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Old 02-19-2019, 09:42 PM   #1
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Help! Stopped by Bolts

So I've been really tooling along the past couple of weeks. Once I realized the person who said they'd do all this work for me was basically blowing me off, I started solving problems, generally by simplifying the idea to the point where I could carry it out myself. I have actually been quite happy with the results and have done a bunch of things I never thought I'd be capable of. But now I'm stuck.

There is this piece of angle iron that runs down the side wall, low to the ground. The seats used to attach to it. I"m trying to remove it. There was one on the other side, too, and it was taken off a good 8 months ago; I don't remember it being too complicated but then that was a blurry time for me. But this one: I can't seem to get the bolts off no matter what I do!

They are round topped hex bolts with a washer that butts up against the iron. My driver just spins when I try to ratchet them off no matter how I set the torque, and the spot is too low to the ground to get in there with a grinder or anything. My memory is hazy but it could be that the reason the other one is removed and this one isn't is that it wouldn't come off and I deluded myself into thinking I would just work around it, but that is not going to work, not really.

It seems like this must be a common piece on a lot of buses, so I'm sure some of you have come across it. I can't tell if the bolts are frozen, or there's some kind of bolt inside the wall preventing them from loosening, or I am just too lame to get them off. Any ideas?

It feels crazy to be cranking through these big challenges only to be stymied by a measly little piece of hardware!
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:00 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by firebuild View Post
So I've been really tooling along the past couple of weeks. Once I realized the person who said they'd do all this work for me was basically blowing me off, I started solving problems, generally by simplifying the idea to the point where I could carry it out myself. I have actually been quite happy with the results and have done a bunch of things I never thought I'd be capable of. But now I'm stuck.

There is this piece of angle iron that runs down the side wall, low to the ground. The seats used to attach to it. I"m trying to remove it. There was one on the other side, too, and it was taken off a good 8 months ago; I don't remember it being too complicated but then that was a blurry time for me. But this one: I can't seem to get the bolts off no matter what I do!

They are round topped hex bolts with a washer that butts up against the iron. My driver just spins when I try to ratchet them off no matter how I set the torque, and the spot is too low to the ground to get in there with a grinder or anything. My memory is hazy but it could be that the reason the other one is removed and this one isn't is that it wouldn't come off and I deluded myself into thinking I would just work around it, but that is not going to work, not really.

It seems like this must be a common piece on a lot of buses, so I'm sure some of you have come across it. I can't tell if the bolts are frozen, or there's some kind of bolt inside the wall preventing them from loosening, or I am just too lame to get them off. Any ideas?

It feels crazy to be cranking through these big challenges only to be stymied by a measly little piece of hardware!

That sounds like the "Chair Rail" and for most buses it is a *VERY* major structural component. Removal will significantly affect the structural integrity of the bus if ever involved in a crash. It is generally undesirable to remove it, which is why it's installed so well to begin with.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:08 PM   #3
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That sounds like the "Chair Rail" and for most buses it is a *VERY* major structural component. Removal will significantly affect the structural integrity of the bus if ever involved in a crash. It is generally undesirable to remove it, which is why it's installed so well to begin with.
Seriously? I don't think I've ever seen photos of a build where this piece is there. It seems like when people tear out their walls to insulate, this piece comes out. It's on the interior surface, and if I remember correctly the one on the opposite side came out easily.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:24 PM   #4
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I just looked up a diagram of the chair rail that is a structural component, and it looks like it is part of the support for the floor? I don't think that's what this is. It's a piece of angle iron like I could buy at Home Depot, L shaped, with the back of the L facing upwards and the bottom facing downwards, that is bolted to the wall at a height just above the wheel well. It's not riveted, just has about 5 bolts along its length, and does not appear to support anything now that the seats are gone. Of course I don't want to take it out if it's doing something, but it's hard to see what it could be doing other than holding up the side of the seat that doesn't have a leg.

Then again, what do I know??

I still have the one I took off of the other side. I could put it back on if it's that important.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:34 PM   #5
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I just looked up a diagram of the chair rail that is a structural component, and it looks like it is part of the support for the floor? I don't think that's what this is. It's a piece of angle iron like I could buy at Home Depot, L shaped, with the back of the L facing upwards and the bottom facing downwards, that is bolted to the wall at a height just above the wheel well. It's not riveted, just has about 5 bolts along its length, and does not appear to support anything now that the seats are gone. Of course I don't want to take it out if it's doing something, but it's hard to see what it could be doing other than holding up the side of the seat that doesn't have a leg.

Then again, what do I know??

I still have the one I took off of the other side. I could put it back on if it's that important.
If it is the chair rail like in most buses, it is one piece of metal that comes down, folds out and back, for the chair rail, down to the floor and then wraps under the floor. They tie the floor and ribs to make the whole body one big box that can be bolted to a frame. Basically triangulating everything down low. They keep the box from folding up in a roll over. Need pics.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:35 PM   #6
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Having checked a bit more, apparently the chair rail is structural in Blue Bird buses, not all buses. In that case, it is more than a simple piece of angle iron, it goes into the floor and secures to the wall. In your case, it's probably safe to remove. Can you get a couple pics of your bolt dilemma so I can see what exactly the problem is? (A picture is worth a thousand words). Thanks.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:39 PM   #7
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If it is the chair rail like in most buses, it is one piece of metal that comes down, folds out and back, for the chair rail, down to the floor and then wraps under the floor. They tie the floor and ribs to make the whole body one big box that can be bolted to a frame. Basically triangulating everything down low. They keep the box from folding up in a roll over.
This for sure does not fold under the floor. It's about 2" wide and bolted to the wall, completely on the surface. I'll post a photo.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:41 PM   #8
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Your bus looks to be a cut-away bus. It is (most likely) not constructed like "standard" busses and so your "L" bracket may NOT be a structural piece.


Can you attach a photo of the piece?


Having not seen it, I will make a few suggestions. First, if you can get a chisel or screw driver between the "L" bracket and the wall near the bolts, you may be able to create enough pressure/friction to allow you to back out the bolts. Second, you might be able to get a hack saw blade (or better yet, a sawsall blade) on the bolt between the bracket and the wall once you get the screw driver in there. Third, you can use an angle grinder with a cut-off disk to cut the L bracket on both sides of the bolt, very close to the bolt then perhaps use the cut-off disk to cut the bolt.


Your best bet is to post a picture of the bracket with a close-up of the bolt. I know, everyone is asking for a photo! Well, that is because it seems to be something of which we've not seen much.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:41 PM   #9
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This for sure does not fold under the floor. It's about 2" wide and bolted to the wall, completely on the surface. I'll post a photo.
Is it in the blue bus in your avatar? If so, it may be different than a big bus. Yours may truly be just a chair rail.
I'm still trying to picture an "L" where one side goes up and the other goes down?
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:01 PM   #10
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OK, here it is. IN the second picture, you can see something i didn't even realize, which is that one of the bolts is already missing. As you can see, it attaches to the wall, starting at the edge of the side door and running until where the hand rail is next to the front steps.

You can't really tell in the photo but the bolt is shallower than the hex bolts I'm used to, and rounded on the top.

IMG_4942.JPG

IMG_6370.jpg

IMG_3408 3.jpg
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:08 PM   #11
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Thank you for the photos.


Looks to me that the L bracket can indeed be removed as it does not appear to be structural.


Also note that, worst case, you can use a grinding disk on an angle grinder and take off the bolt heads entirely. There appears to be enough room to do so.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:12 PM   #12
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OK. That's what I began to suspect and expect. Looks safe to remove. Also looks like typical, standard hex bolts with washers. So if the bolts are indeed actually turning, but not coming out, then I'd suspect the "nut-serts" are turning as well (these are basically like nuts, inserted into a hole, made for "blind" applications like this). Since there's no easy way to grip the concealed nuts, there's really only a couple options left. First, you could try securing the nuts in some way (glue? Tack welding?) but that may be difficult as well. If you pull on the rail, perhaps that will give the nuts enough grip to allow the bolts to come out (it's worth a try, at least). Failing that, I'd break out Ye Olde Grinder. Eye and ear protection is a must! Also, no loose clothing/long sleeves that can get caught in the tool! Safety first. If there was nothing flammable nearby, torching it would also be an option.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:15 PM   #13
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Helpful tip. Make sure the bolts are actually turning (they may be too tight for some power tools to move at first), break them loose by hand if need be. A ratchet with a short extension will do perfectly.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Helpful tip. Make sure the bolts are actually turning (they may be too tight for some power tools to move at first), break them loose by hand if need be. A ratchet with a short extension will do perfectly.


The bolts are actually NOT turning, they cause my ratchet driver to turn instead to the point where it starts to overheat. I canít break them free by hand; thatís what I tried first, with the ratchet extension. Iíve tried adjusting the torque on the electric but nothing helps. I just put some PB Blaster on there to see if I could loosen it up, so I guess torching it is out of the question now!

The angle grinder is a new tool to me, not super comfortable with it so to me it doesnít look like thereís enough room, but Iím sure thereís at least one YouTube video out there for me to watch and learn from.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:37 PM   #15
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If you are not comfortable with or unfamiliar with the angle grinder, you may want to practice on the L bracket alone and not the bolts. Get a feel for it and how it grabs or not. Besides all the personal protection equipment as noted earlier, I would suggest you let the tool do the work. Do not try to leverage a cut-off disk nor press extremely hard if using the grinding disk.


As for the bolt goes ... do you have access to an air wrench?


Failing this, how about a cheater bar for your sockets?


Or perhaps a long pipe you can slip on the end of the ratchet to add leverage?
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:43 PM   #16
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If all else fails, try a longer ratchet. I've used various things over the years to give a mechanical advantage ("cheater" bars, pipes and such). I've *Stood* on tools to loosen stubborn fasteners (but do so carefully, don't want any injuries).


I wouldn't start with the grinder if I haven't managed to break loose the bolts (or round them off), but that's just me.
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Old 02-20-2019, 12:07 AM   #17
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I would also use the ratchet and other tools first, ange grinder last.
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Old 02-20-2019, 08:11 AM   #18
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Why not just go to a shop and have them remove it with an impact driver?
10 minutes and you are gone.
Grinders can hurt anyone, especially someone without the feel for using one properly.



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Old 02-20-2019, 08:45 AM   #19
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If all else fails, try a longer ratchet. I've used various things over the years to give a mechanical advantage ("cheater" bars, pipes and such).
Yup, that's the route I'd take too. Put a pipe on the handle of the ratchet, then stomp on it. Might loosen the bolt, might twist the head off the bolt too (which usually isn't desired, but in this case it probably doesn't matter).
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Old 02-20-2019, 09:25 AM   #20
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Well sh** now I'm worried! Have spent days getting these things out and they might be structural!? What do you guys think, are these structural?
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eXc...ew?usp=sharing
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