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Old 03-02-2024, 02:53 PM   #1
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Hanging a generator under the bus

I have a Wen 4750 watt generator that I use in my shop when I'm running tools that have a tendency to trip the breaker. The main culprit is the Dewalt 13" planer. I decided to modify the generator so that it could be mounted under the bus. I want the generator as an option when shore power isn't available and the batteries get low. The generator is dual fuel (gas, propane) and I've only used it with propane.
I removed the top portion of the generator which was basically an empty gas can and cut down tubing to make the generator shorter. The generator is now about 17 inches tall and about 20 inches wide. I built a wooden box out to 1/2" plywood and 2x2" Douglas fir. and slid the generator into it. I relocated the control panel to the outside of the box and mounted a faceplate with screws and bolts so it's easy to remove section for maintenance.
The sides of the box needed several holes cut in it for exhaust, air intake, etc. including a way to connect the propane line. Since the interior of the box could get hot I covered the inside with heat foil to protect the underlying wood.
I wanted a good solid connection on the bottom so I built a frame out of angle iron so the entire box sits inside a metal frame.

So what can I do better? I've thought I might add removable panels that cover the holes in the side when the system isn't in use. I mainly want to protect the generator from road debris and this might be a simple thing to do.

Do you think this will work? What improvements can I make before mounting it? How should I mount it?

I've thought of mounting two unistruct rails to the bottom of the floor and then having two piece of angle iron under the box connect to the Unistruct with threaded rods. I could just drill holes in the C channel and bolt the threaded rods through the holes.

I could used some advice.
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Old 03-02-2024, 05:01 PM   #2
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Nice work on the box.
Some suggestions, If I may, extended exhaust pipe so fumes DO NOT stay under the bus.
Louvers and some mesh screen on the air openings so critter don't find there way up in there and make a nest, especially in the winter.

I vae a n RV that I am cutting for parts, has a Genny. It has angled walls on each side. probably to make sure as you drive in wet conditions or snow, it will keep those contaminants away.

see the pic...
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Old 03-02-2024, 06:02 PM   #3
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Is that an air-cooled generator? If so, you'll need to rethink the whole airflow thing. Sealing it up into a small box will give it a very short (but very quiet) life... Maybe you could add a 120VAC fan to blow cool air through it while it's running.

John
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Old 03-02-2024, 06:07 PM   #4
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Intake holes

I was worried about that as well. I have holes cut for airflow in and out of the box.
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Old 03-02-2024, 08:57 PM   #5
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im not sure the floor will hold it. i built a battery box 64 x 12 for mybatteries. i notched 2 pieces of 1/2 x 4 x 4 angle iron and bent it to form a l bracket. 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 (3/8 thick) runs between them. since drilling frames or welding on them is not reccomended without a good frame attachment guide. i removed 8 section rivits from 2 crossmsmbers and attached the brackets to them . i did drill the 10 millimeter holes to 5/8 as i had a bunch of hardened frame bolts that side. it fits 3 group 4d batteries at 150 lbs each (450 total ) this would work for your generator easy
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Old 03-02-2024, 09:05 PM   #6
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Old 03-03-2024, 10:50 AM   #7
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Looks like ya have some skills welding.....which I would capitalize on for this project.

If it were me:

I would build a angle iron frame and enclose the sides with expanded metal and access for relocation of controls like you've done.

Then, I would look at the air/fuel/exhaust in-out needs and accommodate them (exhaust out the back or side, fresh air intake, fuel delivery safety).

Safety from the things inherent to this application such as shielding from debris and critters...maybe some marine grade plywood (heavy) or thinner gauge metal siding attached to the exterior of the generator "box" with stand-off attach points.

Last...carbon monoxide detection in the bus....please don't forget that step!!!
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Old 03-03-2024, 10:55 AM   #8
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Like you I mounted my 3000 watt genny under my bus. I also stripped off the original case and transferred all the electronics to inside the bus so they aren't subject to the heat load the boxed up genny will produce. I also moved the muffler outside of the box and extended it's exhaust pipe to empty at the rear of the bus where so no fumes could collect under the bus.

I'd highly recommend that you use a couple of fans to assure cooling. I used a steel 5" "pusher" squirrel cage fan to force air through the box and a 4" steel tube axial on demand fan for continuous hot weather use. The TA fan is controlled by a pair of thermocouples (redundancy). I also installed a pair of NO thermocouples at the base of the piston cylinder that when closed by heat (230 *F) ground out the spark thereby avoiding burning up the motor.

I used 1" of rubber horse stall flooring to cover all outside surfaces of the box as it has noise attenuation properties nearly as good as lead. This quieted things down to 53 db at 1m running full tilt which is about the noise level of a running fridge at 1m. So far in almost 10 years of camping I've yet to have a heating problem though I've only camped at ambient temps under 100*F most of the time.
Jack

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Old 03-03-2024, 11:55 AM   #9
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"Ol Trunt".....ya got some Mad Skilz there buddy!!!
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Old 03-04-2024, 08:22 AM   #10
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Get an inverter gen set, or a "closed-frame" unit.

Those "open-frame" jobs aren't designed to be quiet, and they're not designed to run in an enclosure like that.

You'll be further ahead in the long run going with something designed around being quiet from the get go.
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Old 03-04-2024, 11:54 AM   #11
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i have worked on a few motorhome generaters (spark plugs like to seize up and break at the threads) but they were in compartments that had minimal air flow . check out some at your local dealer and see what they use so im not going to worry too much but will have a door that opens . i like the idea of taking the tube frame off and relocating what i can out of the tire debri
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Old 03-04-2024, 07:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ol trunt View Post
Like you I mounted my 3000 watt genny under my bus. I also stripped off the original case and transferred all the electronics to inside the bus so they aren't subject to the heat load the boxed up genny will produce. I also moved the muffler outside of the box and extended it's exhaust pipe to empty at the rear of the bus where so no fumes could collect under the bus.

I'd highly recommend that you use a couple of fans to assure cooling. I used a steel 5" "pusher" squirrel cage fan to force air through the box and a 4" steel tube axial on demand fan for continuous hot weather use. The TA fan is controlled by a pair of thermocouples (redundancy). I also installed a pair of NO thermocouples at the base of the piston cylinder that when closed by heat (230 *F) ground out the spark thereby avoiding burning up the motor.

I used 1" of rubber horse stall flooring to cover all outside surfaces of the box as it has noise attenuation properties nearly as good as lead. This quieted things down to 53 db at 1m running full tilt which is about the noise level of a running fridge at 1m. So far in almost 10 years of camping I've yet to have a heating problem though I've only camped at ambient temps under 100*F most of the time.
Jack

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Incredible work ol trunt! The bus is a classic!
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Old 03-05-2024, 08:16 PM   #13
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Thanks! We're heading out for a short week of camping Thursday morning--we can hardly wait!
Jack
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