Ready to Get StartedNew Bed - It Tilts!ICE has left the BuildingThe new MotorIt's a start!Lots of stuff!Fuses!
OwnerBob Brown
LocationDushore, Pennsylvania United States map
Email email image
Vehicle1999 Chevrolet S-10
I bought this truck in June on ebay specifically for this project - drove it for a month to make sure everything was in running order, got it inspected (PA safety inspection), repaired rust, added the step-side bed.
I think I have moved through the progression: it started as an idea, it has passed through obsession (I've been driven to get it back on the road) and now back to the level of hobby as I will be "refining" for a long time to come.
MotorAdvanced DC FB-4001A Series Wound DC
I got real lucky and found this motor, still new in the box on ebay for about 75% of the retail cost. The previous owner had bought it, and made some mid-course project revisions - hence one unneeded motor.
DrivetrainStock 5 speed manual. As time permits, I will be draining the transmission and refilling with some synthetic oil. Same with the rear end differential.
ControllerCurtis 1231C
I bought this controller on ebay just like the motor - new in the box and well below the advertised price from online vendors.

Using a "generic" pot box controller, required a long (pedal travel) wait for power. After adjusting the pot to specifications in the Curtis manual(to 300ohms when the micro-switch closes), it is much more responsive.
Batteries24 US Battery US-125, 6.00 Volt, Lead-Acid, Flooded
For the time being, the batteries are all in the bed under the tonneau cover. Heated and insulated battery boxes under the bed (4 or 5 are slated to migrate front to a new home under the hood) are next, but I wanted to get it on the road as soon as I could. This way I have time to build them and not rush it.
System Voltage144 Volts
ChargerQuick Charge QC144-10amp (120vac supply voltage)
I now semi-give up on the HWC4 charger - strongly advise you to check very carefully before you invest in this unit. (see below)

I spoke on the phone with the folks at Quick Charge. Custom built, American made, 3 year warranty, and you talk to live humans!
The charger arrived in good time - like a black brick! But it has taken its place behind the drivers seat, and has been charging as near perfectly as I think it should.

Started out with an HWC4-144 charger, had problems from the start. I have shipped it to a new EVDL friend who has offered to take a look at it - it just isn't putting out any amps. I would have to suggest that anyone be real careful before you plunk down 640 dollars for it. Mine has been a real dog!

I'm experiencing some battery drain from the E-meter - over about two weeks it pulled the 12 volt battery down. I guess I'll add a small trickle charger to keep up with the e-meter drain.
HeaterI have a ceramic element - yet to be installed - inside the heater box? We'll see.
I still have a lingering idea that I'd like to try some form of hot water heat - it would sure be easier than trying to get into the heat exchanger!
DC/DC ConverterIota DLS-30
I thought about adding surge limiters on the input and a diode on the output. It is controlled with relays - disconnected when powered off. It is only in circuit while driving and is set at the 14 volt "charge" level. Since these are known to be damaged by weather and vibration, it is mounted on rubber shock mounts inside the cab behind the seat.
InstrumentationI am retaining the factory 12 volt battery gauge - it seems to be reasonably accurate - registers a nominal 12 volts when it really is 13 and change.

I've installed an amp meter in the negative line between the controller and the motor. The amp meter, battery pack volt meter, and the vacuum gauge monitoring the brakes vacuum are installed right in the instrument cluster. Don't need the fuel gauge, oil pressure and water temp gauges any way.
My E-Meter has taken its place in a single gauge pod on the dash to the right of the driver. I used a 500 volt pre-scaler, and also had to use an isolated DC to DC power converter because the meter power and monitored battery share a common ground.

A friend's machine shop enabled me to turn a chunk of delrin into a magnet holding rpm sensing unit. I bought an EVParts hall effect RPM pickup sensor to be commented to my Tachometer. The tack has a "shift light" which I will set and use as a high RPM warning indicator.
I'm planning rack of individual digital voltmeters monitoring each battery in the pack - probably not needed information as we go down the road, but it should make it pretty easy to discern if and when a single battery begins to weaken.

That said I have resently found a site with build instructions for an LED graphic display to monitor the battery pack - this looks real interesting!
You can check it out at
Top SpeedI'm still very gingerly trying it out. It does 35 very easily.
My speedometer remains a mystery. I did not remove the transmission when pulling the ICE, unplugged nothing on the transmission. All ICE wires and connections were unplugged, nothing yet has been cut. If some GM guru has any suggestions, my email in on the top of this page.
AccelerationStill lacking a speedometer, I can't say for sure about this. I was keeping up with @50ish mph traffic this afternoon with no trouble.
I would characterize the general handling as feeling somewhat overloaded (I am) and underpowered (it is).
BUT - it has cut my fuel consumption in my ICE vehicle by about two tanks per week.
RangeI'm told to expect 40-60 miles, but we have pretty hilly terrain, so it will probably be on the low side of the estimates.
EV Miles
Start:99,300 Miles (159,773 Kilometers)
Current:99,313 Miles (159,794 Kilometers)
Total:13 Miles (20 Kilometers)
Seating CapacityYou'd have to be very good friends to use the third seat belt. The S10 is really a two seater. Maybe add a small child.
Curb Weight4,400 Pounds (1,999 Kilograms)
I suspect she'll tip the scales around 4400 pounds. I will have it weighed when I get the chance. Problem here is, the GVWR is 4200. I will have to work on this.
TiresThey're not on the list or "super low rolling resistance" tires, but I bought a light truck tire with firm sidewalls, and intend to keep them pumped up to the limit.
Conversion TimeThe point of no return was passed when the ICE, sold on ebay, went down the road on the 4th of July. I drove the truck out of the shop on her own power on the 20th of August. On Sept 2 I actually went to town, about 10 miles round trip - so it has been just about 8 weeks (maybe a total of 110-120 hours?). I get to work on it an hour or three a day.
Conversion CostWOW!! Counting pretty much every nut, bolt (and things like TWO battery chargers and vacuum pumps because the first wasn't right) and manual, I am in for a little over 14 thousand. My next one, having learned as much as I have, will be a bit less expensive.
Like everyone else, you start these things, do the best you can shopping for parts, and then scare yourself when you add it all up.
I think that it's still just a bit over 1/3 or 1/2 the probable cost of the promised Chevy Volt.
If you were really trying, you could certainly do this for considerable less money, but there were a few things that I "just wanted."
Additional FeaturesThe sagging rear end (the truck's) has been lifted back up to specifications using a pair of Ride Right air bags. To keep the extra weight inertia/bounce to a minimum, a pair of Gabriel Hijackers have replaced the tired old stock shocks. Ride improvement was huge!

I picked up a small rotary vane (nice & quiet) vacuum pump for the power brakes. A 4"x30" tubular PVC reservoir should hold plenty of STOP in reserve, but
Whoa! On my second outing I ran out of vacuum on a long hill, I surely need a larger volume pump.
I have now installed a new vacuum pump, one which is sold and used in many EV's. Still not entirely happy with the braking in reserve, and the noise. I will continue to refine.

The factory power steering unit is now replaced with a standard (non-power) unit. It took all of an hour with a pair of helping hands - bolted right up! It always seems that dis-assembly is much more difficult than it is to put things back together.
Note to all: the effort to steer a vehicle with an OEM manual steering box is much easier than steering the same vehicle with the power unit in place and the lines connected together. There has been some discussion of this on the EVDL list - but there really is a big difference. Less effort and more turns of the steering wheel to get around a corner.

Always trying to anticipate what could happen, I have installed the mounting brackets for a tow bar - all the easier to get it home if a problem should arise. I have already used it - towed the truck about 20 miles to a body shop for a hind end paint job (to match the replacement bed to the rest of the truck). I will be adding the electrical hookup - diodes, etc. - to enable simple plug in lighting to make it DOT legal as a towed vehicle.
As of the beginning of October the last of the greater needs have been met. Fresh paint, new battery charger, even an "electric" eyebrow windshield sticker just for braggin' rights.

I'm now driving it for the lions share of my daily commuting needs. Still have quite a list of little things to do though - I'll get to them one at a time.

I have found this whole project to be quite enjoyable and I have learned a lot!

One important note: As you look at my pictures, especially under the hood with all those wires and fuses... please remember that this is my first attempt. If I am guilty of anything, it is trying to be too safe, too flexible. I have removed very few OEM wires, plugs, etc. (yet!) My next project, having learned so much so far will be more compact, shorter and fewer wire runs, done in weatherproof (and finger-proof) NEMA plastic and metal boxes. All voltage exposing points of contact will be tucked safely under cover. If and when plug in EV's become more mainstream, as we believe they will, they must of necessity be as easy to work on as possible, while being at the same time safe for ANYbody to drive and use.

code by jerry