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Old 04-23-2015, 07:59 PM   #1
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1976 23' Safari
Hillsborough , New Hampshire
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 7
Need guidance on rivet kit and supplies

I am brand new to Airstreams and the idea of riveting, so PLEASE bear with me.

I have a 1976 Safari that I will need to pop out all the windows. This way I can remove the old rotted weather stripping and put new ones in. The pictures detail the areas I will be working on. Including a dent that will be repaired, though probably not this year unless I have the time to get to it.

I just received the "Airstream Buck Riveting Kit" from Vintage Trailer Supply thinking this was what I needed. Now as I look through the contents, I am not so sure. The kit does not contain any Olympic rivets only buck rivets. (Hence the name, right?)

In the service manual, on page 2-18 it states there are 2 types of Olympic rivets:

Thickness:
0.50 to .150 XA 4167-2
.151 to .250 XA 4167-5

There is also mention made for an Olympic Hook Gauge, which I do not have and cannot find anywhere online.

So the questions I have at this point are:
Did I in fact get the correct rivet kit?
Will I need a combination of buck and Olympic rivets for the job at hand?
Where can I get the Olympic Hook Gauge mentioned?

I am also realizing that I will need to probably get a shaver as well, unless told otherwise. One of the pictures shows rivets that were not shaved.

Any and all help would be appreciated on this matter. Thank you.

Jim
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Old 04-27-2015, 07:35 PM   #2
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1979 31' Sovereign
1950 22' Liner
Powhatan , Virginia
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Jim,
Welcome. Both buck rivets and Olympic rivets give you a solid rivet when done. For buck rivets, you need to have access to both the inside and outside of the hole and 2 people if you can't reach both sides. Olympic rivets allow you to only need access to the outside of the hole, just like a pop rivet, but once you pull the rivet, you clip off the stem (like the picture you have above), the shave the stem using an Olympic shaver. This will seal the head of the rivet from leaks, some people have ground the stem using other tools but, without expertise, doesn't give a good, rounded head on the rivet. So long story short, buck rivets will work if you have the access to the back side of the hole.

Hope that helps,
Tadd
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Old 04-27-2015, 07:51 PM   #3
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1981 31' Excella II
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It looks like some of your windows have been replaced and installed with pop rivets or Olympic Rivets. I can't really tell which in the pic.

On the opening windows, you don't need to remove the frame from the trailer to get the windows out. All you do is disconnect the arms and raise the window till it pops out of the track. If you want to replace the gasket between the two panes of glass, you will have to remove the window from the track then separate the two halves of the frame and replace the gray strip on the inside. This is not easy to do. The black gasket on the outside of the frame is not that big of a deal to replace.

Buck rivets are better but require access to the back side. Olympic rivets can be used but they tend to leak unless sealed properly. The Olympics need to be shaved so the stem does not stick out and so the head looks like a real rivet. Olympics are a fancy pop rivet.

You will need a rivet gun for the buck rivets. Harbor Freight has one that folks on here use. Practice on scrap before butchering your trailer.

Perry
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Old 04-28-2015, 05:40 AM   #4
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1976 23' Safari
Hillsborough , New Hampshire
Join Date: Aug 2014
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Thanks Tadd and Perry. The moment I received the package and looked at it, I knew I had made the wrong purchase. I was talking to a friend who has done various work for us from time to time and we discussed him doing Airstream work for us as well. The condition was that he use the same materials AND that he treat this just as respectfully as we would.

So we are going to return the kit and do a little more homework on this before diving in. The good news is that I am not about to deny DW the first summer in an Airstream.

Thanks again.
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Old 04-28-2015, 06:53 AM   #5
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1976 23' Safari
Hillsborough , New Hampshire
Join Date: Aug 2014
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I had a good laugh on this one.

I wasn't quite awake yet when I read the responses. I read, replied then got my morning chores done. I took the pup for a walk and passed by the Airstream (Snoopy2) to see how the windows were placed in there. "Oh, yeah. I see that now."

Since the front corner window does not open the rivets will have to be removed so I can replace the gray gasket. Of course, if you do one side you MUST do the other, too. That's a non-starter for us.

Yep, I'm a newbie on this aaaaaaaaaaaaand, loving it!
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Old 04-28-2015, 07:25 AM   #6
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1979 31' Sovereign
1950 22' Liner
Powhatan , Virginia
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not sure what you need to replace. If it is the seal between the window glass and frame on the wing windows and they are like ours (sealed), there is only a couple of options. We decided to break out the inside pane, remove the old seal with the outside pane still in place and put in a gasket from CanAm to reseat as a single pane window. It was the same process people use on the vista view windows that are sealed. Here is my process on the vista view windows:

Progress on polishing and 1 Vistview window broken - Airstream Forums

If you want to keep the double pane, the frames will need to be removed from the camper, rivets removed, the 2 frames halves removed from the glass, new seals purchased and I believe butyl tape for in between the panes... Some have done this on vista views so searching the forums on that may help. Either way, you can get rid of the failing tint that is in between the panes. Good luck.
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Old 04-28-2015, 08:16 AM   #7
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2001 30' Excella
Somerset , New Jersey
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Hi Jim. If doing only a few Olympic rivets you can get away with a dremel tool or something similar and grind the stem. But since you are more ambitious and will be doing so many you should invest in the shaving tool. They " ain't cheap" but you'll be doing plenty so should spring for it.

Good luck.
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Old 04-28-2015, 09:12 AM   #8
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1976 23' Safari
Hillsborough , New Hampshire
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Approaching the gasket from the inside would probably be better.

The top interior shell is cracked and the guy who sold it to us gave us the replacement piece.

I decided to have my friend do some of the work for us. He's never worked on an Airstream before but he can figure it out and knows who to go to for advice. So I have no problem with him doing it. He'd certainly do a better job than if I and DW were to meander our way through! lol

I quickly had the shaver in mind after I began researching the Olympic rivets. When I was taking the pictures, that's when I noticed some rivets not being shaved down from a previous repair.

Luckily, the big project I had in mind just suddenly shrank! A big WHEW on that one as the shaver is not cheap. Plus, the money coming back from returning the kit can now be put to other uses like new weather stripping and the materials. The curtains and the rugs need a good cleaning before we head out. For the walls, I was advised to use a good vinyl cleaner, testing a small area first. There is also rust on the magic chef cover and around the refrigerator to tend to. A list is being made as we go.

I will driveway camp under our own power for a bit to learn all the systems. We're happy, we got ourselves a fine camper here.

Eventually, I will need a garage for this.
No, a barn. Yes. A big, heated barn with plenty of room.
Well-lit, too. (I'm into photography, so I love light)
With plenty of tools and multiple work benches.
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