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Old 09-09-2004, 06:13 PM   #15
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I would open the holes up to 5/32 and use a universal hardened rivet.The head size is the same as the original rivet.The 5/32 will give you a little extra strength and you should open up the hole to 5/32 to get a good clean hole.I would also agree that you should check the condition of your axles.
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Old 09-09-2004, 07:42 PM   #16
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Rivets & then some!

I just ran into this after a search on 'rivet failure'.

"A conservative method of predicting the fatigue life of a riveted joint is to extract nodal forces from an elastic finite element model with the rivets represented as beams, calculate the maximum sheet bearing stress using the quotient of highest load and rivet bearing area on the thinnest sheet, and then deriving the number of cycles to failure from the unnotched material S-N curve.

Any thoughts?"

Go Figure!!! I've got a few thoughts.......
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Old 09-09-2004, 09:36 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greg176
I would open the holes up to 5/32 and use a universal hardened rivet.The head size is the same as the original rivet.The 5/32 will give you a little extra strength and you should open up the hole to 5/32 to get a good clean hole.
I agree. The old holes are work hardened from all the abuse, to the point where they may be part of the problem. Make sure the holes are straight and deburred, especially the steel plate.
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Old 09-09-2004, 09:56 PM   #18
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Greg176 is right on. Open the holes to 5/32 so you have nice clean holes and use hardened rivets. They do have the same size heads and you will have a stronger area once finished.

You must agree that something is causing this problem to reoccur. Actually I would check the balance of the tires and wheels first then look at the shocks and then the axels. If you suspect that anything is weak or faulty then replace it. Also check to make sure that your tracking is true between the axels. If they are off a little then a small vibration will transmit throughout the trailer. Once I have pretty well fixed everything in that area I would finish by making the necessay repair to the plate in front.
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Old 09-10-2004, 07:34 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG
You must agree that something is causing this problem to reoccur.
Well, let's be perfectly clear. The problem has only re-occurred on the Olympic rivets, which we all agree are much too soft for this application. The original rivets which had not failed as of a year ago, still have not failed.

To me, this suggests that there isn't a current hitch/axle/weight problem -- otherwise the rest of the factory-installed bucked rivets would be failing too. More likely, the failed rivets were originally put in poorly -- a very believable theory since the remaining factory rivets are pretty abominable. Looks like this one was bucked by a trainee on a Monday morning!

The suggestion to drill out to 5/32 is good one. But remember, all of the failed bucked (original) rivets have been replaced by Olympics twice, so all of them have been drilled out to 5/32 already! The concern now is whether those holes have been elongated further by the chafing of the Olympics.

I should repeat: I have checked the axle numerous times. It's fine, according to the standards set by Inland RV on their website. Not that I wouldn't like a new axle, but I'm not rushing out to spend $800 when I can try $1 worth of rivets first.

Tomorrow we will buck in the new rivets and tow 700 miles on a week-long trip. I'll report back later on any interesting problems or symptoms that crop up.
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Old 09-11-2004, 12:22 PM   #20
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Chances are you're correct on the reason for the Olympic Rivet failure. They are not nearly as strong as the hardened rivets. If the holes are too far gone for the 5/32 rivets to work then you don't have a choice and you will have to step up to the next size, 3/16. If that happens try this, buck in the ones that you need and then take a look at the front. Chances are that you won't readily notice the difference and you won't have to replace the oters too.
Make sure that your using hardened rivets in this application, that's the rivet with the small dimple in the center of the head.

If your axle is holding up the trailer where you can stand back and see a few inches of the rubber tire above the rim then chances are that it is ok. If the tires and wheels are in balance then you may need to replace your shocks. They can very easily be bad ad look fine. I have even placed high quality shocks on cars and trucks a time or two and even though they were new they were bad, so don't overlook them.

You might also think about using one of those balance rings that automatically balances a trie/wheel once it starts turning. I will look them up and post the link back here in a few. They are not too expensive and they do work really good. Plus they will give you longer tire wear.
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Old 09-11-2004, 12:29 PM   #21
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Ok they are called Centramatics and here is a link to them http://www.centramatic.com/ Look through their online catalog to find the ones you need, think they are the 300 series part #300-556 at $199 per pair.
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Old 09-11-2004, 02:51 PM   #22
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Front hold down plate rivet failure.

There is no mistery as to "why" rivets shear in the front hold down plate.

We must take into consideration, that we are towing old trailers, with new type tow vehicles. That is to say, the old trailers, when towed with old cars (soft suspension systems) hold down plate rivet failures were rare.

More about this in the December issue of Airstream Life.

But today, it's a different story.

There are several things, today, that contibute to failure of rivets in the front hold down plate.

First is using a heavy duty tow vehicle, instead of a soft ride.

Second is using a hitch grossly over rated for the job intended.

Third, lack of proper running gear balance.

Any one of these will cause those rivets to shear. Couple two of them together, will make the rivets shear even faster. Couple all three, and you will shear them off like no tomorrow.

Next, olympic rivets in the front hold down plate are fine. "BUT" the secret is add more rivets to the plate. If you have two rows, make it 5 rows, or more. More rivets, the less the problem, up to elimination of the problem.

We have used the olympics for years, and if done correctly, the problem never returns.

Rich Luhr, in particular, add three to four "more" rows of rivets, and you will be fine. The olympics will do the job. Add vulkem sealer to the backside of each rivet head, before insertion.

For those suggesting "hard" rivets, they won't accomplish anything. Using soft rivets is fine.

The "key" is to beef up the hold down plate to shell attachment. Adding these extra rows of rivets, does the job.

However, if the hitch rating is excessive, if the tow vehicle is stiff and if you don't reasonably balance the running gear, you may still have a shearing problem, not nearly as much, but some.

Also Rich, we have repeated warned owners of the old small Airstream trailers of spindle failures on the axles. Back then, as we know it today, the spindles were way too small.

Couple that with heavy duty tow vehicles, over rated hitches, no running gear balance, and do it long enough, will cause the spindles to fatigue crack.
Of course when that happens, there is no warning. The trailer simply falls to one side, causing other damages as well.

We at this point, are receiving orders for at least two axles a month, because of spindle failures.

In fact we warned a very nice lady about it a long time ago. She took the trailer to two Airstream dealers, who both told her the axle is fine, and we are just trying to sell axles. Not true, in both cases.

We report the facts. You have to make the judgement call.

Andy
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Old 09-12-2004, 12:14 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
For those suggesting "hard" rivets, they won't accomplish anything. Using soft rivets is fine.
Andy,
The reason that I suggested using "Hardened Rivets" is because that is what Airstream used when they manufactured my 1975 Sovereign. I did buy my AS used, but the PO was the brother of the Original Owner. I have contacted him and he knows the history and has never had an major work done to the unit. So that being said then it stands to reason that AS placed hard rivets in that area. Every rivet in that area on mine has the tell-tell dimple on its head that says it is a hard rivet.
Besides all that I would think that the use of hardened rivets would almost be recommended as standard by AS and by you in that area since soft rivets only have a tensile strength of 16,000 PSI while hardened rivets have a tensile strength of 38,000 PSI. This would mean that the shear strength of the soft rivet would be about 55% - 60% less than that of the hardened rivet.
I know that if I were doing this repair I would certainly opt for use of the stronger hardened rivets. Your suggestion of using up to 5 rows of Olympic Rivets in this repair shows the need for added strength, but olympics don't even come into the picture of matching even the soft rivets in tensile strength if thier website is correct, it says they only have a tensile strength of 245 pounds. I assume they mean 245 PSI. http://www.boltproducts.com/marson/b...bulb-tite.html This is probably why they fail in this area.
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Old 09-12-2004, 12:34 PM   #24
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John G

The real problem with the front holdown plate/front panel is inadequate number of rivets.

Installing hard rivets in place of the original rivets, won't stop anything.

If the rivets are hard enough so they don't shear, then the holes in the sheetmetal will enlarge, causing a greater problem.

Olympics work fine, if you increase the number of rivets by 300 percent, or so.

Taking out the front lounge and interior metal, just to use buck rivets, seems hard to justify.

Andy
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Old 09-12-2004, 01:37 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RivetED
I just ran into this after a search on 'rivet failure'.

"A conservative method of predicting the fatigue life of a riveted joint is to extract nodal forces from an elastic finite element model with the rivets represented as beams, calculate the maximum sheet bearing stress using the quotient of highest load and rivet bearing area on the thinnest sheet, and then deriving the number of cycles to failure from the unnotched material S-N curve.

Any thoughts?"
I've got two thoughts on this one. Nice find for a test method Ed, but most of us lack the lazer lab in our garage to run the test! Along the same lines, the solution is inherent to the problem; its metaphysical, where the distance permissable between the extremes of any particular capacity is limited! LOL.

Inland Andy's solution embraces this concept and his solution is "reinforce it", along with maintaining a well tuned rig (axils, hitch,wheel balancing, load distribution, tire pressure,etc.) As he has pointed out many times,ie, more elevator bolts for rear end seperation, more rivets in this front plate, even sealant at new rivets; make it stronger, beef it up. It is clear to me that the aspect of "value engineering" has not escaped the folks at AS. Just because their design calc's say the application will perform, doesn't mean it's an optimum solution. The impact of more bolts,rivets, outriggers, stringers, and whatever all add to unit and production costs. We've thus experienced various failures as a result of this sort of "minimalist" engineering and production assembly. It's just the way it is, so it goes and time tells all.

Ed
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Old 09-12-2004, 01:41 PM   #26
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Reading this thread, has me thinking and sent me out side to take a look. Being only a year different and having the same rivit patern, I checked. I have poped rivets on the sides of the panel in question and there is floor rot on the sides in the front.
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Old 09-12-2004, 02:36 PM   #27
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If you look at the lower front, this is what happens when rivets pop, floor rots and too big a vehicle. I'm replacing the floor, will replace that panel and beef it up.

Ken
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Old 09-12-2004, 02:37 PM   #28
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BTW, before anyone asks - the frame is straight...........
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