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Old 08-28-2011, 01:53 AM   #1
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Things I learned, removing the Belly Plan from a 1963 Bambi

Well, removed my first buck rivets. I am dropping the Belly Pan of a 1963 Bambi. The belly pan has a seam the runs front to back, slightly off-center, the length of the trailer. I suspect it is the original factory configuration.

I started by removing the Aluminum transition on the floor of the door way, then moved toward the back of the trailer, and removed the rivets between the door way and the wheel well. 2 rivets need to be removed up the side of the door jam, and there is a "trim piece" around the edge of the wheel well, than needs the bottom rivet removed (the wheel well trim piece is pulled out a little and a portion can be seen in the left most pic). After you remove the visable buck rivets, there are 3 hidden blind pop rivets up higher between the external and internal skins. The top pic shows the 3 larger holes above the even row of holes used by the visble buck rivets after I got the belly skin released and out from under the side skin. the lower photos show the blind rivets in-place before removal.
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Old 08-28-2011, 02:14 AM   #2
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will begin dropping the rear connecting buck rivets next. Maybe find some more hidden pop rivets?
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Old 08-28-2011, 06:59 AM   #3
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I wonder if the pop rivies were used to hold the belly pan in position for buck riveting at the factory.
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Old 08-28-2011, 11:58 PM   #4
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that's what I thought at the time. but after thinking a bit I a confused. It is my understanding you need access to both sides to install a buck rivet. If the belly was temporarily tacked on with a pop rivet, the only access to the belly-side buck rivets would be through the top. And that means the floor would not be installed. If the floor was out, what would the side be sitting on when it was buck riveted to the belly?
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:16 PM   #5
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It looks to me, that pop rivets were part of the belly pan installation. It looks like the frame was made, the floor attached to it, then the "C" channel was attached to the floor. The belly pan wrapped the bottom and was attached to the "C" channel with pop rivets. Because of the low profile of the pop rivet heads, the shell could then be lowered over the "C" channel, Belly Pan, and buck riveted through the belly skin to the "C" channel. And lastly, the interior skin was attached to cover everything.

to remove the belly pan, it must be done in the reverse order. Interior skin removed. Buck rivets drilled out from the outside. Since the heads of the pop rivets are covered by the exterior skin the pop rivets cannot be loosened from the outside. I then cut off the back-side of the pop rivets from the inside, drilled them out best I could from the inside, and jammed a paint scraper down to make sure the 3 layers (exterior skin, belly skin, and "C" channel) were truly separated.
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:55 AM   #6
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Your correct about the order.
Use a sharp putty knife to shear the rivets. Slide it down between the skins and chop them off.
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Old 09-07-2011, 06:31 AM   #7
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I don't know why, but this looks fun to me, lol. So is there not a way to take the belly an off without taking out the inside skin or is that model specific? I have a 74 Safari I'm about to drop the belly pan on and would love not to have to take off the inside skin.
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Old 09-07-2011, 07:00 AM   #8
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no. on the 70's trailers, the belly pan is a single flat sheet that spans the main frame rails. the "wraps" are connected the same way as the earlier trailers, though, so if you need to get those off, its a similar issue w/ the blind rivets. but they only go between the frame rail and the outer part of the "u" channel. The corner pieces come off easy enough, but the straight sections can be tucked up behind the outer skin pretty far, and attached with inaccessible rivets.
point is that if you just need to get to get into the center part of the trailer, where all the plumbing and tanks are, its much easier to do on the 70's trailers.
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Old 09-07-2011, 07:39 AM   #9
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Will the interior panels have to come out B4 I can drop the belly pan completely? It is a 67 Caravel
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Old 09-07-2011, 10:11 PM   #10
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I have not worked my way all the way around, but in the front and street-side, I have been able to only remove the lower interior panels. So not sure if you will have to remove ALL the interior panels.

I only NEEDED to replace the floor, and double check the frame. But after all this work, will probably remove the remaining interior panels just to seal the exterior skin. If I am really feeling brave, I have one exterior skin I may replace.

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