Removal of Interior Panels and Insulation

Following removal of all interior partitions, furniture, appliances, etc., the next step was to remove the interior panels. The panels are 0.025 aluminum painted with Zolatone, a paint that was also used in Airstreams of the same era. The panels were installed with pop rivets, so removal involves looking at the panels to see how they overlap and drilling out the rivets.

The end caps are made of fibreglass and are
quite flexible and tough. The skins and end caps were washed and put away for later. I am planning to reuse the end caps, but may opt for new aluminum for the walls.

Removal of the panels was easy compared to the insulation. Avions were insulated with a spray foam product. There may be advantages to this, but when it comes time to renovate it’s a PITA the remove. I also noticed that it was not applied very uniformly, did not adhere to the aluminum in all areas, and was supporting several mouse and ant nest. I saw many ants and one mouse during the renovation. Another drawback of this product is that it absorbs moisture and was quite wet in parts.

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I used several methods for removal depending on the area. A Fein saw with a curved blade worked well if I first used it to score the foam into squares of roughly 2″ x 2″ followed by skimming the blade along the aluminum. In some areas where the foam was less stuck to the aluminum I was able to remove most of it with a flat pry bar. dsc065981Pulling out the electrical wires also removed large chunks. I also made a scraper from 1/2″ diameter round steel rod with a sharpened end which worked well for getting into the channels.

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