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Old 07-03-2016, 02:43 PM   #1
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Best method to remove elevator bolts

Lisa and I removed our first section of subfloor yesterday (68 Safari Land Yacht). It looks pretty much as expected - surface rusted frame, lots o' icky stuff on the belly pan, etc. We are now going to methodically remove the rest of the floor.

I was able to see the c-channel close up and personal for the first time and get a look at exactly how the shell attaches to the frame through the subfloor (upward facing c-channel is riveted to the shell, bolts pass downward through that, through the subfloor and, lastly, through the frame where a nut is attached before bending the end of the bolt). I was not surprised that the perimeter elevator bolts used for the purpose are all quite rusted.

So, what is the best method for removing those? I'm thinking an oscillating tool with a metal-cutting blade, slipped between the subfloor and c-channel should do the trick. Of course, that will do more harm than good if the pass-through hole in the frame is threaded. Is it?

Is there a better, more widely accepted method for removing those bolts - assuming that they are completely fused by rust, as are mine?

Thanks to all, as usual.

Jay & Lisa
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Old 07-03-2016, 04:32 PM   #2
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make a tool...

I got a hole saw......made a template tool (hole in a board).....drill out the area around the bolt. Lift out the flooring and then use vice grips to break the bolt...very easy.
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Old 07-03-2016, 04:38 PM   #3
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I used a hole saw and template as well. Bolt cutters freed most of the bolts from the frame. After cutting off the top I used a hammer and punch to pound the stubborn ones out for the frame.

It is not threaded.

Dave
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Old 07-03-2016, 04:48 PM   #4
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Very good tip.
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Old 07-03-2016, 05:25 PM   #5
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Thanks

Thanks. Why didn't I think of that?

What role does the template play? Why not just use the hole saw to cut around the bolt? Am I missing something?

Also, I can't do this with the perimeter bolts, the ones through the c-channel. Oscillating tool?

Thanks again!

Jay & Lisa
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Old 07-03-2016, 06:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
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I got a hole saw......made a template tool (hole in a board).....drill out the area around the bolt. Lift out the flooring and then use vice grips to break the bolt...very easy.
I won the AS subfloor lottery, as mine was secured using oversized phillips screws. A little reluctant after all these years, but a little impact driver persuasion with the right sized bit, they all came out, except the ones that spun freely.
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Old 07-03-2016, 06:37 PM   #7
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Thanks. Why didn't I think of that?

What role does the template play?
Jay & Lisa
My guess is that the template stop the bit from "walking" around the bolt. Holesaw bit usually has a center bit that keeps it from wandering off, but in this case, that would be squarely on the bolt.
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Old 07-03-2016, 06:38 PM   #8
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Exactly, Chae.
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Old 07-04-2016, 05:29 AM   #9
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Don't forget to make your pattern for your floor before removal. It would be a beast to do after the fact.
I used a skill saw for elevator bolt removal.
Set the blade for a fuzz under 5/8 and plunge the blade in next to head of bolt on all 4 sides. Same effect as the hole saw. I used bolt cutters for the ones under the channel. My floor was so rotted at the perimeter it pulled out pretty easily then nipped the rusty bolts.
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Old 07-04-2016, 06:45 AM   #10
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I used a Harbor Freight vibrating tool in mine and a 4in, angle grinder on the ones where I had better access. Removed all the floor from the axles to the rear. Cutting the bolts dulled the blades in short order and I used a lot of them. It was the perfect tool for cutting down the center line of the frame rail and outriggers so that patches (just inside the door) would have a nice ledge to sit on.
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Old 07-04-2016, 01:18 PM   #11
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Elevator bolts

It may be best to avoid the oscillating tool as it could damage the c channel. The blades are also very expensive and wear too quickly. I had good luck grabbing the bent part of the bolt with a large pliers and bending it back-and-forth till it broke, especially with the very rusty ones. I used to 4 inch angle grinder and a Dremel tool with a mini cutting wheel as back up. Good luck with your project.
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Old 07-04-2016, 07:29 PM   #12
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Thats funny
I used a hole saw and guide on my floor also
Worked great
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Old 07-04-2016, 07:42 PM   #13
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The hole saw with the template works great for the bolts in the plywood. For the C channel bolts and others not accessible with the hole saw, a grinder with a cut-off blade works great from underneath (assuming your belly pan is off). A lot faster than an oscillating saw.
Greg
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Old 08-25-2016, 09:22 AM   #14
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3 quick questions stemming from this thread! I'd be SO grateful for any info.

Here's the scenario:
- Replacing subfloor from axels to rear
- Shell-on
- Belly pan-on
- Minor rot (not enough to remove subfloor with elevator bolts in place)

Questions:
1. For hole pattern method: once subfloor is removed, is bolt-cutters the best way to remove the elevator bolts?
2. Along C Channel: When using an oscillating cutter (FEIN was recommended highly), do I slide the blade between the subfloor and the C Channel, or between the C Channel and Bolt head?
3. With Belly Pan on, how do I re-attach the new subfloor once it is in place?
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