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Suzuki turned generator.

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  • Suzuki turned generator.

    Hi, iv got an intresting project ahead.
    Iv got myself a 94 suzuki switft rotting at my brothers I bought for about $200 a few years ago (as part of a deal to get a much more desireable motor for my moped that was worth about $900+ new, so the car was just a bonus)

    And im thinking, what a great standby generator this cars engine would make, starts easily, tons of power (According to wikipedia about 90~110hp)
    and the interiour is basicly trash, so I was considering choping out the motor and wiring it to one of those ebay genheads (About $800 shiped for a 22kw head or so)

    Im experianced in microcontrollers and general electronics, so making a regulator for the cars trottle/rpms should be easy enough.

    Welding... well, I got enough experiance in welding it should hold togethor.

    Cars... Zip. zilch experiance I once did a ford ECU project but thats about it and never involved sticking the ECU's back in a car.

    So, the questions become:

    Given that 22kw is 30.8hp, say 35~hp after losses, will the motor (I believe a I1.3 to I1.6 liter engine) will produce 35HP at only 1800rpms?
    Will it produce 35hp at 3600rpm? I believe the seller has options for 3600/1800rpm genheads. I know some vehicals produce decent amounts of power at only 2000~ rpms.

    If not, that throws direct coupleing like a rubber spider coupler out the window (Not that I know if one would even be suitable for 35hp) or a U joint.

    And if not, What would be my best bet given I have a mill and lathe and welder for power transfer? Chain or belt? Do I need to support the shaft comming out of the engine or can I put a pully/sprocket on it directly? (Will the pully tension damage the shaft/bearings?)

    Im not exactly dead set on 22kw, I know its.. Rather excessive, but it just seems to me if your gonna be using a 100hp car engine anyway, you might as well mate a genhead thats at least somewhat capable of using it.

    Is that engine likey to play nicely riped outta a car? Its not gonna fail to start due to lack of some weirdball unbypassable ECU based security system or because it has no communication with the dash (Id love to keep a few of the dash gauges/lights, but likey not if it involves keeping the entire dash circuit board intact. On that note do the dash gauges have indivualy wireing or does it have its own microcontroller?
    Given the car is a 1994 model that is..
    Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

  • #2
    Here's what I did some years ago, using a VW Diesel engine:

    I felt that it wasn't a good idea to side load the crankshaft, so built a PTO shaft as detailed on the web page. A mechanical governor controls the speed; note that using a cruise control or similar might not work well because of the slower response.

    If you can find a torque/horsepower curve for that engine, it'd help with the speed questions. Running it at 3600 RPM will be noisy and lead to higher fuel consumption than desirable, but it might not have enough power at 1800. I found the sweet spot on my VW engine by simply driving the car. The double-belt drive shown on my pics works fine, but you'd need more for a 22Kw genhead. I tried a Gilmer belt drive, but didn't like it and returned to the 'V' belt arrangement.

    Dunno about getting the ECU to function properly in your application, but it should be possible if you're careful to transfer the entire wiring harness. A factory shop manual would be helpful.

    Good luck!!


    • #3
      Am I to understand they/you basicly put a shaft onto the flywheel and supported it by just one additional bearing mount? seems reasonable enough, but with only one bearing isent that still sideloading the crankshaft?

      Why did you not like the gilmer belt drive?
      Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.


      • #4
        1800 RPM unit would be my first pick.

        Coupling,use a chain coupling.Make up a plate with a keyed shaft in the center to bolt to the flywheel.Gen head should be supported by it's own bearings,the chain coupling will isolate the engine mains from radial load.
        I just need one more tool,just one!


        • #5
          Yes, there is still side load on the crankshaft, but much less than if the sheave was mounted directly to the flywheel. Besides that, it'd been problematic to mount it that way. Actually, if you look at most industrial engine drives, they incorporate only one bearing on the output shaft, but I've never seen one that coupled directly to the crankshaft unless it was a direct coupling, not a belt.

          I didn't like the Gilmer belt drive because it seemed to add to the noise, plus it has NO 'give'. The VW engine really bucks when it stops, due to the high compression. Of course, I'm not sure how much, if any, slippage there is with my 'V' belt setup.

          Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), we have few power outages, so the genset gets much more run-time for PM purposes than it does actual usage. I think it's been well over a year since the last outage, but I do run it for an hour or 2 every month, and I flip the transfer switch in the shop so as to load it a bit during that time. I'd have to check the Hobbs meter, but I don't think I've run it more than 300 hours in the past 10+ years. One of these days, we'll have a huge ice storm and it'll get a real test. :-)


          • #6
            Don't forget that a 4 cylinder engine has quite a lot of variation in its speed during each rotation and needs a lot of flywheel inertia. If the flywheel is not heavy enough it will likely hammer out any type of direct drive coupling you use. Therefore belt drive would likely be a better choice.

            If the engine is ECU controlled you should get a manual and figure out exactly what inputs and outputs are used.

            Be sure your cooling system is adequate for stationary high load use.

            One significant drawback to oversized generators is fuel consumption. Despite some logic indicating otherwise, a big engine running slowly and lightly loaded is not nearly as fuel efficient as a smaller fully loaded high speed engine. Extended power outages can use up a lot of gasoline and that gasoline needs to be stored and kept fresh. Twenty-two kilowatts seems like an awful lot of standby power but I have no idea what your needs are. Sounds like an interesting project, keep everyone updated.
            Don Young


            • #7
              Sounds like an interesting project and you should have no problem making it work. I did something similar a couple years ago. The following is a thread I posted on another site, might have posted it here too but don't remember. In any case this is my story and what mine looks like.

              Where I am located we have always had an electrical problems. Frequently during a good rain storm we will lose power. Seeing as how my workshop is in the basement the thought of all my “toys” getting wet is not acceptable.

              At a garage sale, I bought a used electrical generator. It would start OK when cold but died when it warmed up. I determined that it needed a valve adjustment, fixed that and got it to run well under load. However under no load such as when the sump pumps shut off after having pumped all the water out of the sump, its governor could not maintain speed. Its speed would oscillate wildly up and down until it would finally die, of course shortly after this the sumps would have filled up to the point where the pumps wanted to turn on. This became annoying and no amount of fiddling or adjustment of the engine could cure it.

              So I bought this 10 kilowatt generator and then all I needed was about a 20 HP engine to run it. Also I kind of wanted some thing that could run at a nice “quiet” 1800RPM. After exploring some different options it turned out that a friend of a friend knew of a guy who had an 87 Honda CRX for sale. It had a small 1500cc engine that would be just about right. Also the price was far less then what I would have paid for say a small new lawn tractor engine, plus it was fuel injected. He claimed the engine ran good but he wanted to get rid of it because a rear axle bearing was making noise, actually it screamed like a banshee, but for some reason he didn’t feel like it was worth repairing.

              So on an overcast morning my friend and I drove 50 miles to view this mechanical marvel. It was almost beyond description as it sat there in its entire pristine splendor. The engine started right up with just a tap of the key and ran well, just as claimed, plus it had a new (2 year) old battery and a new exhaust system.

              Well OK it did have a “few” mechanical problems. It had three alloy wheels and one steel wheel, which was flat, the front bumper was cracked, the plastic front fenders had numerous cracks, the hood had a slight warp in it, the passenger door would not open, the sun roof would not close, the rear hatch had a broken hinge and its gas support springs had long since lost their gas, a length of ½” pipe was used to hold it open when needed, the rear bumper was held on with a couple “L” brackets, the interior what was there was of it was ripped and torn, the turn signals only work in one direction, never did try the head lights although there were two sets of add on headlights, one of which might have worked. It was all that I could have ever hoped for.

              I happily paid the gentleman, surprisingly he did not seem least distraught at having to give up this gem, and thus we started the trip back home with rear wheel bearing screaming away. Steering was a little loose and sloppy but not too bad if you didn’t go very fast. Which was OK because the brakes didn’t feel like they were up to high speeds either. About one third of the way home the overcast sky turns to rain, and of course the windshield wipers did not work. Should have brought my bottle of “Rain-X” along. Made it to a “Burger King” stopped had some lunch while waiting for the rain to let up. Then jerry rig the windshield wiper crank arm that fell off back in place with some plastic tie-wraps. Make it home with no further problems. Engine ran great this was just the kind of car that I wanted.

              I then spent the next two weeks carefully removing the body from around the engine. My goal here was to save only the wiring and the other parts that were actually needed to run the engine. Thus I went through it cutting out all the wiring that I knew was not needed, headlights, wipers, AC, etc. It was amazing how much wire there was in a small car like this, but the next door neighbor thought it was great as he grabbed an arm full of it to use to tie up his tomato plants.

              When I was tracing the wires back to the fuel pump I cut the “coat hanger” that was holding the fuel pump in place and gently wiggled it to make sure I had the right wires. Where upon the rusty fuel line to the engine promptly broke and I had the fuel pump in my hand and the gas tank dripping gas, this then seemed like a good time to drain the gas tank. I then removed the gas tank, as I plan to use it on my generator, and here is view of the rear suspension, or what was left of it, that was in front the tank.

              Until the “bad” wheel bearing this was the guys’ daily driver? 

              Anyway I got out of it what I wanted.

              The rest of it

              went to our local scrap pickers, who come around on garbage day looking for any small bits and pieces of metal that they can find and take to a scrap yard and get a few dollars for. This for them this was a gold mine. 

              So now with the body and other useless parts disposed of, I turned my attention to the engine. Time to give it a bath and a close inspection. Removed the transmission and disassembled it and saved the bell housing and the input shaft. It did have an oil leak which appeared to be the rear main seal but turned out to be just a leaky oil pan gasket. Fixed that and replaced the rear seal on general principles. The alternator belt was totally worn out, replaced it. Checked the timing belt it was in surprisingly good condition and also checked valve clearance, they were all right on spec. The inside of the valve cover and oil pan were amazingly clean, no sludge! The spark plugs all had a nice tan color. For an engine with over 200,000 miles, speedometer broke at 217,000, I was quite pleased with its condition.

              Next I got some angle iron and steel tubing and proceeded to weld up a stand to mount it on. Nothing real fancy here, gas tank is on the bottom with the engine over it. For expediency I mounted all of the external engine controls in essentially the same locations as they when they were in the car. The original instrument panel is mounted in the new control panel. In the space that was occupied by the broken speedometer I now have the electronics that maintains the engine speed. It controls a motor that pulls on the cable that went to the accelerator pedal.

              Turned the case hardened gear teeth off of the transmission shaft so I could mount the pulley that drives the generator. Probably would have been easier to make a new one from scratch, but it had the correct spline to mate with the clutch disc.

              Mounted the computer, cut wires for all the controls and sensors to the correct length and then taped them into neat bundles. Engine fired up first try, well first try “after” I discovered that I the main engine harness was not plugged into the chassis wiring. However we won’t talk about how long it took to discover that.

              Finally with everything working I added some engine flush to the oil, ran it for a while, tightened a clamp on the upper radiator hose that somehow failed to have gotten tighten, then drained the oil changed the filer and added fresh oil.

              So I am now ready for the next power failure.

              ************************************************** ***************************

              As it turned out the following week I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to put it to work.
              It was a Thursday and I had just brought the dogs in from what they consider to be their mandatory afternoon walk, it was overcast and just starting to rain. I sat down to rest for a bit and it was 5 maybe 10 minutes before I noticed “boy it’s really dark outside” and sounds like it is raining pretty good too. I also noticed that we had lost power so I went into the garage to take a look at the storm. First thing I see is the ground is everywhere covered with small branches, twigs and leaves. Looking across the street the neighbor has three trees down! These were 10 to 14 inch diameter broken off at the base. The neighbor to the right of me also lost a couple trees. I lost one branch on one tree and I did not hear a thing!!!

              Turns out we had numerous mini-tornadoes thought out the area that day taking down trees, power lines and flooding rivers. The power company was totally overwhelmed. It was Sunday morning before our power was back on.

              Needless to say I ran the generator; it powered the sump pumps, and kept three freezers freezing and prevented a refrigerator from losing its cool. A couple neighbors ran an extension cords over to run their sump pumps. Judging from past experience I can safely say without it I would have 12 to 18” of water in the basement. As it was all I had was a little seepage around the windows, not even enough to bother wiping up. Also had it running the pump for the well so I had water for taking a shower and flushing the toilets, a benefit which did not go unnoticed by friend wife.

              The generator ran great and is reasonably quite, you can carry on a conversation while standing next to it, and yelling is not required. I could not be more pleased with the way it ran.


              • #8
                Nice thats pertty much what I planed to do. just rip the car away from the engine
                Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.


                • #9
                  Or you could buy one of these-

                  I just need one more tool,just one!


                  • #10
                    Not wanting to hijack here but have to say, PFN project Mad Scientist! Wish I had your ambition.
                    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                    Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

                    It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.


                    • #11
                      wierdscience: they want $5000 for a 20kw generator, I could do it for about $1000 given I allready have the engine and just need a simple frame

                      Plus, I kinda want a project for that old car
                      Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.


                      • #12
                        Neat project! I daydream about doing something similar but the older I get, the more realistic I am about actually finishing a big project like that.

                        On a more positive note, Evan posted a few yrs. ago about a really neat, highly accurate governor setup he came up with. A good governor is a must for a project like yours. Ahh, found it:

                        "Accuracy is the sum total of your compensating mistakes."

                        "The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion." G. K. Chesterton


                        • #13
                          thats the wrong type of govoner, thats for an inverter genset that can throttle back, id be using a sync genset that needs to run at 1800 or 3600rpm.

                          And actualy iv allready built a setup like that.. Mine works except for a few faults: My lawnmower motor is 10+ years old has a shaft thats bent at like 15 degrees (Seriously!)
                          its lower seal is busted and leaks oil (Free chassie lube! well ok not really..)
                          it surges up/down and is still manual throttle controled, so you just adjust throttle before pluging in a bigger load..
                          I don't really use it due to the oil leak problem, i don't want 1+ liter of oil spued out all over and never got around to finding a yard sale for a new used lawnmower motor. I might rebuild it someday with a princess auto 6.5hp motor since they are so cheap ($100)
                          Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Black_Moons
                            wierdscience: they want $5000 for a 20kw generator, I could do it for about $1000 given I allready have the engine and just need a simple frame

                            Plus, I kinda want a project for that old car
                            Okay a it.

                            What gen head will you be using? One of the HF units or the Chinese ST units?
                            I just need one more tool,just one!


                            • #15
                              Those 2-71 gensets are bulletproof and should run forever. However, they're very noisy and not very fuel-efficient. As you might know, the Detroit Diesel 2-stroke engines like that are the most efficient device known to man for turning Diesel fuel into noise.

                              What did you use for a governor? I bought mine from Saturn Surplus, and recently picked up another at the scrap yard that was on a ride-on industrial scrubber that was powered by a Ford 4-cylinder industrial engine.

                              I hadn't seen that setup that Evan built, thanks for linking to it! He essentially duplicated the Honda inverter gensets. He points out the fuel efficiency of his outfit, and I've heard the stories from the Honda owners on their fuel usage. As in, unbelievably low!