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Old 12-16-2012, 09:03 PM   #1
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Removal of floor E-Bolts

I spent this morning drilling out with a hole saw the E-bolts in the sub-floor I figured I would post here and show pictures how we removed the bolts.
first I would drill the hole around the bolt. I found insted of a chisel to clean out the wood around the bolt, I used a screw driver hamered into the hole to remove the plug of wood. here are the pictures, hope this will help someone in the future. I'm sure it has all been shown before but this just is another prespective.

thanks
David and Pam
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:06 PM   #2
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forgot to say we then used vise grips attached to the bolt head wiggling it back and forth till it just snapped off. afterthat we used a punch to drive the bolt out of the frame.
thanks
David
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:16 PM   #3
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Timely post...

Hi David and Pam,

Thank-you for your timely post. I am in the process of searching the various threads here on the forum, on what are the various ways to remove the plywood floor, other than chopping it to pieces.

I'll book-mark this and review again when it comes time to replace the floor.

Thanks again,
Chris
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Old 12-18-2012, 01:00 PM   #4
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E bolts

I had to replace a section of floor due to a bad leak, and I found a great tool at Home Depot for 20 bucks that allowed me to remove the bolts. It is an impact driver that had two bits, and one of the bits fit the e bolts perfectly. You just put the bit into the bolt and hit the head of the driver and it turns slightly, and you hit it again, and again. The first couple took a while but I got the hang of it and it got easier. I removed 32 bolts in less than an hour. I was able to lift out the section of flooring when I was done,

Regards,

Reganzo
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Old 12-18-2012, 01:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reganzo View Post
I had to replace a section of floor due to a bad leak, and I found a great tool at Home Depot for 20 bucks that allowed me to remove the bolts. It is an impact driver that had two bits, and one of the bits fit the e bolts perfectly. You just put the bit into the bolt and hit the head of the driver and it turns slightly, and you hit it again, and again. The first couple took a while but I got the hang of it and it got easier. I removed 32 bolts in less than an hour. I was able to lift out the section of flooring when I was done,

Regards,

Reganzo
I've ben using that impact driver to remove all kinds of screws on my tear down of a 1968 Safari, with a little finese you can remove small screws into aluminum as well as the elevator bolts.
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:43 AM   #6
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My elevator bolts didn't have anything to put a bit in and were recessed into the plywood a bit. I ended up using the hole saw method which went pretty fast. After the floor was off I used the claw end of a hammer to break off the remaining wood around the bolts. I then used a 6" cut-off wheel on a grinder to cut the bolt between the head and the frame. All said I believe I spent about 3 hours removing all 147 elevator bolts on my 26 footer.
As a side note my father was convinced just drilling the bolt itself out would be faster, 3 bolts later he gave up when I did 9 or 10 in the same time, so get yourself a hole saw and save your drill bits for later.
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Old 12-30-2012, 07:46 AM   #7
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I have had good success plunge cutting around the bolts using a $29. Harbor freight "Multi Tool". Then cut off the bolts with an air chisel
Also works well for cutting through flooring close to a wall or cabinet.
Just replaced 11 feet of floor in the 61 without dropping the pan. Used self threading trailer floor bolts in place of the old elevator bolts.
Now what do I do with all the pieces of old plywood with little square holes in it?
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:12 AM   #8
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If you have philips head E bolts they typically come off with no problem with a good impact driver and a lot of pressure. Be patient and if they dont come off with the first counter clockwise turn then try tightening them slightly and then backing them out. they just need a little movement some times to get them going. Otherwise the rusted out stripped ones will need the hole saw method
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:04 AM   #9
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If you have philips head E bolts they typically come off with no problem with a good impact driver and a lot of pressure. Be patient and if they dont come off with the first counter clockwise turn then try tightening them slightly and then backing them out. they just need a little movement some times to get them going. Otherwise the rusted out stripped ones will need the hole saw method
The bolts must be different on later trailers. All that I have worked with in the 50 and 60's models have been flat headed with no driver slots. They were secured underneath with a square nut and usual been hit with a hammer to bend the bolt so the nut could not come off so there is no non destructive way to remove them.

The aftermarket self threading replacements I used had a torx head which is easily gripped with the proper bit. I have also seen self drilling/threading bolts with a #3 phillips head at Tractor Supply.

Also all the perimeter sheet metal screws holding the body to the floor have been slot headed and don't lend themselves to power drivers.

Building these trailers must have been a lot more time consuming back then than it would be with newer fasteners now.
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Old 01-14-2013, 04:23 PM   #10
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Guys,
Your info and advice is most helpful. A PO of our '67 Safari had covered the subfloor with 3/8" ply so I had no idea I was not looking at the original subfloor until now. I can use the hole saw method but would like to know more about this bit used on an impact driver. Our bolt heads have no driver slot so maybe that was a different animal.
Jim Foster
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Old 01-14-2013, 04:55 PM   #11
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Guys,
Your info and advice is most helpful. A PO of our '67 Safari had covered the subfloor with 3/8" ply so I had no idea I was not looking at the original subfloor until now. I can use the hole saw method but would like to know more about this bit used on an impact driver. Our bolt heads have no driver slot so maybe that was a different animal.
Jim Foster
the bolts I removed did not have slots, just flat heads. We just used vise grips pinched the top and wiggled back and forth til the bolt snapped of, some snapped off with ease and others need to be wiggled a bit more. In the last photo you can see the bolts laying on th belly pan from being driven out with a punch.
thanks David
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:57 PM   #12
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David and Pam,
You've got a good technique here...thanks for sharing! I've used something similar before and it works well as long as you don't need to preserve your sub-floor to the maximum extent possible.

I've been doing a lot of frame and floor work over the past year and I've used all sorts of methods to remove bolts and drill through 3/16" and 1/4" plate frame reinforcements that I've installed. Something that I think folks should consider is buying a few sizes of cobalt bits. I've bought two of these manufactured by Irwin and it's shocking how much better they drill steel compared to titanium and high speed steel bits. The hammer actuated impact driver works great for many fasteners too. I also have a 1/2" pneumatic impact wrench, but that's too much for small bolts.

Steve
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:25 PM   #13
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When I was removing floor bolts from our '85 Excella I used the hole saw method. I was able to use an air cutoff grinder and quickly cut the bolts flush with the frame rail. Quick and easy. I pre-drilled when installing new bolts. I found that if I didn't they quickly stripped themselves. The pre-drilling worked nicely.
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:40 PM   #14
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Most drill bits are generally much harder than the metal you're trying to drill, so cutting/sharpness is often not the issue. The issue is often friction and the associated heat build up. I used to drill holes in 3/4" I beams all day long and one guy can go 3 holes and his bit is shot, the next guy makes the same brand bit last for literally hundreds of holes. It all boils down to finesse , proper drill speed, and pressure, "read" the tool you're using. Get too greedy and the bit overheats which takes away the temper and suddenly you have a bit that is as soft or softer than what you're drilling and viola "junk" drill bits. That being said, I still used the hole saw method rather than drilling 150 holes into rusty elevator bolts. Wood cuts 10x easier than steel. If I had some form of a bit or slot in my elevators I might have a different opinion, my bolts were also bent over on the bottom side so cutting the head off was my only option.
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