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Old 12-12-2018, 05:04 PM   #1
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Wheel Chair Rail dilemma!

We have 8 wheel chair rails that are bolted down approximately every 3 inches. Any tips on how to best removed these???

They are bolted through the sheet metal and there is no plywood beneath them, only in between.
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Old 12-12-2018, 05:12 PM   #2
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Same setup as in our bus. I've attacked them with two people. One up top with a blow gun and allen wrench socket. The other underneath with the correct socket. Takes time and perseverance. Some of them stripped out on top so we had to drill them out and then punch them through the floor. We have removed about 1/4 of them and not looking forward to completing the job.

I'm not inclined to cutting them up since we want to reuse some ourselves and figure they may be good bargaining chips, trading for stuff we actually need.
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Old 12-12-2018, 05:19 PM   #3
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Leave em and insulate between them?
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Old 12-12-2018, 05:26 PM   #4
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Thanks for your response! It’s awesome to have the wheelchair lift, but all that come with it adds some difficult and frustrating steps to the demolition process for sure!
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Old 12-12-2018, 05:29 PM   #5
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We’re hoping to be able to patch and clean up the entire floor before insulating. Leaving the rails would likely be a source for future problems, either with rust and/or poor insulation.
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Old 12-12-2018, 05:32 PM   #6
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Thanks for your response! Itís awesome to have the wheelchair lift, but all that come with it adds some difficult and frustrating steps to the demolition process for sure!
I agree, the lift is great to have, but I'd rather grind off another 1000 ceiling rivets than finish up removing the floor rails.... It will get done though.
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:54 PM   #7
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We have 8 wheel chair rails that are bolted down approximately every 3 inches. Any tips on how to best removed these???

They are bolted through the sheet metal and there is no plywood beneath them, only in between.
Build ,grind a socket, weld up a tool that will hold the head on the top. Squirt Aerokroil or equivalent on all the nuts on the bottom. Use an impact tool not a drill or a ratchet. If you have ones that strip or spin come back to them and use a 4 inch angle grinder with a cutoff wheel or an air die grinder with a cutoff wheel on the nut.

If you cannot access the nut,drill it out starting with center punching the fastener in the rail. Using lubricant, drill a 1/8 or 3/16 pilot and then drill it to a size close to the fasteners diameter. A good whack with a cold chisel and a BFH will help off centered holes seperate.
Punch the remainder through the hole.

It will be fun!!!

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Old 12-13-2018, 01:03 AM   #8
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Plasma cutter... seconds for each one. After a few dozen you will be so good st it to won’t get into the floor. Those that you did, fill with a MIG and grind smooth.
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Old 12-13-2018, 11:11 AM   #9
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Plasma cutter... seconds for each one. After a few dozen you will be so good st it to wonít get into the floor. Those that you did, fill with a MIG and grind smooth.
That would be great if you have a plasma cutter and a mig welder and the skillsets to operate both safely. I would guess that a lot of people here do not.
A cutoff wheel in a cheap Harbor Freight angle grinder is much more cost effective than a MIG and a plasma cutter IMHO and a lot easier to learn to use.

But hey, whatever gets the job done and there are many ways to do the job right.
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Old 12-13-2018, 11:22 AM   #10
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That would be great if you have a plasma cutter and a mig welder and the skillsets to operate both safely. I would guess that a lot of people here do not.
A cutoff wheel in a cheap Harbor Freight angle grinder is much more cost effective than a MIG and a plasma cutter IMHO and a lot easier to learn to use.

But hey, whatever gets the job done and there are many ways to do the job right.
I took welding classes at the local community collage a few years back and bought MIG welder back then so Iím lucky there.

Iím cutting with an angle grinder I found it just doesnít reach in some places. Knowing what my plans were in the future for the bus there are many other things that I will need to cut that an angle grind could -barely- do and I just hit the bullet for a plasma cutter. It was two months budget for my project and since I donít really have a timeline, I just figured what the hell - get the right tool and do it right.

But I hear ya - most people donít have to tools or know how so make do with an angle grinder - which is a totally viable solution for most things.
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Old 12-13-2018, 11:29 AM   #11
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I took welding classes at the local community collage a few years back and bought MIG welder back then so Iím lucky there.

Iím cutting with an angle grinder I found it just doesnít reach in some places. Knowing what my plans were in the future for the bus there are many other things that I will need to cut that an angle grind could -barely- do and I just hit the bullet for a plasma cutter. It was two months budget for my project and since I donít really have a timeline, I just figured what the hell - get the right tool and do it right.

But I hear ya - most people donít have to tools or know how so make do with an angle grinder - which is a totally viable solution for most things.
I am fortuanate to have a torch, a mig, a buzz box and my latest machine in the picture. It is a Lincoln square wave 200. Wonderfull machine.
No plasma (yet) haha
A die frinder with a reinforced wheel does pretty good in the tight spots though.
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Old 12-13-2018, 01:10 PM   #12
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very nice^^!
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Old 12-13-2018, 02:28 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=EastCoastCB;301257]very nice^^![/QUOTE

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Old 12-14-2018, 08:36 AM   #14
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Quote:
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We have 8 wheel chair rails that are bolted down approximately every 3 inches. Any tips on how to best removed these???

They are bolted through the sheet metal and there is no plywood beneath them, only in between.
I just dealt with this same issue. Our allen heads were so impacted with years of sand and dirt and general child mess that there was no way we were going to be able to get a wrench in them. I ended up going to Harbor Freight, buying a cheap angle grinder and a 10-pack of cutoff discs and cutting them off from below. I had considered slotting the heads and using a flat head drill bit and some vice grips, but with the countersink it took forever to put a decent slot on them. Ultimately it ended up being about two hours or so scooting around on my back, but it was definitely faster than some of the alternatives.
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Old 12-19-2018, 03:45 PM   #15
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Same problem

Iím having the same problem and some of the bolts are not easily reached underneath with an angle grinder. I tried cutting them from inside the bus without much luck. Iím renting a plasma cutter.
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Old 12-19-2018, 04:20 PM   #16
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Iím having the same problem and some of the bolts are not easily reached underneath with an angle grinder. I tried cutting them from inside the bus without much luck. Iím renting a plasma cutter.
No need to grind em from underneath. Just gind em from the top till the bolt head is gone. Its pretty easy it just takes a little practice to get the method down.
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Old 12-22-2018, 03:40 PM   #17
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The pics triggered my PTSD

I worked on mine solo dolo, burned up a grinder being impatient. Ended up using the grinder air chisel combo, using the cut wheel to split the rail down the middle sometimes and grind wheel for bolt heads as suggested by someone on here. You won't be able to save them this way.

Yes it took longer than I wanted but got done with almost no damage to the floor. I went back and cut off remaining bolts and nails. Floor prep and rivet removal were the worst or most intense, time consuming part of my conversion process. Definitely wear your gear for this one. Good luck.
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:30 AM   #18
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I finished removing the chair rails from our bus this weekend. Most of the bolts we removed the 'proper' way, from above and below, but there were some sections we couldn't reach from underneath. I did try to slice one rail down the middle, but it ate up the cutting wheel pretty quickly. After I pulled up the plywood flooring on one side of the rails I pried up one end of the rail and was able to slip the cutting wheel under it to cut one bolt at a time. I managed to salvage the remaining rails that way, and save on cutting wheels.
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Old 03-31-2019, 07:01 AM   #19
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I initially tried cutting vertically down into the bolt heads with an angle grinder cutting wheel, followed by sledgehammering a flat floor chisel under the track and blasting through the shank of the bolt under the track. It turned out that I didn't even need to cut down into the bolt heads to be able to cut through the bolts with brute force, and it actually went fairly quickly- maybe 2-3 good powerful swings with the 10lb hammer i was using. I eventually started putting a rag over the bolt heads so they wouldn't fly around like bullets when they separated. Another thought would be to use a blowtorch to heat up each one before coming at it with the floor chisel. Besides that maybe drilling a little ways into the bolt would weaken it enough to come free with the floor chisel.



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Old 03-31-2019, 07:53 AM   #20
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I saved those in my DEV bus... the rails and the belts that go in them make for GREAT tie-downs!
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