The first order of business in any bus conversion is to remove the seats. I had read many horror stories from other bus conversions, detailing the difficulty getting underneath the bus to remove the bolts. Having chosen a bus with seating rails, instead of floor bolts, I was quietly confident.
My confidence was quickly reinforced. Within minutes I had removed the back rows of seats from their tracks and unbolted the forward rows which were bolted directly into the floor. Simple. A task that had taken others days to complete was over in under an hour.
With the seats out, the next step was to remove the floor. I ripped up the old blue vinyl to expose the plywood below. The plywood was in good condition with no rot. I tore up the first plywood panel to expose a rust free floor beneath. Relief!
I started make my way down the bus; tearing up the vinyl, exposing the floor screws and tearing up the plywood.
I reached the start of the tracks and quickly realised these were bolted right through the bus floor. This simple task was quickly turning into a nightmare. Eight tracks, a bolt every two inches and over 20 feet of railing.
I attempted to simply under the bolts, but the nut slipped and the bolt spun in the hole. I considered cutting the bolts off from under the bus. However, with many in hard to reach places, or completely hidden this was not possible.
Finally I settled on grinding the bolt heads off. I was fortunate to have access to air tools. Using a die grinder and tungsten carbide drill bits, I ground the heads down and snapped them off. Although I’d finally found a technique which worked, it still took three days to remove the 500 off bolt holes.
A word of warning to anyone else thinking of buying a bus – avoid those buses with seating rails!