Batteries are commonly mounted on trailer A-frames in plastic boxes that are strapped to a couple of lateral channels. While this type of battery storage technically gets the job done, there are a few drawbacks that make this type of system less than optimum. First, the batteries are mounted in individual boxes, making access for service more time consuming. Second, the boxes and lids are held in place with chintzy nylon straps with a locking buckle that’s less than secure. And third, the batteries, which are not inexpensive, are easy targets for thieves.
Torklift International, a longtime supplier of RV accessories for the towing and pickup camper crowd, has a better idea. Called the Power Armor, this heavy gauge diamond plate aluminum box bolts to the trailer A-frame and is designed to handle two batteries. Boxes are certainly not unique, but the Power Armor counterpart has a number of features that make it a superb alternative to plastic battery boxes.
The sliding lid makes the box suitable for snug fits between the LP-gas cylinders and front of the trailer. If the lid were hinged, a lot more clearance would be necessary — and there’s potential for damage to the front skin of the trailer if the hinge/lid rubs when opened and closed. We mounted the box on a Lance trailer that had little real estate behind the LP-gas cylinders — accom-modating the very tight fit for the stock plastic battery boxes.
Once the A-frame was stripped of the original boxes and batteries, and the wires secured, measurements were taken to cut the 1-inch channel iron that was used to mount the Power Armor box. These lengths of channel iron were painted and bolted to the A-frame. From here, the 3/4-inch self-drilling screws and washers were used to mount the box to the fabri-cated channel iron frame. Since we were mounting the new box directly over the spare tire, access was limited, so we threaded the nylon battery hold-down straps through the slots in the box’s bottom before bolting to the channel-iron frame.
Loading the batteries is simple and there’s a hole pro-vided for routing the wires. The box is metal and conductive, so it’s important to use care when hooking up the wires and terminals to the batteries. Two sizes of boxes are available: one for group 24 and 27 batteries and one for 6-volt golf cart batteries. The only dimension change is the height since golf batteries are a little taller.
The sliding lid provides clear access to both batteries and works fairly smoothly; nothing complicated here and no hardware to deal with. The lid is ventilated so battery gassing can dissipate rapidly. When closed, the lid can be locked to the box using a pin lock that’s provided with the kit.
Obviously, the boxes are designed for batteries, but the company will also build custom versions for other purposes. For example, Torklift built a box for us to hold a 1,000-watt Yamaha generator and 21/2-gallon gas container. It was easily mounted on the back of a pickup camper, but could also be positioned in a truck bed or other similar locations.
Owners can opt for the standard chrome finish or the same diamond plate texture with a powder-coated black finish, and other colors are available. Power Armor boxes for 12-volt batteries have an MSRP of $251.86; the 6-volt battery version goes for $272.85. Add $42 for the powder coating. Pricing on custom boxes is handled on an individual basis.
Regardless of the finish, the diamond plate Power Armor box is light, easy to install, good looking and, most of all, a great hedge against battery theft.
Torklift | 800-246-8132 | www.torklift.com