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,
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