Complete Electric Upgrade for 36 Volt 2002 Club Car DS V-glide

Lloyd-ss

Member
Hello. Total newbie here, but a fast learner and willing to do the work to learn. I apologize for the long post, but want to get it all out at once. I'm considering a complete electric upgrade on my 2002 36 volt Club Car with V-Glide.

I am getting older and needed a cart to get around on the property, up and down hills, back and forth to garden, in the woods, with wife, and/or grandkids, and/or tools. Got a very good deal on a garage kept 2002 Club Car DS 36 volt V-Glide with folding rear seat. Wife says its adorable, so the project is off to a positive start. The seller told me the batteries needed to be replaced, and priced it that way, so no surprises. The drive system is the V-Glide(?) with the resistor coils and no electronics. Dirt simple design, but electrically inefficient, especially for all the hills I have on the property.

When I got the cart it took 2 gallons… yes, two gallons… of distilled water to top up the 6 batteries. Fully charged, pulling up a long paved hill, the 36 volt system dropped immediately to 20 volts at 100 amps and stayed that way all the way up the hill. I guess that means the batts are pretty well shot. Seems like the voltage shouldn’t have dropped below about 28 volts after being fully charged, even when heavily loaded like they were. All the cabling and connections look ok, but it just doesn’t have any pulling power. Zips right along on flat pavement, though.

I am trying to figure just what to do, but need a reality check from a voice of experience, please. And thank you in advance. I have to replace all the batteries, so my thought is to totally replace all the electricals and go to a modern 48 volt system. I think that will give me a good-as-new cart, for half the price of a new cart. But maybe I am dreaming, LOL.

The results I am looking for from the upgrade are:
1) Plenty of torque to carry loads (200 to 600 pounds) up 20% grades.
2) No need for higher top speed. Going slow is fine.
3) Regenerative braking seems to make a lot of sense for the up and down hills.
4) Budget is based on value: don’t waste money, but you get what you pay for.

I’ll be doing all the work myself and am comfortable with the electrical and mechanical aspects of the project, but have no golf cart experience. Helpful advice and constructive criticism is always appreciated.

Looking at lots of aftermarket supplier’s sites, I think I have the beginnings of a shopping list.
1) Six, 8 volt Trojan batteries.
2) High torque, standard speed, 48v motor, with regen capability.
3) New contactor with high amp capacity, plus resistor and diode.
4)Heavy duty F/R switch.
5) Modern controller (AllTrax SPM 300 or 400 amp?)
6) Throttle/ speed control compatible with the controller.
7) All new 4 gage wiring.
8) Solid state 48 volt charger (overnight slow charge is fine).
9) Whatever I have missed.

This could be a fun project, but does it make sense? Should I go whole hog like I laid out, or just replace the batts with the same 36 volt set-up, or sell this cart and get something that is closer to what I really need?

Thank you for any and all advice and opinions.
Lloyd-ss
 

HotRodCarts

Cartaholic
Welcome to the forum.

Your plan layout looks good for upgrading but you need to do some parts pricing and add that to the price you paid for the cart. Then make the decision on either upgrading this cart or selling it and buying a cart that already has what your shooting for. If you decide to upgrade this cart I'd go with your plan but stick with the 36 volt motor and no regen. The 36 volt motor will work fine with 48 volts.

I've done similar conversions on older EZGO carts but never did one on a resistor Club Car. I do know the price adds up quick on all the parts so you need to consider that.
Wait for some replies from the members here who have more experience with Club Cars and see what they have to say.
 

Beagler

Member
I am pretty much in same boat. Also new in the carting sport.. I a 90 club car resister cart. I have hunting dogs and traveling from on section of cover to another , sometimes 2 to 4 hundred yds. Knees are not what they used to be.
I do not have the need to haul 600 lbs But two ageing hunters and four beagles is the norm. This 36 volt cart is doing the job but we do have some steep grades. I have ordered 15:1 rear gears to replace the 12:1 stock. Have been told this will increase my torque by 25%. However the speed will be greatly reduced.. I have no problem with that. Traveling mostly rough terrain.
There is some great advice on this forum and I have been advised that these resister carts are meant to be run at full throttle and if not the resisters will get red hot and might melt wires.. Might be a good idea to contact D and D motors they will take the time and explain all options and costs.
 

Lloyd-ss

Member
Thanks gents for the replies. If I can run the original system on new 48 volt batteries instead of 36, that might be a way to ease into a high torque conversion. The high-torque 15:1 rear gear set sounds like a decent option, too. I've heard the advice about using the go pedal more like an on/off switch, and it makes sense. No need to toast anything needlessly.
Sounds like I need to do more research before committing to a particular path.

Lloyd-ss
 

Lloyd-ss

Member
Smaller diameter tires--
Looks like the 15:1 gear set is a bit pricey, but I am sure it would do the trick to boost the torque.
My cart has 18x8.50-8" tires. Looking only at increasing torque, if I replaced them with smaller diameter 16x7.50-8" tires, the same wheels would work, and it should increase the torque by 12%. Other than loosing one inch of ground clearance is there a downside to going with the smaller diameter tires to increase torque?
Lloyd-ss
 

HotRodCarts

Cartaholic
The ground clearance would be the only downside I can think of going with smaller tires. If your batteries are weak new batteries will make a pretty big difference in torque.
 

Lloyd-ss

Member
I agree, the ground clearance won't be helped with the smaller tires. I talked to the folks at D & D motors about the situation. Seeing I am after torque, and not speed, they said sticking with the 36 volt system will be ok. So I am getting new batteries tomorrow. And I went ahead and ordered a new high torque 42A motor from D & D. Hauling grand kids and grown ups and tools around, up and down hills, I think I'll be happier with the high torque motor. They said it will work with the current V-Glide resistor setup but I can upgrade to a solid state control in the future if needed or desired. They also said that the new motor is abut 5" longer than stock (wow!) so I'll have to figure out a new mounting arrangement for the right-rear shock. Seems like all hobbies, good and bad, take time, and money, LOL.
Anybody need a nice 36 volt Club Car series motor?
 

Beagler

Member
Those folks at D&D are very informative and patient . I have two of these carts the first one I am leaving stock except for 15:1 gears and 4" lift. The other will tear down to frame and completely customize. And will be useing D&D for new drive system .. probably 3 year project so I can do it with mad money as it comes in. Hey Hot Rod this carting is a kick in the ass. How comes you guys are keeping it a secret. :dazed: ;) :usa:
 

Lloyd-ss

Member
Thanks, the motor is supposed to arrive in a few days and I am looking forward to getting it installed. Some mods or fabrication will be needed to get the extra length of the motor to fit. We'll see how it goes.
 

Lloyd-ss

Member
The grandson and I installed new batteries yesterday. BIG difference, but not quite enough. Then the new D&D high torque motor arrived today. The new motor is about 3-1/4" longer than the factory motor and will "almost" fit, but because of the extra length, it bumps into the flange of the frame rail on the passenger side of the cart. Also, there is interference at the upper shock mount in the same area, and that mount must be relocated.
There are a couple of options (other than a lift kit, which the wife doesn't care for) that I can see for fixing the interference of the motor and frame rail. One would be to remove a minimal amount of the lower frame rail flange (inboard side only) to provide clearance for the motor. A reinforcement plate would be needed on the outside of the frame rail to compensate for the notching of the rail flange. I feel kind of funny about notching the aluminum frame rail. Seems like it might make a good place for a crack to start sometime in the future. But it would probably be the easiest solution.
The second solution I can think of is to shift the entire rear axle and motor assembly 3/4" toward the driver's side. A negative offset wheel could be used only on the passenger side to get the tire tracks re-centered. The problem is that half of the spring pads on the axle would be hanging over the edge of the leaf spring. I think I could fabricate a proper shim to give support between the spring and axle. A few new holes would be needed for the U-bolts and the spring-centering bolt. And the passenger side brake linkage might need a new securing point. This solution is more work, but I think would give the best result.

You guys are right, this certainly can head toward an addiction, LOL. But it sure is fun.
 

HotRodCarts

Cartaholic
How much of the frame rail would you have to notch? I think I'd go that route and the and add the reinforcement plate.
 

Lloyd-ss

Member
The aluminum frame rail is an I-beam 3-1/4" tall by 1-1/2" wide. The web and flange are about 3/16" thick. I would only have to remove about a 4" long section of the lower, inside flange. So the total amount of metal to be removed is a strip about 5/8" wide x 4" long. There is plenty of room on the outboard side of the rail to add a reinforcement plate.
 

HotRodCarts

Cartaholic
Hmmm, I'd have to think about that before cutting it. I would definitely put a plate on the outside of the frame rail at least a couple inches longer than both ends of the notch. Are you sure it will clear after you notch the frame?
 

Lloyd-ss

Member
No, I am not positive that that clearance cut will provide full clearance, and I need to take some more careful measurements. And I haven't checked for full suspension travel either, so when the axle is all the way up in its travel, it might hit the top flange of the frame rail.

At the location of the motor, the frame rails angle upwards toward the rear of the cart, and they are also spreading farther apart towards the rear of the cart. So the most serious interference point is more at the front side of the motor on the passenger side ( the corner of the motor that is closest toward the front of the cart and outboard on the passenger side).

That's why I was thinking that trying to shift the entire axle and motor assembly 3/4" toward the driver's side would give the needed clearance. It is more complicated, but it might be the safer option.
 

HotRodCarts

Cartaholic
I know a lot of guys are running D&D and other high torque motors in Club Cars but I don't recall anyone saying they had to notch the frame. I think most of the carts had lift kits so that would probably be why the high torque motors cleared. Hopefully one of the Club Cars guys will chime in on it.
I wouldn't notch the frame unless you're sure it will clear.
 

Beagler

Member
Not positive, but I believe suspension travel is going to be a problem.

Understand your wife concern she probably doesn't want a redneck cart but
a 3" lift might take care of it and that would not look to radical. Ask Dand D what the min lift would work with that cart. The suspension travel is more than you might think especially off road. And as I recall you mentioned up to 600 lb pay load. Dand D will help you in your decision making . Think about this up to 600lbs and cutting the frame? Yikes.. The travel might not be a problem with heavy duty rear springs. We are all just guessing. You are working with very close tolerances. Measure twice cut once..or maybe not at all.
Good luck. :usa:
 
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