Okay, there’s no sugar coating how awful the process of removing school bus seats is. IT SUCKS. Especially if you bought a bus in New England where the rough winters are particularly harsh and the salt and snow cause extreme amounts of rust–making an already difficult process EVEN harder. But, have patience (and an arsenal of tools) and you’ll get through every last part of removing school bus seats. I promise this was the worst part and everything after this should be easier.
Step 1: Gather your tools
- Socket Wrench
- Regular Wrench
- Angle Grinder
- Sawzall (Often called Reciprocating Saw)
- Safety Goggles
Step 2: Loosen all the nuts and bolts first
Spray WD40 on bolt (bus floor side) and the nut (underneath the bus). Locating the nuts underneath the bus can be difficult and kind of uncomfortable if you’re not used to getting underneath a vehicle. Removing school bus seats is best done if you have two people (one on top and one underneath). When underneath the school bus, I’d recommend wearing safety goggles and gloves. Let the WD40 sit for a minute or two to loosen up the rust.
Step 3: Try to remove everything using two wrenches. If this doesn’t work, move onto next steps.
Find two socket wrenches or regular wrenches that matches the bolt and nut size. Have one person underneath the bus with the wrench attached to the nut, ensuring it doesn’t move in place. Be careful of pinched fingers!! Try to use parts of the bus to “jam” the wrench against instead of using your own strength to keep it from moving.
At the same time, the person on top should use a wrench to try to loosen and remove the bolt. Loosening it the first couple turns can be pretty difficult. We even had to attach a longer pipe to the handle of the wrench to get more leverage to crack the bolt. Once it loosens a few turns, it should be easier to turn until complete removal.
If you manage to get all the bolts out like this–AWESOME!!
Helpful Hint: Remove the seat cushions.
This isn’t necessary, but we found it hard to access all of the bolts–especially the ones over the wheel well. You can either use some brute force to rip them off, or ours had metal tabs that locked it in place. We were able to slide these tabs out of the way and remove the cushion.
Step 4: Use a Sawzall (Reciprocating Saw) to cut through the bolt.
This method works best if you’ve already managed to loosen the bolt a bit. This will give you a little bit of space to slide the blade of the Sawzall underneath the bolt head. It will take a while, and possible a few blades, but the goal is to cut through the bolt entirely.
Step 5: Use an Angle Grinder.
This method is best for the stubborn bolts that simply will not budge. Be sure to remove anything flammable in the area and wear eye protection since there will be LOTS of sparks flying. Use the angle grinder to cut through the bolt head completely. Also, be careful of the hot metal and be sure not to cut into the actual flooring.
Step 6: Celebrate your victory!!
Removing school bus seats is pretty hard work, so enjoy the fruits of your labor (and all the new space in your bus)!