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How To Remove School Bus Seats on a Thomas C2

There are many people who have used many ways to remove the seats in their school buses. The fact is most private owners must remove the seats because of state laws defining a commercial vehicle. For me, a South Dakota resident, in order for me to operate and insure the bus without a CDL it must not be capable of transporting eight people or more. So the first thing I had to do was remove the seats so I could insure it. So how do you do that?

You can see where the bolts that held the seats were positioned directly above the chassis
C2 floor structure

First you have to know how they are attached. Down the center of the bus runs the Chassis which is two steel 3/8" thick "c" shaped beams running the length of the bus. On my Thomas C2 it has smaller 1/8" "z"shaped ribs running every ten inches perpendicular to the "C" beams. These two pieces are not made together. Infact, my C2 chassis is a Freightliner M2 truck chassis with a school bus body bolted and welded on top. The cabin is crafted on a completely different assembly line. While on the cabin/body assembly line, the seats are bolted to the bodies main floor structure which are those "z" shaped ribs and then the whole assembly, once complete, is lifted onto the M2 chassis to become a C2.

If you are Converting a Thomas C2 into an RV or Skoolie then you need not listen to the hundreds of people that will tell you to unscrew the nut from the bolt under the bus. these people have not converted a C2. If they had they would know that the process of attaching the body to the chassis hides half of those bolts between the floor and the "C" shaped beam that is the chassis. There is no way, on a Thomas C2 to unscrew all the bolts that hold the seats to the floor. You must cut them off. While it is tempting to try and save the seats feet, after about two of them you will see the value in time that using the method I am about to suggest gives you.


Part one one -physically remove the seat.

The seat is secured in two places down the center it is bolted to the floor and at the wall it is bolted top the chair rail.

The seat cushion will be in your way so first remove all the cushions on the bus. they are secured to the seat back by a single bolt in the center accessible behind the seat. You can unbolt it but I quickly learned I could cut it in a quarter of the time!

They cauterize as they cut
Angle Grinder Bite

After the seat cushion is removed you can access the two bolts attached to the chair rail. You can un-bolt them but once again I chose to cut them. (Side quest: the chair rail on the C2 is unlike older busses in the fact that it is not structural. You can remove it so you don't have to worry if you cut it removing the bolt). Also be careful cutting this bolt its not the easiest to access and I was reminded how dangerous the angle grinder is at this step when it jumped. First blood was drawn and Roheryn gained a point in the duel.

Once the seat is detached from the wall you can use the angle grinder to cut the feet off. Use the leverage from lifting the seat to snap it off after you've given it a good cut. Throw it out the back door and do as you please with it. (side quest: the steel in the seats weighs approximately 1000lbs or forty dollars at the steel recycler. I took the time to remove the cushions and vinyl but the cost difference was negligible. Call your recycler before disassembling the seats to find out if the hours it takes to remove the steel is worth your time/money. Had i known ahead i wouldn't have bothered)

Part two- Remove the foot from the bus

Step one- Use your trusty angle grinder to cut the bolt head in half. Start at the upper lip of the bolt head and cut diagonally across the bolt towards the floor. this should expose half the bolt shaft. It will look like a "C"

Step two- Cut the bolt head again at an angle from the opposite side. The shaft should now look like an "o"

Step 3- use the nail punch to hammer the bolt shaft to the ground. (This is a satisfying step for some reason)

Step 4- remove the second bolt and use a pry bar to remove the foot from the rubber floor. The heat from the cut off wheel will have melted it fusing the rubber to the feet.

Step 5- repeat

That concludes the tutorial. I hope my experience can save you some of the learning curve I went through to research and figure it out on my own.


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