Scamp Trailers and Rivets - Fiberglass RV

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Old 07-31-2009, 08:50 AM   #1
Trailer: Scamp 16 ft
Posts: 34
The windows have been polished, the rivets all have caps and there is what appears to be new flooring installed.

What is the story with Scamp trailers and the rivets, I am in the market looking for a Scamp specifially and wondering if you can clue me into the rivet issue.


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Old 08-01-2009, 06:39 AM   #2
Trailer: Casita Spirit Deluxe 17 ft
Posts: 51
There is no story of which I am aware. Scamp uses rivets in their construction just as Casita does which is a similar type of molded fiberglass rv. Thousands of products produced today use rivets including airplanes, boats and many others - in some areas of construction other rv manufacturers use rivets although they are not molded fiberglass.

Sometimes rivets come loose or break just as with any other type of fastner. The type of rivets used in a Scamp are easy to replace/repair and a substantial method of product building when done properly as with Scamp.


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Old 08-01-2009, 09:06 AM   #3
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
Posts: 3,008
One can also replace the rivets with machine screws/nuts, and or - for the "ultimate" in strength and water-tightness - tab the furniture with fiberglass cloth from the inside.

But the rivets work just fine, and are much more efficient in the manufacturing process. They call for maintenance every decade or so, usually.

Is there a specific "story" you've heard that you'd like us to comment on?

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Old 08-01-2009, 12:58 PM   #4
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Much attention is given to rivets, I have a little different view...

The issue to the question here in my mind is not the rivets themselves, its the rivet cup and cap which the rivet sits into, the rivet is centered into a cup beneath and around the rivet. Beneath the rivet this plastic disc positioning itself against the gelcoat of the hull, pressing up and down against the bottom of the top of the rivet like a plastic sandwich between the holding rivet and the hull.

This provides the first liquid tight seal needed for the rivet against the epoxy hull.

This plastic structure will not when in good working order allow wicking of moisture into the fiberglass hull fibers or out right water penetration into the hole the rivet makes into the hull.
Over the rivet goes a plastic cap made of the same plastic, usually the color of the gelcoat which snaps and locks onto the cupping disc under the rivet making a secondary water barrier, also hiding the rivet blending into the color of the hull not allowing water to enter the center of the rivet.

In the early days on older fiberglass trailers using even screws these caps were used too, the plastics used back then were by today's standards crude in their chemistry regarding UVA and UVB "light" break downs over long exposures to them, also thermal shock problems were encountered in their use when in lower temp ambient environments. This problem carried on into the decision to use rivets. That trend in design happened faster than re-formulating the cap material.

While there is a danger of Asian Market knock offs using recycled plastics there is generally newer plastics penetrating this market that have remedied these issues in the last decade, as has the chemistry been refined in epoxies and paint products...Available now are really great innovations to watch for.

The Plastic break downs of the "old days" lead to loose rivets when the plastic deteriorated beneath them, their plastic caps would deteriorate first and being un-remedied until to late would deteriorate under the rivet.

The rivet basically got a bad reputation which it did not deserve.

A little diligence on the part of the owners, with assistance from modern chemistry improvements in plastics just about has this issue fixed.

Scamp provided rivets and their plastic seals and buttons work well for me although I order bulk another product when needed.

The most common materials used to make the bulk of rivet cups and their caps is nylon or poly vinyl presently...In the past both have had issues over time...The selection of the material the rivet cup and bottom button is made of is crucial to its life cycle, also its stability over time regarding different specific stressors are different with different materials today...Plastic blends are useful to adopt the positive character of different blended types of plastics into one product and are seemingly to be doing the best job today.

All plastics "age" as they "out gas" plastic is always breaking down over a set period of time, you could place your trailer in a vault and in X many years its chemical bonds will be breaking down within a certainty. I have read that hull chemistry are being projected to 75 years with the rivet cups and caps making it to 15 years.

What can be done?

Remember as you go bouncy down the road the cabinets holding "the stuff" are hanging from rivets thru the hull wall, the seal beneath the rivet is taking all the punishment (compression,vibration) being re-compressed a bazillion times.
Do this in extreme cold or heat, or in the presence of intense sunlight 24X7 the material will do what you would do under these conditions...Live usefully less longer.

The advice I would give is this...

[b](1) Travel with the heavy items in the cabinets else where place heavy contents in plastic bins on the floor, not within the cabinets making them heavy.
I choose lightness when I acquire an item for anything to be stored there.

( I did one rivet job where my elder customer stored her beloved cast iron pans and dutch ovens with Corel dishes in the overhead cabinets )

[b](2) Do not drive as if road wash boards were irrelevant to your SUV because you bought the best shocks money can buy pulling the trailer helpless behind you...

Go carefully, and mindfully...those cabinets are attached by rivets.

( Believe it or not your axle is in many models rubber/plastic would appreciate less action )

[b](3) Store trailer baby in 100% shade, cover or protect the trailer and its rivet seals...[b]

A caution here is tarps work in LOW MOISTURE environments high moisture areas it will turn your trailer baby into a mushroom, if this is the case in your area get a cover made or a tent material which repels water, blocks sun drying super fast...even if it breaths a little, and yes the commercial ones are about 450.00 bucks...its worth it.

If you live in a low moisture area, use a solar tarp, bungee tightly, the silver solar treatment can rub off.

[b](4) [b]When you clean and wax trailer baby do not go caveman with the power washer!!!!

Use the fan spray setting only, many rivet cups or window seals fall victim to type A. personalities enjoying their power washer from Hades or the 10 h/p motor fuel injected motor located in the commercial car wash...[b]remember mindful cleaning.

[b]The electric polisher on the rivet caps is a no no. If you loose a cap replace it.

These issues outside of the rivet itself are really more relevant to the rivet subject you raised... its cup and cap seal design has been the culprit or abuse or lack of care from what I have witnessed.

Although I have [b]NO PROOF, a polish/protectant/wax which is UVA-UVB stabilized makes sense, it may be a gimmick, but its one that comforts me.

I am only one voice, others will weigh in their experiences, I would have no hesitation with a Scamp once I understood the facts.

Happy Camping, Safe trails.


What is the story with Scamp trailers and the rivets, I am in the market looking for a Scamp specifially and wondering if you can clue me into the rivet issue.

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Old 08-01-2009, 06:25 PM   #5
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Trailer: 13 ft Scamp 1999
Posts: 89
So how does one go about replacing the riviets? I think one of the rivets broke on our camping trip last weekend. My dear wife handed me one that she found after arriving home while cleaning the trailer. She also found a clear plastic cap that may also be involved?
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Old 08-01-2009, 07:31 PM   #6
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Name: Tim
Trailer: 2006 17' SD Casita
Posts: 763
1. Drill the head off the rivet and pull the rivet through from the inside.
2. Put the new rivet through the clear plastic base.
3. Place the rivet with base attached in the hole and lift it back out just enough the get silicone between the scamp and the base. You don't want silicone on the end of the rivet that goes into the acorn nut. You need metal to metal in the acorn nut.
4. Hold the acorn nut on the rivet (by hand or tool) and pop the rivet as you press the rivet tool firmly against the side of the Scamp.
5. Always replace one rivet or screw one at a time. Don't drill several rivets and then replace them. There may be a temptation to remove two or three screws while on a ladder on top of the Scamp. The cabinet will drop down and cause a problem.
6. When reinstalling screws on the deluxe model, use a hand held screwdriver. Electric screw drivers will run the screw head through the bsase and may strip the screw hole.
7. Fill the base level with silicone and snap the cap on. Too much silicone in the base will prevent the cap from snapping.
8. Wipe off all excess silicone. Silicone will also rub or roll off by hand.

I have done several Scamp's completely and a few just repaired.
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Old 08-02-2009, 06:37 AM   #7
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
Posts: 3,008
Although, please use some type of caulk other than silicone. Silicone has the double-edged negative sword that it really doesn't stick all that well in terms of keeping the water out, BUT, when you try to remove it, some of it will be impossible to remove, and the unseen contaminating silicone oil will be-devil you (or the next owner) when you try to re-cauk, or especially if you ever want to paint (And when I say "be-devil," I mean literally for decades. Just stop into your local body/paint/fiberglass shop, tell them you have some silicone in your hand, and ask if you can come in....they'll probably run you out on a rail, as this contamination hangs around for a LONG time.)

Butyl is appropriate, as is a polyurethane caulk, probably.

I say probably on the polyurethane because I don't use plastic rivet caps/bases, and some plastics are finicky as to what they are compatible with. I'm sure Scamp can tell you what type of plastic the rivet caps are made of, and then it will be clear.

You can also replace the rivets with stainless machine screws and nuts. These tend to last a bit longer than rivets, but rivets are much, much quicker to apply in a production setting (i.e. the Scamp factory). There's nothing wrong with replacing a rivet with a rivet though, if you'd prefer to do that.

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Old 08-02-2009, 02:11 PM   #8
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Trailer: 2006 17' SD Casita
Posts: 763
Those instructions I printed up sometime ago, I've been using Flexpro caulking. Its made for RV's and doesn't contain Silicone.

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