Adventure EV

Clutch

First roadblock… And it isn’t EV related!

by on Nov.07, 2009, under Clutch, EV Land Rover

Progress on the EV side of things has come to a halt as I troubleshoot something a bit more conventional.  Upon restarting the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) to perform some before-conversion testing, I noticed that the clutch pedal had very little pressure.

A quick check of the clutch master cylinder revealed it to be bone dry.  But where did all the extremely-caustic-to-paint hydraulic fluid go?  Unfortunately, it went all around the clutch pedal tower inside and outside, the result being a lot of peeling, corroded paint.  Old seals in an old master cylinder… bad news.

Leaky clutch fluid

Leaky clutch fluid

Luckily, it took about ten minutes to get the clutch pedal assembly out of the truck, but it revealed quite a bit of panel paint damage from the leaking fluid.  So I had to spend a bit of time cleaning that mess up to prevent further panel corrosion.

Prep

Prep

Finding paint for a 38 year old British vehicle in Taos, NM is next to impossible… so I’ve gone with some universal color chips and am hand mixing a formula that should get close to the right shade of “Sand” for my truck.  At least the damage is all behind-the-scenes.  But paint work is always a pain.  Kudos to the guys that love doing it for a living, but having gone through painting the truck myself once before, I’ll leave it to the experts in the future…

Close paint match

Close paint match

Well, something like this is to be expected for an old classic.

I’ve got my hands on a new clutch master cylinder, and if all goes well overnight the system should be back together tomorrow once everything dries.

EV Knowledge

Why even use a clutch at all?  The only reason they’re used in conventional automobiles is because the internal combustion engine can’t stop and start with any torque like an electric motor.  With an EV, you can stop and start the electric motor in gear all day.  And with an electric motor, maximum torque is generated as soon as it starts to spin.

Some people choose to convert their cars doing away with the clutch altogether even though they retain the gearbox.  It can be done, it saves a bit of weight, but there are some drawbacks.  For one, shifting a gearbox without the use of a clutch takes a bit of time as the electric motor bleeds off enough speed to match the next gear selection.  Allegedly, this can take more than four seconds… which in real-time is a seeming eternity.  And shifting a gearbox without a clutch and syncro-mesh cones (which all modern gearboxes employ, but not my Land Rover’s on the first two gears) is hard on the system.

Shiny, new MC

Shiny, new MC

There’s a big benefit to retaining the clutch besides smoother, easier shifts, and less gearbox wear, safety.  The clutch is like a fuse in the drivetrain.  In the unlikely event of the motor controller or motor failing into an uncontrollable, runaway state, I can simply depress the clutch to separate the wheels from the power.  I’ve got it, so I may as well use it.

But first I have to insure it’s in proper working order.

2 Comments more...

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Blogroll

A few highly recommended websites...

Archives

All entries, chronologically...