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Old 06-29-2015, 08:40 PM   #1
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Floor removal problems

I'm working on converting a 1999 Blue Bird that was an accessible bus. It has a wheelchair lift and no wheel wells to deal with, gotta like that.

The downside is that as an accessible bus all of the seats could be adjusted. There are four aluminium tracks down each side of the aisle for the seats to be attached to. These tracks are attached every 4" with a stainless steel bolts. Works out to over 1200 bolts to remove.
I can't get to the nuts on the bottom for most of them so there is no way to put a wrench on them. I've tried using an allen wrench to remove them and only got one to move. Tried a allen bit on my impact driver and only got one a little out before the nut spun. Other methods that I didn't have luck with were a cutting wheel on an angle grinder, a reciprocating saw (wood blade can't cut through to the metal and metal blade won't do wood). Last try was with a die grinder with a carbide bit but my air compressor won't keep up.

I haven't tried a drill yet because 1200 bolts and there must be a faster way.

Anybody else run into this problem? How did you remove them
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Old 06-29-2015, 09:00 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by steveoutdoorrec View Post
I'm working on converting a 1999 Blue

Anybody else run into this problem? How did you remove them
Same problem here.

My solution? - ignore the rubber floor.

MAN that is a LOT of bolts, and I would love to have a nice floor, but that is so far down on my priorities for the amount of labor involved.
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Old 06-29-2015, 09:25 PM   #3
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I thought about giving it up as a bad idea. After all it's only about 3/4" but mine is an Ohio bus and I want to take a look at the floor to make sure there's no rot. And the wheelchair lift comes into play. I plan on insulating the floor and adding plywood to it which will make it 1 1/2" thick. The lift can handle that but not the extra if I leave the floor.
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Old 06-29-2015, 10:02 PM   #4
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are these tracks mounted on to of the rubber floor? or does the rubber floor butt up against them?



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Old 06-29-2015, 10:37 PM   #5
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That's exactly what I have. The 3/4" plywood had grooves in it a 1/2" deep with the aluminium strips in the groove. The rubber is under the edge of the metal on mine. Some of the strips in mine have bad corrosion so they have to come out in any case
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Old 06-29-2015, 10:59 PM   #6
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Air hammer with a chisel bit??
WHere there's a will, there's a way. See my thread for the frustration of removing thousands of rivets. Had to hammer out the center pins, drill em down to the shaft, then shear off the head.
I say go medieval on it or pay someone in beer to do so. An angle grinder isn't grinding the heads off bolts? something is very wrong there.
go apeshit on it with a crowbar.
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:09 PM   #7
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1200 bolts would take a lot of beer. lol
The problem with the angle grinder is the aluminum seems to eat the disc right up. I could only get about 6 cuts per disc.
Air hammer might work but my compressor can't keep a die grinder going for more then a couple minutes.
I tried a six foot digging bar, the kind with the flat blade on one end, to try and rip it up. It will take the wood up but not the strips

I removed the ceiling panels with an angle grinder. Ground off the heads of the rivets. Only took 6 hours to get it all down.
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:15 PM   #8
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Rigid foam then floor on top?
Otherwise you are going to have to figure out a way to get them from under the bus.
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:15 PM   #9
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Only took me a few sixers to get a couple thousand rivets...
Pry all the aluminum out, its soft. Get everything out but the fasteners... then go at em with the grinder.
Where you located? I'd let you use my compressor...
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:17 PM   #10
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There is torching the nut to loosen then turning it but I think you'll just set the floor on fire. If its only connected to a wood sub floor what about a skill saw down both sides then replacing or fixing the sub floor? Don't take any of my advise when I work it out to the end I keep seeing dynamite a fuse and a bottle of whiskey.
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:20 PM   #11
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Its these kinds of things that are maddening in a bus build.
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:23 PM   #12
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I'm between Rochester and Buffalo NY

I tried the pry the aluminum out but it's too thick and the bolts are every 4" so there's not much bending room.

The first place I looked was underneath and the nuts are over storage bins, fuel tanks, tires, air and brake lines and other things I don't want a torch or grinder near.

I'm going to pick up an electric die grinder and try that. The carbide bit seems to do a good job until the air runs down.

Hmmm, primer cord might work but the repairs afterwards are a problem.
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:25 PM   #13
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I told the wife that the rest of the build will be easy once the damn floor is out
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveoutdoorrec View Post
I'm between Rochester and Buffalo NY

I tried the pry the aluminum out but it's too thick and the bolts are every 4" so there's not much bending room.

The first place I looked was underneath and the nuts are over storage bins, fuel tanks, tires, air and brake lines and other things I don't want a torch or grinder near.

I'm going to pick up an electric die grinder and try that. The carbide bit seems to do a good job until the air runs down.

Hmmm, primer cord might work but the repairs afterwards are a problem.
I have been known to tear up some fecal matter with my Dewalt Diamond Wheel on my 4-1/2 inch grinder

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Old 06-29-2015, 11:32 PM   #15
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I didn't know such wonderful things existed. Might be worth a try
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:36 PM   #16
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Yeah when I run into stuff like this, I try to resist buying new tools. But lately I've been finding that I NEED lots of GOOD tools. Tools make all the difference.
I'm really not a wealthy person. But lately I've had to buy a lot of big stuff... welder, torch, compressor (a real one).


I had to buy a 5.5 mm deep socket today. Damn GM... Why couldn't the heater core plastic cover be held on by normal 1/4"??
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:45 PM   #17
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Never forget heavy duty tool rental. The floor may be a one shot deal with something big and expensive. Whats holding the sub floor down? maybe prying up the rubber, un screwing and removing the sub floor then remove the track and bolts outside the bus and reinstall.
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Old 06-29-2015, 11:59 PM   #18
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Quote:
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I didn't know such wonderful things existed. Might be worth a try
Actually, I misspoke.... I just went and looked, my diamond blade is a Skilsaw brand I use on my Makita angle grinder... looks identical.

anyway, I use it a lot cutting EMT conduit, thick wall aluminum conduit, hard galvanized pipe, and hard copper pipe... making windchimes

the regular cutoff blades just chew to their nubs too soon for me

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Old 06-30-2015, 12:09 AM   #19
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That grinder wheel your showing is a diamond tile cutting wheel.

They do make wheels to cut steel and aluminum that look just like skill saw blades.
Google "Carbide steel cutting saw".

Steel & Metal Cutting Saw Blades - Steel Cutting Carbide Tipped Saw Blades

The carbide steel cutting blades cut over 10 times faster than any abrasive cutting wheel. They also do not generate heat that warps the metal like the abrasive wheels.

I used to use a John Deer 7.25" metal cutting skill saw for cutting out the sides of C-can shipping containers. Worked great.

Nat
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Old 06-30-2015, 12:12 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_ster View Post
That grinder wheel your showing is a diamond tile cutting wheel.

They do make wheels to cut steel and aluminum that look just like skill saw blades.
Google "Carbide steel cutting saw".

Steel & Metal Cutting Saw Blades - Steel Cutting Carbide Tipped Saw Blades

The carbide steel cutting blades cut over 10 times faster than any abrasive cutting wheel. They also do not generate heat that warps the metal like the abrasive wheels.

I used to use a John Deer 7.25" metal cutting skill saw for cutting out the sides of C-can shipping containers. Worked great.

Nat
You are correct, I bought it to do a one time tile job.... then tossed it in the drawer.
Was trying to cut some pipe one day, chewed up a cutoff wheel and grabbed this diamond blade and never looked back.

I'm probably abusing it, but I know I won't be using it on tile anymore.


I watched a guy cutting rain gutter with a dewalt saw today that kinda surprised me, he used the regular blade

https://youtu.be/4ZcqiPnKO84?t=1m45s
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