Fiber Stream Battery Box Placement - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-06-2006, 10:02 PM   #1
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Frederick wrote:
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One of my major issues during my "Long, Long, Trailer Trip" last year... (San Diego, Ca to Syracuse, NY to Bandon, OR and back to San Diego, CA all in 16 days) ... was my battery box cracking the shell due to a design flaw.
Attached Image
In the photograph, to the left of the propane tanks, is the vented hatch for the recessed battery box. Note the approximate 3" long crack at the upper left corner. This is a clear-through break in the shell with a matching crack at the lower right corner that does not show in this photo.

The box is made of steel, designed like a square rural mail box. The rough opening is cut into the shell and the assembled box is inserted into this opening. The flange for the hatch and the flange for the front of the box are screwed into small wood backer blocks through the fiberglass. The back of the box is mounted to a block which is mounted to the trailer's floor (under the starboard bunk). The front of the box was initially supported only by being bolted thru the face of the shell.

I assume all of you know how much a group 27 battery weighs. OH.gif

To this recipe add a 7000 mile trip, most of which was done at 75 miles per hour. Include Interstate 44 crossing Misouri which has the worst, most deteriorated pavement of the entire interstate system, and consider that a Fiber Stream has a leaf spring suspension without shocks. 29.gif 22.gif 29.gif 22.gif

By the time I got to Illinois, the screws had fallen out of the flange and I was holding the hatch on with Duct Tape. The crack appeared in Ohio. I was on my 2nd roll of Duct Tape for the westbound segment of the route somewhere in Nebraska.

After I got home I had to disassemble the battery box and remove it from the trailer, patch and reinforce the shell around the opening with new resin & cloth from the inside. Then reinstall the battery box with new wood supports both front and rear. I didn't want to make a mess of the trailer on the outside, so I only made my messy fiberglass repairs to the inside of the shell, and squirted Captain Tolley's Creeping Crack Cure into the crack on the outside.

Ask Gina. I only drive 55 mph now. 76.gif 60 tops. 55.gif
So, Frederick was the design flaw fixed by the time my 1982 was built? My battery box is on the door side of the trailer toward the hitch end. My battery fits into the slot so snugly it is extremely difficult to remove.

Photos:
Frederick's 1978 front battery box placement with crack left of propane tank.
My 1982 side battery box placement.
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fsfs.jpg   box.jpg  

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Old 05-06-2006, 10:41 PM   #2
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So, Frederick was the design flaw fixed by the time my 1982 was built?
I feel that relocating the box was an improvement. However, my main contention was that my box was not supported by the floor near the outer shell; the box was sitting on the 1/8" thickness of the shell alone toward the front, it has a 1" x 2" wood support block holding up the back end. I recommend you raise the curb-side bunk and access that storage area from inside your trailer. Feel under the battery box. I can put my hand completely under mine, between the box and the floor. Is there a block of some kind toward the outside skin? Is it in contact with the box above and the floor below?

I wish I were able to draw a diagram here...
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Old 05-07-2006, 10:53 AM   #3
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I am also looking at modifying my battery location. My current idea is to install a vented battery box as per the idea supplied by member ttmatson in the stream on Battery location, vented but not sealed off in the Modifications section.

http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/r...xes-vented.htm

I plan to put it just a box width closer to the hitch from it's current location. Access to the battery box would be through the bunk top. I will then remove the existing steel battery box, and extend the existing door opening to say 12" x 36" so I have accessible storage from the outside. I my old trailer, this is where I used to keep my hitch parts when parked, tool box, etc. From the photos, I believe Frederick put a similar new door in.

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Old 05-07-2006, 11:27 AM   #4
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I will then remove the existing steel battery box, and extend the existing door opening to say [b]12" x 36" so I have accessible storage from the outside. I my old trailer, this is where I used to keep my hitch parts when parked, tool box, etc. [b]From the photos, I believe Frederick put a similar new door in.
Actually, I was the beneficiary of a previous owner's forsight. The exterior access hatches were already in place when I bought the trailer.

Click image for larger version

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The access door on the curbside of my trailer is [b]30" x 9" (I think). The primary purpose is for the spare tire. My "Tote-a-Way'st" 5 gallon tote and my 5 gallon water "jerry" can also live in there. It is a more convenient access than lifting up the bunk from the inside, especially when the King Bed is made up.

The flanking hatch on the [b]right side of my propane tanks is for my "hitch parts," the WDH spring arms, the jack wheel, the stabilizing & hydraulic jacks, etc. I have a lot of blank space next to my water tank. I do not have a furnace under my driver's side bunk, since I have a Duette range/furnace combo unit. My water pump sits in the middle of the space where newer Fiber Streams place the furnace. I am curious where the newer water pumps are located.
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Old 05-07-2006, 11:49 AM   #5
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So, Frederick was the design flaw fixed by the time my 1982 was built? My battery box is on the door side of the trailer toward the hitch end. My battery fits into the slot so snugly it is extremely difficult to remove.
I think that my experience was the accumulation of many factors into the "perfect storm" to cause my shell to crack. Your battery box is placed a little bit farther away from the curve in the shell at the "corner" of the trailer than mine is. I added 2" x 4" blocking beneath the box to transfer the weight stress of the battery directly to the floor, and not to the shell.

Yep, my battery requires a lot of muscle control to cram it into that tight space.
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Old 05-08-2006, 08:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
The flanking hatch on the [b]right side of my propane tanks is for my "hitch parts," the WDH spring arms, the jack wheel, the stabilizing & hydraulic jacks, etc. I have a lot of blank space next to my water tank. I do not have a furnace under my driver's side bunk, since I have a Duette range/furnace combo unit. My water pump sits in the middle of the space where newer Fiber Streams place the furnace. I am curious where the newer water pumps are located.
Unfortunately, where you put your hitch parts is exactly where my water pump sits. I have no room there.

The option of a combined furnace/range sounds interesting. Does this mean you do not have the small oven that is part of my Magic Chef setup?
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Old 05-08-2006, 09:23 AM   #7
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His oven has a knob that allows him to choose to use it as a furnace.

It been raining cats and dogs and I haven't checked out my battery box et.
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Old 05-08-2006, 06:32 PM   #8
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...The option of a combined furnace/range sounds interesting. Does this mean you do not have the small oven that is part of my Magic Chef setup?
Frederick can jump in with corrections here, but I believe that this is the Duette Range-Furnace Combo Model 183-60 (link is to a document in the FGRV Document Center), which I understand is no longer an option (unless you can find a good used one).
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Old 05-08-2006, 09:14 PM   #9
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Frederick can jump in with corrections here, but I believe that this is the Duette Range-Furnace Combo Model 183-60, which I understand is [b]no longer an option (unless you can find a good used one).
My Duette is very similar in appearance to your Magic Chef, Victor.
Quote:
His oven has a knob that allows him to choose to use it as a furnace.
Like Benita said, I have an extra knob, which is an off/on switch for the blower motor located beneath the broiler. My oven doubles as the burner for the furnace. There is a safety switch in the oven door to shut off the burner when the door is opened. The oven draws it's combustion air from a vent to the outside, like a furnace does.

This was the predecessor to your Magic Chef, not an "option." In the 1970's many recreational vehicles were equipped with this. But many of these units were misused, or not maintained, and were blamed for setting the RV's on fire. They were discontinued by 1980 or 1981.
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Old 05-10-2006, 12:50 PM   #10
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I just got a new sealed, vented battery box in the mail I plan on installing in a front bunk but what puzzles me is the thing comes with a 2 inch tube/hole on top half, to attach the supplied flexible vent hose, AND .........AND ....the same kind of hole on the bottom half.

I don't understand why the bottom shell should have this. Isn't the whole idea of the enclosure to keep fluids from spreading? How to plug it? Plastic cap from plumbing supply??

Anyone?
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Old 05-10-2006, 10:38 PM   #11
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I just got a new sealed, vented battery box in the mail I plan on installing in a front bunk but what puzzles me is the thing comes with a 2 inch tube/hole on top half, to attach the supplied flexible vent hose, AND .........AND ....the same kind of hole on the bottom half.

[b]I don't understand why the bottom shell should have this. Isn't the whole idea of the enclosure to keep fluids from spreading? How to plug it? Plastic cap from plumbing supply??

Anyone?
I googled "RV battery box" and one of the responses contained the following:
Quote:
Sides and ends are molded [b]to allow for various cable routing locations. This Powerhouse product are vented and [b]meet coast guard specification 183.420.

This product is convenient for both Motor Home/Campers as well as [b]Marine applications. The listed product number is for the Black model, but the other colors are also available. [b]Call PPL Motor Homes with any questions. We look forward to helping you!

Overall dimensions for the group 24: 11 3/6" H x 10 1/2" W x 14 1/6" L.
Battery Box for RV - How to Order:

Please order online below. [b]For questions or phone ordering, our telephone lines ( Toll Free [b]1-800-755-4775 )
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Old 05-12-2006, 04:07 PM   #12
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I feel that relocating the box was an improvement. However, my main contention was that my box was not supported by the floor near the outer shell; the box was sitting on the 1/8" thickness of the shell alone toward the front, it has a 1" x 2" wood support block holding up the back end. I recommend you raise the curb-side bunk and access that storage area from inside your trailer. Feel under the battery box. I can put my hand completely under mine, between the box and the floor. Is there a block of some kind toward the outside skin? Is it in contact with the box above and the floor below?

[b]I wish I were able to draw a diagram here...
Thank you, Donna!
This is my representation of the design flaw:

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And this is what I did to rectify the flaw, after I repaired the crack in the fiberglass shell.

Click image for larger version

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