The doner car
The Mitsubishi Starion is an interesting vehicle indeed. You can find a detailed history on wikipedia by clicking here.
We had been in talks with the owner for a while about the specs of the vehicle. They decided that a 144v 9 inch advanced DC was the way to go until this came up.
It’s a 10.7 inch Kostov capable of 90kw or 130hp at 144v. It may not look like much now but cleaned up and re-sprayed it’s going to be nice. Amazingly enough we were told the motor was hardly used and a quick
10.7 inch Kostov
check of the brushes confirmed this, they hadn’t even been warn in. Were hooking it up to a 144v Curtis controller at the moment and leaving room for a possible upgrade in controller and batteries later. Rumor has it that the Kostov is capable of much more power at higher voltages. Information about this is hard to come by so if we do up the voltage later we’ll take the Starion to the dyno for testing and post the results.
We picked up the vehicle and went straight to the local weighbridge for the mandatory weigh in. With a ¼ of a tank the total kerb weight was 1220kg, which for an EV is in the medium range. The vehicle is well balanced with 660kg in the front and 560kg over the rear axel.
Just a reminder to anyone converting your own car. The kerb weight for this vehicle is meant to be 1256kg so the moral is, before you start dismantling anything weight your car and measure the ride height front and back.
Taking the engine out
Before we dismantled the car I had to take it for a quick spin. For a 26year old she still pulls hard and did 0 to 60kmph in less than 3 seconds. The brilliant thing about DC motors is that all the torque is at zero rpm and the higher the voltage the more power you get. So if the Kostov can’t do it the same time at 144v maybe it will at a higher voltage.
Pulling the motor was a fairly simple task and only took about an hour. Being an older vehicle there’s no messy add-on’s you see in vehicles today however with the motor out you can see what it left behind. Oil, lots of built up caked on oil, just take a look at the transmission. Now take a look after we went to work with degreaser. This is much better and when the cars converted to electric it will stay this way.
The transmission before
So the next day the Kostov and transmission went to our machinist to be adapted. It won’t be back for a week so its time to look at the rest of the vehicle.
The fuel lines and tank have to go so we can start work removing them. In their place we will install a new battery compartment including charging systems and battery management. While under the vehicle I took the time to strip any excess weight. Bolts, nuts and brackets that no longer serve a function have to go. It may seem trivial at first but 10 brackets weighing 100grams equals 1 extra kg we can do without.
The offending bolt
Take this for example, somewhere along the line a tow bar setup was installed. Not only did it block access to the final bolt holding in the fuel tank it weighs 8kg so that can go. Indecently EV’s are rather strong vehicles because of the amount of torque the motors produce so they can tow large loads but it will affect range considerably.
Next we have to start cutting out the tire well so we can install the new battery compartment. Don’t worry we’ll keep everyone posted and update soon!