My experience converting a cart from 6-8 to 8-6 volt batteries

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  #31  
Old 07-30-2011, 09:40 AM
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Last time I posted on this thread, it was from TV. I have recently arrived back in MA; cooler weather (mostly), no golf cart, golfing with tree lined fairways and very fast greens and different happy hours. The hours are still happy, just three times the cost. My wife can see I miss the evening golf carts rides and has been gracious enough to let me mow our lawn using the ride-on. Not the same, it is loud and Caly cannot hop on. Now where was I in this thread? The cart is apart (this is incorrect as I will remember below)and I was trying to figure out how to add two batteries to the Club Car without spending a fortune.

After taking the cart apart, I came to the realization I had no real plan. I spent time on the Internet, with limited success, using google.com to search for others experiences adding batteries. I also called around some local cart shops. The folks that would do this wanted more money than I wanted to spend. Some wanted to own the whole process, from design to battery sale, etc. I was frankly shocked at the cost some of the shops wanted for the whole job, up to two times I paid for the cart . This was not what I wanted so I continued to search.


I took a few nights simply staring at the cart. As anyone doing something for the first time, I wondered what the heck I had got myself into. I am sure it made for good neighborhood chatter…. “have you seen that mess Alan has in his garage?”. The husbands seemed to understand and some even interested in the process, but the wives….. not so much giving their husbands a look that exclaimed “do not even think about it”. My wife would simply smile as only wives can. She had seen this act before many times working on our homes. Hopefully after many years, she had faith that the perplexed almost moronic look I get would pass and eventually I would make it right. I did not dare to ask.

I did come across a thread on a golf cart site about a guy who had built a tray to hold the four batteries in the center.
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It looked interesting so I started looking around for tray fabricators or golf cart shops that could add a battery tray. I found a guy at the Market of Marion who had modified his cart to hold two more batteries using a tray. He let me and Dad crawl around looking at the finished cart. I realized that he did not make the tray nor did he weld, which made me ask myself why I needed him. I then started looking on my own for folks local to TV that could make the tray, and others that could weld. Even as I researched this tray thing it still did not feel right. I kept coming back to the fact that it was not mine, and it was not cheap. I would need to get a tray made, I needed to get someone to weld it to the frame, and none of it was DIY. I did not keep great notes, but I think the tray and welding was around $300 - $400, plus $50 for transporting the cart to wherever it had to go. As I was doing this search I found a great guy named Bill Horne of J&B Street Rods & Welding . He does aluminum welding and runs a garage that fixes up “classic” cars. He told me he would weld the tray if I got the tray made and got the cart to him. I wrote his name down and continued my search for a tray solution.

This thread illustrates the overwhelming success I was having http://talkofthevillages.com/forums/...ad.php?t=26378. It was not too surprising that the thread got zero responses when I thought about it. How many folks in TV would rather fix up an old golf cart instead of golfing|dancing|<anything else> . As hobbies go, I suspect it is a small group .

It then dawned on me, I do not want no stinkin’ tray. My Par Car had a tray that was always collecting dirt and acid. In addition, because of the slope of the Club Car frame, you need to make some rather significant cuts to the frame to install the tray. Club Car did not use a tray, why should I? I now had a simple idea to use rails that I would execute and call DIY. I would be able to do everything except the aluminum welding and I had Bill for that. This photo is my “detailed” plan with notes added in Microsoft Paint.

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This idea for design may seem simple to you as you read this, but at the time I really had no plan of HOW I would do this before I bought the cart, so it took me some time to come to this simple design. The key was finding Bill “the welder” and understanding how strong the weld would be when complete. Bill and I talked about price. He said he was not sure, but could not imagine it would be more than $100. He said the more I could do, the less it would cost. My tasks were now pretty straight forward:
  • Purchase some aluminum
  • Cut and clamp up aluminum
  • Figure out a way to get cart to Bill
For aluminum I needed some x 3 inch flat bar which would hold the new rails and some 1 inch angle for the rails. A great place to find aluminum is Bray’s Steel Sales in Ocala. If you need metal, give them a call. I bought extra as we had multiple projects, but I would estimate the aluminum used on this cart was $35. Another good place that I discovered later when looking for angle is White Aluminum in Leesburg.

I purchased an aluminum saw blade ($10) and was able to borrow a neighbor’s chop saw. I have never cut aluminum; I can tell you now, it is very easy to cut and work with. Be prepared to make a lot of noise. A chop saw is nice as you can literally take off a blade width of aluminum to get a good fit.

How would I get this cart to Bill? I have friends with a pickup. My Dad suggested we build a ramp, which seemed a bit extreme. It then dawned on me… it is an aluminum frame, It weighs almost nothing, I bet my wife and I can carry it. Before I clamped the new battery rails, I stripped her down. Oh come on now, of course I mean the cart . I love this picture. You would be amazed how easy this is to carry around. I have not shared the fun taking the front apart yet. If this thread continues, that phase MUST be told as it contains the most frustrating part of this whole project and a trick I learned from folks more experienced than me. Since the thread will be out of order, maybe it will be shared as a dream sequence.

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Using some borrowed clamps and existing machine bolts, I prepared the cart for welding. Here are a couple of picture which show the design as clamped.

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In the next picture, the cart is ready to be carried into the truck. Of course it was cold and rainy. If you were in TV for the 2009-2010 winter, you know we had quite a bit of that. The long timers told me it was the worst winter they had seen, but I digress. One thing to note in this design, is that the back batteries are almost inch higher. By doing this I did not have to cut as much of the cross member in the Club Car frame. If you look at the tray solution picture earlier in post, you can see they had to remove much of that. This picture also shows that I replace the side battery rails with new angle. The previous owners may have missed the memo about how to fill your batteries and the existing rails were toast. If anyone should own a gas cart it is them.

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So off we go to the welder. My Dad came over, our friend Joe who has a pickup wanted to join us. Bill (welder) and I reviewed which pieces were there just for clamping and where the welds should be. Things went off without a hitch, Bill did great job while we chatted with folks about the classic cars they were rebuilding. If memory serves it took Bill about an hour. He asked how much he told me, I said you were not sure but it would not exceed $100. He said give me $50. I guess I did a good job prepping. Bill gets 5 stars from me. Here is the finished design back in the garage.

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In summary the costs:
$35 – parts
$10 – saw blade
$50 – welding

I had my modified frame for $95 and except for the welding this is pure DIY.

I now need a home for the controller, solenoid and OBC........
  #32  
Old 07-30-2011, 10:11 AM
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Halle Halle is offline
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AJ,

I know nothing about Golf Cars except that I love driving mine and legally it cannot exceed 19.8 miles per hours, I must always plug it in and check the level of water in the batteries.

I just wanted to let you know that I love reading about you working on your golf cart and your many adventures with Caly

I think your wife is to be complimented for her patience and acceptance of your hobby. I dream of a garage with nothing in it but my car and golf cart. My husband also has many hobbies and the garage has a/c aircraft suspended from wirers hanging from the ceiling and fishing gear everywhere! I do insist that we be able to park both our cars in the garage but it is a tight fit.

Just wanted to say thanks for making me smile.
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  #33  
Old 07-30-2011, 10:55 AM
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Very interesting stuff, aj! Keep posting!

Bill
  #34  
Old 07-30-2011, 12:30 PM
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This seems easier and only $8500. http://www.starev.com/images/pdfs/br...2010_small.pdf
  #35  
Old 07-30-2011, 02:50 PM
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Default Mass. Happy Hours

AJ

The hours in Mass. May be happy, but they didn't discount when we lived there and still don't. But I'm still envious about your golf playing on tree-lined fairways, etc.

Massachusetts "Happy Hour" law means no more alcohol in Groupon deals
Groupon announced Friday that its restaurant deals in Massachusetts will no longer be applicable toward alcohol, reports the Boston Herald. This is due to the state's 25 year old "Happy Hour" law which prohibits the discount selling of alcoholic drinks. Groupon will be refunding all customers who are dissatisfied with the new rules and participating restaurants will not loose any money. There are concerns this action could hurt the appeal of Groupon and other such deals in the state.

Jim
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  #36  
Old 07-30-2011, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jebartle View Post
is that I have absolutely NO idea what you are talking about BUT you make it soooo interesting....Keep up the good work!
That's so true.

Plus, I've come to love Caly like she were my own.

AJ, thanks for sharing your knowledge, your hobby and Caly with us!!
  #37  
Old 08-01-2011, 01:11 PM
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Jim Straz: Nice looking cart, but do my posts imply I am a guy that has $8500 for a golf cart ?

Others, I am glad you are enjoying it and appreciate your nice words. At the moment, Caly is asleep under my desk, I may not share your compliments with her as her head is large enough. A few'ish weeks ago, my wife, Caly and I were out exploring Sanibel in the golf cart and met a very nice couple. They stopped by and as a way of introduction said, "That is Caly right?". She is the closet thing to a celebrity we have in the family.

Based on PMs and posts two things I would never have predicted have occurred with this thread:
  1. that people have read it and in general enjoy it
  2. that I enjoy doing it when I get time
Thanks all,
Alan
  #38  
Old 02-24-2012, 08:16 PM
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Default No! Don't stop !

Just found this thread and I'm right in the middle of trying to get more range and this looks to be the trick. I have a 98 DS and have been looking at EZGO rxv (battery issues). Local guy brought a fleet of 08's down from Colorado and is selling them at about $5000, refurbished with added extra's.
Doing your mod should do the trick for me. Here in SCW I have access to a metal shop so welding will be a cinch.
Have you worked on this project and more. Don't see how all 8-6 volts fit ?

Keep us informed !

Thank you for the great effort!
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