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mnexpress2 02-24-2019 12:16 PM

seat tracks!!!
these are the bane of my existence!!! i tried everything to avoid doing nut destruction on underneath the bus, but it seems to be the only option ...
tried drilling them out with a cobalt bit ... took three heads off and the bit was toast.
i tried oven cleaner on the bolts and nuts on the bottom, but the black gunk they used to seal it didn't come off. so, i cant use deep well sockets to drill them out with the impact wrench on top. plus the button head cap screws are rusted out.
i was going to cut the track lengthwise with a diamond cutting wheel but that seems like it'll take longer than the nut destruction.
only thing that seems to work is cutting the nuts as vertically as possible, then getting a crow-bar under the track (upward pressure) and impact drilling the evil thing until the nut pieces have fallen off and screw pops out.
i'm in a frozen tundra and don't want to stay outside ... if anyone has any easier, faster, warmer suggestion please get me out of the blizzard!!!

o1marc 02-24-2019 01:25 PM

It gets easier after that's done.
Do it easier, pay someone else do it
Do it faster, see above
Warmer, move it to a warmer location to pay someone to quickly get the job done. HTH:popcorn:

farok 02-24-2019 08:52 PM

In theory a sawzall with a metal cutting blade run between the floor and rail to cut the bots should work. I have a battery one that's just not powerful enough to get through much, but if I can find an electric to borrow, or a cheap one to buy, I'll try that next. I got through 6 bolts before the sawzall started to get pretty hot and I stopped.

TJones 02-24-2019 10:33 PM

Could you get a nut splitter on the nuts on the bottom? Or is there room for an angle grinder with cut off wheel to cut off the bolts?


EastCoastCB 02-25-2019 06:04 AM

When I get frustrated i just go HAM with the angle grinder. I've not had to deal with WC trcks. All 3 WC buses I've had just have a steel plate with slots bolted to the floor where a seat would be.

mnexpress2 02-25-2019 11:44 AM

so this is the plan ... have the bus to escape winters. i lived 10 years outside of god-forsaken mn, but now realized i should have left those winters long ago.

well, if you've never dealt with seat tracks you're lucky. i didn't know what i was getting into.
and generally thanks for the replies ...
so, i just bought a dremel to get into the hard to reach places that my angle grinder can't get at. but now i'm thinking ...
I might be able to use a dremel attachment to grind the heads off of the button-head cap screws from above and pound them through with a punch.
anybody ever try this???

Native 02-26-2019 02:36 AM


Originally Posted by mnexpress2 (Post 312069)
so, i just bought a dremel to get into the hard to reach places that my angle grinder can't get at. but now i'm thinking ...
I might be able to use a dremel attachment to grind the heads off of the button-head cap screws from above and pound them through with a punch.
anybody ever try this???

Try it!

Angle grinder to grind ...
cut-off wheel on angle grinder to cut off the heads
Dremel to grind or cut (but this may be slow)
air chisel (or cold chisel and hammer) to remove the heads
sawsall under the rails to cut the bolts (may be easier if the wood floor is removed from around the bolts first)

... then punch them out. I had to do this on a few of the more stubborn bolts holding my seats in place.

Lots of options!

mnexpress2 02-26-2019 08:48 AM

thanks ...
but any attack on the heads of the bolts is impossible ... they're button head capscrews that are counter-sunk into the L-tracks which are in-laid to the plywood sub-floor.
the only thing that has consistently worked for me has been angle grinding the nut underneath. but nut destruction is long!!! and cold in the northern tundra. i can't work on it for a few days so i'm just theorizing and seeing if anyone else has tried something that worked well.

now, i'm going to try the dremel with a aluminum oxide bit and then maybe a carbide burr on the heads of the bolts. never know.

farok 02-26-2019 09:25 AM

It's taking time, but I'm prying up the edge of the seat rail and running a sawzall to cut the bolt. I'm using a 9" blade with 14 teeth-per-inch, and if I get it in there properly, it cuts through the bolt relatively quickly. It's not too quick, though, as at an hour or two a night, it's probably going to take me a couple weeks to get through them all (4 rails on each side of my 6-window bus).

I did remove all the plywood first, a necessity. It's slow going, but sure beats lying on my back with an angle grinder over my head, at least in my opinion.

EastCoastCB 02-26-2019 09:26 AM

IDK I'd think a dremel would be most expensive and time consuming way to do it.

T-Bolt 02-26-2019 08:44 PM

Plasma cutter is your friend.

Ciscokid 02-27-2019 06:11 AM

4 Attachment(s)
Grind the heads off and then punch them through the holes. If these holes go through the bus you will want to fill in the holes with a welder. Moisture and air will get in these holes causing you a massive rust issue in the future. I cheap mig welder from Harbor freight will be suffice.

mnexpress2 02-27-2019 07:54 PM

There are no heads to cut off, sadly. this is a wheel chair accessible bus so the seats are moveable on L-tracks which are secured with button head cap screws to the floor ... nut destruction is the only option.
However, a plasma cutter might work for the heads ... you think it's possible just to cut the heads off??? there wouldn't be any adverse consequences such as sparks jumping out the other side, under the bus and hopping into my gasline, blowing me to kingdom come???

Rogue 1 02-27-2019 11:33 PM

To the OP.
I know what a pain those tracks are to remove. Your method of prying it up enough to get a sawsall blade in there sounds pretty good to me.

My fastest method was to use angle grinder with a thin cutting wheel. ( went through about 20 discs)
From the side, cut through that bolt head and all the way through the rail. I cut every other one. (Saved time)
I took a big hammer to the cut and pounded it several times until the section started to rotate. Note: some times I’d have to go back and cut through the head just a little better to get it to break free.

I had rubber strips under my rails. I’d start to pull, rip, cut and tear these rubber strips out of the way. Then, with a nice gap under the remaining bolt head it was a breeze to cut off.

I have an 8 window bus and put in 5 to 7 hour days on it. Took me 10 or more days to get the rails out. Of coarse it wasn’t until I got to the second side that I came up with this method after trying a half dozen others first.

4 rails per side running the length of the bus and a rusted bolt every 4 inches.

What a total pain in the A##.

mnexpress2 03-03-2019 07:54 AM

hey team!
finally found a way to get 'em out quick, easy and in the heat of my bus. i'm using a bi-metal hole saw to cut the soft aluminum around the the button head cap screw. once i cut the around all the bhcs then i lift the track out (nice and easy ... no bending or forcing). i crow-bar all the plywood around it thus exposing the head of the bhcs and go to town with the angle grinder. then punch the headless bolt through et voila! now there's the empty nihilist space in which i can create anything my heart desires. remove everything (all 8 tracks, plywood and bolts) should take about 2-3 hours. i'll post pics and more detailed explanation later.

i found this way saved the structural integrity of the track the best. however, there are big holes in the track on everything fourth or fifth bolt position ... not sure if i can still sell it.

Smokey's pipe dream 03-03-2019 08:18 AM

(make sure that track isn't magnesium! if it catches fire it cant be put out!)

use cutting torch! sometimes you just have to use the right tool for the job however i used a cut off wheel at an angle i kept roughing the edge up on the edge of a hard piece stainless then got the track cut out of my way around the bolts then cut the bolts those tracks arent run of the mill aluminum i wouldnt say i tried cutting them with a skill saw but i lost half of the teeth first go same with the seats i whacked the posts off with a Sawzall and then i made a jig for my hole saw to ride in and snipped the heads of the bolts off i didnt try it on the wheelchair tracks by the sounds they are hardened steel grade 8? might try cut off wheel in a circular saw too might give you more reach at an angle so you can plunge cut them start at the edge of the bolt head at a 45 deg angle and cut until the bolt shaft is cut off did this make any sense because it did in my head?!:rofl::dance::thumb:

mnexpress2 03-03-2019 09:21 PM

here you go team ... better explained process of what worked pretty well for me ...

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