Sunday, October 17, 2010

By the way, I'm going to have the windshield replaced soon. I think the only thing holding the current one together is the old Louisiana State Patrol Supporters club sticker prominently displayed on the lower left (do those things ever really get someone out of a ticket?). Anyway. I was looking at the windshield the other day and noticed this sticker in the top left:

I suspect I might have crossed some sort of line here. I'd guess that the "validity of the BMW Limited Warranty" might have been affected.

Monday, October 11, 2010

450 miles and loving it

I'm up to 450 electric miles now. It's starting to feel like no biggie. There's still plenty of work to be done though:

  • Heater Core build and install
  • Replace clutch slave cylinder and bleed
  • Install PakTrakr on front set of batteries
  • Rainshield DC/DC and motor

I did get the power steering pump to work...makes things a lot more pleasant.

I reinstalled the rear seats and trunk upholstery yesterday. Now I can take the kids to school.

The PakTrakr display works great. I'll have to check out the serial link soon and figure out how labor intensive data logging is going to be. I also haven't installed the monitor on batteries 7-12 yet. That means finding two more holes in the firewall. It's also tricky because batteries 7 & 8 are in the rear, so I had to run an extra cable to the back end for those leads.

It's really starting to look like a normal car again. Once I get the heater core finished, I'll be able to reassemble the console and dash. Then it'll be entirely stealthy. I'll have to get some green pinstriping or something to get the attention I crave.

I'm starting to get used to the "slammed" look. I don't know if I'm going to follow through with some sort of spring adjustment.

I did take it on another longish trip last week. There's some factory trained independent BMW mechanics a couple of towns away. They're the ones that bought the 4cyl and other parts. It needed a brake job before I started all this so I took it up to them so they could see the finished product. I figured out that their shop is 15 miles away, so I ought to be able to get up and back without getting too close to my current max of 37miles. I forgot about any sort of post-install test ride as well as any drain from the now-functional PS pump. I wound up limping home after a round trip of 34 miles. The next charge was 13.9kWh (out of a max 14.5).

I'm very pleased with the way things are holding together. I'd half expected something to go snap-fooey by now. I keep looking for stuff. The day after the brake job (new pads & rotors), I drove it from the house to the office and noticed a smell. When I got to the office, I raised the hood and felt some of the cables, the controller etc., and sniffed around a little bit. I finally realized that the smell was not any of my stuff, it was the new pads settling in on the new disks.

I love it when it's the normal things that are issues rather than my conversion work.

The same thing happened with a noise that popped up about 100 miles ago. I listened hard to determine whether the noise might be the impending breakup of the adapter or one of the other things you read about on these forums. It was road-speed related rather than motor speed, so that's good right? Maybe it's a bearing or something on the 207k, 13 year old donor? What about the driveshaft...did we not tighten it right when we put it back? No, while we had it up on the rack for the brake job, we noticed that the noise and heat insulating blanket pieces around the tunnel just behind the transmission had fallen down and were polishing the driveshaft.

So, no conversion drama, just simple age. I love it.

This thing's a lot of fun if you're not worried about range. I'm getting more comfortable with goosing it if I know that I'm only headed 10 miles before landing somewhere to charge. When the combination of location and schedule is right, it's quite enjoyable. I suspect though that living with it will always mean more planning than a regular ICE ride.