replacing entire rusted floor.

VAMANOS

Member
The floor on this sprinter was really rusted out. I’ve finally started taking all the metal out. I plan to either fabricate sheet metal or buy the floor pan.

Either way. I know it’s overkill but figured this might be entertaining to some.

Any warning or advice is welcome.
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VanGoSki

Active member
Gutsy. I had a VW bus years ago that had a rusted out floor. I had to add some steel to shore up some rusted frame areas and then put down a plywood floor. Worked great until I moved away and had to get rid of it.
 

Eric Experience

Well-known member
Vamanos.
This van was most likely a freezer, there was someone asking about using a freezer as a camper, I hope he he sees you post. As an aside If your van was in Australia it would be a statuary write off and not able to be registered. Eric
 
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Midwestdrifter

Engineer In Residence
I saw one van that was a expediter, there was a chemical spill, something corrosive, that got under the floor. Looked pretty similar.

You really need to make sure your tie-in to the walls/rockers, and the rear suspension points is of sufficient strength. Those areas add lots of structure.
 

Alphacarina

2006 Itasca Navion 23H
Vamanos.
This van was most likely a freezer, . . . .
. . . . . or, maybe it was used to deliver seafood - I've seen pickup trucks in similar condition after a few years of handling shrimp

I agree - Weld in a few stringers, bolt some 3/4 plywood to them and cover it with a coat of epoxy. That would make it very serviceable and the new floor would probably easily outlast the rest of the van

Don
 

VAMANOS

Member
Update for everyone! this is taking time to say the least

Thank god for my face mask filter and chemistry goggles.

I’m trying to figure out what’s best wto do with the second photo. The support looks like they are part of the structural integrity for the van walls and I’m going to need to figure out a way to reinforce them.image.jpgimage.jpg
 
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Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
... The support looks like they are part of the structural integrity for the van walls ...
It is a unibody construction. Arguably EVERYTHING is part of the structural integrity.

My method would be to install the floor material and the then use right angle pieces to tie the new floor into the good metal of the walls. Sort of like tabbing in when doing fiberglass boat repairs.

My opinion.
The tie pieces in no way need to be continuous. Tie them in where it works.

16 gauge sheet metal for the tabbing pieces would be heavy. 18 ga or maybe even 20 ga would work. My method of fastening would be to use a decent number of 3/16" steel pop rivets. Others will recommend welding. Either method has advantages and disadvantages.

:2cents: vic

Added:

 

VAMANOS

Member
I thin
It is a unibody construction. Arguably EVERYTHING is part of the structural integrity.

My method would be to install the floor material and the then use right angle pieces to tie the new floor into the good metal of the walls. Sort of like tabbing in when doing fiberglass boat repairs.

My opinion.
The tie pieces in no way need to be continuous. Tie them in where it works.

16 gauge sheet metal for the tabbing pieces would be heavy. 18 ga or maybe even 20 ga would work. My method of fastening would be to use a decent number of 3/16" steel pop rivets. Others will recommend welding. Either method has advantages and disadvantages.

:2cents: vic

Added:

I think that’s a great course of action. I’ll probably follow it to the T. Just deciding how much I want to cut out vs treat with phosphoric acid. Should be okay if I grind it enough.

I’ve got a few welding rigs I’m gonna start practicing with soon, see if it’s going to be within my skill level to do.

It’s gonna be nice once it’s down flat I’m already daydreaming about it.

I’m considering building a little safe into the floor. Can’t decide if it’s worth the extra hassle. Would be super neat though.

isn’t the original floor around 18 gauge? I thought I wanted thicker to make up for the lack of rigidity in the OEM floors have.C4DFA656-2816-4EC8-89E4-77C71A198C26.png
 
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Alphacarina

2006 Itasca Navion 23H
Plywood! You can tab it to the walls with epoxy using a heavy 3" wide strip of fiberglass cloth - An inch and a half tabbed to the floor and an inch and a half tabbed to the wall. In the end, it will have more structural rigidity than it's had for at least the last 8 or 10 years

Don
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
...

isn’t the original floor around 18 gauge? I thought I wanted thicker to make up for the lack of rigidity in the OEM floors have.
I haven't checked the thickness. The OEM floor gains a bunch of strength with the stamped shape and the specific type of metal alloy. Flat 16 ga. is strong, but may not really match the strength of the stamped shapes. I wonder what thicknesses diamond plate comes in? The typical 1/4" would be way heavy and overkill. There may be thin options though. Aluminum diamond plate is available and less weight, but I wouldn't use that given the different metals.

An option might be 18 ga. sheet steel with a plywood top cover. The 18 ga. will be relatively light and easier to work with. The plywood will add strength.

Keep us updated please.

vic
 

JonnyBoats

Member
I have no idea what it would cost, but if you used stainless steel (304 perhaps), then you would never have to worry about rust again.
 

VAMANOS

Member
I’m not sure about stainless but if it’s a similar price I’ll go that route, why not. (Except I hear welding stainless is more dangerous?)

The things I’m not 100 percent clear on are how to prep the metal for welding. But I’ll figure that out in a few YouTube videos hopefully.

Might just go the pop rivet route, maybe find a sealer for between the metal and the van supports.

More progress every day!Just finished my 30th metal grinding wheel
 

Attachments

Stainless like galvanized will offgas a lot more than other metals but if you wear proper PPE, have good ventilation and don't keep your face "in it" while welding, it should be fine. I don't think I'd use stainless for this. It's a lot of money and hassle for not much improvement. Just keep the floor relatively dry and put a good seal coat of primer or something else.

I'd consider preformed flooring pieces that you can stitch together temporarily with rivets and later weld shut. You'll need something better than a bead roller to provide stability in that floor... certainly not flat sheet metal of any reasonable thickness.
 

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
You might want to look at corrugated sheet steel as a reasonable option for regaining strength and rigidity in the floor. It should be reasonably priced
:thumbup:

Great idea in my opinion (for whatever that may be worth).

Much of the corrugated sheet metal is galvanized. Great for anti rust, not so great for a welder's lung health. To take it one step further... maybe one step too far for some... I would use 3/16" steel pop rivets into the stringers and supports wherever the low points line up. Enough pop rivets will be very strong. I realize that "enough" is subjective. For me enough would likely not be one rivet per low point (in traditional style corrugated metal). I would space them a bit further apart than that. Perhaps add decent adhesive to the mix as was already suggested.

B deck might be a good choice.
Added: I would put the wide area against the frame members.



This is available at Home Depot.


Dorman parts

:2cents: vic
 
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PhilipE

Member
Flat metal is going to make beer can sounds when driving. Look at pickup bed replacement panels. These will have close to the same design as the stock floor does. They don't beer can from road vibrations and turning forces.

Weld everything in. Pop rivets are a short term fast fix. Over time the pop rivets will work loose. Then they start to shear off. Then your back in redoing the job. With this being converted. That's a lot more stuff to remove for a do over.
 

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