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Old 09-22-2020, 05:28 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
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Removing solid side rail rivets

Aside from using an air chisel on the dimpled rivets, I want to remove the upper solid rivets above the windows to leave space for the sheet metal. Do you guys with the roof raises, grind off the inside pressed part of the rivet first or go at it with the air chisel on the outside? I am trying to minimize damage to the rail and ultimately to the body metal on the upper edge. Also, has anyone cut off the window deflectors when doing a roof raise for a clean edge? How did you do it?

Getting to that stage sooner than later!
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Old 09-22-2020, 07:23 PM   #2
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Drilling them out is better IMO. Just my $0.02.
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Old 09-23-2020, 02:26 PM   #3
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I watched a pile of the early videos from Jim & Deb with 'Life is a Joy' on youtube. Some pretty good info there in his build vids. He used a cutoff wheel to cut a slot in the rivet on the inside of the bus, then a hammer and chisel to cut them off. I have been a State employee for far too long to want to work that hard! I plan on giving the air chisel a try on it's own, and if it takes too long, then I'll try cutting the slot before using the air hammer. I'm pretty sure he also cut off the rain deflector over the non-existing windows. I plan on doing that too. It does give a much cleaner look. I have some metal sheers that I'm hoping will make that a clean cut after removing the bottom row of rivets.

I also read somewhere on here that if you take the typical air chisel bit and grind it down so there is only one cutting surface, like a wood chisel, it works much better.
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Old 09-23-2020, 04:26 PM   #4
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Yeah, I'll try the drilling method, the air chisel on the backside method and finally the cut a slot in the back of the rivet method. This is where my progress is going to get really slow! Learned the proper term "Buck Rivets". Now I am deciding to either go with buck rivets again or pop rivets. Steel or aluminum. decisions...!!
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Old 09-23-2020, 04:56 PM   #5
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From my understanding youd want a fastening rivet similar to the material your holding together. If its steel use steel and if its aluminum use aluminum otherwise youd get some galvanic corrosion from contact between dissimilar metals exposed to moisture.
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Old 09-23-2020, 07:30 PM   #6
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Im not sure if a bluebird is like my Amtran but if it is: My vote is on the air chisel to the back side first for a couple of reasons: A sharp chisel will shear off the backside of a solid rivet pretty easily and not wallow out the hole too bad; even if it does wallow it out a bit it shouldn't matter because your new sheet metal will go inside of it so there will be a fresh hole to hold the backside of the rivet. It's fairly fast with a decent compressor and the chisel resharpened every 20-50 rivets; it keeps the outside of the hole from being distorted so the new rivet has a better chance of staying weather tight. Most of the sheared rivets can then be popped out with a punch from the inside. The ones that are stuck could then be drilled but I've found it to be like 5% that wouldn't pop out with a punch. *Added note: I'm referring to 3/16" solid rivets. For 1/4" rivets I would use one of the other methods mentioned first before using the chisel as a last resort.

As far as rivets go, definitely steel or SS; no aluminum as it is a weaker material and you have the potential for electrolytic corrosion. I chose pop rivets due to the ease of installation by yourself vs solid rivets and being at the tail end of a roof raise I dont regret that decision one bit. Just make sure you get a HF air riveter if you go that route.
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Old 09-23-2020, 09:07 PM   #7
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30 gallon air compressor, HF air hammer, keep the chisel sharp.

Shear off the head.

Use a punch for the air hammer on the outside shaft of the rivet. Should pop right out. Keep the punch sharpened to a finer, needle like pont.
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Old 09-23-2020, 11:05 PM   #8
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Thanks guys. I will make the attempt tomorrow. Today I removed the rooftop condenser and final interior rear sheetmetal. Bus is stripped down to its framework. Anyone know the gauge of metal used on the hat channels? Incidentally, i do have a pneumatic riveter. Steel rivets it is.
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Old 09-24-2020, 08:30 PM   #9
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So I sharpened the air chisel and went to town on the backside of the buck rivets above the windows and along the exterior hat channel sheet covering. Sheared them off and popped them out in about 30 minutes the entire one side of the bus. Incredible! I am a believer in riveted buses. For those that dread rivets, I have found they can be removed so much faster than screwed in assemblies once you get the technique down pat.
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