Why wait until all of the batteries and electronic controls are in place? No need. This weekend, Dan and I gt our first glimpse of the Sprite in motion under its own *electric* power. In other words, the teardown and restoration process is finally becoming a conversion process!
The key to this step was fabricating a motor mount from 3/16″ angle iron, bolted to the stock engine mount holes. I added a piece of 3/8″ rubber under the mounting plate to allow for a small degree of vibration dampening. Electric motors don’t need nearly as much vibration reduction as internal combustion engines, so the rubber mounting surface is just for good measure.
Once the motor and transmission were in place, the driveshaft was attached to the rear axle. A few volts later, and the wheels were spinning. Sort of. There was a minor panic session as the left rear wheel engaged briefly and then stopped spinning. Assuming the worst, I hypothesized that the motor shaft coupler (see post #7) had spun loose. Or, perhaps the transmission (which I’d never actually seen engaged and driving the wheels) was shot. It turns out that my inexperience with rear wheel drive vehicles was the culprit. Apparently, the wheel on the opposite side from the camera was spinning for each test. The differential just decided to rotate that wheel. Another look at BOTH sides of the car proved that the motor was indeed propelling the car’s wheels.
So, I couldn’t resist the chance to slap a battery inside the engine compartment and connect the wires one more time. Without any brakes in the car, I wasn’t too eager to see how fast or far I could go. But this proof-of-concept test run provided plenty of motivation and spawned even more enthusiasm for wrapping this thing up and getting it on the road.
Next step: welding battery racks/boxes for the 15 8-volt lead acid batteries (120 volts).