Plug Bug: 15,000 miles then a breakdown

Electric Bug

The Bug has over 15,000 pure electric miles on it! The past ~14,000 have been relatively painless. I’ve had to do a few tweaks along the way, but nothing major.

Unfortunately, that changed last friday. I was getting into the carpool lane on Highway 85 southbound and accelerating hard. Then all of a sudden the motor was free spinning and not moving the car and making a bit of noise. I put in the clutch, as it seemed to make less noise that way, and pulled over to the side. I had to get towed home. I figured the transmission was shot, but shifting felt like it still worked.

I didn’t make the car to easily remove the motor/tranny combo. I can’t remove just the motor; there isn’t enough room to “back it out” and get the flywheel to clear the transmission. So, I have to take the transmission out too. The transmission has to be unhooked from the shifter in a very inconvenient spot; right under the back seat…which I have covered with batteries!

So, I had to remove the center pack of cells. This involved removing the BMS wires, and unbolting the cells. The center section slide right out:

UW1A0938.jpg

Then I can get to the access plate:

UW1A0941.jpg

I fought with the transmission/motor for a while, but finally got it out. I forgot to unbolt the clutch wire…which made it harder to do, and I managed to spill a bunch of tranny oil (doh!). I was being so careful too..as I hate spilling oil.

More unfortunately, I noticed some bits floating in the motor, as seen in this shot from under the car:

UW1A0930.jpg

I took the motor off the transmission and saw what was wrong. The massive torque from the electric motor sheared off all the teeth on the inner spline of the clutch pad:

UW1A0947.jpg

Which is a shame, since I have the Kennedy stage 2 clutch kit. I happened to have another one laying around, and I see its spline area is *much* longer:

UW1A0954.jpg

UW1A0960.jpg

No problem; that is easy to replace and cheap. However, here’s what I don’t know about. This was floating in the motor:

UW1A0948.jpg

I’m pretty sure that I over sped the motor when the clutch pad broke loose. I think this caused some motor bits to fly apart. I need to ask my friends on DIYElectriccar.com for some advice.

I’m hoping I don’t have to replace the motor (it does still spin okay).

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Hey Corbin. Wow – Bummer. Do you think maybe those little black things are the metal from the clutch?

(c) 2008-2019 Corbin Dunn

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