Sunday, April 28, 2013


Upon closer inspection the pilot bearing in the coupler from Canadian EV had grooves in it and was badly worn on the outboard side of the bushing. The only way to get the old bushing out was to use a burr grinder to cut a groove in the bushing down to the steel id of the bore and then use a half round chisel to peel out the bushing.


I contacted Randy at Canadian EV and he thought the pilot bearing in the coupling was the same as the OEM bushing. When the clutch and pressure plate arrived from Rock Auto the pilot bearing was completely different. The bushing that will fit has a 3/4 in id bore and needs a 0.826 in od to allow for a .001 shrink fit, leaving only about 0.076 in wall thickness in the bushing.

On Saturday, I drove to NAPA and was told that no one carried pilot bushings anymore; Then to Jeggs, AutoZone, Advance Auto, and finally to a hardware store to see if there were any bushings available that could be machined. They had a sintered bronze bushing that was 1 in od with a 3/4 in bore and 2 inches long, so I am getting real excited; All I had to do was take it to a machine shop, have the od machined down to 0.826, parted to 3/4 in length, put in the freezer for a couple hours, and press into the coupling. So I purchased the bushing and went to an CarQuest down the road that has a machine shop. They told me that they didn't have a lathe but if I drove 10 miles to the CarQuest in Newark, Ohio, they could machine it for me. I arrived at the CarQuest in Newark and showed the counter guy what needed done. After giving me all of the reasons why it would not work he told me they had a lathe but it was not precision enough to cut an od to 0.001 tolerance. It was obvious to me that they could do it but just did not want to mess with it. I was a machinist for 18 years and know that not only will this work, it is not that hard and shouldn't take over a half hour to do. He told me that there was a machine shop down the road that could do it but they were not in on Saturdays. Since nothing that this clown had told me had been true so far, I drove down the street to the machine shop and found three older gentlemen sitting on lawn chairs and telling war stories or something. I showed them the bushing and told them what I needed only to be told that they did not have the ability to cut the od and part the bushing. By now I am scratching my head wondering what kind of shop with a sign out front with the word "MACHINE" in plain english, would not have a lathe that could cut the od of a bushing and part it to the proper length.

Ok, back to the original converter's blog to see if I could find out any information on the pilot bearing. As it turns out, he had the same problem. The transaxle adapter and coupling was actually for an S10 but would fit a Fiero, (sort of) the pilot bushings were different. There were no blog entries on how he solved the problem, but there was a pilot bearing in the coupling, so he must have figured it out. I spent a little time on his blog and am really surprised  that he did the original build in 3 months. He drove the car 30 some miles round trip to work everyday when the weather was warm enough for the lead acid batteries. I have been working over 3 months just upgrading it to LiFePo4 so I really am impressed by Larry's original build.

Because of spending Saturday chasing my tail trying to find a bushing and then a machine shop to do a simple job, I spent Sunday just cleaning up the garage, putting all of my tools back in the tool box so I can find them and messing with the charger connections. I am close to having the J1772 plug mounting in place and just have some positioning and welding. Then on to how to make the vent cover open and close.I found a 2 inch conduit slip coupling with male threads on one end and lock down screws. I will put a shim between the coupling and plug to fill the gap before tightening the screws but it will mount in the gas fill cavity real solid.




When I went to get some cable to hook up the plugs to the charger I told the counter guy the voltage and amps I would be using and was told I needed 3 conductor #10 cable. When he brought it out it was much larger that the cable currently running to the charger. When I got home I found the cable in the car was #12. I ccarged the car all last summer and fall with no problems but want to make sure I get everything wired correctly while doing the rebuild.


I got an email this weekend from another converter who ran across some used Manzanita Micro PFC 50, 50 amp chargers and is asking $1500 per charger for them. That is about half price so if anyone is interested, let me know and I will pass it along to Brian.

Thanks for visiting,

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Last weekend the temperature was in the high 60s but by this Saturday had dipped into the 40s and 50s, so it was a struggle giving the motor a second coat of paint.After warming up the garage a little the motor was heated up enough to spray again so I rolled it out onto the driveway and added another coat.


While the paint was drying, I started fabricating a mount for the RPM Sensor. I had purchased a reluctance ring that was originally used in a Jeep distributor and mounted it on the end of the Warp 9 shaft. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013


This week I took Thursday and Friday off of work to get a couple extra days to work on the Fiero. 
Thursday was spent welding the solid transaxle mounts, welding a plate to attach the front motor mount and continue cleaning and painting the cradle. After new axle seals were installed in the transaxle it was time to get out the hoist and put everything together.  I had to quit early on Thursday to take my wife to see Fleetwood Mac that evening so I would mount the transaxle Friday morning.


Friday morning I picked up the cradle, painted the underside and gave the top side another coat. After a trip to the hardware store for grade 8 bolts and nuts for the solid transaxle mounts, it was rigged and bolted to the cradle, fitting nicely in the new mounts. There was enough time before dark to remove the drivers side brake.


Saturday was on to the brakes. The calipers came off easily and as there is a parking brake actuator in the rear brakes, the piston has to be rotated to allow the piston to compress. After working for an hour trying to get something to fit into the indents on the cylinder, I was off to Autozone to rent a brake took kit. Just my luck, they had every pin spacing except the one I needed. I had to slightly modify one of the disks and was finally able to get the piston to turn. Once it turned about a half turn I was able to compress the cylinder all the way in with the regular compression tool that was in the kit. I decided to paint the brakes red to match the Warp 9 motor and after putting on a coat, the paint bubbled up in several places and looked pretty bad. I took a rag and brake cleaner and wiped all of the wet paint off of the rotor, cleaned some more with brake cleaner, dried with compressed air, and tried again. This coat was a little better but not much. I put the caliper aside to dry and started working on the other caliper. The notches in the piston were different than the drivers side piston and the tool would not work at all. I removed the nut from the parking brake actuator and turned the shaft. It threaded in and allowed me to compress the piston with the regular compression tool that was in the kit. This time I really cleaned the caliper with brake cleaner and went over all the surfaces with a wire brush, again drying with compressed air. After the first coat was applied, almost the same result as the other side. After drying for about 10 minutes the surface did smooth out a little, so I put on a second coat and put it aside to dry overnight. I had to run the rented brake kit back to Autozone and decided to call it a day. One of my co-workers owns a J. Gumbos so I headed over there to have dinner and down a few well deserved drafts.

Sunday I went out to install the pads and put the calipers back on the rotors but found the notches in the piston were not indexed correctly to allow the pad to snap into place. Again, I could not get the piston to rotate. I removed the nut from the parking brake actuator again and after turning a couple turns, the whole piston popped out; not exactly what I wanted. The good news is I was able to get the piston back in and the piston indexed to the correct position; The bad news was after 24 hours, the paint was still tacky and I had red paint all over me, not to mention the caliper looked like crap. After wiping it all down with brake cleaner again, it got another coat. It didn't look bad now but would need to dry for who knows how long before I can install it back on the rotor. So again, I am waiting for paint to dry.



 After the brakes are installed on the rotors and the parking brake cables attached I will start on the motor. I had considered getting a set of Helwig H60 Red Top split brushes but after emailing Tom Brunka at Helwig Carbon and describing the condition of the brushes,  I may just go with the existing ones. I will do a better inspection but there was close to 1/2 inch of brush sticking out of the holder and the commutator had a light brown coating with no signs of dark spots that would indicate arcing. I will blow out the motor, check for ground leaks, and inspect the clutch before attaching it back to the transaxle. Of course, with a new coat of paint on both the motor and adapter.

Didn't get as far along as I would have liked but did make some pretty good progress.


Thanks for visiting,