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Securing Batteries under the Bench
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mariusstrom
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:36 pm    Post subject: Securing Batteries under the Bench Reply with quote

So, while there's a ton of threads about battery setups, one discussion point I've noted as generally missing is that of how to properly secure batteries when installing them.

I'm planning to install two Lifeline AGM 6V 220A-h batteries under the rear bench in the Westy. Anyone else installed beefy batteries under there, and have photos of how you chose to secure them? I suspect I'll be setting up a ratcheting strap hold-down of some sort connected to the floor/body of the van (rather than the floor of the bench seat, which isn't strong at all).
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madspaniard
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have used L shaped aluminum profile to surround the battery at its base, screwed down to the bench floor. Battery is heavy and the profile helps it stay in place. Two years now and the battery has not moved an inch. It is pressed against one of the bench corners.
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mariusstrom
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That makes sense for keeping the battery from sliding around. Did you do anything to keep the battery down on the floor? I'm thinking under bumpy scenarios (or, worse, a rollover).

madspaniard wrote:
I have used L shaped aluminum profile to surround the battery at its base, screwed down to the bench floor. Battery is heavy and the profile helps it stay in place. Two years now and the battery has not moved an inch. It is pressed against one of the bench corners.

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madspaniard
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Battery hold down strap running under the battery, all around and thru pass-thru bracket screwed to inside gray bench panel.

Similar to this

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0000AY9KE/ref=asc_df_B00...nkCode=asn
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have a vise and a drill, you can easily fabricate simple brackets out of steel or aluminum strap that will fasten into the rear seat cabinet box. This will be tougher than nylon webbing and should keep the batteries in place in all but the worst case scenario.

Mounting hardware can be as simple as coarse screws, or as tough as tee nuts or carriage bolts inserted from the back side of the cabinet.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used a simple plywood box -- has the possible advantage of protecting the terminals from being shorted by anything else stored under the bench.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Has served me well in 20+ years of use (that comment for the benefit of anyone who was about to tell me why this won't work).
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insyncro
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A battery "box" is a very good idea Exclamation Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just put a single 12V 140Ah Interstate deep cycle under the bench, left side in a Syncro GL (non-Westy). Initially I had made a bent metal strap and 2 SS bolts thru the floor, not thinking about how plastic battery enclosures are available and cheap until I was in Walmart and saw them near the auto service shop desk where they display the batteries. This was a much nicer solution because it has a full cover, so no exposed terminals, and is an intact "bathtub" which is always desirable with any flooded battery. I somehow missed the two plastic slotted strips that come with the box, they are supposed to be bolted to the floor and a strap goes thru them and around the entire box, cover and all with battery inside. Be sure you get those, someone had probably opened that box and not put them back, you know how it goes in stores these days. I made some strips like them on the mill instead. It's a nice secure installation. As heavy as a battery is, in a vehicle that will see off-highway use I think it's important to have it tied down securely. But a series installation is going to have a bigger footprint but you might be able to find different size plastic boxes thru RV or Marine suppliers.
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insyncro
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

insyncro wrote:
A battery "box" is a very good idea Exclamation Wink


Wink
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mariusstrom
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm planning on building a mild "box" around the batteries to protect terminals and what-not (and this box would also support mounting of breakers/solar controllers/etc.), but I'm not planning this box to be structural or have the ability to contain batteries. That's why I'm considering strapping solutions.

Good feedback so far, keep it coming!

At this point, I'm considering stainless M8 or M10 bolts coming up through the body floor and tack welded into place on the underside of the frame, and lock-washers/nuts on the top side holding the straps (aluminum frame, probably).
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So where are the batteries going to go? They're contained within the bench seat with stuff packed all around. I don't see any need for any kind of battery box or bolted hold down.

Just as a point of reference, I have a battery in each battery box and a large Trojan under the sink cabinet. None have been secured in the last 10 years and I have not had any problems. There's usually so much stuff packed around them there's no where for them to go...AND they are already contained inside an enclosure called cabinets.

For those who say I'm acting crazy, I've already survived a head on collision with my "unsecured" batteries. None of the batteries left their resting position during the crash. I'm just saying, you don't need to over think this.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is my old setup, I have since moved it to the little cubby to the left of fridge. Same idea. The battery box keeps any seepage from battery spreading. You really can't see it, but there is a strap that encircles the box and through strap retainers bolted to floor. Box will stay in place even in a roll over. (a forty pound battery would do some damage!)
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


One thing that seems to never get mentioned is venting. The best idea would to have a vent to the outside for hydrogen gas venting.
My '90 Syncro Westy came with a factory installed vent in the main battery box under the passenger seat. Something I have not seen on any other Vanagon.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MsTaboo wrote:
One thing that seems to never get mentioned is venting. The best idea would to have a vent to the outside for hydrogen gas venting.
My '90 Syncro Westy came with a factory installed vent in the main battery box under the passenger seat. Something I have not seen on any other Vanagon.


keep looking other vanagons Laughing I think I've seen it in all vans I've looked

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=456517&highlight=battery+vent
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climberjohn
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What you seek is here:

It's from our friend an86carrera.

New Solar Power System For my TF-65 (Fridge is in now)
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=520375

L shaped aluminum angle bolted through the floor, with cam straps going around the battery.
See any rafting or whitewater supply store for cam straps various lengths and thicknesses.

PDXwesty, it's good that unsecured batteries work for you, but depending on the amount of bumpy roads you travel on, some sort of tie down is a fine idea for many people.

Think about this: on any newer car, have you ever seen you ever see a starting battery that is not secured in some way?

I bet not.
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PDXWesty
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

climberjohn wrote:

PDXwesty, it's good that unsecured batteries work for you, but depending on the amount of bumpy roads you travel on, some sort of tie down is a fine idea for many people.

Think about this: on any newer car, have you ever seen you ever see a starting battery that is not secured in some way?

I bet not.


Battery in the engine compartment? Tie downs are absolutely necessary.
But a battery wedged into an interior cabinet with no where to go? Optional.
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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently installed a group 27 under the p-side of the rear bench. It's in a pre made box that straps to the floor.

My guess is that the battery may move a little inside the box, but should be fine. Braces were added to plywood, supply wire to fridge was strapped. Image shows mock up.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

madspaniard wrote:
MsTaboo wrote:
One thing that seems to never get mentioned is venting. The best idea would to have a vent to the outside for hydrogen gas venting.
My '90 Syncro Westy came with a factory installed vent in the main battery box under the passenger seat. Something I have not seen on any other Vanagon.


keep looking other vanagons Laughing I think I've seen it in all vans I've looked

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=456517&highlight=battery+vent


OK, interesting.
My '90 Multivan didn't have a vent, my '89 Hightop Joker doesn't have one.
The Carat and Doka didn't (but that I understand as those aren't campers)
So, news to me! Surprised
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Venting is not something to worry about. No battery or even a string of them of a size you could reasonably install in a Vanagon would generate enough H2 to pose a combustion hazard, even under hard overcharging. The only reason to want venting is to lessen surface corrosion by venting off corrosive vapors, but unless it were an active venting system passive flow isn't going to clear that stuff out well enough to prevent corrosion. Occasional maintenance cleaning of the battery tops is the answer to that.
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mariusstrom
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wrapping this up, I've decided to bolt down some angle aluminum to the bench floor and have used cam straps under the angle aluminum to hold the batteries down. Thanks everyone for your thoughts and ideas.

Photos:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahwahnee wrote:
I used a simple plywood box -- has the possible advantage of protecting the terminals from being shorted by anything else stored under the bench.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

That is sweet.
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