Can the "Scrapheap" approach work?

Have you made or bought a converted vehicle if so this is for you
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Can the "Scrapheap" approach work?

Postby JohnA » Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:27 pm

Hello everyone,

At the weekend I caught a repeat of a Scrapheap Challenge programme from 2005 in which expert Paul, a.k.a. EVguru, helped a team convert a little Suzuki 4WD to run with an electric motor.

Like all these shows, you never get to see quite enough of the detail, so as a newby to the concept I want to ask two basic questions:

1. Aside from all the the bracing and supports, is the main mechanical headache simply mounting the motor shaft to the centre of the clutch plate? It all looked so easy on the tv that I would like to try this exact conversion.

2. Has anyone successfully scavenged a working motor from a real scrapheap, and if so what sort of money are we talking about?

Apart from telling us that their motor ran at 72V I have no great feel for what sort of power we're talking about here, so if anyone has any thoughts to offer then I'm keen to hear.


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Peter Eggleston
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Postby Peter Eggleston » Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:44 pm

I saw that repeat too.
If you are happy with a milk float or fork lift motor which can be adequit for a small car, rather than something more powerful, then you can find one easily on a scrap heap.
It is quite easy for an engineer shop to make an adapter to connect it to the clutch or gearbox.
The expensive bits are the batteries which must be deep cycle traction batteries. Car starter batteries will not do. They will give up almost immediately.
The controller is also expensive and a suitable one is not likely to be found on a scrap heap.

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Postby geekygrilli » Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:48 pm


I have a decent forklift motor for sale and Nino500 has a controller that'll be perfect for £200. So £260 would get you started.

I paid £400 for my batteries and they're ok, for the price. When warm it has a range of more than 20 miles.

Attaching the motor to the gearbox is not a big engineering job.

You'll ned a 5k Ohm variable resistor for the throttle, a charger (2 x 36v chargers would do - see curtis instruments), some chunky wire and a vac pump for the brakes. Oh, and a car.

Once you get stuck in its not nearly as daunting as you might think!

Hope this helps?

Best regards


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Postby qdos » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:59 am

There's nothing wrong at all with the scrap heap approach. I've built several cars from scrapped vehicles one I drove everyday for 12 years.

Go for it. It's great fun, it's much cheaper and it's far more ecological than buying anything new or indeed second hand come to that.

We're lead to believe we should all be buying new green cars to save the planet. The truth is it's a marketing lie to get us to hand over far too much money to global corporates and the tax man.

There's a number of excellent kit cars on the market including bike type vehicles such as Stuart's Etrike featured in the last Plugged In a while ago. I know there will be more on show in May at the Kit Car Show at Stoneleigh why not go along and see what is available.

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Postby JohnA » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:07 am

Hey everyone, a fantastic response, thankyou for taking the time to answer.

Christopher, I will contact you shortly re. the motor.

I didn't cloud the first posting with too many details, but the reason that this exact conversion interests me is because I have a piece of woodland and want a way to transport firewood out. It's only a couple of miles from the house and reasonably flat, but there's no way I'd risk taking the road car in with a trailer for fear of ripping the sump out. The Suzuki did go great guns on the tv show and being into all things green (I have PV and water panels, and the wind turbine is nearly there) I thought it would work well in the wood. The French locals already think I'm an eccentric Englishman so driving an electric 4WD would just seal it. I'm sure the local garage in the village would be interested to help and might even start a new trend .....

Thanks again!

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