Monday, May 14, 2018

Joe Omundson

BB007: Subfloor removal

Before I talk about the floors, one last note about the batteries: this is what was connected to my positive terminal under the hood, maybe it's hard to see but the part that tightens around the terminal was almost completely worn through.

I brought the bus back to the battery shop. The guy who runs the place re-terminated my cables and got them securely fastened, in a much cleaner way than I could have done without the giant crimper tool they had. It was $12.20 for parts and he wasn't going to charge anything for labor cuz dude is awesome but I tipped him $5 anyway.

On to the floors: they are 3/4" plywood screwed directly onto the metal grid underneath. With an impact driver I removed every screw I could find, but some of the screws stripped, and others were so rusty that they disintegrated. There was also a very tough fiberglass weld between the plywood and the walls, which obscured a row of screws and was difficult to remove. Here's the first panel I worked loose:

I worked this up by placing a jack underneath the plywood panel, vertically placing a 2"x6" between the jack and the panel, and jacking it up until the weight of the bus forced the panel away from the frame.

I also removed most of the fiberglass paneling from the top of the roof. It's not in bad condition, but I don't want to use it in my build. It went to the dump. I hate that I'm not finding the time and space to find new purposes for these materials, but I'm kind of desperate to move forward with my build so that I can start to live in it and gain some more stability in my life.

I was able to remove the plywood flooring on the sides of the bus, which went to the dump with the ceiling panels. This cost me $28. Then, I went to the lumberyard and picked up 5 new sheets of plywood which have one side nicely sanded for flooring application. My dad bought me this plywood as a "housewarming" gift; I had been staying at his house for a couple weeks working on the bus, but I cleared out of his driveway and moved the bus over to Hillsboro, to work with the guy from facebook who offered to let me use his shop (David). It was awesome to get some quality plywood for free, as it's $42 per sheet.

By the end of the day I'd removed the rest of the plywood (except for the "cabin" section near the driver's seat, which I decided to leave for later). It was a long day, I felt like I got a lot done.

Here's a shot of the ceiling with the panels removed. You can see some darker strips running the length of the bus -- that's some kind of metal or epoxy or something, all the luggage racks were screwed into those parts. The rest of the ceiling is thinner honeycomb style fiberglass like you can see in the rectangle on the left (these holes were cut for speakers and lights).

The next day I did some shopping at AutoZone and Home Depot.

The rustoleum converter and paint are for the metal frame -- it makes a lot of sense to clean it of rust and protect it against future rust, while I have the floors off. Redgard is $52/gallon, I got 2 gallons, it's to create a robust weatherproof seal on the bottom of the plywood which is exposed to the road, worth the money in my opinion. I got these at home depot for $130.32  The rest of the items I got at AutoZone except I only got 2 U-joints instead of 3 and I got an air filter instead of a fuel filter. Instead of requiring 5 quarts of oil like a normal goddamn engine mine needs FIFTEEN quarts so it was 4 gallons of Rotella at $15/gallon and yeah, it got expensive ($177.86). The center bearing might help a lot with a wobble I'm feeling when I drive the bus.

Can you tell which filter is the new one? Ha. (There were actually two of these to replace.)

David and I took a break from working and he let me use one of his day passes at the bouldering gym he goes to. It was cool to get to know each other a bit outside the context of auto repair, and also I felt inspired to try to exercise more, it was really fun to climb and to get on a slackline again.

The next thing I had to do was remove the tracks that the seats were bolted to. The whole metal framework is essentially flat and ready for plywood throughout, except for these 2 rails which stick up above the level of the plywood and run for a total of about 27'. They are insanely thoroughly tack-welded on and it's taken me probably 3-4 hours of work to remove about 10 feet of track. I'm getting a bit faster at it, but it's definitely a pain in the ass. I just know if I don't remove them, I'm going to regret it later.

I asked David to take some pics of me grinding the rails off because I always feel badass making sparks fly and I guess I'm vain like that, haha.

Once I'm done deleting the tracks, I'll remove the surface rust from all of the metal and protect it using rust converter and then a layer of Rustoleum paint. Then, I can cut my new plywood to fit, coat it with Redgard, and screw it down -- I'll probably leave the top unfinished for some time as I continue to work on the bus, as I don't see the point in installing a nice floor when I'm still going to be doing so many things that could damage it in the next stages of the build.

The purchases described in this post bring my project total to $3,448.71.

I realize there's some ambiguity as to what counts as a build expense and what doesn't. Using my completely arbitrary intuition as to what counts and what doesn't, I've included title & registration fees but not insurance (actually I still need to buy that, but I won't include it when I do), because I figure titling fees are a mandatory one-time thing that count as part of the purchase price of a vehicle, whereas insurance is an ongoing cost and not a build cost; same with fuel. Yet other replaceable items like filters and wipers count as part of the build because they are tangible improvements to the condition of the vehicle. Tools or other items which I would have bought anyway (like recently I had to replace a multimeter after I broke it for an unrelated reason) do not count, even if they come in handy for the bus. Seem fair?

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