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extending the passenger/driver battery box
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tclark
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 6:24 pm    Post subject: extending the passenger/driver battery box Reply with quote

PLASE DONT post on this thread about other battery options that DONT require cutting up the box
LET KEEP THIS on Topic PLEASE

So i have read a few ppl have cut the bottom of the battery box out and extended it by 2" that then allows for deep cycle upto 9.5" high ...
Could i get any feedback on any who has done it or are thinking of doing it with regards to
1) what battery did you use
2) where did you cut the access holes for the wiring
3) any other gottchas


ps
PLASE DONT post on this thread about other battery options that DONT require cutting up the box
LET KEEP THIS on Topic PLEASE
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Last edited by tclark on Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:44 pm; edited 3 times in total
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tclark
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So has any one tried to go even a bit more extended & see if a pair of golf cart batteries can get under the seats ?
seems like if i measure from the top of the cross member I can get about 11" to the top of the battery box
anyone tried to go that far ?
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dobryan
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check with Westyventures. I think Karl was thinking of doing something like this....
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jordauto
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is something i have also looked at doing.I spoke with Karl last year and he was talking about trying it too. Measuring everything i can't see a reason it wouldn't work.Except maybe tire clearance when turning if you are running taller tires.I plan to cut the bottom floor out of the stock aux battery box and then make a new sheet metal box that would drop in and sit on the frame below.It could be fastened with some screws or bolts for easy removal to service control arm bushings,etc.You would also need to reroute the fuel vapor hoses from the tank to the expansion tank.I believe a group 27 should fit fine and would provide about 120 amp hours of capacity.I would also run maybe 6 or 8awg wire from the alternator to the aux battery , with a seperator too of course.Hoping this will be my next project,would be nice to have enough power to run the propex all weekend when it's cold.Like to hear how you tackle this if you do.
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tclark
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yah I already done the Libbey box behind the engine
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=5452269#5452269
the starter battery is going there
This gonna happen tomorrow
I am going do see how big I can make it...
I would luv to 10 5/8" in height GC2
It does not look like that can happen BUT maybe
if i try like you suggest cut out the bottom
& just make a sleeve box that a bit higher than the existing box & can get 11" ..
in any case I think I will sleeve it & make the 2 new sleeve boxs removable ...
that is a very good idea

Man that why I luv this forum get a little thread going & if everyone stays on topic you get some really good ideas
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jordauto
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sounds like a good plan. Have you got a sawzall (reciprocating saw) that would be the best way to cut out the floor of the box.Then get some sheet metal,maybe 18 ga and bend a box. I would weld up the corners.Find some kind of foam gasket material and put around inside the existing walls at the bottom so when the new one is dropped in you have a good seal.Don't forget to watch out for the fuel vapor hoses when you're cutting,and you'll need some more 3/16" fuel hose to extend the hoses around the deeper box.Posts some pics when you start cuting things up.
Jeff
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tclark
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I did the dirty deed & figured in for a penny ..
So I opened the battery box up to fit a Group 31 deep cycle 125 AMP Hrs that be 250 for both Smile
The box size 7Wx13Wx10.5H and both seats still rotate
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So I dont think I can allow for the battery box to be removable & still create a water tight seal
with all the water kicked up by the front wheels

If you elect to just cut out just the bottom of the box maybe so I but that extra 50AMP hrs I get from the group 31 vs group 27 was worth cutting out the wall on the finder

Ill post a few more pics of the final mount after they are installed & water tight
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jordauto
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That looks great. Yes,my thought was to leave the existing walls and only remove the bottom. That would allow some foam gasket tape to seal it. Could you weld in some 1/8"x 1" around the top of the opening to make a flange for a seal? How's the tire clearance with the wheels turned to lock taking into account full suspension compression? That was my one concern. I have 205/75r15 tires and do a lot of really rough forestry roads.
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you put a flange around the top of the box and screwed it down with a gasket, it might still be waterproof and removable.
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OhChit
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Last Time I considered installing a Deep Cycle Battery into the empty Battery Box under the "LHD" Divers seat if i remember correctly the Box would have to be deepened because most commonly available Deep Cycles are too Tall to fit in there. Damn and to think that we could walk into Walfart and buy a approx 100 amp hour Deep Cycle for like $60.00 this would solve most of our needs and wants while not comsuming other storage space.

But the Drivers side battery Box is just about 1" too shallow to utlize without the Battery Post sticking above the floor. But-tttt there is about 2" of free space under the Battery Box where as the Box can be lenghtened / Deepened.
When I had considered doing this if I remember correctly it apperered that if you simply cut the bottom opened and maybe the side corners so the box could be streched and had a sheetmetal shop bend you up a filler Box that could be slid down into your existing box, it would sit and bottom on the Vans frame and could be easily tack or poprivited and sealed between the two boxes thus making it water tight..
I've gots to revisit this since I picked up another Van and will soon want to add another Battery. Ok maybe some of you want bigger, or the most amp aux battery you can buy but for most of us this hole is a Big Option that can house a much larger battery then the smaller ones like the 44 amp hour batteries GoWesty sells etc that only utlizes about half of the space.. But the problem is that we don't have many options because the larger amp hour batteries won't fit and must utlize other more valauble storage areas, or we must use the small more expensive less amp hour batteries and more of them. Besides I can buy twice the amp hour Battery for half of what GoWesty charges for 1\2 the amp hour battery. Not to mention while on the road etc if you needed a replacement you can always stop in a Walfart "which seems to be almost everywhere" to get a replacement, plus the added free replacement deal and no heavy shipping cost.
Your not going to get the 125 amp hour Battery in that hole without some major refitting etc. But if you can live with say the 95 or 100 amp hour Battery I think it's very doable? Gots to go take some measurments and a trip to Walfart to measure their aka "everready" or who ever the heck makes there Deep Cycles..
Guys.. This is Very Do-able... Razz
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Sam Bateman
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:35 pm    Post subject: Going up.... Reply with quote

OK here's a question - might have already been discussed: what about going the other way - up to allow a taller battery to fit? Especially on the driver's side. Something like the lid to a trolling battery box somehow fitted to cover the battery whilst leaving the existing bottom of the box intact?
I realize that this would preclude the swiveling of the driver's seat but I don't ever swivel mine anyway.

Someone already tried this?

Sam Bateman
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tclark
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jordauto wrote:
That looks great. Yes,my thought was to leave the existing walls and only remove the bottom. That would allow some foam gasket tape to seal it.

yah for a group 27 you have about the same width as group 31 you CANT get a horizontal sealing surface that you can clamp down
so you are left with a friction seal from the sides
& foam gasket self adhesive is going to be exposed to some pretty harsh conditions
mud snow rain not a good long term sealing in a vertical position

jordauto wrote:
Could you weld in some 1/8"x 1" around the top of the opening to make a flange for a seal?

Yah I don have much space for flange I am not quite sure why i want to make the box removable..
Other than I like the flexibility & be able to change the tank seals w/o dropping the tank Smile
I can seal it fully with urethane

But I will mull it over for a few days just in case I see a way that would be fool proof

jordauto wrote:

How's the tire clearance with the wheels turned to lock taking into account full suspension compression? That was my one concern. I have 205/75r15 tires and do a lot of really rough forestry roads.

Yah I live in BC & do a lots o logging
No issue what so ever with clearance
BUT i have brand new GW 2wd high lift springs
with 215x75R15 so YMMV
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jordauto
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might want to remove the box to service upper control arm bushings.You could also use a hole saw and make an access hole for the upper control arm bolt and just fit a large rubber body plug to seal it.Or a removable door of some kind.I'm pretty sure the upper control arm bolts both are removed to the rear of the van. Check before you weld. Otherwise looks impressive. Is that stainless you used for the boxes? I would like to see more pics as it progresses.Then I will be able to man up and start cutting.
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tclark
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jordauto wrote:
You might want to remove the box to service upper control arm bushings.You could also use a hole saw and make an access hole for the upper control arm bolt and just fit a large rubber body plug to seal it.Or a removable door of some kind.I'm pretty sure the upper control arm bolts both are removed to the rear of the van. Check before you weld.

Yah I wont be welding any more
..stainless screws 1 or 2 per side of the boxs & try sealing with some epdm tape just at the lip around the box & if that fails
just urethane sealant on the outside
I think the lids will just be bread board painted truck bed liner black with a recessed latch that can sit on a few legs glued to the bottom of the bread board
jordauto wrote:

Is that stainless you used for the boxes?

No aluminum(cuts like wood in a table saw) but I would like to use carpet tape to attach some very thin plastic sheets that are battery acid resistant or does anyone have any idea of paint that is battery acid resistant
jordauto wrote:

I would like to see more pics as it progresses.Then I will be able to man up and start cutting.


yah too cold at night now gotta wait for another weekend
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Last edited by tclark on Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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westyventures
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"So i have read a few ppl have cut the bottom of the battery box out"

Fine, looks like yet another of my overdue ideas has been spotted and run away with. Seems like in real life (the one where all of my time goes to working on everyone ELSE'S van, providing answers and assistance to finish THEIR projects, and NEVER any time to get anywhere with my OWN!) I never actually get to incorporate ideas before someone spies them and runs off pretending they invented the damn things. Well, I still have a few I won't ever post anywhere until they are finished. Cool
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tclark
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

westyventures wrote:
"So i have read a few ppl have cut the bottom of the battery box out"

Fine, looks like yet another of my overdue ideas has been spotted and run away with. Seems like in real life (the one where all of my time goes to working on everyone ELSE'S van, providing answers and assistance to finish THEIR projects, and NEVER any time to get anywhere with my OWN!) I never actually get to incorporate ideas before someone spies them and runs off pretending they invented the damn things. Well, I still have a few I won't ever post anywhere until they are finished. Cool


Karl
not sure what to say except thanks for the GREAT idea//inspiration
now grab beer & relax after a hard day of work
we all stand on the backs of others reaching up .. Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PDXWesty wrote:
If you put a flange around the top of the box and screwed it down with a gasket, it might still be waterproof and removable.

I have been mulling over this idea & the flange idea is right but the location is maybe not the place to flange

I think if the flange was created around the
1 side in the exposed side of wheel well then along the bottom along the side toward the front of the van, then there would be an edge that could receive an epdm gasket that would extend to all expose area's

The box will then sit on a gasket on the frame, on the opposite side to the frame & wedge against a gasket on the exposed wheel well side

And this might be the best solution to the line the bottom of the battery box a Acid Neutralizing Mat
http://www.batterymart.com/p-battery-mat.html
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

westyventures wrote:
"So i have read a few ppl have cut the bottom of the battery box out"

Fine, looks like yet another of my overdue ideas has been spotted and run away with. Seems like in real life (the one where all of my time goes to working on everyone ELSE'S van, providing answers and assistance to finish THEIR projects, and NEVER any time to get anywhere with my OWN!) I never actually get to incorporate ideas before someone spies them and runs off pretending they invented the damn things. Well, I still have a few I won't ever post anywhere until they are finished. Cool


Karl,
Quote:
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery


Even drilling the smallest hole in my chassis causes me restless nights. My satellite radio antenna is still sitting on a magnetic bracket I made for the dashboard. I don't have the ba##s to drill a hole in my roof. I spent two days before I drilled the holes in the floor for the Espar heater. I must have measured and remeasured 20 times from inside and underneath and even then, only drilled 1/8" pilot holes. You only really get one chance to do it right.

Cutting out the original battery box is so far beyond what I would be willing to do to our vanagon. My hat is off to those of you willing to perform elective surgery on your rides. Thank you for sharing. mark
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DLJ
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:26 pm    Post subject: battery box Reply with quote

Dunno but I thought of this idea of extending battery box about 8 years ago.
Didnt do it because the battery I have suits my needs. What the hell is a new Idea anyway ?
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jordauto
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to tclark for starting this thread and getting me thinking about this project again.I had been putting it off for a couple of years now.I will say this is not a mod for the faint of heart as there is some cutting and welding directly over the fuel tank.If you try this for yourself take care so you don't set yourself or your van on fire.I should also say this is on my 88 westy 2wd.Syncros may have different tire clearance issues so check closely before you cut.Here is how my aux battery box turned out.I started with lots of measuring to be sure there was enough length and height to allow a group 24 to fit.I removed the fuel vapor hoses prepared to cut the floor from the original box.I marked it out at 7" wide and 12 3/8" long.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

A sawzall was used to cut the hole.Using care not to cut too deep and cut any fuel lines below.The raw metal edges were cleaned up with a small grinder and painted to protect them from the elements.The next step was to prep the steel and cut it.I used 18 ga steel which is thicker than the original.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

I used a metal brake to bend the box and tack welded the corners before a test fit.I started with the plan of using a group 27 deep cycle battery but had to downgrade to the group 24 due to possble tire contact concerns.So the box was removed and the outside leading corner was cut off to increase clearance.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

This shows the new box all welded and cleaned up ready to paint before installing.The small round hole will allow the upper control arm bolt to be removed without having to remove the whole box.There is a small cover that is held on with sheet metal screws and sealed with silicone.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

The view of the finished product installed and sealed.Auto body sealer was used to seal the joints and then painted over.The box is semi permanent,it's held in with screws and bolts so it can be removed if needed.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

This shows the height and clearance over the group 24 deep cycle. That pic actually shows the group 27 before the box was cut down to fit the 24 but they are both the same height. I ended up using the group 24 deep cylce from Costco,it was the most AH capacity for the price and the warranty is good anywhere there is a Costco. 95 Amp hour rating for $ 77.00 cdn. I believe the original group 41 was about 40-45 amp hours.So there you have it,almost double the battery capacity and no loss of storage space in the camper.Total time from measuring to completion was about 1 1/2 days.
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