I used several methods for removing rivets: drilling, hammering a sharp putty knife between the panels and a modified wood chisel. The latter turned out to the the fastest and easiest. I found an old wood chisel and ground it narrower so it was about the same width as a rivet head. Then I bent it slightly so the sharp end could lie flat against the panel. Otherwise the thickness of the handle causes the chisel to slant down into the panel which may cause damage.
To remove a rivet I placed the chisel against the rivet just above the skin. The space between chisel and skin needs to be as small as you can make it without contacting the skin, probably about 1/64″. Then I’d hammer the chisel. This causes the chisel to cut into the rivet head to the point where it shears off. As you can see from the photo above the chisel isn’t cutting the shaft of the rivet, just digging into the head of the rivet.
The original 1/8″ rivets that needed to be removed will be replaced with 5/32″ rivets with the same size head. Both sizes of rivets are available from Vintage Trailer Supply. After the rivet heads were removed I drilled out the remainder of the rivet.
I debated about removing the window from the front before removing the end cap, but decided to leave it as it didn’t seem like the whole assembly would be very heavy even with the window in place. This proved to be a good decision. First the bottom of the cabover was removed. This was necessary because the cabover is going to be reassembled with an increased depth of 3″.
Then the end cap was removed. I didn’t weigh it, but it’s fairly light and I was able to remove and reinstall it on my own.
While it was separated from the camper I removed the clearance lights and nameplate and de-anodized the aluminum.
The cabover floor which supports the mattress is made of 2 pieces of 1/4″ plywood with styrofoam insulation sandwiched between them. This photo shows the construction of the bed with the bottom layer removed, complete with ant colony!