Nuts n' bolts instead of rivets? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-29-2012, 11:23 PM   #15
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Threaded items have a tendency to vibrate loose. Rivets won't vibrate loose. Recently there was talk about the screws at bottom of the kitchen cabinet coming loose. Just imagine the problem if all those rivets started backing out.

Rivets with Acorn nuts and bolts with acorn nuts are about the same when it comes to manufacturing labor.
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:42 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
I recall a thread about rivets vs bolts and it was suggested that the aluminum rivets might provide better stress relief over bolts.
Thats correct - Scamp and Casita do not recommend the use of bolts as fiberglass will crack before a bolt will snap in two as a rivet will. I have had over the past 5 years had at least 1 rivet a year snap due to the bending of the trailer over rough roads. Yup I use my trailer a higher % of time that your normal week-end summer camper so it sees a lot of miles in a year, so those putting on less miles may have fewer snapped rivets.

As a side note Jeff who was beside me at the Northern Oregon meet last month used bolts to replace all his old rivets on his Scamp and he indicated at the meet he was sorry he did as he indicated that he is having to spend time going around and tightening them up fairly often....
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:43 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Thats correct - Scamp and Casita do not recommend the use of bolts as fiberglass will crack before a bolt will snap in two as a rivet will. I have had over the past 5 years had at least 1 rivet a year snap due to the bending of the trailer over rough roads. Yup I use my trailer a higher % of time that your normal week-end summer camper so it sees a lot of miles in a year, so those putting on less miles may have fewer snapped rivets.

As a side note Jeff who was beside me at the Northern Oregon meet last month used bolts to replace all his old rivets on his Scamp and he indicated at the meet he was sorry he did as he indicated that he is having to spend time going around and tightening them up fairly often....
I've had my 13D for 8years and 57000 miles and have yet to have a screw loose... ON THE TRAILER!!
As for rivets... It's been rare to find a problem even on the 30+ year old project trailers which have followed me home
Note...I suggested the use of nylocks.
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Old 05-30-2012, 09:52 PM   #18
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I second the use of nylocks or a little something in a cap nut to keep the neat looking nuts from coming loose. I used a dab of Sikaflex.
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Old 05-30-2012, 10:15 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by floyd View Post
I've had my 13D for 8years and 57000 miles and have yet to have a screw loose... ON THE TRAILER!!
As for rivets... It's been rare to find a problem even on the 30+ year old project trailers which have followed me home
Note...I suggested the use of nylocks.
I hear you Floyd it is odd but I do put a lot of miles on the trailer in a year - about 10,000 last year and sometimes on not so smooth roads. Its normally an original to the trailer rivet that goes and more often than not it is one of the ones holding a cupboard to the outside.... perhaps its just cheap Scamp rivets As far as loose screws go, a few of the ones that hold the wooden frame by the door like to come loose as do one or two of the ones near the bottom of the kitchen cupboards - need to tighten them up at least a couple of times a year.
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Old 05-30-2012, 10:32 PM   #20
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I second the use of Nylocks.
If you are going to use threadlocker - use the blue stuff - the red is "permanent" - which means that next year, when you decide to move "this" cabinet over to "there" you will have to apply humongous amounts of heat to melt the locker stuff loose - which will set fire to the fiberglass!
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Old 05-31-2012, 02:57 PM   #21
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Nyloc nuts are an excellent idea but because of the drag on the nut as it turns it is a two person job.

I usually work alone on my 1977 13-foot Scamp. I could put nylocs on the closet screws by reaching in the door and through the jalousie window with the screen removed. The the overhead and kitchen cabinet would be impossible to reach both sides. I used an alternative way to lock the acorn nuts on the stainless steel 10-24 screws.

The first picture shows a jam nut which I can get started on the screw first by holding the screw threads above the nut with needle nose pliers. When enough threads are exposed at the bottom of the screw I hold it there with the needle nose pliers. I don't squeeze them very tight. Just enough to keep the screw from turning.

I run the jam nut up tight against the washer. I don't want to get it too tight so as to put excess stress on the fiberglass. I use a thin 3/8-inch wrench from an old Dremel moto tool to hold the jam nut while I tighten the acorn nut against it.

I started replacing rivets last summer and after one trip realized that the jam nuts were needed. I must have given the impression at the Spring NOG that the nuts were always coming loose but they don't.

I don't think Scamp was using snap caps on the rivets back in 1977. A previous owner had simply glued the caps on with silicone or vinyl caulk. They were very ugly!!! The second picture shows how UV damage had reduced most of them to dust.

I also wanted to wet sand the very heavy oxidation off the top of the body and didn't want to deal with the rivets.

I'm not sure if I will keep the screws. I see the advantage of rivets the way they expand to fill the holes, stay tight and break under stress although all the rivets appear to be the original 35 year old rivets in my trailer.

The nice thing about screws is that I can easily take them out and put them back in. I am going to repaint my cabinets inside and out with of all things, paint designed for fiberglass. Probably Interlux Brightside. It will give me a chance to practice before I paint the body. My gel coat is getting very thin. The snap caps will have to come back off for that.

I didn't put any sealer on the cupped washers when I put them in so they leak a little when it rains. I cover the Scamp most of the time with the deluxe cover sold on eBay. It keeps the water out and it stays nice and clean until the next time I go camping.

I was hoping the caps would be ok with out sealer. Since I started replacing the rivets I have learned that a little dab of caulk is advised. I will use ProFlex RV sealer as I keep reading how silicone is a no no.

Since I am in the tinker/mock-up/learnging stage on my Scamp the screws will stay for now. Or rather, go in and out until I get everything the way I want it. I might even glass the cabinets in and plug the holes. Time will tell.

The most important thing is that I'm able to go camping in between working on the Scamp. The last picture was taken at the Spring NOG with Carol's 16-foot Scamp in the backround.

Jeff
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