The 61.7 lbs is more than I expected but
they do contain lots of lead. There are similar size 29
batteries available from other suppliers with the same footprint but
most that I've found are not as tall. The overall capacity is
not indicated in the published specifications; data on the
Internet suggests that the capacity is 100 to 125 amp hours. I've had the first set
for three years now and they seem like new. Of course, no
activity in the winter here in Ohio unless I use them for ice fishing.
The batteries are connected in series to give 24 volts.
The image above gives the general layout (File:
Top). The batteries and
motors will bring the weight to well over 100 lbs. The other
components, front truck and body bring the total weight to about 200
lbs. The engineer is pretty skinny but wears very heavy clothes so
that will add over 200 pounds more. Fortunately the wife is very
slender so we can plan on a total weight of 500 to 600 lbs.
That sort of weight calls or a robust frame; we don't want a swayback
Now we're getting down to the details (File:
Frame). I had some 1.5" angle and
1.5" channel so that is what I used. The two channels at the
back and the two over the front truck have the legs pointing up. I
milled 1/8" off the legs that fit under the side angles so the top
of the legs between the angles are even with the top of the side
angles. These channels were bolted in place with one 1/4"
bolt on each end of each channel with the nuts on the bottom.
Once everything was square I tack welded each channel in place.
(I'm not much of a welder. Bolting things in place and then tacking
them with my flux-in-wire welder works for me. All welds are on
the under side and hidden from the view of real welders.)
The top of the front angle is notched so the horizontal part is even
with the horizontal part of the side angles. The joints between
the front and side angles were then butt welded on the under side.
The square tubes reinforcing the side
angles were then bolted in place using 1/4" bolts that also go
through the ends of the three channels under the batteries. After
the tubes were secured with the 6 bolts they were tack welded to the
side angles. The last two angles at each end of the battery area
were then installed and secured with 1/4" bolts at each end.
|Photo on right shows the frame after the the drive module
was installed. Of interest here is the spacers
between the sides of the battery and the frame angles.
That is 5/4" (1" actual) Trex deck planking left over from a
deck project. The spacers extend under
the angle for 3/8". The bolts holding the channels and
angles under the batteries were loosened to get the Tex
under the side angles and then tightened to hold it in place.
Note the heads of the bolts holding the channels and angles; I used hex head
tacked welded the heads so it was easy to install the Nyloc nuts
below. Turns out that part of those heads interfered with
the frame for the body so I had to grind off part of the heads.
Next time I'll use flat head bolts.
A big worry is that the batteries become loose and
turn into battering rams. The spacers on the sides and the
angles at each end of the batteries keep them from sliding
around. There are also clamping bars over the top of each
battery to hold it down.
After everything was constructed
I found that the dive compartment at the back is a really tight fit .
The battery area consisting of the three middle channels and the angles
just in front of and behind the three middle channels can be moved
forward by 5/8". Wish I would have figured that out during
The front truck is identical to those
described at Arch Bar
Trucks . Any style truck
can be used but the arch bar is appropriate for the era. The frame
is equipped with ball bearings on each side that ride on the upper
spring plank to keep the bus stable and permit easy rotation of the
I got tired of making drawings so used a couple photos to describe the
front. That is 1" X 1/8" flat stock and then 1" X 1" X 1/8" angle
below the flat stock. The angles and flat are held in place
by screws through 1.5" channels centered 1.5" from each side.
|This photo taken from under the right
front corner shows the vertical channel used to hold the angles
and flat sock on the front together. Looks like I tack welded
that channel in place too. The foot pegs are
attached to another piece of 1.5" channel. The
channel with the foot pegs is held to the front with a couple
screws; those button head screws visible on the previous photo.
Part of the lower leg of the foot peg channel directly in front
of the wheels interferes with the wheels and has to be ground
off. Things are tight under there.
The foot Pegs are from
Note that I didn't hose down the underside --- it's
winter and the hose is frozen. I did wash off the top as
the dirt looks much worse in the photos.
|The rear platform is the next thing to describe
Angles 1" X 1" X 1/8" make excellent steps.
The angles are sandwiched between 1/8" plates and tack
welded in place. The entire
assembly slides over and is attached to the 2" X 1" tube that is
used as the coupler pocket. A couple screws and the
coupler bolt holds everything in place.
|This shows the under side with the sloppy but effective tack
welds to hold the steps in position.
|This side looks better. I was skeptical of
the railings but they seem to be robust and make it look like a
|This shows the slide out foot rest in the out position.
When retracted it becomes a footboard.
This photo was taken a couple years ago when I was painting the frame.
The square tubes sticking up are 1" X 1" X 1/8" and go up 10" above the
deck. They are attached to the 2" angle and against the
outside angle. I think I bolted them to the 2" angle and then tack
They are sticking up and waving in the breeze necessitating
the angle braces made of 3/4" X 1/8" flat stock. That is
1/8" (11 gauge) plate covering the front deck and attached to the
vertical tubes. The charger is attached to the plate on the
vertical tubes. The charger is fairly heavy hence the robust
mount. Those side braces are 3/4" X 1/8" flat stock. The grate in the deck is to permit air flow when the
charger is doing its thing. Note: if the three channels
and two angles supporting the batteries are move forward 5/8" as
described earlier, the height of the two tubes holding the charger must
be reduced to 7.5" to prevent interference with the body. The top
of the posts would then be even with the top of the plate between the
The truss rods are 3/16" and the turnbuckles were originally
threaded #8 but are easily enlarged to 10-32 (I only have10-32 left hand taps and dies). The
posts are 1/4" square and extend down 2.5" below the frame. I
drilled holes through the tube that is attached to the frame angle to
get enough length against the inside of the frame angle to make a solid
attachment for the front posts. That front post is roughly in line with the center
support channel for the front battery. Things are a little
crowded towards the back. The channel holding the rear foot pegs is
attached to the frame angle-tube combination with pieces of angle.
The front of the channel holding the pegs is aligned with the front edge
of the middle support channel under the rear battery. The
rear truss rod post is attached to the foot peg channel.
The rear end of the truss rod is attached to the side of the rear axel
The four rods sticking up are used to clamp the batteries down.
The rods are 3/8" diameter with the ends turned down to 1/4" and
threaded 1/4-20. The bottom end of the rods go into the middle
channel under each battery. Another piece of 1.5"
channel is between the tops of each pair of rods to clamp the battery in position.
This covers the frame except for some cosmetic details mentioned in the
Body section and the rear axel described in the Drive section.