I first got my van I knew that I was going to be taking it camping
as often as possible. Even though I like the great outdoors, sometimes
mother nature may intervene and I might have to wait out inclement
weather with a movie or something, I decided that a second battery
was in order. The second battery also helps when I'm at VW shows,
so I can play the radio and Playstation as well as watch movies.
quite a bit of looking around and found the the Optima
"yellow top" deep cycle battery fit my needs just
about the best. One of my big reasons for purchasing this battery
is the fact that, because it can be mounted in ANY orientation,
it fit easily within the compartment under the driver's seat,
with no modification to the compartment or the hinged cover. NOTE:
If the factory swivel seats are installed, the base plates for
the seats might have to be modified to allow the battery to get
into the compartment.
first thing I did during install was to line both battery compartments
with sound deadening material. I used Dynamat, but there are quite
a few brands out there (many of which cost less than Dynamat).
There were two main reasons I did this. The first was the obvious
sound damping. The second was that it added a layer of insulation
to the compartments that would protect them and the batteries
from shorting to ground. One Note: The stock battery is NOT a
sealed battery! There is a vent hole in the bottom of the main
battery compartment. If you decide to go this route with your
van, make sure to put a hole in the sound damping material so
this vent hole is still functional! Not doing so increases the
risk of Bad Things happening exponentially.
initially had installed the Hella Auxiliary Battery Relay kit
from Bus Depot with its included 10 gauge wire to handle the charging
of the aux. battery. In my application, however, I kept blowing
the fuse that was connected to the relay, and therefore wasn't
getting any charging. Fellow list member Mark Drillock pointed
me toward Newark Electronics
and the Stancor Model 120-901 relay which has since solved those
install the new relay I drilled a 5/8" hole in each battery
compartment, installed rubber grommets in the holes, then routed
4 gauge wire (more like 1/2" diameter cable) down through
the grommet in the main battery box, under the floorboards, then
up into the aux. battery box to the relay. If I remember correctly,
I used about 4' of wire going between the two battery boxes.
I had the Hella relay set up previously, I already had a wire
run from the steering column to the aux battery box to switch
the relay when the ignition is turned on. Once the cable was run
between the boxes, and the wire was run from the ignition, it
was a simple matter to get the battery to charge.
I got a charge to the battery, the next order of business was
to get power from the new battery to my accessories. To do this,
I got an auxiliary
fuse block from J.C. Whitney.
They have an assortment of fuse blocks depending on the number
of accessories you plan on adding. Not knowing how many things
I was eventually going to add, I decided to get the biggest one
they had. It holds 18 blade style fuses. Currently, I have my
air horn (finally I've got a horn that can be heard by other drivers
at freeway speeds!), cigarette lighter, radio, and subwoofer connected
the occasions that I want to watch movies or play video games
in the van, I have this little inverter installed in the same
compartment as the aux battery. It's only a 350w RMS (continuous)
power inverter, but it's enough to run the things that I need
is the nearly final product. The only thing that I don't have
pictured yet is the small box mounted under the jumpseat support
tube in the rear passenger compartment that houses an external
switch for the inverter and a pair of external 110v sockets. That
way, I don't have to mess with the seat in order to plug things
in or fire up the inverter.