Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It's Always Something

You may be old enough to remember the late great Gilda Radner and one of her stable of characters, Rosanne Rosannadanna. If not, maybe you've seen it on old SNL reruns. Anyway, her trademark line,"It just goes to show you, it's always something — if it ain't one thing, it's another" seems to apply to my EV projects.

Saturday I took a little jaunt down to Barnes & Noble to kill an hour browsing. I can generally speed skim a book in about five minutes and get the gist of it, so I rarely buy any. It's an enjoyable diversion, especially on days like last Saturday when the wife has flute students stacked up at the house all day.

So I'm driving the PorschEV and thinking: "Wow, this thing is running especially smooth this morning." Uh-oh! That usually means something's not right. Sure enough when I stepped on the brakes it was clear that the power boost was missing in action. The good news is the brakes still worked but with much higher effort, so I drove home without incident.

You may recall from my Road Test video that I was complaining about how noisy the power brake vacuum pump was. It seemed like a good idea at the time since it was a Ford product from the same eTransit Connect that supplied the Siemens motor and Azure Dynamics inverter. It was a diaphragm type pump, and when it was in service it made a huge clickety-clack racket. Mounted directly over the passenger footwell, I think the noise was magnified by the sheet metal of the battery tray and no amount of Dynamat was going to dampen the sound to my wife's satisfaction.

I pulled the offending part and tested it with my bench battery. Click - nothing. DOA. Casters up. Pinin' for the fjords. Pushin' up Daisies. Good riddance. 

I'd been looking at options for a quieter vacuum pump and settled on a HELLA 009428081 High Performance Electric Vacuum Pump. Ordered it Saturday afternoon and it was on my front porch Monday afternoon, free shipping with my Amazon Prime membership. Based on reviews and such, it seems to be OEM for current Subaru and Volvo as well as some GM models. It's smaller and lighter than the Ford unit and as a centrifugal pump, it promises to be quieter as well.

I reused the mounting bracket including the rubber buffers, so the new pump is double damped but still made a pretty noticeable whirring sound on the bench. The good news is that the sound gets mixed with the cooling fan and power steering pump and all of that is just background noise. The clattering vibration is gone and the brakes are back to normal so we'll declare a small victory on this one.

"It just goes to show you, it's always something — if it ain't one thing, it's another"

1 comment:

  1. The exercise of seemingly-endless small problem solving continues! I do wonder why people tolerate loud vacuum pumps these days; I was chatting with George at the last EVCCON (owner of the lovely plum-colored Miata) and he was raving about a similar upgrade he'd made - in his case to an OEM GM electric vacuum pump from a Cruze.