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Old 07-12-2007, 05:42 PM   #1
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Any Old Rivet

Hello, We just bought a 1976 Argosy with some missing rivets. The exterior is none too pretty, peeling paint, etc, which is fine. We are mainly just trying to keep the water on the outside of the trailer. My question is: Can I use a plain old aluminium pop rivet to re-attach some trim, etc, since I don't much care about how it looks, or will it leak? We will be doing a bit of work on the interior, which is currently gutted, so this is probably not our last post. Thanks in advance for any help with this, and I realize how taboo it is to say you don't care how your airstream looks on this site! Best, Toby and Anna

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Old 07-12-2007, 06:10 PM   #2
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1988 25' Excella
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Cosmetically Challenged?? Not here...

Welcome, and don't worry about appearances.. First things first...

Olympic Brand rivets from Vintage Trailer Supply might hold better and fit better, and do have solid core that shouldn't leak...

You could swab with some non-silicone sealant (like Alcoa Gutter Seal) to improve leak-resistance...

If you have no other options, and need to attach flapping sheets of aluminum, ordinary cherry or "pop" rivets could work, if they're the proper size and length... The aluminum ones should be less tempted to form electronic corrosion...


In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 07-12-2007, 07:32 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info! -Toby
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Old 07-12-2007, 08:43 PM   #4
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Hello Toby -- Welcome to the Forums! You will see a variety of rivets used on your Argosy. You are correct that for putting back trim and all interior finish applications, standard pop rivets were used originally. Be sure and buy the pop rivets with the aluminum shafts -- not steel. Now... I have a '74 Argosy and can tell you that the Versailles, Ohio, plant used an annoying number of steel shafted pop rivets.

The shell exterior was put together with bucked rivets (solid) -- the large dome shaped ones you see over the majority of the body. The proper substitute is to use Olympic rivets (see link below). Always remove the rubber gasket if the Olympic has one -- most sources know not to send you that type -- the rubber shrinks and always loses the seal. Olympic & pop rivets used on the exterior should have a dab of Vulkem or Sikaflex 221 on them before you put them in the hole. Silicone caulks are a no-no and to only be used on houses with foundations! (leaks like a sieve when used on aluminum)

The belly skin needs a wide head rivet, so check out the Large Flange Rivets at Vintage Trailer Supply. You'll probably find some areas of corroded aluminum and will need to cut out custom "washers" from some aluminum sheet stock -- I used 0.032" and it's plenty thick/stiff.

5 meter Langford Nahanni

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