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Converting Drag Racing Cars To Electric Vehicles
Electrification is taking over the industry, we’ve written about it a few times before. It’s even affecting classic cars. Over the past month, we’ve been looking at iconic vehicles from the past have been upgraded, modernized, and converted to electric vehicles. Earlier we discussed electrifying Street Rods and Classic Cars. This week we’re looking at Drag Racing Cars.
The first production electric car to add the word “quick” to its description was the Tesla P100D with Ludicrous Mode engaged. This option decreased the 0 to 60 acceleration time of the P100D to 2.3 seconds. For reference, a sub-6 second 0-60 time is considered fast.
But we’re here to talk about EV conversion and there are plenty of EV converted vehicles out there that give the Tesla P100D in Ludicrous Mode a run for its money. Here are a few of my personal favorites.
The White Zombie is a 1972 Datsun 1200 owned by a man named Wayland. He has been drag racing this car since the 90’s, before electric drag cars were even a thing. Back then, it was powered by 24, 12-volt batteries for a total of 288 volts. It ran 13.5’s at 95 miles per hour and was street driven. Currently, it runs a 192 cell Lithium Polymer battery at 355 volts. White Zombie is good for an 11.4-second pass in the quarter mile at 114 miles per hour.
A 1968 Ford Mustang built by bloodshedmotorsports.com. The 222 stands for 2 motors, 2 controllers, and 2 fast. It is currently running a 1.1 mW (megawatt) LiPo (Lithium Polymer) battery pack that powers the motors to 800 horsepower and 1800-pound-feet of torque. This is good for a 1.79 second 0 to 60 time, 9.89 seconds quarter mile at 140 MPH and 177.8 miles per hour in the Texas Mile.
The Teslaonda is a 1981 Honda Accord filled with a Tesla P85 rear drive unit and a Chevy Volt battery. The look of this car is 1960’s straight axle gasser. This thing has a 0 to 60 time of 2.43 seconds and a quarter mile time of 10.5, so it’s no slouch. At full charge the battery pack has 393 volts and 16 kWh. Interestingly, it also uses a Raspberry Pi microcomputer for the electronic dash to monitor battery levels and motor temperatures.
Classic Car EV Conversion – Modern Performance with a Timeless Look
Electrification is taking over the industry, we’ve written about it a few times before. It’s even affecting classic cars. Over the next three weeks, we’ll be looking at iconic vehicles from the past have been upgraded, modernized, and converted to electric vehicles. Last we discussed electrifying Street Rods This week we’re looking at classic cars.
Remove the cast iron engine, cooling system, and fuel system. Then Replace them with an electric motor, controller and battery pack. The process a lot sounds simpler than it is and until recently, this would only be attempted by the most hardcore enthusiast. But because of information sharing on the internet, it has turned classic car conversion into thriving and passionate online communities.
Surprisingly, classic cars are simpler to convert than a modern car, and any classic car with an anemic carbureted 4-cylinder engine is a good candidate for an electric conversion. Most conversions are done by repurposing battery packs from Tesla, Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf and using reprogrammed, aftermarket battery management or purpose-built motor controllers.
Classic cars often have a manual transmission, brakes, and steering. Even those with an automatic transmission can still be converted because there is software that will “idle” the electric motor – spinning the torque and pump like an engine or there is an electric pump kit to supplement the transmission pump if no torque converter is used. Electric conversion allows a classic car with a manual transmission to be driven almost like an automatic-equipped car. Select the gear, press the accelerator, and go.
There are also companies springing up that are doing these types of conversions as well. EV West is making a name for itself converting air-cooled Volkswagens to electric power. They remove the air-cooled 25-horsepower, 49-foot-pounds of torque engine that was good for a 40 second 0 to 60 MPH time. Replacing it with an electric motor that has 187-horsepower and 300 lb/ft of torque. That brings the 0 to 60 times down to 5 seconds. That is an amazing improvement!
Nowadays, there are classic cars on the street with no gasoline to go stale in the fuel tank. No vented fuel tank to stink up the garage. No wicking carburetor gaskets, sticking chokes and sinking floats. No points ignition with a weak spark. No flooded spark plugs. No discharged 12-volt battery to replace when it fails to crank in the spring. Heck, there is even A/C that has been added during the conversion process. Modern technology and performance in with a classic look. A win-win in this technician’s humble opinion.
The NIADA 2019 Survival Guide
The NIADA Conference in Las Vegas is the biggest show of the year for dealers. The opportunities that come out of demos, sessions, and networking can be majorly important for your business. We’ve already written about our picks for the top classes at this year’s NIADA. Now, we’re sharing our survival guide on how to make the most of your time at NIADA.
We’ll discuss how to establish and stick to a mission for the show, how to network with the right people, and find new solutions for your business. We’ll also talk about how to make sure you still have time for a little fun while your there, you’re in Vegas after all!
Establishing Your Mission
A plan that isn’t well thought out and written down often goes right out the window as soon as it’s show time. Before the conference starts, it’s important to establish a very clear mission and create a short game plan for your time at NIADA:
- Write down what’s a current challenge for your business
- Brainstorm some current opportunities you should take advantage of, and what you want to learn
- Pick out your classes ahead of time and jot down a few key questions you want each of those classes to answer.
Finding new Partners
NIADA is a great time to find new partners with solutions, tools, and software that can help your business. Spend some time thinking about aspects of your business that could be improved. Obtain a list of vendors and see which can help you improve those areas. Set time aside to make sure you connect with these vendors while you’re at the show and see if you can book meetings in advance.
NIADA is a great time to connect with a business contact or customer, so identify your own VIPs and make them your first priority. Take every advantage to get valuable time with them and be prepared. What do you want to speak to them about? How can they help you, or how can you help them? Coming prepared with a list of objectives will maximize your time and ensure it’s not a wasted trip.
Finding Time for Fun
Vegas is the land of opportunity in every sense of the word. This probably isn’t your first rodeo, but it never hurts to set objectives and maintain a schedule to balance fun and work. It’s a business trip above all else—your schedule should be devoted to mostly learning and networking. Make a list of what you want to see and experience and be purposeful in sticking to it.
Your Keys to Success
Following these tips and planning in advance will lead to you having the most success, and fun, at NIADA.
- Define your mission and your plan to achieve it
- Know your location well and map out how you plan to get around
- Stick to your schedule as much as possible
- Find a balance between nightlife and work but don’t let it interfere with your goals
Turning a Street Rod into an Electric Vehicle
Electrification is taking over the industry, we’ve written about it a few times before. It’s even affecting classic cars. Over the next three weeks, we’ll be looking at iconic vehicles from the past have been upgraded, modernized, and converted to electric vehicles. This week we’re looking at Street Rods.
My current favorite has to be the ’49 Mercury Coupe – built by ICON as part of their Derelict Series. The Derelict Series is where they restomod – a term to describe mixing old and new technology to create the best of both worlds – older vehicles whose bodies show age earned natural patina. They upgraded the chassis with modern electric steering, suspension, and braking with a custom interior with electric Air Conditioning. The car uses Tesla battery modules and controllers with modified software by StealthEV.com and dual electric motors that can put out 500 lb/ft of torque. It has about a 200–mile range and can take advantage of the Tesla Supercharger.
Another one of my favorites is the 1957 Ford Fairlane Skyline hardtop convertible. The car, named “Evie,” was commissioned by New Zealand-based energy company, Mercury. It uses a Siemens AC motor originally sourced from a bus and uses a 50–kWh battery pack. Scott Drive has written some interesting software features as well. For instance, the motor idles because the car has retained the torque converter and automatic transmission.
For even more about this cool car, you can check out the making of video.
When even street rods are being turned into electric vehicles you know that electrification is really starting to take over and become widely accepted within the industry. Next week we’ll talk about some classic cars that have undergone electric conversions.
Top 5 Classes to Attend at NIADA 2019
With NIADA just around the corner, we’re highlighting some of the best classes to attend during the show so you can maximize your time in Sin City and get the most out of the event. Don’t forget to stop by the Identifix booth to speak with our solution experts and get updates on the newest innovations from Identifix.
Our Pick For The Top Class at NIADA
Disruption in the Auto Industry: Revolution or Evolution?
The Speaker: Andy Koblenz, Executive Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel at NADA
Why it’s the top class: This 3-hour session brought to you by NADA will undoubtedly be one of the most valuable and informational classes at the show. Koblenz has nearly 30 years’ experience in the auto industry and will no doubt bring a fascinating perspective on the wider automotive landscape. As a representative for NADA in federal capacities, Koblenz has up-to-the-minute insights on the OEM and factory action, and whether disruption in the industry will be a boon or a bane.
Our Other Top Class Picks
Spend Smarter in Your Digital Marketing to Sell More Cars
Marketing online is a great opportunity, but not many industry players are taking advantage of it. Learning how to take your strengths on the lot and market them to a wider audience is extremely important to increasing your bottom line. New car dealers are eating your lunch in this discipline and it’s about time you caught up.
Secrets to Success When Desking Deals
It’s common knowledge that the best customer is the one you already have. And it costs less to sell additional items to one customer than to try to reach several others. This important class will teach you how to create more deals from that single customer and their entire family. Selling to a family is one of the most successful programs for new car dealers—you’ll learn how to replicate their success and maximize the revenue you gain from one customer.
Successfully Integrating BHPH Into Your Retail Operation And Vice Versa
Have you always been interested in BHPH but never acted on it? This class will help you navigate the rules and intricacies of the BHPH world and break down each step to getting started in a simple, meaningful and actionable way.
Get in Gear! Handling Your Internet Leads
In this class, you’ll get a wealth of high-quality information on leveraging what should be your best channel for reaching new customers and re-engaging past customers for additional sales. You may already have a strategy for generating new sales leads from the internet—do you know what to do with that information? Learn how to store and pass that data on to the right people.
Why It’s a Great Time for Fleet Technicians
As with the rest of the automotive industry, fleets are undergoing changes and challenges that effect Dealerships and Fleet shop owners. However, many of these challenges also open a lot of opportunity for both entry-level and skilled experienced technicians. In this article, we will be covering these changes and opportunities.
Fleets Are Moving Away From Diesel
Modern fleets are moving away from diesel engines and choosing gas engine powered vehicles instead. This move is largely due to the expensive Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF), NOX reduction catalyst and Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) systems on today’s diesel engines.
Since many fleet vehicles need to spend a lot of time at idle, the new diesel emissions systems suffer from premature failure and/or replacement. The (DPF) needs to complete a regeneration process so it does not become plugged with soot. For this cycle to be successfully completed, road tests are required that meet the regeneration criteria. The road test criteria are rarely met and once the DPF is clogged past a certain point it cannot be regenerated and the (DPF) can only be replaced. Because of the high costs associated with the systems, one fleet shop we assist is currently 90% gas, and only 10% diesel on the ratio of repairs.
Now, this can seem like a positive change for technicians without diesel experience, however, you should keep in mind that many of the new gasoline fleet trucks and vans are using direct injection and turbo technology that is like a diesel engine. So, training on turbo and direct injection technology is a must for technicians that are going to work on today’s fleet vehicles.
What about fleet maintenance today? Well, even gas engines need proper maintenance, or they will have expensive issues. Today’s gas engines in the trucks, vans and many cars are using engine oil pressure to operate variable cam timing components. Any sludge buildup in these engines can and in many cases, will cause expensive repairs. Poor maintenance can also lead to stretched timing chains and possible valve timing issues and/or valve damage from piston contact leading to complete engine failure.
The challenge for fleet owners is to make sure the shops or technicians always have the correct inspection and maintenance programs. There will be opportunities to sell regular maintenance if you can save just one sample of an engine with sludge build up and keep it on display with the cost of repair.
The Opportunity for Technicians
The automotive technology continues to get more and more complicated, the number of technicians to cover all the fleets on the road is not keeping up with demand. If you are a qualified and experienced fleet technician, you are in high demand and very valuable! If you are just getting into the field, many fleets either dealer or independent are learning that they need to build technicians from the ground up.
To accomplish this, businesses looking for fleet techs are offering some excellent incentives. Some of these include additional benefits like better health insurance and investment in tools and training for technicians.
Another underrated benefit is that since fleet repair shops are very busy, many of them are adding on to their businesses. That means technicians are working in newer and safer environments and equipment to do the job.
The Kinds of Fleet Work
So, what kind of work can you expect to see at a fleet repair shop? Brakes, suspension, driveline, warning light diagnosis and repair, and a good mix of heavy engine and transmission work. On a positive note, technicians will not see as many interior rattles, door trim, dash work, that you would see on light truck and cars.
Fleet shops with good inspection procedures will net more repairs, for example, oil leaks are going to be a large opportunity. Oil leaks will lead to other problems if not repaired and once fleet vehicles get up in the 100,000-mile mark, many of them will have oil, transmission, driveline seal leaks. You don’t want to miss those on your inspections! Remember for the fleet vehicle owner, this vehicle needs to be on the road making them money, so fixing things before they cause a breakdown is very important to them.
The Types of Fleet Vehicles
What kind of vehicles you will be working on will depend on the area you’re in and whether you work at a dealer fleet shop or independent fleet shop.
Independent fleets will work on a large variety of makes and models and need systems with a large variety of diagnostic information and scan tools.
Dealer fleets will usually stick to their make. If you’re in an area with a lot of construction and/or oil workers, you’ll see a lot of trucks. However, if you’re in an area with more city and county fleets, you’ll see a lot of cars, vans, and hybrids.
This Is a Great Time for Fleet Technicians
Fleet shop managers are aggressively looking for technicians, and once again, many of them are willing to train the right technicians on the job. This is one of the biggest challenges facing a fleet manager right now, but at the same time, has opened a huge opportunity for technicians seeking a good paying job with good job security.
Fix of The Week 5/17/19
Fix of The Week
Every week we’re posting our favorite head-scratchers and interesting mechanical issues submitted by our Direct-Hit customers.
For a chance to have something you’ve worked on appear as a Fix of the Week, and win a cool little prize for your shop, all you have to do is post your unique fixes in Direct-Hit. Just look up the vehicle you’re working on, click on Post Fix at the top right, then tell us the problem and what you did to fix it.
This Week’s Winners
On this edition of Fix of The Week: zero A/C in a Buick, missing-in-action fuses in a Honda, and a malfunctioning cluster in a Chevy.
2014 Buick Verano – Atherton Automotive
At 40,000 miles this Buick’s A/C stopped working. We started the vehicle and turned the A/C to the max and found good cold air blowing from the vents. The compressor was running and the cooling fan was on low speed. The outside temperature was already 55. We inspected the system for leaks and watched the head pressures—no issues there. We found the system was overcharged by only .1lbs.
Later in the day, the ambient temperature rose to above 70, so we took it for a test drive. The A/C didn’t work at all. We opened the hood to find the compressor not running and, using the scanner, found the A/C relay was commanded on and the system was enabled to run. We then checked for the voltage drop across the compressor and found 14V. Then we tested the clutch magnet resistance and found it OL. We replaced the A/C compressor and issue was resolved.
2004 Honda Accord – Denny Smith Enterprises
This vehicle had no functioning brake lights and wouldn’t shift out of park. We checked for power at the brake light switch, but that didn’t lead us to the issue. Next was to check the fuses, and when investigating we actually found the break and horn fuses missing. We replaced each and all is working.
2007 Chevy Impala – Certified Auto Repair
The instrument cluster on this vehicle read -40F. We checked the ambient temperature in the PCM and HVAC module. The PCM read the correct temperature so we replaced the pigtail on the ambient sensor because it was corroded. Once replaced, the HVAC also ready correctly, but the cluster still read -40F. All the needed to be done was to push the A/C button and recirculate the button at the same time—the cluster instantly read the correct temperature.
Find these and 2 million other confirmed fixes in Direct-Hit. Get a 14 day test-drive for just $1.00
Meet Terry Clennon
Terry Clennon is a Ford Senior Master Technician and ASE Master and L1 Certified. He also worked with Ford on their Quality One and Tech Review Boards and on their 6.0l Power Stroke quality improvement program.
Terry started out in the automotive field after attending Pine Technical College in Pine City, MN. While in school he went to work at Arlen Krantz Ford as a detailer/light duty mechanic for 2 ½ years. After graduation in 1997, Terry started working at Tousley Ford, one of the largest Ford dealers in Minnesota. After 11 years at the Tousley, Terry was recruited and made the decision to join Identifix in May of 2008.
At Identifix, Terry wears quite a few hats. He takes calls for the Virtual Tech Ford team to help customers diagnose especially difficult problems. He also trains other Ford specialists on our team and performs quality assurance to make sure his teams calls meet our high standard for customer service. On top of that, Terry does product support as well. So, whether you need help on a Ford or help with Direct-Hit, Terry’s your guy.
When He’s Not Working
True to his nature, Terry is just as busy at home as he is here! He enjoys working on his family farm and is an active member of his local church. He even helps repair fellow member’s vehicles. He says it helps him keep his skill set sharp and develop new training material for his team.
Have an issue with a Ford that you just can’t seem to crack? Terry and Virtual Tech Ford team are ready to help and they’re just a phone call away.
Six-Steps For Troubleshooting Electrical Failures
The Six-Step Troubleshooting Method
Diagnosing electrical related failures can be incredibly challenging on modern vehicles because of both the complexity of their systems and circuits and the sheer volume of wiring, controllers and other components that are installed in them. Factor in CAN bus and other Data networks and it can get confusing to even know where to start.
Using a methodical approach can greatly reduce the time you spend identifying a root cause and prevent misdiagnosis, a true win-win. In this article, I will share with you a six-step troubleshooting method that has greatly helped me properly diagnose electrical issues quicker and more accurately.
Step 1. Verify the Problem
Distinguish legitimate failures from normal operation/customer misunderstandings. The owner’s manual will describe the normal operation of most systems. Of course, the manual isn’t always available and most owners haven’t read them. In some cases, customers lack of knowledge may lead to misinterpreting a new system or function as a failure. So, the radio may be programmed to stay on after the car ignition is switched off. It should turn off after a predetermined amount of time but the customer thinks something is wrong. Always refer to the Service Manuals in Direct-Hit for information when trying to discern between normal and abnormal operation.
Step 2. Determine Related Symptoms (Find Common Ground)
Observe related systems or functions that may exhibit symptoms. Many systems share common elements such as fuses and grounds. Identifying logical common points can minimize inspection points. For example, a dull headlamp and an inoperative turn signal may share a ground point. To find out what electrical problems all share a common link, the best place to start is the wiring diagram or Electrical Troubleshooting Manual (ETM).
Step 3. Isolate the Problem
Draw a simplified sketch of the suspect circuit and identify critical components, connectors and construction type (IE. Series, Parallel, Series-Parallel).
Use the Split-Half technique. This is a technique that reduces the number of measurements needed to isolate the faulty wire or component. Suppose you have an open circuit in the 5-volt supply between a control module and a sensor and there are 5 connectors in the circuit. A. B, C, D, and E. The next measurement point should be about in the middle of the circuit, C. This will let us know which half of the circuit to test next. Between the mid-point and the control unit or between the mid-point and the component.
Step 4. Identify the Cause
Open Circuits: Voltage not making it to a component or voltage on a normally grounded circuit. This could indicate broken wires, open or corroded connections, broken splices, etc.
Short Circuits: These will be blowing fuses or are control circuits that are always grounded or even potentially have voltage all the time.
High Resistance/Voltage Drop: Only 6 of the available 12 Volts is making it to a headlamp or to a slow running cooling fan.
Step 5. Repair the Problem
Whatever repair is required, it should be done correctly. Some manufacturers have specific requirements to maintain the resistance of the circuit. For instance, some manufacturers want heat shrink crimp or butt connectors and they should be crimped by a certain tool to crimp it with the right amount of force.
Correct the pin fit (sliding resistance) by proper replacement techniques. Fixing corrosion problems at the control module or sensor connectors, splices should all get done to prevent a costly comeback.
Repair or replace the wire using the twist, solder and shrink sleeve methods.
Step 6. Verify the Operation
Thoroughly inspect that the repair has been accurately performed and the electrical failure will not return. This step is critical in ensuring customer satisfaction through measurements. Does the component or system return to normal operation? For engine controls, does the component monitor run and pass?
Putting a Methodical Approach to Use
By following these steps or a similar process you can greatly reduce the time you spend identifying a root cause and feel more confident in your diagnosis. Don’t be afraid to keep notes or steps written down somewhere on a piece of paper or on your phone to reference as needed.
Direct-Hit Power User Monthly – April 2019
Bookmark For Saving Documents & Diagrams.
Bookmarks are the best way to save your progress in Direct-Hit. If you need to step away from a job you can use bookmarks to return instantly to all the documents and diagrams you were using earlier.
Bookmarking is a Huge Time-Saver in Direct-Hit
The Bookmark feature lets you save as many documents as you want or need.
- Hotline Archives – You can bookmark them
- Wiring Diagrams – You can bookmark them
- Remove and Replace Procedures – You know they’re bookmarkable
- Anything else in Direct-Hit… You guessed it
On every page, you will find a menu in the right-hand corner with a button named “Bookmark.” This button will save the page/document you are currently viewing.
To find your bookmarks, navigate to the home screen (click Home in the upper left corner).
On the main screen in the upper right-hand corner of the top navigation menu, you’ll find an option named “Bookmarks.” Clicking this will take you to all of the pages you have saved for the vehicle you are working on.
Quick reminder: You need to have the same vehicle open in Direct-Hit to find the bookmarks you saved for it.
You can tell which vehicles have bookmarks by looking for the bookmark symbol next to the vehicle name.
It’s that Simple
Now you can step away and be able to come right back to where you left off.
You can also find this information in the Training Toolbox found in the lower right-hand corner of Direct-Hit.
Looking to learn even more power user tips and tricks for Direct-Hit? Register for a free training webinar.