How to replace snap caps? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-04-2006, 08:45 AM   #15
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FWIW, Boss RTV sealant is very effective for sealing around rivets as well.
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Old 06-04-2006, 05:53 PM   #16
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I use a drill bit that's about the size of the rivet shaft. In other words, you don't want to make the hole in the trailer any larger than it already is.

I use a variable speed drill so that I can take it very slowly until I can get a feel for it. Once the outer ring is broken, you can usually take something and just poke the rivet to the inside to clear the hole.

It may take a bit to get the hang of it, just take it nice and slow, don't get frustrated and remember that the more you do it, the easier it becomes. I learned by trial and error and you can to.

Whether removing or installing, finesse is the key to rivet success! ... well, that and practice.
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Old 06-05-2006, 07:07 AM   #17
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Many/most of the blind rivets I drill out end up spinning in the hole meaning I can't finish drilling them out. In other words, the rivet starts spinning as fast as the drill is turning. Another nice thing about aluminum rivets is that I can take a half inch (sacrificial) chisel, lay it flat against the surface, bevel up, and lightly cut the head of the rivet off.

Casita once told me that the drill should be no more than 1/64 inch over the diameter of the rivet.

In a sort of "belt and suspenders" approach I'd suggest a very small dab of silicone in the hole before inserting the rivet and more over the hole after the mandrel snaps.

Pneumatic riveters can be expensive unless you buy from Harbor Freight or some such place. They would probably be adequate for the relatively few rivets (compared to a production tool) you need to replace. Some rivets can be awkward to access and a pneumatic might be helpful. However, hand held riveters are more than adequate.

There must be some sort of guideline as to length of rivet but I don't know it off the top of my head. Often the rivet is holding something to the outer skin. The body of the rivet has to be perhaps an 1/8" longer than the depth of the hole. (Not counting the little bulbous end to the mandrel.) I'm making this rule up as I speak, hoping someone has a more authoritative guideline.

Intuitively, it's a good idea to press the layers to be riveted together before pulling the rivet. It can be a two person job, one inside pushing things against the wall, the other outside running the riveter. In my case, being single, I use creative bracing to hold things in place.

Backup washers are very helpful as Brian suggests. Use them wherever the inside of the rivet is hidden. Casita puts an acorn nut over the ends of exposed rivets to dress up the appearance. I'm attaching a drawing I've posted a number of times.

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You need to experiment with a nut size that just fits over the unexpanded rivet diameter. This might not pertain to your application however.
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Old 06-05-2006, 09:23 AM   #18
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My Casita actually uses acorn nuts on the ones that are exposed on the inside of the trailer. Really makes for a snug fit, but it does (usually) require someone to be at the other end. I think some ingenious member(s) came up with a gadget for a one person install, but I haven't seen it.
That would be Joy and her PVC gadget.
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