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Old 04-28-2009, 11:20 PM   #1
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Add a second battery?

My 2003 Safari 25 came with only one battery. It is in a boat-type plastic battery box on a metal tray behind the LP bottles. It has a clunky metal clamp/latch setup to keep it in place. I am interested in adding a second battery... but it looks like some major fabrication needs to be done to accomplish this. Has anyone else done this on this style trailer and battery setup? Photos? Cost?
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Old 04-29-2009, 07:44 AM   #2
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There are prefab battery cases out there. The main consideration for flooded batteries is venting.
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:24 PM   #3
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You can add more batteries wherever in the trailer you can fit them. We have two Trojan T105 (6 volt, 220 amp-hour) in a marine battery box under the gaucho in our 1971 Tradewind 25. There is a vinyl hose that's intended to vent the battery area to the outside but in many cases the metal attachments are corroded.
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:11 PM   #4
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Venting is not a real problem when the battery box (s) are mounted outside, behind the propane bottles... assuming there are vent holes or passages in the box, cover, etc...

Search the Net for a box to hold the two batteries you want to use...

Of real concern, however, is to secure the batteries inside the box so that they don't move around when you're on the road - any dirt or small stones that find there way inside the battery box can act like sandpaper and wear away at the battery cases, most notably the corners, and could wear a hole, causing the electrolyte to leak...I've seen it happen several times...

Those plastic battery boxes have some relieved areas in the bottom to collect the dirt that finds it's way inside - however, the batteries still move around inside those boxes...

If the battery box you select doesn't have secure battery hold downs inside the box, you could spray some of that foam in a can, around the battery to keep it from moving - a solution I've used successfully - it's easy to peal away at replacement time...

I have two battery compartments in the front of our AS, but I added a third battery, installed in an alum battery box, behind the propane tanks...I got mine from Quick Cable Corp...and it HAS and internal hold down to keep the battery from moving around!
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Old 05-14-2009, 09:20 PM   #5
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I Added a battery.....

I used my original undersized single battery box as a "recipe" and built my own to hold two group 24 12 volt batteries.
Local sign shops have the aluminum and brakes to fabricate one or you could build your own if you are handy at such things.
Mine is mounted behind the propane tanks in the same position as the original. It was a tight fit, but I had a good 1/4 inch to spare. Makes the wiring easy to access and figure out.
I think you can see more photos of mine if you click on the my "images" under my profile.
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Old 05-20-2009, 01:54 PM   #6
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battery box and rack

Hi,

Question...what gauge steel to use?

This is a timely thread, as I'm planning to install four 6v batteries behind the lp tanks. I will have an alum box custom built to hold the four end-to-end across the width of the a-frame. The battery box and lp tanks will have to sit on a custom built steel rack that will lift the box about six inches to clear the Reese chain lift mechanism, and the tanks will need to move forward 2 inches to give enough room for the battery box, and up by about 3/4 inch to clear the Reese u-bolts.

I can weld the rack myself, but I'm wondering what gauge steel I should use? I was thinking 1" by 2" rectangular tube at .083 (14 gauge), but I'm looking for input from anyone who has experience with fabricating mild steel. It's that old trade-off between strength and weight!

Also, how much weight is too much on the a-frame of a seventies unit?

Thanks,
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:39 AM   #7
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A few comments about adding (4) 6volt batt's on the tongue...

You will be adding 250 lbs for the batteries alone, without your new steel rack...That's a big weight gain up front there! You'll most likely need heavier bars for your WD hitch - also, can you TV stand that weight gain on the hitch?

Also, if you're building a rack to mount the batteries 'end-to-end' as you mentioned, thats over 40 inches wide (they are 7" x 10" -footprint)...perhaps you meant side-by-side which would be 28" for the batteries, plus the battery box...

Also, don't forget that 'sparking' batteries and propane don't mix - BOOM...make sure your new battery box is able to secure the batteries properly - any movement of the batteries could wear a hole in their plastic case, causing fluid loss - lot's of dirt and grit WILL find it's way into a battery box mounted on the tongue, and if there is movement of the batteries, the grit will act like a rasp file and wear a hole - the corners are the usual starting point...

Overall, I don't think all that additional weight is a very good idea, up front - I can't think of any manufacturer that mounts that much battery weight on the tongue -
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:40 PM   #8
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Thanks for the reply, Mexray. My TV is an F250 with a Class IV hitch set-up. I'm not worried about tongue weight for the TV, as the back of the truck hardly moves when I lower the tongue right now.

You're right about the width; I was planning for the battery box to be about 42 inches, and I would mechanically fix the batteries to prevent movement. I can't move any batteries lower in the a-frame because the electric/hydraulic brake system is already in a steel box there.

My real concern is whether the a-frame section could take that kind of added weight--possibly 300lbs total if one includes the steel rack and alum battery box. Would it put too much strain on the welds between the a-frame and the main frame.... I wouldn't want to become "detached" on the highway!
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Old 05-23-2009, 12:19 AM   #9
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Can't help you with any meaningful comments on that much additional weight up front like that - I just haven't seen or heard of the mounting of 4-6v's up there on an AS...

I seen where generators have been mounted behind the propane tanks, in an enclosure, but the weight is not as much as the 4/6volt batteries...

Also, it occurs to me, that in reality, you'll have to 'deduct' the weight of your existing batteries from the total weight of your new anticipated layout - to get the 'real' amount of weight gained - so it might not be all that significant, after all...just a thought...
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Old 05-23-2009, 01:59 AM   #10
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Mexray, I forgot to deduct the original battery when I figured on 300 lbs extra tongue weight.

My plan would only be one battery more than your setup, plus a wider box and the steel rack. Now that I look at it from that perspective, I can't see an issue. Now, if a metal-worker could suggest the optimal gauge steel to use for the rack....

I may have to reconsider this whole idea, depending on how much the custom aluminum box will cost--I understand that fabricating shops and custom welding are "spendy". I would love to buy the aluminum wire feed gun, gas cylinder, etc. for my welder and diy, but I would also like to get this project done this year! My buddies at work often accuse me of wanting to mine the metal and smelting it myself (I confess that I don't like paying for anything that I could possibly do!).

Thanks for your input, Mexray. It's good to bounce these ideas off someone.
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Old 07-04-2009, 06:57 AM   #11
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4Slice, I'm interested to see pics of your completed project. Do you have spare tire bracket mounted in the front? If you do, how did you get around that?
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Old 07-04-2009, 09:03 AM   #12
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Steel is very heavy, and aluminum fabrication is spendy, if you want a clean looking box, done with heliarc welding. Both materials are not compatable with batt acid, or gases. A custom molded fiberglass box, using epoxy resin, can be built by yourself, at reasonable expence, and will never suffer any corrosion problems. Just a thought.
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Old 07-04-2009, 09:18 AM   #13
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Here's what I did.
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Old 07-04-2009, 11:33 AM   #14
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Your set-up looks great, rseagle! Very professional. I've purchased the steel for the battery rack, but before I start cutting and welding, I have to go to a local propane shop to see about re-routing the lines up front as they will be in the way. I got distracted from this project as I just finished welding steel corner brackets for a scaffolding set-up to go over the roof of the trailer. The paint dried overnight, so now I have to try setting it up. My order from Vintage Trailer Supply is waiting at the post office as I speak (it's a good day!!!).

I'll post pics of the battery set-up once I get started.
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