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Old 03-28-2005, 07:13 PM   #1
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What rivets

am getting ready to put in a new Fantastic fan into my wife's Caravel. What rivets are used in installing the fan? What head size is recommended. It came with screws, but I want to rivet it in - or should I just use the screws..I don't want too. Who's put in a fantastic fan in their unit?


Rob
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Old 03-28-2005, 07:52 PM   #2
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More rivet info needed ...

I read through the thread markdoane started on 08-16-2004, 11:21 AM about rivets ... it was more information than I need .

Since there are many a 'Rivet Master' out here, maybe someone can also guide me.

I bought some lower stone guards w/banana wrap in good condition from a guy that had to have new ones.

I have to rivet the upper mount (aluminum hat section - when I can find some) to the skin of my unit. I tested and there is NO rib or filler where it will go.

What kind or type of rivets do I use? I know I won't need many, and where can I buy them. Also, can I assume that I only need an inexpensive common hand operated riviter gun?
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Old 03-28-2005, 08:20 PM   #3
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After I looked at how close the fit was to the wiring bundle in the curbside ceiling I too chose rivets. The thought of sharp edged screws snug up against all those wires gave me the willies!

I used Vulkem and standard Olympic rivets. It has worked very well.

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Old 03-28-2005, 09:39 PM   #4
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My Caravel's Fantastic Vent was installed at the last International, and I believe they used screws. No problems. The Vulkem pretty much glues them in place, not that they'd vibrate free anyway. But if you use rivets, the standard Olympic rivet works fine. Remember to put a little Vulkem under each head to seal 'em.
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Old 03-28-2005, 10:08 PM   #5
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Hi there Driftwood,

You won't need a gun to get started with rivets. All you need is a regular rivet setter, which you can get in the section that sells nails and things like that at your local hardware store. Unless you are going to do lots of riveting, the manual tool will do fine. Later, if you need to set lots of them, you can buy yourself a air compressor and pneumatic tools. For most of us, the manual tool is just fine.

At your local home center (Home Depot, Lowes) you can also buy pop rivets. At this stage, buy yourself a variety pack (with an assortment of sizes). This kind of pack will include steel ones but bear in mind that you should never use the steel ones on your trailer--use only aluminum. I also suggest you buy a cheap nailing plate (steel plate with holes in it) in the building materials department. You can use this to figure out how to use the riveter and get the hang of the tool.

Pop rivets tend to be used, in my (limited) experience, mostly on functional exterior areas and in the interior. Take the rivet and push it fat side into the hole, narrow side in the rivet tool and start pumping the tool. The fat side (which is now inside your skin) will expand and provide a snug fit. When it's completely expanded, the narrow end will snap off and you'll have a complete rivet set. You'll probably have to buy a rivet tool and some rivets to completely understand this.

Pop rivets have relatively flat heads. There's also another kind of rivet used most commonly for exterior applications. Those are Olympic rivets, which have rounded heads. Olympic rivets have to be ordered from specialty houses. I got mine from Airstream Dreams, fwiw. You'll want to order a supply of these, since they will come in handy as well.

I hope this helps and good luck!

Mary

P.S. Rob--if you don't want to use the screws, why the heck not use some rivets? As the saying goes, it's your trailer! I may be missing something subtle here, but I can't imagine any problem. And since it's on the roof pretty much out of line of sight, you can probably use any old brand of rivet you want--nobody's going to see it, anyhow. Personally, I would go for pop rivets, since they are easier to drill out, if the fan ever fails.
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Old 03-29-2005, 07:29 AM   #6
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Rob, you may have to trim the opening if didn't have a Fantastic. See http://members.aol.com/fantasticvent/installation.htm for the whole thing. I don't think I would use SS screws like they did. I would use olympic rivets or aluminum sheet metal screws. More likly the screws as I don't see me getting up there in 15 years to drill rivets if it needs to be replaces. Also if it needs to be replaced sooner on the road. I think if you use aluminum screws you are suppose to use something to coat the screws so you'll be able to get them out.
Did you get the Aisrtream trim?
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Old 03-29-2005, 07:34 AM   #7
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Fan

Yes, I got the Airstream Trim...the nice one with automatic rain detector closing. When I got the Caravel, there was no fan in the vent, as PO had taken the guts of the old one out. I have to remove alot of the remaining Olympic Rivets... what is the best way to do this?


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Old 03-30-2005, 04:36 PM   #8
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Getting old Rivets out

I'm attacking the fan tonight...man how things get in the way. I was just up on top of the Caravel and there are so many Olympic Rivets in the original vent cap. What's the best way to get those out...I think drilling those rounded heads will not be easy. Is there a better method? Rob

I was thinking about using a thin sheet rock spatula ( a skinning one) to sever the rivets off.

Rob
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Old 03-30-2005, 04:49 PM   #9
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Rob,

The problem with using a knife is that as soon as you start to press on the rivet, you start to push the hole sideways. You end up with an oblong hole. I prefer drilling with a carefully sharpened split point drill. You can use an awl to make a center.
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Old 03-31-2005, 12:20 AM   #10
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Rivet removal tool...

A while back I decided to buy a rivet removal tool that helps center the drill bit on the head of the rivet so that it stays centered. Check out the tool at the following site:

http://www.aircraft-spruce.com/cata...ivetremoval.php

This tool works just great for drilling out the exterior rivits. I used mine again recently to take out a about 20 rivits and I really like the tool. It comes with the necessary drill bits too.

There is a lot of assorted information about rivets in the following thread:

http://www.airforums.com/foru...ead.php?t=13329

Malcolm
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Old 03-31-2005, 10:57 AM   #11
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I bought these bits based on forum discussion about a year ago--and I could never figure them out. The bits came with no instructions, so I carefully tried disassembling one, since I couldn't fit it into the drill the way it was packed. Finally, I got the bit to work, but it was no better than a regular drill bit. The metal sleeve on it was pretty much useless. I still had to dead reckon where I'd drill and hope it would go down in the center of the rivet.

I have showed this to several gearheads, including an airplane mechanic. None of them could figure it out either. It's now in the bottom of my tool box, gathering dust. I just make do with conventional drill bits, but would love to know how to make this rather pricey set of bits work.

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Old 03-31-2005, 01:04 PM   #12
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Mary,

Did you get the same set that I did? If so a couple of key things are the following:

Pick the correct sleeve that will fit nice and snugly over the head of the rivit so that the drill bit is held centered over the rivet.

Pick a drill bit that is right for the rivet size. If I remember correctly the one for the exterior rivits is about 5/32" in diameter but the drills may be numbered instead. Maybe it is a number 30 drill bit.

The tool is spring loaded and the sleeve is adjustable in and out relative to the starting location of the end of the drill bit. Adjust the starting location of the sleeve so that the end of the drill bit is recessed enough to clear the head of the rivet when you first put the tool over it. Then when you turn on the drill and push the tool toward the rivet the drill bit will stay centered in the middle of the rivet.

Give it a try and let me know if it works for you. Mine works great and I find it is a good time saver too. I hope this helps. It is frustrating to buy a tool that does not seem to do the job.

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Old 03-31-2005, 01:47 PM   #13
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Useless No Good Waste of Money Tool

Thanks for the info...I'll have to check mine, but the sleeve NEVER sprung up and down the way you describe (in fact, that's what I expected)--and I tried to get all of the bits to work (along with several gearhead friends). It could be fixed at different places, so really all it did was block my view of the rivet. It was easier just using a regular bit. I called the company and didn't get any meaningful help on using it. Figured I was the one who was incompetent, so threw it away in the bad tool box. Total waste of good money.

Sorry to sound so negative, but this is the only time I've been burned buying something for my trailer (and I'm not generally negative about anything).

Based on my experience, it's a 50-50 draw over whether they are going to send a working set of bits. I'm just mad that I got the defective one.

Mary
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Old 03-31-2005, 02:17 PM   #14
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From past experience drilling out rivits for aircraft... buy a spring loaded center punch tool. Place the tip of the tool on the center of the rivit, push down and it will snap making a divit in the head of the rivit. Drill the head of the rivit - BUT NOT ALL THE WAY THROUGH. The head will fall off, and you push the rest of the rivit in. This will leave the hole undamaged.
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