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The 'Electric Bug' Category

Plug Bug: Rear Apron Mod – make it removable!

The rear apron on my bug got severely damaged in the accident. I had to replace it, and I decided it would be nice to make it removable instead of spot welding it back in. So, here’s a video of me hacking it together.


Plug Bug: Transmission/Transaxle Assembly

Okay! Here is a video of me assembling the transmission on my 1969 VW Bug.


Plug Bug: Transmission Disassembly

I took the transmission apart and recorded it!


Plug Bug: Transmission Decisions

The bug was rear ended last year, and the motor/transmission combo was pushed forward, shearing the rear transmission mounts off (they are rubber) and severely squishing the front mount. I cut out the old front mount and welding in a replacement; thank goodness they are easily available from online sources, otherwise I’d be fabricating one.  I’m documenting my transmission work on video, but I’ve come across a question. I’m attempting to rebuild an older transmission that pops out of fourth gear. I had bought it on eBay a few years back when having some problems with my leaking main transmission... [read more]


Plug Bug: Working on repairs…

It has been just about a year since my 1969 VW electric bug was rear ended. I was driving to work and stopped in traffic, but the gal behind me didn’t stop and squished the bug! Dealing with insurance took months, and I finally got a settlement for the bug, which was deemed totaled. For about $800 I had the opportunity to buy it back as a salvage vehicle, and I snapped up that chance.  I wasn’t too motivated to work on it…other things came up, and I was enjoying driving my Tesla Model S. But now I’m at the... [read more]


Plug Bug: Crash update.

Back in October 2016 my electric VW bug was rear ended: http://www.corbinstreehouse.com/blog/2016/10/plug-bug-the-bug-is-squished-i-was-rear-ended/ I was super sad, and I’ve had to deal with the insurance side of things. In the end, the bug has been declared “totaled”, but I was able to buy it back for a small amount of money. I’m hoping to fix it up and get it running again – but the rain in California needs to let up before I can do any work.


Plug Bug: The bug is squished… I was rear ended!

It’s a sad day in electric-ville. I was driving the electric bug to work at about 6:45 am on Highway 85, trying to enjoy my morning commute by working on learning some Japanese words for an upcoming trip. Listing to to language stuff on audio is awesome, and I really enjoy learning new things. Now at this time there was already quite a bit of traffic, which I consider the plague of silicon valley, and it slowly came to a stop in the #2 lane. Yeah, that is CHP speak for the second lane from the left. Then I saw... [read more]


Plug Bug: Rear bearing replacement and updates

Oh, the Plug Bug! I have so much time and energy spent on this car, and it continues to this day.    In the past month, the bugs transmission has been in and out three times. This is a time consuming task; it takes me about ¾ of a day to do a transmission swap. I’ve been hearing a bad noise in the rear of the car, and I assumed it was the transmission after having so many issues with my rebuilt tranny. Here’s that setup coming out: So, I was unsure what to do, and put back in my... [read more]


The Electric Bug Chronicles: Yeah, those skid marks on Highway 85 are mine…

Oh boy… My bug needed new brake pads. I go through them crazy fast, as I drive down the famous “Highway 17” on a daily basis and my car doesn’t do any re-gen braking. This means I “ride the brakes” the whole way down. About a month ago the car started pulling hard to the left, so I popped the front tires off and the front right pad was way worn down. I ordered a new set from CIP1 (accidentally ordering the wrong ones first…) and put them on one evening 30 minutes or so before I had to go... [read more]


The Electric Bug Chronicles: Cops.

Stories from the driver’s seat. I have been pulled over at least ten times by the cops. It has become less frequent the past two years, although part of the reason is probably because I didn’t get to drive the bug a lot for the past year due to transmission trouble. I can recognize when it is going to happen, and let me share some of my favorite stories.   One time I was driving home on Highway 85 in the carpool lane. A cop pulls in the lane behind me, and starts tailgating me. Now, his lights aren’t on,... [read more]


The Electric Bug Chronicles: You’re kicked out!

Stories from the driver’s seat. So, this happened about three years ago. I was driving the bug to the Summit Store in the Santa Cruz mountains, and pulled into the parking lot. It was a hot day, and my “air conditioning” is just a matter of rolling the windows down. Some guy was staring at me as I pulled in and gave a yell: “HEY! That doesn’t sound right — they are going to kick you out of the VW club!”. Hah! Yeah, vee-dubs have a distinctive sound and my car lacks it. I still plan to add a jetson... [read more]


The Electric Bug Chronicles: Hey, Don’t Pull Him Over!

Stories from the driver’s seat. In the past four or five years I have been pulled over by cops a lot. I always get set on my way without a ticket; so far I haven’t been caught for speeding.   One day, about two or three years ago, I was driving along on Highway 85 in the carpool lane. A cop pops behind me, and I know the drill before it happens: they are going to turn on their lights and pull me over. They do. As soon as they walk up to my window I hand them a little... [read more]


The Electric Bug Chronicles: F – You

Stories from the driver’s seat. This is something that happened about four years ago, and the picture below is from 2011.    The California HOV white stickers: the privilege to drive solo in the carpool lane during rush hour is very mjuch coveted by EV drivers. Back in 2011 it was a time when the yellow hybrid stickers had already expired, and people would only occasionally see a Tesla Roadster, and even less frequently a boxy EV RAV4 (unless your last name is Adelman). So, I was driving solo the carpool lane on Highway 85 one day, and a motorcycle... [read more]


The Electric Bug Chronicles: Window down

Stories from the driver’s seat. It was quite chilly out as I was driving home on 17 yesterday in the fast lane. I was surprised to see a guy in a red BMW with his window fully rolled down driving in the right lane and zipping past me a bit. He slowed down, and cranked his head out the window, pointing his ear at my car as I passed by. He then sped up and gave me a big thumbs up. He must have saw my carpool lane stickers, and was leaning out to “hear” how quiet my car is!... [read more]


Plug Bug: Try 3 with the transmission

I really miss driving my electric bug. It has basically been out of commission for an entire year. I probably squeezed out around 1000 miles on the rebuilt transmission I got late last year, but as I mentioned on  y last post I’ve been having some trouble. The general gist I get from people is that the alignment of the main input shaft with the motor is off. This causes the shaft to vibrant around and make the main shaft seal leak oil. So I pulled the motor/transmission from the car (yet again — something like the 5th or 6th time... [read more]


Tesla OS 7 has serious usability problems combined with a hit from the ugly stick

October 15th, 2015: Tesla released their OS version 7 – featuring Autopilot. A self driving car, who wouldn’t want to update? Well, I wish I hadn’t and I want to downgrade. The instrument panel is now very difficult to get the information I care the most about. Here is a screen shot of the car stopped at a light behind another car:   I get it. Tesla is trying to make the car the center of the universe and show you your surroundings. The side lane indicators turn from the a light gray to a white to indicate when you... [read more]


Bug transmission down again :(

Sadly, my transmission saga continues. My rebuilt transmission from MOFOCO was slowly leaking oil from the main shaft. I had took it out…and tried to see if there were any problems. A few months ago before vacation I made sure the pilot bearing was in the right spot (or where I thought was the right spot), and put it back together. It still leaked oil, but I just continued to drive it. Right before my last trip it started slipping — this was no surprise, as I knew the clutch pad would eventually get some oil on it. So, back... [read more]


Plug Bug: charger repaired; back on the road

The bug is rolling again! About 39,800 electric miles. I asked Manzanita Micro why it failed and what I could do to prevent it from happening again. They said it “was something in the negative side of the rectifier bridge. possibly something in the ground.” — I’m not sure what that exactly means. For now, I’m going to limit charging the car at 20 amps. I had previously been pumping it up to the full 30 amps, hoping to get the rated 6kW of power out of it. I think that makes it have trouble…but I can’t say for sure. ... [read more]


Bug down! Charger broken (again – 3rd time)

Sadly, the electric VW bug will be taking some time off the road. Last time it was the transmission, and this time it is the Manzanita Micro PFC-30 charger. I didn’t even get a 1000 miles before another problem came up. I was really hoping to hit 40,000 miles and it is nearly there hovering a bit over 39,700 miles.  Last Sunday I was charging the car and pulling about 27 amps. The charger should be able to pull 30, but quickly goes into a limit mode due to temperature. This happens no matter what the temperature is, and is... [read more]


chargepoint energy stats for my bug

Since July of 2011 I’ve been using chargepoint for charging at free charging stations, and at work. Prior to my work getting J1772 stations, I would use a dryer plug outlet that was provided for EVs. Here is a screen shot of the stats for my use: 10,673.912 kWh used in about 4 years. Mostly with the bug, but some with another EV (Jan/Feb ’15). This also doesn’t include other J1772 stations I’ve used that aren’t charge point (i.e.: the free stations downtown Santa Cruz), and it doesn’t include charging at home.  The large gap from August to January was... [read more]


Plug Bug: You are only as strong as your weakest cell

I had known for quite some time that I had a weak cell in my battery pack. My electric bug’s battery consists of 48 lithium iron phosphate cells. I use the eLithion battery management system with a custom display I fabricated along with some custom ardiuno code to show cell info from the CAN bus. I would routinely see one cell (number 9) sag heavily under load.  One day I left work work (a 20 mile drive) with my pack at about 50% charged. At about five miles from work my low battery warning buzzer went off telling me that... [read more]


Plug Bug: Killing Chargepoint Charging Stations

Well, my bug wasn’t killing the charging stations, but it was giving them an internal error. It seems that the newer charge point stations with a large display weren’t compatible with my car’s J1772 port for some reason. There are rows of them at my work, and I’d plug in and it would give an error:  Error Code #303-RSC, RELAY STUCK CLOSED. I couldn’t find any information on this error, and both phone calls and emails to ChargePoint went unanswered. The phone people just assumed it was a problem with the station, but I told them my car caused it... [read more]


Plug Bug: Transmission / motor removal in an electric conversion

I was still having trouble with my transmission. My last post talked about how I got it back in — this was months ago, in October 2014. I drove the car about 20 miles, and while coasting in 3rd downhill it made some bad grinding noises, so I put in the clutch (which didn’t stop the noises) and pulled over on the notoriously dangerous Highway 17 by Scotts Valley. The transmission was spewing oil everywhere! I had to get towed home. I wasn’t sure what was wrong, and I took the motor/transmission back out. Oil was everywhere in the clutch, and... [read more]


Plug Bug Videos

I made a playlist of all the videos I have on YouTube to more easily find them. Here they are:


Electric Bug: Running Again!

So, I got my new rebuilt transmission from MOFOCO. I put it back in the car and buttoned up the rear end entirely. I then attached the shifter…but, it wasn’t shifting! So, I posted on thesamba.com and the guys there said something might be wrong w/the nosecone setup. I had to drop the transmission/motor combo again. This time I decided to make a better cradle for it: These pictures are mainly for my future reference so i can remember how it goes. The strap holds it on pretty well. I popped the nosecone off and it was definitely shifted into... [read more]


Final drive ratio in an electric conversion car

So, I’m getting a new transmission for my VW bug (number 3), and probably buying it from http://www.mofoco.com/category/Rebuilt_VW_Transmissions/c112. What drive ratio should I get? They can do a few different options. My bug is/was currently running the stock stuff for a 69 bug: I have 165R15 coker tires, and the diameter was calculated via: http://www.evsource.com/motor_calculator.php & http://store.cokertire.com/tire-styles/radial-tires/wide-whitewall/165r15-bfg-2-1-4-whitewall.html The ratios I got from the VW manual, and the screen shot is from my Numbers spreadsheet (email me and I’ll send it to you). Here are my current speeds for a given RPM and a given gear. Max motor RPM is around... [read more]


Electric VW: Transmission Killer

In my last post on the bug, I had mentioned that I replaced my brushes, hoping it would fix some noise I was getting in the transmission/motor area. It didn’t help, and I then replaced two CV joints, as one was worn pretty bad. That also didn’t help. So, I bit the bullet and removed the transmission/motor. This isn’t fun; I have to remove some of my cells in the rear seat area as they cover the hatch that lets me undo the transmission from the shifter. It isn’t too bad; I simply undo the red hold down strap, disconnect... [read more]


Electric VW Bug: Brushes replaced

The rear end of my car has been making quite a bit of noise lately. It seems to only happen when I apply power, and I wasn’t too sure of what it was. If I put the car in neutral or pushed in the clutch it would also go away, so it seemed to be related to the motor. I was guessing it was the brushes; on the two brushes per section, one seemed worn about 1/8″ to 1/4″ more than the other. The brush springs aren’t worn out, but I figured they might need replacing: So, I got some... [read more]


Plug Bug: New front brake pads

I wear out brake pads faster than normal since I don’t have regenerative breaking or a normal “ICE” engine to slow me down. I replaced my first set of pads really quickly, but the second set seemed to be lasting a lot longer. I would keep an eye on them and see how they were doing every now and again, and a month or so ago they looked good. But today, the bug’s brakes were screaming (a crunchy metal on metal sound), and I knew something was up. The bug has also been pulling slightly to the right when braking,... [read more]


“No Dino” stickers

Got em! On my J1772 inlet “gas tank” cover. corbin



(c) 2008-2017 Corbin Dunn

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