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Old 06-10-2017, 07:23 PM   #1
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Hey everyone, my 2001 Blue Bird A3RE doesn't have under bus storage. I was just wondering what the average size of the under bus bays. Yes my brother said make them to my need however I wanted to check the consensus of the forum.

I mainly want them for the black, gray, flesh water tanks, propane and batteries.
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Old 06-10-2017, 07:29 PM   #2
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You can avoid the black water holding tank by using a composting toilet.

A lot of Skoolies use 55 gal plastic drums for their water tanks. Propane? Are you using horizontal or vertical tanks? Batteries won't make much of a difference in your ground clearance.
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Old 06-10-2017, 07:39 PM   #3
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You can avoid the black water holding tank by using a composting toilet.

A lot of Skoolies use 55 gal plastic drums for their water tanks. Propane? Are you using horizontal or vertical tanks? Batteries won't make much of a difference in your ground clearance.
I was planning to installed horizontal tanks. Also my wife will not entertain the idea of a composting toilet. The Propane was going to be dual 20 lb propane cylinders.
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Old 06-10-2017, 07:54 PM   #4
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Strangely enough, a composting toilet does not emit odors. Besides, they are usually vented outside, even though they don't need it.

20 lb propane tanks don't come in horizontal versions. You get those at just about anywhere.
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Old 06-10-2017, 08:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IWC Bus View Post
Hey everyone, my 2001 Blue Bird A3RE doesn't have under bus storage. I was just wondering what the average size of the under bus bays. Yes my brother said make them to my need however I wanted to check the consensus of the forum.

I mainly want them for the black, gray, flesh water tanks, propane and batteries.
I love my underbelly storage but it comes at a price. I would rather have my tanks just mounted to the frame with some Unistrut. And I am scrounging for space to put my propane separate from everything else. There's a lot of room under there but you also have to divide it if you're going to put batteries and Propane in the same space and make sure that it is airtight because Sparks and gas don't mix.
It's also another structural component that can get rusty really easy because if the first thing in contact with the road Grime and salt.

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Old 06-10-2017, 08:01 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by CaptSquid View Post
Strangely enough, a composting toilet does not emit odors. Besides, they are usually vented outside, even though they don't need it.

20 lb propane tanks don't come in horizontal versions. You get those at just about anywhere.
Search online they do have 20#, 30#, and 50# vertical propane tanks.

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Old 06-10-2017, 08:02 PM   #7
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Sparks and gas don't mix. They don't? Since when?
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Old 06-10-2017, 08:26 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by CaptSquid View Post
Strangely enough, a composting toilet does not emit odors. Besides, they are usually vented outside, even though they don't need it.

20 lb propane tanks don't come in horizontal versions. You get those at just about anywhere.
Well I have google 20 gal horizontal propane tank and this is just one of several.

Propane LP Gas Horizontal Tank 20 lb. - $156.99
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Old 06-10-2017, 08:30 PM   #9
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As far as water tanks, I would consider salvaging aluminum fuel tanks and the associated brackets off an old road tractor. Worried about weight and mounting? The original brackets have already done all the engineering for you, just drill a few holes just like on the previous installation, copy what they did, and you're good to go. Aluminum is ... well, I won't say easy, but any competent shop can cut and weld in any appropriate plumbing fittings.
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Old 06-10-2017, 08:31 PM   #10
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Search online they do have 20#, 30#, and 50# vertical propane tanks.

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Duh I meant horizontal LMAO

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Old 06-10-2017, 08:41 PM   #11
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Sure, it's nice to have bellybins for all the Other Stuff, but tanks, propane and batteries shouldn't be in them anyway. It's a waste of valuable bin space which can be better used for other things, you can fit bigger tanks under the floor instead of whatever size will fit through the door of a bellybin, and both propane and batteries should be vented which is easier and safer to achieve if they're not in enclosed spaces. It ain't rocket surgery to make strong reliable supports for tanks, batteries and propane, and if you want to get fancy you can make slide-outs for batteries and propane cylinders to easily access them.

Just to give you an idea of what's possible, I've made space for four large tanks totaling 400 gallons, two pull-out trays for eight golfcart batteries, another pull-out tray for the two Group 31 start batteries, a pull-out tray for two 20 lb propane cylinders, a pull-out drawer for all the fresh water pumps/valves/manifold/etc, a vented storage locker for oils and liquids, a slide-out mount for the generator, a winch-down mount for the spare wheel/tire, and all this is separate to the bus's original full-width 8 ft long underfloor storage bay. The only equipment inside the bay is the two solar charge controllers, the inverter/charger and the water heater, and they are hanging off the underside of the floor above so I can still use the space beneath them. My intention is to have absolutely no wasted space whatsoever by the time I'm finished, and I'm getting close to achieving that aim.

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Old 06-10-2017, 08:43 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Iceni John View Post
Sure, it's nice to have bellybins for all the Other Stuff, but tanks, propane and batteries shouldn't be in them anyway. It's a waste of valuable bin space which can be better used for other things, you can fit bigger tanks under the floor instead of whatever size will fit through the door of a bellybin, and both propane and batteries should be vented which is easier and safer to achieve if they're not in enclosed spaces. It ain't rocket surgery to make strong reliable supports for tanks, batteries and propane, and if you want to get fancy you can make slide-outs for batteries and propane cylinders to easily access them.

Just to give you an idea of what's possible, I've made space for four large tanks totaling 400 gallons, two pull-out trays for eight golfcart batteries, another pull-out tray for the two Group 31 start batteries, a pull-out tray for two 20 lb propane cylinders, a pull-out drawer for all the fresh water pumps/valves/manifold/etc, a vented storage locker for oils and liquids, a slide-out mount for the generator, a winch-down mount for the spare wheel/tire, and all this is separate to the bus's original full-width 8 ft long underfloor storage bay. The only equipment inside the bay is the two solar charge controllers, the inverter/charger and the water heater, and they are hanging off the underside of the floor above so I can still use space beneath them. My intention is to have absolutely no wasted space whatsoever by the time I'm finished, and I'm getting close to achieving that aim.

John
Any chance you have pictures of the slide outs you built? I am thinking of a couple for my propane and my house Batts. Would love some ideas.

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Old 06-10-2017, 08:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Any chance you have pictures of the slide outs you built? I am thinking of a couple for my propane and my house Batts. Would love some ideas.

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For the generator I used heavy-duty drawer pulls from an old IBM rack-mount server, and a telescoping stainless exhaust pipe takes the exhaust to the opposite side. The house and start batteries are on slide-out trays that use sealed bearings running on 1" square tube, and they work very well. The propane cylinders are on lighter-duty drawer pulls from Home Despot, and the house plumbing pumps are on a self-made pull-out tray using interlocking extrusions. I used a Harbor Fright worm-drive winch for the spare wheel/tire under the nose, and it uses a folding wheeled lifting dolly to easily move it when it's on the ground. Sorry, no pictures, and if you weren't on the wrong side of the country I would offer to have you come and take a look at it!

John
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Old 06-10-2017, 09:05 PM   #14
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Thanks John. I think I actually get most of it. The drawer pulls are an awesome idea. I plan on using some of the frames from the seats, and the sealed bearings would work on a piece of channel. Awesome.

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Old 06-10-2017, 10:44 PM   #15
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I have 12 feet of belly bay that passes straight through. It's bookended by the rear axle in back, and the 100 gallon centerline fuel tank in the front.

It was specified with one extra locker on the right side for tire chains and road tools.

I managed to put the propane tank on the opposite side of that road locker, so left to right it's propane tank, vehicle fuel tank, and locker.

Other than that though, there isn't any other place to locate batteries and liquids tanks except in the belly bay.

I've had to be very careful to plan where stuff fits. Given a choice I think I'd maybe wanted to have built my own cross bay, so I could customize the design a bit more.

It is nice that the space was already "there" however. It's just more work around than I had hoped for.
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Old 06-13-2017, 02:45 PM   #16
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My storage bins measure 25" x 80" x 28" I think. One locker on both sides. Each locker has two doors. There is more for more.
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Old 06-14-2017, 10:31 AM   #17
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Are you planning on putting your water tanks and propane in the basement?

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Old 06-14-2017, 11:36 AM   #18
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easy to get holding tanks that are rectantular from scrap rv such as old motorhomes and trailers... Round blue barrels take up lots of space. One can also get the frame mounted propane tanks from them as well. lower compartments are easy to build out of rectangular tubing and some 18 ga steel..
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Old 06-14-2017, 12:10 PM   #19
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One thing to bear in mind with waste tanks from old RVs and trailers is that they often are quite low height. This is to make them fit under the floor, but buses have more underfloor space than most smaller RVs and trailers. Low flat-shaped tanks however do not drain so well as taller tanks, meaning that there's a greater chance of blockages when draining them at a dump station. I suggest having tanks as tall as will fit under the floor, if only to produce a stronger flow when dumping. From the underside of the floor to the bottom of the bodyside is about 2 feet in most buses, so a 2 feet tall poo tank makes more sense. Imagine the difference in flow rate and force between a 2 feet high tank and a 6 inch high tank.

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Old 06-14-2017, 01:35 PM   #20
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Also my wife will not entertain the idea of a composting toilet.
My wife said the same at first until I asked if she would rather empty a less nasty version of a cat box or drain poop soup from a hose...

We have no poop soup


*I should add that a bucket was a no go so I have a thousand dollar fancy white bucket with latches*
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