ElectroClassic EV
Classic Cars Reborn into the Electric Future

Bells and Whistles, Part 1

I want to make sure the existing electrical system is brought to full working order before the EV conversion starts.  Building and testing the EV drive system should move forward without the distraction of unresolved accessory issues.  This is especially relevant after the main wiring harness was removed, re-wrapped and reinstalled, including the surgical removal of the engine sub-harness and electronic ignition.

.

All of the lights, switches and various accessory connections have been returned to their original state, aided by tons of digital snapshots and copious labeling during the teardown process.  The new fuse panel dumps the old capsule-type fuses for modern blades, and includes a helpful wire color legend right on the fuse covers.  I bought mine from JWest Engineering.  Transferring all of the existing fusebox connections to the new panel was fairly simple, but a momentary spaghetti-fest was created by the additional accessories, including the power windows, washer pump, HID headlights, fog light flasher mod, and radio.

.

I traced the wiring harness head-to-toe, accounted for all the dangly orphan wires, crimped the ends and covered them with heat shrink tubing.  The last thing needed in an electric vehicle is a short circuit.  The picture above shows the capped relay wires on the driver side of the engine bay.  The wiring diagram shows some of these sharing the same circuit, so I will need to tie those together.  I’m sure a few of these will also be needed for the EV circuitry.  In addition, I located all the harness grounds and made sure they were attached securely to the chassis.  Those wires are always brown, with several leads crimped together to ground multiple circuits to the body, as shown under the hex nut above.

.

The red accessory supply wires all congregate on the right side of the engine bay at the original battery well.  I shined them up, bolted them to a red positive battery cable, and wrapped the connection in electrical tape for the time being. I also stripped the main chassis grounding stud down to metal for good conductivity and attached a black grounding strap.  Both are visible above.

.

The Pyramid 12 volt 10 amp bench power supply I purchased didn’t have enough oomph to reliably feed all of the accessories, and buying a new 30 amp bench supply was much too spendy.  What I needed was something that acted like a car battery, and could deliver all the required amps on demand, so I borrowed the 12 volt/330 cranking amp Schumacher DSR DC jump-starter/power supply that our camp used at Burning Man.  Tip o’ the hat to Captain Sillypants.  I clamped the jumpers to the plus and minus battery terminals in the motor bay, and began flipping switches.  Following is a smorgasbord of notes on all the electrical accessories:

Hazard flasher – Operated perfectly the first time.  I suspect that the flasher’s built-in relay does not depend on the line resistance of the bulbs to operate properly, unlike the turn signals.

.

Parking lights – Also operated perfectly the first time.  I may switch to an LED bulb that has a broader, more diffuse output.  The LED output pattern pictured above seems too narrow.

.

Dash lights – All of the gauge illumination and indicator bulbs were converted to their LED equivalents.  It pays to spend a little more on the brightest LED options you can find, or you might be disappointed with their lack of punch.  The dimmer pot on my existing light switch wasn’t really functional and wasn’t really helping, so I bypassed it altogether by patching my dash illumination into the parking light circuit on the same switch.  I don’t think LEDs even work on analog dimmers anyway, so who gives a crap.  This way, there is no question the LEDS are at maximum brightness, and their cool electric glow can be appreciated in it’s fullest glory.

.

Brake lights – After the brakes were completely installed and bled, it was finally possible to check the brake light operation.  The brake light switch wires under the pedal were reconnected, and a tap on the foot pad lit them up the first time.  Unlike filament bulbs, the LEDs fire up instantly and look very distinctive.

.

Headlight Motors –  Care must be taken when working with these motors.  They are very strong, and will easily crush your fingers.  When the car’s accessory power is on, the motors will always automatically return themselves to their open or closed rest state (depending on the position of the headlight switch).  If the motor axle hand wheel was used to fiddle with the headlight mechanism, the motor may find itself out-of-rest, and once there is accessory power, it will immediately cycle to the correct state.  This can happen with the light switch off, and regardless of your finger location.  The motor hand wheel can be seen at the top of the headlight motor above.

The headlights had been completely dissembled, and so the headlight raising mechanisms had lost alignment with the motor rest position.  The motors cycled properly, but the headlight mechanisms were not resting in their fully open or closed position.  To adjust, the operating lever needed to be reoriented on the headlight motor shaft.  Making sure the car had power, I turned on the key, turned the headlights on, waited for the motors to cycle, and then cut the main power.  To be extra safe, both motor relays can be pulled out of their sockets under under each raising mechanism. I then folded back the rubber boot on the mechanism and loosened the nut holding the operating lever to the splined shaft (shown above).  Making sure the motor shaft didn’t turn, I pried the lever off the splines, rotated the lever so the headlight was completely open, reseated the lever onto the splines, and tightened the nut.  I knew it was right when the jointed levers were straight (not elbowed), and pointed to the headlight.  The lever joint is seen in the picture above, just to the right of the wrench head and nut.  I tested by fitting the boots back loosely, putting the relays back in, turning on the key, and turning off the light switch.  The headlights closed perfectly.  You’ve nailed it when a very slight rocking of the motor hand wheel does not cause the headlight assembly to move at all.

.

Headlights – The standard 7 inch sealed beam H6024 lamps were replaced with aftermarket conversion housings, and fitted with bi-xenon HID bulbs, ballasts and relays.  An earlier post explains the HID install in detail.  The primary power wire was extended from the trunk into the cabin and connected to the raw supply side of fuse #12, which powers the headlight motors.  The right headlight stopped working after the above picture was taken, so I swapped in the left side HID ballast and it worked fine, confirming I had a blown ballast.  That will require initiating an RMA with the vendor.

.

Fog Lights – Porsche’s original design would not allow the fog lights to operate if the headlights were turned off, but JWest Engineering sells a little kit that fixes that.  The instructions are very good, and clearly describe the insertion of their compact module into the fog light circuit. It’s just above center in the picture, and looks like a black worm that swallowed two sugar cubes.

.

Additionally, the JWest module allows daytime flashing of the fog lights with a tug on the column high beam lever.  This is how the fog lights should have always behaved. It’s unfortunate that Porsche didn’t think of it first!

.

Dome light –  The dome light wires can’t be properly routed until the upholstery firewall pad is installed, so they still dangle at this point.  But that didn’t prevent connecting and testing the light with the door jamb switches.  It worked great!

.

Wipers – Both speeds of the wiper motor worked perfectly the first time.  It also made that quintessential wiper motor noise, which warmed my heart.  I will install the wiper arms and blades after the windshield trim is mounted.

.

Fan Controls – The sliding electrical finger contacts inside the mechanism needed cleaning and some friendly persuasion with pliers to restore their contact pressure.  The clamp at the end of the fan cable also needed some slackening to allow the slider to travel fully to the rightmost max speed position.  Once the electrical circuit was solid, the fan spun up to max, and the panel indicator light magically started working.  I love magic.

.

Rear Trunk Interior Light – There is no obvious trunk lid switch that activates this light.  I first suspected the dome light switch was involved, but digging into the wiring diagram shows this bulb tied to the license plate lights.  This means it is always on as long as the parking lights are on.  Unlike your refrigerator, the light doesn’t turn off when the door closes.

.

Lighter – Not that it matters, because nobody will be permitted to smoke in this car.  But I might want to burn somebody if they try.  Or scare a certain girl to show that I like her.  Or maybe just burn some hair for fun because it smells gross.  So I’ll definitely make sure the lighter works.

.

Tunage – I picked out a nice Pioneer radio from Best Buy that had decent output wattage and an auxiliary input jack for an iPod.  A dock would have been sweet, but wouldn’t work due the the dashboard overhang.  I also installed a hidden under-dash antenna to justify the shaving of the stock antenna during bodywork.  It’s called a Tune Trapper, doesn’t require any separate power, and pulls in the stations con gusto (pending a future road test).  A couple of Polk 5-1/4″ speakers round out the rig, and fit nicely into the fiberglass speaker housings from 914 Appearance & Performance.  Like the originals, the speaker housings form right into the foot well, and their fiberglass construction will long outlast the original plastic housings.

.

Power windows – There was never an assigned slot on the fuse panel for power windows, so I tapped some juice from the protected side of fuse #8, which is the wiper/fan circuit.  For button illumination, I shared fuse #7, which remarkably carries nothing but the license plate and trunk lights.  As you can see, the power window button above is nicely illuminated.  The window buttons will get installed in the door panels after they are reupholstered.

.

Horn – This is the horn button that came with my Luisi steering wheel.  The wheel temporarily remains off to provide working room under the dash, but that didn’t stop me from connecting and testing the horn circuit.  Dual Hella horns sound hella sweet.

Advertisements

One Response to “Bells and Whistles, Part 1”

  1. WOW!! Nice to finally see it all lit up! Could have named this post ” Let there be lights”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: