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.