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Brainstorming about electric converstions of things

Old 11-12-2018, 07:47 PM
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Default Brainstorming about electric converstions of things

So I'm still in the midst of gathering everything and throwing ideas around about how to do various things to get my LS3 swap under way (still a long ways off...). Working in the salvage yard I see interesting things all the time and some of it gets me thinking...

One of the bigger things I still haven't come to a decision on is what to do about belt accessories; alternator, power steering pump, AC compressor (YES I'm keeping AC... I'm in Florida, I'll be damned if I'm going to drive around without AC lol). The LS3 that I have is out of a Corvette, so I already have all of it's accessories and bracketry, basically as a complete pull-out unit, and I want to keep the Corvette style setup since it hugs the front of the engine that much closer, leaving more room in front of it for electric fans (which I already have installed with the 4.3) and hopefully a little bit thicker radiator. There's tons of options and kits out there that I've found for truck style accessories, but surprisingly not much for the Vette style, at least none that cost less than an arm and a leg...

So back to the me noticing things at work and my mind wondering... We get a lot of hybrids in. Hybrids do not always have their gas engine running, so they have electric power steering and AC systems see where I'm going with this now...

Here's the catch; every hybrid with an electric AC system that I've seen, the compressor runs off the hybrid battery, typically 200+ volts... so yeah that's not happening lol, but there ARE 12v kits out there, popular on sleeper cab semi trucks, roof mounted AC systems on RV's, etc, I just have to come across one...

The power steering is a little easier I think, and I've actually come across a good deal of info on these conversions online with people swapping out there belt driven pump for an electric pump out of a Toyota MR2, Mini Cooper, Volvo, etc. Not all electric vehicles even use a hydraulic setup in conjunction with an electric pump, they just have an electric motor that's geared to the steering column or sometimes the rack and pinion itself, notably newer Dodge's (my neighbor has a brand new Challenger R/T and Ram 1500 that he's had back to the dealership TWICE to have them replaced, so yeah I wouldn't go the Dodge route even if it WAS electric/hydraulic lol) and even our (my wife's...) 2010 Hyundai Elantra that has the motor on the steering column under the dash. It certainly would be neat to have no hydraulics in the system at all, less points of failure, but I honestly think that keeping the original hydraulic steering gearbox in the Blazer would be a stronger option, especially when trying to turn oversized tires on the 4x4, so I'd rather just have an electric pump supply hydraulic pressure to it.

So am I crazy or is this a viable option? I know that converting to an electric AC compressor AND electric power steering pump would be a heck of a draw on the electrical system, and what I would most likely do is end up running dual alternators (both of which would most likely be 145 amp DR44 units, maybe even higher output rewound ones) since I would have the extra room, ya know without the AC compressor and power steering pump there so I'm hoping I could compensate for the amp draw with those. If case you hadn't noticed, I'm trying to stick with a theme of repurposing parts that where never meant to be used in the way I'm using them, like the electric power steering pumps from other vehicles, electric AC compressor from an RV or something, and factory style DR44 alternators. Not that I'm trying to be cheap and just not wanting to buy readily available aftermarket bolt on kits, I've just always found it neat to use things in other ways than they were originally intended, especially if if can be made to work just like (or better) than a factory setup and look like it belongs, which is one of the reasons I love the little things I've already done to my 4.3l like the DR44 alternator swap and Dodge Intrepid electric fan setup; unless you really knew what you were looking at, it looks stock and works just like a stock setup would.

If you've stuck around this long, thoughts and opinions?

Last edited by blazen_red_4x4; 11-12-2018 at 08:02 PM.
Old 11-12-2018, 10:50 PM
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I think your ideas are great and very creative.

As for the power requirements, the starting point to consider is that energy is conserved, or in the case of a car more appropriately, the power (= rate of use of energy) is conserved. This means that if you are not using up some of the available power to mechanically drive an accessory via a belt, that power is now available to do something else, such as drive an accessory that accomplishes the same task but electronically. All things being equal, it is a "six of one, half-dozen of another" situation. The reality is that electrically driven accessories, I can imagine, may be more efficient so that there is a net gain. Also, if things are run from the battery, then the energy to run an accessory is coming from a different reservoir of energy than from the mechanical energy of the motor make the motor more responsive to the driving conditions. Furthermore, there may be an advantage of running certain accessories at a constant speed instead of at whatever speed the motor happens to be running.

This logic might or might be what is going on in the heads of the engineers, especially for the hybrid cars; i.e. is the gasoline motor only for charging like in the Volt or does it directly drive the wheels along with electric motors.

The other advantage of electrically driven accessories is that they do not have to be located at the front of the engine! Your ac compressor, if electrically driven, can be located anywhere close to the evaporator.

I guess a major question would be could the electrical system be able to deliver the currents (power) needed to drive any electrically driven accessories and can the battery system deliver the power (i.e. drain itself fast enough) and be charged quickly enough (accept large currents) to sustain the extra electrically driven accessories.

Keep us posted!
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