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Old 12-05-2016, 09:48 PM   #1
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Newbies in PA!

So we just flew to Florida and drove home our bus! It was an adventure in itself! Now we are back and just starting to get to work on the conversion.
We brought home a 27 foot 2003 Thomas EF with a 3126 Caterpillar engine and AD 2000 Allison Transmission. Got us the full 1000 miles without any issues to speak of.
We know we are in for a lot of hard work to complete this. It's only day two for us and already we are tired and sore. It will all be worth it in the end!
Right off the bat, with our bus being wheelchair accessible, we've run into issues with removing the track seating rails. If anyone has any ideas or tips for removal please let us know. I've heard of one person that removed them via drilling but apparently we haven't found the right drill bit for the job or something! Tomorrow is another day and we will try again though!
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Old 12-05-2016, 10:37 PM   #2
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Welcome, and good luck!

Btw a member here has a sister who went full hulk smash on her seats to remove the stubborn ones. lol I get a kick out of that.

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Old 12-05-2016, 10:55 PM   #3
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Welcome, and good luck!

Btw a member here has a sister who went full hulk smash on her seats to remove the stubborn ones. lol I get a kick out of that.



Haha! Sounds like she had some fun doing that! Though for us the seats are t the problem, they came out easy. These are the rails that we are having a time with.


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Old 12-05-2016, 11:18 PM   #4
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Is that bolt heads I spy next to the ends of the rails? Maybe unbolt or cut those and try again.... if that fails I'd be willing to bet they're bolted on from underneath.... I'd get down there and check into that next.
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Old 12-06-2016, 09:31 AM   #5
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That bolt you are seeing is what was holding the wood down. These rails have bolts every 4 inches. They are bolted from underneath as you suspected. Unfortunately only half of them you can reach from underneath and the other half are stripped. Luckily I found a video a guy made on here that explains the drill bit he used to just drill them out from the inside! So that's our next step!


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Old 12-08-2016, 03:48 PM   #6
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drillbits

Most drillbits that you can buy at an average hardware store are absolute junk, the bolts will kill them quickly. The best way to get them is with a carbide center-drill, then use a carbide ball-endmill to drill down into the bolt shank. Carbide stuff is expensive, if you know of any machine shops, they might give you some old ones. To do this with some home-depot Cobalt thing is going to make a long day unless you are only talking a few bolts.... Good luck, and welcome to the coolest site on the web!
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Old 12-08-2016, 08:26 PM   #7
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If those rails are installed like mine...they are flat head allen bolts.
Hard as diamonds and drill bits do not like cutting into them.
The hex key hole tends to break the edge off of the drill bit really easily.
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Old 12-08-2016, 08:36 PM   #8
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Most drillbits that you can buy at an average hardware store are absolute junk, the bolts will kill them quickly. The best way to get them is with a carbide center-drill, then use a carbide ball-endmill to drill down into the bolt shank. Carbide stuff is expensive, if you know of any machine shops, they might give you some old ones. To do this with some home-depot Cobalt thing is going to make a long day unless you are only talking a few bolts.... Good luck, and welcome to the coolest site on the web!


Thanks so much for the info! We will try out what you mentioned and see what happens!



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Old 12-08-2016, 08:37 PM   #9
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If those rails are installed like mine...they are flat head allen bolts.
Hard as diamonds and drill bits do not like cutting into them.
The hex key hole tends to break the edge off of the drill bit really easily.


Yeah we've been breaking almost everything we try. Did you eventually get yours out? If so what worked for you?


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Old 12-09-2016, 11:59 AM   #10
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when things get tough a gas wrench, sometimes called a hot wrench, can work wonders.

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Old 12-12-2016, 08:37 AM   #11
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Yeah we've been breaking almost everything we try. Did you eventually get yours out? If so what worked for you?


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Mine are staying in because they are great for securing cargo like having e-tracks.
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Old 12-12-2016, 09:15 AM   #12
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Mine are staying in because they are great for securing cargo like having e-tracks.


They are also good for transferring cold air from under the bus into the floor. If you want to use them put them in your sub floor.


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Old 12-12-2016, 10:12 AM   #13
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They are also good for transferring cold air from under the bus into the floor. If you want to use them put them in your sub floor.


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Yes, but not going to be living in it.

Did you happen to get your Thomas at auction from Escambia County Schools?
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Old 12-12-2016, 10:17 AM   #14
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No. The bus came out of a VA school district.


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Old 12-12-2016, 01:35 PM   #15
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I wish my bus had seats like that... you could keep the rails and then use the seat frames to build stuff out of in a modular fashion that could be removeable!!
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Old 12-12-2016, 01:43 PM   #16
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You have to put a sub floor down. The rails could be used on top of the sub floor but the bus is only 27' so we won't have space to move things around. That would work in a 40' bus I suppose.


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Old 12-17-2016, 01:55 AM   #17
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just bought a '99 Thomas EF 5.9 / 545 in Portland that I think will have the same issue... following...
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Old 12-17-2016, 09:38 AM   #18
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just bought a '99 Thomas EF 5.9 / 545 in Portland that I think will have the same issue... following...

I am getting some heavy drilling equipment on the 24th. We got a lot of the bolts out, but there are more in than out since the underside of the bus covers the majority of them. Either way it will be nice (hopefully) to have to drill out less that all of them.


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Old 01-25-2017, 05:41 PM   #19
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Just wanted to send out an update!

We got those dang floors out!!! Woohoooo!!! It took a lot of cutting wheels but they came out pretty easy actually. We also got ALL our social media accounts up now and for some strange reason our FB page went wild in Egypt the other night lol. Please check us out, like, follow, subscribe, we love you all!!!



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Old 01-27-2017, 08:06 AM   #20
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Congrats!! Where at in PA? The gf is in Elizabethtown outside of Harrisburg. Went to a bus dealer in Duncannon. Found a nice low mileage bus but it's a rust bucket.

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