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Old 07-12-2017, 11:32 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Western Mass
Posts: 33
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, 01:31 PM   #2
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Old 05-22-2018, 01:27 PM   #3
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I am having a hard time locating the nuts under the bus for the floor base side of the seats. Any suggestions?

2001 Thomas Built Bus
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Old 05-22-2018, 02:41 PM   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Billings, MT
Posts: 1,103
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: HDX
Engine: Cat C7
Rated Cap: 84 passenger
Yeppers. Take a sawzall to the seat legs. Then, a die grinder to remove the tops of the remaining bolts. Remove the remnants of the seat legs and then a mallet to the bolts, knocking them to the ground.
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Old 05-22-2018, 04:58 PM   #5
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Location: Damascus, OR
Posts: 280
Year: 2004
Chassis: International
Engine: T444e w/ 2000 Allison Trans
Rated Cap: 35
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Originally Posted by iHunt View Post
I am having a hard time locating the nuts under the bus for the floor base side of the seats. Any suggestions?

2001 Thomas Built Bus
I have done all the work 90% solo, except when random neighbors come to chat and inspect progress. I used them briefly to help with this problem. they were inside the bus spinning the bolt which helped me locate which nut I needed to grab onto. after you find the first one, just follow the yellow brick road to the end. I hope you can find someone to help with this. there were a few that were hard to reach because of the fuel tank and other components, but it didn't take very long.
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Old 05-28-2018, 01:56 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: TEXAS
Posts: 37
Year: 1999
Chassis: MVP ER
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
In my RE, I removed all but ten seats. I worked by myself on this project and early on I had problems with nuts spinning. So instead of loosen bolts, I tighten the bolts until they broke off. I was using my impact of course. This really worked for me.
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Old 05-28-2018, 02:26 PM   #7
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: near Christiansburg VA
Posts: 686
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Engine: Cummins 5.9
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Originally Posted by budbud7 View Post
...So instead of loosen bolts, I tighten the bolts until they broke off. I was using my impact of course. This really worked for me.
Brilliant! I'll try that this evening!

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Old 05-28-2018, 03:07 PM   #8
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Marion NY
Posts: 103
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: HDX
Engine: 3126 7.2
Quote:
Originally Posted by iHunt View Post
I am having a hard time locating the nuts under the bus for the floor base side of the seats. Any suggestions?

2001 Thomas Built Bus
I just finished removing my seats a few days ago, i used a sawzall and slid the blade below the seat base and cut the bolts ... went through 4 blades for the last 4 seats but no more climbing underneath for me till my neck releases and allows me to...Just chip away until youre done.... minutes...hours...days...weeks... months...LOL
good luck
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Old 05-28-2018, 09:01 PM   #9
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Location: Brevard County, FL
Posts: 392
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Ford
Engine: 6.6 New Holland Dies
Rated Cap: 60 kids, 10 window
I used my 7" harbor freight grinder and a thick cut disk and cut off every frickin bolt head that wouldn't tighten off and break. That was 90% of em grinded. The runner and subfloor was so old and rotten it was basically all I could do to not have it crumble when I touched it.
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