Sunday, December 28, 2008

Machining the transmission input shaft and other work....

My plan to couple the electric motor to the transmission is to use a pair of Lovejoy connectors. However, the transmission has a splined shaft, whereas the couplers are made to fit on a keyed shaft. The simplest solution is to machine the input shaft to accept the coupler. To do this, I have set up my mini-lather to have a grinder in the place of the cutting tool, as the shaft is hardened steel and cannot be cut using a carbide bit..
I ground down the shaft to the next largest shaft diameter (i.e. 7/8") based on the available coupler sizes.
The machining only required removing about 0.5 mm (0.02 in.) from the main shaft, but most of the spline teeth are now gone with just the roots remaining. (The area machined appears darker here and starts midway down the shaft)
Using the grinder again, this time to cut a keyway down the length of the shaft. Here, I slide the shaft along the grinding wheel until the desired depth is reached, repeating the process after shimming up the sliding surface to get the right width of cut.
Test fitting the coupler with a length of key stock - success. Eventually, the shaft will shortened once I determine the required length, but essentially the length protruding from the coupler in this picture will be cut off.
Meanwhile, it was time to bolt the body back to the frame, so lifting it up one last time...
... and slowly lowering it, using screwdrivers to line up the bolt holes
The original master cylinder for the brakes was frame mounted and located under the driver seat. I decided to switch to a dual reservoir system, mounted on the firewall. The pedal assembly is a recycled part from a what I believe was a Honda (the car was not in a recognizable state), and the master cylinder is a new Mazda truck part.
The heater control assembly, repainted and re-labelled using rub-on decals from Lettraset.
Steering tie rods, reconditioned and fitted with new rubber boots.
A convenient feature of the tie rod ends for this car is that the bottom cap screws out, and thus are adjustable for wear.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The continuation, which pretty much brings this blog up to date ....

Here is the slip yolk from the Chevette transmission (on the left) and the U-joint cut of the original transmission's slip yolk. The plan to interface the new transmission is to put the old u-joint on the newer slip yolk.

Here is the newer slip yolk with the u-joint cut off and machined to index with the old u-joint so it stays centred.

The modified parts fitted together, and eventually will be welded.

Fitting up the transmission to design new brackets . The slip yolk is held together with duct tape for now.

The bracket that I made for mounting the back end of the transmission.

The bell housing resting on an aluminum plate that will be the adapter for the electric motor. The metal shop had an offcut that was exactly the right size. Serendipity happens.

Starting on modifying the heater box. Here, the heater core will be replaced with the workings of a electric ceramic heater.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Continuing on....

Pressing in new bearings and seals in the rear axle hubs.

The seal surface on pinion gear hub was badly pitted. On the left is a speedy seal and the insertion tool, which worked great at putting a smooth seal race for the oil seal.

Same story for the seals on the axle, which were also pitted. Here, I am midway in knocking-in a Speedy-seal on the axle.

New brake shoes (New Old Stock in this case), brake cylinder seals and cups get assembled

Emptying, cleaning and refilling the rear shock absorbers. The oil that came was rather dirty, as seen on the left.

Fitting the shock absorbers, and anti-sway bar, back on the frame.

The rear axle assembly ready for fitting back on the car.

Connecting the shock absorbers.

In the end, the original transmission (on the right) was not salvageable, everything was seized up. After much searching, I found a transmission, from an 1983 Chevette, that will probably work as a replacement, as it's physically about the same dimensions. Unfortunately, there is no shift lever for it yet.

Opening up the transmission for inspection (btw, don't follow the disassembly instructions in the Chilton manual for this, it was totally wrong). Also, the input shaft has to be removed for special machining in order to couple it with the electric motor (a detail for later).

Compressing the front spring to reassemble the front suspension. With the motor gone, these are now fully extended and the parts dont fit up.

Most of the front suspension now assembled.

Cleaning up the turn signal and horn switches.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The begining of my 1954 Austin A40 Electric Car Conversion

This blog will follow my journey in the restoration and conversion to electric drive of an 1954 Austin A40 Somerset sedan.

The project starts in the late summer of 2008 where I set out on a project to build an electric/hybrid car, and to make things more interesting, to use a classic car as the starting vehicle. So the search was on for a donor vehicle.

A bike ride in the country (another passion of mine) brought me by chance upon a yard with a collection of old vehicles, one of which was an Austin Somerset. The car's relatively compact size, yet ample room for batteries, and a strong frame for supporting the weight of the lead fuel, made it a good candidate.

The deal was made with yard owner and the car was delivered to my garage. (Note the garage is not insulated or heated, and I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada. So its cold in there right now, but gives me the chance to start this blog. Hence, this first post will cover the last few months.)

... and the restoration work begins. Many things are rusty and water damaged. The car had been sitting idle outside for well over 20 or 30 years

Many of the front body parts are bolted together, where most bolts can be loosened with generous amounts of liquid penetrant. Still many simply end up snapping off.

A view of the column shift mechanism. It is actually seized up tight.

The differential housing had been sitting on the ground, and consequently had some rust perforation in three places. Here I drilled out the holes, ran a tap, and inserted a bolt to plug the hole.

Despite there being water in the differential, the crown gear only had a bit of bit of pitting on it.

Removing the engine. All the transmission bell housing bolts are off, but the clutch hub was not sliding off the transmission input shaft. Ahrggg.

Even the slip yoke would not slide off the output shaft, so in the end, almost the whole drive train is pulled out in one piece.

As my plan is to use the transmission in my conversion, I want to separate it from the engine. Here I am driving wedges to split the two. I was able to deform the clutch assembly enough to get a wrench inside, and unbolt the assembly from the flywheel. Everything in the bell housing was thoroughly rusted.

Similar process for removing the slip yoke with wedges and lots of hammering. Lots of rust here too.

Removing the gas tank, to make room for batteries, eventually.

Lifting the body from the frame, and rolling it out from underneath.

The frame after a spray-on rust conversion treatment and a coat of chassis rust-paint.