Monday, December 22, 2008

Beetle Build - Day One

So we're only three months behind schedule. But finally started working on the Beetle. The engine is gone. Also removed the starter and some kind of strange charcoal device that cleaned the fuel before it entered the engine. The picture reveals the vast space we have for the new motor. Faintly visible are the tubes for the AC. Cleverly conceal, on the left. Air conditioning is a deal breaker. And I'm betting it will prove to be one of the more problematic elements of the build. Only time will tell, but I'm trying to plan ahead for it.
Next up is a picture of the actual motor. It took six weeks to get it ordered. A couple of weeks to find a fabricator willing to custom make the adapter plates and coupler. And three weeks to actually get the motor back. The large, all-silver metal bit on the right side of the motor is the custom built hardware. High grade aluminum. A bit outside my budget, but hopefully it was a learning experience for everyone involved and we'll do better next time.

The holes will mount up with the existing holes on the transmission bell housing. And the shaft on the new motor should line up directly with the splines on the existing transmission. As a side, the motor we're using is a Warp 9" and for the price, it is king of the hill. It is also a heavy sucker. Just over 100lbs. And feels like a solid hunk of iron.

With the back tires on some blocks, we balanced the motor on a jack, rolled it under the tail, and slowly jacked it into place. I wish I could say it took a Herculean effort and taxed us to our limits. But it didn't. It was surprisingly easy and went better than planned. The only thing we forgot to do was put the LockTite on the bolts the first time we screwed everything down. So we had to repeat that process a second time. Otherwise, no problems.

Then we moved to the front of the Beetle. Since we don't need the fuel tank, it has to go. Unfortunately it rests under the AC. So we yanked that out first. The balding dude is Roger. My oldest friend. He and I met in 5th grade. Had to be like 1981. Almost three decades later we're building an electric Beetle. Anyway, we found the well-concealed screws, disconnected the tubes, and pulled out the AC, which I doubt we'll re-use due to its age.

Finally with the air conditioner out of the way, we were able to take out the fuel tank. I either forgot to take a picture of the final product, or I deleted it. But now there is a very sizable empty space that is available for additional electronics or computer parts. Something will go in there, one way or another. We're planning on getting some sheet metal to cover it, and then work on getting some kind of replacement AC.

Almost forgot to mention the remnants of a bird that we found in the front. I voted for bird. Roger voted for mouse. Given the sharp angular look of the skull, I'm sticking with avian. 

We left it there, for good luck. We'll need it.
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