03.31.08

Starting the Disassembly

Posted in Disasssembly at 2:50 pm by Administrator

16 Wet Lead Acid Cells — Off to the RecyclerFront Battery CompartmentMonday, March 31, 2008
After lunch, I started work on disassembling the vehicle. I began under the hood and removed the 8 Model 2200 U.S. Battery 6 VDC flooded lead-acid cells. They came out very easily. All of the cables will have to be replaced as they are badly corroded. There was a piece of wood installed at the back of the front battery tray – apparently a space filler to help hold the batteries in place. There were no hold-downs for any of the batteries – they just sat in the vehicle under their own weight. The batteries were bone dry – not that I expected anything else after having sat for so long in the Las Vegas heat without any attention.

I used the Shop Vac to vacuum up all of the cob webs and had a black widow surprise me. She got sucked into the Shop Vac along with everything else. There seems to be a large piece of plastic that was placed in the bottom of the battery tray to help minimize corrosion. This appears to have worked nicely. I’ll have to remove the tray to see what condition it is in but, for now, it cleaned up quite nicely. The two high-current wires from this battery pack just seem to go aft, to the motor compartment. Once the batteries were out, I cleaned off all of the schmutz with the Shop Vac and loaded the 8 batteries into my truck, to be carted off to the recycler.

I also disconnected the linkage to the headlight motor, hoping that this would allow the headlights to close. (When I got the car, they were jammed in the open position.) They mostly closed — but they seem to be sprung somewhere, so they’re open just a tad.

Next up was the removal of the batteries in the trunk. It quickly became obvious that, to get these out, I would have to remove the large aluminum mounting plate that holds the controller and the contactor. There were two bolts near the aft end of the plate that held it in position – the front end just slid into a groove in a forward mounting bracket that was bolted to the front of the traction motor. Once the plate was free, a bunch of wires had to be disconnected. Some of these were high-current wires and some were control and signal wires. I cut what I had to and made notes as to what got disconnected from what. However, most of these notes won’t be needed because the plans are pretty specific on how to hook everything back up (at least I hope they are!) I need to make sure that this mounting plate (and all of the associated wiring) is very easy to remove when I rebuild the car.

The controller is a Curtis unit — not the original GE EV-1 controller. The motor appears to be the original GE unit and it is a whopper – especially when compared to my Prestolite. I removed the current shunt from the motor – it’s on the workbench now, waiting to be cleaned up.

I also needed to take out the fan assembly and fan mounting bracket on the rear of the motor. This fan provides cooling air to the motor. The connecting hose needs to be replaced – maybe the fan, too. We’ll have to see if we’re going to re-use the motor or replace it with a more modern one.

Once the controller, contactor and fan were removed, I was able to get the remaining 8 batteries out. These were also cleaned up with the Shop Vac and loaded into the back of the truck. I cleaned out the cobwebs from the rear of the car and found that the battery trays had faired a bit worse – probably because of the extra heat. The left one looks OK but the right one has a hole in it and may need to be repaired or replaced. Both trays have a sheet of plastic to protect them – similar to the front tray. As before, all of the battery cables will have to be replaced. I may also want to see if I can improve the flow of cooling air to the controller — perhaps by adding some NACA scoops to the fiberglass body.

This pretty much concluded removal of the high-current wiring from the car. I need to remove the charger (which sits inside the car, in the hatchback area) and the two cables that run from the front battery pack to the rear one. Other than that, most of the drive train (except for the motor) has been removed. The motor will probably have to wait until the car’s body has been removed from the chassis. At 107 pounds, I want lots of room to maneuver the motor.

The last item of the day was to take the 16 batteries down to the battery shop (Battery Systems on South Arville, between Flamingo & Tropicana). These folks were very knowledgeable, helpful and, as you might expect, had some experience in dealing with we ‘electric car’ enthusiasts. They took the batteries off my hand and wrote me a credit memo for 16 core charges. That way, I won’t have to pay for the cores when I buy the new batteries. They also gave me some information on the Trojan T-105 battery, which competes nicely with the U.S. Battery 2200. U.S. Battery also sells the Flow-Rite On-Board Battery Watering System – which I really need to look in to.

NV DMV told me to have the Title of the vehicle transferred now but not to register it until I am ready to drive it, because it needs to be insured when it is registered (or shortly thereafter).

Still More Paperwork

Posted in Aquisition at 2:39 pm by Administrator

Monday, March 31, 2008
This morning, I finished typing in all of the part names and numbers into my Bradley Parts Spreadsheet. This list includes all of the basic parts in the kit car, along with all factory options and as many of the part numbers as I could identify for the electric conversion. The Parts List is now ready for use when I start disassembling the vehicle.

03.30.08

More Paperwork

Posted in Aquisition at 2:38 pm by Administrator

Sunday, March 30, 2008
Today, I finished cleaning off the Plans Book and its binder. Then, I made a photocopy of the entire plans book. Each page required two shots (reduced in size) on our photocopier. Then, the individual pages had to be matched and taped together to make a readable set of plans. The idea here was to use the photocopies as my shop plans – plans that I could make notes on and get dirty without having to worry about damaging the originals. That job took a good part of the day.

Once the plans were copied, I started typing up a parts spreadsheet, based on the parts lists that came with the original plans. I had found that this helped a lot when trying to keep track of everything on a Volkswagen MG-TD kit car project that I had built earlier, so I figured that I’d do the same thing here. The list is not only useful for remembering all of the parts, it also helps me locate where the parts are stored and to keep track of the condition and status of the parts (need to replace, need to clean, need to paint, ready to go, etc.)

03.29.08

Paperwork, Paperwork

Posted in Aquisition at 2:37 pm by Administrator

Saturday, March 29, 2008
Today, I spent a few hours cleaning off the old Plans Book and binder. It was covered with cob webs, bug bits and other yucky stuff. I made it about half way thru the job.

03.28.08

Getting the Car Home

Posted in Aquisition at 2:34 pm by Administrator

Gail Says Good-Bye to Her Bradley GTEFriday, March 28, 2008
Today, the Bradley got towed home. I started out driving over to Gail’s with a spare tire from Carolyn’s old Volkswagen. We each signed a copy of the DMV Bill of Sale. Gail also signed over the Title Certificate to me. She gave me the 2008 Registration Certificate (expires 4/30/08), her original Registration Certificate (from April 30, 1993), a photostatic copy of Ed Begley Jr.’s Certificate of Title from California and an original Validated Registration Card belonging to Ed Begley Jr. (issued 06/07/91). Gail mentioned that she had never met Ed Begley, Jr. but that Neil (a co-worker from the Desert Resaerch Institute) had, because he was the one who trailered the car back to Las Vegas. Somewhere in her files, she said, she also had a copy of a picture of Ed with his car.

Gail also gave me a folder with some documentation on the electric conversion. These included:
• General Electric Battery Discharge Indicator
• Lestronic Battery Charger Instructions
• Originals of the Operator’s Manual
• Originals of the three Electric Conversion Manuals
• A copy of a 2-page article in Kit Car Magazine

She also gave me 4 (probably shot) gas struts for the gull-wing doors and two (totally shot) tires that were mounted on the original Bradley wheels. The wheels may be salvageable. I need to bead blast them and repolish them.

Once the paperwork was done, we jacked up the front left side of the car and pulled the bad wheel/tire. We then bolted on the tire that I had brought along from Carolyn’s VW and discovered that the lug bolts for the Bradley wheels were too long for a stock VW rim. After fretting about it for a bit, we just bolted on the wheel that I brought, knowing that it was going to be wobbly for the short trip on and off the tow truck. Surprisingly, the front right wheel was bolted on in a similar fashion – that is to say, not fit to drive. One has to wonder how long it was in that condition.

We aired up the 4 tires (the three old ones held) and the tow truck driver arrived – right on time. He loaded up the car without a hitch after we backed it down off of Gail’s driveway. The emergency brake and the pedal brake both worked. Gail posed for a picture in front of the car and, after that, I gave Gail a hug and headed off down the road, tow truck in trail. It took about 45 minutes in cross-town traffic to get the car home, but we did so safely and unloaded the car onto the pad in the back yard.

I spent the rest of the afternoon filing the paperwork that Gail had given me in the binder. The project is now ready for disassembly.

03.27.08

Purchasing the Car

Posted in Aquisition at 2:28 pm by Administrator

Bradley GT II ElectricThursday, March 27, 2008
Today, I drove over to Gail Lucas’s house to look at her electric vehicles, with the idea of purchasing either the Aztec 7 that was originally built by Clarence Ellers or the Bradley II GT Electric (GTE) that was originally owned by Ed Begley, Jr. – the actor and environmentalist. We examined both vehicles and I decided that I would rather work on the Bradley, because it was more likely to be complete and because it was a factory-built electric car instead of a one-off electric modification to a kit car like the Aztec.

This, as I learned later, might not be totally true. Apparently, Bradley only constructed about 10 of their electric vehicles. The rest of the GTEs, perhaps 50 or so, were sent out as kit cars to be assembled by the purchaser. According to various internet user groups that I explored, no-one knows of a way to determine if a particular GTE was constructed by the factory or was built by a purchaser. The car’s serial numbers are of no help.

In any event, we settled on a price for the Bradley – a bit more than I wanted to pay but a fair price nonetheless. We arranged for me to bring a spare tire (the left front one was ripped open) and to arrange for a tow truck, so that I could pick up the vehicle tomorrow. Gail gave me the instruction manual and said that she would look for the keys and registration.

The vehicle is currently registered to Gail. She will keep the plates and I will need to re-register the vehicle.