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Old 07-04-2017, 07:05 PM   #1
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Bluebird All American RE weight capacity for storage bays?

Hey Everyone,

I am in the planning stages for my 2001 A3RE. I am planning on housing my house batteries in one of the storage bays. I started looking at the weight of the batteries and getting concerned about the ability of the bay being able to support 400-500 lbs of batteries.

Can anyone here give me an idea of the weight capacity of the storage bays?


Thanks

S.
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Old 07-04-2017, 07:17 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Hey Everyone,

I am in the planning stages for my 2001 A3RE. I am planning on housing my house batteries in one of the storage bays. I started looking at the weight of the batteries and getting concerned about the ability of the bay being able to support 400-500 lbs of batteries.

Can anyone here give me an idea of the weight capacity of the storage bays?


Thanks

S.
I have the same bus, and the same bays. I don't trust them for any significant weight, but I will be pulling up the floor and reinforcing them. A couple of pieces of square tube across the bottom and a couple up the sides to tie it all in.
I don't know if I would trust them to have that much weight unless it was spread over the entire bay.

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Old 07-04-2017, 07:31 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Njsurf73 View Post
I have the same bus, and the same bays. I don't trust them for any significant weight, but I will be pulling up the floor and reinforcing them. A couple of pieces of square tube across the bottom and a couple up the sides to tie it all in.
I don't know if I would trust them to have that much weight unless it was spread over the entire bay.

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Thank you for the input.

I was really hoping to hear "Naw... They will hold 1000lbs easy"

How close are you to adding reinforcement to your bays? I would love to see how you address it. I am MUCH better at copying other peoples good ideas than coming up with my own.
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Old 07-04-2017, 07:45 PM   #4
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I am not very close. Working a full-time job really slows things down

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Old 07-04-2017, 07:51 PM   #5
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I am not very close. Working a full-time job really slows things down

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Time or Money. Pick one 'cause you can't have both......

i am hoping to sell my place and take $ and make bus conversion my "job" for about 3-4 months. We will see how that plays out.
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Old 07-04-2017, 08:33 PM   #6
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Another idea is to keep all your present underfloor storage for storing things (and you will have plenty of things to store!), and make separate underfloor pull-out trays for batteries. The advantage is that the batteries will be easily vented, being open to the road below (useful if any acid decides to spill out), and some simple vents in the top of their access door will take care of any hydrogen gas. I made my trays using 1-1/8" OD bearings running on 1" square tubing, and they're strong enough that when fully extended I can not only stand on their ends but even jump on them. I think it's important to be able to easily access all the batteries to water them and check their SG every fortnight or so. A friend of mine in the RV yard where I keep my bus has a high-dollar RV, but its battery compartment has no pull-out trays - he has twice in the last few years had to replace all his expensive batteries because one in the back, completely inaccessible, failed and killed all the others. If he had a way to easily check them he could have saved a lot of money and aggravation. I find it incomprehensible that a half-million-dollar RV did not have pull-out battery trays as standard!

If you put your battery trays next to the underfloor storage bay, you can keep the cables as short as possible, but still keep the expensive electronics such as inverters or charge controllers away from corrosive battery fumes. Yes, it's more work to do it this way, but we're only doing this once so why not do it so you don't have the "I wish I'd . . ." remorse later. After all, we're converting buses because we can make them functionally better than flashy mega-dollar RVs!

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Old 07-05-2017, 12:04 AM   #7
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What's your budget / target for batteries, amp hours, weight and or dollars? Is it match your solar?
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:35 AM   #8
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John,

Sounds like a good concept but my storage bays take up all of the available space.
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:38 AM   #9
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Are yours all the way through?
I have space behind the driver front wheel and beneath the stairs. But I only have 2 compartments that go all the way through.

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Old 07-05-2017, 11:40 AM   #10
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What's your budget / target for batteries, amp hours, weight and or dollars? Is it match your solar?
I am juggling cost vs capacity and trying to find the middle ground. I am fairly set on a 24 volt battery bank with 200-400 A/H capacity. I will size the solar array to match max charge rate for the bank.

I am amazed that the batteries are going to cost more than the solar panels.

BTW: I am still looking for others in the PNW that are interested in a "group buy" in order to save on shipping.
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:42 AM   #11
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Are yours all the way through?
I have space behind the driver front wheel and beneath the stairs. But I only have 2 compartments that go all the way through.

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Unfortunately mine do not go all of the way through.

I could build a rack between the bays and access it through a hatch in the floor. That would make me install and service the batteries from inside the bus. I am not sure I like that idea...
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:45 AM   #12
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Unfortunately mine do not go all of the way through.

I could build a rack between the bays and access it through a hatch in the floor. That would make me install and service the batteries from inside the bus. I am not sure I like that idea...
Well you could use that space for other things... Tanks and such.. I really don't know the capacity of your boxes, mine are straight through with plywood floors. I won't trust them to hold any serious weight on 15yr old wood

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Old 07-05-2017, 02:31 PM   #13
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Well you could use that space for other things... Tanks and such.. I really don't know the capacity of your boxes, mine are straight through with plywood floors. I won't trust them to hold any serious weight on 15yr old wood

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Mine are all steel.

I plan on mounting my tanks in between the storage bays.

The more I contemplate the idea of a hatch in the floor to access the batteries the less I like it. I think I am going to stick with using one of the storage bays for my batteries. I need to decide if and how I am going to reinforce them.

Too bad LiFePO4 batteries are not in the budget.....
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Old 07-10-2017, 01:19 PM   #14
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I have one non-through storage bay. I've seen how it hooks over the frame and is tied into the outer skin. I'd totally trust it with 500 lbs of batteries. Only thing I'd help with is maybe add a bit of structure to the floor to keep it from flexing and spread the load out.


Now, as for through-bays, they're not particularly well supported. I added frame hangers and cross members to support water tank weight.


Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Hey Everyone,

I am in the planning stages for my 2001 A3RE. I am planning on housing my house batteries in one of the storage bays. I started looking at the weight of the batteries and getting concerned about the ability of the bay being able to support 400-500 lbs of batteries.

Can anyone here give me an idea of the weight capacity of the storage bays?


Thanks

S.
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Old 07-10-2017, 05:54 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by aaronsb View Post
I have one non-through storage bay. I've seen how it hooks over the frame and is tied into the outer skin. I'd totally trust it with 500 lbs of batteries. Only thing I'd help with is maybe add a bit of structure to the floor to keep it from flexing and spread the load out.


Now, as for through-bays, they're not particularly well supported. I added frame hangers and cross members to support water tank weight.
Good info. Thank you!!

BTW: I moved my bus from Granite Falls to Dayton (Near Walla Walla) yesterday.
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Old 07-10-2017, 06:15 PM   #16
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i set up a battery rack and 4 batteries in my spare tire carrier. its basically a box supported by the skin on one side and 2 bolts over the frame rail on the other side.

its easily holding 400ish pounds (75lb batteries x 4 + steel rack). its been fine a few years now.
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Old 04-16-2018, 07:35 PM   #17
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Mine are all steel.

I plan on mounting my tanks in between the storage bays.

The more I contemplate the idea of a hatch in the floor to access the batteries the less I like it. I think I am going to stick with using one of the storage bays for my batteries. I need to decide if and how I am going to reinforce them.

Too bad LiFePO4 batteries are not in the budget.....
Ok, my most recent construction dumpster find was several 5' steel T fence stakes. Seems like I should be able to use these to reinforce a storage bay or something. Has anyone else used that particular material in a bus build? Is a bad idea for some reason that I may not have anticipated?
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