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Old 04-09-2020, 12:05 PM   #661
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Rusted rear floor beam

I want to put down my subfloor in the back section, but I took a look on the underside and the second-to-last beam on the underside of the floor is in bad shape and I need to do something about it first.

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This is the end which is in bad shape.

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This shows the sag and twist in the bottom of the beam a little better. My plan is to see if I can fit a full-width (7'6") piece of 1.5" angle steel in there to reinforce it, and bolt it through to a full-width piece of flatbar laid on the floor above, then I'll stitch-weld everything to the floor as well.

If I can't get the angle steel underneath, I think I'll instead just invert it and put the angle steel on top of the floor. So it would go 1.5" inches into the XPS foam - oh well.

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I'm also going to try and mount my transit van seat as a top priority. I was original going to leave this original flooring underneath it, but I realize the floor is rusty enough under here that I need to deal with it properly. It will also make it easier to locate where the bolts for the seat are going to go.

I seem to remember enjoying ripping up the plywood, so we'll see if I'm remembering that correctly. Sadly, my 6' steel digging bar of death was a casualty of my first robbery.

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Despite the 20+ seat brackets that have come off the bottom of my bus, I never noticed until today how they're actually used. It seems their purpose is to allow a bolt for a seat to come through one of the beams. In this case the bolt is coming through the left flange of one of the beams formed from the edges of two floor pieces; if not for this angle steel bracket, that flange would easily bend up towards the floor when the nut was tightened.

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Old 04-09-2020, 12:10 PM   #662
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are cl deals still going on?
I've got a ton of stuff to sell but am afraid of dealing with the public. Especially folks going out right now.
Everything I've bought on CL since this started has been with social distancing. Person leaves the thing out in their driveway or wherever and stays inside, I get it and leave the cash in a ziplock bag wherever they want it. I bring it home and disinfect it and quarantine it in the garage for a few days. Every person I've dealt with so far has been 100% cool with the arrangements.

But then, you are in Florida.
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Old 04-09-2020, 05:34 PM   #663
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Ha ha, more holes in the floor. Looks like there was a previous attempt to fix the floor next to the driver seat - that panel with the small hole is a later addition, welded over the original floor (I think).

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Ha ha.

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I love spraying Ospho on solid rust - you can see and hear it foam up, like hydrogen peroxide on your gums after flossing for the first time in a year.

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She let me sneak up on her, almost.

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Old 04-09-2020, 06:02 PM   #664
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You will want to remove the seat and the plywood under it. Expect more of the same.
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Old 04-09-2020, 07:06 PM   #665
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You will want to remove the seat and the plywood under it. Expect more of the same.
Well, I don't agree about the "want" part, but it looks like I am going to have to do that eventually. For now I'm just going to patch these holes and reinforce the beam behind the seat and prime it all, then set about installing my transit van seat.

As much as I've come to view plywood on the floor as my mortal enemy, I'm eventually going to have to re-deck the cab here with it to have a firm floor, or else rebuild the whole area in sheet metal. This is the part that's going to be in front of my bulkhead wall, so I won't be regularly standing on it.
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Old 04-09-2020, 08:55 PM   #666
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Well, I don't agree about the "want" part, but it looks like I am going to have to do that eventually. For now I'm just going to patch these holes and reinforce the beam behind the seat and prime it all, then set about installing my transit van seat.

As much as I've come to view plywood on the floor as my mortal enemy, I'm eventually going to have to re-deck the cab here with it to have a firm floor, or else rebuild the whole area in sheet metal. This is the part that's going to be in front of my bulkhead wall, so I won't be regularly standing on it.
Do yourself a favor and at least go under the bus under the driver seat with your ice pick and see if you can put holes in it. With the history of your bus, you may find more swiss cheese there. Especially since it has been patched in the past. Heck, you may find it easier to patch it all at one time. At the very least, you can know the extent of damage.
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Old 04-09-2020, 09:10 PM   #667
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Do yourself a favor and at least go under the bus under the driver seat with your ice pick and see if you can put holes in it. With the history of your bus, you may find more swiss cheese there. Especially since it has been patched in the past. Heck, you may find it easier to patch it all at one time. At the very least, you can know the extent of damage.
I'm going under there tomorrow to get a closer look. There's a really thick layer of tar or asphalt or something covering everything on the underside up front. Not sure if it's asphalteum or undercoating or oil from the engine, makes it hard to see what's going on. The structure supporting the driver's seat seems to be sort of separate from the rest of the floor, so maybe it's OK? (I know it's not but I have to keep myself getting up in the morning).

My seat is an air ride Bosun chair so I'd have to disconnect that (unless maybe the hose is long enough for me to just move the chair back a bit?). Otherwise, is it just six bolts holding on the seat and two for the seatbelt? I'm really worried that this is the first step towards a permanently immobile bus.
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Old 04-09-2020, 09:28 PM   #668
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I'm going under there tomorrow to get a closer look. There's a really thick layer of tar or asphalt or something covering everything on the underside up front. Not sure if it's asphalteum or undercoating or oil from the engine, makes it hard to see what's going on. The structure supporting the driver's seat seems to be sort of separate from the rest of the floor, so maybe it's OK? (I know it's not but I have to keep myself getting up in the morning).

My seat is an air ride Bosun chair so I'd have to disconnect that (unless maybe the hose is long enough for me to just move the chair back a bit?). Otherwise, is it just six bolts holding on the seat and two for the seatbelt? I'm really worried that this is the first step towards a permanently immobile bus.
When you are under there, check the air line for slack. You can always disconnect the air line up under the seat and put a golf tee in the hose to stop the air from escaping. Even with the air hooked up, you can always pivot the seat along the air line axis to see what's what. Remember, vice-grips are your friend!


With all of your new-learned fabrication skills and ingenuity, rebuilding the driver floor area is a cake-walk.
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Old 04-09-2020, 09:41 PM   #669
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When you are under there, check the air line for slack. You can always disconnect the air line up under the seat and put a golf tee in the hose to stop the air from escaping. Even with the air hooked up, you can always pivot the seat along the air line axis to see what's what. Remember, vice-grips are your friend!


With all of your new-learned fabrication skills and ingenuity, rebuilding the driver floor area is a cake-walk.
I just didn't want to be walking on this particular cake right now.

I had an idea that I wonder what you think of. It seems plywood is bad because it absorbs water that leaks down the walls and soaks from the outside wall inwards, and then holds it against the steel. In this front cab area in front of my bulkhead wall, I'm planning on just having plywood as the floor (no insulation) like the factory floor. But I'm thinking if I leave a 1" or 2" gap around the outer edges (instead of running the plywood right up to the wall) and then seal the edges of the plywood to the floor (does Dynatron-550 stick to wood?), then any water leaking down the walls would show up in this trough around the edge and I could deal with it before it soaked the plywood at all.

Ideally I wouldn't put plywood back at all, but this metal there is pretty thin now and I need the plywood to have a reasonably stiff floor there at all. Plus I'm sure it cuts down on the road noise considerably.
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Old 04-09-2020, 10:56 PM   #670
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I just didn't want to be walking on this particular cake right now.

I had an idea that I wonder what you think of. It seems plywood is bad because it absorbs water that leaks down the walls and soaks from the outside wall inwards, and then holds it against the steel. In this front cab area in front of my bulkhead wall, I'm planning on just having plywood as the floor (no insulation) like the factory floor. But I'm thinking if I leave a 1" or 2" gap around the outer edges (instead of running the plywood right up to the wall) and then seal the edges of the plywood to the floor (does Dynatron-550 stick to wood?), then any water leaking down the walls would show up in this trough around the edge and I could deal with it before it soaked the plywood at all.

Ideally I wouldn't put plywood back at all, but this metal there is pretty thin now and I need the plywood to have a reasonably stiff floor there at all. Plus I'm sure it cuts down on the road noise considerably.

It's your cake, walk where you want!


Personally, I would remove the seat and plywood. Then most likely, remove the sheet metal and weld in another piece of sheet metal..


If you are concerned about water seeping under plywood, sealing it like you mentioned would keep it at bay. If you want to deaden noise and heat/cold, do at least a 5/8" foam floor over the refurbished sheet metal floor before adding back a plywood floor. Even with a storm wall behind you, you will like to have insulation under you.


I really think that once you remove the old yucky plywood, the best course of action will be revealed to you. Sort of like the back end modifications.
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Old 04-10-2020, 03:57 AM   #671
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Everything I've bought on CL since this started has been with social distancing. Person leaves the thing out in their driveway or wherever and stays inside, I get it and leave the cash in a ziplock bag wherever they want it. I bring it home and disinfect it and quarantine it in the garage for a few days. Every person I've dealt with so far has been 100% cool with the arrangements.

But then, you are in Florida.
Some friend of mine who are NOT social distancing at all and are going the opposite direction recently bought a washer n dryer. Got it home and neither work. Lady isn't answering phone or emails anymore.
Seems like a real bad time to do that to me.
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Old 04-10-2020, 12:21 PM   #672
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I know it seems like a setback -- I would deal with the driver floor area now.

1) you have all the metal working tools and materials laid out now.
2) the more you build out the interior the harder it will be to remove the front floor area -- space & "mess" constraints...
3) Just reemphasizing points 1 & 2 above ;)
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Old 04-10-2020, 05:09 PM   #673
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More driver seat demo

Before further chopping.

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I don't even remember where this was.

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Thought this was a "Bosun" brand chair but it's "Bostrom".

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This is the underside of the bolt holding one of the seat belt attachments.

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Took off the base cover to the right of the chair and the plywood under it, and was happy to see completely unrotten plywood that the chair is mounted to.

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The plywood is raised up on these bracket/stiffener things underneath (which is basically the "platform", I think), so it was always up and out of the water that soaked the plywood all around.

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Where the seat belts attach is bad news. These bolts basically just went through partly rotten plywood and very rusted sheet metal, not connected to the beam structure in any way. I believe I greatly weakened it (relatively speaking) by chopping away the plywood all around it. I am for sure going to put in some new framing here to hold the belts.

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I was not anticipating at any point putting my own life in the hands of my fabrication skills, but I guess I'm going to have to, here. I suppose it's fair since I'm going to expect people to ride in the transit van seat bolted into some structure I put together.

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View inside the box that the heater hoses come out of. I think I'm going to have to remove the stuff below the dashboard to make sure I've identified and stopped any leaks.

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So at this point I don't actually know how I can get my seat off. It seems that the nine bolts around the base of the seat go through the plywood and through these shallow stiffeners (they run front-to-back, are about 1" deep and maybe 5" wide) and then the nut is on the underside, inside the stiffener. I could barely reach the one on the outside but I can't even see the ones farther along.

The only bolts sticking through to the underside (where I could get a vicegrips on them) are the two for the seat belt attachments. It seems that these stiffeners are spot-welded down or maybe with large sheet metal screws, but there don't seem to be enough of this sticking through the bottom to actually secure them effectively.

None of the driver seat removal stuff I've seen has a seat and pedestal that looks anything like my situation. I wonder if this is entirely a field modification and they totally rebuilt the cab floor at some point?

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I think I am going to pull up this panel to the right of the driver's seat and redo this part. The frame underneath is solid, but the sheet metal over it was badly rusted, and they just welded this sheet over top of the rusty part without cutting any of it out first. I can actually hear that layer crunching when I walk on the panel now.

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Old 04-10-2020, 05:35 PM   #674
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I see you are indeed chipping away at it.


My thoughts are that the seat is attached to a mounting bracket. This lets you attach the seat, then attach the bracket to the floor. I had a pair of them fabricated for our new seats, based on the old one. Here is our original seat on the original adapter bracket installed on the new floor. I think your bracket is mounted to the sheet metal floor with the seat mounted to the bracket. Then, the plywood is used to "level it up".


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Of course, your bus body builder may have done it all differently.


At any rate, I think you can make the repairs and still be able to safely drive it in the interim. You can always take it apart and temporarily weld on new sheet metal to which you can attach the seat, then drive it home to make the final structural welds (perhaps a weekend), drive it back to the lot to paint it and remount ... or leave off until you finish the floor.
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Old 04-11-2020, 07:49 AM   #675
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My thoughts are that the seat is attached to a mounting bracket. This lets you attach the seat, then attach the bracket to the floor.
You're definitely right, there's some sort of bracket underneath the plywood, which even looks similar to the one in your picture (just folded metal about 1" or so high). My problem is that I can't figure out how to get the seat disconnected from the bracket. There are nine bolts heads around the base of the seat connecting it to the bracket, but I have no way of getting to the nuts on the bottom of these bolts because the bolts don't go all the way through to the underside of the floor. I'd have to use a long-handled wrench slipped in under the bracket from the back to hold the nut, and then I have no idea how I would reassemble it to reattach the seat.

It seems like the bracket itself would also be bolted to the frame of the floor below, but there are no bolts sticking through the floor underneath - just the ends of a few small sheet metal screws which don't seem to be enough to hold it. It seems as if the bracket was bolted to the bottom of the driver's seat and then welded to the floor, although I know this is impossible since there's no way the plywood could have been inserted like it is.

I just don't understand how this chair is mounted, and I'm afraid I'll have to cut off the bolt heads just to get the chair off and find out what's even going on, and I really don't want to do that. What I think I might do instead is remove the dashboard trim around the floor (not sure what that stuff is called) and make sure I've identified and stopped any continued leaking (I suspect the driver's side window is leaking, although the ultimate source of this damage may have been the openings on the side for mounting the antenna, which both had their gaskets rotted away; I bondoed these over last year so if I'm lucky the source of this rust has already been stopped). And then just leave the driver's seat alone for now, other than welding in new framing to anchor the seat belts.

I already feel like the bus is not really safe for me to drive, given the seat belt anchors. Of course, I also feel like it was never really safe for me to drive the whole time I've owned it, given that those anchors were only through badly rusted metal and rotten plywood.
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Old 04-11-2020, 07:55 AM   #676
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This is the underside of one of the bolts holding on a seat belt anchor (which seem to be the same kind of bolts as are holding the seat down):

https://www.skoolie.net/forums/attac...0&d=1586551844

Hard to tell with the rust, but that doesn't seem like a normal nut, more like some kind of weird collar with two flat sides. Is this actually some kind of sheet metal screw instead of a nut? That might explain how this platform is structured and why no bolts are coming through the underside. Perhaps the bracket is spot-welded to the floor and then the seat is screwed into the bracket with nine large sheet metal screws?

Seems unlikely, but maybe they really don't care about the drivers, only the children.
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Old 04-11-2020, 08:41 AM   #677
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This is the underside of one of the bolts holding on a seat belt anchor (which seem to be the same kind of bolts as are holding the seat down):

https://www.skoolie.net/forums/attac...0&d=1586551844

Hard to tell with the rust, but that doesn't seem like a normal nut, more like some kind of weird collar with two flat sides. Is this actually some kind of sheet metal screw instead of a nut? That might explain how this platform is structured and why no bolts are coming through the underside. Perhaps the bracket is spot-welded to the floor and then the seat is screwed into the bracket with nine large sheet metal screws?

Seems unlikely, but maybe they really don't care about the drivers, only the children.
It looks like a lock nut. That one in particular a "nylock" nut. I know of a couple styles of lock nuts. The nylock nut has a ring of nylon crimped around the edge of the nut creating a surface that holds tension on the bolt to "lock" it in place. Like a lock washer but when a lock washer loosens it no longer does it's job. A lock nut is tough to screw the whole way ( holds tension the whole way) Lol. The other style of lock nut I know of is the end of the nut is actually deformed to cause metal to metal interference just like the nylon does. (All of the nuts that were on my chair rail bolts were like the metal crimped ones without nylon insert)

Your nut in question- looks to me like one of these...

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0093OCSZE/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_i_ANBKEbVYDX6Z7
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Old 04-11-2020, 05:17 PM   #678
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Based on what I can see from the picture taken from therear of the seat looking forward as a close-up of the seatbelt attachment brackets, it looks like your seat is attached to a flat plate held in around the perimeter with bolts/screws into the plywood below. There also appears to be inverted channels that hold the plywood up off the sheetmetal floor.


As an experiment, try to remove the bolt/screw that is in the rear-right corner ... the one with easy access to the stairwell and right next to the seatbelt tether bracket. My hunch is that it will screw right out and that there is no nut on the other end. They *may* believe that the seatbelt tethers are enough to holt it all in place when coupled with the heavy screws.


By the time you get the seat out, you will have thought of a number of designs that will physically secure the seat and add the seatbelt tethers as bonus security for YOU.


With fresh metal and fresh wood, the design they implemented is probably sufficient.
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Old 04-11-2020, 05:43 PM   #679
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Driver's seat is out

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References so I can put the seat belt back the way it was.

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Disconnected the belts from the seat so I could cut away the floor where they're attached.

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Seat belt attachment points cut out, and cut away the rusted sheet metal. There's a solid beam under the angled part. I'm going to weld in two pieces of angle steel to hold the new seat belt anchors; these will have bolts welded through from the bottom. Going to try and get some weld-through primer to use on these parts, too.

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Tried unbolting one of the seat base bolts and it turns out they're run into threaded holes in the platform. Eight bolts came out easily but I had to grind the head off the ninth because the wrench stripped the bolt head.

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Seat came right up, and the bracket underneath is in great shape, no rust.

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I was able to cut a cable tie on the underside and free up some slack for the air line to the chair, so it can tip back no problem without my having to cut the line.

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My seat was OK in terms of rust, but this will still give me a chance to clean everything up and treat and paint the rusty parts of the seat base. And I'll use new bolts and hardware to put the seat and belt back in place.

I also still need to expose the base of the wall on the left side of the driver. The rust along the edge of the seat base was damp, so I think there's still a leak on that side. Monday is going to be a big rain storm all day so this will be a chance for me to see where it's coming from, maybe.

Other than that, this won't be all that big a job, depending on how much I do. I just need to weld in the two beams to hold the seat belt anchors and patch the holes and paint everything - I'm just going to leave it as painted metal for now, no plywood (except for the old piece under the seat which I'll keep).

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More CL stuff. Two stainless steel carts that I'm going to use for cabinet shelves, probably, both free.

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Table I'm going to use for a counter by ripping 4 or 5 inches off once side and upending it to create a backsplash, $25.

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Rusty 87 build thread
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Old 04-11-2020, 06:07 PM   #680
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 6,654
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Quote:
Originally Posted by Native View Post
By the time you get the seat out, you will have thought of a number of designs that will physically secure the seat and add the seatbelt tethers as bonus security for YOU.

With fresh metal and fresh wood, the design they implemented is probably sufficient.
Seat's out! Turns out the bolts go into threaded holes in the floor bracket (or maybe rivnuts, not sure) so they came out pretty easily. This is extremely handy because if I need to drive anywhere it will be easy to remount the seat (once I get all new bolts and washers). And I'll just keep this mount as it is since it's in such good shape. The only thing I really need to worry about structurally is the mountings for the seat belt anchors.

I think the original mountings for the seatbelts were stronger than I thought, since there is that weird-angle cross beam that would have been right next to both mounting points. But I'd still rather have something beefier and that rusty metal there did need to go.
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