Fork Lift Truck purchasing - Help please.

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Posts: 36
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 1:27 pm
Location: Herefordshire/Gloucestershire boarder

Fork Lift Truck purchasing - Help please.

Postby sunandwindy » Sun May 27, 2012 12:50 pm

Hi Guys,

Looking for knowledge please.

I'm thinking of purchasing an electric FLT to salvage the motor etc. I appreciate some people don't seem to like salvaging from FLT's for reasons I don't yet know. However I see it as a simple move on to the route of building my own EV (Don't have a vehicle yet, but looking at something like a Suzuki Supercarry and variants, Fiat Berlingo type sizes - Needs to be big enough to put a folded wheel chair in the back with a small amount of shopping...).

There are no issues with engineering components and fabrication as I have the skills and suitably equipped workshop with lathes millers etc.

As well as the drive motor and perhaps controls and batteries, I can make use of the FT mast for another project.

So can anyone give any tips on what to look out for when searching for a FLT suitable for a EV conversion please? Though... if a ready converted EV comes up, I may take that route.

Thanks for reading.


By the way I'm based on the boarder between Herefordshire and Gloucestershire in the UK.

Chris King
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:58 pm

Re: Fork Lift Truck purchasing - Help please.

Postby Chris King » Mon Jun 04, 2012 6:05 pm

Please forgive my delayed response, but I have been away from the BVS forum for a time building an Electric Pembleton powered by a Forklift Truck motor! An article for the Pembleton Motor Forum ePAG, may be seen on the Web under - Electric Pembleton ePAG. The good news is that it recently passed the VOSA IVA test and is now awaiting the DLVA to give me a registration.

I found the Forklift truck electric motor by looking for - Forklift Truck Services, which gave me a dozen places to telephone and/or visit until I found what I was looking for, eventually by being recommended through their own contacts.

In the end I found a scrap motor that need much TLC. It was 24volt and rated at 3.7kw. This propels the Pembleton very well off a battery pack of 96 volts run through an Electrofit Zapi Controller.

I wish you well in your search and build.


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Night Train
Posts: 350
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 11:55 pm
Location: Manchester

Re: Fork Lift Truck purchasing - Help please.

Postby Night Train » Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:11 pm

If you are looking for a whole forklift then you will need to get dirty looking at the motor carefully.

Choose one that is 48V or higher. Measure the motor, you are looking for something that will be about 9" diameter. Much smaller and you will find it may not be powerful enough. Much above and it will run slower then you may need and weigh a lot.

The motor could come in two types, rigidly mounted to the axle or separately with a short propshaft. Of the former some will be complete motors in their own right bolted to the axle and some will be built as a part of the axle.

Ideally you want one where the motor is complete, ie it has a drive end cap with bearing so that it runs on bearings at both ends of the armature when it has been removed from the axle.

If the motor has a propshaft then you will need to see if the drive end cap has a flat machined face that can be used on an adapter plate. It needs to be machined flat and true to the shaft axis and be strong enough to support the weight of the motor.

Also, Forklifts come in AC and DC. DC will be simpler to use as, although you will have the AC controller from the truck it is often too low a voltage rating to be useful, as would the DC controller. That would require you to purchase a replacement controller in the 144v range.

The other thing to look for in the motor is that it has four terminals, not two and that the shaft is a solid male shaft not a hollow female shaft.

The data plate of the motor will give you details of the motor. Look for it being series wound and with high temperature insulation.

The armature of the motor should have long commutator bars, close on 2" or more long with four sets of brushes. The brushes can be single large ones or more usual is twin brushes in each brush holder. The coils in the armature should also be strapped to prevent them blowing out at high speed.

Some of this you won't know before you dismantle the forklift so you may need to make an educated guess and investigate closely. This is why it can be easier to buy a motor from a breaker as you can see it properly. Fork Truck Breakers in Chesterfield have a large stock and I have found that my local fork lift places go there for their spares.

However, if the rest of the truck is useful to you then best of luck in choosing. I wouldn't expect the pump motor to be useful in a vehicle conversion, nor the controller or batteries so don;t worry too much about them unless they can be used for your other project.

Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2006 2:40 am
Location: Borehamwood

Re: Fork Lift Truck purchasing - Help please.

Postby Deker » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:48 pm

I have a large-ish series wound motor from a FLT,
dunno much about it, was told 24v.

Haven't looked at it for years, bought it for e-bike = much much too big for that.

Would suit E-motorcycle or small E-car.

All I want is the £20 (or was it 30 :?: ) I gave for it.


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