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Old 09-24-2022, 08:44 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2022
Location: WNC
Posts: 45
Year: 2008
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE300
Engine: DT466E
Rusted Seat Bolts, and how to defeat them

I just got my bus, an 08' International long body. 24 seats, 8 bolts each. All the rust. And I just finished removing them all.

I thought it might help somebody to put together a single post with all the methods I found, and what worked for me.

How seats are attached

The norm seams for these to be through-bolted down through the rubber, wood and pan under the bus. On mine (and others), the bolts sometimes connected to pieces of angle iron to distribute the holding force.

The seats will also be bolted to a rail along the sides of of the bus. A wrench or two and a drill with a socket drive on it is the best way to get these off. Usually 3-4 total per seat

Unless you have a unicorn bus, the floor bolts will be rusted at the seats on the top side, and on the under side. If you have a unicorn, get somebody under with a wrench, you up top, and just spin the bolts/nuts off. Otherwise, we choose violence.


Removing the floor bolts

The big ways I found to remove them: Grinding, drilling, snapping, cutting, sawing
  • Grinding - Out comes the angle grinder with a grinding disc. Grind the heads right off the bolts from inside the bus and then knock the bolt shanks down to the ground with a punch. Down side is this takes a while, but some people seem to prefer it? Probably viable if you have extremely rust damaged bolt heads on the top and can't get a good notch for a cutting wheel.

  • Drilling - Get a big drill bit (at least the diameter of the bolt shank) and drill down into the top of the bolt head until it pops off, then knock the shanks down.

  • Snapping - This was clever, though my bolts were not quite rusted enough to try it. Basically get a big whacking impact gun or wrench on the bolts at the top and tighten them until the heads shear off the shanks, then knock them through.

  • Cutting - This is what I did. 4" grinder, 3 $4 cut off wheels. Every seat rear of the dif I cut the bolts underneath and then whacked and popped them up through the floor from the inside with a hammer. On the rest I came in at a shallow angle and cut the head off the bolts down at the washer from the inside.. Once I got in the groove on this I could do each bolt in about 20 seconds.

  • Sawing - Pry up the seat itself and slide a long reciprocating saw blade between the seat feet and the rubber floor and cut the bolts this way. People report mixed success, with some rubbers seeming to gum up and make this way not work well.

If I were starting from scratch, I'd try to snap them first, then go directly to a grinder and a cutoff wheel. Took my wife and I probably two hours total today, with me on the grinder and her on the sides with wrenches.

If you go with cutting, PPE is a must. Breathing protection and glasses at a minimum. I used a big face shield as well because I like my eye balls.

I hope this helps somebody coming at it new.

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Old 09-24-2022, 08:56 PM   #2
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 6,663
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
I would also add that it's good to make sure your nearby windows are covered with something when you're grinding or cutting the bolt heads. The sparks are actually burning pieces of steel and these can become permanently embedded in the glass if they hit the windows. My windows have a bunch of these specks in them now, probably the biggest "I wish I hadn't done that" in my build.
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Old 09-30-2022, 06:48 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Location: Middle TN
Posts: 59
Year: 2008
Chassis: IC RE (PB30500)
Engine: Maxxforce DT
We just finished taking our seats out yesterday. Sounds like the same body 08 International 40ft.
At first I was under the bus holding a wrench and/or socket on the nut depending on location and my wife was up top using an impact driver on the bolts. But then on one particular nut, she went to change the battery and out of boredom I started ratcheting the nut and sure enough it came off. After that I took the impact driver and loosened all the nuts from under the bus and hit the bolt back up through the hole. I assume the rust was holding the bolt in place while I was undoing the nut. Things started to move much faster when it became a one man operation.
Also, remember to knock the angle iron off of the bottom of the bus. Ours was held on with the underbody coating. No telling when they would have eventually fallen from vibration and hit something important or someone else. Plus you'll have a lot of really sturdy 4in sections of 2in angle iron for making brackets and underbody storage.
I'm going back under tonight to spray undercoating where all the brackets used to be.
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Old 10-01-2022, 02:23 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2022
Location: WNC
Posts: 45
Year: 2008
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE300
Engine: DT466E
For SURE, make sure to get all the angle iron!

I tried taking mine off from below first as well, but almost every nut has rusted so badly it was basically round. I did get one off with about 15 minutes of work and a big set of channel locks, but it was not efficient.

I'm still a fan of a cutoff wheel. But if they're not rusted? Heck yea, spin them off.
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