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Old 07-29-2014, 02:38 PM   #11
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Re: Attach Cabinets to the van...how'd you do it? Does it wo

I did not use stainless because the factory doesn't, and when I removed the seats when van was about 3 years old the bolts had not rusted much. If I remove a cabinet I use a little grease on threads to make it easier to install and/or remove. It hasn't been a problem at all but I don't live where they salt roads.
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Old 07-30-2014, 08:36 AM   #12
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Re: Attach Cabinets to the van...how'd you do it? Does it wo

We don't live where roads are salted either. We will be spending years around the ocean though. We just removed our seats, definitely some rust, but the bolts came out fine. Honestly, I like the look of grade 8 so that's what we'll probably go with. We'll be using stainless on our pop-top but then they'll be covered over anyway.

The take-way we've gotten so far is to bolt to the floor and not to the walls. Does that sound right? Of course our wall panels will be attached to the walls but our kitchenette will be modular so it will be mounted through the floor. We will also have rear shelving we were trying to figure out how to attach to the walls but now it seems we'll build those a different way and also attach through the floor, actually bolted to a platform bolted to the floor.

That kind of makes sense when we think about the walls flexing. We know a couple that took a one year trip around the US and their home built kitchenette pulled away from the wall. It was a Sprinter so they didn't even attempt the trails we will have to drive.

-John
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Old 07-30-2014, 09:47 AM   #13
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Re: Attach Cabinets to the van...how'd you do it? Does it wo

John when you pierce the rust/corrosion envelope Ford created you're potentially inviting rust to begin if any holes are left bare or without applying something to the exposed metal. Were it my van I'd drill holes if that were the plan but apply something like a POR-15 product. Even though you're not in the so-called rust belt with salted roads, et al its just a good practice to attempt to restore Ford's original process.

Any good plated fastener for thru-floor use is fine, I'd suggest nothing less than a Grade 5 though; Grade 8 tends to be overkill for most uses but if their cost is comparable there's certainly no harm using them.

Most anything like cabinets ect found in an SMB can be and frequently are firmly attached to the upper body. Along each side are horizontal ribs---both mid-level and top or roof--- that can be used. For myself I'll use rivet nuts, more specifically split body rivet nuts as they provide a relatively large footprint behind their mounting positions. You've seen such things already inside work vans with factory-made metal shelving, used to secure the upper parts to the middle or top ribs.

I strongly advise against sheet metal screws regardless their size because they're prone to vibration, often times working themselves loose. Additionally they don't hold that well, very susceptible to pulling out of thinner sheet metal.

Hope this helps even if just a bit.
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Old 07-30-2014, 11:49 AM   #14
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Re: Attach Cabinets to the van...how'd you do it? Does it wo

John, grade 5 & 8 are dirt cheap and sold in bulk at Tractor Supply.
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:51 PM   #15
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Re: Attach Cabinets to the van...how'd you do it? Does it wo

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnandMandi
....cut......

The take-way we've gotten so far is to bolt to the floor and not to the walls. Does that sound right? .....cut........
Personally that sounds good to me but only for cabinets that are relatively stable due to their width relative to height. For anything that is no more than twice as high as wide I wouldn't have a second thought about bolting to floor. However, if for a tall van the cabinet was 3 or 4 times as tall as wide I'd probably find a way to secure to van structure up high in order to gain additional lateral stability.

My tallest cabinet is almost 3 times as tall as it is wide and has held up very well over the years, but I also don't go off-road and drive the van conservatively. If doing a high roof ProMaster, Sprinter, or Transit I will tie tall ones to van structure. Upper cabinets will have to attach to walls in my planned layout so I'll have to find a method that works well anyway.

Flex in van versus cabinet is indeed an important consideration. If the cabinet is stiffer than the van then supports can be stressed too much or the cabinet may fail. Something would have to give.

JWA, thanks, I like the idea of rivet nuts for floor too. That would make it as easy as possible to install and remove cabinets from inside van by one person. It's basically the equivalent of what Ford provided for seat mounting in my van. For the one bolt that goes through floor in my van I need help to hold wrench on nut underneath van. I think I would use one or two small plates or large washers when installing the rivet nuts to spread load over thin floor sheet metal. If I ever remove that one cabinet again I'll install a rivet nut for sure.
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Old 07-31-2014, 06:37 AM   #16
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Re: Attach Cabinets to the van...how'd you do it? Does it wo

Thanks Guys!

We have been using Por-15 on everything.We went ahead and wire brushed the entire interior floor and coated it once we found some surface rust. We ended up buying a gallon so we also touched up most of the walls where it looks like commercial shelving was once installed. I also did about 4-6 inches of the inside of the rocker since that's an area that seems to become an issue on these vans. Every hole we cut we Por-15. I think we'll take a small amount of it with us when we start our trip. Last night we drilled two 12v exterior receptacle holes and gave them two coats. Now that we have a 30MM hole saw, I'm sure others will want some installed too so we figured why not have everything we need to install more - we really like cutting holes in vans.

We had to stop by ACE for a couple bolts for re-engineering how the two main door panels attach to each other and we took a look at the different bolts. We'll start searching for threads on how everyone attached their floors since that's the step we're up to. We have a tractor supply so we'll go peruse their isles again, always need a good excuse. We also have a Grainger so we can get pretty much anything we need. We're just scratching our heads because we didn't expect to get to the floor and walls before taking our van to Chris. I'm a bit behind on the research.

We're trying to keep everything simple so the kitchenette will be short enough to use while popped down, it will be wider than tall. It will be right at the horizontal support rib so we may additionally anchor it there while we're installing it. We haven't fully designed the rear storage system yet but we've eye balled the ribs in the van. Our main problem is our dimensions of the things we want to take so I'm sure we'll stack a bunch of stuff in the back and reverse engineer it. Things like additional jerry cans, for water, won't change in size so playing Tetris with the different shapes will be f-u-n.

-John
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:34 AM   #17
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Re: Attach Cabinets to the van...how'd you do it? Does it wo

Here's how I've installed 3/4" plywood flooring........

I do NOT use anything under the plywood---nothing! Apart from the metal floor being clean and free of rust, POR-15 applied where needed that's all. Plywood itself installed over the metal makes for a huge sound reduction and insulates as well as can be expected in our vans. Any sort of absorbent material placed between the plywood and metal tends to become saturated with moisture over time, the result being rust beginning where it can't be initially seen.

As proof of the above look at any cargo-only van with an OEM rubber mat, those with the automotive-type padding. My new-to-me '03 E250's mat was completely soaked thru and thru. It was turned over and left in place for an entire week but still wet after that time. Leaving it outside for another week in the sun it was only then I thought it was dry. (It was never re-intstalled, sits rolled up in storage.)

I'll trim sheets to fit in and around the wheel wells, gas fill bump etc etc. You'll notice a flange almost 2" up from the floor running along the body sides----trim the flooring to go fully under those flanges, as close to the outer sheet metal as possible leaving 1/8" clearance if you can cut it that close.

Joining the panels together is relatively simple----I'll cut them so their edges lie just about halfway over the ridges formed into the floor. Since those ridges are about 1/2" deep cut a spline to go under the floor edges then use counter sunk head screws staggered along the plywood edges. This is easy to do, makes them joined very securely.

For the edges I'll cut solid wood pieces to fit between the bottom surface of that flange and top surface of the floor. Attaching it through the flange into the wood gives me a bottom "nailing edge" for whatever wall material I'll use. This also serves as a way to avoid drilling screws into the metal flooring which is just one more way rust can eat at our bodies.

If this makes sense good---if not I might have photos of my cargo-only build out---glad to share them.
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:12 AM   #18
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Re: Attach Cabinets to the van...how'd you do it? Does it wo

Our van had a bed rug and it was moist in the middle which caused the rust. We are planning on putting some fat mat down before the plywood. Is there a reason we should re-think that? Maybe a topic on it? Being the asphalt based stuff shouldn't it be ok?

Your description makes perfect sense, I really appreciate the joining suggestion. We'll make a paper template and plan on getting as close to the walls as possible. We're planning on a different method for attaching our walls but filling the small gap under the flange has been on my mind.

Did you use marine grade plywood?

-John
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:35 AM   #19
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Re: Attach Cabinets to the van...how'd you do it? Does it wo

John, JWA is pretty much right on IMO. In fact, on my 95, Sportsmobile didn't use anything under the plywood either. That may've changed in recent years but I had no rust under my plywood, and my van had lots of rust on the frame and body from being owned in NY. The only rust spots I had on the inside of the van were under the flat plates for the swivel seat bases.

I personally would NOT bother with marine grade plywood. I think it's overkill, and it is way expensive too.

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Old 07-31-2014, 11:29 AM   #20
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Re: Attach Cabinets to the van...how'd you do it? Does it wo

Thanks Eric,

I've been digging through the threads on all the different methods that have been done. We have a bunch of FatMat so I'm on the fence about using it on the floor before 3/4" plywood. Definitely no foam as that's what caused the rust we had to cover with Por-15. I got a bit sidetracked with what to use in the walls so I'm just now getting back to the floor threads.

If we had nothing better to do we'd buy a junked van and Por-15 the floor than add a couple layers of foam etc... Get it good and soaked and observe what happens over several months/years.

-John
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