Sunday, August 31, 2008

Step 1: Removing the ICE -- Part 1.3

Well, sparks flew tonight, but not so much with the romantic bliss of progress.
While we were able to drain the fuel tank and deposit its contents into the other two ICE cars my Dad and I own, the rest of the day was spent in futile attempts to remove the exhaust.

I guess this is the "cheap-y" way -- I bought a dremmel, under advice that it would be sufficient -- and 4 discs later we were scratching our heads. We tried again with the bent "cheat" bar, to no avail.

After beating it with a hammer, I suggested my Dad use a lock cutter I owned, and still the bolts remain firmly in place.

Tommorow we'll head down to AutoZone to loan the breaker bar again. If that doesn't work, it's likely the car will see a SawzAll. :)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Step 1: Removing the ICE -- Part 1.2

I don't think I've ever seen so many spiders all in one place. We started with getting the car up on jacks and removing the wheels.

Here I am vacuuming all the spiders, webs, and spider egg things...

Next to go was the hood. A lot easier to work in the engine without it. As you can see, the previous owner(s) tore into it a bit in trying to see how difficult it would be to fix the ICE...
Makes my job easier, I suppose. :)

We then removed the battery, battery bracket and radiator...

Then we removed the starter motor and solenoid...

To remove the radiator coolant reservoir, we took off a panel in the front driver side...

We also drained most of the oil ...

Unfortunately, aside from getting the trans-axle bolts off, we didn't get much farther in getting them off altogether but in order to get that far we had to head down to AutoZone and loan a 24" breaker bar and a 32mm socket.

We did, however, succeed in creating a "cheat rod" that inevitably bent in trying to pull off the exhaust. At this point, it was getting dark and time to call it a day. Not as much progress as we would've liked, but there's still Sunday and Monday to go!
May need to buy a tool to cut off the exhaust ... but I have a pretty tight budget in the short-term for this project. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Step 1: Removing the ICE -- Part 1.1

Well, thank goodness it looks like that wasn't entirely accurate! It sounds like a chore, but dpringle has let me know he has successfully removed the engine up-ways rather than down-ways.
I'm beat from helping a friend move and after all, it is Thursday, so Friday I'll be making a shopping list for tools and perhaps start there.

Hopefully I can get the ICE out in a weekend. We'll see how overly optimistic that is. Photos and maybe some video to come.

Step 1: Removing the ICE -- Part 1

Well, as I've said time and again to anyone I talk about, "The hardest part is removing the engine," and while I'm not speaking from experience, it seems that may definitely be true of the Probe.
In my wanderings trying to see how this might be done, I've found a few others who share/shared my conundrum, like Jerry's post on "Engine Removal"

I have to say if you're thinking about joining me, you NEED to read this blog: -- it practically gives step-by-step instructions on how to tear the car apart. This post in particular.

dpringle ( ) told me that "Ford apparently assembles their engines on the crossmembers, then hoists them up into the frame from the bottom..." -- oh, so instead of pulling the engine up and out, I'll have to drop it through the bottom... after removing brakes, struts, etc.

I bought a Haynes repair manual yesterday and my Dad and I managed to push the car all the way around to back it into the garage after cleaning the garage up quite a bit. Through the night it's been sitting there with a piece of cardboard I slid under it, since it seems what little oil it has left may be leaking.

In my spare time I'm also shopping for parts, researching battery information, etc. The trouble is that most of everything I've read is foreign to me but I am learning a lot (relative to what I knew before ;) as I go and ask questions and get answers.

Seems the first order of business will be to get some proper jacks or something to raise the car whilst we work.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Penny's first wash

As soon as I got home from work and mowed my lawn, I started washing my (old) new car. There were tons of grass clippings and various fodder all over it.

And here's the finished product:

I have yet to start on the interior. It's a pretty Penny, really. :)

My interest in electric cars -- a big rant

My interest in DIY conversion began back when I saw videos on YouTube about HHO gas and cars "running on water". I'm not really sure what to think about all that, but I learned about other alternatives like bio-diesel, hydrogen/electric, methane, ethanol, batteries, etc.
I found out about the Automotive X-Prize competition and determined to follow it closely to see if any of the participants would release products to the public that I could buy and afford.

It wasn't too terribly long until I learned about the EV1, years after its demise. It's amazing that I lived in California in 2003 and didn't know anything about it, or CARB, the lawsuits or the Bush Administration's hand in the whole mess. Anyway, this is NOT a political or environmentalist-ish blog. I finally managed to see "Who Killed the Electric Car", I strongly recommend it.

So, why batteries? Why not the oh-so-popular hydrogen or bio-diesel or ethanol?
My primary reasons were simply that it's tried and true, the technology is already on the road and it's getting better as time goes on (Lithium Ion, Integrated-Cell, EEStor capacitor, Firefly, new longer-lasting, lighter Lead-Acid batteries...) and cheaper as more companies gear up for mass production, giving more competition on the market.

It's true that the BEV I'll be converting is not for everyone - but then I have the luxury of already owning another car I can use for long road trips and once the prices have come down I can switch to lithium or something with better range and less weight.

Although the benefits for the environment are nice, the bottom line is that at current gas prices I'll save over $1000/year on gasoline, not to mention maintenance as very little is required for an electric motor. I'm told gasoline will plummet again as OPEC or "big-oil" or whoever will realize that alternatives are becoming available and affordable and try to keep their customers - but it would have to be well below $1/gallon before I'd stop saving a significant amount of money.

I'm also tired of big promises undelivered, political games and the like and the project itself will be fun to undertake, so I've decided to do something myself.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

'96 Ford Probe has found a new home

This blog will document mine and my Dad's conversion to all-electric with a 1996 Ford Probe GT 5-speed manual transmission car. :)

Here's a shot of the car before I picked it up. For some odd reason, the hood was left propped open, even though it shuts fine. I got a great deal for it, all things considered.

Well, like many/most DIY EV's, it needed a name. For now, we're calling it "Penny" as in "it takes but pennies to run."

I estimate this project will probably take at least 6 months, part-time, to do. It's really awesome that I get to spend this time working alongside my Dad, who has plenty of experience tearing engines out of (and putting engines back in) cars. :)