Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Engine Video Posting Problems

This is just a quick post to let you all know I haven't forgotten to post the video. I tried twice, each time took about 4 hours of letting the computer sit before displaying an error message when the video was "100% uploaded." Anyway, after that I decided to wait until after finals week to figure it out, and then get some parts on the way in the same post. I should be back to full time ev-ing by friday.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Engine is Out!!!

Hey everyone! Sorry I wasn't able to post this yesterday, we just finished today at 3am! The winch worked pretty well, aside from being about 1/2 inch too short. Once everything was disconnected and unbolted the engine and transmission just lifted out.

Now that the fuel tank, engine, and most of the other infernal combustion related parts are out, we are well on our way to an electric. From here on I should be putting more parts in than I am taking out. By the next post I hope to have a few parts on the way in the mail.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mini Update

Hey EV guys and gals! I'm back, with a ton of excuses about why I've been gone so long, up to and including the new car I bought to match my dad's soon-to-be-ev Z3. I won't share the rest of them.
In other, more important ev news, that winch my grandfather gave me is now fully assembled and waiting to see use. Lucky for it, the engine will be coming out this Friday, tomorrow, November 26th. 

See you then!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gas Tank

Back from yesterday, with the fuel tank out!  VOLTFRIEND came over again and helped with various tasks related to its removal. I was surprised that there were only three bolts holding it on. One bolt went through that metal o-ring you see at the middle top of the tank, and the other two bolts held on straps that supported the tank on either side. With the fuel lines disconnected, the tank was lowered straight down, and came out relatively easily.
The fuel lines are still attached to the car, at least the ones that run from the tank in the back towards the "infernal" combustion engine up front, but those can wait to come out until the engine goes with them. 

In other news, I have an engine winch now. My grandpa, who makes wine, bought a winch a few years back to move full barrels around his garage. In the past few years he has begun buying more wine than he makes, so he has decided to loan it to me to pull the engine. It's maximum load is 500 lbs, which will do just fine for me, because the M44 (BMW inline 4 cylinder 1.9 liter) engine weighs about 225 lbs, and the transmission is far under 100lbs. After that's out, it'll be time to start putting new components in, and I know that's the interesting part for most of my readers!

Stay charged!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Here's Where it Gets Messy

Without any real need for a gasoline fuel tank, I've decided that is what I want out next. Step one was siphon gas out. Check.
Now you'd think that there would be a simple way to remove the fuel tank, but no. Step two was to remove the complete rear suspension. Two days and countless profane comments later, here it is.

The actual gas tank removal will have to wait until tomorrow. See ya then!

Friday, November 5, 2010


Apparently, BMW decided to use 18mm bolts on the driveshaft to connect it to the transmission and screw me over, so after a trip to the nearest auto store for one socket, one wrench and a gas pump to empty the tank, I was able to remove the driveshaft relatively quickly.
Here it is, laying on the floor.
Here we are, underneath the differential looking forward towards the transmission.

Tearing up the Trunk

With an electric car, because the batteries take up so much room, it is often difficult to carry around a spare tire. BMW's have this cool under the trunk tire storage system, where you unbolt the tire rack from inside the trunk, and then the tire hangs down in a plastic case from a metal cable. Unfortunately, I will most likely be cutting the bottom of the trunk out, and then replacing it with a custom battery box, so the spare tire assembly had to be removed. I unbolted the cable from the rack, and then unbolted the rack from the car. After that was done, the cable no longer got in the way of removing the contents of the trunk. Once the cosmetic carpet was out, I took out the toolkit which included a corkscrew (yes, like the kind you use to open a bottle of wine) along with other stuff like a car jack and wrench for changing the wheels that you would normally find in a car.

Here you can see all the carpet, along with the toolkit that came out.
And here is the interior of the trunk.
One thing I forgot to mention: there was a 6 cd changer in the back that was no longer in use due to an aftermarket radio that the previous owner put in. Three bolts and two wiring harnesses later, here it is sitting on the floor of the garage.

Monday, November 1, 2010


The 28th through the 29th ended up being one day for me. During the night I was able to get the rest of the wires labled, and got the exhaust and heat shields out.  Here is the pile of parts, along with the spare tire I removed from underneath the car (mostly just to clear out space for me to work).

I opted for the temporary rearrangement solution, and pushed everything up against the wall of the garage. 
On Halloween I had a friend come over and help me weigh and catalog each part in the cool weight distribution spreadsheet my dad put together, and then we took all to parts over to my aunt's house to store them in the crawlspace below the house.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Lower intake manifold

Just as the title says, here it is sitting on the ground in front of the car.

And the how the engine compartment now looks with it out.

This pile of parts keeps getting bigger. Soon my whole garage will need to be rearranged to fit everything. 


Three days ago, my dad cooked up an Excel spreadsheet that will help us keep track of the weight distribution as we add and remove parts. Basically, we will weigh each part we take out, and then measure how far back and how far to one side or the other the part is from the tip of the front bumper. Then all we do is add those measurements into the spreadsheet, and it adjusts the measurements I have from back when I had the car weighed on a set of racing scales. Here's a quick picture of the regular bathroom scale I'll be using.

More progress

Now I have some pictures of the air filter coming out. 
I had to remove the left headlight to gain access to the bolts that held it on.
This is the throttle cable that controlled some valves in the upper intake manifold, which is that grey system of metal tubes on top of the engine.
Here it is with the upper intake manifold out.
I also took out the radiator. It pretty much just lifted out, after the hoses were disconnected.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Air intake sensor

Today I had a few minutes before leaving for school, so I decided to pull out the air intake sensor. Pretty simple, jut one connection and two hose clamps.

Here it is before:

And after:

Looks like the fuel lines will be drained and disconnected next, at least according to the service manual.

Tearing it up

So yesterday was actually the first day of taking the car apart. After a trip to Harbor Freight for jack stands and latex gloves, I got to work. I put the car up on the stands,

disconnected battery and the ignition coil, 

removed the splash guard from underneath the front bumper, 

took off the radiator fan, 

and drained all the radiator fluid.
I filled up two 1 gallon cartons with the green car-juice. So far it's all been prep for the engine pull. Next I want to remove the exhaust system, because it looks like that will free up a lot more space in the engine compartment.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hello internet.

Hi, my name is Cory. I created this blog as a way to keep track of everything related to my electric car conversion project. The plan is to take a 1996 BMW Z3, take the internal combustion engine out, and replace everything with electrical components. Once finished, car has to be able to go 100 miles on a single charge, because my dad is going to drive it to work everyday. It also needs to be fast, so it doesn't get laughed at like other "golf cart" ev's, and finally, it needs to satisfy all of the requirements of my Senior Project, which means I have to finish it before I graduate High School in 2012. Let's get started.