Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Very Busy Weekend!

With the hub adapter in hand, it was time to mount the transmission to the electric motor.  I haven't seen an errata sheet for the EA kit, but I'd sure like to start one.  I've had issues with all 3 steps I've tried to do so far...  This weekend I'm very thankful I live about 3 miles from a Lowes store, as I made 5 trips there... 

Anyway, let's begin.

The first thing I did on Saturday morning was bolt the motor mount to the motor (duh).  You're supposed to position the motor with the wiring studs pointing down.  See how there are only 4 possible holes to bolt the mount to the motor?  Hard to get this wrong eh?  The bolt size of 3/8" in the manual and parts bag is too big, the machined holes are actually 5/8".  So off to Lowes I go.  I bolted it on, and it came back to bite me in the ass.

I then bolted the thick spacer and then the transmission adapter to the electric motor.  These get Loctite'd (not in the kit, off to Lowes I go) and torqued down.  I borrowed a small and large digital torque wrench from my buddy Gary.  These big bolts actually have hex key heads and of course there isn't one in the EA kit.  I don't have a hex key of the right size with a 3/8" or 1/2" socket that will snap onto a torque wrench.  So I saved myself a trip to Lowes and Macgyver'd one up.  I cut a part off of a proper sized hex key, and inserted it into a hex socket of the proper size that snapped onto the torque wrench.

Note that the instructions say only to put the "flat" part to the bottom and the left side.  I thought I did this right, as you can see in the picture above.  This will come back to bite me in the ass.

Next I placed the drive shaft key into the motor shaft, then place the two parts of the hub onto the shaft.  You gently tighten the screws pulling the two pieces of the hub together, allowing it to slide a bit on the shaft, to set the flywheel at the proper distance.

Next, I prepped the flywheel by replacing the throwout bearing and O-ring.  These are cheap from Pelican Parts and well worth the investment while you have everything torn apart.  The flywheel is gently bolted to the hub, and then you measure the distance from the outside edge of the flywheel to the transmission adapter plate, very very carefully to three decimal places.  You adjust the distance, and when it's right you carefully take the flywheel off and tighten the hub.  You put the flywheel back on and double check the distance, rinse and repeat.  When perfect, you Loctite the bolts and tighten everything down.

Next the clutch gets bolted in.  The existing clutch in the car was in excellent shape, with no cracks or evidence of oil soaking, so I saved a few hundred dollars by reusing it.  I did buy a clutch rebuild kit from Pelican Parts, and replaced the parts as I went.

Next I moved over to the transmission to prepare it for mating to the motor.  The focus is on the clutch throwout arm and bearing.  This is attached to the clutch pedal via a cable, and causes the clutch to engage and disengage against the flywheel.  The throwout assembly was very grimy and dirty, to the point that the bearing wasn't spinning against the spring tabs on the clutch.  I took it apart and cleaned it well and it started spinning freely.  I replaced the wear and tear parts on the arm, and made sure the arm itself was still flat and true.  The bearing wasn't sliding on the shaft well, so I cleaned everything off and sanded down some rough metal to 2000 grit, then used moly lube and it now slides like hot butter.

Now it was time to mate the transmission to the motor+adapter plate.  After some wiggling, I got it onto the splines and pulled the two together.  This is when I realized the transmission and the adapter plate didn't line up.  This is where the ass biting really came into its own.  It wasn't just a little bit off, it was a lot off.  I couldn't simply rotate the motor around until it matched up because the wire studs and the motor mount would be in the wrong place.  So I took everything off, including those Loctite'd freaking bolts.  I then figured out the correct orientation of the adapter plate to the transmission and  then bolted everything back onto the motor.  The adapter plate was nowhere near the orientation they suggest in the manual.  An accurate statement and a picture/diagram would have been a great help and saved me about 2 hours.  I should have double checked with a dry fit before bolting everything.  I've now learned my lesson and will do so from now on.

I bribed Fred again with pizza and beer, so he came over on Sunday morning.  We had the pizza but forgot about the beer which is probably a good idea.  We were going to be doing heavy lifting and there's no way I could do it myself.  The manual recommends an engine hoist but I figured two middle aged guys could handle it.

Flashing back to yesterday, the motor wire studs are in the right orientation and the adapter plate matches up with the transmission.  But the kicker is the motor mount on the other end is now wildly off.  Remember it can only be mounted in 4 orientations and unfortunately the orientation I need is not any of them; it's somewhere in between.  Now I'm thinking I was sent the wrong motor mount, or the motor manufacturer changed the spec and EA didn't know or didn't update the manual.  I wanted to move forward so I had to drill two new mounting holes.  Of course the position of the holes are blind behind the plate, so I had to insert sacrificial bolts (off to Lowes we go) into the two possible holes, then grind them to a point and lock them into place.  I carefully measured the gap from the mount to the motor, using a socket wrapped in tape to give the right dimension, and the center line of the mount.  I held it in the correct position and Fred tapped the plate with a rubber mallet on each point.  We then drilled out the hole locations and bolted the mount to the motor.  The ass biting was complete.

Now it's time to roll the motor+transmission out of the shop so we can mount the original 914 engine mount bar to the electric motor mount.  I used a nice hydraulic jack I borrowed from Gary, plus a furniture dolly and two pieces of plywood.  Not a recommended design, but it worked for me.

The manual's description and supplied bolts for the bar mount are too long - they run out of thread before tightening down.  The bolt goes into the engine mount bar, rubber spacers with metal sleeve (not listed in the manual), the motor mount and then a nylock nut.  Even by adding several washers it wasn't able to tighten down all of the way.  Off to Lowes we go for a bolt 1/2" shorter.  We bolt it on, then roll the assembly under the car and jack it up into place.

At this point we were losing the light and I decided I needed to clean and paint the transmission and motor mount hardware, so we called it a day.  We made a huge step on the project, but ran into a multitude of problems with the EA instructions and supplied parts.  I'm hoping the quality of the kit improves dramatically.