 12v and vacuum but decided the constant running of a vacuum pump and alternator even when not needed would be too wasteful.

So running with the tried and true DC-DC converter and vacuum pump, I plan to run the vacuum pump inline with a PVC canister and controlled with a inline vacuum switch.

Haven't really investigated the heater yet but the ceramic core looks to be the way to go.

Have also considered making some replacement fibreglass panels for some weight saving but this is further away, and really there's only 3 replacable panels.

At this point I am just at the search and scrounge stage and am open to any and all suggestions from those in the know.

The beast in question:


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Baron's Budget Beast (Subaru Sherpa)

Post by antiscab » Mon, 04 May 2009, 08:24

Gday Jordan,

welcome to the forum.
looks like a nice budget conversion you are planning.
i would suggest having a look at goombi's converison (and his reasonably afordable kit).

whats your total budget out of curiosity?

forklift motors sure are tough, with lots of potential.

2017 Renault zoe - 25'000km
2007 vectrix - 156'000km
1998 prius - needs Batt
1999 Prius - needs batt
2000 prius - has 200 x headway 38120 cells

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Baron's Budget Beast (Subaru Sherpa)

Post by Thalass » Mon, 04 May 2009, 18:00

Champion! Great to see you starting off, mate. You'll beat me to it, no doubt. I still lack a garage!
I'll drive an electric vehicle one day.

Posts: 27
Joined: Sun, 03 May 2009, 16:11
Real Name: Jordan
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Baron's Budget Beast (Subaru Sherpa)

Post by BaronVonChickenPants » Mon, 04 May 2009, 20:12

Thanks, I've spent the morning looking at Goombi's setups and kits and it gave me a few good ideas and pointers but the kit itself doesn't quite suit my setup and style, by nature I'm a scrounger who likes a challenge, buying a plug and go kit takes all the fun out of it Image but for someone that wants a simple conversion it is a great setup, Goombi definitely deserves some kudo's for it.

To ease the cost I plan to buy the pieces gradually over the next year or so, budget for the motor and controller are <$300 ea, I have seen 36V fork lift pump motors and curtis 275A cart controllers on ebay for around $150 each, then there's freight of course.

1st set of batteries I'm looking at $200-300 total for 4 of biggest recondition automotive lead acids that I can find, I know these aren't ideal but they are specifically for learning purposes.

2nd set of batteries I'm looking at $2-3k for deep cycle lead acids with the goal of over 200AH@48V from what I have seen large capacity 6V batteries seem to be the best way to achieve this cost and weight wise.

3rd set will be something like the Thunder Sky LiFePo cells, hoping to achieve close to 400AH but with the weight saving from Lead Acids could be happy with 300AH of LiFePo, also cost will be a factor but hopefully by the time I've gone through 2 sets of batteries lithiums should be much more affordable.

Then there's all the little things, vacuum pumps, heater/demister, DC-DC converter, cable, switches, relays, Alloy for the adaptor plate, chains, cogs, gauges, chargers....expecting around $500 for this but won't be surprised if it goes higher.

So short answer initial budget of around $1,500, obviously the smaller the figure the better but I don't want to make big comprimises for the sake of a few $$ only to regret not spending the extra.

Also after reading Waynes S10 conversion I'm leaning towards the idea of a rewound diesel alternator for regenerative braking and vacuum pump, should not take much effort to reconfigure the alternator for 48V with decent current output but not sure if the additional weight and drag will be worth the gain, food for thought anyway.

Thalass thanks for the welcome, it's always been a plan to do an EV but didn't expect to be doing one this soon. I'm really looking forward to it as is the minister for finance so the project is all go, just a matter of finding the pieces. The sherpa also came with a spare gearbox and worn clutch kit which will be great for dummy fitting everything ready for a quick(ish) change over.


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