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Old 10-24-2010, 08:18 AM   #1
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Broken Front Frame Plate Rivets

Most of these rivets were broken when I bought my Sovereign back in 2004. I replaced these rivets with Olympic rivets, but over the years the rivets all broke. What is the true cause for these rivets breaking in the first place? One theory is that they break from having too stiff of a hitch setup.

Anyhow, I replaced all of these broken Olympics rivets with buck rivets yesterday and the repair looks great. The front is now rock solid. I sure hope this is the final time I have to do this repair. I'm curious what others have experienced with this issue and the results of their repairs. Is this something I'm going to have to do throughout my ownership?
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Old 10-24-2010, 08:37 AM   #2
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Mike I noticed that you only removed the center panel from the interior. How solid is your floor around the main hold down bolts. They go through the front C channel, floor and into the main frame rails. If that connection is not solid maybe too much stress is being put on the rivets holding the shell to the holddown plate.
Inland Andy suggests putting another two rows of rivets on either side of the original ones to add additional stress points and reduce the load on each rivet. Why not put in the extra rows now while you have it apart.
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:03 AM   #3
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If you have not already done it I would remove the banana strip and check the skin to C channel rivets. Mine required reriveting from the door all the way around to the other side

The movement that is shearing the plate rivets is not unique to that area but rather extends to either side, back to a hinge point, just as if you were opening a book that had been sealed with a short piece of tape along the center of the edge.

If you find a need for additional rivet consider using larger dia. rivets to increase the shear area of the rivet.
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:05 AM   #4
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Hi Chris,
Great point. Yes, Andy told me the same thing when my Sovereign was in his shop back in January. I'll definately be adding another row of rivets across the front to strengthen the repair. Hadn't considered two rows. I'll have to think about that. And the floor appears to be solid across the front. Of course, there's only one way to really find out and I'm not willing to do that.
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
If you have not already done it I would remove the banana strip and check the skin to C channel rivets. Mine required reriveting from the door all the way around to the other side

The movement that is shearing the plate rivets is not unique to that area but rather extends to either side, back to a hinge point, just as if you were opening a book that had been sealed with a short piece of tape along the center of the edge.

If you find a need for additional rivet consider using larger dia. rivets to increase the shear area of the rivet.
Howie,
Removing the banana strip to check the C-channel rivets is a great idea. I'll have to do that. I'll be using larger diameter rivets in the additional row(s) I install.
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:32 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by mello mike View Post
Howie,
Removing the banana strip to check the C-channel rivets is a great idea. I'll have to do that. I'll be using larger diameter rivets in the additional row(s) I install.
Mike.

We usually add 3 rows of rivets.

You can space them out so that it looks like it was built that way.

But your photo also shows missing rivets in the rub rail.

That too, is from heavy duty you know whats.

The front of your Airstream is telling you "loud and clear" your beating me to death.

Andy
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:45 AM   #7
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Mike.

We usually add 3 rows of rivets.

You can space them out so that it looks like it was built that way.

But you photo also shows missing rivets in the rub rail.

That too, is from heavy duty you know whats.

The front of your Airstream is tell you "loud and clear" your beating me to death.

Andy
Hi Andy,
I hear 'ya. The Excursion with the stiff suspension is gone and I'm now towing with an F150 which has a much softer ride. So we'll see how that goes. I'll be replacing the rivets in the rub rail as well. Three rows!!! I'll consider that.
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:48 AM   #8
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Mike you can peel back the carpet and probe carefully with an ice pick to check floor integrity especially around the main holddown bolts.
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:53 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by mello mike View Post
Hi Andy,
I hear 'ya. The Excursion with the stiff suspension is gone and I'm now towing with an F150 which has a much softer ride. So we'll see how that goes. I'll be replacing the rivets in the rub rail as well. Three rows!!! I'll consider that.
Mike.

Now that you have a softer riding tow vehicle, with standard rear springs (hopefully), don't go heavier than 750 to 800 pound hitch bar rating.

Surround the stem of each Olympic rivet, with a small bead of Vulkem sealer before you insert it into the hole.

Then, since you have the inside panel off, seal them again with Vulkem.

On the other hand, since you have access to the back side of the fish plate (front hold down plate), why not consider using "buck rivets"?

Andy
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:57 AM   #10
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I forgot to mention that rivets sheared off in the outer skin will have the same area rivets sheared off on the inside skin so a quick way to check is to remove whatever couch or cabinets are against the inside of the front of the trailer and inspect the rivets into the C channel on either side of the center plate.

Not on the attached picture that the bottom section of the outer skin had to be replaced with an insert of new material tucked up under the skin and riveted to the c channel with a separate row of rivets already popped. The original skin had just been torn away. Also note the rivets are now on about 2 in. centers rather than 4 in. as original.
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Old 10-24-2010, 10:28 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
On the other hand, since you have access to the back side of the fish plate (front hold down plate), why not consider using "buck rivets"?

Andy
Andy, I am using buck rivets. See my initial post. The Olympic rivets I used before didn't last, hence why I'm using buck rivets now.
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Old 10-24-2010, 10:39 AM   #12
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What alloy rivet are you using? For this application I would only use the "AD" rivets. The shear strength of "A" rivets is not very high.
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Old 10-24-2010, 10:48 AM   #13
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What alloy rivet are you using? For this application I would only use the "AD" rivets. The shear strength of "A" rivets is not very high.
A very interesting point, but in my case the original rivets held and the skin tore. Now having repaired it, with many but light rivets, do I want the rivets to hold or the skin to hold before the next repair. its a judgment call.
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Old 10-24-2010, 10:59 AM   #14
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What alloy rivet are you using? For this application I would only use the "AD" rivets. The shear strength of "A" rivets is not very high.
For the initial two rows, I used these buck rivets from VTS. Steve says these are a soft alloy.

http://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/..._p/vts-826.htm

I'll be riveting a beefier rivet for the additional rows I'll be putting in this week.
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