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Old 10-11-2016, 10:45 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2015
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Year: 2003
Chassis: E-450
Engine: 7.3 Turbo
Not another rivet question...

Hey guys, remember us?

Our build thread should be up shortly as we've finally started converting. We've been held back by a never ending parade of set backs. First it was losing the only set of keys, then it was having someone hook the batteries up with the terminals reversed frying some electrical components, then the only garage that can handle buses in our area took FOREVER to get the inspection done.

But we're back and at work.

Except those F%&$#!# rivets!

We actually got super lucky and almost everything on the bus is held together by screws that came out in no time at all

Except the l track / seat belt tracks on the walls. They have some nice big rivets going into the frame behind the wall, and we can't get them out.

The track system makes it pretty much impossible to get anything to grind/cut the heads off, and I've gone through the best drill bits I can find. Even a diamond headed one!

This has me scratching my head. Short of cutting the rest of the panel off and attacking them from behind, I'm out of ideas. I read through all the posts I remember discussing rivets, but didn't find anything I haven't tried.

Tips are appreciated, as are links to other people overcoming these same challenges!
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Old 10-12-2016, 01:15 AM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 63
My opinion after trying various methods proposed in the forum is that most of them use way to much energy and take way to much time and I'm shock when people talk about using a chisel and a hammer in a 72 passenger bus and I was done after 10 rivets in my shorty so after much reading someone talked about this :

Flap discs

This is by far the fastest way ( not the cleanest, lot of dust will come up so use a mask and protective eyegear) and if you use the angle right you can tackle two rivets at the same time I did 753 rivets in about 4 hours with breaks. Use 40 grit it will be the fastest.
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Old 10-12-2016, 08:52 AM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Hempstead Tx
Posts: 146
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: t444e
Flap discs are good, I have one of these that will pretty much destroy anything in its path so be careful

https://www.amazon.com/--Norton-Grin...6&keywords=cup

We use them at work for grinding forging defects out of exotic metals, they eat aluminum and steel like butter.
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Old 10-12-2016, 12:56 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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OMG those look even better!!!!!!!!
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Old 10-12-2016, 01:54 PM   #5
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Salt Lake City Utah
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Engine: ISC 8.3
Tell us more about the rivets. Are they blind or solid? Any idea what material they're made of? It sounds pretty hard. Do the drills just make a small dent and go dull? Are you running the drill too fast and without oil, thus overheating them and accelerating their demise? If it's a blind rivet, drive the mandrel out of the rivet with a punch first. The mandrel will be a harder metal than the rivet body is, and there's no need to drill it since it can just be hammered out.

Have you tried fire? (I'm serious.) If they're some kind of hardened metal maybe you could soften it by heating with a torch and make the drilling a little easier. Another fire approach: I found a plasma cutter did a fantastic job of burning away the heads of rivets in my bus. Maybe there's a shop near you that does some kind of metal work, has a plasma cutter or oxy-fuel torch, and would help out for a nominal fee, lunch, etc. Final fire approach: use a stick or TIG welder to strike an arc and hold it. If you can minimize the transfer of filler metal, maybe you can get the rivet head to deform so it's thinner, or even have some of the material drip away so there's less left to drill or grind.

If you're not hoping to re-use the track you could cut some of it away so that you have better access for grinding the heads off the rivets. Could also try grinding with a burr in a die grinder if a rotating disc type grinder can't get in there.
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Old 10-12-2016, 03:49 PM   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1992
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Engine: dt466
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I took all the ceiling panels off a bluebird in about an hour or so with just an air chisel/punch. Need a good compressor to keep up, but its fast and easy and less toxic on the lungs.
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Old 10-12-2016, 04:19 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
I took all the ceiling panels off a bluebird in about an hour or so with just an air chisel/punch. Need a good compressor to keep up, but its fast and easy and less toxic on the lungs.
Sorry but is hard for me to believe that, I have a big compressor and air chisel and in the aluminium rivets was ok but steel not at all.

how long do you take to get one rivet out using that method ?
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Old 10-12-2016, 04:27 PM   #8
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepepito View Post
Sorry but is hard for me to believe that, I have a big compressor and air chisel and in the aluminium rivets was ok but steel not at all.

how long do you take to get one rivet out using that method ?
After three buses of practice, I'm GOOOD.
It was another forum member whose bus I de-riveted. Ask her if you don't believe me.

The key is you have to use a pointy punch type bit to drive out the mandrels, then you shear off the rivet head with a nice, sharp chisel bit.
The roof panels on that 30 footer were out in no more than 90 minutes using this method.
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Old 10-12-2016, 04:31 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
After three buses of practice, I'm GOOOD.
It was another forum member whose bus I de-riveted. Ask her if you don't believe me.

The key is you have to use a pointy punch type bit to drive out the mandrels, then you shear off the rivet head with a nice, sharp chisel bit.
The roof panels on that 30 footer were out in no more than 90 minutes using this method.
Next time please make a video because I follow those steps before and that didn't work for me, maybe I'm doing something wrong.
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Old 10-12-2016, 06:03 PM   #10
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Bring your bus, and I'll do em for ya. For free, like the last member I did the de-riveting for.
OR if anyone else in the area needs help with demo or rivets let me know, I'm always down to help out anyone who's friendly.
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