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Old 10-06-2012, 06:54 PM   #1
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Approaches to underside storage?

I'm curious how underside storage gets secured to the bus, typically. I'm thinking of some storage for my batteries and/or other random stuff, ie tarp (for shelter), tools, camping gear, etc.

I'm familiar with how the slide out trays are usually made with sheet metal walls, or how to make a tray with angle iron and a sheet as flooring, but how does it all get fastened to the chassis?

Is it from above? and if so, how? To the interior chassis frame? To the exterior wall (1/8th sheet)?

I was thinking some of the storage could be made from sheet metal enclosed into a box and then put angle iron on the face (open end), then slide it through a cut-out on the side (re-using the cut out piece as the door, since the angle iron on the face should seal the difference), then somehow mounting straps or something around the whole thing. But I'm not quite sure how, because it would have to be attached from above, right? I've seen one person mount to the floor cross members by using square tubing to go perpendicular from one cross member to the other, though I'm not sure if this makes the most sense.

I also imagined using angle iron or square tube to make the side framing, which can be fastened to both the outer wall and inner chassis frame.

I suppose I'm wondering what different mounting approaches there are to ensure sufficiently holding varying weights - maybe sometimes 100 lbs, maybe sometimes 500 lbs (for a 4 ft long storage box).

Is this perhaps where it makes sense to attach to bolts coming through the floor? I just wouldn't know whether I could re-use the holes from the seats. Or how I need to space/size the bolts to ensure adequate strength. I may be able to have wooden 2x4s from above (as framing for various items inside) and then utilizing really long carriage bolts to then go through the angle iron/square tubing storage box framing and tightened with bolts on the other end. The question is how thick should the bolts be and how far spaced apart, to hold a load of perhaps 500 lbs over a 4ft x 2ft area? I think what I have are 7/16th carriage bolts, maybe 4 inches long.

And then how thick should any sheet metal be? Is 1/16th enough? is 1/8th overkill? Would I then start incorporating cross beams that go underneath (such as there is on traditional steps)? Or a turnbuckle type of support?
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Old 10-06-2012, 07:07 PM   #2
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Re: Approaches to underside storage?

http://www.vonslatt.com/bus-plumb.shtml



and




I guess this was inspiration for what I was thinking of.

Though I may need to be creative as to how to mount the whole thing without having vertical beams every 10 inches. I figured having 2x4's laid flat from above (inside the bus) and carriage bolts go through the floor, can attach through a frame of angle iron every 12 inches and be bolted on that way. The angle iron frame would be parallel to the exterior wall instead of perpendicular.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:41 PM   #3
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Re: Approaches to underside storage?

I have the same bus 97 Crown by Carpenter except a different chassis. The way I was going to mount my Generator (Generac QuietPac 6500W) is as drawn. Using Square tubing with a Nut welded into each end and bolted through the Floor ribs. then welding angle down from that making a box.


Using sort of the same design I was also going to use 20 gauge for the side,top and back and 1/16 on the bottom for the storage compartments. and utilizing RV Storage doors cut into the sides of the bus.

The floor pan of my bus is 1/16 or 1/8 inch steel and I dont want any holes into the floor as when I pulled up the old plywood where the holes for the seats were is where it was rusted and water got in. In my opinion the floor would be able to hold bolting the way my design shows. if someone has done it this way and it didnt work please tell me before I do it.
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Old 10-07-2012, 01:21 AM   #4
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Re: Approaches to underside storage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kimberlink
I have the same bus 97 Crown by Carpenter except a different chassis. The way I was going to mount my Generator (Generac QuietPac 6500W) is as drawn. Using Square tubing with a Nut welded into each end and bolted through the Floor ribs. then welding angle down from that making a box.


Using sort of the same design I was also going to use 20 gauge for the side,top and back and 1/16 on the bottom for the storage compartments. and utilizing RV Storage doors cut into the sides of the bus.

The floor pan of my bus is 1/16 or 1/8 inch steel and I dont want any holes into the floor as when I pulled up the old plywood where the holes for the seats were is where it was rusted and water got in. In my opinion the floor would be able to hold bolting the way my design shows. if someone has done it this way and it didnt work please tell me before I do it.
So where does the angle iron go? Just between the two 'sides'? Are the ends of the angle welded onto the faces of the square tubing? I personally would probably place the angle iron INSIDE the square tube frame (resting on top of it rather than welded to the side of it), so it's supported by the tube frame MUCH better than just a 1/8th weld to the sides. Especially if it's going to hold some weight, I don't want thin welds to be the only support (but then again maybe a decent weld should make the issue moot). I think the tube frame should act as a 'cage' to enclose the sheet walls. The side walls could either be welded to the outer sides of the tube frame (probably simplest), or use some more angle iron on the inside of the side framing.

I would probably have 4 bolts on each end to secure to the beams, probably 3/8 or 7/16. Especially if it's just secured from the far ends and nowhere in between.

Some of the beams I have are upside-down T-shaped, which I think are the structural ones and the more 'square' ones in between them are non structural and just hold the flooring flat. I'd say it's probably a good idea to place (loose) square tubing on both sides of the upside-down T (since the constructed wall 'frame' can't quite sit flush against the beam) to go up next to the side square tube framing and then have a long enough bolt that goes through the 3 square tubes, with adequate washers, lock nuts, etc. I'd think having it go through the square tube would distribute the weight better and then lower the chances of the beam rusting and tearing in a single spot. The extra layers of square tube would strengthen the whole thing.

Seems simple enough. I'm only nervous about cutting a cavity in the wall and then not being able to figure out the rest of it, left with a giant hole. I think now I can at least put together the framing and then cut the hole to get the sheet metal in place. I would honestly just re-use the wall sheet that was cut off/out as the door, and just use some angle iron around the perimeter to ensure a proper seal. Maybe have a hook above so I can swing it up and attach it to the hook to keep it open.

I probably will do 4 storage boxes total, and try a different approach with each. Maybe use the ones that don't seem as strong for lighter stuff.
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:16 PM   #5
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Re: Approaches to underside storage?

http://www.apelectric.com/5856-Gener...tor-p/5856.htm

The link is my generator except mine is in a square case. the Angle iron would be down the front,back and bottom on each side and screwed to the generator case. The square/rectangle tubing is already 1/8 inch thick and either 2x2 or 2x1 1/2 which seemed to fit nicely inbetween the T floor panel. I planed on using large grade 8 bolts (Unsure of size yet) with a large square flat washer cut to fit next to bolt head and a lock washer. if needed I could also bolt the back upright to the frame rail as I did on the steps. The angle uprights were to be notched to fit around the square tubing allowing for more surface area to be welded one could place a bolt through there if they felt they needed it. ( a weld if done correctly is stronger than the surrounding metal it is fastenened to according to my high school shop teacher...LOL)

My opinion only, is that in the storage box using angle iron would be easier and more cost effective to use. Yes the sides,top,back and floor of the box would be sealed using some kind of sealent with the screws being through a rubber washer like they use on tin roofs in my area, or you could weld the sheets to the angle either way. yes for longer storage boxes you would have to utilize more of the supports every 16 - 24 inches or so, remember the wieght will be spread out across the surface and not in one spot. In that case I would the square tubing underneath and weld it to the angle that runs lenthwise with the bus. again as I did on my steps. On my steps I placed the cross square tubing 6 - 8 inches part because I used 20 gauge to seal up the area and I'm going to use polished Aluminum tread plate as a step. As a sealent i sprayed the angle with Great stuff and placed the sheet ontop before it cured and screwed it down I also sealed each square tubing that had an open end with Great stuff to attempt to keep moisture out. It worked as the heavy rain we had that got into the bus from a leaky window held in the step area...LOL

The floor ribs on my bus are all the same, an upside down T with tails where each floor panel meets. the floor panels themselves are bent into a capital C and spot welded together to make the floor. the floor at each end is spotwelded to the sides of the bus tieing the entire body together from side to side. The body sets on the frame rail and clamped into place at everyother rib.

Your floor looks like a "T" from the pictures with out the tail as I call it. All of mine has a Tail or drip edge pointing up. Mine also does not have the rail on the outside running the lenth of the bus, as shown in your picture, so I can get up close and personable to the outside panel. as far as the door for the generator access yes I plan on cutting the side and placing flat iron as a seal and use the old bus door hinge. the generator is already sealed in its compartment so need to enclose it as far as im guessing. For the storage bins yes Angle Iron to allow for the box to be made, however I was going to use used RV doors as all I have to do it cut the hole and screw these into place.

I'm not saying my way is the best and I can be swayed because I am new to schoolie and you all have been there done that many times over. I'm still learning from all of you.
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Old 03-01-2014, 12:13 PM   #6
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Re: Approaches to underside storage?

I bought a bunch of sheet metal, angle iron and square tubing, thinking it would be cheaper to make my own storage bins than buy existing ones (as easy as that would be).... I still haven't gotten around to it, but am thinking about something like this:



The sheet metal is kinda thin, but only needs to be tack welded, really. I probably will revise by having angle iron go across the rear so the sheet metal edges are secured as well.
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Old 03-01-2014, 06:18 PM   #7
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Re: Approaches to underside storage?

Rivets guys, rivets for thin metal.

Also tube holds salt and such with no way of getting it out. Formed U channels and angles remove this issue.

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Old 03-02-2014, 10:55 AM   #8
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Re: Approaches to underside storage?

My experience with those kind of L bracket with brace bolted to a frame rail on semi is that if you don't the outside in some way they will break. Either just above the angle brace, or just below the lower bolt holding it to the frame, especially if the box is carrying very much weight. For the batteries, I wouldn't put them in a box at all, just a door with a slide out tray of some kind.
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Old 03-02-2014, 12:10 PM   #9
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Re: Approaches to underside storage?

I make a box out of angle iron I used 2inch for the back pcs and 1inch for the rest, welded it to the frame, and bolted to the side, then used plywood to finish it. did it for my generator and propane tanks, also I will be making a smaller one and put it behind the rear wheels.
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Old 03-02-2014, 06:15 PM   #10
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Re: Approaches to underside storage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa
My experience with those kind of L bracket with brace bolted to a frame rail on semi is that if you don't the outside in some way they will break. Either just above the angle brace, or just below the lower bolt holding it to the frame, especially if the box is carrying very much weight. For the batteries, I wouldn't put them in a box at all, just a door with a slide out tray of some kind.
That would explain why the bus builders support the front of the storage boxes to the skirt sheet metal.

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Old 03-02-2014, 09:45 PM   #11
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Re: Approaches to underside storage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa
My experience with those kind of L bracket with brace bolted to a frame rail on semi is that if you don't the outside in some way they will break. Either just above the angle brace, or just below the lower bolt holding it to the frame, especially if the box is carrying very much weight. For the batteries, I wouldn't put them in a box at all, just a door with a slide out tray of some kind.
What do you need to do the outside?....I was thinking of building some similar L-brackets and am looking for some insight.


The floor beams on my bus are galvanized so there goes welding on them. The shape of the floor braces are U -shaped with the open part against the floor so making "clamps" to go into the C or I beam is a no go. So I was thinking of building brackets as described bolted to the frame. Then lay treated 2x6 between the braces (flat to make a bottom) bolted at the end to each brace. But instead of trying to build a box, I've gotten ahold of a used aluminum diamond plate truck tool box for cheap, I'm going to lay it on its side with the lid opening upward, and bolt it to the 2x6. I'm not going to rely on the tool box latches to hold it shut, I'm going to get some rubber "hood hold down" latches and use them to keep the lid shut. Thought I would give it a try since you can find used truck toolboxes on craiglist for cheap (as long as you don't want brand new shiney). We'll see how it turns out.
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Old 03-02-2014, 09:57 PM   #12
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Re: Approaches to underside storage?

Make a box that fits perfectly between the frame of the bus, and the inside of the skirt.

One side bolts to the side of the frame.

The other side rivets to the skirt skin.

Cut out the hole for the door in the skirt.

Mount the door to the skirt.

By doing it this way, all connections, and forces are in sheer. The easiest way to connect two objects. Also nothing will crack or bend. Everything will be able to flex as needed.

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Old 03-03-2014, 09:26 AM   #13
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Re: Approaches to underside storage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Westward
The floor beams on my bus are galvanized so there goes welding on them.
What's with all this hate of welding galvanized steel? I've seen it all over skoolie.net. I understand the potential risk of feeling like crap for a couple days if too much is inhaled, but it's fairly easy to avoid. My bus has (or had. now partially rusted) a fully galvanized body and I've FCAW,GMAW welded the metal successfully many times. These 3 common sense rules have worked for me:
1. Don't weld indoors unless there is loads of ventilation. I conveniently had the windows removed in the bus during all of the indoor welding.
2. Keep your face as far from the plume as possible. This is the big one.
3. If you're welding in an area that can 'pool' the fumes (ie. under the bus, welding the bottom of the floor) and it's a perfectly still day use a fan to lightly push the fumes out.
4. If you're really concerned grab a half-face respirator and p100 filter cartridges (I think. the carbon ones) which filter welding fumes. Both are cheap. I've used them during a handful of welds, but for the most part haven't needed them.

Just did a quick Google search for something to back me up. I've read this information from many sources, but this was the first result I came across today.

http://www.sperkoengineering.com/htm...Galvanized.pdf
Quote:
Zinc Fumes -- A Safety Hazard?
...Extensive research into the effects of zinc oxide fumes has been done, and although breathing those fumes will cause welders to think that they have the flu in a bad way, there are no long-term health effects. Zinc oxide that is inhaled is simply absorbed and eliminated by the body without complications or chronic effects.
It's a decent read. Check out the part about lead content as well. Sort of alarming at first, but it sounds like the chances of actually getting much of it into the human body are slim.

I think the biggest concern about welding these buses are the long-term effects - and no - I'm not talking about health issues. I'm talking about crappy welds fatiguing and breaking and batteries, tanks, generators, etc skipping down the road at 100kph
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:24 PM   #14
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Re: Approaches to underside storage?

Jazty, you were right--it is a good read. I for one am glad to see a fellow skoolie who is willing to take the time to research and post such info. The approach sure is better than the "trust me, I just know so don't question me" approach so common to these threads.
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:42 PM   #15
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Re: Approaches to underside storage?

Its just what I have been taught, though there seems to be ways around the risk it still isn't something I wish to do. So I'm looking at an alternative with bolting braces through prexisting holes in the frame. We'll see how it turns out.
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Old 03-03-2014, 01:22 PM   #16
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Re: Approaches to underside storage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ol trunt
Jazty, you were right--it is a good read. I for one am glad to see a fellow skoolie who is willing to take the time to research and post such info. The approach sure is better than the "trust me, I just know so don't question me" approach so common to these threads.
I agree. However, some things are already proven and most don't need them to be proven again.

Like rivets. The bus builders already proved rivets are the way to go.

You put that one to rest with the document you posted in the RIVET vs SPOT/PLUG WELD vs "BOLTS" vs GLUE etc. thread. With that kind of info, people can lay their fears to rest.
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=467195

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Old 03-03-2014, 04:20 PM   #17
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Re: Approaches to underside storage?

Comment moved to Everything Else.
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