Slideout Tray for Casita Battery Compartment - Fiberglass RV

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 05-04-2015, 07:37 PM   #1
Senior Member
Name: Harvey
Trailer: '84 Scamp 13' & 2001 Casita 17' Spirit Deluxe
Posts: 305
Slideout Tray for Casita Battery Compartment

In January this year we bought a 2001 Casita 17' Spirit Deluxe, in excellent used condition (except for a lingering old cigarette smoke odor which I've nearly solved, I think).The trailer did not have a battery installed but the seller provided me with a supposedly new automotive type battery. When I got home the 'new' battery was discharged & would not take a charge. I had on hand a nearly new (less than a year old) Duralast group 27 'deep cycle' battery which I installed in the trailer. The Casita has a battery compartment, accessed from the outside, on the street side at the rear of the trailer. The compartment will accept probably a group 31 battery but it'll be 'tight'. Battery is held in place with a couple of pieces of aluminum angle bolted thru the floor, with a piece of wood 2X4 fastened to the upper rear of the compartment, apparently to prevent the battery from bouncing? Also, it has a radius access door with the bottom of the door approx 1.5" higher than the compartment floor, & lemme tell ya it's a real 'bear' trying to 'manhandle' a battery that weighs a third as much as me, into that little opening. I'd seen other Casitas with a 'slideout' battery tray, & determined that's what I needed. I considered relocating he battery to a box on the tongue but I kinda like the idea of a battery in its own locked, weatherproof compartment. Casita doesn't supply or market such (tho apparently the newer models do have an aluminum base & tray that approximates the height of the access door opening. I searched the internet & a couple of Casita forums for ideas, tips, & pix of a slideout battery tray that I could fabricate using a minimum of tools. I don't have access to or skills to use a TIG or aluminum welder so a tray I could build with mostly hand tools was important, as was cost involved. Finally found a partial PDF from the CasitaClub forum (the narrative & some pix were there but some dimensions & hole placement was missing). I was able to 'extrapolate' the missing information using the dimensions of materials called for, & fabricated a slide out battery tray made entirely of 'off the shelf' aluminum flats & angle & 'pop rivets', along with 100# drawer slides from a 'big box' store locally. The drawer slides must be mounted 'flat' in order to work in the compartment, & if I'd known how 'weak' they are when mounted flat, I'd have ordered a set of 200# slides. The ones I used hold up pretty well but when I have the tray fully extended with the battery in place, I use a spare 'pyramid' type trailer stabilizer as a brace just in case. I still need to devise some kind of 'hold down' to keep the battery from moving while the trailer is under way. The compartment is small enough, with enough 'stuff' in there that the battery cannot possibly 'tip over' but I'd feel more comfortable with at least a poly or cordura strap to help hold it down. I'm currently working on that... I had to 'notch' the lip of the door opening at bottom to accomodate the tray, but it doesn't affect the weatherproofing of the door.

Here's a few pix - first the access door, a pic of the battery in place before building the tray, various shots of the material & building the tray, & finally the tray in place, battery cut-off switch, a bolt I installed to keep the tray from 'banging' against the door, & a 'loop' I made to pull the tray out for service
Attached Thumbnails
IMG_0833 - Copy.JPG   IMG_0794 - Copy.jpg  

IMG_0865 - Copy.JPG   IMG_0867 - Copy.JPG  

IMG_0877 - Copy.JPG   IMG_0881 - Copy.JPG  

IMG_0917 - Copy.JPG   IMG_0919 - Copy.JPG  

IMG_0930 - Copy.JPG   IMG_0969 - Copy.JPG  


Harvey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2015, 10:07 AM   #2
Junior Member
Name: Bill
Trailer: Escape
Posts: 28
Nice work. When I looked at a Casita, I wondered about managing a battery into and out of the compartment. Your solution looks like the right way to deal with it. As I also don't have access to a welder, I appreciate the use of pop rivets to hold it all together. It will be interesting to hear how it holds up to the wear of travel.

hwdornbush is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2015, 10:08 AM   #3
Senior Member
GMike A's Avatar
Name: Mike
Trailer: 2001 Spirit Deluxe 17" K5NAN
Posts: 680
I printed out this to save for a future project for me. I have the same issue and "older" age isnt helping any.
"Miss Adventures"
If you Rest, You Rust
GMike A is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-05-2015, 10:24 AM   #4
Junior Member
Name: Tony
Trailer: Currently Shopping
Posts: 12
smoke odor

I used to own a carpet and upholstery cleaning business and some of the internet supply houses carried a cleaner called "smoke out". You could get some of that or similar chemical from various carpet cleaning supply houses and clean it and it will eliminate the smoke odor. I don't remember if " rug doctor" machines you could rent or bissel cleaners had an upholstery wand or not. A carpet cleaning business could clean it up pretty quickly.
TCMJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2015, 08:25 AM   #5
Senior Member
Name: Harvey
Trailer: '84 Scamp 13' & 2001 Casita 17' Spirit Deluxe
Posts: 305
Originally Posted by hwdornbush View Post
Nice work. When I looked at a Casita, I wondered about managing a battery into and out of the compartment. Your solution looks like the right way to deal with it. As I also don't have access to a welder, I appreciate the use of pop rivets to hold it all together. It will be interesting to hear how it holds up to the wear of travel.
I'm not very concerned about the rivets holding up to travel Bill. My '84 Scamp 13, & this 2001 Casita are constructed using lots of rivets. I did replace some of the rivets in the Scamp when I first bought it but not because of any leaks or loose rivets. I was doing some interior work & it was necessary to replace some rivets in order to accomplish what I wanted to do. I've experienced one slight leak in the Casita from a rivet on the very top, at the corner of the bathroom between the bath & the closet. During some very heavy rain I felt a little dampness of the carpet & when I checked, the rivet cap had broken leaving the rivet & 'washer' exposed. I just added some acrylic caulk & took care of that problem. I've since ordered 100 caps from to replace any 'suspect' caps I find.

I devised & fabricated a 'hold down' for the battery, even tho it's probably not necessary. I bought a 6' cam lock tie down strap, shortened it to correct length, devised some brackets for each end of the battery, used some more 3/16" 'pop rivets', & I'm pretty confident it'll hold the battery in place over the roughest road I'm likely to encounter.

My son brought me some very flexible, 10 gauge stranded wire so I also fabricated a 'junction block', connected all the wires that come into the battery compartment to the block, then ran the flexible, 10ga wires from the block to the battery (via the cut off switch for the positive wire). The flexible wires make it much easier to slide the battery tray in'n out of the compartment for service or checks...
Attached Thumbnails
Harvey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2015, 07:38 AM   #6
Rich Ess's Avatar
Name: Rich
Trailer: 1987 Bigfoot Fifth Wheel
Posts: 47
An elegant design! I'll must make one for my Bigfoot 5er. Thanks for sharing.

My "go to" solution for strapping things down is Velcro One Strap. It has the hook on one side and the loop on the other, so it clings to itself. You can find this kind of material in multiple brands, in widths from 1/4" to 2".

For my battery hold down, I used two lengths of 1" strap. I screwed down one end of each on opposite sides of the battery so they go over the battery and overlap. (In your case I would pop rivet to the frame.) 3" of overlap holds very well, but can easily be pulled apart. If you're concerned about the strength for off roading, use a 6" overlap. It's just as easy to open but will never separate on its own.

I put a different color strap on each end. This makes it easy to find where to pull up and release. It's light weight, cost effective, and easy.

I love hook & loop everything! I have a "Velcro" box with five colors of strap in four widths (not all colors in all widths...yet). I also have adhesive backed, sew on, and other form factors.

One Christmas my wife gave me an assortment of strapping. (I love that woman!)

My other "go to" solution is rare earth magnets, don't even get me started talking about these beauties!
Rich Ess is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2015, 06:04 PM   #7
Senior Member
Name: Harvey
Trailer: '84 Scamp 13' & 2001 Casita 17' Spirit Deluxe
Posts: 305
Thanks Rich, for the reminder on the Velcro. Dunno why I didn't think of that instead of the compression strap. One thing about the compression strap is it's made of some kind of nylon/synthetic fabric. I don't have a sewing machine that'll handle heavy material so I just used a small nail heated on a stove burner & pushed thru the fabric which 'welds' the pieces together in a quick, secure joint. I WILL remember the velcro & begin a collection of various sizes for future use...
Harvey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2015, 10:11 AM   #8
Junior Member
Name: Stuart
Trailer: Casita
Posts: 1
battery, Casita 16'

Thanks Harvey. Great idea. I used your idea of turning the 16" full extension slides to lay flat. I made mine out of scrap plywood.
fishandhorse is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2015, 05:40 AM   #9
Junior Member
prettyegg's Avatar
Posts: 2
To get the smell out put a bag of charcoal briquettes in a Rubbermaid container or a 5 gallon bucket and that may absorb the smell then just burn it at your camp next campfire

If you never have dreams they never come true (David Dennis)

prettyegg is offline   Reply With Quote

battery, casita

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Photos and info on battery and genset compartment, Bigfoot 25B25RQ Josh and Sonya W Electrical | Charging, Systems, Solar and Generators 11 04-27-2015 09:50 PM
Ash Tray ideas?!? awroyce Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 17 03-13-2013 08:14 PM
Sink front tip-out tray - Scamp 13' Shannon Thompson Modifications, Alterations and Updates 11 12-29-2012 10:34 AM
Broken Dometic refrigerator door tray bouwsmaj Care and Feeding of Molded Fiberglass Trailers 12 10-07-2012 10:07 AM
Vintage Pot Luck/Mess Hall Tray(s) - Alabama Chuck Dirnsa Classified Archives 4 04-28-2011 06:54 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:29 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.