May 5, 2002
Race car builders live to make parts lighter and mount them lower. Lighter means less mass to accelerate, slow down, and keep from sliding away in the corners. Lowering the weight reduces the roll of the car in a corner, which allows the weight to remain more evenly on the four tires. Weight more evenly on all four tires means more total grip then weight transferring just to the two outside tires (see Why SUVs Flip over.)

Our electric motors were manufactured to convert Dodge Caravans to electric power. The front plate is a cast aluminum piece designed to bolt to the transmission of the van.
We can mount the motor lower and make the motor lighter by trimming off the parts we will not use.

5134WS20 motor
The first question is can we replace the front plate with our own mounting plate. When we remove the front plate, we discover that it is an integral part of the motor and machining a replacement would be a complicated and time consuming task. Red arrows mark the water jacket openings. motor with front plate removed

The front plate provides support for a bearing (red highlighted area). It also closes off the water jacket (blue arrows) and an O-ring keeps the coolant from leaking into the motor (yellow arrow).

motor side front plate

We use a permanent marker to help us visualize what we will take off and what we will keep. The 'ear' in the lower left corner will allow us to create a fourth bolt hole to secure the motor.

planning areas to be cutcuts

Cutting the bottom will save ¾ of an inch, allowing us to mount the motor even with the floor of the car.

lower is better

A band saw makes the cuts. A belt sander helps clean up.

cutting the front plate

The final product

before and after
  before and after
... over 5 more lbs. gone!
over 5 more lbs gone!

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