Question about Rivets - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-11-2016, 05:39 PM   #1
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Name: Becky
Trailer: ECO 1973
Oklahoma
Posts: 10
Question about Rivets

I have a 1973 ECO (Boler like) I'm missing a couple of rivets and a few seem to be raised. What do I do? Thanks
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Old 10-11-2016, 05:55 PM   #2
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Name: Wayne
Trailer: Casita
Connecticut
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Rivets

Hey Becky,
You should be able to find some instructional videos on YouTube regarding how to remove and replace rivets it's pretty straight forward. Peace!
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Old 10-11-2016, 06:20 PM   #3
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Name: Becky
Trailer: ECO 1973
Oklahoma
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Thanks
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Old 10-11-2016, 06:40 PM   #4
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
Washington
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I do recommend to everyone who has never drilled out or installed a rivet to get some just to practice with. That way you can make your mistakes on something that is not important and doing so takes all the stress out of it.

Be sure you match the drill size to the rivet size. When removing them drill more slowly that you would for putting in a hole but you will need to use a fair amount of pressure to get the bit to bite into the metal. As you get close to the depth of the head stop to look and see if you are centered over the opening, if not you can tilt the drill so that the tip is pointing towards the direction the hole needs to be moved, then after you have pushed it that way you straighten the drill back up. When you are very close do bit of a wiggle with the drill as you work, that will pop the head off without going too deep and enlarging the hole.

The next thing to do is to drive out the remaining shank of the rivet. I use a drive pin punch that is matched to the diameter of the rivet and the hole. It won't enlarge the hole. A nail set does not work nearly as well as a proper drive pin punch which was specifically designed to drive a shaft out of a hole. Because a nail set is tapered it will tend to slip into the hollow center and then push the outside walls of the rivet shaft tight against the edges of the hole it is in which can cause the hole to enlarge and also make it more difficult to remove the rivet shaft.

Drive pin punches can be purchased individually at regular neighborhood type of hardware stores. Don't bother with looking for individual ones in big box stores such as Home Depot as they only sell the punches in full sets and that gets a bit pricey unless you have an ongoing need for such a thing.

This lesson comes to you from a real life Rosie the riveter who did it for a living
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Old 10-11-2016, 07:20 PM   #5
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Name: Becky
Trailer: ECO 1973
Oklahoma
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What size rivets will I use on the belly band? Will the outer shell be the same or different?
Thank you for the information.
a real life Rosie I love it
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Old 10-12-2016, 09:24 AM   #6
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Name: Talia
Trailer: Hunter Compact Jr.
USA
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If they're aluminum rivets, you may not even need to drill them out. On my '72 Compact Jr, I simply took a nice sharp painter's multitool, carefully slid it under the head of the rivet, and with a tap from a hammer, it cuts the head right off with no damage to the surrounding area. Then just push the rest of it out with a nail-set or something of the sort. No drilling, no fuss, no muss.
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Old 10-12-2016, 10:51 AM   #7
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Name: Claire
Trailer: 1978 Trillium 4500
British Columbia
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Hi Becky,

A couple of tips about this site. There is a way to mark this thread, have not figured it out, so I always copy the info I need and the thread id into a word document and put it in a file for my trailer cause I can never find what I need when I search cause there are so many other answers.

Second, my brother said that when you are using a product, check out the manufacturers site as they will often have videos or other info on how to use their product. Just learned this week that there are gauges that will tell you what size drill bit to use for what size rivet. You can also google this info.

I have had some fights getting rivets out, especially when they are in the middle of something and the surrounding area flexes when I try and knock them out, but after reading K. Corbin's comments I think it is because I use a punch that slips into the rivet causing the binding.

I was also told not to practice riveting on wood as it will sink into the wood and not work properly. You need a hard surface.
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Old 10-12-2016, 11:00 AM   #8
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Trail Cruiser
Alberta
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Becky,
Are these solid steel rivets or aluminium pop rivets? There is a big difference in both the removal and replacement.
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Old 10-12-2016, 01:02 PM   #9
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Name: Becky
Trailer: ECO 1973
Oklahoma
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How would I tell steel or aluminum?
Thanks for all the information
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Old 10-12-2016, 01:17 PM   #10
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Arizona
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I've never seen or heard of steel rivets used on molded fiberglass, at least not by any of the manufacturers. Scamp and Casita, the only remaining manufacturers still using riveted construction, use aluminum.
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Old 10-12-2016, 05:58 PM   #11
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Trail Cruiser
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Becky,
I'm not familiar with your unit. Steel rivets are used in heavier applications, like vehicle chassis, because they are stronger. Aluminium rivets are not as strong but don't corrode. They are commonly used in aluminium boats. Usually rivets are "headed" on both ends. This means the ends are flattened to hold them in place. There are also "pop" rivets. A pop rivet is a small diameter aluminium tube about 1/8 inch in diameter although larger ones are available. It is flanged on one end. A rivet is loaded into a rivit gun, flanged end first. The other end is inserted through the holes in the two surfaces to be held together. The rivet gun is used to pull a small aluminium nail through the rivet, causing it to swell. When the two surfaces are firmly in place, the nail breaks and the union is complete. Old rivets are removed by drilling them out. Sometimes a pilot hole is drilled through the center of the old rivet followed by a larger hole the diameter of the rivet itself. Pop rivets can be drilled without the pilot hole. I've used all three kinds but I have not worked on a fiberglass trailer so I don't know which kind you have however I suspect they may be aluminium. Remember, flanged solid core aluminium rivets, the kind used in aluminium boats are much stronger than the hollow core pop rivets and may not be strong enough for your application. If the holes where the rivets are inserted are worn you may be able to go the next largest rivet diameter by re-drilling the holes accordingly. Goon luck!
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Old 10-13-2016, 11:58 AM   #12
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Name: Borden and Carole
Trailer: Boler 1978 17' 4" Earlton Ont Model
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Pop Rivets can be all steel regular or stainless
All aluminum including the mandrill (center nail)
Aluminum with steel mandrill (stainless or plain)
Closed end water prof or open end
Some have an available 1/32 inch thick neoprene washer available
5/32 wide closed end; use smaller size rivets washer and a leather hole punch to enlarge hole saves money
Main type on boler is 5/32 aluminum with steel mandrill and longer than you may guess

Closed end pop rivets require lever action heavy duty rivet gun they take more lever work to install do to design, installing them on our boler as a lot of the old ones leaking due to age mostly

hope this helps
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Old 10-13-2016, 01:11 PM   #13
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
Washington
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borden View Post
Pop Rivets can be all steel regular or stainless
All aluminum including the mandrill (center nail)
Aluminum with steel mandrill (stainless or plain)
Closed end water prof or open end
Some have an available 1/32 inch thick neoprene washer available
5/32 wide closed end; use smaller size rivets washer and a leather hole punch to enlarge hole saves money
Main type on boler is 5/32 aluminum with steel mandrill and longer than you may guess

Closed end pop rivets require lever action heavy duty rivet gun they take more lever work to install do to design, installing them on our boler as a lot of the old ones leaking due to age mostly

hope this helps
I only have a limited experience with rivets on a Boler teaching one of the members, Lise, how to drill and drive out old rivets. What I found was they used way too long of rivets and they never compressed properly during installation. You always want to use a rivet that is long enough but not too long otherwise they won't pull tight.

Having seen those overly long rivets that did not properly compress against the shell I am not at all surprised that people are finding loose and leaking rivets in Bolers. They simply used the wrong length as in way too long.

I did write an article for this forum on how to quickly check the depth of the hole so that you will know what length of rivet you need to purchase. Here is the link to that article. How to determine the grip length for a rivet

You will find that sometimes manufacturers get lazy and take the easy way out for stocking hardware and for installation as well. As in this case of of stocking only one length of rivet for use in all situations versus using the correct length rivet for each instance of use. Or it could simply be a case of a lazy installation mechanic not bothering to check what length they should have been using. I have seen this situation of overly long rivets on my Campster even though there are only a few places they are used on it. But it might have also been a previous owner who did it who did not understand that overly long rivets are not going to compress and grip properly. Of course too short of a rivet will only compress in the hole and not provide enough clamping pressure to pull against the inside surface.
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Old 10-13-2016, 05:50 PM   #14
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Name: Becky
Trailer: ECO 1973
Oklahoma
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All this information has been helpful and fascinating.
Thank you all!
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