Slideout Tray for Casita Battery Compartment - Fiberglass RV
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Old 05-04-2015, 07:37 PM   #1
Senior Member
Name: Harvey
Trailer: '84 Scamp 13' & 2001 Casita 17' Spirit Deluxe
Posts: 322
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
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Old 05-05-2015, 10:07 AM   #2
Name: Bill
Trailer: Escape
Posts: 39
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.
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Old 05-05-2015, 10:08 AM   #3
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GMike A's Avatar
Name: Mike
Trailer: 2001 Spirit Deluxe 17" K5NAN
Posts: 688
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
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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.
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Old 05-06-2015, 08:25 AM   #5
Senior Member
Name: Harvey
Trailer: '84 Scamp 13' & 2001 Casita 17' Spirit Deluxe
Posts: 322
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...
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Old 05-24-2015, 07:38 AM   #6
Rich Ess's Avatar
Name: Rich
Trailer: 1987 Bigfoot Fifth Wheel
Posts: 56
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!
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Old 05-24-2015, 06:04 PM   #7
Senior Member
Name: Harvey
Trailer: '84 Scamp 13' & 2001 Casita 17' Spirit Deluxe
Posts: 322
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...
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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.
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Old 08-20-2015, 05:40 AM   #9
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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)
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Old 01-05-2021, 10:08 AM   #10
Junior Member
Name: David
Trailer: Casita
Posts: 1
battery slide out tray

I am interested in building a slide out battery tray.
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Old 01-05-2021, 12:38 PM   #11
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LarryB.'s Avatar
Name: Larry
Trailer: Casita 17' Spirit Deluxe (aka: Tweaker's Casita)
Southwest Ohio
Posts: 157
Battery Slide Out Tray

Originally Posted by dpcoward View Post
I am interested in building a slide out battery tray.
Here is a link to Don Dayton's design for a battery maintenance shelf using a scrap piece of 1"x6" and some shim material.

When I made mine, I had to "persuade" the bottom of the battery compartment opening to be slightly larger height-wise in order to slide the 1x6 into the opening below the existing frame supporting the battery.

As an alternative to Don's approach for the battery disconnect, I used an anderson connector. Here is a link to a previous post with the details.
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battery, casita

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