The Drop Van Build - Part 1 - Floor Install

The Drop Van Build - Part 1 - Floor Install

January 11, 2019

As many of our customers and followers already know we're converting a 2015 Ford Transit-250 Cargo van into our full-time "shred sled". Also known as a camper van. We'll be utilizing this van to travel to all of our favorite riding spots and events both locally and across the country. Next year will be one for the books, but first we've got to get this thing built. This blog series will be dedicated to chronicling our van build.

Part 1 of our build out was to install the subfloor that our vinyl flooring, and everything else, will soon be installed on. We had a couple goals with the install of our floor:

  1. Minimal noise while driving or walking inside the van.
  2. Our vans roof is the medium height. So we wanted as much head clearance as possible. We're a tall crew and knew we'd have to crouch, but wanted that to be as minimal as possible.
  3. We didn't want to have to drill into the metal body to secure the floor.

Like most aspiring van builders we did months of endless research trying to find the best solution for ourselves. At the end of the day we decided to utilize 1/2" foam insulation board and 1/4" plywood as the insulation and subfloor. We did not screw any of the layers into the metal floor, but utilized commercial adhesive to glue all of the pieces together.

Parts List (not affiliate links):

  • 1/4" Plywood:  Standard plywood from any local hardware store

Insulation Install:
  1. First we measured and cut foam board in between the ribs of the vans metal flooring. This was a time consuming and painful process, but was necessary to develop a flat and insulated surface to place our plywood on.

2. Once all cuts were made we glued this first layer down using our Loctite adhesive. We then took our stock floor lining and traced it onto solid pieces of foam board. This foam board would then be glued over top.

3. Once our finally layer of foam board was cut and glued down we took our stock floor lining and trace out our plywood cuts as well. This took some test fitting to make sure all the edges and everything fit well. You don't want it to be too snug as it'll rub against your metal walls and cause noise when driving.

4. Once our plywood was cut we glued that final layer of our floor onto our foam insulation layers using the same Loctite adhesive. We placed some weights onto different sections of the plywood to help it adhere and avoid any flexing.

5. Our next step was to insulate the wheel wells. We used Reflectix roll insulation, Reflectix tape and Loctite spray adhesive to do this. Using our stock plastic wheel well covers we traced out a template onto our Reflectix and cut it with a utility knife. Once test fitted we sprayed our wheel wells metal surface with the Loctite spray adhesive and adhered our Reflectix to it. We then used our Reflectix tape to seal our seams since it was cut in two separate pieces.

6. Our final step in our floor installation was to use spray insulation to seal the cracks between the floor and the sides of the van. We used Dow Great Stuff Gaps and Cracks Foam Insulation for this. Once dried we'd come back with a dovetail saw and trim it flat and flush with the flooring. 

Once the rest of our build out is complete we'll come back and install our vinyl flooring in the rear garage space and living space, but we're waiting until all the internal framing is completed. We also didn't capture this step, but we did use wood filler to fill the cracks between the different plywood cuts.

All of this should give us a very well insulated floor and solid foundation to build on. So far there's been minimal noise when walking or driving and we've also avoided as much standing room loss as possible.

As we mentioned before, this is certainly no fail-proof method and just how we went about our floor insulation and install. There's a million ways of doing it and you should figure out the best method for your van build. We hope this has been educational in some manner and look forward to sharing the rest of our build with everyone. Our next blog post will summarize our fan installation.

We'll see you on the road!

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