Try this, you'll need some tools because doing it all "al manuel" will kill you.
Get a 4 1/2" angle grinder from harbor freight. Cheap, but it'll last the job.
Get a pack of cut-off discs for the grinder. Also cheap, but once again it'll do good enough for now.
You WILL need an air compressor, if not now, then later for a nailer, or for blowing crud out of holes, or painting, or many things. Even a pancake one will do for this job.
Get an air chisel, and a selection of chisel bits. The bit that has a slight angle to it's approach works great.
Pick up some thick leather work gloves, a face shield, and hearing protection.
When you are operating the angle grinder, note the directions of the sparks. They will set stuff on fire, or put pits in glass. (like your windshield) Which sucks. Use cardboard or plywood or something to protect the glass.
With the cutoff wheel, make a notch in the rivet, just deep enough that that you don't touch the sheet metal. Then, using the air chisel with the tip, hold the cutting edge against the rivet head and the sheet metal, and give it a go. The head will fold on the cut you made, and quickly shear off. Repeat a million times for the row. Each head shear should take no more than about a second or two. It'll go fast.
Now, using the same air chisel, use a ground down bit as a center punch. (HF might have one) the punch should be slightly smaller than the hole for the rivet (the one that the rest of the rivet body has made). The punch should have a flat head, so it does not widen the rivet as it hammers. One quick trigger pull will knock the rivet body back through the hole, freeing the connection. Start from the sides, and work back and forth so the remaining heads hold the sheet metal from the peak of the arch. It will come falling down so watch out.
It sounds like a lot of "tool set up" but all of those tools will be super useful throughout your efforts to renovate the bus. I was able to knock out the removal of all the roof panels in one weekend. (40' BB AARE)
You'll do fine. It's a lot of work, but we've all done it.
Originally Posted by fp42583
I own a 1986 Blue Bird All American bus. It has a 427 gasoline engine. I'm not sure about the transmission. I am not mechanically or construction inclined. So having said that I am at a loss as to how to get the ceiling panels out. I have tried 2 different hammers, different chisels, and an angle grinder. After 9 hours I have managed to only get one ceiling panel out.
So what am I doing wrong? This can't be right.
I don't have the option of giving up so I need to figure this out.
Thank you in advance for any advice. I am not rolling in money so keep that in mind as well.