To rivet or not to rivet? - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-06-2015, 12:59 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by floyd View Post
...What gets me is ... why doesn't someone make UV resistant caps? Maybe I'll contact the manufacturer.
From West Marine,
HANDIMAN Assorted Screw Snap Caps | West Marine

The product description mentions UV-stablizedco polymer polypropylene.

I've had some luck with these on my trailer. But even these eventually get brittle.
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Old 05-06-2015, 02:15 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
Good point Ray. Come to think of it, they dont sandwich insulation and rat fur between the pieces they're riveting together either. Come to think of it, they dont use snap caps either.

HMM... good one for Carol here to research....
For entertainment purposes here is my research on the issue (if one actually thinks there is an issue) of sandwiching insulation and rat fur between two pieces of fiberglass using a rivet.

1) Scamp has been building their trailers with insulation and rat fur between the rivets for almost 30 years now. Lots of 23 + year old Scamp trailers out there (including my own) with the original rivets still in place on roof with rat fur and insulation sandwiched in between with no leakage issues.

2) The failure of the above build system (putting rat fur and insulation in the trailers) if that is what one wishes to call the failure of two rivets in a high stress area of the trailer, took place on a 2010, 4 year old trailer.

Based on the above and the fact the new fangled building practise of using rat fur and installation started in the mid 80's & if it is/was a failure of the catastrophic proportions its being depicted here by some to be, one has to ask why has Scamped not stopped doing it & how in the world have they stayed in biz?

When it comes to customer satisfaction turning out trailers that are prone to leakage is a big problem that more than a few trailer manufactures have closed their doors due to having done. How in the world has Scamp avoid the same fate if they were in fact doing the same?

3) Possible other well documented causes of premature rivet failures such as report in item 2 as others have mentioned here numerous times, are:

a) Incorrect rivet size used. Possible the Scamp employee ran out of the right size of rivets in his pocket - close to quitting time decides he wants to go home rather than bother to get the right size and uses what he has.

b) Rivet gun malfunction or misuse. Rivet install to loose permitting the two surfaces bonded together to move resulting in the two parts riveted together to move causing rivet fatigue after a few years of trailer bouncing/twisting down the road. Having misfired & drilled out a new rivet or two that I have installed, I can see how that might happen.

c) Misalignment of the holes in the two parts being riveted together - resulting in a rivet that is not sitting flush to the trailer body or while trailer is twisting and bouncing down the road resulted in rivet rubbing on fiberglass creating larger hole which permitting water penetration.

As always its best that one does their own research when trouble shooting problems and come to their own conclusions as to the whys and how comes.

I have found it is always best to look to see if there is any actual historical data to support your conclusions, read up on what the professionals in the field have to saw about what the known causes of your problem are and last but not least NEVER believe everything you read on an internet users group!

As Donna would say YMMV.
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Old 05-06-2015, 02:44 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Here's the thing Darral - I don't need to prove it! Over many years the builders & their research and development teams have done it for me.
Hmmm, please provide documentation of Scamp's "research and development team" and in particular their research into the rivet issue. I am sure it would be enlightening to all of us.

P.S. I intend to install some rivets and some machine screws/washers/nylon locking nuts (stainless) when I redo my Scamp's fasteners. I will use whatever is easiest and makes sense for the location. For example, I noticed a few nights back that one cap/rivet/washer is under the awning and cannot be accessed by a rivet tool without completely removing the awning. You can bet I will use a bolt there and lose NO sleep over it. Similarly, places like the curtain rod holders, I would not think there was any stress there that a bolt/nut would aggravate. Anyway, you pay your money and take your chances and I will do the same.

P.P.S I LOVE the Fusion paint idea, now to go find some "Old Chaulky White Scamp" color to shoot on my new caps!
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Old 05-06-2015, 06:17 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Timber Wolf View Post
[COLOR=black][FONT=Verdana]Hmmm, please provide documentation of Scamp's "research and development team" and in particular their research into the rivet issue. I am sure it would be enlightening to all of us.

You may be able to sort out your confusion if you where to go back and read what the question was that I responded to. I was answer a question that was not in regards to Scamp themselves.

For easy reference here it is:

"Have you tested or have proof that more secure fasteners will "crack or break" the fiberglass??? If you do, I want to see it. "

My comment was in regards to the research and development teams at major fastener manufacturing companies and the specification and recommendations they make as to what products they make that are best suited to a particular application.

Bottom line is its basics physics. If one uses a product that is of far greater strength then the parts it is holding together and the properties and particular application of those parts is such that they are going to flex and bend when in use, the weaker part is going to crack or break before the one of greater strength will.

As it is with all things here you are 100% correct in freely choosing what products you choose or not to use on your trailer.

Would just hate to see someone new to these trailers make the same choose as yourself without fully understanding the potential problems they may be creating in doing so.
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Old 05-06-2015, 07:08 PM   #47
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Pop rivets work by pulling a mandrel to swell the tube part of the rivet and this should pull the materials together.
However in a material that will give a little the bulge will pull into it and swell the hole and not hold very well. If you want a good connection with a soft material you need to put a washer for the rivet to bite onto.
Since the shop end is a bulge it is rounded at the junction and vibration and forces pulling the parts apart will have a tendency to work and wear into the surface loosening the bond.
The screws and nuts have a flat surface and spread the forces out lessening the forces damaging the joining parts.
In the case of the countersunk washers the forces are spread over three or four times the area. Rivets may not cause the fiberglass to break because they don't join very solidly especially with the wide spacing used.
I am installing the walls (bulkheads) with glue with the insulation removed along the junction with screws to pull the joint tight (really only until the glue sets).
With the improved (I hope) frame and bracing to the sidewalls I hope to have stiffened the whole thing up considerably. Time will tell.
I have tow bulkheads in the front forming the wall of the bathroom and storage closet and two bulkheads forming the closet behind the door holding the refrigerator and microwave.
The other side has the kitchen cabinets and there will be a brace at the end of the counter to the overhead cabinets.
Those cabinets will also be glued in place and attached to form continuous beam if you will to strengthen and reinforce the roof. Another set on the passenger side. The fronts of the cabinets will stiffen the roof (I trust) since they will be glued and screwed in place.
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:38 PM   #48
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Since 2005 when I retired I have refurbished several Scamps, a Lil Bigfoot, several Casitas, a wide body Burro and a couple of U-Hauls.
I just sold 13' Scamp to months ago that had the Awning Rail bolted on.
What a pain!!!!!!!!!!!
Every bolt had leaked over the years and stained the elephant hide.
I replaced EVERY rivet as the did not have any caps, not because they leaked.
Several years ago I had a 16" Scamp that had many bolts.
Several of them that had bolted the galley in had crushed the fiberglass which required major repairs.
I really have lost count of the trailers I have refurbished
I have NEVER had a problem with Rivets.
I have an 85 16' Casita that has been sitting behind a barn for the last 7 years and not one leaky rivet.


I agree with Carol any fastener that has held trailer for 30 or 35 years with no problems is the one to stick with.


As for studies by manufacturer's, I say their unneeded.
All you have to do is look at the success of Scamp Trailers to see how well rivets work.


Bolts are an unneeded expense and a future maintenance item from my experience.
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Old 05-07-2015, 07:22 AM   #49
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After replacing the floors in my only 29 year old Scamp 16 due to leaking rivets etc. I want to think that there is something better.
Of course the frame was cracked and poorly repaired and the many leaks were a problem to find even with the interior removed.
To test I have removed all of the original fasteners and I taped over the existing holes and with the humongous rains we had a few weeks ago the spots that were leaking were finally found. Of course you cannot fault the factory on anything this old, but obviously the flexing and damage the the frame and the spots where the frame worked in relation to the body were evident.
Hopefully I have improved on the stiffness of the chassis and the connections to the shell to reduce this.
If the bulkhead I am installing stiffen up the shell like I hope the working of the fasteners will be much reduced at least in the front.
Directly gluing the wooden bulkheads and cabinet works to the fiberglass without the insulation should help carry the loads and stiffen the shell.
Of course this may be entirely the wrong direction to take, but time will tell. Instead of having the loads from the shell coupled only to the frame at the ends it will be done all around the shell including the new steel wheel wells glassed in to it and welded to the frame extensions.


Of course all of this adds weight, but it is added low, below the CG of the trailer.
All of the penetrations are being sealed as best I can and tested for leaks along the way.
In no way am I suggesting anyone else make these modifications since they are unproven, but I think they will serve me well.
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Old 05-07-2015, 08:26 AM   #50
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If there is/was a "no silicone sealant" rule, someone forgot to tell the Scamp factory when they built our trailer. 😉

We've got the stuff around the belly band, the windows, the refrigerator and stove external
vents, ....... Basically around every opening in the shell and even around the inside sink.
If I removed it all, the trailer would probably be 5 - 10 pounds lighter. 😉

Or, was the reference to a different kind of silicone?

Ray


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Old 05-07-2015, 09:12 AM   #51
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Yes, Scamp is a fan of silicone sealants, but the good news is that sometime after the warranty expires it's ready to be peeled off and replaced with RV Putty Tape/Butyl Tape sealants. Been there and done that on any number of newer and older FGRV's.


Replacing all that stuff comes under the category or product upgrading.
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Old 05-07-2015, 11:52 AM   #52
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Lot of folks when they have to do a total rebuild do some pretty extensive modifications. Some build Major Steve Austin, some build the Son of Frankenstein.

On the other hand there is no reason one needs to go and re-invent a solution. Rivets work, are inexpensive, easy to use. Hard to say they don't work when so many of us have trailers with rivets still doing the job after decades.

Took me about an hour and a half to replace all the cabinet rivets and snap caps, that was with me removing 3, calling wife to stop working in the garden to hold the acorn nut. Setting those rivets, then she would leave and I would remove the next 3. Make that about two hours counting the closet where I had to cut two rivets to length.

People are free to engineer their own solutions but in general going with "stock" solution leads to the fewest problems for most people. Unless one has a specific design problem one is trying to solve. If rivets are stock then I would use those. If bolts or screws were stock I would use bolts or screws, I might use a better bolt such as stainless steel, but I generally see little to gain by boldly going off in a new direction where I get to solve all the unforeseen issues. The cabinet has been there for 37 years with rivets and acorn nuts, if it needs replacing again in 35 years it will probably not be my problem. That is what kids and grandkids are for.

For the average owner re-engineering is not part of the fun, for some it is. Others are more into decorating and color scheme. Me I'm into reading and nap time on whichever side has the best shade and breeze.
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Old 05-07-2015, 11:55 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
Yes, Scamp is a fan of silicone sealants, but the good news is that sometime after the warranty expires it's ready to be peeled off and replaced with RV Putty Tape/Butyl Tape sealants. Been there and done that on any number of newer and older FGRV's.


Replacing all that stuff comes under the category or product upgrading.
I imagine caulk is faster and easier during manufacture than butyl tape, but the tape is clearly better. Replacing it is pretty much like buying better tires when the original ones wear out and need to be replaced.
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Old 05-07-2015, 02:46 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by redbarron55 View Post
After replacing the floors in my only 29 year old Scamp 16 due to leaking rivets etc. I want to think that there is something better.
Of course the frame was cracked and poorly repaired and the many leaks were a problem to find even with the interior removed.
.
I feel for you but we are talking about a 29 year old trailer! ;-)

What you have there is a classic example as to what happens when people do not take the time to do regular checks of their trailers and fix the small issues before they become big ones - regardless of make, brand and/or age. Things fail.

How many pictures of rotten floors have we seen here due to someone ignoring a slow leak in a water line or from a window seal or a side vent? If you do not take everything out of the hatches of your trailer at least once a year to see whats happening in there & crawl under it looking for water stains, you could end of with the same big problem you are facing.

My vehicle which is off basic warranty due to age but only has 31000 mile on it was due for servicing a couple of weeks ago. I waited to long to get an appointment at the shop before I left on a fairly long trip that week-end so I decided to take the vehicle to one of those fast oil and lube shops and at least get the oil changed. While they changed the oil it was discovered that the rear differential was leaking seriously and in fact was almost out of oil. Had I waited and decided putting an other 1000 miles or more on the vehicle past the scheduled oil change there is a high probability that I would have started to hear crush, crush from the differential and needed a whole new one rather than a simple seal change. Yes the problem was fixed under the extend powertrain warranty which the manufacture only puts in place as they honestly were not expecting to actually have to pay out on it either!

Bottom line is putting off irregular inspection and repairs on a trailer, car or home is never a good idea regardless of what it is made out of, who built it or what you paid for it or its age.
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Old 05-07-2015, 03:47 PM   #55
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Carol you are exactly right. I see many units with rotted out floors and there are probably many more that just haven't been found yet and the reason is neglect or indifference.
A many old trailer is parked out back and left to rot away. Many think the fiberglass means it won't rot, but I have to say that this is not true for the floors.
My little project while is probably excessive in it's zeal to seal the Scamp up is to make it last for another 29 years, not that it will matter to me at 67 years of age.
I consider that the time and money I am pouring into the old Scamp is kind of a payment plan instead of financing the cost of a new one. While doing that I can build it the way I want it as wrong as I may be. Having work on aircraft off and on since 1966 I know a little about stress and attaching things together and while the experience may not be applicable to fiberglass trailers you have to humor the old man sometimes.
What I seem to have bought is the shell and part of a frame and all I need to add are small items like the rest of the frame, new axle, new wheels and tires, new wheel wells, new sealed floors, sealed all of the gaping holes, cabinets, beds, wiring and batteries, lights, propane water heater, and a few other incidental items. But they will be the way I THINK I want it.
Time will tell!
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Old 05-07-2015, 04:48 PM   #56
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Having work on aircraft off and on since 1966 I know a little about stress and attaching things together and while the experience may not be applicable to fiberglass trailers you have to humor the old man sometimes.
!
LOL - as I said we all make our own chooses based on what we know and you at least have some good knowledge and understanding of the issues surrounding movement and stress as well as a history of using products built with rivets and know why they are used in some applications, to help you make your decisions

You have one big project there that I am thankful its not mine!! Good luck with it!
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