Saturday, October 24, 2015

I put it off as long as I could...

Then I crawled or rather rolled under the bus to measure the space available for my battery compartment as being 13.5 inches. Then I set to work.

The first thing was to shovel the sugar I dumped from my abortive sugar blasting attempt away. Scooping it up in a shovel set hoards if wasps that had been clustered thickly over it, buzzing around angrily. Clearly using sugar has hazards!

For the next hour or so, the steel for the compartment was measured and cut. The space needed is only 7x11 inches per battery but the compartment will be 19 inches deep - just in case more space is needed.

The next thing was to balance it all together and I must say, it looks pretty decent. After that came the drilling and bolting...

The plan is initially to have a plywood floor on the compartment as it'll initially solely be a cable compartment. Later, I'll replace the floor with something more suited to batteries.

Looking at the cross members underneath the bus, they seem to largely be closed box section with a few c section beams. That's not very welcome as it looks like I'm going to have to get my box welded onto the bus. On the other hand, having it welded on means that at the same time, a stouter floor could be added, stouter sides and my sections could be tack welded for extra security.

I plugged on until I was overcome by mosquitoes and darkness. Looking at my construction it appears the steel of my angle bracket is not a true 90° as the steel section is slightly wedge shaped. Given this is steel from the bedframes the hillbillies installed, I'm not surprised its not quite right. Nothing they used or did was right. I'll plug on and see if I can at least get the front square. It really doesn't matter too much if the back is angled.

That's what it looked like when I finished work for the day. There are still several bolts to install plus lock nuts. I'll have to go over all the bolts with a wrench later, just to make sure everything is tight. It's looking like the bottom will be held on by between 24 and 32 bolts. The top will be held together by a similar number. I think I can defy 1000lbs of battery to cause that lot to sheer. The extra long bolts will be trimmed after the lock nuts have been installed.

I had a casualty. One of my 4.7mm drill bits broke. Perhaps I should say I broke it. I'd drilled through a metal section and the section moved when I was drilling through the second piece. Needless to say, the drill bit objected. Fortunately I had a spare.

Unless I can get a lot done tomorrow, this underbody compartment looks like it could drag on for a couple more weekends. Having said that, its getting ever closer to completion.

In Tractor Supply yesterday I saw some very interesting U bolts. Those could come in handy for my water tanks. That is, of course, if I can bolt through C or I section rather than box section.

I'm beginning to think that I might have to investigate welding. The same nuts on the bus forums advised against Harbor Freight gasless wire welders but then they never think much of non premium solutions. This is of course typical of forums!

After completing the basic compartment construction, the next stage will be to investigate attaching the compartment underneath the bus. I'm expecting to have to trim some of the girder sections. Honestly, I can't wait to be rid of the hillbilly compartment. Left to my own devices, I'd have simply not put an underbody compartment. If I'd had the bus straight from the depot, there are a few things I'd have done differently. One thing is, rather than simply laying plywood over the central walkway, I'd have removed the central walkway!

As it is, the floor has a slight arch in the centre because of the walkway. As it had to be removed as one section, I couldn't do much about it without ripping up the entire floor. Having said that, I suspect that might have been a better option.

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