I thought the blogging would be easy, but I’m not taking enough pictures or video, and I’m several days behind. I will do better on the next conversion.

Vern (brother-in-law) came over on Wednesday (12/23). Vern worked as a GM auto-mechanic for like 35 years before he retired, so I’ve been consulting with him on a daily basis by phone since I started the project. Stefan came over on Wednesday evening as well so there were three of us. The plan was to assemble the motor to the transmission and then install the combination into the vehicle.

I can’t believe I didn’t take a single picture of the coupling parts but here is a diagram which is probably easier to understand.

Ok.. You got a motor on one side and a transmission on the other (not shown in diagram but see picture below) and they both have shafts that turn.  The idea is that you need to transfer the torque (rotational force) from the motor shaft to the transmission shaft. Ok the motor and the transmission both attach to the “Aluminum Adapter Plate” (see diagram) and the “Aluminum Spacer Plate” is the appropriate thickness so that the motor shaft and the transmission shaft are positioned the correct distance apart (really close but not touching).

Ok. The “Steel Hub” attaches to the motor shaft using magic (i.e. a key on the hub fits into a notch on the motor shaft). The “Hub Spacer” then attaches to the steel hub using recessed allen head screws. Then the “Coupler Disk” attaches to the “Hub Spacer” also using allen head screws. Next the clutch (which already lived in the transmission) attaches to the “Coupler Disk”.

A clutch is quite an ingenious widget. Normally they perform three functions but in this application we only use two of them. First, it is constructed so as to grip onto the transmission shaft, so right there its quite useful. Second, it actually is composed of an inner ring and an outer ring which are connected by very strong springs. The outer ring receives the torque from the motor and transfers that torque to the inner ring through the springs. The inner ring is attached to the transmission shaft. The springs give the transmission gears an extra micro-second to get up to speed (and the gears really appreciate it).

The third function of a clutch, which we don’t use, is that the outer ring can be pressed against the flywheel on the back of an internal combustion engine (ICE) to receive torque, or moved away from the flywheel by pressing the clutch pedal, when you need to stop. This is needed because the ICE is always turning. An electric motor, on the other hand doesn’t turn when you are sitting still, so you don’t have to disengage the transmission from the motor. Therefore, the clutch in this application is “hard-wired” to the motor.

Here is the transmission “bell-housing”. The clutch attaches to the “splines” on the shaft. The hardware that is needed to disengage the clutch from the flywheel has been removed. Also, the “nipple” on the end of the shaft was cut off after this picture was taken, since it is no longer needed.

So, here is Vern and Stefan tightening the bolts that hold the transmission to the “Adapter Plate” using a fancy torque wrench that Vern brought with him. The motor is hidden behind his arm. Also, I took the “Adapter Plate” to a local metal works shop (Leo Gaev) that morning and he shaved off the excess parts so that it roughly follows the shape of the transmission bell-housing. While I was there, I asked if he could build “battery boxes” (sounds like he can, stay tuned).

Once these bolts are tightened, step one will be completed. It actually went quicker than I expected. The next step did not.