Rivets - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-26-2016, 10:04 PM   #1
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Name: Marian
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How do you rivet through fiberglass shell and leave a smooth outside finish?
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Old 05-27-2016, 05:21 AM   #2
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You don't. You put a snap cap over the top of the rivet.
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Old 05-27-2016, 08:04 AM   #3
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How do you rivet through fiberglass shell and leave a smooth outside finish?
Well, you could by countersinking and filling with fiberglass, 3M 5200 or the like.. but that would be a very bad idea. Rivets fail and if they were covered up with a smooth surface they would be hard to find and remove in order to replace.
In fact, if countersunk the fiberglass might even fail. All bad karma.

Some trailers have internal parts screwed into wood instead of riveted. The wood is glassed to the inside of the trailer so no rivets. If you are rebuilding a gutted camper, thats a great way to do it (IMHO). But if it has rivets through the body, use the snap caps for better appearance.
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Old 05-27-2016, 08:22 AM   #4
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If you want a smooth exterior skin, you don't use through-hull fasteners at all. You epoxy tabs (small pieces of wood) to the inside of the shell and attach cabinets, etc., to the tabs, as Gordon describes. Escape and a number of other companies do it that way.

If you already have rivets, I suppose you could reset them without the washers and snap caps. I've heard early Bolers were built that way. The river head would still make a small bump on the surface, though. Painted to match, it wouldn't be as noticeable.

I thought about doing that myself, as I'm not thrilled with the appearance or longevity of snap caps in the AZ sun. But Scamp and Casita have been doing it that way for 40 years, and I have to think they know more than I do.
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Old 05-27-2016, 09:38 AM   #5
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You could used a cherry rivet instead of a pop rivet. it retains the pull stud in the center. you then have to trim the stud. Then you would not use snap caps.
this would leave a small rivet bump instead of a snap cap wart. This would have to be worked around on our trailers a a cherry rived would require a very tight sandwich in order not to leak. You wouldn't want to cinch up on insulation or something soft that gives way over time then loosening up the rivet joint allowing leaks.
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Old 05-27-2016, 09:56 AM   #6
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counter sunk poprivets or even regular poprivets and body filler
As for why? Can't help you there.
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Old 05-27-2016, 10:04 AM   #7
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I

I thought about doing that myself, as I'm not thrilled with the longevity of snap caps in the AZ sun.
Lay all your new the snap caps out on cardboard before installation and paint them using fusion paint or automotive clearcoat.
Then they will last much longer in the sun.
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Old 05-27-2016, 10:06 AM   #8
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That's a great idea, Floyd. And as I just received a new set and am preparing to install, the suggestion is perfectly timed. Thanks!
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