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Old 10-16-2018, 11:03 AM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1959 28' Ambassador
Summerville , South Carolina
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 77
Proceeding with caution: '59 interior skin removal

Hello again,

Thanks for being so tolerant of my inexperience thus far. I've removed the interior and stored a great deal of it in another "box" trailer that I have on the place. Much of it is going to the dump. This comes on the heels of a post in another section. I got lots of great advice regarding the value and disposition of interior components for which I'm very grateful.

I've already begun slow and cautious progress on interior skin removal. After watching a pretty comprehensive video on the shell removal of an Argosy I decided to try and see how the structure of my '59 Ambassador compared. I took the interior panels off the rear end cap and I think the method used in the video will work for me. The rest of the structure should be compatible with the method as well so now I'm removing the remaining panels.

I intended to remove the panels in what appear to be the reverse of installation but immediately began to run in to questions I can't answer. The interior had been painted a couple of times and I didn't look closely at the rivets until now. The top panels appear to be buck riveted in place along the top seam and around the door. Everything else I've noticed so far is pop riveted, many of which have already broken.

My first question was why?

Having never done this before it's as much reverse engineering as it is repair and restoration. As such I've stopped until I can figure out how smart it is to start drilling and dropping panels. I intend to reuse as much as I possibly can with regard to the panels. I've taken great care thus far in following the advice regarding drilling out rivets.

I've also read other posts that state the end caps/panels are buck riveted but I haven't seen buck rivets on those panels. Construction techniques appear to have been changing and evolving during the late 50s and early 60s.

Is this evidence of that evolution?

Here's the other question that I'm sure will have many laughing:

I'd like to have the shell off, frame repaired, holding tanks in, floor replaced, and shell back on by April. Is that reasonable?

Presently I don't have much else going on and don't plan to until then. I'm a visual and tactile learner so the only way I'm going to get a grip on this is by doing it or at least seeing it done. That said I'm pretty much on my own here in Summerville SC and I don't want to start ripping stuff apart and end up breaking something I can't fix.

So yeah, what's up with the buck rivets in the top interior panels?

Should I remove the lower panels first even though it looks like they were installed before the top ones?

Can I destroy this trailer by removing the panels in the 'wrong' order?

Thanks prematurely,
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Old 10-16-2018, 12:14 PM   #2
2 Rivet Member
1959 28' Ambassador
Summerville , South Carolina
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 77
OK After scratching my head and talking to myself while pacing the floor of my trailer I think I may have answered some of my own questions.

Were the three ceiling panels buck riveted together before being installed in the trailer?

If the answer is yes then should they be removed as one piece?

That would explain why I've seen posts saying to roll the panels, take them out through the front window and store them carefully.

That leaves me wondering about the buck rivets around the door. Was the door installed with buck rivets both inside and out after the interior skin?

Regardless; can I leave the door installed with only the exterior rivets during shell removal?

Using the method in the video posted previously I think it should be stable enough to be OK but I'd rather not find out the hard way that I'm wrong.

Whoever said ignorance is bliss probably didn't actually do very much. I guess we all have to start somewhere though.
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