Rivets for Casita roof - Fiberglass RV
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Old 02-24-2019, 03:33 PM   #1
Junior Member
Name: Elaine
Trailer: Casita freedom deluxe 16
Posts: 14
Rivets for Casita roof

What size are the rivets on the casita roof of a 1996 16 ft FD? and will these work?

Stainless Steel Pop Rivets 1/4" x 1/4" Dome Head Blind 8-4 Gap .126" - .250"

They don't come with caps. Do I need caps and if so, where do I get them?
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Old 02-24-2019, 11:08 PM   #2
Senior Member
Name: Greg
Trailer: 2008 Casita 17' SD
Posts: 1,985
For the roof cabinet rivets you'll be looking at 3/16" diameter Aluminum pop rivets, (not steel rivets') in either 3/4" length or up to as much as 1" length depending on the specific location you need to join components. I would suggest "sounding" the depth to see how much "shank" you'll need for the specific rivet(s), and add the necessary deformation of the bottom bulb to secure it when squeezed because not all of them will require the same depth of rivet lengths. These trailers are not created with the same dimensional characteristics throughout, even within a given length of the trailer's shell and cabinets. The length of the rivets you'll need will vary depending on what rivet you want to replace. This holds true for most of them throughout the trailer.
When you know what depth you need in order to join your components, here's a site that can provide those longer rivets that you won't find in the "big box" stores. (Most big box stores don't carry anything longer than 1/2" in length.) Also, if you have an RV repair place nearby, they will have bins full of them since they use them all the time, and they'll sell you a handful of them pretty cheap.

Pop Blind Rivets | Threaded Inserts & Nuts | Blind Rivet Supply

And you can also find the "Snap-Caps" and matching bases at many places. They are very common and are usually available next to the rivet section. If that doesn't work, then you can get some at:

When you get ready to insert your chosen rivet, (and the Snap Cap's Base Cup,) be sure to put a small bead of sealant under the snap cap base right in the rivet hole in order to make it waterproof when you squeeze the new rivet. If you don't seal the hole, I guarantee it will leak.

And FWIW, those decorative 1/4" X 20 Acorn Nuts that you see attached to the bottom of the rivets on the expanded bulb end of those 3/16" rivets inside the trailer, just be advised that they are not absolutely necessary, and are just decorative, to hide the ugly squeezed end of the rivet. They add absolutely no structural strength to the rivet. They are merely for aesthetics.
If you do want to add the decorative Acorn nuts, obviously it will require two people, (one outside to squeeze the rivet gun and one inside to hold the Acorn nut up tightly on the rivet while it is being squeezed.) Do not attempt to screw the Acorn nut onto the bulb of the rivet after it has been compressed, because if you do, you'll probably wind up spinning the rivet itself, and when you do, you have just destroyed the bond of the sealant to the rivet and, again, it will leak.
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Old 02-25-2019, 11:31 AM   #3
Senior Member
Name: Stephen
Trailer: Casita
Posts: 218
Exclamation Rivet Problems

Certainly, failed rivets need to be replaced. But that does not solve the reason for the failure. Previous use overstressed the frame which applied torsional loads to the entire shell that it could not withstand and that popped your rivets. This typically happens when an on-road Casita is subjected to boondocking strain beyond the capability of the frame to withstand.

Once the rivets are replaced a thorough inspection of the entire structure needs to be done and any discovered additional damaged repaired. Then either restrict your use to on-road or strengthen the frame to withstand the stress of past use.
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Old 02-25-2019, 11:42 AM   #4
Senior Member
Name: Lee
Trailer: Casita
Posts: 493
I bought a rivet and snap cap kit from Little house customs.https://littlehousecustoms.com/store.html#gen. Various lengths of rivets and even some slottted head (exploding head) rivets. The price seemed very reasonable to me.
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Old 02-25-2019, 12:05 PM   #5
Junior Member
Name: Allen
Trailer: Casita
Posts: 6
I know a lot of folks would disagree with my method, but I have found it to work fine and in 2 years of travel after replacing 3 broken rivets with machine screws, I have found no problems. Just make sure if you do this, you do the sealant around the head of the screw and under and around the cap. Also, make sure you just snug up the lock nut, do not overtighten it as structural damage to the fiberglass can result. Here is my video on how I replace the broken rivets: https://youtu.be/tC40wnrf31U
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