29 April 2012

No worries about service

An excerpt from the Think service manuals.  Buying my own copy is now on my wish list.
When our second Think EV arrived the other day, we were surprised that the delivery driver left the window down.  My wife went to put the window up before the cats got inside, and came back saying the battery was low, the window would not go all the way up.  This did not sound right, since Doug at Green Wheels said the car left fully charged.

It turns out that if you put the key in the accessory position, the 400 volt traction battery is not yet charging the 12 volt accessory battery, which was a little weak from sitting through the bankruptcy last year when sales slowed.  No problem, I have a 12 volt battery charger that plugs into the "cigarette lighter" outlet, which is always on in the Think. I can use that to charge up the 12 volt battery until we get plates of the car on Monday.  After that, the 12 volt battery will be charged simply by driving or charging the traction battery (regular charging).

But for now I just "started" the car which begins charging the 12 volt battery, yet the window moved up very slowly. The passenger side window moved more quickly.  I tried the driver's side again, this time the motor apparently over-heated and stopped to cool off.

I have adjusted windows before, so I was not about to make a big deal out of this.  Especially since we paid less than half as much for this car as we did for the Think we bought last year, and Think North America had resisted selling me the first car because I was far from any authorized service center.  But I could not figure out how to get the door panel off.

I emailed Doug at Green Wheels Chicago and quickly received the service manual pages for the door panel.  As far as I can tell, Green Wheels was the first dealer to get factory service training for the Think, so I was not surprised that Doug had the manuals close at hand.

Removing the door pull cover
As it turns out, there is a cover in the door pull that is easily removed.  Under that, there are two screws, in addition to the usual perimeter fasteners.

Unscrewing the door pull fasteners (T15 Torx, if I recall)
The service manual warns that removing the seal under the door panel may destroy it, but apparently they upgraded to a high quality removable mastic, something like a "rope caulk", but stickier.  I was able to remove and replace the same liner without damage.  If it had been needed, I could have gotten another liner from the Elkhart factory.
Door seal under the panel
Once I had access, adjusting the window motor angle was easy.
Adjustable fasteners between window and motor
There are slots for the screws.  I set the window half way down, removed the screws to see where they wanted to line up.  In my case the optimum position was at the far right of the slots.

After this adjustment, the driver's window moves a bit faster than the passenger's window.  But I am not taking the passenger door apart. It is good enough and I suspect it will loosen up with use.

I want to look into buying the service manuals.  It was fascinating to browse the service documents, looking for the one I needed.  Many of the debug tools were updated as recently as last November, which simply confirms that work did not stop because of the bankruptcy.

I do not recall seeing the lifting points in the regular owner's manual, so when I saw that in the service manual, I felt it was a reasonable case of "fair use" to post those photos at the top of this entry, even though the service manuals are commercial documents.  Everyone needs to know how to lift the car when rotating the tires.  Lifting points should have been be shown in the owner's manuals.

In the end, a minor annoyance served to increase my confidence in owning two Think City EVs.


  1. Thanks Jim for the detailed account of how to remove the door panel. The photos are a great help. I'm glad you were able to fix the window yourself. I'd also be interested in purchasing a service manual. Let us know if you are able to arrange that.


  2. Nice job. What kind of charger would you recommend? I am taking delivery of a red 2011 on Thurs.

  3. gonzaga, I mostly use the 120 volt Clipper Creek EVSE that came with the Think, and I use a Think branded 240 volt EVSE which I bought from Norway when travelling. (Had to change the connectors of course.) Those can be hard to find, I saw it at:


    You might want to put that into Google Translate.

    I still have a 240 volt 70 amp capable EVSE from Clipper Creek that came with the Mini E, but I have not wired it up yet. Now that we have two Thinks, I better get going on it. It is rare that we need 240 volt charging at home but when you need it, you really need it.

    The only charging stations I have had trouble with are the GE Watt Stations:


    Maybe they have fixed the problem by now, but make sure you have an easy return policy if you buy GE. Seems I saw one of the major home improvement chains selling them.

  4. Sorry, I should have been clearer. What are the specs of the trickle charger you used? It seems that the ones that plug into the 'lighter' are light-duty ones.

  5. gonzaga, so you mean the 12 volt charger? Yes a trickle charger would be the term. Mine is very old, selenium rectifiers and all. I doubt it could put out 20 amps to blow the fuse on the outlet, but the 12 volt battery was not that low.

    12 volt battery failures are common in all vehicles, especially if they are not driven regularly. Charge that 12 volt if you let it sit. Or lets use your term and say trickle charge it.