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Old 10-01-2015, 06:39 PM   #1
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Olympic Rivets

When replacing buck rivets with Olympic Rivets, should the Olympic Rivets with the neoprene washer be used, or should the rivet be dipped with Sikaflex or Vuklem to seal it? A friend had a side panel replaced on his trailer and the company used rivets with the neoprene washers. Several had the washer hanging out and they would definatley not seal anything. He contactedd Airstream and the service dept recommended the neoprene washers. Any exterience with this by other members and what was the outcome? My friend is very concerned that the rivets will all start to leak shortly and cause problems.
Thank you, Chris
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Old 10-01-2015, 06:52 PM   #2
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Do not user the Olympics with washers.
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Old 10-01-2015, 07:10 PM   #3
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Omit the o rings and use a polyurethane sealant instead.

You'll regret the oring!
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Old 10-01-2015, 07:49 PM   #4
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Thank you for the replies. This was an insurance claim, and the dealer used rivets with the washers on them. Several had the washers out from underneath the rivet already. Trailer is back at dealer, but the dealer is claiming that the correct rivets were used. Airstream has also sent an email indicating that the neoprene washer rivets should be used as "this is the best protection against leaks". The trailer leaks like a sieve after the repair and my friend wants all the rivets replaced and sealed with Sikaflex. I have replaced many rivets myself and have always removed the washer and used Vulkem. Never had a leak with Vulkem and I passed on other threads on the forum to him to take to the dealer. What can he do in this case, when the factory says that this is ok? Insurance has not paid the claim to the dealer yet, because of the dispute. Any more thoughts? Thank you, Chris
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Old 10-01-2015, 08:59 PM   #5
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Hmmm, in 2010 I had a 2 panel replacement repair at the mothership and they use non o-ring Olympics
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Old 10-01-2015, 09:00 PM   #6
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No leaks (there) in 5 years
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Old 10-02-2015, 10:07 AM   #7
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Another vote for "no washers". The will deteriorate over time and then rivets will be loose and leak. Dip each rivet in Vulkem instead...that's what we've done.

Shari
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Old 10-02-2015, 10:39 AM   #8
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Another vote for "no washers". The will deteriorate over time and then rivets will be loose and leak. Dip each rivet in Vulkem instead...that's what we've done.

Shari
Part of the purpose of using Olympic rivets with washers, is to compensate for sloppy drilling as well as using the wrong drill bit size.

Olympics have been around for a long time.

Caravanner Insurance Company, gave strick instructions to shops doing sheet metal work, to NEVER evr use olympics with washers.

THey were told to add some Vulkem sealer to the back side of the rivet head, then insert the rivet in the hole.

Contrary to many, the absolute correct size drill bit to use for the Olympic rivets that should be used, is a # 21 drill bit.

Dimensions for what is in question are:

# 21 drill = .159 inches
# 20 drill = .161 inches
Olympic rivet = .15625 inches.

Therefore:

# 20 drill hole is .00475 over size
# 21 drill hole is .00275 over size

Obviously, a tighter fit takes place when using the # 21 drill bit, but a tighter fit is always superior to a loose fit.

Andy
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Old 10-02-2015, 07:06 PM   #9
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A big THANK YOU Andy. This is the kind of information that only a real pro can give!!! Hopefully this can be used to get the trailer repaired correctly.
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Old 10-02-2015, 07:31 PM   #10
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I thought I'd enter this discussion since you brought up Olympic rivets. I read Olympic "tri fold" rivets are for low force applications like attaching an Airstream nameplate, or maybe a beltline molding. Tri-fold rivets are designed for attaching soft materials together. They expand on the inside giving a wide area to grip. But they don't have near as much strength as a pop rivet, and certainly much less than a solid rivet. We Airstreamers like our Olympic rivets because the stem fractures above the rivet head so we can shave them down to look pretty. I have a sack full of them in my rivet tool box and I use them. A significant percentage of them break prematurely on me and I have to try again.

My friend who repairs boats says the marine "pop" rivet seals just fine. But the stem fractures below the rivet head. The bottom end of a marine rivet is solid so there is no leak bath through the stem. They are stronger than the Olympic tri-fold.

I wish I could find a blind "pop" rivet where the stem breaks above the head of the rivet instead of inside the rivet body. Then I could shave it like the Olympics. I found the aviation Q style blind rivet does this, but they are quite expensive and I think the stem is made of steel. Hello rust.

Somebody ought to set up and provide 5/32 diameter blind "pop" rivets in aluminum where the stem fractures above the rivet head. I should think it wouldn't be more than adding a fracture notch to the stem at the right dimension so it pulls real tight and then breaks above the rivet head. Maybe some Airstreamer knows of such a rivet. They would be about twice as strong as an Olympic rivet.

No sealing washers for me. A little drop of Captain Tolley's creeping crack sealant will wick in the small crevices and seal up the rivet quite nicely.

David
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