This process took much longer than we initially expected after running into a couple challenges…
Challenge 1: All of the bolts at the tie-down points in the van had completely rusted, making them impossible to remove easily. So after some wikihow reading, we tried 3 different methods to break the rust seal before we were able to remove the bolts.
Attempt #1: Brute force
To attempt to budge the bolts, Tom began by hammering a mallet into the end of a screw driver that was wedged underneath the bolt. An hour later, lots of sweat (one way to stay warm), and only one bolt was removed.
Attempt #2: Expansion & Contraction
For the second attempt, we tried the heating and fast cooling method. We thoroughly cleaned the area around the bolt and we armed ourselves with our fire extinguisher close by. We heated up the bolt with a lighter until it started to smoke and then poured cold water on it to cool it down fast. We repeated this a few times. This causes the metal to expand and contract, which, in theory, should result in the rust seal breaking. However, we tried it with one bolt and it took so much time to heat up (you’re supposed to use a blow torch…), and we ended up with water everywhere, yet the bolt still didn’t budge. Needless to say, we gave up on that method and moved on to a hardcore chemical rust remover.
Attempt #3: Chemicals
Please note: If you are running into the same issues, it is very important to do it in this order, because the chemical rust remover is highly flammable. So if you start with that, and it doesn’t work – do not attempt the heating and cooling method.
So for our final attempt, we sprayed rust remover into each bolt twice a day for three days. We sprayed it for about ten seconds and around the bolt to make sure it would seep along all sides of the bolt.
FINALLY! Day 3, we were able to remove the bolts! Time to celebrate! … Just kidding, we can’t lift up the floor…
Challenge 2: The floor was glued down to the bottom of the van and we could not pry it up. So Tom had to cut the floor into pieces with the angle grinder and we had to slowly pry up each small piece.
Boy, oh boy, was it satisfying getting that last piece off!
The next step was to scrape off any remaining glue, sweep, mop and prep the floor to be painted.
We painted the floor using Hammerite Direct to Rust Metal Paint.
And voila! The floor is now ready to be insulated.