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Glad to hear ...

Hey Matt, Glad to hear "everything" got home OK! Also glad to hear that you are still working on the "Montage" (which is my new name for your GT): you are the owner of an GT Montage!

Keep us posted! -- Doug
 

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Pre-Patching Primer Party! Priming begins. Colormatching is coincidence, that's just the color of the chemical. Oddly, the can specifically says not for use on ferrous steels. Aluminum or galvanized steel only. I tried to look up why but found no reason not to use Zinc Chromate on steel .
Matt, I hate to tell you this, but that isn't "Weld-Thru Zinc-Rich Primer". That is a protective primer, and "might" do ok to prime the bare metal, but it likely won't survive the welding process.

The primer that you need is like this:

https://www.dominionsureseal.com/product/hi-build-zinc-weld-thru-primer-szc/

I think AutoValue has that

or this

https://www.amazon.ca/SEM-39783-Weld-Thru-Primer-oz/dp/B00063ZPBU/ref=sr_1_4?gclid=Cj0KCQjwoqDtBRD-ARIsAL4pviDpvTbmQfIW0c3ReNkONg7QjURMtrRNvX-uLOaTDFAAB6ehXe38-8YaAnvbEALw_wcB&hvadid=324853013978&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9001330&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1o1&hvqmt=b&hvrand=8208178887644102894&hvtargid=kwd-268957742&hydadcr=29936_9846987&keywords=weld+thru+primer&qid=1571323187&sr=8-4

The correct primer will always say "Weld-Through". You should be able to just spray it over the existing primer, and just spray the edges of the welded parts; no reason to go beyond the weld area.
 

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Discussion Starter #83
Matt, I hate to tell you this, but that isn't "Weld-Thru Zinc-Rich Primer"
Ugh. Well... crap. That's is what Canadian Tire told me was weld-through. I wondered why it was yellow, when the last stuff I bought was grey.



You should be able to just spray it over the existing primer, and just spray the edges of the welded parts; no reason to go beyond the weld area.
My old (actual weld-through) can says to only be applied to clean metal surfaces, not over other primers. Might just be a general advisory though.

The undersides I sprayed just generally I guess I'll leave, but, now I'm skeptical. I bet I have enough in this old can to do the actual weld seams themselves, but not the whole areas I covered with the other stuff. I wonder if I'll be contaminating the weld with the chromate coating that gets vaporized though. Maybe should just clean it all up.

"We do it right, because we do it twice"...
 

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Discussion Starter #84
Doing more reading...

To clear up possible confusion, the photo in my last post was the old stuff I have, not the stuff I used. This is the stuff I used: https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/dupli-color-zinc-chromate-primer-0471018p.html

Apparently, actual zinc-chromate is rarely used anymore, and there might be cans of primer called that, that don't have that in it. I tried looking it up on Dupli-color's website, it doesn't exist in their catalog, even though I just bought a can of it.

The can says not to use it for ferrous steels. Says it's good for galvy or aluminum. I'm not sure why, I looked it up and zinc chromate is fine for steel. Hence why I used it. Maybe I shouldn't have.

Then I started looking into the debate of whether weld-through primer does anything. Apparently manufacturers have stopped suggesting it be used. But maybe that's because the sheet metal they use has some zinc coating on it already. Apparently you are supposed to clean it off at the actual weld site, it's only to be used to help inside the overlap. It doesn't actually flow into the weld or anything like that.

Here's a guy doing some tests with zinc, copper, and just epoxy primer plug welds. He added a step of using a syringe of epoxy at the seem of each sample, intending to just get a little spot to compare to, but it wicked a fair way across some of the welds. Interestingly, as soon as the epoxy ran out, neither the zinc nor copper primer seem to have provided any rust protection at all. They were both rusty. https://youtu.be/SK2CSJRp5js?t=151

So, now I'm thinking... screw it. Clean up the weld area a bit, leave the zinc chromate on there only because it's easier than taking it off, weld it and good enough. Prime and paint the outside later but don't care about the inside panel gaps.
 

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The correct primer will always say "Weld-Through". You should be able to just spray it over the existing primer, and just spray the edges of the welded parts; no reason to go beyond the weld area.
Hell, NO! Only onto bare metal! And on both contacting surfaces.

Dieter
 

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Discussion Starter #86
This part is probably a bit out of the interesting scope for this community, but, I've picked up an inverter I'm hoping to use.

It's from a 2nd Gen Prius. Apparently the Toyota engineers made the things bulletproof. Every stupid and abusive thing you can do to them was anticipated and fails gracefully if it passes limits (usually thermal or overvoltage limits, so, it allows itself to be abused far above its spec until it actually reaches a limit that matters).

A 2nd Gen Prius (ending in 2009) was chosen because there's some effort being put in in the DIY community to hijack the brains of it, as a source of the cheapest (mine was $150 CAD and I expect I'm on the highest end) and most commonly available salvaged inverters available to DIYers. They're all hitting junkyards now and should be cheaper than buying components. There are functional test boards of the replacement brains that I can order blanks of.



Came with literally nothing other than the inverter itself. I asked what the hole was for and what used to go into it, and he (junkyard) said nothing. I said I wanted to look inside and make sure no snow got into it, he said no, it was indoors, and they never even opened it, there's a gasket on top that is expensive to replace.

Cracked it open when I got home:



Amazing how he got all those plugs apart without removing the top of the inverter. And how the case screws were only finger tight.

Seems in perfect shape but, yeah.

Pain in the ass, have to shop around for a wiring harness now. Shop said he'd sell me the cables for $30 next time he has a Gen 2 come in.

Good news is that this inverter has multiple functions inside it. It actually has two 3-phase motor controllers (you could link them and get 400hp to a motor), and a DC-DC converter that could be used as a battery charger too, so no need for a separate charger.

...

In other news, starting to think about what I want to do with my instrument cluster and what I want that to look like. I'll be redoing some of the gauges and trying to keep the font and style the same. The layout you all know:



- Speedometer I would have to electro-mechanically simulate, (originally planned to keep the trans and not have to modify this, but, with no trans planned now I have to fake it). But I want to keep it the same (maybe change the graphic to have km/h too).

- Tachometer is useless since I'll be direct driving the torque tube. But a functional equivalent might be the amount of Amps I'm drawing from the main battery. Not sure how I'd replicate that, but I'm mostly set on that going there. Having a logarithmic scale would be neat too, since, anything but peak acceleration is going to leave the needle at effectively zero on a linear scale. Not sure if that's possible, but that's my ideal.

- Battery charge/discharge I will probably leave as-is. I'll still have a small lead-acid battery to run all the 12v systems. It'd be nice to confirm it's working and what my 12v load is and if the converter can keep up.

- Oil pressure I don't need and don't have ideas for. I'm not sure what I want there.

- Temperature sensor I'll try to rejig probably to motor/inverter/battery temp. Nice things to know. Maybe I'll adapt Oil Pressure to a second temp sensor

- Fuel gauge is hokey, I'd rather see a voltage read-out, which I probably will anyways somewhere. But, I happen to have a battery-to-fuel-gauge electronic converter gifted to me from another DIY EVer, so, if I can get that working I'll use it as a "fuel" gauge.

- Clock I was thinking I might convert into a backup camera screen. I'll hide a digital clock somewhere else on the panel. There's not much space for a screen and I'd like some kind of screen. Maybe I'll use the radio area below instead and have a whole nav/infotainment screen there.

- I love the rocker switches. I love how they're not buttons, and how I could hit them by feel, and how far they move. I actually have two instrument panels, so if I need extra switches for anything I have 6 more I can use.

...

Ideas about what other things I may want?
 

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In other news, starting to think about what I want to do with my instrument cluster and what I want that to look like. I'll be redoing some of the gauges and trying to keep the font and style the same. The layout you all know:

- Battery charge/discharge I will probably leave as-is. I'll still have a small lead-acid battery to run all the 12v systems. It'd be nice to confirm it's working and what my 12v load is and if the converter can keep up.

- Temperature sensor I'll try to rejig probably to motor/inverter/battery temp. Nice things to know. Maybe I'll adapt Oil Pressure to a second temp sensor

- Fuel gauge is hokey, I'd rather see a voltage read-out, which I probably will anyways somewhere. But, I happen to have a battery-to-fuel-gauge electronic converter gifted to me from another DIY EVer, so, if I can get that working I'll use it as a "fuel" gauge.
Opel GT Source sells a very nice gauge that replaces the typically non-working analogue/electro-mechanical clock (does your clock work?) with a voltmeter/temp gauge. The temp comes with a sensor, and is usually placed in the engine chain case to provide oil temperature.

As it turns out, the Calgary Opel Parts Co-Op has such a gauge in stock. We can chat, and also about the OGTS full length variable rate rear coil springs to help better support your battery load
 

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Discussion Starter #89 (Edited)
Minor parts and boring updates:

- Keith helped me discover that the key to my steering column should match the doors, and, after I determined it did not, demonstrated that it does (yellow). The mechanism is just gummy and he had to help it move. So, no need for locksmithing. I had 2 keys, one is half-way cracked through. Both work in the ignition, but the keys barely match up (really bad key copying attempt). The yellow doors are the worse ones, so I'll still swap the handles out into the Orange doors.

- Keith also helped me disassemble one of the rotating headlights since mine weren't moving perfect, and because the 50-year old wiring is a must-replace fire hazard (confirmed, crumbling rubber). Watching him disassemble the headlight was like watching a marine field-strip a rifle, he knew exactly the process. I figured it would take 5 minutes. Nope, more like 45 minutes. Would've taken me a week to figure it out. He recommended pulling the whole wiring harness anyway.

-Went over my welding plan with him while he was there, basically hoping he'd reassure me that my fitment issues weren't as bad as they seemed. He mostly concurred. The pieces don't fit together all at the same time, likely from when Doug, Roy and I used jacks to force them to frakenstein into a continuous car-shaped piece of metal with the correct VIN the day before my inspection. So we identified a process of what to anchor first (steering column, which is tight but then pulls a 1/2" gap in the firewall once the floorpan is settled), then progressively work through until all the fitment (windshield corners next) was lined up (floorpan/seats is last, smash 'em in place if I have to). I feel a lot better about firing up the welder finally.

- Pulled a Gen 1 (2001) Prius inverter from a junkyard. I'm not sure why. There's no open source projects to repurpose it and I can't design one myself. Pick N Pull doesn't even have a price sheet for it (they do not do EVs, this one slipped through on a bulk purchase). So the lady figured we could call it an "Electronic Ignition Module". $24. For that price, the caps and transistors have got to come in handy eventually on some project (induction furnace, welder, I dunno).



I busted 2 #40 Torx bits trying to take the wires out and eventually stripped the head, had to disassemble the wiring from the tranxaxle side. In the end I clamped a monster crescent wrench onto a bracket under the screw and got it to turn. Damned galvanic corrosion (Al vs. Fe).



- Figured I would need a smaller coolant pump, so I pulled the one from the Prius inverter as well. They are famous for failing, and don't throw an error code unless the inverter overheats, which it won't do unless you're really pushing it. Passive circulation is sufficient. So I try to run it on 12v... appears to be shorted internally. Can't return it, because when I said "Coolant pump" the clerk lady said "Nope, looks like a vacuum hose to me, it's a lot cheaper." So I still need a coolant pump. Hrmph.



- First Gen Prius seemed to use a belt-driven AC compressor, so no point in saving that. But 2nd gen onwards use a 3 phase motor controlled by the inverter I think, might pull one of those eventually. Also a foot pedal would be convenient. Was considering taking the electric steering pump from a Toyota MR2, but, not sure if there's a point in having power steering.

- Set up an electric radiator space heater on a timer in the garage so that it clicks on a few hours before I get off work, so things aren't painfully cold to the touch when I get there. It clicks off when I get off work, so if I'm not in the shop that day (most days) to switch it to manual, it's not wasting power.
 

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Discussion Starter #90
Minor progress:

- Got the last of the front wiring harness out of the way for any upcoming welding. Bit of a sad state, a lot of it is quite stiff and I'm not sure I'd trust it, but I'm intimidated by the cost and work involved in completely redoing it. I'm somewhat considering at least replacing the 50-year-old relays with modern-ish automotive ones since I have some of those.



- Wondering what the Prius carcass at the junkyard might have for large contactors. Didn't see any, might have just had the one in the battery pack (already removed)?

- Went to vacuum out the air vents (body panels), forgot to turn the heater off. Popped a breaker at midnight and didn't feel like waking anyone up to go reset it.

- Ordered a circuitboard from EVBMW that'll allow me to hijack the Prius Gen2 controller. Discovered I also need some other parts, paid 5x the price to order them from Canada rather than China so that I can get them soon, not in 6 weeks. Put together an order for the electronic components to build the board.

- Started taking inventory of batteries. Two years ago I'd slowly processed ~2500 lithium 18650 cells from tool packs. Disassembled and capacity tested. I have about another 2500 to process and then it's end of the line (source dried up). It's about 250lbs (113 kg) of batteries total, of which maybe 2000 are worth using, and another 350 are usable but low capacity. The remainder I either ruined or were faulty.



Presuming that ratio holds up, I'll have around 4000 cells to use. 4000 * 3.7v nominal * ~2ah per cells = ~30kwh of energy.

I'm guessing 250watt-hours per mile, so, ~120 miles range. About 4 milk crates of bulk, and a 400lb pack (before wiring, enclosures, etc). There's room for them there, but that's starting to be frighteningly heavy for the ass end of the Opel. Especially behind the rear tires where the gastank and spare was.

As much as possible I'll put below the parcel shelf, down into the frame under what would be the back seats if the Opel had those, but I'm estimating only 100lbs can go there. Maybe I'll have to put some up front too. I don't know how much the gas tank, spare, and exhaust weighed, but, can't be that much.

Total weight is also a bit of an issue. I deleted the engine (and hopefully won't need the trans), but I'm adding back 255lb of motor and, 50-ish lb inverter. Then 400lbs of battery. Certainly cutting it close. I have slightly heavier duty springs for the rear already, so that'll help.
 

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Discussion Starter #91
Progress. First welds!:

Against my better judgment, I'm going to share my first welds on a personal project in 7 years. It ain't pretty.

I haven't filmed everything, but I did throw together some sped-up clips of some of the work so far:

- Jacking the two frames apart for the first time since Doug, Roy and I levered them into place.
- Using the angle grinder back in the storage unit, run off a dead car battery, tripping the inverter if I pulled more than about an amp from it. Practically tickled the sheet metal apart.
- Using the wrong primer, poorly.
- Chopping and welding some bed rail to fill the gap in the transmission rail.
- Carrying half of one car through another car.
- Trying to at least ballpark fit up panels.
- First permanent weld.

(Maybe later I'll put together a bit better video series on the build).

Welding excuses:
- It's been a long time.
- The best angles are usually given to the camera.
- I try to stay out of frame, so I can't actually see what I'm doing. I weld blindly at arms length and then check what I did after.
- It's like trying to write your name by holding a pencil from the eraser.
- To light the shot, I have so much glare behind me in the helmet that I can't see.
- Some parts are very thin sheet metal.
- I'm gap-filling awful fitment from desperate last-minute over-grinding back on inspection day (to give a hope of clearance to make it car-shaped).
- I'm using flux-core.
- I don't care that much.

First weld I burned through in 2 spots and had to build up material to fill.

There is no one way that the firewall lines up, it's deformed. So I had to decide on what to anchor first, and what to force into place later. M priority went:

1 - Steering column (heavier metal and easier to line up).
2 - Windshield edges (most critical fitment).
3 - Everything else.

Even then, I'm not quite happy with the driver's windshield fitment after, considering cutting the weld and moving a couple mm over. Also considering not caring anymore and just making it go together as-is. If I wasn't filming it I'd have my face close enough to see the weld puddle and what I was doing, in the future will probably sacrifice the camera.
 

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This was in yesterday's paper in the Wheel's Section.
 

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RunOpel
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Matt I just got a chance to look at your video. Nicely done, I thoroughly enjoyed it and have been enjoying following your progress. A very interesting project that only a select few (you being one) would ever try something of this magnitude :yup:

You certainly have the skills for this kind of project. I look forward to future progress updates.
 

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Discussion Starter #94
GoldGT said:
This was in yesterday's paper in the Wheel's Section.
Yeah, see my thoughts on that here: https://www.opelgt.com/forums/ev-conversions/109495-crate-electric-engine.html#post1419063

dpre said:
You certainly have the skills for this kind of project.
I think I certainly lack the skills for this project. I'm having to build them as I go.

Fortunately, that's what skills are. Things you start at zero, and improve on. Not having skills isn't a reason to not start a project, or no one would ever do anything.
 

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I think I certainly lack the skills for this project. I'm having to build them as I go.

Fortunately, that's what skills are. Things you start at zero, and improve on. Not having skills isn't a reason to not start a project, or no one would ever do anything.
https://youtu.be/nF418fFWlzc

Tell me about it!!!! Lol
 

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Discussion Starter #96
Tell me about it!!!!
I am both impressed and terrified by your rebuild.

The work you did even on your first few pieces is years ahead of my skill level. And it took you 5 years just to do as much as you did in your videos.

I want a car that looks as nice as your end result, without putting the time in, and without paying for it. Hmm. How's that triangle go? Good, Cheap, Now, pick 2? Guess I'm picking cheap and now.
 

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I am both impressed and terrified by your rebuild.

The work you did even on your first few pieces is years ahead of my skill level. And it took you 5 years just to do as much as you did in your videos.

I want a car that looks as nice as your end result, without putting the time in, and without paying for it. Hmm. How's that triangle go? Good, Cheap, Now, pick 2? Guess I'm picking cheap and now.
For the record, I had never done any kind of body work before this... Seriously never!!! This big ass project was my first crack at it...I really did just learn one peice and step at a time, just like you. I to second guessed myself hundreds of times. Wish you the best, and I'll be following your progress.
 
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Well I commend both Matt and Vincent for taking on such projects. Nice video Vincent, you learned and skilled yourself along the way :yup: You will do the same Matt as you already are demonstrating it :yup:
 

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Discussion Starter #99
Three things arrived in the mail today:



The open source Prius V2 board, the Blue Pill, and the ST-Link. All purchased about the same time, one from overseas (the board, from it's founder in Ireland) and the other two a day's drive away. Y'know, you try to support local, I paid like, 400% what they would cost from overseas, and the local shops took so long to get off their ass and ship the product they had no local advantage.

So, next up is to program the Blue Pill (brains) using the ST-Link (programmer that interfaces between USB and the brains, to upload code to it), which gets mounted to the middle of the Prius hijacking board.

Hopefully soon I figure out what the missing pieces of my BOM are. The open source community for it hasn't been very helpful (other than, y'know, creating the entire project). It's the kind of thing that, to use their notes to build it, you had to be able to engineer it yourself. For someone who's not an engineer and can't just glance at a circuit and intuitively understand what types of components are suitable for the project (i.e. value of a capacitor isn't enough, need to know type that works in this application), it's a bit frustrating. And yet, it's not like I can complain about them carrying it "only" 99% of the way and having to figure out the last 1% myself. But, to figure out that 1%, I almost have to be able to redo the 99% on my own. Anyway, my contribution will be to add to the notes and help dumb it down so more people with my (or lower) skill level can use it.
 

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Discussion Starter #100
Electronics Update:

- Whipped out the soldering iron and populated the control board.

- Discovered Digikey sent me 11 of one capacitor when I paid for and the bag said 20 (I needed 13). Had to wait 2 more days for them to send another.

- Made some mistakes, overheated some traces.

- Missed a note that 3 transistors have to be installed backwards to how shown (typo in silkscreening). Had to take them out. Ripped some pads and sheered a leg right off a transistor. Hasn't ordered extras. Cut into the housing a bit and soldered a new leg on it, barely, expoxied it for strength. Solder pads were blocked and fragile, so I used pins instead and wired the transistors to the pins instead of to the circuitboard. It's hideous but might work.





...

Next up:

1 - Program the microcontroller with the code that makes it spin motors.

2 - Try to find out what all of the 32 terminal connections do (they're labelled, but the inverter plug is not, and I'm guessing many pins don't go to the inverter, they go to other hardware like the accelerator and brake pedals directly). Some of the community is being a bit frustrating, there are a few gatekeeper types who think things should be deliberately obtuse and you have to earn access to it by searching around in circles instead of just answering or posting a link to the answer that they already have. Luckily it seems to be a minority.

Just on a side note, that kind of smug elitism I've noticed is completely and utterly absent from the Opel GT community, which I'm suddenly more aware of. No one deliberately withholds answers and taunts you with hints. Documentation is great here, and if you ask, someone will tell you where to look or describe it directly tailored to your context, or... just not say anything at worst. No one acts like "You're not *enough* of a mechanic to intuitively grasp this, so, I'm going to make it hard for you to get the answer" or hides behind "If you couldn't figure it out on your own, mechanics is too dangerous for you to try to learn." Generally everyone, even people that hate your project :rolleyes: will still want you to have the information to make the best attempt at it.
 
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