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Old 07-12-2017, 12:32 PM   #1
nightfury's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Western Mass
Posts: 31
Year: 2001
Chassis: BlueBird
Engine: 3126
Rated Cap: 54
Tips for removing seats, floor and rivets fast and easy

I don't always have people available to help so I figure out ways to get things done myself and without spending money I don't have to. Side note, most of the tools I mention I already owned since I love building things. But they are affordable at harbor freight (use coupons found in newspapers etc) and get the job done.

I have a 2001 Bluebird that had 10 three child seats and 12 two child seats plus 2 dividers. Each were mounted with 3 bolts to the rail and 4 bolts to the floor, all 1/2" socket.
For the rail I used an air impact wrench with extension to go between the seat and wall, a breaker bar or ratchet on the nut underneath and zipped them out. Some places like the wheel well you can get an open wrench on or break it loose from the top then hold the nut with needle nose pliers while unscrewing the top by hand.
For the seat base on the floor I put a couple of my extensions on the impact wrench totaling about 15" for ease of use, got on my creeper and ugga dugga'd the nuts off from underneath (wear safety glasses!!) this worked for about half of them in less than 30 min. For the rustier ones that would come loose but then spin the whole bolt I clamped a pair of vise grips to the bolt inside and braced it against the chair leg. Then got under the bus with the impact and finished it off. Repeat for each one, good ab workout if you're by yourself, if you have a helper you shout next and it wont take you 4 hours. There will always be a couple stubborn ones or ones that aren't accessible so that's where the grinder comes is handy.

Next comes the floor, the rubber was easy, was glued to the wood and pealed right up, made some cuts with a box cutter to have smaller pieces. The plastic trim around the edge pried right up with a hammer. I started in the back with a crowbar, 42" breaker bar and a hefty hammer. The areas where the wood is rotted came up real easy once you get the bar in and have leverage. I had some pieces that were good and broke into little pieces which took forever, so I used a circular saw set to just cut thru the wood to have smaller pieces to pry up. Then use the breaker to pull the rest of the nails out of the floor.

For the rivets I used a punch in an air hammer to knock out the centers of all the rivets, then took a step drill bit (gripped better than the reg bits) that starts with 3/16 and drilled them out til they spun, then I put the chisel in the air hammer and the heads busted right off. I first tried just chiseling them off but it took forever, drilling makes it go so much faster. I did modify the chisel a bit, rounded off one side and kept the other flat, put the rounded side up against the ceiling panel so it doesn't cause as much damage. Harbor Freight also has extendable cargo braces that have rubber feet that swivel for cheap so they help holding the panels when breaking them free so they don't just drop.

There's many ways of doing things and I'm sure there are better but this is what happened to work for me on my budget side yard skoolie build. It took me by myself mashed together about 6 hours to have all the seats out of the bus, a good day to get the floor out, still working on the ceiling, so far about 4 hours just taking down all the lower ceiling panels, the entire rear panels and 3 ceiling panels...

Hope this can help someone out.
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:31 PM   #2
Dixie Bushcraft's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Kemper County, MS
Posts: 43
Just starting out. Hope I can help others and learn.
My twitter: @DixieBushcraft
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