Re-installing the factory wood floor

We moved the passenger seats towards the back of the van, and added l-track to hold down an additional floor layer on top of the factory floor. That meant several big changes to the factory wood floor insert.

First, new holes for the brackets where the bench seat mounts. We moved it to the third row location. Before we took the floor out, we used a pin to push through the rubber floor mat (which has the seat locations marked on it with little moulding indents) into the wood underneath. That meant we had locations marked for cutting the recesses.

Original floor holes turned up-side-down over new floor hole location

Next, we just had to trace the entire outlines (we used the front half of the wood floor turned up-side-down over the back half) and then cut them out.

Holes drilled in each corner of the cut-out to give it rounded edges

It was easiest to drill holes in each corner with a Forstner bit, and then use a circular saw to cut the lines between each pair of holes. That way, we got the nice rounded corners to the hole just like the factory version.

Holes successfully cut for the three seat floor brackets

Next, we drilled holes in the metal van floor where we needed the L-track to fit. This was much easier with the wooden floor out, because we could line the l-track up on the van floor ribs. However, we needed the holes in the wooden floor to line up with the holes in the metal floor. We put the floor back in place, and then lay underneath the van and drilled up through each hole in the metal floor and through the wooden floor section. Now, we had matching holes in the metal and wooden floor sections. We enlarged the holes in the wooden sections just a little to allow for expansion/contraction and to make up for any holes we may have drilled on a slight angle from underneath.

We also had to cut out parts of the floor to fit around the battery box, and for the water tank box that will eventually sit above the other rear wheel well.

Before reinstalling the wooden floor, we painted the metal with a rust inhibitor paint. The factory paint was really thin and had some areas where swarf or dirt had been left on the bare metal, making pinholes through the paint. We also filled in the gaps between the ribs with some leftover foam strips.

Painted floor with foam strips in gaps between ridges

This may or may not make any difference to the final noise and heat levels in the van. Hopefully it does make a difference, because the strips took two days to cut and stick in place. Everything in this build so far seems to take longer than you think it should.

9 Replies to “Re-installing the factory wood floor”

    1. We laid the foam strips before we put down the rest of the floor, so we don’t have any comparison point really. I’d say they weren’t detrimental in any way, except maybe if we ever spilled water under the floor. Then, the floor would probably dry out better with an air gap rather than the closed cell foam.

    1. Maybe, because it has a 1/2″ of poly foam in it. However, I’ve not seen it and I don’t know how solid a foundation it would be for putting cabinets, etc. on top of. It also limits you to the grey flooring color and texture. Great if you’re looking for a replacement to the factory rubber floor liner that you get in the crew vans, but maybe not as multi-purpose as Minicell foam under then factory wood floor.

      1. I was thinking of the VanTred possibly being used under the factory wood floor.

        While I have no experience with the VanTred product line, I have used a TruckBed liner for six years with excellent results. It looked as good as new when I sold the truck.

  1. How long did it take for the smell of por 15 to go away? I painted the floor on my 170 ext with por and the smell does not want to go away! I’ve had it for 3 weeks with the doors open and it doesn’t help much, I noticed when it gets cold (40 degrees) the smells gets stronger.

    1. Mario, the smell was bad for a couple of days but then dissipated. For us, I’d say it was gone after a couple of weeks. We left the paint exposed for less than a week before we covered it all back up.

      It was warm when we painted ours. I wonder if it is just taking longer to cure if you have colder weather. I can’t remember the working temperatures for POR.

  2. Hey Dieselfumes!

    I am thinking about how to tackle the floor with L-track rails in my VW Transporter T6.

    I was wondering if I could skip the plywood and just use the factory rubber load mat directly on top of the metal van floor like factory, and do the cut outs for recessed l-track (which will be mounted with thru bolts, big washers and locking nuts into the metal van floor with unistrut as backing underneath the van). -> picture of the VW Transporter rubber load mat:

    Next, some coin flooring on top of the rubber load mat which will be held in place by lashing point trims and l-track recesses (maybe some double sided carpet tape if it moves/bubbles).

    I might also need some sturdy metal backing plates/spacers (where the bolts go through the l-track) in between the l-track and metal van floor to get the l-track to the right height for a flush finish with the rubber load mat + coin flooring topper.

    Thoughts on not having a ply subfloor and bolting L-track directly into the metal van floor with unistrut backing underneath? Will this handle the forces that the l-track could endure?

    Thoughts on laying coin flooring directly on top of the rubber load mat (which is not a perfectly smooth finish!)?

    Kind regards,


    1. Hey there Ralph,

      Although in our build the l-track is bolted through the plywood into the metal floor, if I was doing it again I’d be tempted to recess the l-track into the ply, and forgo the thick rubber layer we used.

      I’m not a mechanical engineer, but I’d imagine that bolting the l-track directly to the metal floor would be preferable to bolting it via a wooden layer. Do make sure that you’ve got a good layer of paint on the floor to prevent galvanic corrosion, and remember that the l-track is a great radiator of either hot or cold temperatures from the van shell to the interior.

      Our coin layer isn’t glued to the rubber layer or the plywood, and it does move around a little, especially when it gets hot in sunlight and expands. That can cause raised spots and also areas where the edge of the coin pulls out from under the l-track flange. I imagine you’d suffer the same issue, and maybe more so with an overall softer floor surface. Glue or double sided tape would undoubtedly help.

      Just remember that any imperfections or corrugations in the floor will transfer through and be visible in the coin layer if you don’t have something like the plywood to create a flat overall surface. I’ve seen a van that used linoleum (Marmoleum) and the transfer/ghosting effect was even more marked for them.

      Good luck, and let us know how it turns out!

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