On the need to seal rivets... - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-28-2016, 10:38 PM   #1
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Name: Sylvio
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On the need to seal rivets...

Ok folks. I finally straightened my door and am thinking about painting! I need to replace a few rivets and I still don't get it: Why do I need to seal my new rivets if I'm going to paint over them? Won't the paint seal them enough?

Why bother doing a good paint job if I'm going to mess it up by putting goop on each rivet? I understand the butyl tape technique, it does sound less messy but...

(I have a Boler. Please don't make mention of any type of "caps": I'm not being chauvinistic, I'm just trying to understand and am easily confused... Thank you for your understanding.)
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Old 02-28-2016, 11:16 PM   #2
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In the last 10 years I have refurbished at least 10 Eggs.
I have replaced many rivets.
One Scamp 13 and a Scamp 16 I replaced every rivet.
I have never used a sealant and never had a leak.
New snap caps are all you need.
Fiberglass flexes along with the rivets.
I would think the paint would eventually crack around the rivets and you may have a leak.
Sorry about mentioning caps.

Some may disagree but I'm speaking from personal experience.
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Old 02-29-2016, 05:51 AM   #3
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I redid my 16 foot Scamp using counter sunk flat head screws and country sunk washers and when I installed each screw I used a dab of Gorilla Glue as a sealant.
There have been no leaks in the driveway, but years and roads may make a difference.
I installed wood cabinets and bulkheads and cut out the interfacing insulation and bonded them and used the screws more to hold them together as the glue cured.
I will paint over everything as the trailer had been painted before and I scarfed in several patches to make the trailer tighter and help keep in dry and bug free.


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Old 02-29-2016, 07:21 AM   #4
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Name: Sylvio
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I don't get the snap caps. I tried to Google "plastic snap cap scamp" and saw some pretty gooped up rivets, some loose caps but no cap in place on the camper. Any links to pictures and/or tutorial might help. But I don't think it's the way I want to go...
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Old 02-29-2016, 07:59 AM   #5
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A snap cap uses a clear "rivet" or "washer" that the rivet goes through to the interior. The cap "snaps" on the clear "rivet" or "washer" to seal.


From the Scamp Trailer web site:
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Old 02-29-2016, 10:31 AM   #6
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The snap caps work like putting a plastic lid back on a coffee can - just snaps over the round can (or plastic washer base in Donna Post.) Although titled a "washer" it's shaped like a tiny coffee can that the rivet passes through.)
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Old 02-29-2016, 11:00 AM   #7
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Sealant is probably not required, but I am pretty sure it does not hurt anything either so I did it. I put a little on the rivets as I put them in the hole in the Scamp and then another dab inside the washer over the rivet before sticking the cap on. Again, probably not required and a complete waste of time. But it is MY time, MY caulk, and MY Scamp so I did it. YMMV
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Old 02-29-2016, 11:27 AM   #8
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I used the Gorilla Glue since it expands as it cures and my thought was it "might" help seal, fill any voids, and limit the working of the fastener.
I can't tell how well it might work yet though.


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Old 02-29-2016, 11:36 AM   #9
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I've used this illustration before. Probably illustrating what everyone already knows, but what the heck...


The acorn nut is not threaded on, the swelling rivets just expands into the threads of the nut. A close fit of the nut inside thread diameter and the unexpanded rivet outside diameter is critical. 1/4-20 nuts and 3/16 rivets is one good pairing.


I recently bought an assortment of closed end rivets which eliminates one of the paths of water entry but my source doesn't have as wide a variety of lengths in the closed end variety as the open end ones.


I use dabs of sealant in the same fashion as Timber Wolf describes.
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Old 02-29-2016, 12:05 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Steve L. View Post
1/4-20 nuts and 3/16 rivets is one good pairing.
That is a good point. I did a lot of research and math, completely over-thought the whole deal, and ended up with a bunch of beautiful stainless steel 3/16" Acorn nuts I have no use for.
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Old 02-29-2016, 02:32 PM   #11
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I don't believe a sealant is necessary nor do I think a cap for the rivet head is either. There are many types of rivets that seal completely - meaning the mandrel doesn't fall out leaving a hole.
Try a Fastenal. Here is a quick search result for 'closed end rivets'

https://www.fastenal.com/products/fa...%20Rivets%22|~
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Old 02-29-2016, 03:52 PM   #12
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Sanded upper half today. Replaced all rivets that were on the roof (cupboards and closet). I used regular rivets, not acorns... I used butyl tape, really easy. Then I'll use Dynaflex 230.

Some hole were a little bit big for my 1/8" rivets. So I put a washer inside AND outside in a couple spots.

The thought of using bolts instead of rivets made sense to me...until I had to remove four of them because they were loose. Long story short, I have two left and the struggle involves a buffer, red metal and the smell of overheated fiberglass!

I also replaced a piece or rotted wood that supports the top bunk. I have to do some fiberglass tabbing before I put the elephant skin back on.

I removed the lock to get a key done. I removed the stove to get ready to paint, eventually.

Fairly big day even though it doesn't show...

PS: Note that I didn't mention any cap...

PS # 2: Joe, we have a Fastenal in town. I'm almost done, but might be a good store to keep in mind, thanks!
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Old 02-29-2016, 04:32 PM   #13
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Hi Keaner,
Cool to know about the rivets (closed end). I've only ever heard of blind rivets before, as far as specialty items are concerned. I've had exactly the problem you mention, where I pop in a rivet, even three times, and a little hole is left where the mandrel fell out. Made me mad! Why did some (same rivet, same supplier) lose the mandrel after riveting, while other spots, it remained? The one I kept losing the mandrel on was a rivet that holds up the curtain rod bracket in the rear of the trailer. I gave up and left it with its "hole."
As far as sealant goes, all I've ever used is a bit of butyl tape behind the plastic "coffee can" washer. I had quite a few to replace in the roof, and actually had one leaking up there...water ran into the trailer (closet area) all the first winter I owned her and she sat outside in winter. Replaced that...all is tight now.
You know what I wish? I wish that Scamp's parts store page would list their rivets not just by size, but by application. For example, if you are replacing the curtain rod bracket rivets in a model year (year - year), here's the rivet you need. That would give me a good idea of what to stock in my tool kit. Anybody know of such a resource, here at this forum or elsewhere?
Although drilling out rivets and putting in new isn't technically complex, it absolutely kills my teeny hands (like a ten year old), and I don't look forward to it for that reason. Have to take your time and "cinch" the rivet body down the mandrel a bit at a time to get a tight fit. If the mandrel snaps too soon, I find you get a sloppy rivet fit, even if it is the right size. I have a small cheapo air compressor, but I'm sure it's not powerful enough to use a rivet gun with, and for the amount of time I'd do this, not sure if it's worth the expense for me.
I know this topic has strong feelings, but this is why I've read with some interest of folks using SS bolts, rubber encased SS washers,etc., where the application of such is feasible. I dread the time when I've got to replace rivets...cuz it hurts!
One poster on another thread feels they've always been used cuz YES, they're a great fastener that has stood the test of time (e.g. used on aircraft), but they're also relatively inexpensive, when compared to a threaded fastener, such as a bolt and nut deal. I've often read that under stress, a rivet will "give away" saving your fiberglass shell, but as I get older (unless I gets me a man with strong hands), I dread the thought of having to rivet an entire trailer. UGH. Makes me open to ideas on bolts, know what I mean?

Wendy
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Old 02-29-2016, 04:39 PM   #14
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Just checked that Fastenal link for closed end rivets. The rivets they list have an aluminum body BUT have a steel mandrel. I cannot imagine trying to break that mandrel of SS with my hands! If anyone has a supplier of these in all aluminum, could you please post?

And again...anyone know of a resource for rivet size/length and application for trailer? As I recall, my Scamp used a great deal of 3/16" rivets, but varying lengths.
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