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Old 12-27-2018, 01:40 PM   #1
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Fastener Opinions Wanted

I am going to replace all of the structural rivets that pierce the skin of my '79 Boler. That way I can also remove all of the silicon the PO put around the rivets. I am looking at 2 different options for replacing the old rivets:

1) Redo all structural rivets with closed-end stainless steel rivets.
2) Redo all structural rivets with stainless nuts,washers and bolts using bolts with bonded Neoprene on the head, washers with bonded Neoprene and nylon locking nuts.

I'm not sure how much I need to worry about vibration casing cracks which is why I am considering option 2. I figure the Neoprene will seal against water intrusion and dampen vibrations.

I would like any opinions and if possible explanations as to why. I would really like to hear about practical experiences. Thanks in advance for your assistance.
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Old 12-27-2018, 03:06 PM   #2
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In my opinion ( not universal by any means) I would and did go with SS screws and washers. The washers I used were countersink and I used flush headed screws.
I put a little sealant under the washer and the screwhead and never looked back.
99% of the fasteners I used were into the wood cabinets I installed and when I put them in I cut out the ensolite along the mating surface and used PU glue and sealant to bond the cabinets in place along with SS screws and washers. I trial fitted the cabinets and cut out and roughed up the mating surfaces and drilled the holes for the screws from the inside. I had help holding the cabinets in place while I drove the screws.
No leaks anywhere as the hole is sealed and the cabinets reinforce the shell.
Rivets will loosen over time (In my opinion) and work between the interior parts and the the shell.
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Old 12-27-2018, 05:31 PM   #3
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From what I can tell from a brief search, neoprene has only moderate UV resistance. Silicone, particularly marine formulations are much more UV resistant and would outlast neoprene.

I can't imagine why you're reigniting the screw vs rivet controversy, but, whatever...Nobody forces me to read these threads.
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Old 12-27-2018, 05:49 PM   #4
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Oh crap Steve! Did I just inadvertently restart the Hundred Years war of the trailer world?

The neoprene is actually adhered to the underside of the bolt head so only the outer edge would be exposed to UV rays. I was simply trying to find out the pros and cons of each method.

To quote Monty Python:
"I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition!"
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Old 12-27-2018, 07:23 PM   #5
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Oh crap Steve! Did I just inadvertently restart the Hundred Years war of the trailer world?

The neoprene is actually adhered to the underside of the bolt head so only the outer edge would be exposed to UV rays. I was simply trying to find out the pros and cons of each method.

To quote Monty Python:
"I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition!"
Are you saying that there is little UV under the bolt head?
My issue is that you either immobilize the parts so that they do not move relative to each other or there is movement, wear and loosening.
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Old 12-27-2018, 08:04 PM   #6
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Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.
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Old 12-28-2018, 11:23 AM   #7
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Pop Rivets are good for places you can't get at on the inside.
Bolts and nuts (self locking) would be better where you can get at them.
Use flat washers on both sides to spread the clamping load, reduce cracking around the hole.
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Old 12-28-2018, 02:35 PM   #8
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Theres a guy on another forum that swears by riv-nuts. Have you looked into those?
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Old 12-28-2018, 02:40 PM   #9
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Theres a guy on another forum that swears by riv-nuts. Have you looked into those?
Not sure how that would work. For example on the closet. Would you put the riv-nut on the flange of the closet and then use a bolt from the outside screwed into the riv-nut?
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Old 12-28-2018, 02:48 PM   #10
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Rivnuts are not a solution for this as they install like big pop rivets that are threaded internally.
You could install them on the inside cabinet or wall, but they could still work loose where an elastic stop nut would not.
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Old 12-28-2018, 02:49 PM   #11
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Theres a guy on another forum that swears by riv-nuts. Have you looked into those?
As I recall, Riv-nuts are used in industry to insert a threaded "nut" in thinner material, like sheet metal, sort of like a T-nut you may use in wood.
It is inserted in one part before joining it to the mating part.

Pop-Rivets go through both parts at once.
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Old 12-28-2018, 02:57 PM   #12
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I'm not sure what a closet flange is but here is a short video of a riv-nut being installed in a scrap piece of carbon fiber just for demonstration purposes. They come in aluminum and steel. looks like a good system to me.
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Old 12-28-2018, 03:40 PM   #13
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Theres a guy on another forum that swears by riv-nuts. Have you looked into those?
I'm probably the one you are referring to, as I often advocate the use of Riv-Nuts for many applications, but generally that is for mounting appliances and things that you may want to remove again some time down the road without the need to drill off the rivet heads again. They work great on things like the surrounding trim on refrigerators and microwaves for example, but I wouldn't recommend them for replacing the "thru-hull" rivets. I would suggest that you look into the beveled escutcheon ring style washers and oval or flat head stainless steel 1/4" X 20 machine screws, with flat washers and Nylock nuts on the inside to replace any of those thru-hull rivets. I would also avoid using stainless steel rivets, (if you are planning to replace the rivets in your trailer) because the Aluminum ones will compress and "snap" with less compression than the stainless steel ones. Stainless ones are not recommended on fiberglass. You can do some damage with stainless steel rivets. Stainless steel machine screws will allow you to determine when it's tight enough. Rivets don't allow you that luxury.
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Old 12-28-2018, 03:51 PM   #14
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Yes are you guy from the Casita Travel Trailer forum? If so you are the one I was referring to and I put a lot of stock in your advice. People like you are one of the mane reasons I enjoy these forums because of all the knowledge available to those of us that need answers.
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Old 12-28-2018, 05:31 PM   #15
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I'm not sure what a closet flange is but here is a short video of a riv-nut being installed in a scrap piece of carbon fiber just for demonstration purposes. They come in aluminum and steel. looks like a good system to me.
They also require a special tool. It is a good system, saved a lot of labor in a production environment. Might be expensive for a DIY project.
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Old 12-28-2018, 06:13 PM   #16
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I have noticed that there are some people that make homemade riv-nut tools with with a bolt the same size as the riv-nut, a few flat washers an oversized nut which would probably be the most inexpensive option for DIYers.
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Old 12-29-2018, 01:29 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Captleemo View Post
Yes are you guy from the Casita Travel Trailer forum? If so you are the one I was referring to and I put a lot of stock in your advice. People like you are one of the mane reasons I enjoy these forums because of all the knowledge available to those of us that need answers.
Yes, I'm active on both of the Casita forums. I go by "Euphoria" on those boards. Glad to help...
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Old 01-02-2019, 02:53 PM   #18
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Yes, I'm active on both of the Casita forums. I go by "Euphoria" on those boards. Glad to help...
I used riv-nuts on our trailer but only on the frame. The tool box is held on with them, the battery holder, some wiring clamps and the sewer hose storage tube.
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Old 01-09-2019, 08:16 PM   #19
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beveled escutcheon ring style washers
Fastener guy here. The industry description you're looking for is "flanged finish washer".



Jamestown Distributors is a good source.
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Old 01-10-2019, 10:12 AM   #20
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I have noticed that there are some people that make homemade riv-nut tools with with a bolt the same size as the riv-nut, a few flat washers an oversized nut which would probably be the most inexpensive option for DIYers.
Another useful video - thanks!
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