1964 Corvair Monza EV

Charging ahead at full speed.
Sep 06, 2021

1964 Corvair Monza EV - Electric - Charging
After some minor wiring tweaks I was able to get the car to charge from my EVSE via the J1227 plug. I had tried to do this when I first got the car but it didn't work. I could only charge the car from a 110 outlet. I finally set aside some time to check the wiring at the AVC2 module and found the J1227 port pilot and proximity wires were swapped. Easy fix.

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Raise the motor.
Aug 11, 2021

After consult with the internet and smart Corvair folks, It would seem that the only solution to these rubbing issues would be to raise the motor up a bit in the rear. Using some square metal tubing, I added about 1.5" of height to the rear motor mount.

Unfortunately, raising the motor means I need to find a new home for three of the 44 batteries required to power the car. They are too tall for the space they once occupied. However, this does open up some space for a DC-DC converter.

Still, running on just 41 batteries, I was able to drive the car around a bit and all the rubbing issues are gone. The drive axles are now sitting at an appropriate angle within the a-arms.

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Ride Height and Rub-a-dub-dub
Jul 09, 2021

So far my drives are limited to just around the block and that is for good reason: There is a lot of rubbing going on.

Here you can see the drivers axle appears to rub the a-arm. But what to do about this?

My first thought was that the car is sitting too low, due to the extra weight of the batteries in the front and back of the car. By my calculation, 150 lbs heavier than stock in the rear and 220 lbs heavier in the front (!). I can measure this and see that the car is nearly 1.5 inches lower than stock. I also notice a lot of negative camber in the rear - another sign the car is too low. I figure the coil springs are overloaded.

Knowing the 1964 Corvair had "lighter" coil springs than earlier years (due to it's use of a transverse spring), I ordered some coil springs for an earlier model Corvair, which would be stiffer and should raise the car (especially with the transverse spring still installed). Success! It did raise the car and correct the excessive negative camber! But it did not change the geometry of the axle and a-arm. Drat.

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Instruments: Back to stockish
Jun 13, 2021

The chore of reverting to the original instrument cluster was actually very straightforward. I decided to move the EV specific gauges to a spot under the (missing) radio, and keep the EV related switches mounted in the original cluster - losing the cigarette lighter and also the area where the automatic transmission shifter used to go. Note the shifter is now mounted to the side of the radio.

1964 Corvair Monza EV Instrument Cluster

Missing also is a keyed ignition switch - which I will reinstall at some point so that you need to have a key to actually turn on the car. I also loomed all of the loose wiring into three separate looms - some of that you can see through where the radio should go.

In order for the new (old) instrument cluster to work I did have to splice in some new lightbulb sockets for the turn signals and illumination, which were cut out previously. I also had to connect in the ignition wire to a switched 12V so that the accessories (wipers, turn signals, etc) would work when the main switch is turned on.

I will find a use for the fuel gauge - perhaps repurpose it into a volt meter or state-of-charge meter. We shall see. But I like this a lot more now.

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All About That Dash
Jun 06, 2021

1964 Corvair Monza Spyder Instrument Cluster

Above is the instrument cluster in the Corvair at the time I got it. This was the most unfinished part of the car. What you see is the gauge cluster out of an early model Corvair Spyder, not the Monza, which is what this car is.

Here is what the gauge cluster SHOULD look like in a 1964 Corvair Monza:

1964 Corvair Monza Instrument Cluster

It is apparent why PO wanted to use a Corvair Spyder gauge cluster: More room for gauges - specifically an amp meter (where the manifold pressure gauge used to be), battery monitor (where head temperature used to go), and general status display (formerly reserved for the fuel gauge). You can also see a new flip switch where the keyed ignition switch used to live, as well as a switch to the far right and a button between the (former) ignition switch hole and fuel gauge hole. The speedometer is in the correct spot (although not the original speedometer) and there is a gaping hole where the tach used to live. Also, there is a light switch, but no provision for a wiper switch or the cigarette lighter.

What you are not seeing are the dozens of wires that have been routed to the new gauges, the wiper switch dangling behind the cluster somewhere (NOT grounded), along with all the bulbs that used to light up the old Monza cluster (also not grounded).

I was fortunate to figure out how to power on the car and also found some documentation on how to “program” some elements of the Curtis controller (with just that little red “menu” button) - so the cluster did work enough to get the car moving. Also, most all of the new wiring was labeled so thanks to the previous owner for that!

…but this was not going to work for me.

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