Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

What to look for when buying a used Solectria?

Expand Messages
  • mmeeddiicc
    I am planning on buying a 97 next week. I d be interested to hear peoples thoughts on the cars and on what I should look at when I examine the car. Specific
    Message 1 of 12 , Dec 2, 2006
    View Source
    • 0 Attachment
      I am planning on buying a 97 next week. I'd be interested to hear
      peoples thoughts on the cars and on what I should look at when I
      examine the car. Specific questions

      1. Charger - What's the best way to evaluate this? I figured I could
      take a volt meter and test the voltage across it during charging.

      2. Health of the Battery Pack - I figured a test drive over 5-10miles
      would be reasonable. If it's cold I may have problems. Any thoughts?

      3. Bearings - I understand that these need replacement every 25-50k.
      What's the best way to evaluate these? Have most owners performed
      these replacements, or do they others (?who) do this. How much is
      this repair?

      4. Seal between motor and gear box - The picture I received made me
      suspicious that there may be a leak here. The owner says that he
      thinks it is a spill. Has this been a problem with these cars? I
      suspect as long as the fluid levels in the gear box were maintained
      there would be little damage.

      5. Controller - I suspect a test drive will tell me everything I need
      to know.

      6. Is there any concern about rust in the motor?

      7. Owners manual - I don't think I get one with the car has someone
      put these on the internet?

      Thanks
    • Nick Austin
      ... Plan on spending some money to replace this, it seems like it s not a matter of if, but when on these chargers. It cost me ~$4k to replace this with an
      Message 2 of 12 , Dec 2, 2006
      View Source
      • 0 Attachment
        On Sat, Dec 02, 2006 at 07:38:52PM -0000, mmeeddiicc wrote:
        > I am planning on buying a 97 next week. I'd be interested to hear
        > peoples thoughts on the cars and on what I should look at when I
        > examine the car. Specific questions
        >
        > 1. Charger - What's the best way to evaluate this? I figured I could
        > take a volt meter and test the voltage across it during charging.

        Plan on spending some money to replace this, it seems like it's not a
        matter of if, but when on these chargers.

        It cost me ~$4k to replace this with an NLG5xx when it failed, I think
        you can do it much cheaper if you're willing to sacrifice a little on
        safety.

        > 2. Health of the Battery Pack - I figured a test drive over 5-10miles
        > would be reasonable. If it's cold I may have problems. Any thoughts?

        If it has a working Ah gage, you should be able to determine remaining
        pack capacity. Charge all the way up, drive tell you're at 1.5V per cell,
        and note the reading on the Ah gage.

        >
        > 3. Bearings - I understand that these need replacement every 25-50k.
        > What's the best way to evaluate these? Have most owners performed
        > these replacements, or do they others (?who) do this. How much is
        > this repair?

        I've heard rumors that this is fairly cheap, but I'm not sure.

        > 5. Controller - I suspect a test drive will tell me everything I need
        > to know.

        Yea, working or not, right? :)

        > 7. Owners manual - I don't think I get one with the car has someone
        > put these on the internet?

        Yes, it's in the files section of the group.
      • michael eastman
        Thanks Nick 1.5V per cell ie is there a volt meter that will tell me this, I m assuming it will tell me pack voltage and then divide by # of cells. Do you know
        Message 3 of 12 , Dec 2, 2006
        View Source
        • 0 Attachment
          Thanks Nick

          1.5V per cell
          ie is there a volt meter that will tell me this, I'm
          assuming it will tell me pack voltage and then divide
          by # of cells. Do you know what this comes to across
          the pack?

          Thanks for the info
          Mike
          --- Nick Austin <yahoo@...> wrote:

          > On Sat, Dec 02, 2006 at 07:38:52PM -0000, mmeeddiicc
          > wrote:
          > > I am planning on buying a 97 next week. I'd be
          > interested to hear
          > > peoples thoughts on the cars and on what I should
          > look at when I
          > > examine the car. Specific questions
          > >
          > > 1. Charger - What's the best way to evaluate this?
          > I figured I could
          > > take a volt meter and test the voltage across it
          > during charging.
          >
          > Plan on spending some money to replace this, it
          > seems like it's not a
          > matter of if, but when on these chargers.
          >
          > It cost me ~$4k to replace this with an NLG5xx when
          > it failed, I think
          > you can do it much cheaper if you're willing to
          > sacrifice a little on
          > safety.
          >
          > > 2. Health of the Battery Pack - I figured a test
          > drive over 5-10miles
          > > would be reasonable. If it's cold I may have
          > problems. Any thoughts?
          >
          > If it has a working Ah gage, you should be able to
          > determine remaining
          > pack capacity. Charge all the way up, drive tell
          > you're at 1.5V per cell,
          > and note the reading on the Ah gage.
          >
          > >
          > > 3. Bearings - I understand that these need
          > replacement every 25-50k.
          > > What's the best way to evaluate these? Have most
          > owners performed
          > > these replacements, or do they others (?who) do
          > this. How much is
          > > this repair?
          >
          > I've heard rumors that this is fairly cheap, but I'm
          > not sure.
          >
          > > 5. Controller - I suspect a test drive will tell
          > me everything I need
          > > to know.
          >
          > Yea, working or not, right? :)
          >
          > > 7. Owners manual - I don't think I get one with
          > the car has someone
          > > put these on the internet?
          >
          > Yes, it's in the files section of the group.
          >
          >




          ____________________________________________________________________________________
          Do you Yahoo!?
          Everyone is raving about the all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.
          http://new.mail.yahoo.com
        • Will Beckett (cruzio)
          1. Charger - What s the best way to evaluate this? I figured I could take a volt meter and test the voltage across it during charging. If you plug it in and
          Message 4 of 12 , Dec 2, 2006
          View Source
          • 0 Attachment
            1. Charger - What's the best way to evaluate this? I figured I could
            take a volt meter and test the voltage across it during charging.

            If you plug it in and the green light flashes on the Amp/Hr meter, then it
            is working

            2. Health of the Battery Pack - I figured a test drive over 5-10miles
            would be reasonable. If it's cold I may have problems. Any thoughts?

            Older batteries will start to sag earlier. New batteries at 40 amp/hrs and
            older batteries at 25 to 30 amp/hrs.

            3. Bearings - I understand that these need replacement every 25-50k.
            What's the best way to evaluate these? Have most owners performed
            these replacements, or do they others (?who) do this. How much is
            this repair?

            I don't know that this figure is consistent. Generally we start hearing
            noises and that is the indication that bearings need to be replaced. Change
            the fluid and make sure you put the correct amount in. This seems to be
            where problems develop. I had one bearing go in the gear box and while it
            was open replaced all the bearings including the two in the motor. They are
            all off-the-self and I believe I paid under $200 for all of them. There is
            a lot of stress on the outer motor bearing, so it is likely to go first.

            4. Seal between motor and gear box - The picture I received made me
            suspicious that there may be a leak here. The owner says that he
            thinks it is a spill. Has this been a problem with these cars? I
            suspect as long as the fluid levels in the gear box were maintained
            there would be little damage.

            No, there is no real fluid there and it isn't an issue. Be sure to replace
            the seal when you replace the bearings.

            5. Controller - I suspect a test drive will tell me everything I need
            to know.

            Yea, it usually works or doesn't The bigger issue here is the pot that
            controls acceleration. Some times it gets a flat spot and when cruzing at a
            steady speed it will jump.

            6. Is there any concern about rust in the motor?

            Never seen this before but unless it is well into the case, I don't think it
            would be an issue.

            7. Owners manual - I don't think I get one with the car has someone
            put these on the internet?

            If you don't find one, I have a 1997 manual I can copy for you.


            --
            No virus found in this outgoing message.
            Checked by AVG Free Edition.
            Version: 7.5.430 / Virus Database: 268.15.4/563 - Release Date: 12/2/2006
            9:59 AM



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • ldr214
            Hi, Any history you can get from the current owner would be good. Such as service and any know problems. How did they drive it? Fluid changes, battery terminal
            Message 5 of 12 , Dec 2, 2006
            View Source
            • 0 Attachment
              Hi,
              Any history you can get from the current owner would be good. Such as
              service and any know problems. How did they drive it? Fluid changes,
              battery terminal tightening etc.

              I think Nick meant 10.5 volts per battery, and not 1.5V per cell, as
              per the procedure in the service manual. You can't easily read
              individual cell voltage on a G27 and a 1.5V cell wouldn't be very
              good. You can quickly check the total pack voltage with a multimeter
              by pulling off the main connector for the motor controller and probing
              the contacts on the car side of the Anderson. Should be about 175 with
              the charger just disconnected on a good full battery pack. The voltage
              at the contact can be lethal so do this based upon your own skill level.

              Opening up the battery compartments isn't something you can do in a
              quick walk around while making a evaluation. Especially the front if
              the car has A/C. Unless the pack is very new you'll just want to
              figure any miles you get out of it are "freebies". You may be
              pleasantly surprised if you don't need a lot of range every trip. My
              car had 13000 miles on the original pack when I bought it (SEP 04)
              today it just went over 21000, same original pack and the range and
              performance is still fine. If you drive the car 25 miles and still
              have "peepy" performance you probably have a reasonably strong pack.
              If the owner won't go 25 miles with you the pack may need replacing. I
              notice battery "sag" starting at about 20 miles, a 5-10 mile drive
              probably won't give you much info on pack condition unless it is
              really bad.

              The solectria electrics seem to work or not work. There isn't much you
              can do in predicting a pending failure. But I think you can tell if
              the car itself has been abused or babied.

              The drain nut for the tranny may be leaking if you see fluid in that
              area. It can back out as per the service manual. Tough to check
              without taking off the plastic bottom skirt but if you think there is
              a problem it will be worth looking at and you can look over the CV's
              and axles while your there.

              Read the service manual in the files section and the old messages.
              You'll be well prepared if you do.

              IMO the Geo isn't a real robust vehicle so look for Geo stuff that you
              might want to get fixed or can't live with. The good thing about these
              things being electric is that for the most part they have had a fairly
              pampered life when it comes to mileage.

              Try the heater and A/C they can both be pricey to fix and you want to
              pay for working ones or get a discount.

              Finally read about regen squeal as this will sound like a terrible
              bearing noise if you haven't heard it before.

              Mike
              97 Pba

              --- In solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com, "mmeeddiicc" <mofmofmof@...> wrote:
              >
              > I am planning on buying a 97 next week. I'd be interested to hear
              > peoples thoughts on the cars and on what I should look at when I
              > examine the car. Specific questions
              >
              > 1. Charger - What's the best way to evaluate this? I figured I could
              > take a volt meter and test the voltage across it during charging.
              >
              > 2. Health of the Battery Pack - I figured a test drive over 5-10miles
              > would be reasonable. If it's cold I may have problems. Any thoughts?
              >
              > 3. Bearings - I understand that these need replacement every 25-50k.
              > What's the best way to evaluate these? Have most owners performed
              > these replacements, or do they others (?who) do this. How much is
              > this repair?
              >
              > 4. Seal between motor and gear box - The picture I received made me
              > suspicious that there may be a leak here. The owner says that he
              > thinks it is a spill. Has this been a problem with these cars? I
              > suspect as long as the fluid levels in the gear box were maintained
              > there would be little damage.
              >
              > 5. Controller - I suspect a test drive will tell me everything I need
              > to know.
              >
              > 6. Is there any concern about rust in the motor?
              >
              > 7. Owners manual - I don't think I get one with the car has someone
              > put these on the internet?
              >
              > Thanks
              >
            • Terry
              I have some spare Solectria parts I am not going to use so I am going to offer them here and the E10 forum first. If there is no interest here, I ll probably
              Message 6 of 12 , Dec 4, 2006
              View Source
              • 0 Attachment
                I have some spare Solectria parts I am not going to use so I am going to
                offer them here and the E10 forum first. If there is no interest here, I'll
                probably ebay them.

                Here is the list:

                3 used DC30-500 motor controllers. (these are great for AC and PS motor
                controllers on high voltage E10s) $250 each or $650 for all three

                2 used Zivan NG3 chargers (They are set to charge at 288 volts, but can be
                reprogrammed to lower voltages by Greg McCrea) $350 each.

                1 like new UMOC 445TF motor controller (it is used but for only about 20
                miles under the watchful eyes of Azure employees. I purchased it from Azure
                when they upgraded a citivan to a DMOC. It works perfect and currently has a
                charge profile for an E10 truck. However, they are fairly easy to program
                and could easily be used in a Force as a much heavier duty upgrade from the
                original controller. $1350.) I'll even throw in a notebook computer perfect
                for programming a UMOC.

                1 set of front and rear battery boxes for an E10. ($300)

                1 heavy duty/light weight rear axle from a 1996 E10 ($250)

                If someone wants to make me an offer on everything, I am listening.

                Terry Merrell
                St. Louis, MO
              • gjc0@aol.com
                Terry: Are the Zivan NG3 chargers 120 volt or 240 volt models? Gary Carlson 1992 Solectria Force 30,000 miles gjc0@aol.com ... From: tmerrell2@sbcglobal.net
                Message 7 of 12 , Dec 4, 2006
                View Source
                • 0 Attachment
                  Terry:

                  Are the Zivan NG3 chargers 120 volt or 240 volt models?

                  Gary Carlson
                  1992 Solectria Force 30,000 miles
                  gjc0@...


                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: tmerrell2@...
                  To: solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Mon, 4 Dec 2006 8:53 AM
                  Subject: [solectria_ev] Unloading some Solectria parts



                  I have some spare Solectria parts I am not going to use so I am going to
                  offer them here and the E10 forum first. If there is no interest here, I'll
                  probably ebay them.

                  Here is the list:

                  3 used DC30-500 motor controllers. (these are great for AC and PS motor
                  controllers on high voltage E10s) $250 each or $650 for all three

                  2 used Zivan NG3 chargers (They are set to charge at 288 volts, but can be
                  reprogrammed to lower voltages by Greg McCrea) $350 each.

                  1 like new UMOC 445TF motor controller (it is used but for only about 20
                  miles under the watchful eyes of Azure employees. I purchased it from Azure
                  when they upgraded a citivan to a DMOC. It works perfect and currently has a
                  charge profile for an E10 truck. However, they are fairly easy to program
                  and could easily be used in a Force as a much heavier duty upgrade from the
                  original controller. $1350.) I'll even throw in a notebook computer perfect
                  for programming a UMOC.

                  1 set of front and rear battery boxes for an E10. ($300)

                  1 heavy duty/light weight rear axle from a 1996 E10 ($250)

                  If someone wants to make me an offer on everything, I am listening.

                  Terry Merrell
                  St. Louis, MO



                  ________________________________________________________________________
                  Check out the new AOL. Most comprehensive set of free safety and security tools, free access to millions of high-quality videos from across the web, free AOL Mail and more.


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Doug Jackson
                  I just broke open the gearbox of the 1999 Solectria Force I just bought. It was making a lot of noise. What a disaster. There was at least a tablespoon full
                  Message 8 of 12 , Dec 5, 2006
                  View Source
                  • 0 Attachment
                    I just broke open the gearbox of the 1999 Solectria Force I just bought. It was making a lot
                    of noise. What a disaster. There was at least a tablespoon full of metal filings in the bottom
                    of the case. Most of the teeth on the main gear were broken. Other gears had many broken
                    teeth. The box is toast. The message here is that if it makes noise, investigate. Don't ignore
                    it. If you are lucky it's a minor bearing replacement. But if you ignore it, it may mean
                    replacing the whole box. Over $2,000.

                    --- In solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com, Nick Austin <yahoo@...> wrote:
                  • Doug Jackson
                    Tell me more about regen squel . Where is there information?
                    Message 9 of 12 , Dec 5, 2006
                    View Source
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Tell me more about "regen squel". Where is there information?

                      --- In solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com, "ldr214" <replytome@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Hi,
                      > Any history you can get from the current owner would be good. Such as
                      > service and any know problems. How did they drive it? Fluid changes,
                      > battery terminal tightening etc.
                      >
                      >
                      > Finally read about regen squeal as this will sound like a terrible
                      > bearing noise if you haven't heard it before.
                      >
                      > Mike
                      > 97 Pba
                      >
                    • ldr214
                      Doug, I hope this helps. Search using the words regen...regeneration...noise etc in the forum search block and you ll get a lot of info. In summary most of the
                      Message 10 of 12 , Dec 5, 2006
                      View Source
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Doug,
                        I hope this helps.
                        Search using the words regen...regeneration...noise etc in the forum
                        search block and you'll get a lot of info.

                        In summary most of the cars make a noise under heavy regenertion
                        braking with a full or near full battery pack. I don't have the
                        scientific explanation for it but basicially there is no place for the
                        controller to put the power being generated because the batteries are
                        fully charged. Something has to give. The result is a lot of noise
                        from the drive train and controller. But if you aren't using regen the
                        car will be quiet in the same condition and normal regen sounds pretty
                        much like acceleration sounds of at equal power setting. Maybe a bit
                        more whine but not a shudder and squeal.

                        Owners with the ability to monitor individual battery voltage see
                        spikes or overvoltage conditions. Someone at Azure can probably tell
                        you more. The answer I got was this is common coming right off the
                        charger and just avoid heavy regen for the first few AHs. This is the
                        kind of thing Toyota or GM wouldn't have gone into production knowing
                        about (I hope).

                        IMO Your gearbox parts problem sounds more mechanicial than
                        electricial. Solectria recommended a 6000 mile break in period on the
                        gearbox and then a fluid change and 12000 after that. The gearbox has
                        automatic tranmission (Dextron III) fluid in it. This is a normal use
                        in many manual gearboxes. In a unit that is operating correctly you
                        will be hard pressed to tell old fluid from new even after many miles.
                        My car had 13000 miles on it when I bought it and I immediately
                        changed it as I didn't think it looked "new". I actually changed it
                        again 100 miles or so later to look for any indication of wear. My
                        guess is they missed the 6000 mile change. A quart of fluid is cheap
                        insurance. I will change it again one of these days. Also it is much
                        easier to fill the transmission by taking out the top vent fitting
                        than it is to remove the filler plug which is well hidden when
                        installed in the vehicle.

                        Service manual says that you need to check the bearings at 50,000
                        miles and to contact Solectria for this service. I believe that there
                        have been some problem well before reaching this mileage. IMO the
                        amount of initial torque available at a standing start means that
                        depending upon how the car is driven some drivers could put a lot of
                        wear on the transmission and others who drive with a light foot
                        wouldn't; so results could vary greatly.

                        I wish you well with the repair.
                        Mike

                        Mike--- In solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com, "Doug Jackson" <adj3@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Tell me more about "regen squel". Where is there information?
                        >
                        > --- In solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com, "ldr214" <replytome@> wrote:
                        > >
                        > > Hi,
                        > > Any history you can get from the current owner would be good. Such as
                        > > service and any know problems. How did they drive it? Fluid changes,
                        > > battery terminal tightening etc.
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > Finally read about regen squeal as this will sound like a terrible
                        > > bearing noise if you haven't heard it before.
                        > >
                        > > Mike
                        > > 97 Pba
                        > >
                        >
                      • theoldcars@aol.com
                        Hello Mike You are correct both the Factory Ranger and S-10 will not go into regeneration when the batteries are full. Don In a message dated 12/5/2006
                        Message 11 of 12 , Dec 6, 2006
                        View Source
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Hello Mike

                          You are correct both the Factory Ranger and S-10 will not go into
                          regeneration when the batteries are full.

                          Don

                          In a message dated 12/5/2006 1:27:34 PM Pacific Standard Time,
                          replytome@... writes:




                          Doug,
                          I hope this helps.
                          Search using the words regen...regeneratioSearch using the words
                          search block and you'll get a lot of info.

                          In summary most of the cars make a noise under heavy regenertion
                          braking with a full or near full battery pack. I don't have the
                          scientific explanation for it but basicially there is no place for the
                          controller to put the power being generated because the batteries are
                          fully charged. Something has to give. The result is a lot of noise
                          from the drive train and controller. But if you aren't using regen the
                          car will be quiet in the same condition and normal regen sounds pretty
                          much like acceleration sounds of at equal power setting. Maybe a bit
                          more whine but not a shudder and squeal.

                          Owners with the ability to monitor individual battery voltage see
                          spikes or overvoltage conditions. Someone at Azure can probably tell
                          you more. The answer I got was this is common coming right off the
                          charger and just avoid heavy regen for the first few AHs. This is the
                          kind of thing Toyota or GM wouldn't have gone into production knowing
                          about (I hope).

                          IMO Your gearbox parts problem sounds more mechanicial than
                          electricial. Solectria recommended a 6000 mile break in period on the
                          gearbox and then a fluid change and 12000 after that. The gearbox has
                          automatic tranmission (Dextron III) fluid in it. This is a normal use
                          in many manual gearboxes. In a unit that is operating correctly you
                          will be hard pressed to tell old fluid from new even after many miles.
                          My car had 13000 miles on it when I bought it and I immediately
                          changed it as I didn't think it looked "new". I actually changed it
                          again 100 miles or so later to look for any indication of wear. My
                          guess is they missed the 6000 mile change. A quart of fluid is cheap
                          insurance. I will change it again one of these days. Also it is much
                          easier to fill the transmission by taking out the top vent fitting
                          than it is to remove the filler plug which is well hidden when
                          installed in the vehicle.

                          Service manual says that you need to check the bearings at 50,000
                          miles and to contact Solectria for this service. I believe that there
                          have been some problem well before reaching this mileage. IMO the
                          amount of initial torque available at a standing start means that
                          depending upon how the car is driven some drivers could put a lot of
                          wear on the transmission and others who drive with a light foot
                          wouldn't; so results could vary greatly.

                          I wish you well with the repair.
                          Mike

                          Mike--- In _solectria_ev@solectria_evsol_
                          (mailto:solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com) , "Doug Jackson" <adj3@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Tell me more about "regen squel". Where is there information?
                          >
                          > --- In _solectria_ev@solectria_evsol_ (mailto:solectria_ev@yahoogroups.com)
                          , "ldr214" <replytome@> wrote:
                          > >
                          > > Hi,
                          > > Any history you can get from the current owner would be good. Such as
                          > > service and any know problems. How did they drive it? Fluid changes,
                          > > battery terminal tightening etc.
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > Finally read about regen squeal as this will sound like a terrible
                          > > bearing noise if you haven't heard it before.
                          > >
                          > > Mike
                          > > 97 Pba
                          > >
                          >








                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Jim Coate
                          Hmmmm... a larger controller in the Force to get more power for hills would sure be nice. However, I thought that the controller and motor were a matched pair?
                          Message 12 of 12 , Dec 8, 2006
                          View Source
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Hmmmm... a larger controller in the Force to get more power for hills
                            would sure be nice.

                            However, I thought that the controller and motor were a matched pair?
                            Does it really work to replace just the controller?


                            Terry wrote:
                            >
                            > I have some spare Solectria parts ... to offer ...
                            >
                            > 1 like new UMOC 445TF motor controller ... It works perfect ... has a
                            > charge profile for an E10 truck. However, they are fairly easy to program
                            > and could easily be used in a Force as a much heavier duty upgrade from
                            > the original controller.




                            --
                            Jim Coate
                            1970's Elec-Trak's
                            1997 Solectria Force
                            1998 Chevy S-10 NiMH BEV
                            1997 Chevy S-10 NGV Bi-Fuel
                            http://www.eeevee.com
                          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.