rivets - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-20-2008, 06:50 PM   #1
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I think, as an old retired engineering prof, that the most annoying thing about my egg (Casita) is the riveting. It is so crude and ugly. I suppose it is economically necessary in that that screws that didn't pop could very well stress to cracking (fracturing) limits thus rendering the hole a diameter or two larger than designed. Nevertheless they are... as I said....ech.
Nothing against rivets. Without them Boeing would be doing something else but still they are ugly.
I think I saw that the Escape or some other egg, having dual walls that had metal frame sections within the walls where the "furniture" could be attached rigidly with common screws, were better suited to solid riveltess construction.

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Old 11-21-2008, 12:02 AM   #2
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I think you hit the rivet on the head with the word ... economical.

I was given some aircraft grade rivets by a friend, I could barely get them to work with the hand unit. They simply took too much force to use. Went out and bought some regular "pop rivets" to finish the work. I've even tried some of the SS bolts with washers and the nylon lock nuts. Much more expensive, and install best with 2 people.

From an engineering perspective, I'm surprised they don't use FG raceways for conduits and strength.
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Old 11-21-2008, 08:45 AM   #3
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We've had lots of discussions on the pros and cons of rivets. Do a search on the "care and feeding" forum; you'll probably find lots of opinions on the subject.


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Old 11-21-2008, 09:16 AM   #4
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I think it should be fairly easy to cover ugly rivets with plastic screw caps for inside use, or perhaps a dab of resin.
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Old 11-22-2008, 06:51 PM   #5
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Hi Ron,

Lucky for me I don't mind rivets and how they look. Considering where I have towed our little Casita (coming off the Hopi Mesas on our recent trip in a 75 mile an hour head wind from the hurricane in Mexico as an example) I am amazed I haven't popped more of them!:-) Got to get our baby washed and cleaned up for the cover and a winter nap soon...but strangely enough too cold here in SC lately!

Rand:-)
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Old 11-24-2008, 08:52 PM   #6
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Hi Ron,

Lucky for me I don't mind rivets and how they look. Considering where I have towed our little Casita (coming off the Hopi Mesas on our recent trip in a 75 mile an hour head wind from the hurricane in Mexico as an example) I am amazed I haven't popped more of them!:-) Got to get our baby washed and cleaned up for the cover and a winter nap soon...but strangely enough too cold here in SC lately!

Rand:-)
Oh I was being coy. Of course they work but they are ugly... like a bunch of little white zits poking out of the skin. Just ugly. Which fiberglass RV has no rivet pimples? any?

I have many times pulled my egg over 60 miles (one way) of the toughest rock roads in the United States (to toroweep grand canyon) and have popped only one rivet. But I am kinda like a wincing mechanic. I drive very slow and careful and just cringe when the bump feels too hard. It is stressful.

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Old 11-24-2008, 10:33 PM   #7
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Which fiberglass RV has no rivet pimples? any?
The 1970s Trilliums basically have no rivets (I think they have a half dozen holding the rain gutter on over the door, and maybe a few others, but none to speak of.) I don't think the Compact Jrs have very many either. In addition, I don't think the Burro/U-hauls have any (?)

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Old 11-24-2008, 10:40 PM   #8
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Nothing against rivets. Without them Boeing would be doing something else but still they are ugly.
I think I saw that the Escape or some other egg, having dual walls that had metal frame sections within the walls where the "furniture" could be attached rigidly with common screws, were better suited to solid riveltess construction.

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Olivers have a double hull, high gloss marine grade gel coat in and out. No rivets. The furniture and cabinets are molded into the inner hull. The reinforcements between the hulls, where necessary, as well as the frame, are aluminum. Perhaps this is the brand you're thinking of. I believe (though I've never seen one in person...) that the Escape is single hull, evidenced by the vinyl liners, side-mount A/C, and non-fiberglass cabinets in the website. Is that correct?
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Old 11-25-2008, 09:43 AM   #9
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I have a rivet question, while we're on the subject. (I've searched the archives but not found this.)

Usually, in houses, boats, etc. it's considered somewhat second-rate if you re-paint the outside, and, instead of removing hardware, simply paint over it. I'm thinking of door hinges, doorstops, and other fasteners.

On something like a Scamp or a Boler, let's say you were getting ready for a nice paint job, so you were removing the aluminum windows, and then either removing or masking off other hardware (belly band, black window gaskets, door hinges). Okay, but what about the rivets? Would the proper way be to remove (yikes) them all? Would one mask them off? Paint right over them? Same question would apply to the truss heads if one had replaced their rivets with screws.

I know they make those plastic rivet covers, but I'm not fond of the way they protrude so those wouldn't be in my equation.

(I'm not planning any large painting projects, but this question popped into my head the other day after reading this thread and so I'm curious. )

Raya
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Old 11-25-2008, 05:59 PM   #10
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If one removes all the rivets from one interior fixture, one might have trouble getting it all back together so the holes match.

There are two answers to your dilema:

1. Strip everything out, use epoxy and glass tape to install elevator bolts to the inside walls for fasters, then fill the former rivet holes from the outside. Or just use glass and epoxy to fiberglass the inside of it all to the inner walls.

2. Get one of the doublewalled trailers like Burro, etc.
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Old 11-25-2008, 06:30 PM   #11
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Pop rivets have many uses although I don't like where they are used on my trailer when I put up new blinds and removed the old curtain rods I drilled out the rivets and replaced them with SS screws and SS finishing washers.
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Old 11-25-2008, 07:07 PM   #12
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Hi Pete,

I understand about using fiberglass tabbing instead of rivets, as I use that method on boats. I think it would be superior, but was probably not done at the factory becuase it would be more labor intensive (i.e. more expensive), and the rivets do work.

I was asking about if one was going to keep on using rivets or screws/nuts, then what does one do with/about the rivets when painting the outside of the trailer (as compared to removing or masking off other metal hardware).

I'm still curious.
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Old 11-28-2008, 07:38 AM   #13
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Olivers have a double hull, high gloss marine grade gel coat in and out. No rivets. The furniture and cabinets are molded into the inner hull. The reinforcements between the hulls, where necessary, as well as the frame, are aluminum. Perhaps this is the brand you're thinking of. I believe (though I've never seen one in person...) that the Escape is single hull, evidenced by the vinyl liners, side-mount A/C, and non-fiberglass cabinets in the website. Is that correct?

We have an Escape and no there aren't any rivets. The mold is such that the cabinets can be attached internally. We have taken ours over some rough roads and long journeys and we haven't had anything pop or come loose. We love ours!!
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:46 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Rick kl View Post
Pop rivets have many uses although I don't like where they are used on my trailer when I put up new blinds and removed the old curtain rods I drilled out the rivets and replaced them with SS screws and SS finishing washers.

Stupid questions:

1. How does one go about "drilling" out a rivet without ending up drilling holes in the camper. I assume you try and pull out the rod sticking out of the middle of it from the outside and then drill into the void...

2. If you are putting in screws on the outside, what is holding up the curtain rods. and if you are using screws are you just screwing directly into the fiberglass?

3. Very new at this, still a little nervous about putting holes in "dream camper."
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