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Old 10-19-2018, 01:28 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1959 28' Ambassador
Summerville , South Carolina
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 77
1959 interior end caps

Starting a new thread on this topic. I found lots of information on removing and refinishing or replacing with wood or aluminum. Didn't find much about the difficulty of reusing and re-installing.

I gather the fiberglass end caps aren't particularly popular, but I like them and plan to reuse mine. The rest of the interior is out thanks to the advice and encouragement of a couple others on the forum. Thanks again Bubba and Hi Ho Silver.

So, the short question is; how hard is it to get these things down without damaging them?

Here are my concerns:

They are rigid and will want to maintain their shape when they come down. As I understand them, they are also self supporting and lack rib attachment points. This leaves all the rivets to the outside edges. Once the majority of rivets are out the end cap could tear away abruptly under its own weight.

Next question; how hard are they to get back in?

Again, they're rigid and could be difficult to align.

Next question; Other then knowing I've been under there and re-insulated/ re-wired as necessary, is it really worth the hassle?

Thanks again everyone, and be warned. Shell removal questions are pending, but I suppose that's the exterior restoration forum.
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Old 10-19-2018, 04:13 PM   #2
Rivet Master

1966 22' Safari
1955 22' Flying Cloud
Fredericksburg , Texas
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 2,513
James, our 55 had the multiple aluminum end cap segments buck riveted so that wasn’t an issue removing without damage. Our 66 had the fiberglass or thermoplastic end caps. We drilled out all the pop rivets and strategically installed clecos to hold the panel in place until all the rivets were out. Since it doesn’t weigh much, I had my wife remove the clecos as I held the end cap up. When it was free and clear, she helped me set it on the floor then out the door. I reinforced the edging and any stress fractures with clear coat and cloth on the back side. When it came time to install, I pre-drilled the existing rivet holes through the clear coat along the edging so my wife could install the clecos as I held it in place. But yes, it is fragile so be careful. Once painted, I think it looks great. Good luck, Bubba
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Old 10-20-2018, 07:34 AM   #3
2 Rivet Member
1959 28' Ambassador
Summerville , South Carolina
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 77
They're both out. It's a good thing too. I'll get to that.

I started low drilling out rivets and alternated sides as I came up leaving the center most rivets for last. Given how much surface area there is in the end caps I was having a tough time getting my head around not having any supporting structure under virtually the entire fiberglass shell but sure enough. The only thing holding them in was the edge rivets.

The fiberglass was stronger than I thought. I went really slowly testing the support with each rivet drilled and ended up doing the whole thing by myself drilling the last couple rivets with one hand and supporting with the other. It was certainly a workout, but didn't seem too bad. If I had to I'd do it the same way again, but another person would have made things a lot easier and somewhat safer.

If I were advising someone on how to get this done, which I may very well be, I'd recommend the second person.

All told it went fine. The front went much better than the rear. There must have been some real shoving going on with the rear and there were a couple extra rivets placed in one corner. When I got them all loose there was still a lot of tension on the rib they were attached to. That's the only time I really wished I had a second person supporting the end cap. I had to push, wiggle, and pry which made the whole thing feel pretty unstable.

So after everything came out I found a leak in the front above the window. One of the panels has a big gap (like 3/8 of an inch) along the edge where it overlaps and I'm not sure how to deal with it. The outside looks fine, great in fact, but I don't know how. I'll deal with it after the shell is back on which means I have to get it off first.

I'm also pretty sure I won't be installing any lights or outlets in the end caps. It seems unnecessary and puts wiring in places that would be best left alone.

The question of insulation is also looming. It would be difficult no to compress it. Part of the fiberglass insulation was squashed flat.

All these are things to be dealt with later though.

Thanks again for the advice.
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Old 10-20-2018, 09:48 AM   #4
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1958 26' Overlander
Battle Ground , Washington
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 809
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I would suggest you brace the caps some how while their stored. They will deform easily. Hope this helps with reinstalling them. When I took mine out I was working alone so I took some scrape lumber and made a form to support the cap while I got the last of the rivets out.

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Old 10-20-2018, 10:44 AM   #5
2 Rivet Member
1959 28' Ambassador
Summerville , South Carolina
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 77
That's pretty slick. I'll bet it greatly reduced the sore back afterward. They aren't the most heavy things I've ever lifted, but they sure to want to move in strange ways.

I like the way your support allows enough flex to get the caps down without getting hung up on the ribs. My inclination would have been to make it nice and tight which would have resulted in substantial head scratching once all the rivets were loose.

Storing was a question I hadn't adequately addressed. I've got them put up safe, but nearly had to build another addition on to our house. Those things take up some real estate.

All this is great for anyone doing this. I sure hope it's easier to find than anything else that may have been here. I couldn't find much.

The reverse of the process may be important when insulating. It might be nice to recreate the shape of the end cap using PIC foam but that would require getting the interior end cap to sit really close to the way it does inside the cavity. Modifying your form method a little could make it possible.

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