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Thread: E-Lorean Electric Conversion

  1. #1
    Join Date:  Oct 2022

    Posts:    49

    Post E-Lorean Electric Conversion

    Hey all,

    I have no idea if anyone's taken this project name yet! Here's my attempt to bring back 000983. Consider this an official build thread while I ambitiously chase after the title of the world's fastest electric DeLorean.

    The donor car (000983) I found thanks to Mike at DeLorean Midwest. The exterior was in near-perfect condition, the inside had a little damage, and the motor was seized / frame was rusted out. Thanks to Mike I was able to get it shipped to my shop with a second lightly-damaged frame. I cared very much during this project to not take a good car out of the market and instead breathe life into something already lost.

    I started about four months ago and I've gone through some various design choices. The first decision I made was using a Tesla Model 3 Performance motor. For those unawares, this motor is an induction motor and the car it came out of weighs 1,847kg. The performance of this motor boasts a 3.3s 0-100km/h acceleration 471lb/fts of torque, and 450hp with a 11.5s quarter mile. That's with two motors on the base car, and on this car I am just using the rear motor but expecting about half the curb weight.

    The BMS is an Orion 2 with 96 cell taps at 3.7v for 355.2v nominal 403.2v peak. This is where the design gets a little weird. I chose low density lipoly pouches because I..
    A. Believe Sulfer or Graphene Ion batteries are around the corner which will turn the market upside down.
    B. Would like to spend as little as possible if the market is about to change.
    C. Don't care about range at this time.
    D. Just want to get this moving.

    So this battery pack is 96s2p for a nominal capacity of 32A with a peak discharge of 1,000A. That works out to a little under 13kwh. Abysmal for a battery pack. I will probably get about 30 miles of range out of it. Maybe more. Maybe less. But on the other hand it will charge in about one or two hours to full. For reference, Tesla packs usually range from 70-100kwh. But it met my design goals, with the idea that when new battery tech drops I will swap it out. There's plenty of things to work on until then.

    Speaking of that, so formed the todo list:
    1. Separate the body and chassis.
    2. Rebuild the frame / patch any rust.
    3. Mount the motor.
    4. Hot-Dip Galvanize the frame, and powdercoat it.
    5. Replace things as necessary.

    Incredibly ambitious and it took me a while... Pictures incoming.

  2. #2
    Join Date:  Oct 2022

    Posts:    49

    Here she was the day she arrived to me. It was super sunny out and I had never actually seen a DeLorean before. Let alone any type of exotic car. I immediately fell in love. It didn't matter the doors didn't work, or that it smells like old and mold and death inside.

    While I had her in my garage and started tearing down the interior to see what the damage was. Rust was really bad near the driver side window pillar. The roof is black epoxied (I don't know if this is factory or not but I suspect it's like this because the roof was leaking for the previous owner and the roof box is perhaps rusty. Just a guess.)

    The floor was still damp, the headliners were dropping. Common problems for an old car and I was just going to do it all again from scratch anyways.

    In this time I got new lifts for all the hoods and doors for the car so they'd stay up on their own. Easy ten minute fix.

    The frame was toast, the driver side wheel was barely attached. I had to come up with a plan.

  3. #3
    Join Date:  Oct 2022

    Posts:    49

    Buy lots of stuff of course...

    I started with purchasing the motor and the Delorean Industries spec suspension. New seals. Stainless steel trailing arms. And started counting up the many, many problem items on this car. Missing dust caps on the spindles, the parking brake bracket was rusted through, etc etc etc.

    All the meanwhile I worked on separating the frame from the car which proved.. obnoxious. The front two bolts had epoxy poured into the holes (courtesy of a previous owner?) so to get them out I had to use a hole drill to clear away the epoxy before I could get a wrench on them.

    It took me maybe an embarrassingly long amount of time but the satisfaction of splitting the frame for the first time was SO worth it.

    The shop only gets messier from here.

    Around this time I started working on disassembling the car to strip everything that was good while I worked on designing how this motor was going to fit in this frame.

  4. #4
    Join Date:  Oct 2022

    Posts:    49

    Speaking of the donor frame, here she was. Normally covered with a tarp. Naked for the photoshoot.

    I got her into the shop and started doing test fits. On the Model 3 the engine fits with the driveshaft behind the two mickey mouse ears. This wasn't going to fit on the DeLorean so it needed to be mounted backwards.

    Bonk! I didn't have enough room to get the CV axles in about the same spot as they were on the DeLorean chassis factory. There's some play here but I didn't want to get crazy. There was no way this was going to fit without modifying the crossmember.

    Speaking of, I'm not doing this entirely alone. I have a buddy with me Whom Shallnt Be Named who is at least a solid sounding board for my insanity. We spoke about cutting into the crossmember, or replacing it. And so on. There was a lot of talking and thinking about this. Way too much. But at the end of the day the crossmember wasn't in great shape, so I impulsively decided to go with what my gut told me.

    Overt your eyes folks of weak stomaches...

    I cut it off. I was going to dedicate myself to fabbing a new suspension and engine crossmember. Oh boy. Was this way more work than I figured.

    I started with the old school CAD. Get some dimensions and get a feel for the angles.

    The original plan being to use some good old 2x4 box steel to bridge the gap. But as I puzzled out the various dimensions a pattern emerged and I switched to digi-cad.

    Until I came up with this. The same orientation for the suspension link, but with grooves cut to make this thing a reality and fit with the engine. I had to drop the lettering though eventually because it was too thin for the laser to cut. Oops!

  5. #5
    Join Date:  Oct 2022

    Posts:    49

    There is something pure and wonderful in this world about receiving a package of laser-cut 1/4" mild steel panels in the mail. It's a little magical. Like being a kid at christmas. And then when it tacks together and everything just fits.. Hard to compare.

    I matched the advance angles of the original frame and started putting things roughly where they'd need to be. New fill in plates would need to be designed as necessary to bridge the gap to the frame. And we did that.

    Step by step.

    Around this time I also replaced the front frame extension.

    And then started cutting out more plates to fit to the frame...

    Until we reached this week, where we FINALLY have the motor attached to the new frame and supporting itself. It's been a huge road to get this far in just a few months.

  6. #6
    Senior Member DL4567's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  GA

    Posts:    774

    My VIN:    5302

    Club(s):   (SEDOC) (DCUK)

    Holy cow... What a post! Amazing project.
    Derek L
    VIN 5302

  7. #7
    Senior Member DavidProehl's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Maple Grove, MN (Minneapolis)

    Posts:    1,425

    My VIN:    05457

    Very cool project. You've been doing a ton of work on it, great job on the frame repairs! Looking forward to following your progress. I find electric conversions exciting.
    David Proehl

  8. #8
    Guy with a DeLorean Mark D's Avatar
    Join Date:  May 2011

    Location:  Stevens Point,WI

    Posts:    2,475

    My VIN:    6125

    Awesome project, I'll be following along for sure.

    Great work on the cardboard aided design (CAD) and actual design work for the laser cut parts. I also love the feeling of getting that stack of parts and everything just fits flawlessly. You must have some experience, because you did a great job making the pieces interlock with tabs to hold together in the correct orientation during welding. I design a lot of parts like this at my job and I can't tell you how much the welders and assemblers appreciate these types of design considerations.

    Can't wait to see what's next!

  9. #9
    Join Date:  Oct 2022

    Posts:    49

    No big updates yet, or at least nothing interesting. The frame has been packed up and is in a burn off oven for the final stage of cleaning before I HDG it and powdercoat it. She's getting real spoiled.

    In the meantime my associate and I have cleaned up the shop, moved body panels into an unused corner to protect them, assembled a blasting cabinet, and have just been straightening up while we wait to begin the next step of this insanity.

    Things will really start to move once the frame is coated -- reassembly time.

    We've also put the Model 3 engine on the bench and we're about to disassemble that to make the modifications to run it backwards. I've gotten a lot of questions on how we're doing this and we'll be (attempting) to make a youtube video to show what we're doing and hopefully pave the way for future conversions using this beautiful motor.

    Frankly, I don't know if what we're doing will work as there is a huge gap between "theoretical" and "practical", and there's no going back from this modification. So.. fingers crossed.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date:  Dec 2018

    Posts:    1,273

    Very cool. I?ll be watching for sure.

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