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Old 09-27-2016, 11:22 AM   #1
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Questions about under-bus storage compartment

I have a 40' 98 Thomas MVP with under bus storage compartments. I am about to install the water tanks and a battery bank but I'm worried about all the weight. I've been reading on the forums about the storage compartment weight capacities and I've read conflicting reports. Some people say the factory compartments are crap, while others say it depends on the brand.

So I had a few questions I was hoping someone here could answer;

#1) Are the Thomas storage compartments any good?

#2) How much weight do you think they could safely hold?

#3) What is the typical failure mode? Does the compartment floor fall out, or the supporting braces break, or does the entire compartment drop off after hitting a big bump?


Thanks!
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Old 09-27-2016, 12:19 PM   #2
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This photo shows the bottom of the storage compartment. There are 4 C-channels running the length of the compartment.
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Old 09-27-2016, 12:51 PM   #3
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This photo shows the center truck chassis and a view of the metal beams supporting the interior bus floor.
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Old 09-27-2016, 12:53 PM   #4
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The storage compartment floor is attached to the chassis at the ends, and supported in the middle by two of these clamps.
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Old 09-27-2016, 12:57 PM   #5
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Here are the items I would need to place in the storage compartment:

(2) 33 gallon tanks
(1) 44 gallon tank
(4) Marine deep cycle batteries

I would also like to add more batteries in the future as well as an extra freshwater tank.





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Old 09-27-2016, 01:13 PM   #6
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If I do need to reinforce the storage compartment, here are the supplies I can work with:

(15) 53" long 1.5" x 2.5" steel beams
And the threaded rod shown below
I can buy bolts and small stuff, but I don't have any budget for a total overhaul or anything fancy.

Also, I no longer have access to my welding setup So if possible, I would like to stick to bolts and rivets.



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Old 09-27-2016, 01:30 PM   #7
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Because I don't know yet how the storage compartment would fail (if over stressed), I don't know how to reinforce it. But here is what I was thinking:

I take the long 1.5 x 2" steel tubing and attach it to the bottom of the storage compartment. (I don't know if I need to go lengthwise or crosswise or both) Then I drill vertical holes (just a little bigger than the threaded rod diameter) through the newly added tubing and the compartment floor. I would cut sections of threaded rod and insert them into these holes up to either the truck chassis or up to the metal subfloor. (I would drill corresponding holes in the truck chassis or metal subfloor beforehand)

I could then anchor the upper part of the threaded rod with nuts and lock-washers. I would repeat at the bottom end of the threaded rod beneath the storage compartment.

Do you think that would work? Also, these supports would mainly help with vertical loads, not inertia from starting or braking. Do you think I would need to add something else to help with that?
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Old 10-01-2016, 03:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gobygoby View Post


This photo shows the bottom of the storage compartment. There are 4 C-channels running the length of the compartment.
How many c channels per compartment?

How are they attached to the frame?
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Old 10-01-2016, 06:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gobygoby View Post
Here are the items I would need to place in the storage compartment:

(2) 33 gallon tanks
(1) 44 gallon tank
(4) Marine deep cycle batteries

I would also like to add more batteries in the future as well as an extra freshwater tank.






Dang, you're already talking about potentially carrying an extra 1000 pounds under there! I say potentially, because your tanks won't be filled to capacity at all times.

Sounds like you need solid plate steel suspended (at least 8 places) from the beams with hardened all-thread. And the steel plate is going to be a couple hundred pounds also.

There's no room for error and underbuilding this thing for sure!
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Old 10-01-2016, 06:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by gobygoby View Post


This photo shows the bottom of the storage compartment. There are 4 C-channels running the length of the compartment.
That C channel looks awful thin for the weight you're trying to add
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