Friday, June 18, 2010

Front Suspension Installed

June 18, 2010 - After most of last weekend 6/12-6/13 and this evening, I was able to wrap up re-installing the front suspension. Whew! What a job that was.

About a year ago, I spent about 2 weekends wirebrushing and sanding the control arms, auxillary support carrier, and shock aborber struts. I sprayed them with Eastwood's Rust Encapsulator and then spray painted them with black enamel paint.

Of course, the really hard part was getting the old rubber bushings off of the control arms. With the aid of my neighbor Gene aka the Gas Doctor, we heated the control arms with a propane torch just enough to get the rubber soft and was then able to pry the control arm bushing sleeves off of the control arms.

I ordered new polygraphite front control arm bushings from Pelican Parts (a set of 4 for $20) and then proceeded to install them. That was no easy task in itself but my neighbor Tony helped me to brute force them on and into position. Did I say that it's really good to have helping neighbors? I couldn't do all of these things without my neighbors' help. Here's the bushings:

And here's how they fit on:

I purchased a brand new pair of Bilstein front struts from PartsGeek for about $230 over a year ago. I also purchased a set of turbo tie rods from PartsGeek for about $150 a little later. I really don't have a lot of money but if you purchase these items on a monthly basis over a year's period or more, it really is a lot less of a strain on your budget. Oh yeah, I almost forgot the 23mm SwayAway torsion bars from Don's Sport Vehicle for about $230 but it took them 3-4 months to get them to me.

Here's the left turbo tie rod installed:

And the right turbo tie rod:

The ball joints were about $70/piece for a total of $140 from PartsGeek; again, another monthly expense from over a year ago. I had to lower the control arm/carrier assembly after bolting it in place in order to install the ball joints. Once I got the ball joints in place at the bottom of the struts, I also had to lower the struts and slowly raised the control arm/carrier assembly to fit the ball joints into the control arm and then tighten the grooved nuts over the bottom of the ball joints afixing them and the struts to the control arms. Here's the left ball joint:

And right ball joint:

After I got the ball joints installed, I had to slowly raise the control arm/carrier/strut assembly until the top strut bolts fit thru the front shock tower holes. I added the tab washers and locking nuts to the top of the struts and tightened them down.

Both turbo tie rod and ball joint attached to the right strut:

And the left strut:

Here's the right control arm front bushing and torsion bar:

And the left control arm front bushing and torsion bar:

I just need to glue the torsion bar caps back into place and bolt the bushing sleeves to the bottom of the frame.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Evision and LiFePO4 in my future

June 17, 2010 - I've finally made the mental decision to go with LiFePO4 (lithium iron phosphate) batteries instead of lead acid. The decision was a long and difficult one but after carefully weighing the facts, it was obvious that lithium was the intelligent way to go.

The cost of 20 US Battery US-2200 232AH batteries is approx $2600, would weigh 1240 lbs, provide 120V traction pack, may last 3-5 years, and would probably only get a range of perhaps 40-50 miles on a single charge with moderate driving.

The cost of 40 Thundersky TS-LFP200AHA batteries is approx $10000, would weigh 640 lbs, provide a 128V traction pack, may last 8-13 years, and would probably get a range of 80-100 miles on a single charge with moderate driving. Thundersky specs >= 3000 charge cycles for 80% DOD and >= 5000 charge cycles for 70% DOD.

What's amazing about the lithium batteries is that they have an energy density of almost 5 times that of lead acid batteries. That means that a lithium battery stores 5 times the power per kilogram of weight than lead acid and 2 times as much as NiMH.

There are two different form factor 200AH batteries from Thundersky. 4 cells will constitute a 12.8 battery pack with 10 batteries supplying 128V. The Type A packs will fit into the polypropylene battery boxes quite nicely. 5 packs will fit into the front box and 5 will also fit into the engine box both boxes will have room to spare. The Type B packs are a good bit larger than the Type A but will fit into the racks for the front and engine compartments.

Thundersky TS-LFP200AHA Type A is 11in H x 7-1/4in W x 2-3/4in L

Thundersky TS-LFP200AHA Type B is much larger at 10" H x 14-1/4" W x 2-1/4" L

Considering the overall cost of the restoration and conversion, even though the lithium batteries are 4 times the cost of lead acid batteries, the lithium batteries will provide the conversion with a quality traction pack that will make it comparable in range to that of the new Nissan Leaf. The lithium pack will also allow me the opportunity to drive a round-trip work commute without having to charge at work. The addtional power will allow me to install an air-conditioning system that is much needed here in FL.

To ensure that extra precaution is taken to protect my significant investment in lithium technology, I have decided to purchase an EVision system from Metric Mind. The main purpose of the EVision is to monitor the State of Charge and ensure that I don't exceed an 80% DOD.

Here's the EVision displayed in both color schemes. I like the blue and white display.

The EVision should barely fit into the Porsche's fuel gauge housing. The housing is about 95mm in diameter whereas the Evision is about 73mm in diameter and PC board is 86mm wide. Here's the fuel gauge:

And the EVision In-dash display:

I'm still trying to find out what the cost of the EVision is. The Metric Mind website currently says price is TBD but I seem to remember looking at the site about a year ago and thought it said $600-700 plus you need $100 worth of shunts, so, I'm going to budget about $1000.

Finally got a response from Victor Tikhonov of Metric Mind but he replied saying that pricing was still not available but that it shouldn't be more than $900. So my budget estimate was right on the mark.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rear Suspension Installed

June 6, 2010 - Didn't get a enough accomplished over Memorial Day weekend that warranted a new post but this past weekend, I definitely did. After pouring over numerous threads on about working with the polygraphite bushings that go into the trailing arms, I finally decided to operate on mine. I had previously ordered the bushings from for $70; a set of 4, 2 on each trailing arm. One positive thing I can say about Pelican Parts, is that they ship really fast.

The polygraphite bushings are notorious for squeeking so I made sure that I did what most of the threads advised. I took a wrasp and filed off enough inside of each bushing so that the large pin that fits in them does not bind very much. I initially had to press one in and then read that this was way too tight. Once I was able to push the pin into place, I was able to determine that I needed to file off about 1/8" off each bushing end so that the pin protrudes enough to make contact with the susepnsion ear and the control arm bearing; metal on metal, not bushing on metal. I then cut 4 small grease channels into each bushing with a hack saw blade and painted the inside and channels with Permatex anit-seize lubricant.

Here's how the bushings fit into the traing arm and the pin fits into the bushings:

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that earlier in the week I had new $50 bearings per trailing arm pressed in at my favorite Tire Kingdom store. I also had the guy take out and press in new races into the front brake rotors. All total, the guy charged me $25 for labor; all things considered, money well spent.

Finally after prepping the bushings and inserting the pins, I was ready to install the trailing arms. After multiple trial installations, I was able to mount the trailing arms into the suspension ears and control arm bearings. The control arm bearing is also where the shims are added if you need to add camber. I also installed the strut assemblies too which had been previously assembled with new 180 lb springs from Pelican Parts $136/pair and new Boge heavy duty shock absorbers $98/shock previously purchased some time ago.

And here they are, left trailing arm and strut assembly:

And right trailing arm and strut assembly:

I'm going to tackle the front suspension next weekend.