Sunday, January 19, 2020

Milan / elEVen Teardown

'Twas a bittersweet morning, as several EVT members and alum gathered to bid farewell to the Milan / elEVen project. Having had the car sitting in a covered storage facility since June of 2011, the car was becoming more of a liability than an asset. Those who helped build it had long graduated and moved away, and it has been one of my personal goals to make sure the vehicle was properly recycled before I graduate for the third and last time (fingers crossed for 2021). The car had largely been forgotten as the chain-drive system that connected the Northrop Grumman electric motor to the former-rear differential turned front differential sought to shake the vehicle apart under moderate torque loads.

With planning taking a few weeks, Jack and I used a tow dolly to secure the front wheels and tow the vehicle out of the garage, through several gates, and back to the N51 garage where it was built.
Loaded, secured, and ready for a short tow. Note the layer of dust caked into the vehicle.

At N51, Jack grabbed an extra (or 5) sets of hands to help push the vehicle into the bay. The lifts are long gone, but there was an engine hoist, a few sets of jack stands, and a small floor jack to get the work done on Saturday morning. Much of my personal Friday night was spent scraping the MIT and sponsor decals off the vehicle. 8+ years of the parking garage dust and emissions had eroded and pock-marked much of the paint, but the paint below the decals was immaculate. Don't worry, only plastic instruments and a touch of heat were used to remove the vinyl decals.

Many of the decals removed along with the hood. Calling it a night a few hours of work and a Beantown burrito (one of our sponsors for the trike project).

Saturday morning started with more decal work, removing the 12V battery systems, and ensuring that the high voltage lines to the engine compartment were powerless. Jack and I were joined by Jarrod and two other talented friends. With their help, we were able to get the motor and controller pulled by 11.
Accessories box removed. 9:53 AM
Motor assembly out and clear of the vehicle. 11:00 AM. Note the chain drive on the viewer left, and the rear differential turned front differential lower right.
Meanwhile, during this process, three of us were set removing the 12 A123 battery modules that made up the 360V pack. We initially thought that they could not be salvaged, but it turned out that they were at 99% of their nominal voltage. I was quite impressed, and glad that we had salvaged the pack in lieu of letting the scrapyard inherit the liability of disassembling the pack.

Battery pack in rear trunk, start of disassembly 9:53 AM.
In regards to the pack, the blowers for high speed charging were removed easily, but the front cross member could not be safely removed without putting the seat down. Further, someone had cut the release mechanism for the seat years ago (for safety?), so it was removed piece-wise. Jarrod led the work in the rear, and we could not have done it without his guidance.

We were all set to roll it out and to the junkyard by 12:10, in time for their 1:00 pm close time, but they wanted to postpone to Monday, so we set it out to pasture until it's pickup. It did gain quite a bit of suspension height in the process though.

Out to pasture. PC: Jack
Looking forward, let us know if you have any ideas on what to do with the motor and battery pack combo. We're also very short handed though, so undertaking an entire vehicle, especially of the modern vintage, is impossible to do well. Are there any challenges or competitions we can set our sights on to rekindle the team?

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