LXXXIII. constructing and installing Żuk new wooden floor

Understanding the original layout

A while, I removed the original floor. It was not in a very bad shape in general but every nails and bolts where dead by rust. At that time, I was wondering about the best way to remove the floor, made with profiled planks. I was pondering It almost look as if the floor could be split in two parts and removed by separating one from the other. But that would not even work because until you can at least separate one plank from the others, there is no way to move anything in any direction. So I sacrificed a few planks to proceed.

Preparing a new floor actually made me understand the way it’s probably supposed to go on or off. Notice on the plan that there are actually sets of planks 35, 36, 37, 38. How they constitutes sets is not obvious unless you turn over the planks and notice they are actually bound as such. So to remove the floor, first you move down the only one that is free from the others, 38. Then you can remove 36, etc.

If you count the planks, you’ll notice it differs from the plan supra. Here we have two sets of 6 planks on the left and right, a middle set of 4 planks and a lone plank, 17 in total. So on my Żuk, it something like this (beware, dimensions are reversed-enginered by myself) instead:

Profiled planks have an profile effective width of 100 mm except the first one from the left, a bit larger, of 107 mm.

These crude plans should be enough to reproduce the general shape of the floor as it is. I did not keep note of every dimensions since everything is a already kind of approximative, based on broken pieces of wood.

Finding a place to order profiled-planks

As a simple individual, ordering and get delivered a small amount of profiled planks that are long enough (2540) was more challenging that I would expect.

I did not find profiled planks of exactly 100 mm effective width – but that’s not a problem, especially that building the floor with such planks would require an extra custom 107 mm profiled plank. So from the start I decided to use larger planks.

Then I contacted a few online shop.

I tried first https://drewnoprofilowane.pl : they said they could fill such order. But after something like six phones calls, a few mails and more than a week, they still could not even tell whether and when they could actually deliver the goods. I understand that such small order is not their business. But then they can simply say it and save time to everyone.

Then, I tried with Dombal: on their website, you can actually select your planks and make an order. You are being warned that you’ll be contacted afterwards to defines shipping and shipping cost. So we called them first to get a clue about items availability and shipping cost beforehand. The person we got on the phone told us there was no problem at all but could not say anything until we actually made and paid an order. Strange but ok, we made an order – picking items the website said to be readily available. We called back. They say everything is fine but the payment must be received to proceed. We paid. We called back: then they say they are out of stock and have no clue when they’ll get new stock. I cannot politely describe what I think of this company. It’s not like if we did not try to get relevant info beforehand. And so much for their good practice certificate given to Dombal Grzegorz Kowalczyk, Śmiała 5/7 m.11, 01-523 Warszawa NIP 5251015792. Maybe they treat seriously professional customers: but then they might as well update their website to reflect their target audience. And fix it so it does not lie about items availability.

About to call another website, I noticed the phone number was the one from Dombal. Yeah, quick search of 22 672 00 10 gives you a list of apparently unrelated companies, that sells the same products, with the same name. So Dombal is also behind, at least: http://termodrewno.pl, http://twinson.com.pl, http://secawood.pl, http://drewnobsh.pl. To be clear, it is not different domain names to attract more audience to a an obviously unique company, I only realized it is the same people behind when checking the address and phone number on the contact page. I find this as much stinky as asking to pay an order before telling you cannot fulfill it.

Then we found DrewMiŚ: they laughed a bit about the amount of planks needed but one day later, in the morning, it was delivered. This went as it should. Simple, fast. And if you look for their phone number, it all point to their company name. Fair, with a cool logo.

Planning the new floor

How the new floor will be depends on the planks. I considered actually using other materials, for instance plywood as done by Grzmiący Rydwan. It is not necessarily easier to build but it can be more convenient to add insulation layer. But I’d rather use planks as it was before, since I am clueless about how it would age or resist stresses and strains.

What kind of wood to use? I thought first trying to get lightest wood possible. But it is not so easy to tamper with this notion since it is related to resistance.

Finally I decided to use siberian larch / modrzew syberyjski (larix sibirica). It is easy to find as profiled planks, it is supposed to resist properly to humidity, not heavy as oak or olive, not light as cedar of Lebanon. Some data:

  • Weight is 600 kg/m3 at 12% moisture; not the lightest;
  • Tangential contraction: 8.2%
  • Radial contraction: 4,2%
  • Compressive strength: 55 N/mm2 (7977 psi)
  • Bending strength: 99 N/mm2 (14359 psi)
  • Modulus of elasticity: 13800 N/mm2
  • Fibre saturation point: 26%

Since it is used on facade, it comes in a lot of different profile shape. I picked one quite similar profile (Faza profil C) to the original and readily available.

It is either sold in planks of 4m or 3m. In this case, we got the 3m that have the following statistics:

So the floor will be 1707 / 133 = 12,83 planks large, as below, the plank from the left being only 110,4 mm large (83 % of 133mm; 22,6 mm to trim – from the left since the profile recess is on the right side once installed)

This blueprint show how the planks will be cut and how they’ll be grouped as sets. As you can see, there is a set of 4, a set of 3, the lone plank and a set of 5. This might seem unbalanced but the only alternative would be to make all the sets 4 planks long, which is not in the spirit of the original design of outer sets of 6 planks with a middle set of only 4 planks. This way, we preserve the notion of a thinner middle set. And then, out of the two outer sets, the right one is cut here and there so it’ll benefit more from an extra plank.

The measures are only to cross-check, the real original floor only serves as reference. From that blueprint, we can establish we require:

  • 9 x 2540 mm (full length) planks;
  • 4 x 1228 mm planks;
  • 1 x 390 mm plank;
  • 4 x 566 mm planks.

With 3m long original planks, it means actually 12:

  • 9 (2540 x 9 + 390)
  • 1 (1228 + 566 x3)
  • 1 (1228 + 1228)
  • 1 (1228 + 566)

It is less efficient than 4m long planks but 3m long planks are easier to ship. Follows the meters of wood lost in the process:

  • 9 x 3000 – (2540 x 9) – 390 = 4530
  • 1 x 3000 – 2926 = 74
  • 1 x 3000 – 1228 x 2 = 544
  • 1 x 3000 – 1228 – 566 =1206

So it amounts to 6354 mm out of 12 planks of 3000 mm each, so 17.65%. So, out of 12 planks of 4.05 kg each, we can subtract 17.65 % of the total weight. It gives us: 48.6 – 8.5 = 40.1 kg.

I ordered 15 planks from DrewMiŚ, for a total cost of 722 zł + 123 zł for shipping. As said earlier, they arrived fast and in good condition (if you ever bought planks from Castorama, Leroy-Merlin and such, you’ll know that in addition to be overly expensive for average/low quality, very often several planks profile within the pack are broken).

Installing the new floor

I prepared the main bar aside, before even receiving the planks and checked with the older ones how they fit in:

It looks like they were mostly fixed by nails and a few bolts. I decided that I won’t be using nails at all because that prevents unmounting cleanly the floor. Regarding the bolts, I made it so the head does not get higher than the support bars (using imbus on the two lower and larger bars). I want the support bars to be properly fixed completely independently from the floor. The only bolts that will actually full go through the bars and floor and the one to put the mudflaps supports (because it is important to be able to remove them without touching the floor):

Then the work with the planks is first to cut them accordingly to the plan and original parts:

To ease positioning and cross-checking before screwing, I put marks on a reference stick:

Next step is to create the set, as tight as possible. paying attention not to put any pressure on the profile by using (profiled) wood scraps:

I forgot to make pictures but note that there is a joint on the left and right side borders. I glued it with sikaflex before installing. I also forget to make pictures but there is a metal plate on the right side, that cover the fuel tank, which I repainted and put back.

Finally, the planks sets are put in place:

It might seem plug and play but it is not: the vehicle has been sitting for a while without floor, even for a time without rear back bar (which was a mistake – a temporary wood bar should have been put in its place) so it moved a bit. For the planks, that are straight, to actually border properly the shell, I had to push the outer sets against them using a jack (as before, using wood scraps to make sure not to damage the profiles).

You can see the joints mentioned earlier it if you pay attention. Also, at that moment, I had to make sure some electric cables goes under the floor from the side, to avoid drilling afterwards.

Then, with a small contraption, I finished pushing the sets so the remaining gap is enough to fit in the lone plank:

Once properly in place, I used screw to make sure each set is properly fixed. Then I put in place and screwded the wheelarches (which some sikaflex):

The mudflaps support and protections will be put in place later, along with the floor cover.

Total cost:

Uszczelka, taśma uniwersalna 8m = universal joint 8m (45 zł)
Deska modrzew syber AB faza 20x140x3000 6,3m² + transport = 6.2m² of siberian larch planks AB Faza 20x140x3000 (722 zł + 123 zł)

kosztuje = 722 + 123 + 45 = 890 zł = 200 €. Żukventure cost so far = 4832 + 200 = 5032 €

2 thoughts on “LXXXIII. constructing and installing Żuk new wooden floor

  1. Great to see you making a new floor. Your Zuk is not as rotten as mine so much of it still exists – I also consider Siberian Larch for my floor. I also notice a coating on the walls of your Zuk? What is this substance? Looking forward to seeing more of your build. 🙂


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