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Old 04-20-2015, 06:11 AM   #1
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Name: D. Jim
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Manitoba
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Loose Rivits on 2014 Scamp

Hi! I was getting my 16 ft Scamp ready for the season and noticed a loose cap screw on one of my divider panels where it fastens to the ceiling. I got out my 3/8"nut driver and proceeded to tighten it and check others. Many were loose, but not all would tighten. Some just seemed to spin in their moorings. I went outside to lift the caps to see if there was a bolt head that I could grip in order to tighten. All I found was a rivet head. We have had rain this weekend and these bolts/rivets are leaking. Has any one had this problem, and what is the cause and solution.
Jim
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Old 04-20-2015, 06:58 AM   #2
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Loose Rivits on 2014 Scamp

The inside acorn nuts are just for hiding the end of the rivet. They don't actually tighten up.

If you call Scamp, they will likely send you a "repair kit" for broken and/or leaky rivets. (You will know a rivet is broken if you find the acorn nut and rivet shaft on the floor or if you grasp the acorn nut and a very gentle pull results in the nut & shaft coming inside.

I have had 2 rivets fail, on my 2014 Scamp, and my friend Tom has had at least one.

The repair kit, that Tom and I got, consisted of both rivets and bolts as well as cups & caps for the outside of the trailer. I think the bolts were 1/4 inch (? ) and came in 1" and 1.25" lengths. If you use bolts, you might also need some washers on the inside (not supplied in the kit) to insure a snug (but not too tight) fit with the acorn nut.

Seal the rivet/bolt shaft into the outside cup with silicone sealant and replace the white exterior cap.

Good luck!

Ray

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Old 04-20-2015, 09:13 AM   #3
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Jim, the bad news is, you have a Scamp with rivets and will be dealing with them the rest of the Scamp's life. I've had the two supporting my closet fail and leak water to the inside. Fixed those with bolts. (I have a 2010). I found ANOTHER top rivet on my galley cabinet this weekend. They MIGHT be ok for light-duty like curtains rods (which is a joke to poke holes in your camper!!), but stuff moves! If you store heavy stuff in cabinets supported by rivets, I personally think they're more susceptible to failure. Such as my closet is a "support" factor internally to the shell.

What I did to experiment this weekend was to simply clean the rivet/snap cap (outside) as best I could and re-silicone it. It too is/was where you can spin it. It's in a VERY visible area and I'm going to just see how it holds up. BUT, if they all work loose, I WILL have to take action. The constant shifting of anything will wear the fiberglass down and the rivets will loosen. If you have bolts...retighten. You will NOT retighten a rivet on a Scamp! I havent had to do anything to the two bolts for 2 yrs on my closet and they're VERY firm because I tightened them very firmly!! I checked them while I was going around looking for other possible issues.

Here's part of the problem: They're (Scamp) squeezing the mounting flanges of the cabinets, closet etc. against the ratfur, insulation etc. which is sandwiched in between the two mating fiberglass shell/flange!! Guess what happens to "cloth" over time?? It will COMPRESS. And I'm at a firm belief that that is what's happening to alot of these.

You're possibly going to see alot of "Ford/Chevy" debate with this topic- rivets vs bolts/screws.... ummm ships/planes are held together with rivets..yada yada....but keep this in mind; They did NOT insert cloth and insulation between the surfaces being riveted!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manitoba Jim View Post
Hi! I was getting my 16 ft Scamp ready for the season and noticed a loose cap screw on one of my divider panels where it fastens to the ceiling. I got out my 3/8"nut driver and proceeded to tighten it and check others. Many were loose, but not all would tighten. Some just seemed to spin in their moorings. I went outside to lift the caps to see if there was a bolt head that I could grip in order to tighten. All I found was a rivet head. We have had rain this weekend and these bolts/rivets are leaking. Has any one had this problem, and what is the cause and solution.
Jim
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Old 04-20-2015, 09:35 AM   #4
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Name: mary
Trailer: 16 S/D Scamp 2010
California
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I too have this problem in my 2010 16 ft scamp, I haven't worked on it yet but last time out I noticed I could see the sky, luckily I keep scamp uncover for winter, will contact sacmp for the repair kit
Thanks Mary
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:45 AM   #5
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Here's a link to some photos of my closet fix. You can EASILY see the black residue around the acorn nuts that got my attention on the leak. Needless to say, the ratfur inside the closet was wet. I dried it with a hairdryer to keep it from mildewing and smelling.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/503516...7633366995497/

I also show how they install the awning with 1/4" bolts as well. They're holding VERY well and it's a heavy awning. That should tell you something.
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Old 04-20-2015, 11:15 AM   #6
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As others have indicated you can not tighten the acorn nuts on a the inside of a Scamp - its simple a rivet shot into the nut - no threads on the rivet or the nut it has been shot into. Only fix is to drill out the rivet and put in a new one.

Only nuts that I know of that can be tighten on the inside of the Scamp are the awning brackets.
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Old 04-20-2015, 11:41 AM   #7
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Trailer: Ď14 Casita 17 SD
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Hi, Is this just a Scamp problem, or has it happened to other fiberglass trailers? I have a Casita on order, so I'm not sure yet what holds it together. Are there preventive measures I should take? Yikes.
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Old 04-20-2015, 12:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WendyW View Post
Hi, Is this just a Scamp problem, or has it happened to other fiberglass trailers? I have a Casita on order, so I'm not sure yet what holds it together. Are there preventive measures I should take? Yikes.
We have a 2013 Casita . Casita uses the same nut and rivet method as a Scamp.
In over 2 years of ownership and 15,000 miles we have only broken one rivet.
We carry a set of various size rivets, plastic washers ,rivet caps and a pop rivet gun. Note : Do not try to tighten the acorn nuts on the inside of the trailer, you will only cause damage . Rivets are not a big issue in my view but if it is a major concern for you then buy an Escape or Oliver.
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Old 04-20-2015, 01:15 PM   #9
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Thanks, Steve. Pre-maiden-voyage, everything seems like a major concern. I will gather the pieces you suggest in hopes that will prevent their need. (!)

Wendy
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Old 04-20-2015, 03:16 PM   #10
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I believe this is an owner created problem. All fasteners will loosen when fussed with. There's an old army story about inspection of jeep battery connectors. The private shakes the cables, yup they're tight. The Squad leader shakes the cables, yup they're tight, the NCOIC shakes the cables, yup they're tight. The Captain shakes the cables, yup they're tight. The Inspector shakes the cables, sure enough they're loose. Hmmm now how did they get loose?
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Old 04-20-2015, 08:46 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
Jim, the bad news is, you have a Scamp with rivets and will be dealing with them the rest of the Scamp's life. I've had the two supporting my closet fail and leak water to the inside. Fixed those with bolts. (I have a 2010). I found ANOTHER top rivet on my galley cabinet this weekend. They MIGHT be ok for light-duty like curtains rods (which is a joke to poke holes in your camper!!), but stuff moves! If you store heavy stuff in cabinets supported by rivets, I personally think they're more susceptible to failure. Such as my closet is a "support" factor internally to the shell.
Previous owner ripped out all the rat fur in our 16 ft 1995 Scamp but left the insulation. We're finding loose rivets everywhere now and they're leaking. As a short term fix, we tried sealing all of them last weekend. Torrential rain tonight came in through some known and some unknown places.

The previous owner also removed the passenger side rear window (apparently to remove the rat fur) and that's leaking, too. We tried to remove it last weekend, but couldn't get it all the way out--or then all the way back in. We sealed across the top with a butyl caulk and it didn't leak *as much* as it did before, but it's still not right.

We can't move forward with putting up marine headliner fabric (which is sitting in my basement), building the front dinette or much of anything else until we get this thing sealed up and dry. Would it make sense to remove ALL of the questionable rivets and replace them with bolts (with a blob of butyl tape under the head of the bolt)?
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Old 04-20-2015, 11:43 PM   #12
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wood you rather replace a aluminum rivet or the fiberglass from a steel bolt
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Old 04-21-2015, 12:10 AM   #13
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Trailer: Scamp 16' side dinette, Airstream Safari 19'
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In my view the pop rivet method is pretty sketchy. The rivet often pops before drawing the two panels together leaving a space and loose connection. Our Scamp was riddled with loose leaky connections. I read on this site regarding problems with substituting bolts, so opted to just re-rivet the joints. I developed a technique where using a helper to butt the inner panel up tight to the outer and also pushing in on the acorn nut while I drew the rivet from the outside worked well to get a tight joint. That was two years ago, and so far so good. I also opted to rivet right through a wet dab of silicone sealer for insurance. (most people here shudder to think of silicone anywhere near their trailer) You could substitute polyurethane or acrylic caulk if it makes you feel better. I also would not be adverse to the substitution of stainless steel button head machine screws and nylox nuts to really draw the panels together and keep them together. How would they damage the fiberglass if snugged up tight? Loose fitting poorly installed pop rivets are legendary on this site. Chafing and vibration would cause more damage in my estimation. Also aircraft aren't built with pop rivets. Real bucked rivets are a way different than pop rivets. Let the flaming begin!
Russ
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Old 04-21-2015, 12:25 AM   #14
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Sharon,
On that rear window you'll have to get the frame completely removed and get it squeaky clean. Then bed the frame with the butyl tape and re-fasten. Also check the drain scuppers in the window sill, as they will overflow on the inside of the trailer if clogged. The scupper cleaning usually comes first, as it's easier to do than re bedding the frame, and is often the culprit.
Russ
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Old 04-21-2015, 12:49 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
Jim, the bad news is, you have a Scamp with rivets and will be dealing with them the rest of the Scamp's life.
I have a 23 year old Scamp that I am pretty sure it still has many of its original rivets.

I replaced about a dozen or so of the rivets when I purchased the trailer when it was 15 years old, only due to the snap cap retaining rings having been broken off over the years and not due to leakage.

In the 7 years I have had the trailer it has travel well over 50,000 miles and I may have one rivet a year that needs replacing - some years none. More often than not the failed rivet has snapped in two - often happens after many miles of travel on real rough roads.... which is why i would never replace the rivets with bolts.... far better the rivet snaps than have the fiberglass crack. And yes my trailer has the rat fur.

While I believe a trailer with no rivets such as an Escape would be nice, I have never felt the rivets on the Scamp to be a problem or a big downside to owning one.

Sounds to me as though a couple of folks may have gotten a trailer built on Friday of a long week-end?
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Old 04-21-2015, 02:47 AM   #16
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Loose Rivits on 2014 Scamp

Darral - your explanation makes a lot of sense to me. When we rivet two pieces of aluminum together in aircraft construction, the two pieces of aluminum are pressed tightly together ... No rat fur and insulation in between.

Wendy, Byron, Carol - I don't think my rivet failures ( or Tom's or Darral's?) were owner-induced.
I had not repeated checked my acorn nuts/rivets and had not put excess weight in the pantry cabinet or any overhead cabinet ... just coffee, cereal, chips, cookies, sugar, etc.

I don't know why later model Scamp rivets are failing, but I don't think it is an isolated incident.

Although I maybe shouldn't speculate, I have wondered if there has been a somewhat recent change in rivet suppliers (I.e. softer, poorer quality rivets), or a single bad rivet gun in use, or one employee with poorer riveting technique, or ???

I have had the same rivet (in the top of my pantry cabinet) fail twice. By "fail", I mean that the head of the rivet came off and was still sitting in the cup under that little white cap on the top of the trailer while the rivet shaft and acorn nut fell on the floor inside. The first time I replaced the failed rivet with a new rivet. When the new rivet (in that same spot) failed again (a few months later), I replaced it with a bolt.

Like Darral, I now have another rivet (holding up the sink/stove cabinet) that is showing that same gray (aluminum powder) discoloration by the acorn nut. I imagine that I may soon have to replace that one with a bolt.

I don't have all the answers and I choose not to get involved in a rivets versus bolts debate. I do know that my Scamp-supplied repair kit contained both rivets and bolts.

These are just my observations and thoughts. As always, YMMV. 😉

Ray




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Old 04-21-2015, 04:15 AM   #17
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I really have to agree with you Russ about using SS bolts. I've only had one rivet fail so far on an upper cabinet and used a SS bolt as I didn't have a long enough rivet at the time. It makes sence to me that a rivet drawing two things together with a soft in between surface and snapping off would leave a some what loose connection that would be prone to movement and rivet breakage in time. It may also depend on what's being held by the rivet to how it holds up. Fiberglass is a pretty tough product.
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Old 04-21-2015, 06:04 AM   #18
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I should also give credit where it is due!

Each time I found a failed rivet, it was at a rally (LBL and Scamp Camp 2015) and there were several of us working together on repairing my trailer. At LBL, Floyd and Tom actually did most of the actual rivet replacement work and I mostly fetched tools. Thanks bunches guys!


The second time that rivet failed was at SC2015 it was again the same team (plus maybe a few more) only that time, having recieved training by the experts, I did just a little bit more of the actual work myself and we saw that the second rivet at the top of the pantry was loose and also replaced it with a bolt.

From these experiences, a "word to the wise" might be: When you are traveling, folks should consider always having some spare rivets, bolts, washers, and exterior cups/caps with them. Also some silicone sealant, duct tape, thread lock, and various install tools. .... just in case.

Good luck to all!

Ray


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Old 04-21-2015, 10:21 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdickens View Post

Wendy, Byron, Carol - I don't think my rivet failures ( or Tom's or Darral's?) were owner-induced.
I had not repeated checked my acorn nuts/rivets and had not put excess weight in the pantry cabinet or any overhead cabinet ... just coffee, cereal, chips, cookies, sugar, etc.

I don't know why later model Scamp rivets are failing, but I don't think it is an isolated incident.

Although I maybe shouldn't speculate, I have wondered if there has been a somewhat recent change in rivet suppliers (I.e. softer, poorer quality rivets), or a single bad rivet gun in use, or one employee with poorer riveting technique, or ???

I hear you and I suspect your last suggestion may be the reason ;) seasonal employees, not well trained, in a hurry and not getting a tight fit to start with. While I am *sorry* to hear that some here with newer trailers are having a higher than expected rate of failure and Scamp should be told about it in writing.

I know I have one rivet that has failed three times now - about every couple of years it goes. It is located in the kitchen area - mid wall, stove side and it connects the bathroom back panel to the kitchen area (if my memory is correct) between the counter and the overhead bins. I suspect it breaks due to the amount of flex in the trailer at that location although I have wondered if perhaps the two holes drilled to connect the shell and the panel are perhaps not 100% straight on. The trailers do flex *a lot* when traveling and if you have ever parked the trailer on really uneven ground and open the door only to not be able to close it again you will see just how much they can flex/bend.

Re the discolouration - I would not assume that a rivet is failing due to discolouration on the aluminium nut. It could simple be that heat, moisture, organic matter and chemicals have damaged the surface layer of the nut but that does not impact its structural integrity. For example I have replaced some of the rivets/nuts in the kitchen area behind my stove as they started to look ugly - actually have one currently that should be replaced - but replaced only due to aesthetics - no sign of them failing (leakage). I believe the reason for the discolouration is due to the heat from the stove, food splatters (organic matter) getting on them and the chemicals in the cleaners I use to clean up after cooking. I have not seen that type of discolouration take place on any of the nuts located on the ceiling of the trailer. I have had what was clearly rust on a ceiling fastener though - one of the awning bracket bolts and it was indeed leaking.

As a side note I have found that putting a little bit of butyl tape on the underside (trailer side) of the snap cap holder before shooting in the rivet works well in sealing the cap to the trailer and is less messy than using caulking and easier to clean the residue off the fiberglass after the rivet is in place or should I need to redo it in the future.
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Old 04-29-2015, 01:30 PM   #20
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I've finally caught up on this one and want to comment on the "discoloration". And again, I will post a distinct picture of my "failure". So follow closely what I'm going to say as there's SEVERAL explanations getting thrown in that's not totally correct.

First of all...the "failure". That can be taken as "rdickens" case where his BROKE and dropped the acorn nut and all...that was a failure for sure. Mine was simply "loosening". Which in a way is a failure to hold but still not a total failure as in breakage.

The acorn nuts- as least on MY Scamp- is NOT aluminum...but steel. Believe me, I machined one and it's definitely not aluminum.

Finally, the "discoloration". Again, review my photo as it clearly shows what "rdickens" and I are refering to. This is NOT from the steel acorn nuts but from the aluminum rivet itself. You can take a piece of aluminum and rub it with a cloth and regardless how clean the aluminum is, it will still come off on the rag as black. (Cookware sellers often use this demo to condemn aluminum pans, etc! ). It will also give off a strong gaseous odor.

What you see in my picture is where the rivet was shuffling around in the hole while I was driving. At that time, it was raining and leaked through thus forming the wet black mixture. I've flown model airplanes/helis for years. When we would spot coal black oil especially around the engine area, we had something loose! Same here. That's how I knew the rivet had worked loose and was letting in water by the mixture in the photo gathered around the acorn nut. Again, with that closet being a "support" structure, I went back with stainless steel fasteners and will never turn back to aluminum on that closet. Just put another 1000 miles on my Scamp over some "porpoising" roads and it's holding strong- no leaks. Good enough for me!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/503516...57633366995497

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