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Old 02-07-2021, 02:36 PM   #1
Almost There
 
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Melbourne, FL
Posts: 74
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP EF
Engine: Cat C7
Rated Cap: 29 (Perimeter Seating)
generator inside passenger compartment

It seems the conventional location of a generator is on one side of the frame or other, between the front and rear wheels. I know that some pushers can mount in the front, and many carry it on ‘back porch’ or other underbody storage, either wired for action or easy deployment.

My genny is my nemesis, I got a great deal on a QD5500 but was not prepared for its size. I have been sweating over it for more than a year now. I wanted to mount it between the wheels on the driver side. I have room, and some here have generously planned out a suitable bracket/shelf requiring no welding. I’ve been gun shy due to my general inexperience, the suspended weight of the unit (420lbs) and subsequent moments of torsion (did I say that right) on the frame rail.

Since I am apparently unable/unwilling to pull the trigger and am getting frustrated, Ive come up with an alternate installation location that I THINK I can handle. I grew up on sailboats where the diesel engine was inboard below decks either in a doghouse or insulated engine room. I want to build a firewall-like box into and flush with the back panel of the bus at roughly floor level, protruding into the passenger area and containing the generator mounted on slides for easy maintenance.

This method soothes my fear of the noisemaker falling off in traffic and crashing my rig as I roll over it. But it must introduce some other challenges.

Please increase my knowledge base on this potential project. Feel free to add cons without quoting entire post.

Pro
Creates a step for emergency egress.
Can accommodate larger generator without too much additional fabrication.
good working height when pulled out for maintenance
Easy working height while building
The panel is basically already present on the bus (see pic)
Noise out the back TENDS to be more neighbor friendly when camping side by side.
By having the unit inside I am in-a-way ‘sharing the pain’


Con
Must be insulated substantially against heat/fume/exhaust internally
Soot on TOAD
Fuel line for gen is uphill run from the bus tank.
Possible interference with future trailer hitch
Shifts bus c/g aft and up to some extent.
Noise heat and vibration for passengers
Takes up space inside
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Old 02-07-2021, 02:52 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Lebanon, Indiana
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Engine: Ford Triton V-10
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Does it dimensionally fit underneath with the proposed mounting bracket method? If so, I say pull the trigger already. 420lb is not so heavy that a properly designed and mounted bracket won't carry it securely with no worries. I'm surprised at how little structure is required to carry my generator as it was designed by the vehicle manufacturer! It stayed put for 20 years and is making no effort to come loose now that it needs servicing.

If you're still determined to carve out interior space for this then I think you have the right idea. It'll need to be insulated against temperature, noise and fumes and then adequate outside ventilation provided for said temperature and fumes to safely vent away from the interior area. I can't speak to any fuel supply issues so I'll let someone more knowledgeable contribute on that point. As for the CoG, while the very back is not the ideal place for a heavy item, alone it's not going to make a discernable difference in handling or safety. Now if you also plan on installing holding tanks and such behind the rear axle, THEN we may have issues!
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Old 02-07-2021, 02:57 PM   #3
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Engine: Cat C7
Rated Cap: 29 (Perimeter Seating)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sehnsucht View Post
Does it dimensionally fit underneath with the proposed mounting bracket method? If so, I say pull the trigger already. 420lb is not so heavy that a properly designed and mounted bracket won't carry it securely with no worries. I'm surprised at how little structure is required to carry my generator as it was designed by the vehicle manufacturer! It stayed put for 20 years and is making no effort to come loose now that it needs servicing.

If you're still determined to carve out interior space for this then I think you have the right idea. It'll need to be insulated against temperature, noise and fumes and then adequate outside ventilation provided for said temperature and fumes to safely vent away from the interior area. I can't speak to any fuel supply issues so I'll let someone more knowledgeable contribute on that point. As for the CoG, while the very back is not the ideal place for a heavy item, alone it's not going to make a discernable difference in handling or safety. Now if you also plan on installing holding tanks and such behind the rear axle, THEN we may have issues!
thanks for bringing this up...i forgot to mention that the initial underbus plans had it protruding four inches below the skirt.
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Old 02-07-2021, 02:58 PM   #4
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Engine: Chevy Express 3500 6.6l
I think you should examine some RVs that sport an Onan to see how they are supported under the bus. You’re right to be concerned about the weight, but it’s totally doable. Instead of attaching to the C channel, attach through the floor with steel plate reinforcement on the floor, like the wheelchair lifts are installed.

Get a certified welder to make the frame. Make it out of stout material.
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Old 02-07-2021, 02:59 PM   #5
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Engine: 350 Chevy
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So you're thinking of running it inside while travelling, or used only when stopped? Not entirely sure based on what you detail above.

If used while travelling, a sound resistant and exhaust fume barrier is essential to maintaining good personal health! The trouble with that scenario, is the generator needs to have a minimal amount of circulating air to keep it running cool.

Do you really need the gen. running while you're travelling?
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Old 02-07-2021, 03:01 PM   #6
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Engine: Chevy Express 3500 6.6l
For a little perspective, my grey tank is supported at six points by 1/2” all thread connected to the AC condenser bracket. When it’s full it weighs 300 pounds. It’s not a thing.
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Old 02-07-2021, 03:02 PM   #7
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I think you've about covered the pros and cons. The slide out drawer will need to be VERY stout because when extended it will present a tremendous lever arm on the slides but it could be done. The rest of the project will be easy peasy by comparison.

As to placing the genny on the side of the bus, I hung a box with a slide out drawer from the steel floor of the bus rather than from the frame. Jack

.

.

.

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Old 02-07-2021, 04:10 PM   #8
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: NM USA
Posts: 402
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE 40 FEET
Engine: Cummins 8.3
Trucks mount fuel tanks of the side of the frame rails all the time. That is about 45 gallons of diesel plus tank.
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Old 02-07-2021, 04:17 PM   #9
Bus Crazy
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s2mikon View Post
Trucks mount fuel tanks of the side of the frame rails all the time. That is about 45 gallons of diesel plus tank.
Right, about 450 pounds
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Old 02-07-2021, 04:24 PM   #10
Bus Nut
 
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Year: 1991
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Chassis: All American RE 40 FEET
Engine: Cummins 8.3
If this is gasoline powered there is a very real CO hazard. Keep it out of the passenger compartment! And by all means install a CO alarm in the passenger compartment. The suicide rate has been climbing lately and we don't want to add to it. Diesel is better but but still produces CO. Your turn for a dirt nap is coming soon enough so don't hasten it.
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Old 02-07-2021, 05:40 PM   #11
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Just sell it and get a smaller one? Or two smaller ones..
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Old 02-07-2021, 06:18 PM   #12
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make a couple of big L brackets and bolt them to the frame. built a platform off of that and box it in.

my gen came installed from the bus factory between the wheels on the drivers side.

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Old 02-21-2021, 09:29 AM   #13
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Location: Bly Oregon
Posts: 126
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Supercoach
Engine: Cummins 350 big cam
Rated Cap: 86 passengers?
I will throw a couple cents into the discussion. In both of my Crowns I used the spare tire mount to support my generator. In both cases I installed a 6.5 Kw Onan. In the "old Crown" it is mounted on slides with a substantial mounting tray. On my Crowns the spare tire bay is just behind the right front wheel. There is a large access door there, thus it is easy to access the generator for maintenance, and if needed, additional cooling when stationary. Clearance requirements for the generator are met/exceeded also. There is also enough room for a fuel tank behind the generator. I prefer to normally use a separate fuel source so that I have no risk of using up my fuel source for the bus. I will eventually install a fuel transfer system to fill the generator tank, and the transfer system is designed to not allow transfer of too much fuel. (this prevents overfill of generator tank and assures enough fuel for the bus to go a couple hundred miles in any case) In Crowns the spare tire mount is factory welded to the frame of the bus. My exhaust exits outside of the bus body, like many factory RV installations. In both Crowns the bed is at the rear of the bus and as far away from the generator as one can get. Regardless of how or where you mount your generator, I strongly suggest that you install a carbon monoxide detector and assure that it works.
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