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Old 12-30-2015, 05:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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New member looking to ditch gas

Hello all,

I have been reading ecomodder off and on for a bit over a year now, and finally signed up when I saw bennelson's post about his high-mileage cheap i-MiEV. I had been looking at a very similar car, so I signed up to ask questions - and went to double-check the mileage and it was gone. Ah, well.

So, a bit about me: been interested in better fuel economy since my first truck, a 1974 FJ40 Toyota Land Cruiser. It had a Chevy 350 V-8 that got about 10mpg, so I researched every gas-saving thing I could find. Didn't get a chance to try any before I rolled that truck after the Halloween Snowstorm a while back in MN. Replaced it with a bone-stock 1979 FJ40 that did a bit better - 12-14mpg. Had that for a long time. For a while there, I also had a 1987 VW Scirocco 16V that did pretty good on gas. Sold it to a cousin. Got a brand new 1998.5 Dodge Ram 2500 quad-cab longbed 4x4 with the Cummins 24V turbodiesel, 3.55 gears and 5-speed manual. Got 22mpg right off the lot, and then averaged about 17mpg after the power and economy robbing recall they did after the EPA caught Cummins (and others) cheating. Sold that after 75,000 miles to my brother-in-law. Borrowed a spare car from my parents for a while until I bought the 1999 Chevy Prizm I have now. It had 47,000 miles on it. Has 167,000 on it now. Sometime in that mileage I sold off the FJ40 carcass (I had taken it apart to "restore" it, but had no money, so it just turned to dust... ) The Prizm burns some oil, but not bad, and still averages over 30mpg in mixed driving. The struts are *gone* and it is starting to dissolve and it just isn't the car I want to work on.

I'm looking for a replacement car, and I would rather not have it burn fuel. Used EV's are getting cheaper and cheaper. If I can find my old 1974 FJ40, I might compromise and run it on E85, though it would only get 8mpg until I could fit it with aluminum high-compression heads or a modern flex-fuel V6. What I really want to do is convert an FJ40 to an EV. (EVJ-40? F is the designator for I-6 gas engine...)

Huh, guess that was less about me than about my cars... I'm an engineer, still a gearhead but a conflicted one because climate change, and find most new cars utterly boring. I like the classics, but don't like their fuel thirst nor their lack of safety features. (I'm a Dad 2x now, so gots responsibilities other than just me...) Not sure how active I'll be on here - my interest in forums comes and goes, but figured I ought to say Hi at least, and thank y'all for a lot of interesting threads. I like to research the heck out of things, and some posts do just that.

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Old 12-30-2015, 08:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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As to the FJ, my TJ gets 20+MPG and I'm told that people who've done LS swaps are getting a 5mpg improvement over the 70's tech I6. I want an LS3 swap

An off road EV makes no practical sense, unless you live at the trail head, you'd need a tow vehicle, at which point it's hardly an EV, more of a hybrid.

Last edited by oldtamiyaphile; 12-30-2015 at 08:28 PM..
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Old 12-31-2015, 01:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, an off-road EV makes plenty of sense if you a) are not building an insane mega-wheeler, and b) can get the range up to about 60 miles, then it's on par with current lower-end factory-built EV's. Mostly I want to drive an FJ40 again but don't want to do fuel-burning if I can avoid it. Mine was stock, I don't intend to go above ~33" tires for quite a while as I've no time/budget for extreme stuff. I could probably get away with as little as 40 miles winter range, so long as I can keep the glass defrosted and myself from freezing. 2-3 Volt/Leaf packs would do the range job, so it's not totally out there.

Getting to the trailhead would be a problem, yes. Aside from a tow rig (needed if I want to go the camper route anyway, that depends on what the rest of the family is willing to put up with for camping) my current "plausible/doable" idea is an engine/automatic transmission in a trailer, driveshaft-coupled to the rear output on the transfercase. Basically, a stock used automatic 2WD truck driveline, complete. Could possibly repurpose the front framerails of the vehicle it came in... Might need a reverser, but those are available. Not a pusher - uses the driveline in the vehicle itself. Remote controls for the throttle and trans and I'm good to go. Patterned after the driven trailers used with some big military trucks and/or the various PTO-driven gensets/tools that can be towed behind large tractors, etc - but with the mechanical power flow reversed.

The less plausible option - but would be totally awesome and would require naming the truck "Minn-Kota" or getting a license plate "MNKOTA" or similar - is to adapt a water-cooled Honda/Suzuki/other outboard motor (of the sort that uses a modified car engine and is 4-stroke and fuel injected) to use a radiator and mount it to a replacement bumper-mounted swing-away tire carrier type thing. Appearance would be very important - it must retain stock-like external appearance, though I'll need to tap in to intercept the cooling water that normally goes down the exhaust, possibly add more thermal insulation around the no-longer-cooled exhaust or tap it to come out before it enters the lower unit, a dummy/not coupled prop would be MANDATORY, etc. There are diesel ones, too, for extra crazy. And again, adapt it to the rear output on the transfercase. No good for low speed work, but it is a "ride the highway and save the battery charge" idea.

Just picture an FJ40 barreling down the freeway with an outboard motor hanging off the back, sounding like a muffled outboard motor...

The outboard idea is rather out there, and since it only came up as an idea after I considered how to get into one of the 4x4 magazine's pavement/off-road journey/competition things that requires 100 mile range and no trailer, it is unlikely to happen due to the other expensive things that such contests also require.

Both ideas require a regen-capable EV driveline in the FJ40. Since the use-case points to dunkings/mud/etc then a sealed motor is preferred, so an AC solution looks really good - even if air cooled it is easier to seal something you don't need to get into to service that often (for brushes). It is a solved problem to provide filtered dry air to a submerged 4x4 - snorkel.

Anyways, mostly I want a fun commuter vehicle, and I miss my FJ40, and I hate burning fuel all the time. I'm due a mid-life crisis vehicle...

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