Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 05-09-2020, 07:52 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 13
Year: 2005
Engine: 6.0L diesel
Rated Cap: 14000
Wood floor on top of metal frame

Hi I just joined Skoolie.net because I just purchased a ford E450 shuttle bus and have started converting it into my new home !

The previous owner had it cabinets and flooring in the bus but there were some leaks and mold so I decided to rip everything out and start new. When I got to what I thought was the last layer of plywood before the metal floor I was shocked to see straight through to the road upon ripping up the first section of wood.. after searching on here I have found that it is actually common for shuttle busses and trucks to be manufactured this way with the specially engineered wood straight on top of the metal frame.

I am not sure what to do here because it is a 15 year old vehicle so the floor probably needs replacing anyways. Any advice on whether to swap the wood for brand new wood? Replace with aluminum sheet metal welded on? Or just leave the existing floor (maybe reseal and add another undercoating)??

Any and all input would be super helpful!!
Carlosclark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2020, 08:17 PM   #2
Bus Geek
 
musigenesis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 2,975
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Welcome to skoolie.net. If you click on User CP in the upper left, you can edit your details and then people here will know where you are and what sort of bus you have.
__________________
Rusty 87 build thread
musigenesis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2020, 09:11 PM   #3
Bus Geek
 
musigenesis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 2,975
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Aluminum sheet would be pretty expensive for this, unless you have some sort of cheap source of it. There's somebody on reddit that is repairing a floor like yours with aluminum sheet, but I'm seeing prices like $200 for a 4'x8' piece of 16 ga. aluminum, which would make that a pretty pricey way to go.

I would definitely replace the old plywood with new, however. As long as it's treated properly on the underside it should be fine. I unfortunately have no idea what the proper treatment should be, although I researched this a while back when I was considering rebuilding part of my steel bus floor with wood.
__________________
Rusty 87 build thread
musigenesis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2020, 09:53 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 1,299
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Minotour
Engine: Chevy Express 3500 6.6l
how Are the walls attached?
Danjo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2020, 06:45 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 13
Year: 2005
Engine: 6.0L diesel
Rated Cap: 14000
Thanks ! This was very helpful. I think I'm gonna opt for the wood floor. Reached out to https://www.radwoodproducts.com/contact/ to get a quote. I found them in another thread for someone with similar bus. I'm wondering if it is super expensive I can do it myself by just buying hardwood plywood like Oak and paint with chemical undercoating to protect it.
Carlosclark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2020, 06:46 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 13
Year: 2005
Engine: 6.0L diesel
Rated Cap: 14000
I am pretty sure the metal walls are welded to frame rails and any gaps are just sealed with some spray foam and other sealant product.
Carlosclark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2020, 07:04 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 13
Year: 2005
Engine: 6.0L diesel
Rated Cap: 14000
Thanks! I think I am going to opt for wood floor. I found https://www.radwoodproducts.com/contact/ on another thread someone with a similar bus. I reached out to get a quote for my bus still waiting to hear back. I am curious if it is too expensive if I can do it my self by just buying some hardwood plywood like oak and painting with some chemical undercoating that normally goes on underside of vehicles.

I am pretty sure the walls are metal and are welded to frame rails. Any gaps appear to be filled with spray foam and other sealant products.
Carlosclark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2020, 08:54 AM   #8
Bus Crazy
 
banman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,182
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner FS-65
Engine: 7.2L Cat 3126 turbo diesel
Rated Cap: 71 passenger 30,000 gvwr
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlosclark View Post
I am pretty sure the metal walls are welded to frame rails and any gaps are just sealed with some spray foam and other sealant product.
In that case I'd use a high quality 3/4" CDX plywood. Don't use pressure treated wood, the chemistry won't play well with the metal.
Paint the bottom side and edges of the plywood with an automotive undercoat or bedliner. You want an untextured bedliner if you go that route. If you're on a painful tight budget use a thin roofing tar... I would pre-cut all your pieces to ensure good fit and then take 'em all out so you can get a good coat on all the edges. Let the undercoating dry a day or two and then reinstall. Now use an wood paint on the top. Might even add a mold inhibitor to it...

Make sure you found all the leaks
__________________
David

The Murder Bus
banman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2020, 09:16 AM   #9
Bus Geek
 
musigenesis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 2,975
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
There are a number of types of bus that have a metal frame with plywood floor like yours. These buses seem to use very strong (and presumably expensive) plywood because that's all there is to the floor (other than a thin matting on top) - passengers walk around on this so it has to be pretty rigid. The protection on the underside is provided by the quality and durability of the undercoating, not by the strength of the plywood itself (undercoating will stick just as well to crappy 1/4" plywood as it will to marine-grade 3/4" - maybe even better since the surface is usually rougher).

You are presumably going to have insulation on your floor and then plywood decking on top of that, so I think maybe you do you not need your bottom-most floor layer to be high-quality plywood. In fact, you could pre-build your subfloor as units with the crappy 1/4" plywood on the bottom, then a layer of XPS between joists of 2X wood, and 3/4" plywood on top, and then just drop these into your bus and attach them (somehow) to the open frame.

(The "somehow" I would do would be to weld threaded posts to the frame and then bolt these floor sections down onto them, which would allow you to pre-treat the underside and not have to get underneath the bus to do it. This is basically what I did with my floor rebuild, which was similar to your situation although with a different type of bus.)
__________________
Rusty 87 build thread
musigenesis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2020, 10:14 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 13
Year: 2005
Engine: 6.0L diesel
Rated Cap: 14000
Do you see any concerns with moisture getting in without the pressure treated plywood or should the undercoating take care of that?
Carlosclark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2020, 10:23 AM   #11
Bus Crazy
 
banman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,182
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner FS-65
Engine: 7.2L Cat 3126 turbo diesel
Rated Cap: 71 passenger 30,000 gvwr
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlosclark View Post
Do you see any concerns with moisture getting in without the pressure treated plywood or should the undercoating take care of that?
You need to find and fix all the leaks from above regardless of what your floor is...

re-read post #8...
__________________
David

The Murder Bus
banman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2020, 09:31 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 13
Year: 2005
Engine: 6.0L diesel
Rated Cap: 14000
So after looking again at how the walls are attached I can see only the frame rails on sides are spot welded to frame rails on floor. The gaps are filled with these metal or wood pieces and sealed into place (see pictures).

I think I'm going to go 1/2 inch cdx plywood at the base, frame in some insulation with 2x3s and then another 1/2inch plywood on top.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20200511_130624.jpg (308.3 KB, 27 views)
File Type: jpg 20200511_130636.jpg (270.1 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg 20200511_131636.jpg (269.0 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg 20200511_131652.jpg (236.0 KB, 17 views)
Carlosclark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2020, 02:03 AM   #13
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 2,715
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas Built Bus
Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by banman View Post
You need to find and fix all the leaks from above regardless of what your floor is...

re-read post #8...
The OP may have meant water/moisture from below through the undercoating.


To the OP ... if you use the technique described by Banman above (an excellent proceedure) make sure you seal the plywood to the metal frame with something like Locktite PL-S40 or Dynatron 550.
Native is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2020, 08:58 AM   #14
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 1,299
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Minotour
Engine: Chevy Express 3500 6.6l
I found this page that describes plywood moisture resistance.

https://www.christinedemerchant.com/...ood_glues.html
Danjo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2020, 07:58 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 13
Year: 2005
Engine: 6.0L diesel
Rated Cap: 14000
Metal rails on floor

Does anyone know if the rails on the bus floor that the seats used to hook into are structurally integral to the frame of the bus? They pose an interesting challenge to build the floor around and I’d honestly rather take them out if possible.
Carlosclark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2020, 04:00 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 23
Floor

Enclosed trailers do not have pressure treated flooring and the underneath barrier is tar and their floors seem to last for a long time. I believe they give the product name at TrailerShowroom . I have made interesting conversion of enclosed trailer to camper in past.
NotAClue is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2020, 11:30 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 10
I have an 06 E450 with Collins body. The floor consisted of really thin decintigrating galvanized sheet metal overlaid with plywood. I removed all floor down to the cross members and for new galvanized sheet metal laidddown and pink insulation board overlaid with plywood and flooring. My thinking was that plywood would retain moisture if left exposed. That of course may be an incorrect assumption. I will be driving on lots of muddy roads and in snow country.
Brian S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2020, 07:35 AM   #18
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Pasadena Tx
Posts: 130
Coachwork: 1991 bluebird
Look into a product called Advantech. I've referenced it on this site before. They make a few different types. One where just the edges of the sheeting is treated with a resin. Then there's one that the entire sheet is treated and impregnated with a resin. When they 1st came out with this, they gave it a 50 year warranty. In my opinion, this stuff puts pressure treated and marine grade plywood to shame. They also manufacture it in multiple thicknesses, up to 1 1/8".
jimburke77502 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2020, 11:08 AM   #19
New Member
 
neverforgetyourtowel's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Baltimore
Posts: 1
Year: 2007
Engine: 6.0 turbo diesel
Rated Cap: 7 seater wheelchair bus
Quote:
Originally Posted by banman View Post
In that case I'd use a high quality 3/4" CDX plywood. Don't use pressure treated wood, the chemistry won't play well with the metal.
Paint the bottom side and edges of the plywood with an automotive undercoat or bedliner. You want an untextured bedliner if you go that route. If you're on a painful tight budget use a thin roofing tar... I would pre-cut all your pieces to ensure good fit and then take 'em all out so you can get a good coat on all the edges. Let the undercoating dry a day or two and then reinstall. Now use an wood paint on the top. Might even add a mold inhibitor to it...

Make sure you found all the leaks
I've got the same type bus as OP and am planning on doing what you've suggested here as most of the thin sheet metal is rusted out under my plywood subfloor. I'm having a hard time finding CDX that isn't pressure treated though. If I'm gonna seal the plywood with bedliner, can I use something that's listed as roof sheathing?
neverforgetyourtowel is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:42 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×