Saturday, February 23, 2013

Axles welded

A trip to Precision Drive in Dubuque, IA and 30 new needle bearings latter, problem solved! Now I can get to the business of welding the cut axles together.

The drivers side axles are solid steel. The plan is to chamfer one axle end for a butt weld. Then make a steel sleeve to slide over the weld joint and weld it to the axle for more strength.

I bored out the I.D. of a piece of double strength pipe to be used as the sleeve.

Solid axle (driver side) assembly mating the Omni transmission end to Dodge Caravan wheel end.

Since the passenger side axle of the Caravan was a tube I made two bushings to fit over the solid Omni axle and then slid the Caravan axle over it.  Preheating the higher carbon axles was required to prevent under bead cracking and the results looks very good. Only time and the test of applied torque will tell.

With the power train pretty much done I will now move on to the battery box. For this conversion all 16 six volt batteries will be in a single pack located just behind the front seats of the van.  Should be interesting.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Some what old school

First item up for business, the mounting flange for the pulley on the EV electric motor to power the power steering pump.

This will require turning a 1/2" by 3" square steel plate into a drilled, threaded circle and welding it to a bushing blank.

Mission accomplished. Next would be the making of a mounting plate for the hydraulic steering pump. The design would need to solve two problems. First, holding and aligning the pulley to the driving pulley below and second a method for tightening of the belt.

 This would require the making of a 1/4" plywood pattern so the design could be tested and adjustments made easily. With the pattern finished it was on to the real deal.

A bit of sawing with the hacksaw and the mounting plate slot was done. For adjustment a small plate with a 3/8" hole will be welded to the lower end of the plate. Just below the mounting plate a threaded 3/8" long nut will be welded to the EV motor mount plate. When a 3/8" bolt is placed through the hole, threaded into the long nut and tightened it will cause the mounting plate and pump to move back  tightening up the belt. The bolts in the slot can then be tightened and walla! Problem solved.

Moving on... cutting the axles. Because I am using the Omni transmission I need that end of the Omni  axle and not the outboard end. Problem solved? Not quite.

With the outboard end of the Caravan axle (lower) in the Caravan wheel hub and the transmission end of the Omni axle (upper) in the Omni transmission the real challenge is going to be cutting and welding the two together. Can this be done? If it was easy everyone would be doing it right?

More trouble. Then if you remember one of the triac bearing on one of the Omni axles (left) was missing its needle bearings. This will require repair or replacement. What do you think are the chances that the needle bearings from the Caravan can be used to solve this problem?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Fast forward to 2013

A bit nippy working on the EV these days but progress on the conversion of the conversion continues! Have completed the motor mounts and have the motor and Omni transmission from the old EV mounted in the 2001 Dodge Caravan.
Using the existing four Caravan mounts I was able to connect the left and right ends of the power plant with a simple plate and angle iron. I had to cut and tweak the Caravan connectors to make the mounts at the front and rear.

 Next item up for business will be the mounting of the Caravans power steering pump. As luck would have it the nice folks at Electro Automotive sent me a double ended motor in 2002, when I was building the Omni EV.  I will now put this shaft to work using it to drive the power steering pump. This should be fun?