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Old 02-13-2013, 01:37 PM   #1
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Removing interior skins/rivets

What is the best way to remove the interior skins?

Part 1 - what tools are best for removing rivets and are there precautions to take?

Part 2 - should I label them and save as templates? Or somehow take measurements before removing them?

Thanks for the advice (in advance).
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:51 PM   #2
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Use a #30 drill bit and be careful not to drill into the outer skin. They make special double ended drill bits for sheet metal that are shorter than normal. You can get them at mcmaster.com. You can use a regular drill bit though. Sometimes it is easier to use a sharp wood chisel to shear the head off and then drill what is left. This comes in handy when the head spins under the drill bit. You don't need to mark anything but try not to wallow out the holes.

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Old 02-13-2013, 02:13 PM   #3
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...or label them and put them back in!
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:03 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Someday'59 View Post
...or label them and put them back in!
Label them, strip them, polish them, and put them back in!
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:21 PM   #5
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If you don't have the special sheet metal drill bits regular 1/8 in will do. Use a fresh sharp one and when one gets dull toss it. Drill the head off and if the shank is till in the hole use an 1/8 punch to push it out ( back into the wall cavity) Also, keep a pair of vise grips handy. The rivet heads will stack up on the shaft of the drill bit as you drill them out. When that happens grab the bottom few with the vise grips and run the drill in reverse , the heads will "walk" off the end.
Label the panels and reuse them if you can. Buy some Cleco fasteners from any Aircraft supply house or Vintage Trailer supply and a cleco tool to insert and remove them. They are worth their weight in gold when you are installing panels.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:24 PM   #6
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Even if you are not going to reuse the skins, you may want to keep them for patterns. Those are some weird cuts on some of those panels. Hard to reproduce.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:26 PM   #7
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Remove the upper skin and only drill out the pop rivets (holding the skin to the ribs) and not the buck rivet heads (holding the panels to each other). Be careful with theses segments and try not to damage them! The main upper panel needs to be rolled up and carefully go out the front window opening. The lower panels (below the windows) will be the first panels to remove and the last to be installed, I find it easier to simply use them as a templet and replace them with new skin. The lower panels seam to take the brunt of the damage and in the long run the time you spent to fix them its easier to simply replace them. One last note, your years end segment are aluminum and are buck riveted together with a few pop rivets that help hold the entire end cap onto the ribs as one unit, be extra careful no to damage these, the damage, for most, is not replaceable or repairable!!! If you are wanting to strip off the old paint to have the all aluminum look I would only do this to the end caps (take your time) and replace all other aluminum with new skin you will thank me later! Remember to take a lot of pictures so that you follow the order of removal to place them back in again. One last note that most do not talk about, the trim items around the windows and such are not all the same, so make sure to mark these and again take extra care in removing and striping, these too are out of most to replace and or fix! Good Luck Todd
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:32 PM   #8
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What is the difference between a pop rivet and buck rivet?
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Old 02-16-2013, 06:58 PM   #9
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Pop rivets have a hole in the center of them. They are expanded by a tool that pulls on the center pin till it breaks. A buck rivet is what is used on airplanes. It is a solid rivet that is expanded using an air hammer and a buck (chunk of steel) behind the rivet. Buck rivets are much stronger but they require that you can get to the back side of them.

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Old 02-17-2013, 09:53 AM   #10
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So, for clarification, on the interior I should drill out the pop rivets with the 1/8 drill bit?

I see that most of the buck rivets are on the exterior shell. How do I remove these (if needed)?

I have a few more questions about removing some of the exterior "trim" pieces that wrap around at the bottom of the shell, but ill send some pics later.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:29 AM   #11
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If you have a hardware store handy get the #30 drill bits, they are the best fit for the original holes, get at least 6, you will need them, they are small and break easily. Take care not to enlarge the holes by drilling crooked or wiggling around, go as straight in as possible.
You will find that there are several courses of overlapping sections. Start at the bottom and work your way around the perimeter of the floor, Use a sharpie type permanent marker to label each piece on the back side for later identification (this will be VERY important later). Then work progressively upward as you go around, sort of the reverse of laying shingles as each course overlaps. As mentioned before, the endcaps should be buck riveted together- get some help when you are ready to drop these, you do NOT want to bend them. THe same goes for the last few panels along the top of the trailer running the length. These are probably buck riveted together also. Lower these carefully then roll into a tube and tie with rope or pallet style shrink wrap if available. It should then fit out the door, or in some cases the front window is used.
Hope this helps. Spend some time reading some of the build threads here and your confusion will decrease greatly.
Good luck and remember that this is supposed to be FUN
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:10 AM   #12
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This tool has been a really great tool for removeing all those pop rivets. It has teeth to hold the rivet head in place to prevent it from spinning.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:16 AM   #13
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Ditto to taking a picture of everything you disassemble! And clecos rock for a neat job.

Reusing the interior skins works well if your cabinetry will go back in the same location. Making new skins? Yes, template the shape onto new stock. I wouldn't predrill rivet holes off the templates though. Holes around the edge of a sheet can easily be located with use of a strap duplicator.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:35 AM   #14
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Is there any reason to strip and clean the interior panels before I remove them?
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