With just a handful of the crew around, we got started with Antony working on the blog, Eric and Joey learning some solidworks, Jimmy starting a new electric scooter, and I got some work done on my ATV. After a few more of the troops arrived, we went down to see what we could do with the rusty Opel...
The main goal for the night was to start removing the unnecessary or unusable components such as the exhaust and to start cleaning up the car. Given the rough shape of the car, we had some flexibility to go to town and have fun tearing apart the car. After Joey made sure to remove all the hornet and bird's nests, we took a look at what we were up against on the underbody of the car. Here Joey and Jimmy cut the muffler out with a hacksaw and remove the exhaust pipes:
We took a good look at the rear suspension setup with the panhard bar. We were having fun inspecting all of the components, and nearly removed the entire rear axle before Eric brought up that we probably want to keep the wheels on so that we can move the car...
We still proceeded to drop down the driveshaft and the transmission. Jack, the shop manager in D-Lab, gave us a quick lesson on torque tubes and rear suspension configurations.
|Opel Driveshaft and Transmission|
Next, we brought the car down on the lift and began to take a look at the engine bay and interior. We ripped out all the dry-rotted tubing and deteriorating rubber from under the hood, and did what was possible to clean it out with a shop vacuum. Without an engine or any components, there is a ton of space for batteries under the hood!
As we moved to the interior of the cab, the last main task for the night was removing the gas tank. After ripping out the shelves and other brackets for the spare tire that were concealing the gas tank, we began the removal of the last major, unnecessary component in an electric vehicle conversion.
This turned out to be a bit more intense of a task than we expected. The Opel has a large open space in the rear of the car, but no rear hatch for access to this trunk area. Therefore, Joey and I squeezed into the cab of the tiny car while Jacob and Eric helped us navigate from outside.
After a long effort to remove all the hard to reach and rusted bolts mounting the gas tank to the car, we had it loose. It turned out to have a very irregular shape that was difficult to pull up through the tight fit in the cab.
Then we had yet another unforeseen complication, when we realized that there was actually still a substantial amount of gasoline left over in the tank. At least this was just as safety-master Rango made his arrival and assured that we disposed of it properly! With the help of our FSAE friends, we located a gas can and slowly drained the rest of the gasoline into the tank.
After plugging and capping the openings to the gas tank, we were finally able to remove the tank and waited to consult EHS regarding its proper disposal. The removal of the tank revealed another substantial open cavity in the rear of the car, optimal for battery placement. We'll continue mapping out these spaces moving forward, as we continue working to find a suitable battery option for the car. But for now, the long night of work concluded with our usual late night trip to Beantown Tacqueria!