Search My Blog

Friday, October 22, 2010

AC Conversion: Home-built and fast!

Part 1...

Eric Tischer's AC Conversion

I just got a chance to talk to Eric Tischer,who's done the best homebuilt AC conversion I've ever seen, I don't mind saying. Sure, he's got a degree in Mechatronic Engineering (mechanical engineering, computer-driven control - sound familiar?) and has a hobby of making major changes to cars...but he says that anybody could do a decent AC conversion, with the right stuff, and it doesn't have to cost so much.

Lynne: Why did you decide to build an electric car?

Eric: I had done a few other engine swaps before my electric conversion.
In 1998 I did my first engine conversion. I was 21 at the time. I bought a 1973 MG midget convertible and a 1985 RX-7 and decided to do a motor swap. It took me just over a month from the time I bought both cars, till the day the MG was driveable with the RX-7 rotary engine and 5 speed. The car was dangerously fast, especially since I had the stock 155/80 r13 tires on it. The engine would wind up till the carbs could no longer supply enough fuel, about 8k rpm. The car sounded so sweet, but it was constantly snapping axles and I decided to move on to something better.

My second conversion was Subaru turbo flat 4 in a Porsche 914. I designed the cooling system and heater core heater. I built the motor mounts and exhaust, fuel injection harness, and even designed a cable shift setup to replace the crude shift rods.

Believe it or not, it only took me 3 days to convert the car from an air cooled Porsche, to water cooled Subaru. The car was not super fast, and after destroying several turbo motors I decided to upgrade.

The last turbo motor went with a bang. It had a leaky head gasket and was constantly backfiring.

One backfire exploded the top of my intercooler off and in the rear view mirror all I could see was a mini fireball blowing though the rear deck lid! I eventually switched over to the 2.7 flat six Subaru motor, and ran that reliably for several years until I sold it. The car sounded just like a mean 911.

After I sold these cars, I wanted to do another conversion, but something different, and something where I can put my mechatronic skills to good use. At the time, gas was around $4.50 a gallon, so building an electric car was perfect.

Lynne: It just happened to coincide with your interests to build an AC conversion, then, and the price of gas made it even more logical? No "save the whales" or "peak oil" motivation?

Eric: The price of gas certainly sparked my interest in making an electric conversion. It is a shame there are no affordable electric cars on the market, I think they would sell quite well. For now the only way to get one is to build it.

How much did it cost?



No comments: