There is a solution for everything. I try to keep this thought in my head as I tear apart the van’s interior. I never thought dismantling the inside would be this difficult. Every time I figure out how to solve one problem, another one pops up.
The upside is that I have gained some knowledge. Having trouble with seat belt torx screws? Use a socket wrench and increase your leverage by slipping a long metal pipe over the handle. Still won’t work? Try heating the screw with a blow torch. Still no? Try PB Blaster. Stubborn headliner buttons? Try the claw side of a hammer, or a nail puller. I hope that one wasn’t obvious. It took me two days to figure that one out.
Today’s brick wall is figuring out how to remove the seat rails that are bolted into the floor. The bolts are threaded downward and spot welded in place. My first thought was that I could simply crawl underneath the van to remove the nuts. This would all be good and fun, except that the nuts are hidden from view by pipes, panels, and other various metal objects that I assume are very necessary to keep intact. The current thinking is that I’ll have to somehow split the rail apart to better expose the heads and then drill into the heads until they’re obliterated. Yum, I get to use my cobalt drill bits.
It is unbelievably hot and dirty inside the van. It’s about 10 degrees hotter than the outside temperature, and there’s dirt and dust everywhere. It’s amazing how deceiving those plastic panels were. Behind them was a thick layer of dirt, plenty of candy wrappers, sunflower seeds, rubber bands, and a nickel. I’m keeping the nickel.
It may not look like I did much today, but I was able to remove the stubborn buttons holding the headliner up, and the carpet is now loose and can be removed. Tomorrow I hope to finish removing the rear air conditioning unit, the headliner can finally come down, and then I’ll have access to the remaining seat belt screws. I’m crossing my fingers and toes that there won’t be any big surprises and all these extra bits will be sold off by next week.