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Old 05-22-2019, 06:06 PM   #1
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How to remove seats without a partner or an angle grinder?

I don't have a friend available to help with seat removal for longer than I feel comfortable leaving the seats in. I don't have access to enough electricity to run an angle grinder, and the bolts sit in these little indentations in the feet of the seats, so I don't think an angle grinder would even be effective in getting into the holes.

Are there any other ways to hold the bottom nut in place without needing a human under there with a wrench? Or to hold the top of the bolt so i can remove the nut from below?
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Old 05-22-2019, 06:10 PM   #2
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1 option that only works occasionally is if the bolts and nuts are tight, put an impact driver on them and try and tighten them, sometimes they are tight enough the head will just snap off. If the nut turns, lots of running back and forth with Vise Grips on one end of the bolt. Multiple Vise Grips mean fewer trips.
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OlgaAK View Post
I don't have a friend available to help with seat removal for longer than I feel comfortable leaving the seats in. I don't have access to enough electricity to run an angle grinder, and the bolts sit in these little indentations in the feet of the seats, so I don't think an angle grinder would even be effective in getting into the holes.

Are there any other ways to hold the bottom nut in place without needing a human under there with a wrench? Or to hold the top of the bolt so i can remove the nut from below?
I bought a few pairs of cheap locking pliers and clamped onto the bolt heads on top, then crawled underneath with a socket wrench. Good ab workout too.
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:09 PM   #4
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I did it solo.... vise grips are the way to go. the more you have, the less climbing in and out from under the bus.

"don't have enough electricity" or none at all? hold the nut on the bottom and removing the bolt from inside is easier and less messy. As the nut breaks apart debris falls.
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by OlgaAK View Post
I don't have a friend available to help with seat removal for longer than I feel comfortable leaving the seats in. I don't have access to enough electricity to run an angle grinder, and the bolts sit in these little indentations in the feet of the seats, so I don't think an angle grinder would even be effective in getting into the holes.

Are there any other ways to hold the bottom nut in place without needing a human under there with a wrench? Or to hold the top of the bolt so i can remove the nut from below?
Can you post a pic of these seat legs? If it's a "normal" bus seat there should be no problem getting to the bolt heads with an angle grinder.
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:33 PM   #6
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For the electricity, it's pretty easy to find a cheap (<$100) generator on Craigslist. When I started on my bus I spent a lot of time trying to find a workspot that had electricity without realizing how easy it is to provide your own. Water is a lot harder to get than power (for me, at least).
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:51 PM   #7
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I saw a picture on here somewhere where a guy put a bottle jack under the seat, and broke the seats off. The bolts didnít break. The seats did.
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Old 05-22-2019, 09:23 PM   #8
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Can you post a pic of these seat legs? If it's a "normal" bus seat there should be no problem getting to the bolt heads with an angle grinder.
I think it just comes down to the brand. I looked at an IC and the bolt heads were accessible because the metal leg was welded to a small foot which provided the mounting hole whereas the Thomas had the bolt head recessed inside a divot created by bending the steel leg end into a toe and this bending created the divot. Probably not an issue for the manufacturer but bedeviling for someone trying to remove those seats.

If not angle grinding does anyone have experience with an impact chisel on the bolt head? Just whack that sucker off and let the rest fall through the floor to the ground.
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:30 PM   #9
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I think it just comes down to the brand. I looked at an IC and the bolt heads were accessible because the metal leg was welded to a small foot which provided the mounting hole whereas the Thomas had the bolt head recessed inside a divot created by bending the steel leg end into a toe and this bending created the divot. Probably not an issue for the manufacturer but bedeviling for someone trying to remove those seats.

If not angle grinding does anyone have experience with an impact chisel on the bolt head? Just whack that sucker off and let the rest fall through the floor to the ground.
It is a 2003 Thomas. I was able to get the generator to work today to remove the head of one bolt and now that one is even worse than when I began. I may end up having to use the angle grinder to remove the entire foot of the seat, which is many inches of metal.
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:20 AM   #10
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Cutting them out seems to work the best, angle grinders are cheap and many people have them. Try borrow one save yourself alot of work.
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:47 AM   #11
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Or borrow a sawzall. Cut the bolt off between the seat base and the plywood. Cut in the rubber zone.
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Old 05-24-2019, 09:45 AM   #12
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Quick removal

I used an angle grinder, 4" cut off wheel for steel and a 6" metal punch which all cost about $25 from harbor freight.

We tried using a guy under and in the bus with impact wrenches but that was a mess and got very little done over several hours.


I cut the tops of the bolts off and tapped them out with the punch. Took a few hours total to complete and was very easy just one person. The hardest part was finding something to do with all the seats. Found a local scrap yard that would take them.
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:25 PM   #13
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Once again I come into a thread late because lately I've been working steadily at removing seats, flooring, and wall paneling from a 72 passenger Blue Bird. Just today I removed the lights, speakers and wiring from the ceiling and am now almost ready to tackle the ceiling rivets.

This has taken me about 6 weeks working several hour a day. I'm nearly 70, have one very bad knee, and have been working all alone. Obviously, I am not very fast, but I get it done by using my head and being determined.

For removing the seat bolts I would put 2 box end wrenches, held in place by bricks, on the heads of two bolts, and then I would go underneath the bus and undo the bolts. I found it worked best not to try to do both bolts on the same leg at once, but rather do one bolt on each side, and then switch and do the other two.

So when things went well I crawled under the bus and then out again once for every two bolts. However, some of the rustier bolts took several attempts because the upper wrench would fall off the head of the bolt, and I would need to go up and replace it.

In the end there were two seats that I could not get out this way, not because the bolts were very rusty, but because there were multiple obstacles in the way and altough I could touch the nut, I did not have enough room to move my hand enough to turn the nut. So finally I borrowed an angle grinder and ground them off.

So my advice is simply to be persistent and get it done, and anyway, the rivets are much worse than the seats, but with persistence you will get through those too.
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Old 05-24-2019, 10:25 PM   #14
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An angle grinder might not always be the best tool. . .

But a wrench doesn't shoot sparks all over the place (if you're using it correctly, anyways. . . )
There's something satisfying about making a big piece of metal into numerous smaller pieces of metal in a shower of sparks.
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Old 05-24-2019, 10:27 PM   #15
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I saw a picture on here somewhere where a guy put a bottle jack under the seat, and broke the seats off. The bolts didnít break. The seats did.
I saw a guy do a variant of that in a Youtube video. He was prying the leg up with a bottle jack and then cutting the bolts underneath with a sawzall. The bolt heads generally went flying because they're under extreme tension while being cut - I'd say this is a bad idea, especially when their are much better (and safer) alternatives.
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Old 05-24-2019, 11:06 PM   #16
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I got a vice grip and was able to remove two more seats today. This is going quite slowly, but at least half of that can be blamed on me being old and slow moving around under the bus. There is a lot of stuff in the way of many of the bottom nuts, like huge pieces of metal. Tomorrow a friend will come and I'll see how many seats we can get out. The ones that are covered by metal from beneath are going to need to be removed via angle grinder. There's simply no way I'm going to start disassembling the actual bus just those out.

To the person at Thomas who designed these intended feet, shame on you!
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Old 05-25-2019, 11:17 PM   #17
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Keep at it, you will get it done.


The angle grinder with a cut-off can indeed get those hard to remove ones. You may need to cut from the bottom of the head (from inside the bus) down into the foot at a shallow angle and you may need to do this from the other side of the foot as well. Once the angled cut has been made, hit it with a cold chisel and hammer to remove the head of the bolt then a punch to drop the bolt down through the bottom of the floor.


You may even need to cut the foot off and remove the seat to gain access. That is how I will do my NEXT bus as I discovered it on the last few seats.


P.S. I removed all of our seats by myself. I cut them all out. The bottom nuts were too well corroded to easily remove them with a wrench.
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Old 05-26-2019, 12:44 AM   #18
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I got very lucky about rusty bolts. My bus came from Auburn WA and the rust on most of the bolts underneath was very light. Also, there were a few bolts nearest the leakiest windows which were very rusty where they went through the plywood and just snapped off into a sharp point after about 3/4 of a turn. For most of the bolts, though, I got them off with a box end wrench about 5 inches long because most often there was not enough room to turn anything bigger.

But if I ever do this again I will certainly start with an angle grinder rather than just finishing with it.
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Old 05-29-2019, 03:16 PM   #19
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I've seen the job done in an hour with a cutting torch. Just make sure to flood the floor when you do it so you don't go up in flames.
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Old 05-29-2019, 03:53 PM   #20
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Cutting metal with fire?
More power!!!
Unh-unh, unh!
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I've seen the job done in an hour with a cutting torch. Just make sure to flood the floor when you do it so you don't go up in flames.
Wow.
5 years lurking, and you finally got over your shyness?
Kudos on your inaugural posting!
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