Four hours on a Sunday afternoon and the ceiling is coming out! After removing the rest valence panels, I broke out the pry bar and blacksmith hammer tried wrenching out the ceiling panels and rivets. 5 minutes and some very sore hands later, still no rivets out. So time for the grinder again! By making two cuts on either side of the rivet core (not sure if that’s actually what it’s called), then another cut perpendicular to the first two, I found that the whole rivet just crumpled under the pressure from the pry bar. Still a pain to get the rivet out, but much easier.
So in this method, I managed to get a couple ceiling panels out and about half the ceiling rivet lines in the bus ceiling pre-cut in about 2 1/2 or 3 hours. I probably could’ve gotten the whole thing finished in a day with Sarah but, I was by myself, my arms felt like lead and I was getting tired of grinder sparks starting little fires in the right sleeve of my fleece pull-over. SO off to more fun things. Like removing the crossing arm body (a simple two bolts and an airline which, if I can trace out the air supply switch, I’m hoping to repurpose into the supply-line for a sweet, super loud truck horn I’ll install later), chasing out the currently inoperative stock “beep-beep” horn wiring and removing and storing the overhead dome lights and lenses, ceiling speakers and the internal fairing/trim for the two ceiling escape hatches. I think we’ll make a rainy day project of cleaning the lenses and prepping, priming and painting the trim pieces and speaker bodies. They sounded great when I drove the bus home so I figure we’ll just freshen them up and reinstall them later in the build.