Scamp and the pop rivets - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-28-2008, 07:47 AM   #1
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I took all the information I was given by many helpful members of this forum (see forum link Fair price for 1991 Scamp) and took a 120 mile drive to look at my first Scamp. I had all my comps and the handy checklist. I took a flashlight and crawled all over and under it. I decided to pass on the unit. I was a little taken back on the condition of the axle and the pop rivet situation most of the rivets were covered in white caulk, a lot of caulk. The vent was covered in caulk the antennae was covered in caulk. Even where the two halves were joined together had a bead of caulk on it. The caulk on that section had black specks in it that led me to believe that it was mildew. What makes these pop rivets fail? Why does Scamp continue to use them? And lastly, what do scamp owners do to repair and eleviate this problem. I liked the lay of the 13 foot no bathroom model. Except I could not stand all the way up and the lack of storage space. That's another question. How do you deal with the lack of storage space? I am looking for something in that weight class due to my tow rating on my tow vehicle. Any suggestions would be helpful.
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Old 04-28-2008, 08:03 AM   #2
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I cant answer your questions about the rivits, but I am assuming they might come loose because of the trailer viberations just on the road over the yrs... I have an 89 5th wheel and none of mine are loose. Many just replace them as yrs go by.. I am sure many one this board have done so. Putting shelves in the closet help alot ( people have shown that in their trailers) maybe a cubby of somesort underneath the tablebed( if its down all the time) I cook outside all the time anyways
Can you possibly tow a 16 ft Scamp? Scamp doesnt make alot of storage space. the overhead cubbards help but Scamp doesnt even put alot of storage in the 5er either.. its just their floorplans... I put in an extra drawer in mine that had a fake front on it..
I suppose if you were ordering a new one they can put what cubbards you want in it... but you would have to eliminate something..
I dont think your suppose to take your whole house with you... i always take the necessities for camping... if I forget then i try to write down what I need.
If your not happy with what the Scamp offers..there are the other fiberglass trailers that might suit your needs. Casita.. Trillium.. etc... look in the album or others can chime in too and help you
Good luck. I do hope you find what you want!!
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Old 04-28-2008, 08:11 AM   #3
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The only way they can attach the inside cabinets is to screw them to the fiberglass hull from the outside then they put a plastic cap on the head of the screws. Owners sometimes will add calking to insure water tightness. The same applies to the other items installed on the roof.

Inside Height Problem: If you art 6ft or above, remove footwear and crouch.

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Old 04-28-2008, 08:16 AM   #4
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Bruce, the rivets are the fastest way to attach an interior to a single-shell trailer. They help keep the weight down. They come with white plastic caps that have about a five to ten year life span before they deteriorate and fall off. Spreading a little caulk on the head of the pop rivet keeps it from leaking. New caps and rivets are available from Scamp (and other sources as well) and they're relatively simple to replace. They also break when stressed rather than allowing the shell to break from stress first. There is no doubt that they are a maintenance item on a Scamp, but they're really NOT a big deal, and just goes with Scamp ownership. I replaced most of the rivets and covers on a '96 Scamp 13' I recently bought for my inlaws. My father in law and I replaced probably forty or fifty of the rivets and caps in an hour or so.

The belly band on Scamps are sealed on the top from the factory using silicone caulk. The black you saw was likely just grime and will wipe off.

Regarding the axle, a new axle with brakes for a 13' trailer should run around $400-$500 installed, depending on where you buy the axle, and who does the installation. Again, a nuisance, but not a big deal.
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Old 04-28-2008, 01:57 PM   #5
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The only way they can attach the inside cabinets is to screw them to the fiberglass hull from the outside then they put a plastic cap on the head of the screws. Owners sometimes will add calking to insure water tightness. The same applies to the other items installed on the roof.
The Scamp Deluxe models with wooden cabinets use screws to secure, but the standard models with fiberglass cabinets use rivets. The factory caulks the roof rivets with silicone, but not the sides.

BTW, my 1991 Scamp 13' did not have factory silicon on the belly band. The two halves are 'glued' together with resin, plus tape over the inside space (which is like a V on its side). Holes are drilled for rivets to mount the belly band, not to hold the shells together. Sometimes, however, rivet holes penetrate the space between the shells and the tape on the inside and then might leak.

Scamp sells a complete set of rivets, bases and caps for about $35.
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Old 04-28-2008, 03:38 PM   #6
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The previous owner of my Scamp had put some bathroom type chalking around the belly band as a preventive measure. When I 1st saw it, the belly band area was a bit green and yucky on the chalking due to sitting out under a pine tree, where it was stored. I didn't figure it was much of a problem, as long as the green yuck was outside! The inside did not smell of mold and we have not had any leaks during the winter rains.

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Old 04-28-2008, 04:47 PM   #7
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The trick is to use a mildew-resistant caulk...
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Old 04-28-2008, 04:49 PM   #8
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Great thread here on this topic which also leads back to the original thread where the specifics are discussed.
Replacing Rivets

Since my Scamp was a gut and redo, I drilled out all the rivets and followed Con's instructions in the original thread to replace with SS Bolts and nuts. I am very glad that I did it now over a year later.
Just seems like a better system if you can afford the time and $$ to replace them. Primary reason manufacturers use rivets and not stainless is $$$. If I recall, it took me a bit over $100 to replace all the rivets in the scamp with SS hardware. Only ones I have left are on the side windows, which btw are the only place I have a small leak.

The rivets will function ok, but a bit of regular maintenance is required to keep them from leaking.
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Old 04-28-2008, 06:00 PM   #9
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Hi: Pop rivets are a one man/woman operation!!! S/S bolts and acorn nuts takes two to tangle. One inside with a wrench one outside with a screwdriver. I am 3/4's of the way thru the change over... have to do the awning rail and the sink/stove cabinet. You can also buy S/S Pop rivets but they too are $$$$'s
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 04-28-2008, 06:39 PM   #10
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Hi: Pop rivets are a one man/woman operation!!! S/S bolts and acorn nuts takes two to tangle. One inside with a wrench one outside with a screwdriver. I am 3/4's of the way thru the change over... have to do the awning rail and the sink/stove cabinet. You can also buy S/S Pop rivets but they too are $$$$'s
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
Alf,
With the exception of about three bolts, I was able to do all of mine myself.
You just wanted to involve the Missus in the project didn't ya....
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Old 05-12-2008, 04:32 PM   #11
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I think I'm really missing something about the rivet caps. On the outside of my '84 Scamp there are NO caps, and when I ordered a set from Scamp they don't look right, unless i load them up with caulk and depend on the caulk to keep them in place. Is this right? (Does anyone have a closeup photo of a rivet cap?) And why not just caluk the surfact of the rivet and leave it at that?

Confused,
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Old 05-12-2008, 06:32 PM   #12
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I think I'm really missing something about the rivet caps. On the outside of my '84 Scamp there are NO caps, and when I ordered a set from Scamp they don't look right, unless i load them up with caulk and depend on the caulk to keep them in place. Is this right? (Does anyone have a closeup photo of a rivet cap?) And why not just caluk the surfact of the rivet and leave it at that?

Confused,
Bruce
Here's a sight that sells these caps, and the base that the caps attach to.
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Old 05-12-2008, 07:25 PM   #13
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Here's a sight that sells these caps, and the base that the caps attach to.
THanks, Dan. Yes, Scamp just sent me the cap part and not the washer. But is this just decorative or will it really protect that much better than marine caulk? (Your paint job on your Scamp, btw, is awesome.)


Thanks, Bruce
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Old 05-12-2008, 08:12 PM   #14
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The whole idea is to seal the rivet. You can glob on some sealant over the rivet and be done, or put some inside the cap and put that over the rivet, or use the washer and snap caps. Your choice. BUT, sealant attracts dirt. If you don't mind having a trailer with dirty little spots all over it... then, yes just dabbing it on the rivet will work. Next best is putting sealant inside the cab and putting that over the rivet. The best (IMO) is using the snap cap, but that requires removing and replacing the rivet.
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Old 05-12-2008, 08:17 PM   #15
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I think I'm really missing something about the rivet caps. On the outside of my '84 Scamp there are NO caps, and when I ordered a set from Scamp they don't look right, unless i load them up with caulk and depend on the caulk to keep them in place. Is this right? (Does anyone have a closeup photo of a rivet cap?) And why not just caluk the surfact of the rivet and leave it at that?
The caps are a two-part thing. The top is a plastic dome-shaped cap with a ridge on the lower inside lip, the bottom part is a plastic receiver cup with a ridge on the top outer edge. The rivet passes through the bottom of the receiver leaving the rivet head to nestle in the receiver cup; the cap then snaps into place over the receiver cup and rivet. Like this:


Click image for larger version

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1: Cap/Cover
2: Rivet
3: Cap/Receiver
4: Sealant
5: Fiberglass Hull
6: Insulation (e.g. Reflectix) & Interior Covering (e.g. "Rat Fur")
7: Thing being attached
8: Washer
9: Acorn Nut

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Old 05-13-2008, 06:30 AM   #16
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Has anyone replaced the rivets with stainless steel nuts/bolts and used a snap cap over those? I know there's no need to seal out the water, but wondered if anyone has done it for looks. I assume you'd have to get a cap that's a little deeper to accept the head of the bolt.

Todd

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Old 05-13-2008, 06:42 AM   #17
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Hi: I used a weather seal washer made of S/S bonded to rubber and the bolt has to penetrate the rubber. There are no snap caps that I know of for these and the washers were $0.98ea. at my local automotive fastener supplier. They are as waterproof as it gets!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 05-13-2008, 06:42 AM   #18
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Question about replacing rivets with S/S bolts.

I thought I read somewhere that this is not a good idea. The article I read said that the reason that pop rivets are used is so that they do break when over stressed (like when bouncing down the road and the trailer flexes). The article I read stated that with the bolt, as the body flexes it would cause the hole to enlarge or elongate and then you'd get a leak.

So yes, popped rivets are a pain in the butt to replace -- but their popping is a result of functioning as designed. It would seem that if the hole elongates due to flexing when using a bolt, that would be a worse condition than replacing the popped rivet.

Did I misread something about the rivets?

Wouldn't it be nice if a factory rep would respond to these kinds of questions? After all, it is a question about the design of the trailer.
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Old 05-13-2008, 07:32 AM   #19
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Hi, Ed. No, you did not misread. There's a difference of opinion on this subject. Some feel the reason for the pop rivets is so manufacturers can cut costs, others feel the rivets are intended to save the fiberglass shell when the point is stressed. It's kind of a perennial discussion here... and as far as I know, nobody who has replaced their rivets with SS bolts has reported problems with their fiberglass developing cracks from being more securely fastened.

Still, I have a rivet gun and one of these days, I'm going to get my friend Suz to show me how to use it! (Some of my best friends swear it's really not that difficult.)
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Old 05-13-2008, 04:26 PM   #20
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The whole idea is to seal the rivet. You can glob on some sealant over the rivet and be done, or put some inside the cap and put that over the rivet, or use the washer and snap caps. Your choice. BUT, sealant attracts dirt. If you don't mind having a trailer with dirty little spots all over it... then, yes just dabbing it on the rivet will work. Next best is putting sealant inside the cab and putting that over the rivet. The best (IMO) is using the snap cap, but that requires removing and replacing the rivet.
True, true, and true

I did a combo of using a snap cap washer and rivet, apply a little bit of sealer on the rivet head, and then install the snap cap. We did our best to eliminate as many of the rivets as possible during the rebuild, but some things require the rivets to install.

rain gutter over door
window in door
screws attaching table board
screws attaching front bunk board
water hook ups
furnace exhaust
roof hatch

I don't remember what their specific name would be, but there are rivets available that are completely sealed on the base side. When the rivet is pulled tight it will not leave an opening, even if the nail pulls completely out before it pops.
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