As I mentioned in the previous post, the generator was jammed into the old A/C condenser bay without thought or preparation. There were also some serious deficiencies like, no sound insulation, loose wires and hoses, a jagged hole cut for ventilation and no way to get to the radiator, fan belt, etc. It was also very noisy since the bay door itself was vented with expanded metal. So, since I had to pull it out anyway, I thought I ought to spiff the bay up a bit.
There were still some parts of the old A/C system in the bay, so my first task was to get all of that old fiberglass, bracing and sheet metal out and fix the bay floor to support the new generator.
I needed a flat bay floor since I only had 26” of vertical space. So, that brace had to come out, but only the top half. Did you know stainless steel is very hard!
Here you can see the bay after all of the old A/C parts were removed. However, the bottom half of that brace is intact and tied into the bus frame, so I’ve got a good strong base right across the center of the bay. You may notice that at the top of the bay I’m using the old A/C liquid line as my new vacuum line for driver/passenger A/C, but that’s another story. That was one of the reasons I had such limited vertical space.
In this shot I’ve finished deconstruction and begun recon by adding angle iron bracing and sheet aluminum on the floor. It’s flat and strong, cool!
As you can see here I lined the bay from top to bottom with ¾” plywood. Check out the new bay door I built using the old door with some additional square tubing and new skin. There won’t be any holes in this door! I discovered later that you can buy plywood that has several layers of lead between the thin sheets of wood for additional sound deadening – despite the added weight I would have used that stuff if I’d known.
Thanks to Fred Hobe, I found this great sound proofing material “Sound Down” that is used extensively in marine applications. It has a heavy vinyl layer sandwiched between two pieces of dense foam and it’s all covered in silver mylar. Great stuff! It’s easy to cut, goes on with a spray adhesive and I added some pins for more support. This really helped quiet that little diesel.
After many hours of measuring, drawing, and calculating, I finally had a layout that would fit so I cut the holes for air intake and exhaust and covered the openings with hardware cloth. It’s looking good!
After much gnashing of teeth (what does that mean?), I just could not figure out how to build sound baffles into such tight quarters. That would have made it even quieter. So, such as it is, air intake is up through the floor at the front of the bay and down and out the rear, but I didn’t want it to just exit straight down. So, I built a louvered vent with some wood and aluminum sheet. I think it came out nicely and much cheaper (and more compact) than anything I could buy ready-made!
Here are a couple of shots of the 45 degree louver under construction.
Here is the finished bay. Although I don’t run the generator while we’re rolling, I think this design will work great parked or on the move.
Stay tuned for Part Four. I’ll show you how I used that hand-made louver for the new generator.