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Old 07-20-2016, 08:47 PM   #1
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Battery box

I'm about to go solar and need a place to put more batteries. My bus' originally battery compartment has two massive starting batteries and space for the one deep cycle battery we already have. Funny thing, they're the exact same dimensions. I need another box to put an additional three deep cycle batteries, 12" high, 13" long, and 7" wide. I know it needs to be vented, and I'd like to just purchase some kind of used metal box that I could add vents to and bolt directly to the frame of the bus. (No welding capability in our current location.)

Has anyone else built their own battery box? What did you do?

Another question: could I replace my starting batteries with deep cycle and just crank the bus off the house bank?
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Old 07-20-2016, 10:41 PM   #2
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Deep cycle batteries are not designed to provide the high amps needed to start an engine. You might manage it a few times ... it will more or less kill the batteries quickly over time.
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Old 07-20-2016, 10:46 PM   #3
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Yeah I kinda figured that would be an issue. It would just be so nice to use that space. Our door mechanism and inside lights are both wired to the starting batteries. I wonder if I wired them both to the house bank if I could get away with only having 1 starting battery, or if the bus required more CCA than the single battery can put out.
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Old 07-21-2016, 04:32 AM   #4
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One battery might start it sometimes. Cold weather? A few months of age on the battery? Forget it.
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Old 07-21-2016, 09:55 AM   #5
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A DT360? I expect it'll start just fine with one 8D battery. I downgraded my T444e from 2 batteries to one high capacity group 31 battery. No problems, even in Northern Ontario winter. I did draw that battery down once when I didn't realize that the glow plug relay wasn't working, but I was able to easily boost it off of the 3 deep cycle house batteries without a hitch. All good. That DT360 isn't likely to be any more difficult to turn over than my T444e.

How about a test? Throw a single battery in the freezer for a night then try to start the engine off of it in the morning and see how it does! Mind you, the engine won't be providing the resistance it would if the oil was cold, but it should give some sort of idea.

As a note for you folks that have glow plugs: if the relay dies you can (almost) safely cycle the glow plugs with a screw driver across the relay contacts. Just keep your fingers off of the metal. You aren't likely to get shocked, but it can get hot to the touch. Worked for me for a couple weeks!
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Old 07-21-2016, 10:08 AM   #6
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I have seen A/C electrical boxes used for battery storage. I have one I'm going to use for my jack and tire changing tools. Look at grainger or any electrical supply house.
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Old 07-21-2016, 04:59 PM   #7
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My dad wants to know if I can find a battery box like the one I already have at a bus junk yard. I'll have to take a look at mine and see how removable it is. Does anyone else have a type of bus with a removable battery box? (Not necessarily made to remove but as in "not welded on")
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Old 07-21-2016, 05:01 PM   #8
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I'm gonna test it out with one starting battery since we have the generator to recharge it. It would be great if I can just use one (they're from 2012 anyway so I'm due for a new one in the next year) and then if we ever have trouble in cold weather we can supplement with the deep cycle. We rarely go anywhere with cold weather though, and when we are in cold weather we're parked and don't need to start the engine.
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Old 07-21-2016, 05:51 PM   #9
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ONE group 31 started my DT466 in Kentucky in 10* winter. There were icicles IN the bus and on it, and the bus had been sitting for a few months unused.
I think you'll be fine.
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Old 07-21-2016, 06:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onenationundergoat View Post
I'm about to go solar and need a place to put more batteries. My bus' originally battery compartment has two massive starting batteries and space for the one deep cycle battery we already have. Funny thing, they're the exact same dimensions. I need another box to put an additional three deep cycle batteries, 12" high, 13" long, and 7" wide. I know it needs to be vented, and I'd like to just purchase some kind of used metal box that I could add vents to and bolt directly to the frame of the bus. (No welding capability in our current location.)

Has anyone else built their own battery box? What did you do?

Another question: could I replace my starting batteries with deep cycle and just crank the bus off the house bank?
Call me crazy any time you want but I have thought about using some old pickup truck rail boxes (I call them saddlebags) they are weather tight to a point,hinged and shocks on the lids.
I have access to some aluminum treaded 6' ones that with proper framing could be bolted to the frame and underside rib framing.
They are lockable if organized properly.
And for a battery box the only other thing needed is some plywood to sit the batteries on.
Just an idea but if I go this route I want the lids to fold down so anything pulled out doesn't have to go all the way to the ground and I don't have to try to look under the lid to find something or hold it up cause the shocks can't.
you can look for the steel ones on fleabay so you can clean and paint to match cause I doubt my aluminum ones will stick to the paint idea?
But an old saddlebag some angle iron a drill and bolts?
An idea?2cent either way.
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