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Electric TC Conversion


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Let me explain some details of the Electric TC project. More pictures and posts will be added as the project progresses. This project will be worked on by Morton East High School physics and Advanced Auto Shop Students.

Part One – Find a Donor Car and Transmission

The donor TC will need to be modified from an automatic transmission to a manual transmission (the engine does not need to work or even be in the car). As we all know manual TC's are expensive, few and far between. Hemi has told me about his experience swapping out an automatic for a manual. The electric car would be even a simpler to make this swap because the electric motor controller would take the place of the clutch. The clutch pedal will not have to installed, just the manual transmission.

Part one of the project has been completed with much thanks and credit due to the help Hemi Andersen gave me. I emailed him out of the blue this summer a long email describing the electric TC project. I asked him if he thought I was crazy or not. He told me I was not crazy and it sounded like a great project.

Donor car located and donor transmission still needs to be located.

Part Two - De-Ice the TC

My physic students with auto shop students will de-ice the car (remove the Internal Combustion Engine) Basically -- Remove engine, radiator, exhaust, and replace with electric motor controller, 9” electric motor, and 144 (or more) volts worth of batteries. As parts are removed they will be disposed of as scrap or be made available to be reused depending on their condition. I will list parts as they become available


We currently have the engine and automatic transmission removed. The gas tank, radiator and gas lines have been removed. Let me know if anyone is interested in purchasing the gas tank or radiator from an early 89 TC. The TC did not have the wood grained plastic pieces. The auto shop gets the 2.2 turbo engine. The gas pump does not work. The engine would turn before removal but there was no fuel to ignite.

The Auto shop Teacher Dale Banfi and I are going to a local transmission shop to see if they can help us locate a 523 transmission. I am also put a listing on the local craigslist (no response yet). This blog ,The Antique Automobile Club of America, TC blog mentioned that a 90-92 Dodge Shadows with 5spds that would be perfect donors.


The engine turned over but no ignition. The fuel pump was not delivering gas to the engine.

I was only missing one rear tail light. I have already purchased on ebay. The front lights are all there. I will need to get the TC America plastic covers.

All the cars electrical works. Lights go on, windows go up and down, 6 way seats operate in all directions

The driver’s side window switch has been with another similar switch that does not quite fit but operates the windows. The switch has an extra on/off switch that cuts power to the back windows so kids don't play with the windows

I was told there was a mixture of fluids in the turbo portion of the radiator. The engine portion of the radiator had rather decent looking green antifreeze.

The interior is a bit ratty, and the seats leather has hardened. I think I am going to put in racing seats to decrease weight. The seats and their motors will become surplus.

The speedometers leather cover is dried up and pulling back. This will need to be redone and the broken speedometer gear will need to be replaced.

A mouse ate a one inch hole through the ragtop. I was planning on using that back rack for batteries. There is a local guy that wants to buy the mechanism to use it on a 60’s Corvette that he modifies for a hard top to a ragtop. He already has a TC and said the mechanical aspect of the TC ragtop is perfect for his project.

Our tentative time line is to finish the car by Easter time 2010.

Part Three - Electric conversion / Rebuild as Electric car

Batteries will be located in a few locations, the engine compartment, the spare tire compartment, the rag top storage area and the trunk. All these locations will need to have their volumes documented and analyzed for the best distribution of weight. Insulated battery boxes will need to be built and mounted in the car. (the rag top storage area will be able to be used to sore batteries since we will not have a rag top. The donor car currently does not have a rag top)

I am in a local electric car club The Fox Valley Electric Auto Association FVEAA - Fox Valley Electric Auto Association - FVEAA Home I am currently helping a member (actually he is teaching me) convert his 2001 Beetle to electric. His Beetle is now on the road with only a few cosmetic and options to complete.

The current batteries available are lead acid and will add about 900 pounds to the vehicle. The next generation batteries, nickel metal hydride, Fireflys, or lithium ion will be lighter and be able to store more energy. Currently these batteries are very expensive and not available to the public. (Toyota Prius uses nickel metal hydride batteries. lace>Toyotalace> will only sell batteries to a Prius owner if they are replacing damaged or failed batteries)

You might be asking, why do I want to do this to a TC? Well, for a couple of reasons.

One, the Chrysler TC is a cool car. It has style. The members in the The Fox Valley Electric Auto Association have a number of electric vehicles, mostly pick up trucks and economy model cars.

There is one member that has an electric Porsche 944 very cool. The TC is even cooler. It would draw attention by itself and then the electric drive system could show off what could be done.

Secondly, as a teacher I am always looking for things to hook my kids interests. I showed my kids the movie "Who killed the Electric Car?" last spring and they started to ask about building / converting a car. My rocket club members asked when are we going to start. Not if but when. So I started looking into the electric car project, joined the FVEAA, and started searching the internet for donor cars. A good donor car has a manual transmission, front wheel drive, is not to heavy (2700 -3100 pounds before De-Icing), not to expensive (most cars with a blown engine are inexpensive), and minimal rust. The TC has the right weight characteristics and the manual transmission can be added. Also the TC is way cooler than the typical electric car, a Ford Escort, Dodge Neon or a Saturn.


MortonEastHigh School

Physics Teacher


(630) 965-0096


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Guest My TC Toy

Ambitious project, Larry. Tell us more, we quest for knowledge.

I assume you will be removing the heater assembly to save weight and possibly give you more room for batteries, etc or just to reduce weight. No engine, no water, no heating/cooling.

One benefit of the TC, of course, is that you do not require vacuum for the brakes.

Tell us how you plan on mating the motor to the trans.

Good luck and patience be with you.


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The basic concept to mate the electric motor with the manual transmission is to have a machine shop cut a metal plate with bolt holes to match the pattern on the transmission and the bolt pattern on the electric motor.

Any reduction in weight will improve the distance the car can travel on a full charge. For this reason I am planning on removing the seats in favor of lighter seats.

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