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Old 11-30-2004, 10:49 AM   #1
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Building Storage Bins

I keep looking at all the space available under my bus and want to install some storage bins along the sides. Has anyone got any really good ideas how to proceed? I don't want to spend a fortune but also don't want to fabricate something that will rattle like hell and have the doors fall off. Any and all ideas are welcome and much appreciated.

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Old 12-03-2004, 12:34 AM   #2
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Hi Ron,

Look at the boxes Michael (Soused Moose) installed on his bus Latcho Drom on his webstite at http://www.mobilehomestead.com; he used some hell-for-stout boxes made for semi's. And Vern1 made some storage units under his bus Bruin Gilda; you can see them at http://www.pettypb.com/bus.
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Old 12-03-2004, 12:17 PM   #3
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I picked up my Steel Boxes from Highway Products ….good quality stuff for sure.
They also have ‘Box’ hangers that make it easy to attach them on the underside of the rig….

Here’s their website URL
http://www.highwayproducts.com/index1.htm

Ron…Here’s a few pics of the boxes before I installed them that might give you an idea of their size

http://www.mobilehomestead.com/newbus/n ... oxopen.JPG

http://www.mobilehomestead.com/newbus/n ... uckbox.JPG

http://www.mobilehomestead.com/newbus/n ... ckbox1.jpg

Michael
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Old 12-03-2004, 12:46 PM   #4
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Looks like more money than I want to spend on a box right now though..
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Old 12-04-2004, 08:46 PM   #5
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Thanks a lot. Both of these solutions have given me some really good ideas.
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Old 03-30-2005, 12:12 AM   #6
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Currently on my pickup I have a full-length 2-door side work box I salvaged from a auto boneyard, came off a plumbing truck.
$35 for the box, $20 for a new pair of keyed-alike (KA) cylinders, sandblasting ($10 for media and a friend's blaster) and another $12 for spray paint made it good to go. $77 total.

Or I could have bought it new for $ 380......DUH!

Check bone yards for boxes you might use. Many trucks have them, although you may have to search for one in repairable shape.

I've even seen some decent ones in aluminum.

I've learned a trick for derusting steel parts using simple tech. Anyone interested? You need a large container, warm water, washing soda, a battery charger and a hunk of stainless steel for an anode.
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Old 03-30-2005, 09:57 AM   #7
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Pretty simple in the essentials, it's anodic derusting or reverse electrolysis.

Take your rusty steel part. Clean and degrease it VERY thoroughly.
Grind, wire brush, or otherwise remove all loose rust and scale.

Place it in a PLASTIC container, which can be a bucket, large tote, I've even seen a bed of sand lined with heavy plastic sheeting.

Fill the plastic container with warm water, and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of WASHING SODA (cleaning aisle, next to laundry detergents) per gallon of water, stir well.
Place the NEGATIVE clamp of a battery charger on the iron part (make good contact), and the POSITIVE clamp on a large piece of STAINLESS STEEL.

MAKE SURE THE METAL PIECES (steel and SS) DO NOT TOUCH!

When you plug in the charger, the current from the iron part to the SS carries dissolved atoms of Iron Oxide with it, which drops off in the solution. Running the operation will over time leave a black iron finish behind, ONLY dissolving the oxide.
You will see a foam of fine bubbles rise from the part and/or the anode(s). That means the system is working.

NOTE:
The rust will be removed in line-of-sight with the SS electrode, ONLY. Move the SS anode occasionally to get more coverage, or suspend more SS anodes around the part, again NOT in contact with the iron part. All SS anodes should be connected with jumpers.

NOTE AND DANGER WARNING:
This process ALSO generates Hydrogen Gas, an explosive substance. Do the process ONLY in a well-ventilated area, away from sparks, pilot lights, etc. Disconnect the power from the charger BEFORE disconnecting the battery clamps, avoiding a potentially dangerous spark and explosion. I use a fan to disperse the gas......

NOTE:
any pot metal, aluminum, plating, other metals will discolor, or even DISAPPEAR due to the process. Don't try derusting the pitted door handles on your '49 Hudson Hornet, they will go BYE-BYE!

NOTE:
the process will also remove some paints.....found that out doing the wheels of my F-150, which was OK anyway as I was planning on stripping them for repaint. If the paint came off, it was probably loose anyway....

NOTE:
the process does NOT dissolve good steel, but it acts kinda strange on cast/wrought iron. ALSO, if you find more pits/holes in the steel than you thought when you started, it's because the rust was removed, NOT good steel. The pits were already there.
The steel will come out a black or dark gray color from the process.
Wash it off THOROUGHLY, and DRY QUICKLY with a hair dryer or heat gun to prevent rust re-occurring. Use a GOOD rust preventative primer, followed by THIN coats of the finish paint.
POR-15 is good stuff, used it with a friend to restore his '86 Jeep.

This derusting process is used commercially by a company called Redi-Strip, they do everything from Disneyworld's trash cans to the Space Shuttle door.
They even do entire cars in giant tanks, for car restorers.
The process will NOT affect rubber or wood, though the wood will absorb some water and may swell or crack.

One guy made a bed of sand, carved the sand into the shape of his Camaro frame, lined it with plastic sheet and derusted the ENTIRE frame with the process, INSIDE AND OUT. Yeah, it took a while, and he had to replenish the solution from time to time, but it came out pristine, without sandblast stress or work-hardening.

One other nice thing about this is assemblies that are bolted and rusted together can probably be disassembled after the process. You may find hidden rust after disassembly, so just dunk it again.

Do a Google search on reverse electrolysis.
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Old 03-30-2005, 05:52 PM   #8
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Cool trick

Cool trick with the electrolysis. If the truck box could hold water (or be plugged to do), you could use it as the container for the SS, at least when cleaning rust from the inside of it.

I saw a website in the last day or two about building your own watertight truck boxes from plywood. Basically the guy used a plywood box and the tack and tape fiberglass technique to construct plywood truck boxes using epoxy resin. If you wanted to be cheap, you could use polyester resin like they sell at the auto stores for fiberglass repair, $15 per gallon or so. I've used it on paddles before, and it works reasonably well.

A plywood truck box (especially one under the bus, or built in to the side) wouldn't show. If you wanted to make it look "heavy duty", you could buy a small sheet of diamond plate like they sell at Home Depot or Lowes, and you could bolt that to the plywood lid of the box, even install the lock assembly through a hole in the diamond plate.

A 3/4" sheet of plywood could make a couple of small truck boxes, or at least one big one for about 10% of the price of a steel one. As long as you waterproof it, it would probably last for quite a while, and as long as you're not prone to banging it between the bus and things, there's probably not much you could do to hurt it.
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Old 04-01-2005, 02:12 PM   #9
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wood V.S. steel boxes

With 3/4 CDX ply running WELL over $20 a sheet, the used steel boxes in boneyards are very attractive to me, cleanup/derusting included!

I'd worry about the strength of any wood box mounted on the exterior of my rig-to-be, you can only do so much with wood sheet goods in a structural design, especially a HANGING design. Joint design and construction would be critical, even with a good fibreglassing. I'd also worry about delamination of the glass with exposure to humidity.

I admit the wood does give some noise/temperature insulation. Not much, but some.
INTERIOR boxes are another matter, and wood is OK by me for that.

My $0.02
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Old 04-02-2005, 12:33 AM   #10
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Thoughts on wood

I agree that wood ain't cheap. Locally 8' 2x4s are over $5.00. One source of cheap plywood that I'm looking into is the seats from my bus ("my bus" - woohoo!).

As far as hanging wooden boxes beneath the bus, I was thinking about using that perforated steel angle iron and some all-thread you find at home improvement stores, rather than trying to attach the wood directly to the bus. Of course, add up construction time, fiberglass resin & fiberglass, angle iron and all-thread, and a used steel truck box starts to look like a bargain.

Hmmm...I wonder how tack and tape would work for building cabinets....
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Old 04-02-2005, 10:03 AM   #11
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bins

I stopped into a heavy duty (semi) truck wreckers the other day with the thought of picking up a few used boxes for storage under the bus. He was a bit confused by my questions. "You want to put a what, where?" was the line of dialog. I liked the look of the storage containers on the trucks and thought those would do a good job. He quoted me $300 each on a 2' square checked aluminum box. These were tool boxes on the truck. Super overbuilt and would last a very long time. But $300 ea seemed a bit steep for me at this point.

I have seen different sized compartments under these machines. Tool box, battery boxes and other such places. Has anyone had any positive experiences with aquiring these used at a resonable price? -Richard
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Old 04-02-2005, 11:19 AM   #12
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I don't even consider buying new, but I continue to spend a buck a week on the lottery

I haunt regular auto boneyards that permit pulling your own parts. There's ALWAYS something there with work boxes/underbed boxes on it.
I'm not prepared to work miracles recovering something full of holes, although properly redone it would be feasable to reline it with sheetmetal, and use the hole-y box as sort of a frame.

No, I look around, on weekends when I'm not doing anything, there are several boneyards in my area (around Boston MA). Some of the larger yards get up to 100 cars a day.

Flat bed trucks, pickups, all sorts show up. I've been lucky that a lot of trucks of similar age to my '90 F150 have been showing up lately...had to get a power window motor.

The way bone yards are run can differ tremendously from one to another.
One I go to, Rich's Auto Parts in Hudson MA (don't have the number to hand, google it) has numbered rows, and when you ask for a part, they'll print out for you a list of vehicles for you to check. They have their own numbers on each vehicle, and they have good 'inventory' control of their stuff.
They use wrecked buses for parts storage, including some city buses that probably date from the early '50's.

Others are just a jumble of piled wrecks, vaguely divided by brand, type and so on.
BTW, one boneyard, Holland Auto, Treble Cove Road, Billerica MA 800-557-5790 has a sale on the last Saturday of every month, any tire on a steel wheel is $5. I've seen split-rim wheel/tire assemblies that would work on some buses (mostly Budds), both steering and recap tires in good condition.

Woburn Truck Parts, 1095R Main St. Woburn MA 781-933-1546 uses bus frames for holding stacks of rear ends, front ends, you name it. I wandered their yard a few times, looking for stuff for a friend. Pretty good sized yard.
I think I'll post some of this info on the bus boneyards forum page.
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Old 04-02-2005, 11:44 AM   #13
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Steel boxes I've seen go for around $30-75 each, depending on their size/condition. And that's in yards that let you pull the boxes yourself. Some yards in my area will pull the boxes for a few bucks extra.

For example, pulling a equalizer hitch off a wreck (for my truck) was $35 if I did it myself, $55 if they did it. Cheap Bastard that I am, I pulled it myself.

Shop around, have cash in pocket, and ask if you can have a couple bucks off (it doesn't hurt to ask).
I use battery-powered tools (9.6vdc Makita mini-sawsall, drill etc.). big honking breaker bar and sockets, cold chisels and hammers to remove stuff. I find cutting/breaking the frozen nuts lets me remove them with a slightly oversize (metric) socket. Vice-grips are gifts from the Gods.

BTW, I also scarf up any of that protective corrugated plastic wire-loom cover you see on cars, I'm sure there's going to be a need for a lot of it! That kind of stuff ALWAYS gets crushed with the leftover wrecks, so it's nearly free.
Oh, and I found (for $10) a LOT of aluminum curtain rail/track with hangers and roller slides, came out of a couple wrecked RVs. I like the look of curtains, they're quieter/more insulative than blinds. Lined curtains also block light if you, uh, need to sleep in late.
I likewise salvage DC lighting fixtures (including fluorescents), anything I think may be useful. I scarfed a number of BRIGHT white interior lights from a wrecked ambulance, they light the interior of my truck cap ($50 used) and side toolbox ($77 used), the lights cost me $5 each, they retail for $40 each.

That brings up a thought, installing 12vdc lighting in the under-mount boxes....except the ones with propane or gas in them, that is!

Yeah, maybe my handle should be Cheap Bastard, but I love 'shopping' boneyards.
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Old 04-05-2005, 12:48 AM   #14
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Yeah I know what you mean about bone yards. I love them also, I drive my wife nuts with all the stuff I get. When we moved out of our house I had to dump a ton of stuff. The guys that came and got all my metal items really got a deal. I already have the name cheap bastard.
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Old 04-15-2005, 09:24 AM   #15
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I am in the middle of constructing my boxes now... I went to RV Surplus and picked out some nice RV storage doors that where un-used and un-painted. they also had locks on them w/ keys. I plan on fabing up my boxes to fit those doors and then will mount them up to the bus body subframe.

I am lucky because the family business is a metal fab shop. So I had me some custom boxes made to fit the doors and my specs on how low i want them to hang. I am hoping it looks good when its done. We'll see. I will post pics when I finish the installation.
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Old 04-18-2005, 10:13 PM   #16
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Was in a boneyard in Waltham MA today (check yer yellow pages), saw a couple NICE aluminum pickup side boxes, all shiny and everything. They wanted $50 each. For a giggle I priced them new, $250 Each. Grab them, guys!

These are the 8 foot long, two door variety, about 18 inches tall. Nice. Hope someone grabs them.

They were also cutting up some Grumman cube trucks, large sheets of aluminum that dould have been used for SOMETHING on a bus.....custom boxes, maybe?
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Old 04-25-2005, 01:17 PM   #17
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My Cargo Boxes are In!

Finally, my cargo compartments are in. This may have been the biggest project I'll have with my bus, but everything fell together smoothly and they look real nice now.

There are 4 boxes total, 1 slightly smaller than the others. Check out my installation notes and photos at my website here...

http://www.dammitandy.com/bus/05-spring05.htm

Here is a pic also.



Good luck to everyone else who is or is going to install cargo boxes of their own.
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Old 04-25-2005, 02:05 PM   #18
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The boxes look sharp. How much do you think thay wold cost to have them made? Just curious.
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Old 04-25-2005, 04:09 PM   #19
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they do look good!
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Old 09-15-2015, 12:11 PM   #20
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If you're worried about rust, why not make them or have someone make them out of aluminum? It won't rust and it's lighter weight. www.jomacltd.com makes custom aluminum boxes but I'm not sure what they cost, or you could always look for a local fabricator. I have never done it but I imagine welding aluminum isn't super easy.
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