Yet another rivet question - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-08-2016, 12:07 PM   #15
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Name: Ginny
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Steve, this is the mantra I keep telling myself *I do not need hydraulic tools, I do not need hydraulic tools, I do not need hydraulic tools....*

Jon,
If we aren't replacing them 'just because' then technically I don't need to do any of them. Nothing is leaking (other than the one that I mentioned that got covered by the roof patch). I have one other rivet that the acorn is loose on the inside, but the rivet itself is firm.

As for 'frame' under the rat fur, I meant the fiberglass. If they riveted thru the fiberglass, then glued rat fur on top, I would have to cut or rip out the rat fur in that area to get to the inside part of the old rivet, correct?
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Old 08-08-2016, 02:03 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Agreed that loose rivets should be replaced. But only one of the rivets in the OP's photos (the last one) appears to have a disintegrating snap cap base, and we can't tell from the photo if the rivet it loose.
I am with Steve on this one, once the retaining ring falls apart its a good bet the rivet will in the not to distant future be loose as well, if it is not already.

When I first purchased my used Scamp it was missing a number of caps and had some broken plastic cap bases as well Also went inside the trailer and tried to move the acorn nuts on the inside - if they moved at all I tagged that rivet for replacement as well even if the caps on them looked good.

You can purchase boxes of rivets of various sizes from hardware stores but many of them sell them in large boxes that you may never use up and finding some of the sizes needed can be a challenge. If starting out I would get the sample package from Scamp that has all the rivet sizes they use so you have the right rivet sizes on hand to avoid frustration.

The hardest part of the job is getting up the nerve to do the first rivet replacement. Once you have done one or two you will find its not all that scary! Certainly not as scary as having to replace damage done over time due to small leaks.

Key items - make sure the drill bit is only large enough to remove the top of the rivet - not enlarge the hole. Have someone to hold the acorn rivet in place inside the trailer for you. I usually put just a tiny bit of butyl tape on the underside/trailer side of the snap cap as well, I avoided using caulkings when ever possible.
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Old 08-08-2016, 02:06 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by fieldphoto View Post

As for 'frame' under the rat fur, I meant the fiberglass. If they riveted thru the fiberglass, then glued rat fur on top, I would have to cut or rip out the rat fur in that area to get to the inside part of the old rivet, correct?
As others have learned removing all the rat fur & replacing it, is a bad idea.

It would be pretty hard/impossible to install new rat fur smoothly to the walls to start with, without first removing all the rivets that have acorn nuts on the inside.
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Old 08-08-2016, 02:46 PM   #18
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Carol,
Thanks for your insight. If I do start replacing, I will go with scamp rivets- though I might get better caps.

So, about the rat fur... I guess that's my point.. I do NOT want to take it down if possible (though I might be taking it off the back splash- separate project). The only way to get to rivets behind the rat fur is to remove or cut it, right?
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Old 08-08-2016, 03:10 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by fieldphoto View Post
Steve, this is the mantra I keep telling myself *I do not need hydraulic tools, I do not need hydraulic tools, I do not need hydraulic tools....*

Jon,
If we aren't replacing them 'just because' then technically I don't need to do any of them. Nothing is leaking (other than the one that I mentioned that got covered by the roof patch). I have one other rivet that the acorn is loose on the inside, but the rivet itself is firm.

As for 'frame' under the rat fur, I meant the fiberglass. If they riveted thru the fiberglass, then glued rat fur on top, I would have to cut or rip out the rat fur in that area to get to the inside part of the old rivet, correct?
Its your hands. Those 3/16" rivets are tough to pull. if you really have to do it the hard way get a rivet gun with long handles. Then at least you have the leverage to pop them.
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Old 08-08-2016, 03:28 PM   #20
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The folks at Scamp say that if the rivet isn't loose or leaking just glue a new cap on even if the snap is missing. The entire set is $10.50
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Old 08-08-2016, 04:12 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by fieldphoto View Post
...
So, about the rat fur... I guess that's my point.. I do NOT want to take it down if possible (though I might be taking it off the back splash- separate project). The only way to get to rivets behind the rat fur is to remove or cut it, right?
Usually, when you drill off the head of the rivet, the body will come out the other side (often with a little effort). In some cases and locations, the body will stay behind the rat-fur or insulation, but as long as it is out of the way, just leave it there. Usually that is the case, but see my post above.

When I did the Fantastic Fan cover on the roof, that is just what happened. After drilling off the heads, I pushed the old rivets in and they fell into the inside of the rat-fur on the roof. They will be there as long as the camper survives. New rivets went in the same hole once the old ones were out of the way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
Its your hands. Those 3/16" rivets are tough to pull. if you really have to do it the hard way get a rivet gun with long handles. Then at least you have the leverage to pop them.
I have not done enough to say for sue, but the 3/16 rivets I have done have not been hard. I would not want to do it all day, but if only doing a few at a time I have so far found it easy enough and I am no muscle man.

One thing I heard was to make sure you use aluminum rivets and make sure the pins are also aluminum. There are all sorts of rivets available.
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Old 08-08-2016, 05:16 PM   #22
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Gordon
When I had a Casita I had a troublesome rivet similar to the 4-hour saga you described. The first time it broke was about two hours after leaving the factory with the brand new trailer. I replaced it four times in the first six months. After that I used a stainless steel bolt and tightened it into an acorn nut with Loctite. (2 person job.) End of problem. Yeah, I know they are designed to break under stress so that other stuff doesn't crack, etc. etc. But nothing like that ever happened. The bolt was trouble free for the years I owned the trailer. Before the Casita, I had a Scamp that spent a lot of time on the Haul Road in Alaska. Broke a lot of rivets, but I could only blame myself for being on that road.

Current trailer is a Bigfoot - no rivets!
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Old 08-08-2016, 05:58 PM   #23
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Gordon
When I had a Casita I had a troublesome rivet similar to the 4-hour saga you described. The first time it broke was about two hours after leaving the factory with the brand new trailer. I replaced it four times in the first six months. After that I used a stainless steel bolt and tightened it into an acorn nut with Loctite. (2 person job.) End of problem. Yeah, I know they are designed to break under stress so that other stuff doesn't crack, etc. etc. But nothing like that ever happened. ..
Thanks for that info.. good to know! In fact that is my plan.. replace the rivet up to four times then bolt it, but with a small diameter bolt but larger washers, and not too tight, and with a nylock nut and maybe Loctite too for good measure. Hopefully it would not break the glass but if it did, well its all repairable in the worst case.

My other idea is to add one or two more rivets in the same area to spread the load over three rivets instead of one. But drilling new holes in the shell is a distasteful activity I would prefer to avoid.
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Old 08-08-2016, 07:09 PM   #24
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Small bolt, but larger washers sounds like "fender" washers which might be just the ticket for fiberglass.
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Old 08-08-2016, 09:06 PM   #25
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Name: Ginny
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Thank you all for the insight. Seriously, thank you. I am sure this conversation will continue, and I will continue to read your advice.

I think FOR NOW, I will leave it alone. I am going camping this weekend (1st trip with the camper that wasnt the long drive home after we bought it!)

It is a shakedown trip, and I will spend a lot of the weekend inspecting rivets etc. I really need to get up on the roof and have a good look (not standing on it, but inspecting from a ladder!)

I think, if everything looks pretty good, I will just focus on doing some rivet replacement this winter when I am bored as hell.

Thanks for the details about rivets under the rat fur... I figured the old one would be in the way of the new one, that's why I wasn't sure about how to handle getting the old ones out without tampering with the rat fur. I assume you can't FEEL the old rivet as a bump under the fur?
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Old 08-08-2016, 09:23 PM   #26
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Pool noodle or pipe insulation is useful to protect trailer from ladder scuffs.
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Old 08-08-2016, 09:40 PM   #27
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Carol,

So, about the rat fur... I guess that's my point.. I do NOT want to take it down if possible (though I might be taking it off the back splash- separate project). The only way to get to rivets behind the rat fur is to remove or cut it, right?
I think you will find that most of the locations where there are rivets behind the rat fur it is down low on the trailer and usually used to fasten items such as your city water, electrical inlet etc. In those cases there is already going to be a cut out in the rat fur for the outlet. As others have said in those situation its not a big deal if the rivet or two falls down behind the rat fur. Or if you wanted you could cut a slice into the rat fur and pull the rat fur back a bit a little then just spray the rat fur with an adhesive to close it back up once finished. Never going to notice it behind cabinets.
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Old 08-08-2016, 09:40 PM   #28
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I have an a-frame ladder now, but if I get a flat ladder (I am sure it has a fancier name) I will keep that in mind.

I never cease to be amazed at the million uses for pool noodles.
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