This week I tackled one of the biggest jobs so far on my Toyota Coaster bus conversion – removing the floor heaters and pulling up the old plywood floor.
The two black things in the photo above are the floor heaters. They are connected by hoses to the main coolant system. Coolant flows from the engine, up through these heaters and then back to the engine. In order to remove the heaters, I first needed to disconnect the hoses underneath the bus. Although not technically difficult, it was an awkward job because there isn’t a lot of space to move under the bus, and it was a tricky business trying to catch the coolant in a bucket as the hoses were cut. But I took my time, and managed to clamp off the hoses close to where they met the engine at the front of the bus, and then set about removing the hoses that were running the length of the bus between the heaters. Once the hoses were removed and the wires unplugged, it was a fairly simple matter to unbolt the heaters and lift them off the floor.
The next task was to pull up the old plywood floor.
Although most of the floor seemed pretty solid, there were some areas that had obvious water damage, and when I examined the floor from underneath the bus, I could tell there were some areas where the layers of ply were beginning to separate. So I wanted to get rid of it all in order to replace it with a new, solid floor. Removing the floor also gave me the opportunity to find any rust and treat it. Thankfully, there wasn’t too much rust – just a few patches of mild surface rust which will be easy to fix.
In contrast to my first bus, the vinyl covering the floor in the coaster was quite easy to take up – it all came off in one piece! I will be able to use this piece as a template when I come to lay new vinyl on the floor later.
The plywood underneath was screwed and glued down, but again, unlike the big bus, this lot was much easier to lift up. It helped that the wood was laid in several sections, rather than one very long piece. Even so, it was still quite hard physical work and I struggled a bit with my elbow tendonitis, which I’m frustrated to say is taking a very long time to heal.
Once I’d removed the floor, I was able to finish sealing off the coolant system by replacing the two remaining clamped hoses with a single loop of hose connecting both pipes. I managed to do the whole job of removing the floor heaters with only 2L of coolant loss (and the vast majority of this was the coolant sitting in the heater hoses in the rear. Once I reconnected the system, the coolant level was still reading as almost full).