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Old 09-16-2018, 03:18 PM   #41
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1976 Argosy 26
Henderson , Kentucky
Join Date: Jul 2016
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Pop rivet 101

Liked all responses. I note:
Take care drilling pop rivet head out. Drill bits can scar.
Painter tape and duct tape on end of rivet tool are workable ideas.
Remember correct length pop rivets are used for varying material thickness. With longer pop rivets, I find relaxing pressure and again pushing tool head down on rivet to seat to bottom helps and then squeeze again. When handle grip is wider it seems easier helps to control that final pull to point rivet pops when compared to grip close together.
Also, slide under and check pan rivets.

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Old 09-16-2018, 04:43 PM   #42
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2018 27' Tommy Bahama
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 36
I used to have 3-5 rivets pop on every 500 mile trip on a 23' International. It turned out that the Marathon tires installed by AS Factory were never balanced. When I switched to better tires and had them balanced, my popped rivet problem nearly disappeared.

One warning. When drilling out an old rivet, do not drill deeper than 1/4" or so or you could hit one of the many wiring harnesses that criss cross your Airstream. I put tape near the end of my 1/8" bits as a guide as to how far I am drilling into the skin of my Airstream. You might try a punch and only drill as a last resort.
By comparison, my new 27 FB has balanced Michelin LT tires and has only lost a total of 6 rivets in 11,000 miles of towing. I agree that everyone who owns an AS will need to replace rivets at some point. Once you do a couple you will become a pro at it. Ask around the next time you are parked near another Airstream owner and you will get all the advice you need.

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Old 09-17-2018, 07:08 AM   #43
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1976 31' Sovereign
Oswego , Illinois
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Thumbs up

Originally Posted by CampingJoe View Post
I had a 1972 25’ airstream in the late 80’s and now a 1999 Bambi for the last 18 years and never popped a rivet. I have 3 friends with 25’ Airstreams 2014 and up and all have rivets that popped out (10+ rivets) they are easy to replace, a rivet gun and a pack of rivets should always be in your toolbox. I love the rivets from Northern Tools you get double the amount for less then Homedept or Lowe’s, plus they are high strength rivets that will likely not pop out again. There is no need to drill a new hole unless a piece of the old rivet is still lodged in the hole.
If piece of old rivet remains in hole I do not drill out, I use a scratch awl insert into hole light tap piece falls thru. Scratch awl is a round pointed tool w/knob type handle, commonly used by wood workers, or metal work using lay out dye to scribe lines.
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Old 09-17-2018, 06:04 PM   #44
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1998 25' Safari
Golden , Colorado
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poped rivets

Originally Posted by Msherw View Post
After 7k miles we have now discovered 6+ missing interior pop rivets from panels over the 22FB dinette.

Any good source or kit for the replacements and just how hard will this task be?

(I did search the forum to see if anyone had posted similar)

We have over 90,000 on our 98 24 Ft and no poped rivets, they are getting warn out but not poped out. I think you have a major structural problem or they just didn't get them in properly to start with.
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Old 09-17-2018, 06:08 PM   #45
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2016 30' Classic
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Originally Posted by Ravenquest View Post
We have over 90,000 on our 98 24 Ft and no poped rivets, they are getting warn out but not poped out. I think you have a major structural problem or they just didn't get them in properly to start with.
On a 1998 Airstream aren't all the inner skin rivets are hidden under the fuzzy walls and padded ceiling? If so, you cannot tell which ones have popped. That was the way it was on our 1994 Airstream and all other Airstreams until they came out with the exposed aluminum inner skin on the Safari SE's in the early 2000s.
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Old 09-18-2018, 11:10 AM   #46
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2018 22' Sport
Blue Sky Ranch , Texas
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I chose to drill the old mandrels out of the holes. Just easier I found. All the holes had the mandrels still in there due to the shearing effect of the interior sheet metal cleaving the head cleanly. A clean hole was a must b4 I inserted the new rivet. Clean option.

I know the older AS had a 'mouse fuzz' application over the interior skin for moisture reasons. I prefer the clean, shiny, and smooth look of the newer generations (reminds me of the railroad Budd and Pullman coaches of the 50s). Makes re-riveting so easy and I have immediate feedback of any missing.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:57 PM   #47
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2019 23' International
st augustine , Florida
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Originally Posted by Msherw View Post
Got the Marson tool yesterday. Drilled out the old mandrels and used the Alcoa aluminum 1/8" rivets.

Very easy and you cannot find any difference between the OEM and my replacements. I challenged my wife to locate the replaced ones.

Thanks to all of you for the input and help here. Thats what makes this forum so valuable. (And why I became a Supporting Member).
I have a 2019 sport 22fb, I lost one interior rivet that dropped out.
I see you used the 1/8 rivet. is there any length? such as 1/8 x 1"?


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