Rustproofing, sound deadening and re-attaching panels
Updated: Aug 17
Before you start the fun part of building inside your van you will want to cover any rust and make sure the internal structure of the van is secure. It's also a good opportunity to add some sound deadening to the inside of the van.
After stripping out our van we found that the previous screws had left lots of holes in the floor of the van. We didn't want these to cause rust later on so we covered any exposed metal with rust proof paint. We also went over any rusty patches with a wire wool pad attached to our electric sander. This removed any loose rust from the screw holes in the van floor and prepared them for painting.
It's a good idea to scour the van interior for any rust spots marking them with a pen, this makes it easier to identify the areas that needed painting later.
We painted over any rust we found with Hammerite Number 1 Rust Beater. We used a grey one, but later realised it comes in white which would have been a better option for rust in visible areas!
Once the paint had dried we stuck aluminium tape over the holes. This would hopefully ensure there was no way water could enter the van from under the floor.
Sound deadening can be done at this stage to make your van more soundproof. It helps reduce rattling noise when you drive and also keeps the van quieter when you are sleeping. If you aren't bothered about noise or are on a tight budget you can totally skip this step! We did find that almost every van YouTuber uses it, so decided that it must be worth it.
The deadener is stuck onto the large internal metal panels. The aim is to cover as much of the van walls and ceiling as possible, depending on budget.
We bought 30 sheets of Dodomat for £37.99 off eBay. We used one full sheet for each of the larger side panels, then as we started running out we cut the sheets up into smaller bits and spread around the van. We got most of the van walls, ceiling and wheel arches covered. We think we got a decent amount of coverage, but 40 sheets would probably have been a better number for our LWB van.
Securing the internal van structure
Before you start building the floor, walls and ceiling of the van it's worth checking that you have a solid structure to screw into. We had noticed that some of the metal panels on the walls and ceilings had been fixed by a white adhesive, similar to that of the Polyfilla/ No more nails stuff. Some of the panels had come away from the structural ribs so we decided to reattached them using Sikaflex EBT. This helped reduce vibrations and slightly reinforced the van, but more importantly reassured us that it wouldn’t fall apart…
With these jobs done, the next step is to construct the van floor.
All materials used and/or mentioned within this post can be found within our Van Conversion Cost Breakdown. All of the tools used can be found in our Tools Used in our Van Conversion post. Both of these posts will be updated during our build. If you cant find something let us know, we are happy to help!