The Adventures of Bryce and Jessica

Fiero going to Florida???

September 3rd, 2009 by Bryce, posted in Car Stuff, Fiero | No Comments »

I posted another video from the drag strip on youtube. This is the very first pass I made with the car at the strip. Actually, this is the first time I put down full power with the car in AWD mode through more than first gear:

I was pretty pleased with the results for the very first pass. Actually, this was my fastest pass of the night (9.36 at 69 mph). The runs were fairly consistent, all things considered, with my runs all being within .2 seconds of each other.

The donations have been rolling in and it looks like I might be able to make it to the Florida $2009 event.  I sent in my entry form just in case.  The magazine staff have said that if I come down, they’ll cover my hotel and food costs, a very generous offer in addition to the other donations I’ve been receiving.  One of my friends, Wade, who was supposed to show at the San Diego event, even donated $500 towards the cause.  I’m really flattered with everybody’s generosity!!!

Tonight I started working on improving the wire routing and coolant plumbing for the EV system. Both of these systems are functional, but need some cleaning up to reduce clutter, weight, and cost. I am nervous to be fixin’ what ain’t broke so close to the challenge, but word on the street has it that I still have a lot of beautification projects to do, plus I’ll be able to cut about $30 out of my budget that was previously used for hoses and fittings.

I also saw this update on the GRM website:

http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/events/west-coast-challenge/

Bryce Nash took psychological warfare to a whole new level for the inaugural West Coast $2009 Challenge.

As news of his amazing AWD hybrid Fiero spread across our boards and on to Jalopnik and other sites, would-be Challengers began to wonder if they could compete.

“I got 38 e-mails from the other teams explaining that they had read Bryce’s build thread and decided they couldn’t win,” said West Coast Challenge Competition Director David Chong.

Team Unit Racing was one team to take up the challenge, but they couldn’t get their Lancer finished soon enough. They made it to the Challenge Sunday—just in time to take first place in the autocross. At that point, however, Nash had already taken home first-place honors.

The write up was good for a chuckle.

Home Sweet Home

August 25th, 2009 by Bryce, posted in Fiero | No Comments »

The car made it home last night. I put about 2500 miles on it round trip, including four passes down the drag strip, several hours in stop and go traffic, and several long mountain passes. I was really impressed that the car made the whole drive with only a few minor issues…of my last three road trips to CA, this one went the smoothest! The car was jam packed with “stuff” and passengers (Jessica was with me the whole drive). As you can see, this isn’t a show piece, the car was made for driving!

I ended up leaving town after the car show on Saturday. As I said to David, since I won the drag and car show by default, it seemed pointless to do an autocross against zero competitors over 1000 miles away from home. I’ll do an autocross locally sometime soon, I’m interested to see how the front drive motor works out around the cones. I didn’t even bother attending the autocross; instead, my crew and I headed to the beach, stuffed our faces with food, and enjoyed some fantastic SoCal traffic jams.

After a long couple of days driving home with plenty of time to think about it, I’m a bit jaded with how things went down. I am really bummed that I didn’t have any competition and even more bummed that Tim (Suddard) didn’t think much of the car. Maybe I caught him on an off day, maybe he was pissed about nobody else showing and it came out in his general attitude, or maybe GRM doesn’t think things like AWD Fieros are worth spending time on when there are Mazdas, Hondas, and BMWs out there. Either way, I busted my ass to get the car there and functional, and I take pride in the fact that I successfully followed through on what I set out to do. After all, it’s not every day you hear of a DIY hybrid capable of cross-country travelling and AWD racing being built in three months for a couple thousand bucks.

Results of the $2009 - I win! By default…

August 23rd, 2009 by Bryce, posted in Fiero | No Comments »

Well, Jessica and I made it to San Diego in the Fiero under its own power…a feat in itself! Over all, the trip was quite uneventful. Unfortunately, we left late enough that we didn’t have time to take the Pacific Coast Highway and instead stuck to I-5…I still have hopes that I might get some PCH under my belt on the way back. The crew (Devin, Al, Rick, Bruchs, and Jessica) helped me prep the car for the drags on Friday.

Good news: The Fiero was the fastest $2009 car there.

Bad news: The Fiero was the only $2009 car there.

I won the West Coast $2009 Challenge and all I got was this cheap trophy:

 Aug 24, 2009 

This was my first pass down the 1/8 mile, 9.36 at 69.7 mph. Compare that to the “Grand Challenge” car in the other lane that was almost a full second slower with a faster trap speed. Launch much? The car was pulling 1.9 60′ times with horrible mismatched all season tires. Cool!

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Last, but not least, here’s some YouTube action for you from the drag strip:

 

Last thrash before the $2009 competition

August 20th, 2009 by Bryce, posted in Fiero | No Comments »

My last build update showed where I was planning on putting the batteries. I was hoping to reuse the Prius battery cases in that position, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Caalon, Aaron, and I tweaked those battery cases for about a day before I finally threw in the towel and gave up on them and went back to the drawing board.

I ended up using 2″ angle iron under the batteries to serve double duty. Each battery attaches to the angle iron with one small screw, which keeps the batteries from shifting around relative to each other. The angle iron also supports the weight of the batteries and is strong enough to meet NHRA battery mounting requirements. The angle iron is mounted to the chassis with several grade 8 bolts. Here’s how things came out:

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As you can see, the small battery pack ended up between the shifter and the big batteries. A lot of things factored into this, but I decided that this would make the battery box, high voltage wiring, and contactors more safe in the long run. I may end up changing things eventually, but for now I thought this was the safest route with the batteries on hand. Jessica had watched me assemble the big packs and was feeling bold, so she tackled her high voltage phobia and assembled the smaller pack for me. Jessica was a HUGE help in the last few days of building, I’m lucky to have her!

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Speaking of contactors, I ended up completely rebuilding the contactor box to fit that small space between the a-pillar, the batteries, the dash pad, and the fender well. I was previously using an 8″x8″x4″ waterproof box that Al had assembled with some heavy duty contactors. This time around I wanted to use a 6″x6″x4″ waterproof box and the lighter duty Prius contactors. The Prius contactors came in the big battery assemblies I have been fetching from the craigslist wrecks, there are two per battery pack (one for positive, one for negative). Because the Prius contactors aren’t rated for the kind of current this motor can pull, I decided to double up and use four (two for the positive, two for the negative). The output sides of the contactors are connected so that when the contactors are open, the two battery packs are isolated from each other. This took a lot of head scratching to figure out how to squeeze into that little box:

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Once I finally figured out this rubik’s cube, the covers can go on and it actually looks pretty clean and simple. This shows the insulated pass-through connectors and case that I sourced from Home Depot, surprisingly enough. In the end, this assembly was fairly cheap and looks well sorted, it just took some attention to detail. More importantly, this makes the high voltage wiring much safer because there aren’t any exposed connections, the contactors getting damaged, etc.

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It’s not shown in this picture, but I should make note that there are also fuses in the middle of the battery packs so that both strings are individually protected. This way, in case something shorts out or is hooked up wrong, the fuse will pop instead of the batteries starting a fire. It also allows you to remove the fuse during service so that you have a lot less risk of shorting things out (or hurting yourself). This is very important! The fuses, fuse holders, and all the high voltage wiring to the batteries was reused from the Prius wrecks. Interestingly, it’s worth noting that the Prius uses copper cables between the batteries and the contactors, but for the long wires that run from the back of the car to the front, larger aluminum wire is used. This is how the high voltage cables end up coming in and out of the box I made when it goes into the car.

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Here’s me doing final hookup on the battery cables. I went through and zip tied all of the high voltage cables securely, then zip tied the battery post covers securely over those. There’s no risk of anything shifting around and shorting out.

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Of course, now that I’ve given safety some face time in this post, now is a chance to show how I learn the hard way some times. I was showing Jessica how to use a razor blade to do some clean up work, and as it turns out I was the wrong guy to show her. Don’t wield razor blades when you’re tired kids, mmm-kay?! I’ve never cut myself so bad, there was blood EVERYWHERE. Fortunately I’m not squeamish. An hour of hand-in-ice, some butterfly bandages, a popsicle stick, and some painter’s tape had me back in action. Of course, with only a couple of days of building left, I would soon come to miss that hand A LOT. I should have got stitches, but super glue works wonders and I didn’t have time/money to be doing stitches.

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While I buttoned up the final details on the mechanical stuff, Jessica took charge on getting things ready for paint. I stripped everything out of the front end (again…) and she masked everything off and started painting. We used some chassis black paint so that it would look like the factory paint. All of the attention to detail that we had put into the build was starting to finally take form…in that now nothing really looked custom.

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I don’t have any pictures from under the hood when things were finally assembled, I’ll have to get some soon.

Battery packaging continues

August 12th, 2009 by Bryce, posted in Fiero | No Comments »

Who decided days should only have 24 hours anyway?  I could use some 36 hour days!

Yesterday I went to Jesse’s house and got to be jealous of his cool machines.  He’s got a monster mill and he said he’d help me out with my project.  When I started the project, I had a local machine shop machine my front knuckles but it cost me about $150.  I planned on getting a membership at a local DIY machine shop called TechShop, but I’ve just been too dang busy.  Jesse said he accepted GRM standard currency (beer!) in exchange for some time on his mill, so I brought another pair of knuckles to his place.  He made me a heck of a deal, too…he didn’t even want fancy beer:

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Jesse helped set the stuff up on the mill, since I’m a bit of a rookie when it comes to machine work.  Once everything was set up and all that was left was grunt work, he let me take over.  I’m pretty sure this is the biggest machine I’ve ever operated.

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…and the final product came out just like the expensive machine shop units.  Jesse’s beer was a massive $17, so in the end he helped me shave over $130 out of the budget.  Sweet!

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After getting back from Jesse’s I got back at the battery packaging.  Yesterday I did a bit more trimming on the drip tray and found a way to cram even more batteries behind the dash.  The concept was sound and things measured out alright, so I had to start building up the battery packs to fill the spot I had cut out of the drip tray.  The Prius packs have some compression rods that are used to keep the packs compressed when they heat up, so any time you change the pack size with this style of battery you have to change the compression rod length to match.  This means I got to chop up a set of compression rods from one of the packs so that I could add them to the other two packs…lots of cutting, tapping, loctite, and assembly from here.  This picture shows me assembling the big pack.  You can get an idea of how big each NiMH module is, that’s a 7.2V module in my hand.  Each module is technically 6 1.2V cells, but like a 12V lead acid battery, they package them together in a group of 6.  The module ends up being about the same size as a VHS cassette…remember those?

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Once the modules are all stacked, they interlock with some guide pins to keep them properly aligned.  Then the end plate goes on and the end bolts are run down and it compresses the whole pack.  This keeps the plastic cases from flexing when the battery heats up, which would allow the plastic housing to crack and cause all sorts of bad stuff to happen.  This is how big the “big” pack is..this is one and a half second gen Prius packs (42 modules) stacked on their end.  That’s one big pack!  You can also see the color change on the rods where they meet (and are joined together with studs).

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Once I built up the packs according to what my measurements and mock-up told me, I lifted those heavy pigs into the car to see how reality stacked up against theory.  It all fits inside the passenger compartment!

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Of course, I still have to have the dash board fit.  In this shot you can see that I had a jackstand and a paper towel roll holding the battery packs up.  The passenger seat will have full leg room, something I really didn’t want to sacrifice.  Here’s 210 pounds of batteries all fit behind the dash board!

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The last thing I did last night was try to figure out where I would put the EV controllers.  I wanted to keep these close to the battery packs to minimize the wire runs, keep them inside the passenger compartment to keep them out of the elements, and of course still keep the leg room.  After a little fooling around, I found that they’d tuck nicely between the steering column support and the left hand side of the car in close proximity to the battery packs.

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Here’s a shot from above showing how well the computers fit inside the dash, just below where the speaker used to be.  Very cool!

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Today I need to do a bunch of sheet metal work to get the batteries completely enclosed in metal boxes, which will be done mostly by reusing and modifying the Prius cases.  Unfortunately, I only have two top sections for my three batteries because one was destroyed by the dufus who removed the pack from the wrecked Prius…so I’ll probably have to do some pounding on some leftover HVAC duct material I got a hold of.  Then there’s mounting brackets for the packs to bolt to, a case for the contactors and pre-charge resistors, cutting all the high voltage wiring to length, redoing the low voltage wiring, etc. etc. etc.  A hell of a lot of work still, and less than a week before I leave for San Diego.

Making room for batteries

August 10th, 2009 by Bryce, posted in Fiero | No Comments »

So yesterday after the dyno testing, it became obvious that I needed all three Prius batteries that I’ve got.  I was hoping I could get away with just two, oh well.  Here’s a picture of the Fiero on Brian’s dyno…the idea of putting the Fiero’s front wheels on the rollers still makes me giggle a little bit:

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So, for a sense of perspective, here’s how much battery needs to fit in the already crowded Fiero:

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First things first, I gutted the wiring out of the interior.  A heck of a lot of it won’t be used anymore and some will be added for the EV stuff, so I pulled the interior wiring out.  I’m always shocked at how heavy wiring harnesses are, but of course it is a LOT of copper.  I reinstalled the dash pad, since we’re required to keep the stock dash pad, and started measuring to see how the batteries might fit in behind them.  Here’s what I started with:

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After a bit of eyeballing, it looked like I could fit a pair of battery packs behind the dash.  However, like everything with this project, it wasn’t going to be quite that easy.  I had to cut out the drip tray.  This is really thin sheet metal that is used for the HVAC inlet duct.  There are two holes in the cowl that allow air in, a drain port on each side to let water out, and an air outlet port in the center that led to the HVAC fan inlet.  Since I’ve ditched the HVAC, I was able to cut this out.  I’ll make some patch panels to fill the air inlet and water drain ports later so that the interior is completely closed off.  I also had to hack out the steering column support that goes to the middle of the chassis.  I’ll rebuild the column support later with one that doesn’t hit the batteries.  This is what the stock metal looked like:

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One down, two to go:

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A second pack would *almost* fit on top of the first, but the right side wiper linkage was in the way.  Easy fix, race cars only need a wiper on the left side anyway, right?  Two down, one to go:

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…and the moment of truth, the dash fit over the pair like a glove!

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I was very happy to see how nicely those two will fit, but I still have a third battery to find a home for.  I am currently debating two different locations.  It would be really easy to stick the third behind the passenger seat, but of course that won’t look factory and it will give the passenger a lot less leg room.  I *might* be able to squeeze a pack under the hood, but it will definitely take a custom battery box (rather than re-using the Prius box).  I really didn’t think I could pack much more under the hood, but it sure would be slick if I could get this third battery pack under the hood.  Here’s the battery frame sans batteries:

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The batteries themselves will fit, but I still have to figure out how I’ll support the batteries, build a case, find a place to route cables, etc.  I’m hoping to have battery packaging done by Tuesday night.

Bryce

Metal fab under the hood almost done

August 7th, 2009 by Bryce, posted in Fiero | No Comments »

Almost done with the metal fab work under the hood, which will be a great milestone for me.  Aaron came over again today and helped, having a helping hand really helps progress move along quickly.  The strut towers are now fully boxed and ready for a coat of paint:

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The hood hinge attachment stud plates have been welded in, and the cutout for the old hinge support has been filled in.  After things are painted and everything is fully assembled, you’d never know we were here (if I didn’t show you).  This picture isn’t the greatest, since shiny metal and low light don’t work out, but you get the idea if you compare to the shot of the same area in my last post. 

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Lots of cardboard templates, cutting, grinding, welding, grinding, welding, and grinding, but it’s really starting to shape up under the hood.  It’s not rocket science…actually, now that I’ve had plenty of practice, this stuff is now becoming a pretty simple task, just tedious.  Tomorrow everything has to be reassembled and some new high voltage wiring needs to be installed so I can add the third battery pack to the car for testing on Saturday morning.

Boy in the hood

August 6th, 2009 by Bryce, posted in Fiero | No Comments »

Progress has been good for the last couple of days.  I wasn’t feeling too hot on Monday or Tuesday, but the last couple of days I’ve been feeling a lot better and things have been moving along much better.

Earlier in the week I was fooling around with the front anti-roll bar.  Until this week, I hadn’t even tried to see if I could fit a bar in there.  This was one of the project aspects that I’ve just been wingin’, as I assumed I could figure something custom out later and the front bar was a pretty low priority.  As luck would have it, the stock bar just BARELY fits.  I had to relocate my cooling fan, and the lower radiator support will need some new modifications, but otherwise things are pretty close to stock.  This was GREAT news, as I could reuse the stock mounts and bar.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite a slam dunk.  The stock end links in the stock attachment point would have to go right through the front axle boot.  I tried a few different ways to do an end link before I finally figured out something that fit and I was satisfied with.  Here are my three different tries, first on the left, last on the right:

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They aren’t pretty looking, but I think they’ll work fine.  I was actually surprised how close the final pair ended up being, considering I was working with a bunch of very rough tools and hunks of scrap metal:

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To give you an idea of how tight things are, here are two shots showing the knuckle turned in each direction.  In the first one you can see how close the axle boot gets to the end link, and in the second you can see how close the tie rod/knuckle gets to the end link.

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Note that I still need to add some type of standoff to keep the end link from rotating.  Like I said, not pretty, but it will get the  job done.  I think this setup is worth the hassle since it allows me to use the stock bar, end link bushings, control arm mounting location, etc.

So, with the bar installed, here’s a shot showing how tight things are with the cooling package.  I thought things were getting pretty close before, but with the bar in there it’s REALLY tight. 

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The radiator is about an inch away and both of the large cooling hoses wrap around the bar and then shoot straight down.  The electric fan sits on top of the radiator just forward of the sway bar and when the inverter sits in place it fits about 1/2" above the electric fan.  Like I said, tight squeeze!

Once the sway bar stuff was finished up, then I moved on to the hood mounts.  This is a shot from where the radiator would normally be.  You can see the hood on top, and the hinge leads down to some sheet metal that I cut out.  I had to cut this out to fit the inverter between the bumper and the motor without modifying the hood.

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I seperated the original stud plate that the hood hinge mounted to and trimmed it to be very small.  Then, with the hood in place and the hinges bolted to the hood so the pivot would be in the proper spot, I tack welded the stud plate to the chassis.  This is where it ended up:

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This allows me to use the stock hood, hinges, latch, release, and even have the same adjustability as the stock setup.  Tomorrow I’ll add some reinforcement to the new stud plate setup and finish weld it, box in the area that I had to cut out for inverter clearance, and reinstall the inverter for a test fit with the new metal in place. 

I’m pretty happy with how things are shaping up.  I was thinking I should show how some of this stuff goes together because once it’s all finally assembled, it will be nearly impossible to see everything that’s going on.  Of course, in the name of making it look factory, I guess that’s a good thing.

Clutch issues resolved, Fiero back to AWD capability.

July 31st, 2009 by Bryce, posted in Fiero | 1 Comment »

So much drama…

Well, last weekend was a bust.  I was fully expecting to show up to the drags on Saturday evening to give the car a good shakedown, but unfortunately reality hit…hard.  I had pulled the cradle on Thursday evening last weekend to replace the clutch.  I’ve done this on a Fiero before, no big deal, standard operating procedure working with the gas engine.  As I mentioned (above), the clutch wasn’t working properly.  I knew that the slave cylinder was screwed up right away, so I “hoped” that was it.  Friday night I tried to rehone the bore, but it was too far gone.  Here’s what it looked like before we tried honing it out:

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After replacing that, things were better, but not fixed by a long shot.  I looked further and found this:

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That’s the old master cylinder with a bent pushrod and one from a used Fiero for reference.  I replaced the master, but things still weren’t working right.  Better, but not fixed.  I bled the hell out of things without any success.  Then, my buddy Caalon noticed that the clutch pedal seemed a little bent too.  I had noticed it before, as a daily driver, but didn’t think much of it.  We compared it to a known good one, and sure enough, the pedal was bent too.  We replaced the pedal and bled the hell out of things again, still no properly working clutch.  Long story shortened, having very little sleep and running out of patience and parts, I called it around 6 pm.  I drove to the EV drags just miles from my house in the Sky and left the Fiero behind, sitting motionless in the garage.  I was one depressed dude. 

As a strange coincidence, there was an electric Fiero Formula that showed up.  What are the odds?!?  It was black, looked very sharp, and ran mid 16s.  I mentioned to the owner that it was *almost* as fast as a stock Formula, jokingly.  He said that he and a friend had been building it for years and they were hoping for the car to be faster, but their batteries were in rough shape having sat for a long time.  Boy, I really wish I had my Formula there (that had a couple of months of work into it) for comparison, it would have made for a great photo opp to have the two running up against each other.  There were several very fast EVs there, from Teslas to a Tango and even the Killacycle.  It was a lot of fun to see how they fared against the regulars.

Sunday I took the day off.  I had busted my ass trying to get the car ready for Saturday’s EV drags and I was just really bummed out, no motivation at all.  I relaxed most of the day, recognizing that this was the last break I’d get until I got home from San Diego.

On Monday I did some more thinking on the bad clutch.  I decided to pull the cradle again, as I suspected that I had installed the used clutch disc backwards.  The hydraulics were finally working like expected, but since the clutch still wouldn’t disengage properly I knew there was more to it…the failed hydraulics were just symptoms of a bigger problem.  I pulled the cradle and decided that this was the LAST time I was pulling the cradle before San Diego, so I better find the problem this time.

When I pulled the engine off the trans again, I found this:

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It doesn’t get much more clear than that, I totally screwed myself over!  Sure, the clutch hydraulics were in rough shape before, but I did them in with my stupid mistake of putting the clutch disc in backwards.  This was good and bad news.  The good news is that I found a big problem, and what I think should fix my clutch issues.  The bad news is, this was my fault and I totally ruined my shot at bringing the Fiero out to the EV drags.  I probably shouldn’t have been working on so little sleep while talking to friends AND working on the car, lesson learned…even a “whiz” like me can screw up the basics when not paying attention!

Since I had already decided this was the last time I was pulling the cradle, I decided to do a lot of clean up work after the clutch problem was corrected.  Even though the gas engine isn’t the main focus of this build, this is still a show car and deserves some attention in the engine bay.  I’m pretty confident this engine bay has never been washed, ever.  Even with relatively low miles (about 130k miles) and seemingly zero oil leaks, this engine bay is still filthy.  Here are some peeks at the nastiness:

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The pictures hardly do this job any justice.  Starting to feel a tiny bit closer to presentable:

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The Fiero has tons of “spare parts” that clutter up the engine, engine bay, etc.  Here’s just a sample of the stuff I ditched:

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Jessica helped a bunch with the engine bay cleanup, clean up is her forte.  We rerouted most of the wiring and relocated a lot of components to clean things up and scrubbed just about every surface of the engine as much as our joints would tolerate.

Today I finally got the cradle back in.  The clutch works as expected!!!  Thank goodness, I don’t know what I would have done otherwise.  Fortunately, I can look back and laugh about how stupid and time consuming it ended up being to replace the old clutch with another old clutch and leaving the flywheel unmachined.  Oh well, in the spirit of the event I thought a used clutch and gnarly flywheel seemed appropriate, since that’s what the car had when I bought it.

I’m pretty satisfied with how the engine bay is looking.  The car still needs a good thorough pressure washing and degreasing and the engine is a long way from “polished”…but it’s a hell of a lot better looking. Actually, most people probably wouldn’t realize how much work has gone into cleaning up the engine bay, but that’s the whole point of my build.  I want to keep it looking like something that would roll out of the factory, even if I have ditched/added a lot of parts.  Anybody who has spent time with a stock Fiero V6 would know in a second how much cleaner the engine bay is, but that’s probably it.  There are still lots of things I’d like to do if I have more time, but for now the priority is shifting back to the EV stuff.  Here’s as far as I got:

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With the car back in good working order and ready for a test drive, I’ve put it to bed for now.  Tomorrow I will be gone all day for a wedding, so Sunday the car will get yet another shakedown run and we’ll see how this “new” clutch works on the street.  Then, it’s back to the garage to go back under the knife. (cue: mad scientist laughter)

Bryce

The Fiero regenerates!

July 23rd, 2009 by Bryce, posted in Fiero | No Comments »

Man, time is flying by!  I *finally* had a FULLY functioning EV powertrain today.  The last week has been absorbed with a lot of tiny details.  Pictures would be pointless of any work I did this week, it was all ironing out bugs.  This work is really tedious, tiring stuff, but IMO this is what separates a good “idea” from a good car.  The devil is in the details!

I’ve got the front end clunk free after tearing it apart and reassembling things a few times.  The packaging on this front end is *really* tight…and to think, I haven’t even got an anti-roll bar stuffed back in the front end yet!  It took a bit of attention, but once I got the air out of the cooling system it was also working well.  The big challenge for the week was getting the electric stuff to go into regenerative braking mode.  As of last week, I still had three diagnostic codes when I fired up the EV system.  Two of them were related to the airflow sensor and wouldn’t allow the electronics to go into regen mode.  The airflow sensor is a resistive temperature sensor that the computer monitors in the stock vehicle to ensure that the battery fan is working properly.  While I will have a fan on my batteries eventually, I’m not even close to getting to that point yet, so I needed to fool the computer to think things were alright.  So, I took my all-too-familiar bag of resistors from radio shack and started some good ol’ fashioned guess-and-check on the airflow sensor pins until I got the computer to think things were ok.  In the end, it just looks like a single resistor between two pins, not very impressive to look at.  However, after that I was down to only ONE more diagnostic code.  The remaining one is one that I really have no idea how I can fake out, it’s missing communication with a module I just don’t have….however, according to the service manual it shouldn’t affect the driveability of the car at all.  I’m really happy to have things down to only one trouble code, it’s very rewarding after the work I’ve had to do to make these electronics happy outside of their native home.

So, with my data codes beat, my cooling system in good order, and my suspension in better shape, I was ready for another test drive today.  I drove it around the block a few times and I got the regen braking to work!  Finally, the battery will recharge just like any other hybrid car around!  I had some other stuff to do tonight, so I only got to drive it for about 15 minutes, but it was pretty fun.  I did hit the EV throttle pedal about 50% just to see what happened.  The internet doesn’t lie, electric motors do make instant torque!

Tomorrow I’m dropping the ICE to replace the slipping clutch.  I’ve been limping it along for the last several thousand miles and it’s just dead, so I’ve got another (used, stock) clutch to drop into it.  I’m hoping to do some engine bay clean up while I’ve got the cradle out, since it’s much easier to work on while it’s out.  If I’m lucky, I’ll have the cradle back in before I go to bed tomorrow night.  The EV drag races are at PIR this weekend, both Friday and Saturday night.  I’m going to bring the car to the track on Friday just to have the tech inspectors take a look and let me know what needs attention.  If everything goes to plan, I’ll have the car ready to do a first test run at the drag strip on Saturday night.

Wish me luck, I’ll take all I can get.  Less than four weeks until I leave for San Diego!!!  I expect a LOT of build action in the next couple of weeks.

Bryce