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Old 07-11-2006, 03:25 PM   #1
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Tom's Hybrid CRX Project

Hello,

This site is great! I'm converting my '89 Honda CRX to hybrid. A lot of people
have converted their cars to pure electrics and that's great. But I think hybrids
will turn into plug-in hybrids, and once people accept them then all-electrics
will be more accepted too.

I don't have formal training as a mechanic, but have read a bunch of books, taken
welding classes, bought a welder, bought a small lathe (with a bigger one coming
soon, hehehe), bought more books, etc. Now it's time to go from the classroom to
the lab/garage and actually go build something.

A friend gave me his CRX for free since it was very rusty. My plan is to find a
place where I can wedge in an electric motor. Batteries will go behind the seats
or in the trunk. Controller will probably go where the starter battery currently
sits.

Right now I'm removing the engine to see where the electric motor could fit. I'm
carefully labelling everything, taking pictures, and putting bolts in labelled
zip-lock bags. I'll put the pictures online as I progress.

So far replacing the starter with a bigger motor seems like the best route, but I
keep hoping I can wedge it between the ICE motor and the transaxle. That would
require some custom adapters, but if that's what it takes then that's what it
takes.

If anyone has ideas, experience, thinks it's great, thinks it's stoopid, let me
know. And since I have a welder and small lathe, I can do little projects for
anyone that needs welding/machining for projects related to saving gas.

Tom.
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Old 07-11-2006, 03:31 PM   #2
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Great idea Tom... I think it might be easier to get a rear drivetran from a 88-91 AWD Civic Wagovan and have the rear wheels run on battery while the front runs on gas.

You're also going to have to get an electric vaccuum pump to get your brake booster to work properly while in electric mode.
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Old 07-11-2006, 03:37 PM   #3
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Welcome to the site, Tom. Cool project! I tend to agree with Matt about the rear-wheel-electric-drive, but mostly because it would be easier to accomplish.

However, all the best to you in your hybrid quest. If you can build a true aftermarket co-operational drive system I believe that you will be the first to do so.

No matter what you do it will still be an awesome car.
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Old 07-11-2006, 07:44 PM   #4
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Hi Tom - glad you signed up!

Sounds like you've already formed a plan, but a simpler approach (it's not really simple, but it's all relative) that I kind of like may be to add an electrically driven 5th wheel.

A group of Insight enthusiasts at insightcentral.net have been discussing the best way to add "electric only" propulsion to the Insight for some time now. They discuss driving the engine (with it switched "off"); driving one of the rear tires with some kind of friction wheel; hub motors (unobtainium); and e-5th wheels. You can follow their thread here:

http://www.insightcentral.net/forum/...pic.php?t=4391

One of the 5th wheel proponents is Mike Dabrowski, who pioneered the Insight MIMA modification. Smart guy, and good in a workshop too. You should see the slick looking 5-th wheel he's fabricated. And just recently he's run trials, successfully accelerating his Insight to 30 mph under electric power alone. He's documenting his project here:

http://99mpg.com/TheBestHybridmix/

Aside from the e-RWD option, I've also read people throwing around the idea of powering one of the drive axles by adding a cogged belt...

Anyway, cool project! Looking forward to following your progress.

- Darin
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Old 07-12-2006, 03:28 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies guys. To reply to your comments:

> Matt Timion:
> Great idea Tom... I think it might be easier to get a rear drivetran from a
> 88-91 AWD Civic Wagovan and have the rear wheels run on battery
> while the front runs on gas.

Great minds think alike! I was reading the Haynes manual for the Civic, and thought of something similar. Connecting the electric motor to the output shaft of the transmission and driving the front wheels!

> You're also going to have to get an electric vaccuum pump to get your
> brake booster to work properly while in electric mode.
Thanks!

> MetroMPG:
> Sounds like you've already formed a plan, but a simpler approach (it's
> not really simple, but it's all relative) that I kind of like may be to add
> an electrically driven 5th wheel. Aside from the e-RWD option, I've also
> read people throwing around the idea of powering
> one of the drive axles by adding a cogged belt...

Humm... I'm skeptical about the electrically driven 5th wheel. I'm also looking for consumer acceptance of the hybrid approach. I think a 5th wheel is just going to sound too weird. I'm looking for the simplest, most direct approach. (Well, taking out an engine and replacing a transmission isn't totally simple, I'll grant you that. )
Thanks for the cool links. I don't like the cogged belt idea because cogged belts don't work so well for regen.

I want to be able to drive in all-ICE mode, all electric, and mixed. I want to be able to use the power generation feature while the car is stationary, and I want to be able to plug it in. Oh yeah, and regen. One other thing to keep in mind is that the car might get towed someday, and regen might cause problems if the batteries are charged.

Well, yesterday I took out the radiator and fans, and the thingy on top of the intake manifold. Need to get some deep socket 1/2" drive tools to get the exhaust manifold out.

If anyone knows what size spark plug sockets the Civic engine takes, please let me know. I'll check the manual...

Tom.
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Old 07-12-2006, 03:49 PM   #6
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3/4" deepwell socket for the civic plugs
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Old 07-12-2006, 04:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krousdb
3/4" deepwell socket for the civic plugs
Thanks for the info. So basically, 3/4" x 25.4mm/" = 19.05. I'll try 19mm
Tom.
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Old 07-13-2006, 07:27 AM   #8
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I vote for electric rear wheel drive useing the rear end from a 4 wheel drive wagovan like was sugested, I've been trying to figure out a way to cram an electric motor of the size you are going to need under the hood on the crx, and I don't think it's a practical thing to try to do.
I also worry about the car being given to you because it was rusted out, unless you have some amazing welding skills, repairing rust is dificult, and I'm not sure if a MIG welder can cut it.
one of the first rules in converting a car to electric is never start with a rusty car, find one with a blown engine, otherwise it's like building your house on quicksand, it's just not a stable base to work off.
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Old 07-22-2006, 12:42 AM   #9
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I don't think the wagovan drivetrain can be adapted to the crx without some major beating on that ish, but what do I know, that's prolly the best way to do it, having it run independently of the front (besides the drive portion blah blah blah). Iono.

Welcome though.
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