ElectraVan! 100% Electric Powered Van w/ Car Computer
I reckon since I've gotten my first bit o' mp3car hardware, I should start a worklog. I'm gonna back up a little bit and tell about my vehicle first. It's a story in itself!
I found the ElectraVan in an alley in Cheverly MD, outside of Washington DC. It belonged to someone at a roofing company, and I saw it while making a delivery to them. I contacted the person I knew at the company and he in turn contacted the owner who said I could have it, if I'd haul it away.
On Saturday, September 27th I took my little landscaping trailer and picked up the ElectraVan. It has one tire that won't hold air. So, I initially dropped it in my driveway while I made space in my overflowing garage for it. This Sunday, October 5, I brought it in the garage. I don't always do things in the best sequence. My initial objective is to assess the vehicle overall, and determine what it needs to have done, vs. the resources ($$) that I have to do it. So the first thing I did was jack it up and put it on dollies so I can move it within the garage. Then I opened all the doors & windows and cleaned it out. Condition Today: The van seems to be in pretty much the original condition - no batteries, but most of it is intact. There's a box inside full of parts - battery connectors, a few controller modules of some sort, and (Bonus!) a complete set of turn signal assemblies. 3 out of 4 on the truck are broken so this is a bonus indeed! So I sorted parts and took a few pictures as I contemplated what I want to do with this thing. My original thought was to use it at my nursery as a cart to bring things back & forth between our two greenhouse areas. But when I saw that it's intended to be road worthy, I had an internal debate as to whether I want to do that or get it on the road. I considered several choices on propulsion: 1. Use the existing GE motor, replace the T105 batteries, and try to 'just get it running' with the current configuration. 2. Upgrade the motor to an advanced 9" and replace the controller with something more modern. 3. Swap everything out and go with an AC system. Why? I dunno. The Body: The body is in pretty good shape overall. The glass is great. Gaskets are better than average for its age. Upholstery in intact, if worn. The dash & related wiring seem perfect. Just very very dirty. No matter what else I do, I think I'll pull the body & strip it and fix the few little dents and have it sprayed. Mechanical: I haven't looked all that closely at it yet, beneath the skin. The Subaru 360 has 10" split rim steel wheels and drum brakes all around. I really would like to put larger wheels on it and modern brakes. I've spent a bit of time on the internet looking for parts sources and brake upgrades. Found a few sources for parts, but very few options to upgrade the brakes. Seems air shocks are a good idea, or at least upgraded struts to better handle the weight. Mileage - 12,900.
Dashboards, Diesels, and other thoughts
So, I got tired of playing with my carputer inside the house so I decided to temporarily install it in my current daily driver - a '99 GMC Suburban Diesel. It would give me a chance to test out the touchscreen, GPS, Bluetooth and all that. as well as listen to my entire music collection (I'm apparently the only person on the planet without an iPod.)
Here it is all laid out. The computer will go under the passenger seat, and the screen will go on the center console temporarily. It will play through the aux input on my POC Panasonic stereo. There is a tiny bluetooth dongle, an ELM usb OBDC adapter, and a DeLorme GPS Puck:
So I hooked up an outlet adapter and plugged it all in to the stereo and and the touchscreen. WooHoooooooo!
On other fronts, while I was at it, I took a look at the screen vs. the ElectraVan dashboard.
Here's a shot of the old dash:
Here's the Dash with a new paint job, propped up on the hood of my Suburban:
Here it is with the 7" Lilliput in the area of the radio / ashtray opening. I'm not sure if I'm up for cutting up this dashboard. I'll need to think about it for a while....