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Old 08-06-2008, 08:06 AM   #1
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Adding Under-Belly Storage

Forgive me if this is in the archives, I attempted several searches for it but not have the right vocabulary.

I want to build some under-belly storage boxes for holding things like batteries and propane (separate vented compartments) and was wondering the best method to go about it. I assume that buying one to fit the bus would be extremely expensive. Perhaps I should go to a bus-graveyard to find ones off old buses that are in good shape or maybe I should build them out of steel and weld them together...

Looking at the pictures of the electric bus on auction I found the attached picture. Which shows a simple angle-iron frame. If you did build it yourself would this be a good way? Would you need tubing for a half dozen batteries?

Has anyone either built or scavenged storage bays for there bus, and what is your method / experience?
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Old 08-07-2008, 10:22 PM   #2
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Re: Adding Under-Belly Storage

Mine wasn't that elaborate... I just mounted a 4x8 sheet of plywood under the bus, used super struts to reinforce it from underneath, then hung the waste tanks to the bottom of that. Installed a couple of doors on each side for access...







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Old 08-08-2008, 10:38 PM   #3
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Re: Adding Under-Belly Storage

Pretty slick Cliff.
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Old 08-09-2008, 09:44 PM   #4
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Re: Adding Under-Belly Storage

I did go out and buy an underbody storage box, which is weather sealed and lockable made of sheet steel and nicely powder coated. Its a serious box for a serious price. (I swindled the store down to $250 from $400 because it was scratched. Its made from a company called Buyers. But as for making your own I decided early on to just cut the entire bottom of the sides of the bus off, and build new sides with all the storage I could imagine. In this process i am also lowering the sides to about a foot from the ground. Now I am just going to build new compartments from 1" by 1" tubing as a frame, then weld sheet metal in to seal them, finally I am re-skinning the whole thing and building my own doors. I am also going to use heavy duty drawer slides from Lee-Valley, http://www.leevalley.com/ , so that if I need to do some maintenance on the equipment it is easily accessible. The other thing to keep in mind is making your doors seal right. I ran into problems with this when I built a tool trailer a few years ago. I finally decided that the best way to keep the water out of my trailer was to build a lip that stood out from the body of the trailer around the openings, then I built the doors with another lip around their edges. So when you finally install your doors they completely cover the opening and the lip on the door caps the lip on the body. I had this trailer driving through pouring rain and Canadian snow storms and I have never seen a drop of water get in. Lee-Valley also has hardware for pretty much anything you could imagine. I know they are predominantly a Canadian addiction...or store I mean, but I think our neighbors down south have a few stores and you can buy on the net. A warning though, I have rarely gone on their sight and not spent hundreds of dollars so beware!
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Old 12-19-2008, 11:51 AM   #5
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Re: Adding Under-Belly Storage

I saw a website where the guy scavenged old bed frames, cut up the angle-iron and welded the sections together to form everything from storage compartments to frames to hold his water tanks. The steel that those frames are made of is pretty heavy stuff. Here's a link to the site...

http://www.vonslatt.com/
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Old 12-19-2008, 09:21 PM   #6
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Re: Adding Under-Belly Storage

I used some locker doors w frames for my junk boxes, look at sportyrick's bus in the gallery and you can see how it looks. I just got some 16ga galvanized sheet metal and bent them into a box, welded it to the door frame and mounted them under the bus welded to the outside skin. I had a regular RV manufacturer tell me that keeping the rain out is next to impossible so we just put everything in plastic tubs with lids. We have drain holes in the floor of the boxes and a rubber mat to keep things from sliding around. sportyrick
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Old 12-20-2008, 09:29 PM   #7
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Re: Adding Under-Belly Storage

I'll help you fabricate boxes if we make 'em big enough for me to ride in and you'll come get me and take me at least a thousand miles south of here where it's probably warm!
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Old 12-23-2008, 05:51 AM   #8
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Re: Adding Under-Belly Storage

i was browsing stuff on ebay and ran across diamond plate cabinets and i thought it would be a good idea for under the bus.
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:23 AM   #9
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Re: Adding Under-Belly Storage

Quote:
Originally Posted by vanguy67
I found a couple of those Jobox boxes like construction crews keep their tools in on construction sites on craigslist. They are supposed to be weatherproof. I'm going to measure one at my local hardware store and see if they are big enough to mount propane tanks and a generator in. If they are I think it would be easier to have a couple of them welded under the bus than to fabricate something from scratch. My bus is still not fixed though so, for now, this is just planning in my head.

just look on ebay for measurements they have a lot of them.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/50-L-...3A1|240%3A1318
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:19 AM   #10
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Re: Adding Under-Belly Storage

search the member list for dammitandy's website, he built some really nice belly boxes.
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:21 AM   #11
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Re: Adding Under-Belly Storage

Quote:
Originally Posted by dabauer1701e
I saw a website where the guy scavenged old bed frames, cut up the angle-iron and welded the sections together to form everything from storage compartments to frames to hold his water tanks. The steel that those frames are made of is pretty heavy stuff. Here's a link to the site...

http://www.vonslatt.com/
Jake happens to be a member here though I haven't seen him post in a long time. I use angle iron derived from bedframes for EVERYTHING. My battery tray, for example, is built from them. My tractornator was built from an old lawn tractor, a GM alternator, some misc. wire, some hand tools, a grinder, a welder, and bed frames. It isn't pretty, but that stuff works. The only issue I've had with it is that it really is a bear to drill. I'm thinking it must have a higher carbon content than your average mild steel angle iron.
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Old 12-26-2008, 01:40 PM   #12
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Re: Adding Under-Belly Storage

Those job boxes look like normal pick-up truck tool boxes. Having had a few of those, in general they don't all have the greatest, most durable latching mechanisms, since they're made to open from the top. Under a skoolie, it'll open to the side. Don't want gear inside bouncing around causing it to open on the road. Also they're usually ribbed on the base for strength and support, not the side, which will now be the base. I think the cheaper ones may distort. There's a HUGE variance in quality in these boxes, and I don't think all will hold up the same in your application. Make sure they're supported O.K. Maybe some all-thread down thru all 4 corners bolted to 2 angle irons along the length? Also, watch how the lid opens- most will need extra clearance for the lid when opened. Check this out BEFORE you bolt it up!!!! I've mounted at least one too close to the front of the truck bed, and sure enough, didn't open.

A truck wrecking yard may have real truck boxes, which were made for exactly the application.
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