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Old 09-15-2013, 01:05 PM   #1
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Original Floors... Pros/Cons of Stripping VS Replacement?

Hi all...

Being in reality, an old veteran who is starting over after losing both my bus and my old account, I have, I feel, a rather pertinent question when it comes to preparing and modifying the original floor in your bus...

Another member with a fairly late-model (relative term, I consider early 90s to be late-model vs the 60s-70s gassers I grew up with) bus based on a Ford E-van chassis took an interesting approach to their build by completely gutting the floor and rebuilding it. Granted, they didn't have much choice due to rot in several crossmembers that would have been a real problem later, but it got me thinking...

How much time does the average skoolie builder spend ripping up the original rubber flooring, sanding/repairing the metal, and priming to prevent rust from returning, before finally getting down to business and building the rest of the bus to their tastes? Seems to me that maybe we should just CUT the lion's share of the original floor out and replace it with new steel built to our specifications, could save a lot of time that would be better spent on other things.

That way, stripping would only be necessary at the edge of the four walls, and the frame could be cleaned/sanded/painted as well if so desired. Could also mock up plumbing and electrical before replacing the floor... And would prevent any surprise problems with hidden rust at a later date, as well. Any thoughts?
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Old 09-15-2013, 03:04 PM   #2
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Re: Original Floors... Pros/Cons of Stripping VS Replacement

All very good points of what you bring up. I think a lot depends on where your bus is from? Being in a southern region we do not have the issues with body rot that my fellow northeners do.

Mine being a 1983 model has some smaller surface rust but nothing like I have seen from other people who bought buses north of the mason Dixon line?

I think another issue is the cost of steel. Seems some people get the most killer of deals on scrap and parts? Not sure how much my soul is worth (as I sold it when I got married 16 years ago) so I don't think its worth much any more... but it would be nice to find some of the killer deals others seem to find here there and everywhere.

What your thinking does make sense but in my case would not be as practical.
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Old 09-15-2013, 03:11 PM   #3
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Re: Original Floors... Pros/Cons of Stripping VS Replacement

I'm just thinking that when you replace the floor and build it to your specifications, you can double-layer it, insulating your plumbing in between the floor layers to prevent freezing (a good idea for full-timers)... Just a thought. I understand that not all buses will have these issues, and not all of us will be able to take on such tasks without breaking the bank, but it's one of those things you don't really know until you actually rip it up, and I'm sure there are a few who have spent countless hours scraping, grinding, etc... that probably wish they had just cut the whole floor out and replaced it...
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Old 09-15-2013, 06:11 PM   #4
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Re: Original Floors... Pros/Cons of Stripping VS Replacement

If I had to cut it all out that's how I would do it. To me this is the WHOLE reason behind getting a bus vs a travel trailer. Cause I can make it how I want it. Plus knowing what I know now
the bus is a lot stronger and safer.
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Old 09-18-2013, 06:49 AM   #5
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Re: Original Floors... Pros/Cons of Stripping VS Replacement

for me the deciding factor to not do anything to the floor was I wanted to use her....I can replace any metal needed,,,I just did not want a yard ornament for 2 or more years...since we work way too much "for the man"
.
.
we do not like cold period, so extra insulation was not a want/priority
.
.
bottom side looked good no rust thru, and I do know that in 10/15 years holes in the floor is a realty
.
.
I am doing this to enjoy,it hasn't set for more than a month w/o a trip (except winter)

this winter My plan is to strip out the bedroom and cut up the floor for the bathroom,,,,then I will address floor issues as they arise

so I say if you want to cut out old floor and lower it go for it, if you want to cut it out and triple insulate ..well go for it...that is what makes a skoolie great...we as a people can do what we want and the haters...well can be haters
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Old 09-18-2013, 11:31 AM   #6
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Re: Original Floors... Pros/Cons of Stripping VS Replacement

My bus is pretty much rust free...except under the plywood. Between the wheelchair door, the windows and the kids, the plywood was mush. It was soaked. The water was at least 10 years old. I know because I had it carbon dated. The only thing keeping the rubber down was a few screws and gravity. To build on top of that would have crime and really stupid. So I ripped up the floor. Half of it anyway. So for me it wasn't a choice, just something that had to be done.
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Old 09-18-2013, 09:03 PM   #7
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Re: Original Floors... Pros/Cons of Stripping VS Replacement

I certainly went the easy way with my 1973 BlueBird. I looked under the bus, and I did not find any rust. The bus came from Tennessee. There was no plywood on the floor. I just laid down 3/4 inch blue board insulation, then siliconed 3/4 inch hardwood flooring. I think it will last a long time. I must say that my dogs have scratched up the floor a lot.
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Old 09-18-2013, 11:23 PM   #8
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Re: Original Floors... Pros/Cons of Stripping VS Replacement

I'm currently replacing part of the floor in a 92 TC 2000. I will post pics, things I'm changing, and why tomorrow.

For now, I post this diagram showing how a 92 bluebird is put together. Both buses I've had the opportunity of dismantling have been 92 Blue Birds. Look closely at how the layers are put together. This information is here to assist you in your decision of which option will be best for you.



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Old 09-21-2013, 10:09 PM   #9
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Re: Original Floors... Pros/Cons of Stripping VS Replacement

This is a 1992 Blue Bird TC2000. It has 320,000 km and lived most of its life on dirt roads. At first glance from a distance it looks not bad. Let the pics do the talking. I have done my best to keep the pics in order.


















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Old 09-21-2013, 10:11 PM   #10
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Re: Original Floors... Pros/Cons of Stripping VS Replacement


















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Old 09-21-2013, 10:13 PM   #11
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Re: Original Floors... Pros/Cons of Stripping VS Replacement

This damage is caused by the out gassing of the starting battery directly below the floor in this section.







This is right in front of the drivers side rear tire.











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Old 09-21-2013, 10:16 PM   #12
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Re: Original Floors... Pros/Cons of Stripping VS Replacement

Front, passenger side.


















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Old 09-21-2013, 10:18 PM   #13
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Re: Original Floors... Pros/Cons of Stripping VS Replacement







Inside the rear clip of the bus. Before I washed it, there was 3 inches of dirt packed between the layers.









One of the the design flaws of the bus body floor. Although it's extremely strong, it causes irreversible corrosion. If this was channel iron, you could clean the rust off, and stop it.



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Old 09-21-2013, 10:32 PM   #14
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Re: Original Floors... Pros/Cons of Stripping VS Replacement

One more flaw that allows corrosion to take hold. This is where sections of the floor are attached together.



To replace the floor around the engine, and under the drivers feet would be a pain. Every instrument on the dash, the parking break, steering, brake reservoir, heaters, fans, ect would have to be removed and reinstalled.



I removed the 90,000 BTU heater so I could rework the floor in that spot, and regain the leg room for my wife.



A piece of the rusted side skin, and the fuel tank access in the floor. The space between the fuel tank and the floor was packed completely solid with dirt and salt, causing corrosion.



Inside the back clip.





Out side of the rear clip.





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Old 09-21-2013, 10:45 PM   #15
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Re: Original Floors... Pros/Cons of Stripping VS Replacement

I have seen horror movies that weren't this scary.
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Old 09-22-2013, 12:09 AM   #16
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Re: Original Floors... Pros/Cons of Stripping VS Replacement

Ya..... that was pretty intense.
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Old 09-22-2013, 12:19 AM   #17
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Re: Original Floors... Pros/Cons of Stripping VS Replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmkbailey
I have seen horror movies that weren't this scary.

X2. I think I'm going to have nightmares tonight. Nat, why are you starting with a bus in that condition. Did you get it for cheap. I can't imagine the amount of time and expense required to fix it.
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:48 AM   #18
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Re: Original Floors... Pros/Cons of Stripping VS Replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycal
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmkbailey
I have seen horror movies that weren't this scary.

X2. I think I'm going to have nightmares tonight. Nat, why are you starting with a bus in that condition. Did you get it for cheap. I can't imagine the amount of time and expense required to fix it.
The sad thing is, it's not nearly as bad as I made it look. It's the way I took the pics.

I payed $2000 for it. I wanted a flat nose, and it was the best of the bunch. It has also been a great leaning experience. Even if I decide not to convert it, I can still sell the drive train for more than I payed. There are also quite a few parts I need for my Haul All. And I love collecting mechanical Cummins engines. This makes number 4.

Where did the OP go. It feels kind of lonely in here.

Nat
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Old 10-01-2013, 12:09 PM   #19
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Re: Original Floors... Pros/Cons of Stripping VS Replacement

Good grief that is one rusty bus!!!! I thank my lucky stars we got a bus from California. There's is some minimal surface rust around the front windows and on the back seat rest from where the rear window has leaked for years, but nothing a wire wheel and some ospho can't handle.

We were going to pull up the entire rubber floor, decided to only do the rear because the wood below the rubber is in excellent condition. If we had a regular bus, we would have pulled the rubber and plywood to paint the metal floor. Crown only has a frame and marine grade plywood.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:44 PM   #20
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Re: Original Floors... Pros/Cons of Stripping VS Replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_ster
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycal
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmkbailey
I have seen horror movies that weren't this scary.

X2. I think I'm going to have nightmares tonight. Nat, why are you starting with a bus in that condition. Did you get it for cheap. I can't imagine the amount of time and expense required to fix it.
The sad thing is, it's not nearly as bad as I made it look. It's the way I took the pics.

I payed $2000 for it. I wanted a flat nose, and it was the best of the bunch. It has also been a great leaning experience. Even if I decide not to convert it, I can still sell the drive train for more than I payed. There are also quite a few parts I need for my Haul All. And I love collecting mechanical Cummins engines. This makes number 4.

Where did the OP go. It feels kind of lonely in here.

Nat

I agree you will do ok parts/money wise but time wise, it will take many hours to fix all that rust.
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