House Batteries in Spare Tire Location?

#1
I have a Chevrolet Express and just moved the spare tire out to an Aluminess carrier on the rear of the van. I'm also looking for a home for two 145 amp hour deep cycle AGM batteries (5"x11"x22") for my house batteries. I'm a little concerned with having the batteries (even AGM's) inside the van in my cabinetry as I carry climbing gear in the vehicle as well. A pretty ideal solution seems to be to rig some sort of battery rack that would bolt between the frame rails of the van in the location where the factory spare tire would have mounted. This would free up space and eliminate contamination concerns.

Has anyone done this? I don't weld so I would have to hire someone to fabricate for me (any recommendations in the front range?). If anyone has done similar and has photos (these would be useful for both ideas and to show welders what I am looking for). Ideas and suggestions are also welcome. I'm aware it may have some negative effects on weight balance to mount the batteries behind the rear axle, how much should this concern me (the batteries aren't light)?

Here is the space I'm working with:



Based on my measurements both batteries should fit side by side and not stick out much past the frame rails.
 
#3
Weight may be behind the axle, but the van is designed to handle weight of cargo. So not too worried about it. And the weight is nice and low, which is good.
I would call it a good place. Do it.
 

luthj

Adventurer
#4
I have 300lbs of batteries in a similar location on my van (sprinter). Obviously you need to take your overall weight distribution into account, but there is not inherently wrong with weight in that location.

There is plenty of structure to mount a battery tray to. Any good fab shop can make you a nice box for reasonable money. Take into account how you plant to get thee batteries up there. A swing down tray is a good idea in some cases.

Riv-nuts and/or through bolts will make for strong attachment. Make sure to strap the batteries down so they cant move around in a crash or on the road. A bolt down bracket or similar works. Protect the terminals from hitting anything metal as well.
 
#5
I'm looking at doing the same, I have the benefit of having a rolling chassis so doing that fab work now makes sense, I'm thinking of just cutting out the entire spare tire structure as the shape of it isn't very helpful. I did a similar project on my FMC motorhome putting 4 SF145's under the nose of it.. P5300006.JPG P6030002.JPG P6130008.JPG
 
#9
Thanks for the ideas everyone. I'm really liking the simplicity of the skid plate style tray. Much similar than the idea I was working on and can probably be done with minimal if any welding. The Express frame has some existing unused holes that will likely accept mounting bolts, or I can go with riv-nuts. I'll see what I can come up with...
 
#10
Swing down style carriers are nice, but even the factory ford frame mounts suck to swap battery. Especially if you've got two batteries on one tray, you're going to need a floor jack/two people either way. I wouldn't be too preoccupied with making it "quick release".... but definitely give yourself easy charger access. Power posts are pretty easy to add accessories/ chargers etc to. We commonly mount a Mega fuse holder near the battery and use that as a distribution/ charge point.
 
#14


Basically a napkin sketch at this point, but I'm thinking a relatively simple skidplate style tray will work well. Should be able to bolt to open factory holes in the frame also. Will like attach some aluminum angle front and rear to help hold the batteries down as well as hold down straps over the top of the batteries.

Think 1/4" aluminum plate would have sufficient strength for 240 pounds of batteries?
 
#15
1/4" 6061 T3 should be more than enough. You need to use reasonable sized fasteners. I would design around 4 times the batteries static weight. You can easily look up your fasteners shear and tensile strength on the web.