Boat seat problems are one of the more overlooked issues boaters deal with. As such, I noticed a shortage of guides on how to replace boat seat pedestal bushing – a problem I had to deal with not too long ago.
I made this guide precisely to address that by sharing what worked for me and most boat owners with the same concern. As long as you have the right tools and parts, it’s a straightforward process.
Table of Contents
- Ways to Replace Boat Seat Pedestal Bushing
- Steps to Replace Seat Pedestal Bushings for Boats
Ways to Replace Boat Seat Pedestal Bushing
Based on what I’ve dealt with and other people doing their own pedestal repair, removing the old bushing is what complicates most projects. It could be that it’s already broken or corroded to the point that it becomes too hard to remove.
There are also separate methods for taking out the old bushing, depending on whether the bases are threaded or not. Fret not, though, as there are workarounds to them. Also, keep in mind that certain bushings, no matter how old, come right off.
When loosening the old bushing, I can vouch for two techniques:
- Using a chisel or screwdriver
- Relying on a jigsaw or hacksaw blade
I’ll explain how to use both in the guide.
As for the actual installation of the new pedestal bushing, it’s best to stick to what the manufacturers recommend. I’ll share the exact steps I took, but you’ll have to make adjustments where necessary.
Steps to Replace Seat Pedestal Bushings for Boats
Step 1. What to prepare:
- Correct replacement bushing for your boat seat
- Any bushing and boat seat removal tool (e.g. screwdriver, chisel, jigsaw, or hacksaw blade)
- Vise grip
- Vacuum cleaner
- Block of wood
- Glue (optional)
Take note: Since my boat was relatively old, one other hitch I encountered was finding the right replacement bushing for my particular seat pedestal – and, of course, I also had to get the correct size. I had to ask around in fishing forums for help, and thankfully, some folks at Crappie were all too willing to aid in my search.
Step 2. Get the right replacement bushing.
This is an important initial step, since a lot of folks tend to end up with the wrong bushing. It could be that your previous bushing was threaded, and the new one you bought isn’t, and vice versa.
If your fiberglass boat or any vessel you have calls for a certain part number, then there’s no reason to opt for anything else other than that. It will likely have the correct dimensions, and trust me, you don’t want to go with a shotgun approach with those measurements.
Search for that exact part on Amazon or other boating stores (local or otherwise) in your area, and you’ll be good to go.
Looking for the exact bushing that fits gets challenging if your watercraft has already seen a couple of years or decades because it may no longer be available. Ask the manufacturer for advice about this.
Step 3. Remove the seat pedestal and base plate.
You’ll inevitably need to do this to get to the bushing. To remove a boat seat pedestal, the most suitable approach is often to remove the base plate first. You can give it a good cleaning afterward.
If you’re dealing with a particularly rusted pedestal that’s hard to loosen, you can try any of the following techniques:
- Apply some lubricants or penetrating oils, then tap the pedestal lightly with a hammer. This may help get rid of some of the rust.
- Tapping it with a hammer at various angles may be enough to slacken its hold.
Step 4. Take out the old bushing.
This is where you either luck out and get the old bushing out in minutes or it just won’t budge due to the factors said above. Worse, you may even deal with a stuck boat seat pedestal.
If you end up in the latter situation, you’ll need to try to drive out the old bushing using the screwdriver or chisel or cutting it with the saw blade.
- The first method mainly involves inserting a chisel in the old bushing’s side and then hammering it down to hopefully split the bushing. Don’t worry about breaking it!
- The sawing method involves “quartering” the old bushing in four spots. You cut into its sides, but not all the way through the bushing’s entire thickness. Afterward, you can use the hammer or a screwdriver to beat the lip in, causing it to loosen.
As the bushing becomes more movable, use the jigsaw to cut through it. You’ll likely be left with bits and pieces that you can take out with a vise grip or any other applicable gripping tool that can fit in the hole.
Remember: Don’t rush to remove the old bushing if it’s not budging (lest you damage your boat). Accept the fact that some setups can be a pain and will require more effort and patience than normal.
Step 5. Vacuum the hole then install the new bushing.
Use the narrow nozzle of your vacuum to thoroughly clean the inside of the pedestal hole. Afterward, you can start installing the newly bought bushing.
Again, as long as you got the right-sized part, it should fit like a glove every time. What if it’s still a bit larger in diameter than the hole on your boat’s deck?
Well, one neat trick I tried was to put it in the freezer for a few days until it shrinks enough to fit in! And, lo and behold, it actually worked for me! Just be sure to not go overboard with it, though.
Once you’re ready to hammer the new bushing in, you can apply some glue on its sides to help it stay in place. Now, position it on the hole and put the block of wood on top of it.
With everything good to go, carefully hammer it in, making sure to not exert too much force, unless you want to order a fresh bushing from the store again.
Step 6. Insert the seat pedestal.
From here on, it’s all a matter of re-installing the seat pedestal and base plate. Feel free to replace any of the said parts (or the whole seat itself) if they’re already rusted or damaged to the point of no return.
With that in mind, I highly encourage you to regularly perform boat seat pedestal maintenance, such as using seat covers and deep cleaning once a year, if you want these parts to last longer.
I hope you found my guide on how to replace boat seat pedestal bushing particularly helpful and informative. Just remember the pointers I’ve shared here, and I have no doubt that you can get your loose boat seats nice and steady in no time.
You don’t have to stick to the steps and tools I mentioned above, as I basically just laid out the fundamental steps. Anything that works for you in removing the old bushing and installing the new one should be fine (as long as you don’t break anything you shouldn’t).
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