It’s been a long snowy winter here in Calgary, we typically get “chinooks” that warm things up and melt all the snow every month or so. This year we didn’t get these to the usual extent so the snow stayed all winter. This also means the electric Porsche was stuck engineless in in a pile of snow and ice beside the garage while I worked on the gas powered 944. I’ve had the Warp 11HV and the coupler for awhile now, but I was going to build the adapter myself. As I just got into the design, and made the decision to get rid of the factory bellhousing in favour of attaching the adapter plate directly to the torque tube, this is when Yabert from the diyelectriccar forum just sent me a design out of the blue, it’s was simple, it was elegant and it was much nicer than my design. I worked with him on the details and measurements, he toyed with different securing methods for the aluminum alignment disc on the motor side and in a quite reasonable time frame this nice shiney adapter plate arrived. Laser cut, welded then machined it’s a very nice piece, it has built in alignment surfaces that take all of the guess work and manual alignment out of the equation. It’s as “bolt on” as an electric motor in a Porsche 944 can get, thank you Yan! (For you other 944 converters out there that want to go clutchless Yan has mentioned that he might be willing to make a couple more of these adapters!)
The adapter plate before shipping.
After removing two engines from 944’s and installing one, I was getting use to the huge amount of work required. Once I was ready to install the electric motor, I started to plan my strategy in my head. At first I wanted to bring it in from the top, but I don’t have an engine hoist or even rafters that I could hang it from, so I decided it would come up from the bottom, just like all the other engine removal/installs that I had done. As I started to prepare the car, put it on jack stands and get the tools together to remove the wheels, and front suspension and steering to drop the cross member out of the way. I noticed that the space between the cross member and the drive shaft of the torque tube was about the same as the diameter of the motor, and the side to side distance in the same spot was about the same length as the motor I started to wonder if the motor would simply fit through the bottom without removing ANYTHING. A few measurements later and I had a happy feeling that this might work (and save me a good half a days work in the process). I raised the car enough to move the motor into position on the little welded cart I made last year and double checked the motor would fit through the opening.
Plenty of clearance around the motor with everything still in place!
Raise the motor up into place.
Install the coupler and adapter plate to the drive end of the motor.
Bolt it all up and wonder what to do for the rest of the day! Total install time including time wondering if it was going to work, 30 minutes. I spent another 15 minutes hooking up a contactor to the stock 12v battery and I was able to spin the motor/transmission in neutral. I ran a wire and switch to the interior so that I could turn the contactor on and off and I was able to move the car in and out of the garage under electric power. The coupler isn’t perfect, the shaft hole is a few thou oversized and doesn’t fit tight on my motor resulting in vibration. Charlie is a stand up guy though and said he will fix the problem. Any company can appear to provide great customer service until there is a problem, how the problem is delt with seperates good service from bad. Charlie has been very helpful and gave me some solutions that I could impliment here, but in the end none of them worked. The coupler will go back to Charlie and I’m confident that he will be able to correct the problem.
The adapter plate on the other hand was perfect, the built in alignment surfaces almost make the install too easy! And for those 944 owners out there that know how much fun it is to install the upper drivers side torque tube bolt, well with the electric motor, it can be done from the top with plenty of room for a wrench and a good 1/4 turn of rotation. Thank you Yan for the perfect adapter plate, it made the install very quick and easy with no manual alignment necessary.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been doing a bunch of side jobs (they ultimatially help pay for the electric Porsche so it’s all good) it’s been nice to be able to move the car in and out of the garage when necessary to fire up the CNC machine. I temporarily hooked up the Soliton1 to a 50v pack made up of the 10ah headways plus the stock 12v battery. I have the current limited to 100 battery amps and 300 motor amps and it’s enough to take me around the block a few times. The coupler has some vibration so I wouldn’t want to take the car any faster until that gets resolved though. The car drives and shifts very nicely though, the 2nd to 3rd shift feels just like I was using the clutch. I doubt I could make a quick drag racing type shift, however for everyday driving it should work perfectly without the clutch. I wonder how long it will take before I stop pressing the non existant clutch pedal with my left foot when I shift or come to a stop. The Soliton1 software is quick and easy to setup, and it’s a simple beautiful controller even off of 50v and 100A, although 300v and 1000A will take that to an entirely different level.