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Old 09-30-2014, 08:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Australia
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Holden Barina 1994 EV Build thread

So i think i should start a build thread. If only to stop me polluting everyone else's threads with stuff about my build.

The plan.

Take the cheapest car i can find and convert it into a zippy EV.

On eBay and Gumtree the cheapest car is consistently the infamous Holden SB Barina.
A car made in Spain, imported into Australia.

First i went hunting for the reasons this car is so bad.

Practically everything i found that was wrong with this car was related to the engine.
Sweet, didn't want the internal combustion engine (ICE) anyway.

Now most people will think i am crazy but i really like the look of the Barina.
It is an honest car. Not trying to be something it isn't.
It doesn't have Mercedes look-a-like headlights. No BMW inspired styling.
It is a basic hatchback that just tries to be a basic hatchback.

The fact that it's engine woes make it super cheap is just a bonus.

Basically it blows head gaskets like it was an Olympic event.
Replacing the head gasket (a $10 part with a $700 labour charge) makes it non-viable for most people to repair.
Which makes it a prime target for recycling into an EV (well to my wacky perspective it does)

So car chosen, the search begins.
The tricky thing is to get one that has air conditioning (this is Australia after all) but is early enough to not have air-bags. No engineer in my state will touch a car with air-bags unless it is re-crash tested. A fact i only found out after removing all the ICE equipment and repairing all problems with a lovely silver hatchback. But that is a story for another thread, one with many tears.

The non-airbag vehicles were produced in 1994 and early 95. Unfortunately air conditioning wasn't standard until 1996. So i was looking for an early build but one that the original owner had taken the optional dealer fitted air conditioning.
Yes, that did narrow the field a bit. But eventually a donor was found.
Surprise, surprise it had a blown head gasket.
It was only 1000 kilometres away (600+ miles)... whoohoo roadtrip.
Well that was a long couple of days, a non stop 2000 kilometre (1200 miles or so) trip with a tandem trailer.

It was quite an adventure and well worth the effort if only to say we did it.

Once the car was in the garage the first thing i wanted to know was why the head gasket had blown. Not really required but i was curious. I found an intermittent coolant fan relay that only seemed to operate 50% of the time. A radiator full of gunk that totally insulated the temperature sensor from the coolant.
And a radiator fan that had one broken blade that had been wobbling so much it had been eating its way into radiator itself.

This car was never going to run again as an ICE vehicle.

So then the deconstruction began in earnest.

I kept the A/C circuit intact but the rest just had to go.

I will leave this first post there.

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