Bus Conversion: Subfloor and Rust Removal

Skoolie Conversion: Days 3-4

DAY 3 – Subfloor Removal

Our goal for this weekend was to removal the rest of the subfloor and assess and remove the floor rust underneath.

We kicked off the weekend by finishing up removing the hand rail by the stairs and the plywood subfloor by the driver’s area. This was a challenging day since we spent 80% of our time on 20% of our goals #laboroflove

Our bus conversion, Hugo the Skoolie, gets subfloors and rust removed.
Before and After Corroseal, an awesome rust converter

Step 1: Use a screw driver to remove handrail and metal guard.

We found a crowbar to be useful.

Our bus conversion, Hugo the Skoolie, gets subfloors and rust removed.

DTW TIP: Salvage the handrail if possible for future use in your skoolie – our’s and most others was in perfect condition.

Our bus conversion, Hugo the Skoolie, gets subfloors and rust removed.

Step 2: Use crowbar to wedge under metal trim by the stairs to free up plywood subfloor.

There was a bunch of water damage here, and the screws holding down the trim were so corroded that we couldn’t use a drill to remove them.Our bus conversion, Hugo the Skoolie, gets subfloors and rust removed.

Step 3: Remove subfloor by driver’s seat

This was the most tedious part of the day. We need to take out the nut and bolt holding driver’s seat belt down ( see how in our first article) to remove the subfloor by the driver’s area. We wanted to salvage the nut and bolt to reattach the seat belt later on, which is why we didn’t use an angle grinder or hand saw sooner. However, the nut and bolt were so rusted together that, after applying WD-40 to no avail, we had to resort to the hand saw. But before we could fit the hand saw underneath the bolt, we had to remove the subfloor around it.

Our bus conversion, Hugo the Skoolie, gets subfloors and rust removed.

As mentioned earlier, the subfloor in this area was particularly water-damaged, so prying it up with our typical method was not effective. Hopefully, your skoolie or van doesn’t have the same issue.

TIP: Use a car jack for leverage, and save your backs!

Our bus conversion, Hugo the Skoolie, gets subfloors and rust removed.

Phew! That stinkin’ piece of subfloor is finally up and out of our lives. To see us tackle the rusty seatbelt bolt, watch our YouTube vlog #3 below:

Step 4: Remove the rubber and trims on the stairs.

This is optional – use your best judgment. Our’s clearly had severe rust damage; there were holes where the rust had eaten away at the metal, and evidence of a poor patch-up. If your stairs look decent, skip this step (and count your blessings) – it’s tough work!

Our bus conversion, Hugo the Skoolie, gets subfloors and rust removed.

Our bus conversion, Hugo the Skoolie, gets subfloors and rust removed.

Our bus conversion, Hugo the Skoolie, gets subfloors and rust removed.

DAY 4 – Rust Conversion

Our bus conversion, Hugo the Skoolie, gets subfloors and rust removed.
Handsome Hugo the Skoolie – you can’t tell it’s 18F currently
Our bus conversion, Hugo the Skoolie, gets subfloors and rust removed.
Our goodies arrived – thanks Amazon Prime! See end of article for links to products.

Step 1: Use an angle grinder to clean off as much of the flakey surface rust and wood debris as possible.

We want the ground as smooth as possible for cleaning and sealing the rest of the rust!

Our bus conversion, Hugo the Skoolie, gets subfloors and rust removed.
Of course I had to snap a shot of Big and sparks <3

TIP: If you don’t already, wear gloves, safety goggles, thick-soled shoes, and knee pads during this phase.

You’ll never know where you’ll find a nail sticking up. Also, make sure the skoolie or van is well-ventilated if a propane heater is running, so sparks don’t ignite a raging inferno! 🔥

Step 2: Remove all unnecessary tools and make final measurements so you can run to the hardware store while your rust converter is curing.

Our bus conversion, Hugo the Skoolie, gets subfloors and rust removed.
Hammer down any last nails sticking up!
Our bus conversion, Hugo the Skoolie, gets subfloors and rust removed.
Measure twice, cut once…

Step 3: We used a 1:2 ratio of Krud Kutter to water to clean the walls and scrub the floors – we had plenty leftover for the exterior (when it gets warmer).

You can mess with the ratio if you want a stronger solvent/degreaser. What’s important is to make sure you dry everything quickly and thoroughly! This is where the bus’s heater (bane of our existence and skoolie conversion) came in handy, along with the propane heater.

Our bus conversion, Hugo the Skoolie, gets subfloors and rust removed.
The floor rust in all its nasty glory
Our bus conversion, Hugo the Skoolie, gets subfloors and rust removed.
Our miracle bottle of Corroseal and an indoor temp of 60F+

Step 4: Make sure temps are between 45F and 100F before applying Corroseal, our rust converter of choice.

We decided to go with this vs POR15, because it was less toxic. We learned about it through our skoolie friends at The World School Project and saw that they had children applying it!

TIP: Invest in a good quality extendable pole for your roller brushes – this will pay off in the long run since you can use it for painting the exterior of the bus.

We love our Wooster pole – see below for product links!

Our bus conversion, Hugo the Skoolie, gets subfloors and rust removed.
Corroseal rust converter test area!

TIP: Start off in a small area to see how thick of a coating you need.

Our bus conversion, Hugo the Skoolie, gets subfloors and rust removed.
Corroseal’s rust converting magic working already!

Step 5: Allow 24 hours for the Corroseal to cure.

In the meantime, head to the hardware store to pick out materials for Phase 3: insulation and new subfloors!

Our bus conversion, Hugo the Skoolie, gets subfloors and rust removed.
Lots of black magnetite and very little red rust – yay Corroseal!

TOOLS USED:

Angle grinder: http://amzn.to/2kFrtp7
Grinding wheels: http://amzn.to/2kQBv7E
Wooster convertible extension pole: http://amzn.to/2kQUqz6
Wooster roller frame 9”: http://amzn.to/2kFHrzj
Wooster roller brush 9”: http://amzn.to/2lqYJoa
Krud Kutter: http://amzn.to/2kFO2d5
Corroseal Rust Converter: http://amzn.to/2lV2wrw
Drill: http://amzn.to/2kzO5uH
Mallet: http://amzn.to/2l4e62r
Crowbar: http://amzn.to/2koUyGC
Canon 50D: http://amzn.to/2kX4biF
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens: http://amzn.to/2kWT89k
Nikon Coolpix P300: http://amzn.to/2l4o5Vu
Winbook HD Action Cam with Wifi: http://amzn.to/2jG12nw

If you haven’t seen last week’s episode, check it out here:

And here is our inaugural YouTube video – watch the seats come out!

As always, feel free to check us out on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. We also have weekly updates of Hugo’s conversion on YouTube with a new episode launching every Friday – subscribe to our channel to stay tuned 🙂

Have questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below! Doing your own skoolie or  conversion? We’d love to hear from you!

Peace out!

Lil and Big - DIYtoWealth.com

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