Rivets, need experienced input - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-07-2015, 10:14 PM   #1
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Exclamation Rivets, need experienced input

Okay I am in the final stages of body work on my 71 Boler, should be priming in the next 24 to 48 hours. All fixtures have been removed from the shell, fiberglassed over from the inside and filled & sanded from the outside so there are no holes in the shell of my Boler except for the openings for the 4 windows, roof vent, door, gas line, city/water and electric ports. Now when I reinstall the overhead cabinets, closet and roof vents obviously these will be re-riveted with new holes drilled. (1) Do the rivets alone create a water proof seal? Or do i need to use butyl tape between the rivet and the outside of the shell? (2) should I install those fixtures with rivets first and then prime & paint over the rivets or should I prime & paint and then install rivets? I want to make absolutely sure I have the least possible chance of having any leaks around the rivets. Thanks in advance for the input.
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:16 AM   #2
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could the panels be bonded to the walls with super strong 2-part epoxy - there are epoxies out there that are strong enough to be used to replace welded on panels on cars. They come in easy to use twin tubes with self mixing tips, applied with a special caulking type gun just like caulk and have various types that are for fiberglass and have different set times to meet your needs. One company that comes to mind is Lord Fusor. These products can be found at your local body shop, body shop supply company or automotive paint supply company.
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:00 AM   #3
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I removed the insulation down to the fiberglass to prep for glue. I trial fitted and the drilled new holes from the inside to line up with the structure.

I usesd stainless washers like these:

I then used Polyurethane industrial glue in those cutouts and had someone hold from the inside while I installed the screws after drilling pilot holes in the wood cabinets to keep from splitting the wood. ( Previously countersunk drilled the fiberglass for clearance for the washers. Before I screwed in the countersunk screws I added a few drops of Gorilla Glue Polyurethane glue to seal the hole and under the washer.
This leaves an almost flush surface and since I plan to paint the whole trailer the screws and washers will be beneath the paint and this also seals the assembly.
The glue on the inside also serves to seal the thing as well. If you are reinstalling the original fiberglass your results may vary, but with the wood cabinets it really stiffened up the whole trailer.

It is like adding a 12" oak beam from one end to the other.
I noticed that when I removed the small overhead cabinets in the rear og my scamp that the plastic caps and cabinets were dry where the wood was attached with wood screws and this was probably the most mechanically secure attachment in the trailer!
I duplicated this, but added the glue to bond and keep the panells from moving relative to one another.

No white plastic pimples to be killed by UV over time.
Perhaps it will work. I know that with the furnishings all installed this way the shell is definitely stiffer and along with the added side floor bracing it will be a different trailer. A little heavier, but solid and no panels working against each other.

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Old 06-08-2015, 08:52 AM   #4
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bsedwept I considered fiberglassing the cabinets into the body but that would make them very difficult to remove if we ever decided to go with something different. I have considered glassing some wood in place to screw them into. Any yes I didn't think about epoxy but I did use a similar epoxy on the steel frame I made to bond to the fiberglass door.

redbarron55 I like the idea of putting wood cabinetry in like what you did and while I am handy at a lot of things including some woodworking skills I am by no means a cabinet maker, dont think I could pull off the nice finished look like you have done.

either way, I still have to put rivets in for the vent, and I am still toying with how to strengthen the roof to hold our roof top a/c. This has been a big dilemma. We could do the closet a/c but already have a fridge going there, the window a/c would fit but would reduce storage even further. With our layout plans the window a/c won't really work anywhere else that I will be happy with. I really like the idea of putting the roof a/c back on but I have got to make the roof strong enough to support it. Was thinking about using aluminum channel to make a frame to rivet to the roof from the inside to stiffen up the roof. Seen another post that did something similar and another one that glassed in flat bar. I spoke with Scamp and when they add a roof top a/c unit they add a 3'x6' piece of what they call "core mat" to the inside of the roof and it is glassed in place just like mat only thicker and unidirectional strands. The guy said after they finish it you can stand on it and it won't flex at all. They wanted over $1000 to do this and my trailer for 2 to 3 weeks, or would sell me the core mat for $80 for me to do myself.

I still would like to know though if the rivets would be water proof, or if any sealer is used under them, and whether to prime/paint before or after installing them?

Thanks for the input guys gives me some more things to think about.
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:27 AM   #5
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Okay, I just got off the phone with Scamp and they said they use silicone between the rivet and the outer body. Also their trailers are not painted but come out of the mold with the finished gel coat, but the service guy recommended installing the rivets before hand so the prime and paint will seal them giving extra protection. But, if there is any silicon around the rivets, would the primer & paint adhere to them? Maybe I should go with my glassing in wood idea to screw everything to.
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Old 06-08-2015, 10:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny M View Post
. (1) Do the rivets alone create a water proof seal? Or do i need to use butyl tape between the rivet and the outside of the shell? (2) should I install those fixtures with rivets first and then prime & paint over the rivets or should I prime & paint and then install rivets? I want to make absolutely sure I have the least possible chance of having any leaks around the rivets. Thanks in advance for the input.
The rivets on the original Boler install had no butyl tape or anything else under them or caps on them and they where/are water tight to this day on many a 30 year old Boler.

Do the rivets after you paint the trailer otherwise when you replace a rivet in the future and YOU will! you are going to end up with some painted some not or worse yet when you drill them out they will cause your main trailers paint to peel off!

I do when replacing rivets on my Scamp use a tiny bit of Butyl tape on the trailer side of the plastic snap cap holder. If your not using snap cap holders I would not try and put any butyl tape under the rivet itself as it might get/look a bit messy/black around all the rivets after a time & due to the small size of the rivet head be real hard to trim back. If you are concerned about the size of the rivet hole you might consider putting a bit into the hole before shooting the rivet - not sure about the later as I have never done that though! Snap caps over the rivets where not something the original Bolers had but I do know a few folks who on redoing their trailers who have added them just so they could put a bit of butyl tape around the rivet hole for added leakage protection - something to consider.
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Old 06-08-2015, 10:23 AM   #7
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Okay, I just got off the phone with Scamp and they said they use silicone between the rivet and the outer body. Also their trailers are not painted but come out of the mold with the finished gel coat, but the service guy recommended installing the rivets before hand so the prime and paint will seal them giving extra protection. But, if there is any silicon around the rivets, would the primer & paint adhere to them? Maybe I should go with my glassing in wood idea to screw everything to.


Do NOT follow Scamps lead in this regard!!
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Old 06-08-2015, 10:30 AM   #8
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Do NOT follow Scamps lead in this regard!!
Thanks for the reply, after just talking this over with my wife we have decided to glass in the cabinet fixtures to cut down on rivet holes. The only rivet holes now at this point will be for the roof a/c & vent, 2 aluminum side windows, and 2 hatches (water & power) which all will have butyl tape applied to seal. These rivets will all be installed after priming & painting.
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Old 06-08-2015, 10:48 AM   #9
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As to the Wood cabinets I bought closeout kitchen cabinets and turned the 90* and cut them out to round the sides, cut out the back and top and then installed them. What you see are 12" wide X 30" tall mounted sideways. I added a 1/2 X 1/2 wood strip along the back (glued in) to have something to put the screws into at the bottom. The screws go into the side of the oak frame at the top.
Here you can see the first cabinet installed:

Here is what I did at the back to tie the two sides together and mount the inside mini-split unit.

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Old 06-08-2015, 10:57 AM   #10
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No silicon, not a problem to seal rivets. You just put a Snap Cap seal on them. If you want to have a little extra seal beyond that roll a little ball of butyl tape between your fingers, squish it a bit like a fat washer.

Put snap cap cup on and rivet right through the little piece of butyl. Rivet will squish most of it out, run a toothpick tip around the edge to "trim" off any excess butyl putty that sticks out. Put snap cap on cup.

By the time you do the third one you will have it down to a science. Glassing cabinets in is forever, if there is ever any damage to repair you will regret that choice, and a lot more work and expense in the first place.

Snap Caps work, are inexpensive, easy to use, hold for many years.

I would not put AC on a roof not designed for it. Too much hassle, either through the wall DIY or sell and purchase later model that had the roof support. But then that is me, my knowledge and skills. Much of that is knowledge of the limits of my skills learned the hard way. YMMV as might your level of expertise.
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Old 06-08-2015, 11:21 AM   #11
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I use 3M -5200 sealant under the rivet snap base and inside the rivet hole in the snap cap base before putting on the top snap cap. Should I loose the top snap cap the rivet is sealed.
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Old 06-08-2015, 11:58 AM   #12
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Why not use self-sealing rivets? They leave the pin in the centre once installed.
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Old 06-08-2015, 12:00 PM   #13
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redbarron55 how much did the cabinets set you back (if you don't mind me asking of course)?
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Old 06-08-2015, 12:01 PM   #14
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I didn't know there was a difference but I thought they could still leak water through where the pin goes...thanks for the tip!
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