Replacing rivets? - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-10-2013, 09:10 PM   #43
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Name: RogerDat
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Originally Posted by Jared J View Post
Some have successfully used stainless screws, others think they could damage the fiberglass and prefer to keep the aluminum rivets as the weak point.

I tend to agree with the aluminum rivet side, but have used stainless hardware for the stronger connections like the awning, etc.

Personally, get yourself some new rivet caps and aluminum rivets, put a bit of butyl tape on the back of the cap, and you're good.
I'm a plus one for the use of butyl tape on the back of the cup.

I'm replacing some of mine today. Using #10 x 1/2 stainless steel pan head (Phillips) machine screws. However I'm only doing this because the 3/16 diam. rivet requires a #12 cap (acorn) nut and nobody carries it locally. Could use a 1/4 inch cap nut but that is huge. 10-24 cap nut is a pretty good match for the outer size of original.

The screw and nut can vibrate the nut off, rivet won't do that. So I decided to use locktite thread locker. That led me on a long search for the "low strength" 220 purple version because never going to get enough torque to break free the blue medium strength on a #10 screw. No one had it, I finally found a multi-pack with a tiny sample of red, blue, and the required purple. If I had known how hard it was to find I would have ordered it from Amazon ahead of the job.

Right now I'm going out to the garage to see if I can drill the #10 cap screws out to 3/16 if I can I'll probably end up using 1/2 or 5/8 long 3/16 inch diam. rivets.

On the OP question about drilling out rivets. The one thing that can really screw you up is rivet shafts that stick up above the head. It's darn near impossible to drill down through the center if the center is a point. I use a Dremal electric grinder and a cone shaped stone to grind that point down to a dimple. Then drill.

The other thing is of course not going down the center and wandering off to the side, much easier for drill to go through FG than aluminum rivet shaft. Leads to the dreaded "two holes" right next to each other on the inside. But hey that is what washers are for right?

I find using a smaller drill bit to make a "pilot" hole for the larger drill bit that will take the head off to be a good way to avoid that. And using gentle pressure, a drill is a cutting tool, it can only be pushed through the aluminum as fast as it can cut it. Going too hard tends to make drill bit want to slide off to the side into the FG.
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:20 PM   #44
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I have given a quick seal to rivets using white liquid electrical tape and a small art paint brush. Dab a tiny amount on the rivet and just around the edge. Will get a little yellow in about 6 months but will seal and will come off when you drill out the rivet for a permanent repair, picks off easily with a finger nail but sticks well if left alone.

It's enough to seal you up for a leak discovered on a trip, or when getting ready to store for the winter. Or let you keep using during the season till you get around to replacing the leaking rivet.

My 77 did not come with snap caps so this is what I did until I could replace existing fasteners with fasteners and caps.
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Old 06-26-2014, 07:44 PM   #45
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Name: Tonnie
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Hi Donna,

I am also wondering what in the heck I've gotten myself into. Looks like I'm going to be learning some new skills... repairing fiberglass, painting fiberglass, replacing rivets. Is there a good book with illustrations available that will take me step by step?

Thanks for your advice!
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Old 06-27-2014, 01:55 AM   #46
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Hi Tonnie, you can pull up a lot of general info using goggle; pop rivits, fiberglass and such and with videos too.
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Old 06-27-2014, 04:52 PM   #47
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Thanks Dave!
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Old 09-14-2015, 11:25 AM   #48
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What color do folks order from Pro-Dec.com? I think I read somewhere to order off white since a 2001 Scamp will not be the pure white anymore. Pro-Dec has lots of different off white colors. Thoughts?
Thanks,
Steve
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Old 09-14-2015, 09:48 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveZimmerman View Post
What color do folks order from Pro-Dec.com? I think I read somewhere to order off white since a 2001 Scamp will not be the pure white anymore. Pro-Dec has lots of different off white colors. Thoughts?
Thanks,
Steve
Here is a picture of plain white buttons on my 2004 which were installed this year. I think the white is the right choice.
Photography is a skill in which I do not excel, so the picture below does not show as well as it does in real life, but I hope it helps...
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Old 09-15-2015, 08:14 AM   #50
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For what it's worth...

FWIW, about a month ago we ordered new washers and button caps from Fiberglass Travel Trailers RV, for our '99 Casita. They sent "white" - we didn't specify. They look fine, even though there is some color change in our gelcoat (which I attribute to the wax and not the gel coat itself). YMMV.

Here's a pic of our 16 year old Casita!
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Old 11-13-2015, 03:33 PM   #51
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Name: Bryan
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There are only a few of the snap caps left on my 1998 Scamp. Most of the remaining rivets without caps, do not have the plastic washer for the cap either. I would like to put some caps on, but it sounds like I need to drill out all the rivets and reinstall new ones with the plastic snap cap washers and plastic snap cap covers.? This sounds like a PITA at the moment but might be doable on a nice sunny, warm day in the spring/summer. Can I not just put a dab of sealant on a cap and stick them over the rivets without the snap cap washer?
Also, I have a couple rivets that are loose and absolutely need replacement. I am a bit confused on installing the new rivets. There is lots of talk about washers and acorn nuts. Due to the rat fur, There is no way to put on washers and acorn nuts right? I envision just drilling out the old rivet, with part of it landing between the wall and rat fur, then just putting a bit of butyl tape underneath a new rivet as well as a snap cap washer and cover, and that is it. Are the washers and acorn nuts for other things in the trailer, where you can actually get to the backside of the rivet?
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Old 11-13-2015, 04:43 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by HAPPYSCAMPER76 View Post
There are only a few of the snap caps left on my 1998 Scamp. Most of the remaining rivets without caps, do not have the plastic washer for the cap either. I would like to put some caps on, but it sounds like I need to drill out all the rivets and reinstall new ones with the plastic snap cap washers and plastic snap cap covers.?To do it right, and to avoid leaks, yes, you need to drill them out to properly replace the rivet saddles and the snap caps. Also, without bedding the rivets in a sealant, your will get water intrusion. This sounds like a PITA at the moment but might be doable on a nice sunny, warm day in the spring/summer. Can I not just put a dab of sealant on a cap and stick them over the rivets without the snap cap washer?You can get by with it for the short term, but it is just kicking the can down the road. Just putting new covers on with sealant, (and while I'm at it, please do not use silicone! It doesn't adhere well to fiberglass, but will coat fiberglass with silicone thus not allowing any other sealants to get a good bond either,) is not the best way to reinstall them. They won't last long before they fall off.
Also, I have a couple rivets that are loose and absolutely need replacement. I am a bit confused on installing the new rivets. There is lots of talk about washers and acorn nuts. The acorn nuts (1/4"-20) are purely ornamental, they serve no structural purpose whatsoever. They just hide the ugly bulbous end of the crimped rivet bottoms.Due to the rat fur, there is no way to put on washers and acorn nuts right? Not necessarily true, but installing the acorn nuts will require two people-one to hold the nut on the rivet inside, and one to squeeze the rivet from the outside. You will need longer rivets than you will find on the shelf at Lowes or Home Depot though. Go to a regular RV repair place. They have them in stock because they use them all the time. Probably an inch long or maybe even a tad longer will do.I envision just drilling out the old rivet, with part of it landing between the wall and rat fur, then just putting a bit of butyl tape underneath a new rivet as well as a snap cap washer and cover, and that is it.Do not use butyl tape under the rivets. Use a good marine grade sealant like 3M 4000, (or equivalent) to bed rivets. Are the washers and acorn nuts for other things in the trailer, where you can actually get to the backside of the rivet?As mentioned, they are purely decorative.
Hope this helps a bit.
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Old 11-13-2015, 04:45 PM   #53
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I bought a 2001 this summer and replaced all the rivets. It's not difficult, you just need a helper on the in side to hold the acorns. All the cabinets are held with the acorns so those are easy to see. The curtain bars just rivet with no washers and some of the outside hardware I just drilled and let the rivet heads inside the rat fur. Re-riveted those with no washers either. I only used acorns and it looks great now both inside and out. I went with off white snap caps and they match well. Take a small piece of butyl and flatten it out an put over the hole before inserting the rivet. You'll get hang of it pretty quickly. I feel like an expert now, so feel free to msg me. A lot of folks on this site have helped me.

I guess Casita Greg says not to use Butyl. I'll let you know next summer if they are leaking but so far the little rain we've had, I haven't seen any leaks.
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Old 11-13-2015, 05:57 PM   #54
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I would say the acorn nut on the inside is mostly decorative, but also functional. It provides the rivets holding the cabinets a larger surface area to spread the load out.


The end of a rivet is swelled enough to not pull through the hole but by being expanded inside the acorn nut which it then pulls in tight it spreads the load out around the hole. Those cabinets are enough weight and load that the extra is worth it.


I used butyl tape rolled into a little ball and squished into a small disk behind the rivet snap cap base. Rivet tube going through the disk forms a washer that gets compressed into the rivet hole and seals the snap cap base. Trimmed around edge with the tip of a toothpick after it was drawn tight. Marine caulk would work but I like butyl tape, know I can get it back off easily. Snap cap bases do wear out eventually.


Drilling out took the most time, lot of them were a piece of cake, every so often one would be a PITA and take longer. Don't remove too many at a time from the cabinets or all in a row. You want existing rivets on either side of the one you are working on to hold the cabinets in place. x 0 x where x is a tight rivet and 0 is one you are replacing.


Need a longer rivet don't recall the size. Do a search here for Scamp Rivet Sizes. Should be a thread with sizes people have used. Think it was around 1/2 grip range but having a brain fart on exact size.


One last thing you can push the shaft out of the rivet tube and use a hacksaw to cut the tube shorter. Sometimes you need a custom length and this allows you to trim a long one down to do the job. Carol passed that one on and it was just the ticket at the curve of my closet where it attached to the curved roof. Needed a touch more grip range.
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Old 11-14-2015, 12:21 AM   #55
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OK, Sounds like some people use Butyl tape to form a seal behind the head of the rivet and others use a sealant. I understand using the Acorn nuts where there is no rat fur. However, I am still confused on when the rivet is in an area where you normally don't see it due to it being behind the rat fur. Do you guys just push the rivet through and break it off or do you poke the shaft of the rivet through the rat fur and put an acorn nut on the backside of the rat fur (currently my trailer only has acorn nuts visible where there is no fur)?
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Old 12-15-2015, 12:21 PM   #56
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I'm wondering if anyone is using washers to prevent some of the rivets from pulling through the holes? I've used this idea of reinforcing the rivet when I've worked in soft materials in the past and it seemed to work well enough, as long as the length of the rivet could accommodate the washer and clear the material.


Also, I was thinking of replacing rivets by drilling new holes adjacent to existing holes in the cabinets, installing the new rivets, removing the old afterward, and filling the old holes before painting. What would you think of this idea of creating new holes?


Lastly, I have an old rivet installation tool that I bought 20 years ago and wonder if this tool will be "good enough" or if there is a different type of gun or tool that I should buy. I know that the too that I have can accommodate several sizes of rivets and it's still in the plastic sleeve that it came in from the store so I could find out the brand name if I were home. I called Scamp but they're all on lunch and the guy that answered the phone didn't know if there was a special tool that they'd recommend.
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