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Old 05-18-2018, 03:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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2011 Nissan Leaf modifications (efficiency and utility)

This is what I'm thinking for leaf mods.

First, get a 240v charger. I got a 3.8kw univeral 120/240v j1772 charger that should be here any day now. 120v is killing me I don't know how any one gets by with one of these as their primary vehicle slow charging on 120v power.
If you were thinking "I'll just plug it into that outlet by my front door" nope. I guess you could get by on 120v power if you could charge at work, the store, so on. If your only place to charge is at home, don't bet on 120v power.
Edit, got the 2nd charger and moded my original charger, I love charging on 240v power.

Trailer hitch, already here, just got to put it on.
Edit, the trailer hitch is on.

Alignment, next Thursday at 0900L, one of the front tires is worn kind of funny, it's probably just from being driven in the city and making sharp 90 right turns all the time but might as well get it checked out. Liberal Democrat ran utopias like Illinois, where this car was from tend to have really bad roads too.
Edit: the alignment was off a little.

A spare tire, the leaf doesn't have a spare, I didn't think it did. We run over all kinds of nails and junk here because people just don't care what they drop on the roads as they go to the dump.

Remove the lug key and put normal lug nuts on there. I live in the country no one is going to go around steal wheels off cars unless they are suicidal want to end up as pig feed.
Put normal 21mm lugs on there, nissan studs are 12x1.25mm, already looked it up.
Edit, done.

Add some kind of flat tow provision incase it gets ran dead. Our other 2 cars have hitches on them except for the useless VW which should be gone soon.

Make the flat tow rig double as a supporting structure for an air dam.

Scalp my Yokohama avid ascend LRR tires off the VW, put new cheap Walmart junk on there to sell it, save the yokos for the leaf, the tires on the leaf now look like 10%, 20%, 35% and 35%. They would be useless on snow. The Yokohama tires on the bug are at least at 80%.
Edit: those tires went with the bug.

Tires, I will need 2 new tires soon.

Later on mod the original OEM nissan leaf charger to also take 240v power. It may seem redundant to have 2 chargers and that's the whole point. What happens when the original charger quits?
I want to leave a charger hard wired into 240v power at the house, so all I have to do is grab the j1772 and plug it into the car. Then keep the other one in the car. Along with some extension and adaptor cords.
All I should need for an adaptor cord is a 5-15p to 6-20r to charge anywhere with the universal j1772 charger and a L14-30p to 6-20r so I can charge the car while working on my rental house. Yes on one side of that house I installed a L14-30 and a 6-20 on the other side, plus three 120v receptacles inbetween. My old house was 100% electric car and welder ready.
Edit: this is done. One of the most effective mods.

Edit: Stick H9 led replacements on the high beams.

Stick a big flexible solar panel on the roof to provide most of the power needed by the 12v systems during the day.

I will consider switching over to steel 16 inch wheels if they are about the same weight as factory OE leaf alloy wheels just so I can put smooth hub caps on there. Or some smooth 16 inch aluminum wheel that are the same lug pattern and close enough off set.

Edit:
Leaf external battery cooling A/C. Make a Styrofoam cut out for the rear doors window and run a portable ducted A/C unit into the window. I read that cabin air vents through the battery to help cool it.

Edit:
Lower the leaf and use air bags to pump it back up.
The 2018 leaf got lowered to add more range.
But just lowering is problematic, as the roads are rough and I want to pull my trailer.
More ride hight would be better in town. Then slam it on the highway.

Sell the VW to replenish cash reserves and pay for leaf mods.
Edit: the bug sold much quicker than I anticipated, for $1850 and I didn't even have to do anything to it. I was planning on new head lights, a new pass side tail light, oil change, detail.
The bug sold the day after I listed it, apparently this guy had been looking for a sport package bug with mark IV engine that has lowish miles for a few months now.

What size is the leaf hub pattern? I'm assuming it's 5 on 4.5?
And don't know what the offset needs to be if there is one?
EDIT, I looked it up and found all nissan cars use the same wheel lug pattern, just different offsets.

Brake drag reducing springs.

Any other mod ideas?

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1984 chevy suburban, custom made 6.5L diesel turbocharged with a Garrett T76 and Holset HE351VE, 22:1 compression 13psi of intercooled boost.
1989 firebird mostly stock. Aside from the 6-speed manual trans, corvette gen 5 front brakes, 1LE drive shaft, 4th Gen disc brake fbody rear end.
2011 leaf SL, white 240v evse mod, trailer hitch, new batt as of 2014.

Last edited by oil pan 4; 06-16-2018 at 11:13 PM.. Reason: (added info to title)
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Old 05-18-2018, 04:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Park it in the shade or tint the windows. Glad we did that.

Forgot what year yours is, but you could put on an aluminum hatch from the older years.

Lithium accessory battery.
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Last edited by ME_Andy; 05-18-2018 at 05:03 PM..
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Old 05-18-2018, 06:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Mine is a 2011.
The most hated year.

Scratch at least part of line item 10, I already have the better LED low beam headlights. I may investigate LED high beams.
Or going to 100w halogen highbeams.
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1984 chevy suburban, custom made 6.5L diesel turbocharged with a Garrett T76 and Holset HE351VE, 22:1 compression 13psi of intercooled boost.
1989 firebird mostly stock. Aside from the 6-speed manual trans, corvette gen 5 front brakes, 1LE drive shaft, 4th Gen disc brake fbody rear end.
2011 leaf SL, white 240v evse mod, trailer hitch, new batt as of 2014.

Last edited by oil pan 4; 05-18-2018 at 06:51 PM..
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Old 05-19-2018, 12:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oil pan 4 View Post
This is what I'm thinking for leaf mods.

First, get a 240v charger. I got a 3.8kw univeral 120/240v j1772 charger that should be here any day now. 120v is killing me I don't know how any one gets by with one of these as their primary vehicle slow charging on 120v power.
If you were thinking "I'll just plug it into that outlet by my front door" nope. I guess you could get by on 120v power if you could charge at work, the store, so on. If your only place to charge is at home, don't bet on 120v power.
May I ask what "charger" (aka, EVSE, charge cord or J1772 chord) you're getting? There's one made by a company called Zencar that seems to be there best bang for buck. But I see you have a "3kW" 240V onboard charger, unless it's been modified. So anything that takes a 20A or more 240V circuit will work for your car.
Quote:
Originally Posted by oil pan 4 View Post
Trailer hitch, already here, just got to put it on.
Cool! May I ask what you plan on towing? A future range extender perhaps?
Quote:
Originally Posted by oil pan 4 View Post
Add some kind of flat tow provision incase it gets ran dead. Our other 2 cars have hitches on them except for the useless VW which should be gone soon.
On the one hand the owner's manual says to never tow flat with all four wheels on the ground. There is a good reason not to with a 2011 or 2012 Leaf, if the battery runs dead the parking brake locks on. But as long as you never let that happen, you can actually charge the Leaf with the tow vehicle by leaving it in D while towing it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by oil pan 4 View Post
Later on mod the original OEM nissan leaf charger to also take 240v power. It may seem redundant to have 2 chargers and that's the whole point. What happens when the original charger quits?
I want to leave a charger hard wired into 240v power at the house, so all I have to do is grab the j1772 and plug it into the car. Then keep the other one in the car. Along with some extension and adaptor cords.
All I should need for an adaptor cord is a 5-15p to 6-20r to charge anywhere with the universal j1772 charger and a L14-30p to 6-20r so I can charge the car while working on my rental house. Yes on one side of that house I installed a L14-30 and a 6-20 on the other side, plus three 120v receptacles inbetween. My old house was 100% electric car and welder ready.
Great idea! I have 3. A 240V "40A" (32A actual) Aerovironment wall mounted unit, the original 120V cord that came with the car, and an 12A/16A/24A/32A Zencar EVSE cord that I also want to make adapters for.
Quote:
Originally Posted by oil pan 4 View Post
Stick a big flexible solar panel on the roof to provide most of the power needed by the 12v systems during the day.
Great idea! I think I could actually fit a full 6kW of solar on the roof for charging the car too. But it wouldn't be cheap.
Quote:
Originally Posted by oil pan 4 View Post
Any other mod ideas?
Mod the car to accept more than 16A during 240V charging. You can do this by adding Brusa charger modules. Sometimes they come up cheap on eBay. The 2013 and later Leafs take up to 32A off a 40A circuit breaker or better, charging up in less than 4 hours (the 2011's and 12's charge up in less than 7 hours on 240V.). If your circuit breaker is 50A or 70A, you could add even more onboard chargers and charge even faster.

Also better battery cooling would increase the life of the battery. All Leaf batteries can see very little drop in capacity with over 10 years of use if the battery is kept cool. A hot Leaf battery can lose well over 10% of it's capacity every year.
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Last edited by Isaac Zackary; 05-19-2018 at 12:55 AM..
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:49 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The bursa charger modules are not cheap.
For the price of 1 or 2 of them I should be able to pick up a used single phase 240v powered CHAdeMO.
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2011 leaf SL, white 240v evse mod, trailer hitch, new batt as of 2014.
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Old 05-19-2018, 06:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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A single phase CHAdeMO would be awesome! I've seen some that were rated for 50Hz. But I'm not sure if they'd work in North America with 60Hz.

Seems like I remember 3.3kW Brusa chargers being about $5,000 brand new, but I've seen some used for a few hundred on eBay. But that was a while back, and sometimes it's too good to be true too.

Have you thought about any sort of range extender? I keep going back and forth ok several ideas. There are quite a few now getting a few dozen extra miles by means of am auxiliary battery in the trunk or even in the spare tire area.

About spare tires, it looks like Australian Leafs come equipped with them. Also, I want to say that the Altima (I could be wrong) spare tires work on the Leaf. But I do wonder if there's any difference in rims between the 2011 & 2012 Leafs and the 2013 and later Leafs. I do know that the brakes and some other parts are different, so could mess with the fitment of a doughnut, although I suspect they probably are the same.
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Old 05-19-2018, 08:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I made a post about home CHAdeMO only with in the last few weeks. The single phase 240v 60Hz ones I found only charged at around 10 to 12kw.

If you get a flat in Australia you could die.
When I get a spare I will get a 5th full sized wheel assembly with no tpms.

Since mine has a 3 or 4 year old battery with most of its range intact I am not really thinking about a range extender beyond a flat tow setup.it appears that it should be able to do everything I was expecting it to.
The only range extender I might mess with is the solar panels, if the solar can take up most of the 200w 12v accessory that could give +2 miles per charge.

The trailer hitch is going to be used to pull my trailer and maybe even might trying pulling my chain harrow around with it. The leaf is definitely more comfortable than my tractor.

I'm probably just going to take a wheel off my trailer which i know has 5 on 4.5 zero off set and see if it fits the leaf, after I get the trailer hitch on. The back end of the leaf is up on ramps at the moment.
Then everything on my old "light weight wheels" post becomes relevant.
I was looking for OEM light weight wheels for my trailer that had 5 on 4.5 pattern. Most of the wheels found were 14 inch and up. I really only needed 12 or 13 inch wheels, any bigger and the trailer would be too high up off the ground for my liking.
I ended up going with alloy 12 inch load range E steel belted radial tires.
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1984 chevy suburban, custom made 6.5L diesel turbocharged with a Garrett T76 and Holset HE351VE, 22:1 compression 13psi of intercooled boost.
1989 firebird mostly stock. Aside from the 6-speed manual trans, corvette gen 5 front brakes, 1LE drive shaft, 4th Gen disc brake fbody rear end.
2011 leaf SL, white 240v evse mod, trailer hitch, new batt as of 2014.

Last edited by oil pan 4; 05-19-2018 at 09:15 PM..
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Old 05-20-2018, 09:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I have a pair of 2015 leaf headlights and taillights. I will let them go cheap. Will try to find out if they are LEDs, later today. They are in Florida.
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Old 05-20-2018, 11:48 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Team Hyundai
90 day: 30.21 mpg (US)

Bug - '01 VW Beetle GLSturbo
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I didnt realize it at first but I already have the better SV headlights which have LED low beams.
What are the advantages of the 2015 lights?
It appears 2015 has LED low beams, halogen highbeams, just like my 2011 SV lights.

On the topic of head lights the SV LED halogen high beams are H9 bulbs, they're 65w each. I will probably install an H9 LED replacement.
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1984 chevy suburban, custom made 6.5L diesel turbocharged with a Garrett T76 and Holset HE351VE, 22:1 compression 13psi of intercooled boost.
1989 firebird mostly stock. Aside from the 6-speed manual trans, corvette gen 5 front brakes, 1LE drive shaft, 4th Gen disc brake fbody rear end.
2011 leaf SL, white 240v evse mod, trailer hitch, new batt as of 2014.

Last edited by oil pan 4; 05-20-2018 at 11:56 AM..
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Old 05-20-2018, 11:56 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I didnt realize it at first but I already have the better SV headlights which have LED low beams.
What are the advantages of the 2015 lights?
If I remember right, there's no difference between 2011 and 2015 lights. Only that in the beginning, the S Leafs didn't get LED low beams, but SV and SL did. However, later on (2016 I believe) Nissan started putting LED low beams only on the SL's and the SV's ended up getting that same lights as the S's.

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2013 Nissan Leaf, town car, 4.2mpk-electric 2.38 per mile.
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