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Old 07-23-2009, 02:55 PM   #1
ezbme
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Bus Batteries

Looks like I need to replace my batteries on my bus but am not sure what cranking amps I need & where to look to buy them. I have 3 batteries in my bus currently...can I get away with just 2? Any idea on prices & where the best deals are? Any help is always appreciated!!

Jonathan
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Old 07-23-2009, 09:20 PM   #2
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Re: Bus Batteries

I think if you look closely, you'll find 2 of your batteries are for cranking your engine and 1 is for your A/C system. But, I could be wrong. This is just going from what I remember reading that your mechanic reported to you.

In any case, you want to use a good diesel cranking battery. Specifically, you want to avoid any kind of marine deep cycle or other deep cycle battery. You will likely only need 2 batteries.

Get the most CCA you can afford. A pair of 8D batteries is what my bus has, and my engine is almost the same as yours (I'm jealous of that turbo). I haven't had to touch my batteries yet, but I don't look forward to having to remove them myself when the time comes. They're both quite heavy.

If you can manage to jump start your engine and get to a decent battery supplier, they should be able to help you pick out the right battery for your needs.

hope this helps,
jim
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Old 07-23-2009, 09:43 PM   #3
ezbme
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Re: Bus Batteries

Is 8D a standard? I have heard of that model before. Do you know off hand what the CCA's are on the 8D?
My mechanic wasn't positive that the third battery was for the AC as they don't get transit busses in there shop often. I am going to try to put a charge on them & drive it to a shop & have them tested... I am dying to drive it anyway! 8)

Yea there is nothing like finding a turbo on your engine that you didn't know existed! :lol:
I have seen deep cycle batts in busses before... why avoid?

Jonathan
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Old 07-23-2009, 09:52 PM   #4
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Re: Bus Batteries

I believe 8D is a size, not a model.

True deep cycle are what you want for your solar setup. Deep cycle batteries are designed to provide power at a low to mid range current level for an extended period of time. Starting batteries on the other hand are designed to deliver a huge number of amps for a very short period of time. The thickness of the plates is different between deep cycle and starting batteries. This is the reason in fact that commercial motor homes have 2 separate battery banks. One is used to power the chassis and engine (starting), and the other is used to power the house (deep cycle).

Marine deep cycle batteries are a mix of the two. It does "OK" to start a small to midsize boat engine, and does "OK" to power marine equipment while you're out for the day. You generally don't want a marine deep cycle battery for any purpose on a boat, unless it's one helluva deal.

I think group 32 is the other battery size often used in busses, but I could be wrong about that.

Do you have any pictures of your current battery bank? By looking at them, we may be able to tell you more about your setup. I don't remember seeing any in any of your other posts.

hope this helps,
jim
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Old 07-23-2009, 10:10 PM   #5
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Re: Bus Batteries

Thanks Jim that is alot of good info! If you look at the Buster thread I have some photos posted of the batteries & some mystery red button....
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Old 07-23-2009, 11:05 PM   #6
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Re: Bus Batteries

The only thing that I've bought for my bus (that I haven't finished forking out all the dough for) was a battery. It had one 8D battery to turn over a 6.6L Brazilian Ford. I had never seen an 8D before...I just went to the local parts house and looked for big ass batteries. I found one that looked the same...it ended up being a 4D, but it the trick. I took it out to the bus, hooked it up (the guy said it hadn't fired in 4 years). I had to know if it would turn over and start like he said it would. That fresh 4D started that 6.6 right up. Granted this is a slightly smaller motor than what you have, but a pair of 4D's might work...I think I paid about $170 bucks for the thing. :shock: Just some food for thought. Good Luck!

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Old 07-23-2009, 11:28 PM   #7
ezbme
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Re: Bus Batteries

Thanks Ben... $170 for the 4D huh... wonder what 2 8D's run?? I posted photos on the Buster thread but I will put em here too...



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Old 07-24-2009, 12:09 AM   #8
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Re: Bus Batteries

well...

Your batteries are all wired in parallel. This means all 3 are used.

2 of them appear to be of one model, and the 3rd of a different model. It is usually discouraged to mix battery models. It is definitely discouraged to mix batteries purchased at different times.

I suspect the red button is a circuit breaker rated at 105 amps.

My best guess is that the circuit breaker either feeds the body electrical, or feeds the A/C units. The way to find out is to disconnect that wire and see if everything inside the bus still works right. If everything seems to work, you should be able to leave that wire off. I would tape it up though, just in case that extra alternator you have is attached to it.

My battery compartment looks to be the same size as yours. However, my batteries would eat yours for breakfast. There are pics here: http://gallery.giffords.net/v/thomas/batteries/. Here's the best one:


I *think* mine are 8D sized. They're really huge. I think it would take 2 people to carry one of these, or someone that doesn't mind destroying their back. In any case, they've *never* failed to start that engine in less than 2 seconds. Even at temps around 15F.

In your case, I think you could replace your batteries with a pair of decent diesel starting batteries. The 8D size probably aren't cheap. However, a place like NAPA or Sears should have the size that are used in the diesel pickup trucks, and a pair of those would probably work for you.

Anyway, I hope this helps.

jim
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Old 07-25-2009, 01:42 AM   #9
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Re: Bus Batteries

Those are Group 31 batteries. They are available with either studs or posts. Obviously you want the stud type. Those batteries are all the same group size, but one is obviously a different brand or model.
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:49 AM   #10
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Re: Bus Batteries

most of my buses came with 8d batteries in them. I like he 8D a lot. It is about the size as all 3 of your group 31 batteries put together. Phil's bus and my current bus only have a pair of group 31's, but room for a 3rd.

as far as having lots of cranking power available, i agree! I also strongly recommend that every skoolie carry a battery charger and a 100 foot extension cord. There are times when you leave power on for too long and yoru bus won't start, or run out of fuel and need to crank and crank and crank and you just need a little more current. I have a 40 amp smart batt charger i bought years ago for about 100 bucks. If you have a generator on your bus all the better! but it is many times possible to get electricity from the campground, the gas staion, or the auto parts store you happen to be stranded at. A smaller charger works, but 40 amps means you don't have to wait very long before you batteries have enough juice in them to start the bus.
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