Originally Posted by new2air
If you replace the interior aluminum skin do you use the same rivet holes in the structural beams to attach the new pieces? It sounds like you use the old pieces as templates and drill holes in the new pieces with holes corresponding to the old? Then you rivet the new pieces through the same holes in the sturctural beams for the trailer? Or create new holes (cant be)?
Is there an absolute size of drill bit you want to use to drill out the old rivets? I assume you could really mess up by drilling out the old rivets with too big of a drill bit - making it difficult to use for a new rivet later???
Yes, you do use the same holes and it is important to use a bit large enough to do the trick but still small enough to keep from enlarging the hole. I think its a "10, 20 or 30"- slightly smaller than 1/8" (someone will know for sure) to drill them out. Then drill the new holes in the new panel with an 1/8" bit so the new rivets will fit. If you are care when using your old panels as your templates, you should "hit" 98% of your old holes in the ribs.
The other thing you can do with most small aluminum rivets is use a sharpened paint scrape and a mallet and just shear the heads off by putting the scraper between the rivet head and panel and tapping it (scraper) with the mallet. This prevents having to have to drill out every rivet and potentially enlarge all the holes, but it is possible to scratch the panel when doing it so if you are re-using the same panels, you may not want to do it - for templates, no problem. Then we used a spring-loaded center punch to push the stems in to free the panel.
If you have any steel rivets, you will need to drill them out - they are usually too tough to shear off.
One other suggestion...clecos
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