Use truck #1 repair/upgrades

Check water pump brushes for wear.
Add 12v fuses to junction box.
Pull driveshaft and inspect for connector space.
Install Lithium BMS cable.
Upgrade heater to Kim Hotstart.
Top off redtop cells with water.
Order Kim Hotstart heater.
Add second set of gas struts.
Remove class 3 trailer hitch.
Repair Ready LED.

USE truck #2 repairs/upgrades

Polish paint
Remove Anderson connector and cables to pack.
Add 12v fuses to junction box.
Bad connections on Sanden box.
Add 6-32 standoff to main contactor for fan power.
Paint roll pan.
LRR tires.
Synthetic fluids for trans and rear end.
Zero toe alignment.
1998 S10 front air dam.
Battery box holes need helicoils.
Repair dash button cover.
Vacuum leak when in heat or vent positions (Bad vacuum switch).
Bad connection in Emeter circuit.
Incorrect heater wiring.
Blower never turns off.
Buy Factory shop manuals.
Charge Complete and fault lights burned out.
AC Not pumping freon.
Fan switch bad.
Cup holder damaged.
Grille Emblem missing.
Bed: Add tilt bed hardware.
Add gas struts to bed.
Add 2nd pair of gas struts to bed.
Heater: Pump ok, no heat. Replaced with Hotstart.
Remove rear Bumper.
Remove tool box.
Install Dolphin fuse holder.
Get 1 amp fuse for fuse holder.
Knife switch for aux battery.
Missing Antenna.
Install Fuel Door outlet.
Fuel door box.
Find rear valence (roll pan).

This truck just had a female connector hanging down low to plug into. But being that it was a female connector, try to imagine what the extension cord would look like. Hmmm. A male connector on each end....

This truck just had a female connector hanging down low to plug into. But being that it was a female connector, try to imagine what the extension cord would look like. Hmmm. A male connector on each end....

I hunted all over town for a piece of flat black plastic to make the ring adapter for attaching the outlet to the fuel door box. This oil drain pan was a good choice. I cut 4 ring adapters out of it just to have spares. I was able to easily CNC these parts out due to a an add on piece of software that I bought with my CNC software, Mach3. This add on made it so I could specify the triangle bolt pattern and the other features machined into the ring adapter with great ease.

I hunted all over town for a piece of flat black plastic to make the ring adapter for attaching the outlet to the fuel door box. This oil drain pan was a good choice. I cut 4 ring adapters out of it just to have spares. I was able to easily CNC these parts out due to a an add on piece of software that I bought with my CNC software, Mach3. This add on made it so I could specify the triangle bolt pattern and the other features machined into the ring adapter with great ease.

That large black plastic part is the fuel door box that was missing from the #2 truck. So I ordered it and many other parts from a local GM dealer. Also shown is the outlet and the CNC'd ring adapter.

That large black plastic part is the fuel door box that was missing from the #2 truck. So I ordered it and many other parts from a local GM dealer. Also shown is the outlet and the CNC'd ring adapter.

Here is the finished outlet install. All nice black parts. Even the screw heads are black. I was in a black out mood last night. The ring adapter is a bit too flexible, so it will get a second ring adapter to stiffen it up a bit.

Here is the finished outlet install. All nice black parts. Even the screw heads are black. I was in a black out mood last night. The ring adapter is a bit too flexible, so it will get a second ring adapter to stiffen it up a bit.

A rough schematic for the precharge board is done. Data sheets for many of the components have been found. So finding substitutes for these obsolete parts will be easier now.

This whole precharge project could be adapted to giving the heater element a variable temperature control instead of being just on or off.

The video chip did finally arrive thanks to Peter getting involved. Here are 3 of the BMS modules running on top  of 3 Thundersky 40ah cells. Everything works fine. I just need to make a couple lengths of wire to connect the communication lines from one board to another, then install them and the master board into the truck.

The video chip did finally arrive thanks to Peter getting involved. Here are 3 of the BMS modules running on top of 3 Thundersky 40ah cells. Everything works fine. I just need to make a couple lengths of wire to connect the communication lines from one board to another, then install them and the master board into the truck.

50ah HiPower lithium cells from China are now on their way. I want to bench test them and install them into the truck just like with the Thundersky’s.

The nicads have been leaving a coating of KOH all over everything and really needed better ventilation. The holes for the fans were already there, but the vents were very small for this type of flooded battery pack. So I clamped the lid to the mill and CNC’d nice round 2 inch holes for the exit vents.

Here is the exit vent for the nicad pack. It uses a 3 inch plastic cap anchored with 4 screws and nyloc nuts to 2 inch plastic pipe adapters, sealed to the battery box lid with silicone.

Here is the exit vent for the nicad pack. It uses a 3 inch plastic cap anchored with 4 screws and nyloc nuts to 2 inch plastic pipe adapters, sealed to the battery box lid with silicone

This is the cover for the 80mm fans and the inlets on the Nicad pack. These covers are just simple sandwich boxes from Target. The fans were also sealed to the battery box lid with silicone.

This is the cover for the 80mm fans and the inlets on the Nicad pack. These covers are just simple sandwich boxes from Target. The fans were also sealed to the battery box lid with silicone.

The precharge relay in the USE vehicles is not durable enough to keep charging the capacitors from zero volts to 312vdc nominal, then taking them back down to zero volts. This precharge board is from a 65kw USE system. The goal is to duplicate the circuit and install it in both trucks as is it not available anywhere on the planet. This could seriously increase the precharge circuit reliability. I noticed years ago that there are a couple of tapped holes on the floor of the Dolphin. I wonder if holes 5 and 6 on this board match that hole pattern on the floor of the Dolphin?

Precharge board.

Precharge board.

#1 Nicad truck
It rained!!
Had to add Rivet nuts to holes on sides of battery box to correct stripped threads.
Taped paper towels into each corner for use as water detector.
Replaced worn out weather seal with natural gum from McMaster.

-Lithium
Cells have 400+ miles on them.
Zero issues so far.
Ordering Hipower brand lithiums for testing as well.
Same format as Thundersky’s.
BMS needs to just be installed for monitoring cells.
Got interupted due to rain.
A multi conductor cable needs to be threaded from pack to cabin for data line.
BMS tested fine on bench.

#2 truck
Purchased in running condition with ruined pack.
Added 35ml of water to each of 6 cells, and charge cycled, to no avail on one EV-1 batt.
Needed Emeter heater and a/c fixed.
Emeter and Heater repaired.
Installed diesel truck block heater.
Factory defect in heater controls.
2700w heater element turns on before the water pump operates!!
Works great!!
Hinged bed works awesome!
Used Heim joints.
Added 2nd pair of gas struts to lift bed.
Bed lifts nicely.
Bed stays up easily without prop rod.
Plan to upgrade nicad truck with 2nd set of gas struts too.
Battery box needs nearly all holes helicoiled.
Added fuses to Dolphin to protect electronics.
Ordered tons of parts from GM.
Rollpan, antenna, blower switch, and cupholders.
Adding a blog to chronicle progress.

-Borrowed a board designed to replace the precharge relay on US Electricar vehicles.
Intend to reverse engineer and add to my vehicles.
Could be super reliable!!
Relay is $229.

-Dave’s Soleq wagon is running ok.
Regen is not working due to busted pot return spring.
But at least it’s driveable now.
He just bought a non running Solectria recently from Ebay.

-Home Power Magazine had an incredible article in their Oct/Nov 2008 issue that contains real test data on the cycle life of various brands of lead acid batteries!

-Bought a 240vac Variac for charging cells after a deep nicad cycling.

-The truck is 35lbs lighter because the driver lost 35lbs!

I just got done helicoiling the 6mm taped holes that hold
the battery box lid on the #1 truck. The front and back rows were done
quite awhile ago. But the side rows needed a rivet nut added to them
since they were out of alignment with the holes in the lid due to that
hydrogen thing that happened along time ago. The idea was to get the
battery box leak tight so it won’t leave me stranded with a ground
fault when the truck sits out in the rain at work.

The rivet nut is part number 95105A187 at McMaster.com. If your lid
holes and the threaded holes line up you won’t need it. A 6mm helicoil
will suffice. The side holes will need the 6mm long inserts. The front
and back rows will need the 8mm long inserts, or longer, since the
material is about 4 times thicker.

When it’s all done, then it’s nice to reseal the lid with some weather
stripping that does not stay permanently compressed like the factory
USE stuff does. So I added McMaster p/n 93625K231 (1.5″ wide) to the
bottom of the lid. Factory stuff was 1.25″ wide. It looks to compress
just right with 50 in-lbs of torque on the helicoiled screws. Without
helicoils, the aluminum will strip at 50 in-lbs eventually. This
weather stripping is rated to not compress over time. So it should
hold it’s sealing ability for a long time.

I only had enough weather stripping for 3 of the sides. So when the
next roll comes in I may remove the other stuff I substituted for the
back row.

Also I added 2 large diameter vents to the lid to allow higher volume
airflow through the pack. The 1/2″ pipe that was there before had a
lot of restriction. Now I’m using 1.75″ black plastic pipe adapters
and a 3″ cap to make up the vent assemblies. These are very high
flow and low restriction.

It has rained quite a bit lately so I’ll find out how well it all
works in the next few days.

Here is a completed helicoil repair.

Here is a completed helicoil repair.

Here is a completed rivet nut repair.

Here is a completed rivet nut repair.

The second set of gas struts were installed today. The first 12″ of
bed lift is a bit easier, and that helps my back. But above 12″ the
bed lifts itself without my help very quickly. I used a 150 psi and a
130 psi strut on each side. With that much pressure on each side the
bracket had to be mounted a bit better. I also made new 1/4″ thick
brackets that moved the struts in right next to the frame for maximum
tire clearance.

The drivers side guide pin is no longer mounted. The weld nut that it
was screwed into got punched out as I let the bed drop the last 12″
too fast. I’m not sure if I’ll try and rework it since the bed feels
like it will hold itself down fairly easily with just it’s own weight.
I still like the guide pin idea as it keeps the bed more stable. I
will revisit this task after I get other stuff done first..

Lower strut is the additional 130psi unit.

Lower strut is the additional 130psi unit.

A longer bracket had to be machined to keep the struts away from the tires.

A longer bracket had to be machined to keep the struts away from the tires.

Strut mounts on Frame. Frame was tapped and nyloc nuts added..

Strut mounts on Frame. Frame was tapped and nyloc nuts added.

The video chips have arrived. The LCD is handling the info just fine.

So far the Lithium and the Nicads are staying within 2 degrees C of
each other under driving conditions. The lithium might be a couple of
degrees higher during charging.

The bench test with only one cells shows everything is ok. I need to
connect up two more cells on the bench to see that it works as if it
were in the truck. Once bench proven, I’ll install everything into the
truck.

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