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.

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