Our Sprinter/Crafter Van Conversion continues! Today’s task is the bane of all DIY van build conversion – to remove the plywood floor and bulkhead! Honestly, I swear the bolts holding in this floor are near impossible to remove without a hammer…
1. CLEANING THE WORK AREA
It’s probably best to remove all the dirt, dust, zip ties, bits of wood, chocolate wrappers, screws, bolts and things of unknown origin from the floor before unbolting it.
Get a big brush and sweep it all out the back doors.
You can do a second round with a hoover if you’d like. (we didn’t since a lot more cleaning was to happen later on).
2. CLEANING THE FLOOR BOLTS
The bolts that actually hold the floor down are giant; you can’t miss them. In order to actually remove them, we had to clean the bolt heads. Five years of gunk had clogged up the bolt head holes, and we couldn’t fit the Torx driver in it.
(Torx-driver: a screwdriver with a Torx head on it.)
WD40 and paper towels are a good combo to clean 90% of it out.
Using a Torx screwdriver or even a wrench for this job will not give you enough leverage on the bolts – the cheapest option is to find a Torx Allen Key Set. These things are near indestructible and will get you the leverage you need without going overboard on cost.
3. VANQUISHING THE BOLTS
The floor bolts are a bugger.
And depending on how old and used your van is, they might be rusted/seized and so tight that hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches and (maybe) a blowtorch might be necessary – kidding about that last one (I hope). 🔥
T45 Torx bolts held our floor in, and our set only went up to size T40 (larger number = larger hole). At first, we used the T40 tool since it fit the screw head. Don’t do this! We ended up threading three of the bolt heads – in other words, the star became a wibbly-wobbly circle.
We managed to get the other bolts free with a lot of straining but those were the easy ones.
After buying a new Torx Allen Key set (since the Torx-screwdriver doesn’t give enough leverage) we got a T45 but since the bolt heads were threaded, we had to get inventive. We got a flat head screwdriver and a hammer and re-created the Torx star pattern. 🌟
We then hammered in our Torx Allen key to the bolt head holes and used all our body weight as leverage, and eventually, they budged!
4. HARD PART OVER – LET’S LIFT
Luckily for us, the bolts were not the only thing holding the floor down. Industrial strength Velcro was awaiting us (and will most likely await you).
Since the floor weighs over 50kg [110lb], it isn’t light. You’ll need to split the floor in two if you actually want to get it out the door.
We hit the central joining line with a hammer – quite a bit – and wiggled the pieces free. 🔨Probably not the correct way to do it, but it worked.
Then all that remained was to rip the floor up from the Velcro and lumber it out the van, and voila – a messy, sticky and a slightly rusty metal floor awaited us underneath. With more chocolate wrappers, nuts, paperclips, and things we shall not discuss. 🙈
5. SAVE YOUR PLYWOOD FLOOR
Plywood is expensive! 💰 Even more so, your van floor is curvy and kinky. When selecting your flooring in the future, having your original ply to trace the shape will save time.
Store-bought ply is just a rectangle and will not fit the contours of your van – mainly around the wheel arches.
You may choose to clean up, sand it and reuse the plywood for your flooring or for other fixtures. Whatever you do, don’t chop it up before you’ve used it as a template.
- Remove fixings
- Remove plywood (walls, doors, wheel arches)
- Store plywood
- Unbolt and remove bulkhead
- Remove electrical conduit