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Dala's Leaf buildthread (2015 Nissan Leaf)

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  • #61
    Reduction gear oil change!

    So something that most people don't know is that the Leaf actually has some oil in it, in the form of ATF inside the reduction gear case. Normally, this fluid is to be checked each 24k km, but never changed unless something abnormal is detected. Lifetime fluid so to speak. However, the ATF that Nissan uses is bottom of the barrel stuff. By replacing it with a high quality, low viscosity fluid that passes the 'Nissan Matic-S' certificate, there are slight efficiency gains possible by reducing the friction losses, especially in winter.

    I went with the Redline D6, 2 Quarts needed (2x946ml)

    After removing the skidplate, the reduction gear case is exposed. The plugs for fill and drain are 10mm insex. Start by checking that the fill plug can be removed! It is in the top right in this picture.

    When they designed this, they made an economical decision to use aluminium crush washers. These are absolutely not reusable and I instead refitted the plugs with copper ones. I guess if you make tons of cars, saving 0.01€ on a plug gets worth it pretty fast! Here you can also see that the magnets picked up some gear material.

    My average trip meter consumption is now sitting pretty at 7.6km/kWh, let's see if I can get it to 7.7 before summer is over This modification will probably help most in freezing conditions though.

    Originally posted by Kaktus View Post
    Looks great with the debadged boot lid!

    As for the beaten up Norwegian LEAF, are you planning on getting the batteries or something from it? Or perhaps buy it outright and do it up?!?!
    Only the battery pack, it's the elusive 40kWh one from 2018+!


    • #62
      I've been road-tripping and taking a proper vacation the last week. The Leaf is performing excellently! We've had a proper heatwave, the all black Leaf with black interior showed +34C as highest temp! Thankfully the AC is really proper in this car, otherwise it would have been unbearable

      A benefit of the warm weather is better battery performance. The Guess-O-Meter showed as high as 203km fully charged. Does the stock 24kWh Leaf even show that high?

      State of health has capped at 103.27%. It hasn't budget at all in a week. Maybe it doesn't go higher? Theoretically it should be at 125% with the 30kWh battery.


      • #63
        Found out that my first customer got the 17,5kWh of batteries he bought from me up'n'running. It's probably the first DIY grid-tied lithium battery installation in Finland!

        So cool to see electric car batteries in action!


        • #64
          That's very cool, Dala! Perhaps we'll soon be seeing some "Mighty House Mods" postings from you.....


          • #65
            Update on instrumentation situation. The CAN bridge is having issues keeping up with the 2013-2017 VCM. Sometimes it takes too long for messages to be modified, causing random turtle mode from the VCM. The older 2011-2012 VCM does not have so tight tolerances, so it works fine there. Muxsan is investigating.

            In the meantime, I've thrown together a quick custom screen for Leafspy (don't mind the shoddy formatting )

            I really wish it would be possible to do mathematical operations on this screen! Right now this is just a lookup table, but it's better than driving blind!


            • #66
              Last Sunday I had a close call. I decided to charge from a heavily worn 3-phase schuko outlet. This turned out to be a bad idea.

              Here's the outlet, installed maybe in the 80/90s?

              And here is the Duosida 16A cable after a few hours of charging. It was so hot that you could burn yourself on it! It smoked when I pulled it out!

              Easy 3€ fix though, slapped on a new schuko plug on it. I will also replace the 3-phase outlet with a new fresh one!

              I decided to treat myself, and also my company, and get a new tool! It's a Creality Ender 3, one of the "best" cheapest 3d-printers. Some assembly required...

              After two hours, I got it set up and calibrated. I took some extra time to verify that all angles were really 90deg, and adjusted roller/belt tension meticulously.

              It's really cheap, can be found for 200€! It has an 8bit CPU and not even a color LCD, so it even feels retro

              Loaded it up with some red PLA (corn based biodegradable plastic), and started printing out a calibration cat. This will be a really helpful tool when developing car parts for the Leaf


              • #67
                Crikey, that was a close call!!!

                The 3D printer will no doubt come in handy for lots of things, have fun with it!


                • #68
                  So I've been having way too much fun with the 3d printer. Time to make something that is useful! As already explained in this thread, one of the best aeromods to do is a grill-blocker. This improves aero and reduces drag. I had previosuly made one out of some old plexi and zipties, but it's time to step it up!

                  As you can see, getting to a design that works will take some iterations. First I had to make hooks that would clip and easily unclip from the grille. That only took 8 tries

                  Now for prototyping the plates. I decided to make it into 4 sections. To speed up development, I printed some pieces with a hole in the middle, to save time. To print a plate takes roughly 1½h. Since these are only prototypes, PLA is the sensible choice. For a final product, something more weather resistant like ABS would be a better choice. And maybe make them black too

                  My business is chugging along well, lots of R&D is done and more is being done. My website is soon complete, and I took some professional photos for it. Here's a sneak peak of me and the machine


                  • #69
                    I'm learning more and more about 3d-printing. Here's half of the cable-chain-protector upgrade printed and assembled. PLA is so easy to print with!

                    So, since I thought I was ready for a final product, I switched to black PETG. PETG holds up better in outside environments compared to PLA, but is a bit trickier to print with. It requires higher temperatures to melt it, and is a bit more prone to stringing. I made the first plate in PETG, and it broke when I tried to mount it.

                    So I spoke to a friend who works with plastic component design, and he suggested higher temperatures and adding a round relief to make the part more bendable during installation. Here is the print, quickly printed at 0.2mm/layer. I also tried to add a faint logo, but I will have to work some more on that

                    It worked! Now I can print all pieces in black PETG and get some miles on this mod

                    My website should be up 1.9 (two weeks), and the delayed 40kWh battery will be picked up this week. There has been some progress on the CAN board, but since this is still prototype hardware that someone else designed, I won't post all the details on it until it's officially released.
                    Last edited by Dala; 19-08-2019, 05:19 PM.


                    • #70
                      Nicely done Dala, getting there!


                      • #71
                        So are the plates to keep the cold out, or does it help with aerodynamics?

                        did you repair/get a new shield for the underside?
                        I stripped my car out so much it now has 49/49 weight distribution.

                        Project Diesel Tune:


                        My new Daily HA36S Alto Works

                        Martin's Kei to success



                        • #72
                          Originally posted by MHR1294 View Post
                          So are the plates to keep the cold out, or does it help with aerodynamics?

                          did you repair/get a new shield for the underside?
                          Purely for aero purposes! Not gotten a new shield yet, but the temporary will hold for quite some time.

                          So, some stuff has happened today. The 40kWh from Norway arrived!

                          I actually used an internal combustion engine today. I would love to have a proper tow hitch on my EV, felt so unnecessary to use an ICE vehicle to get the battery home. Even though the gas only cost me ~12€ (80km) to get this to the garage, I always feel cheated knowing that money could have bought me electricity instead, and gotten me almost 1000km instead! It's insane how cheap EVs are to run!

                          Secured the battery

                          It's a 40kWh alright! (2018, 6k km)

                          This battery will make an early gen Leaf go almost 300km on a single charge! More on this soon


                          • #73
                            Woo! Website is live!


                            • #74
                              That's brilliant Dala, well done! Best of luck with your new venture!!


                              • #75
                                I've been spending heaps of time getting to know the Nissan Leaf CAN system. Here is a compressed version, to quickly get you started with debugging the LEAF CAN system.

                                The LEAF uses standard 11-bit frames. Bus speed is 500kbps. There are 4x CAN buses available, CARcan, EVcan, QCcan and AVcan. We are only interested in the EVcan for correcting battery upgrades. Message speed in ms is 10/20/40/60/100/103/500/512 depending on which bus and message you look at. Stuff like amperages and voltages need to be communicated extremely quickly (10ms), but lower priority stuff like sending stuff to the instrument cluster is 50x slower (500ms)

                                The EVcan bus is extremely tolerant to errors. You can pause communication, and the car triggers limp mode, and on resuming communication the errors are cleared. Reverse engineering by simply modifying and seeing what happens is totally doable!

                                Lets take a closer look at frame 0x5BC on the EVcan, it contains much good stuff and is sent every 500ms from the LBC->VCM
                                0x5BC Frame, captured with CANrunner from my 24/30kWh bruteforce battery LBC
                                HEX: 0x17 c0 f0 64 c9 03 02 d0
                                DEC: 23 192 240 100 201 3 2 208
                                ‭BIN: 00010111‬ 10000001 11110000 1100100 11001001 0011 ‭0010 11010000

                                The Battery Gauge display on the instrument cluster is powered by the GIDs signal (the first 10 bits of 0x5BC). The km estimate that the Guess-O-Meter spits out is also linked to the available GIDs. From example frame (BIN 1011110 = 94 DEC) for 94 GIDs available!

                                0x5BC bits 36-39 (the high nibble of the 5th byte) affects the battery charge gauge, lower numbers mean more bars. This section probably contains how much one GID is worth OR some degradation offset.

                                The battery capacity gauge (the bars outside the fuel gauge) is controlled by a muxed field, when 0x5BC bits 32-35 (ie the low nibble of the 5th byte) is 0x3, 0x5BC bits 16-19 (ie the low nibble of the 3rd byte) contains the capacity bars. Changing this value directly manipulates the number of bars displayed, the value on the can bus is literally the number of bars. From example frame (BIN 1100 = 12 DEC) 12 capacity bars available!