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Old 09-05-2011, 09:50 PM   #1
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1988 29' Excella
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Broken rivet-Is this normal?

So we bought our 1988 Excella about 10 weeks ago and just returned from our third trip to find a broken rivet under the front window behind the LP tanks. Is this normal? Did I do something wrong? I thought the exterior was in great shape; it's got a couple of dents, but has been in a barn most of its life. I see from other threads that the repair is not too complicated, but I never expected this problem. Should I be concerned? And how soon do I need to fix it? Should I keep it parked until repaired?
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:57 PM   #2
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Relax and take a deep breath. It is normal for that to happen occasionally. You did nothing wrong and you do not need to keep it parked until repaired. Fix it when you have time and keep an eye on it. Chances are it will not happen again. Fixing rivets is just part of owning one of these things.

Enjoy it.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:17 PM   #3
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I think deauxrite might have meant "it will happen again." I've got a couple of interior rivets to repair right now. Be sure to use some Vulkem sealer under the replacement rivet head if it is in an exterior location.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:36 PM   #4
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We just replaced several in our interior that have popped over the last several months. It happens. Usually from road stress, a hard bump or something like that. Andy form Inland will say if it happens too much and too regularly, chances are your running gear needs to be balanced, and he's probably right!
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:16 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by crios View Post
So we bought our 1988 Excella about 10 weeks ago and just returned from our third trip to find a broken rivet under the front window behind the LP tanks. Is this normal? Did I do something wrong? I thought the exterior was in great shape; it's got a couple of dents, but has been in a barn most of its life. I see from other threads that the repair is not too complicated, but I never expected this problem. Should I be concerned? And how soon do I need to fix it? Should I keep it parked until repaired?
Typically, either your tow vehicle is super heavy duty, or the hitch bars have an excessive rating, or your using hitch bars that have a problem bending.

When any of the above typically is the case, then road shock is transfered to the front of the trailer, resulting in repeated shearing of rivets.

Also, depending on the condition of the rubber rods in the axles, they too, can contribute to rivet shearing.

Unbalanced running gear, can also cause rivet shearing.

Rivets rarely shear by themselves.

Something caused that to happen.

The problem, is to find which one or more of the above conditions created the issue.

Until the problem is corrected, it's very likely the shearing issue will happen again and again.

These are the lessons a person learns, after working on Airstreams for over 46 years.

Andy
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Old 09-06-2011, 03:04 AM   #6
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The road conditions, and how fast you drive over the bumps, causes the stress which fractures the rivets. The suspension in the Airstream and Truck are supposed to take up the shock and reduce those stresses. If the suspension in the truck or the bars are too stiff that will make matters worse. If the axles on the Airstream are tired after 22 years and have either taken a set or frozen up, that is a problem that can be only be repaired by replacing the axles. In my experience, vibration from poor balance of the tires is a minor contributor.
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:27 AM   #7
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Thanks, everyone. We were on a particularly bad road. Hopefully this isn't a sign of a bigger problem.
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Old 09-11-2011, 09:11 AM   #8
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Bad roads? What really gets my goat are certain poured concrete roads that are in good enough shape that they'll be around for years. This type seems to have a slump in the middle of each slab so that the slab-edge & seams are accentuated. Towing over them interacts with a harmonic between TV & trailer that sets both to bucking horribly. It's not good at 45mph and gets much worse at every added increment of speed. Just gotta slow down and work through it gradually...

The worst example I can come up with is I-90/94 between Rockford, IL, and Madison, WI. Second place goes to a five mile stretch of MN-23 between Mora & Ogilvie. In third place are some stretches of I-90 between Rochester, MN, and La Crosse, WI. Thankfully you have to travel thousands of miles to come up with a few bad finds like this.
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Old 09-11-2011, 09:18 AM   #9
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Bad roads? What really gets my goat are certain poured concrete roads that are in good enough shape that they'll be around for years. This type seems to have a slump in the middle of each slab so that the slab-edge & seams are accentuated. Towing over them interacts with a harmonic between TV & trailer that sets both to bucking horribly. It's not good at 45mph and gets much worse at every added increment of speed. Just gotta slow down and work through it gradually...

The worst example I can come up with is I-90/94 between Rockford, IL, and Madison, WI. Second place goes to a five mile stretch of MN-23 between Mora & Ogilvie. In third place are some stretches of I-90 between Rochester, MN, and La Crosse, WI. Thankfully you have to travel thousands of miles to come up with a few bad finds like this.

We have sections like that on the 405 Fwy in L.A. They keep working on the freeway and it keeps getting worse. I have been on very bad dirt washboard roads that were a lot smoother than some sections of the 405.
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