Replacing a Car Floor

Installing a New Floor Pan Home-Made from Sheet Steel

Copyright 2008 by Morris Rosenthal All Rights Reserved

The Omni Project

If It Jams Home

The sheet dimensions before we started were three foot by four foot. I started by cutting the sheet in half after determining that the widest bit I needed was 24". If I'd only placed it right, it would have been perfect, but that's another story:-) So the floor pan fabricated on the right is three feet long, with 2" bent up at the near end for attachment to the cross frame member under the seat, and 12" bent up on the far end, for under the pedals and the wheel well. The wheel well bit is the trickiest part to replace because it's a shaped piece with a gentle curve. I took the time to primer the bottom of the floor pan before installing it, but I didn't remove the sheet metal burrs, which I paid for in blood. It also turned out to be a mistake to cut the wheel well repair out of the same sheet. The problem is that steel sheets bend easy enough, but are very tough to stretch. In my compromise, I took the sheet metal into the wheel well a little farther than I should have, and the tire only clears by around an inch, though it's OK when I bounce the car. It may turn into a problem with snow and ice accumulation if I don't bash it in with a sledge hammer.
The new floor pan is being fit to the left. I beat the heck out of the curved areas installing it for it sit down decently, which it eventually did. Unfortunately, I positioned the whole thing about an inch too far to the right, forgetting how close the margin was in the wheel well. Even more unfortunately, I made some final cuts based on that position and screwed it into place. The picture below shows the replacement floor pan, screwed into place to the point where it starts running uphill under the dash. What the picture doesn't show is that the bit in the wheel well is barely touching the front quarter panel, where there should have been a one inch strip for screwing. Now I'm going to have to fool around with adding a piece, and it's a crummy place to have to work. When I did the passenger side, I was careful to start installing sheet metal screws at one side of the new floor pan and to slowly work my way across a line at a time.
The rebuilt wheel well above shows another example of not thinking ahead. I shouldn't have painted the new floor pan when I knew I'd have to Bondo it after - Bondo works better on bare metal. You can also see where I made up the missing inch with an angled section I bent. There's no real structural worries for the small patches, a couple screws and the Bondo should hold them. The first video just shows the DeWalt jigsaw cutting through the sheet metal like butter. The second video shows a real poor man's brake. I mean, using the sheet itself as the the stand is pretty cheesy. The final video shows bolting or screwing the floor pan in place, using #14 sheet metal screws with a 3/16" pilot hole to secure the pan to the new subframe (1/12" steel tubing). I took two videos of this, decided to show the one where I didn't break the drill bit:-)

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