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Old 03-17-2010, 06:15 AM   #1
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Popped a rivet

I need your expertise!
I recently bought a new (to me) nearly perfect '08 Ocean Breeze and while bringing it home hit some rough road (I really wasn't driving fast at all) and popped a rivet from the ceiling of the interior. How should I go about repairing this? Is it something I can do myself or should I take it to my mechanically inclined neighbor? I have a feeling I should order special rivets from Airstream, correct?
Thanks a bunch, Horse Sense
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:25 AM   #2
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Hello, and welcome to airforums.com, HS!

How about describing your tow vehicle (TV) and hitching set-up for us? More may be apparent from more information!

And of course, you are most welcome to post many photos of your rig....
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Old 03-17-2010, 09:12 AM   #3
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Hi, HS and welcome aboard

Often times those interior rivets pop because of wheel alignment or a stiff hitch set up.

But to answer your question. Piece of cake. Go get a rivet gun (Looks like a goofy set of pliers.) and some rivets. Someone will chime in with the proper size. And all you do then is stick the skinny end in the tool and the fat end in the hole. Squeeze the handle and you are done.

It's an easy fix.

Airstream tires, wheels and drums are not balanced. So their can be a heckuva shimmy going on while your heading down the road. I used to pop those rivets regularly. I then upgraded to disc brakes which are balanced and then balanced the wheels and tires and It stopped popping interior rivets.
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Old 03-17-2010, 09:20 AM   #4
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I doubt that one event would pop the rivet. Rivets will ware over time and load on them. The ceiling rivets sometime have additional load because of the bow in the material.

Yes you can fix it yourself. The pop rivet tool and some rivets are about $20.00 at Sears or any of the big box stores. Now if you rivets have painted heads they can be bought from an Airstream dealer or you may fined them at an RV store. Buy a small packet of rivets and the tool because that will not be the last one to pop.

Did the rivet head come off or did the rivet pull out of the frame. If the head popped off you should be able to just push the rivet into the ceiling with a small punch and install a new rivet in it's place. If the rivet pulled out of the frame, this can be a bit trickier, you will have to drill out the rivet with a 1/8 drill. The problem here is the rivet will want to turn with the drill. If you can have someone hold the head of the rivet with a small vicegrip pliers you should be able to drill it out.

I have well over 150,000 miles on my trailer and have to set a new rivet once and a while.
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Old 03-17-2010, 09:26 AM   #5
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Hello, Congratulations on your Stream, and welcome the most addictive thing next to camp fire smoke!

Don't be alarmed when the TV and hitch questions start rolling in. You may not think the question is related to yours. Just wait the people here ARE going to help!

Don't run back to the dealer for interior rivets yet. The ones used on the interior are common rivets that can be purchased at any "big box" hardware store. You might as well buy a Rivet puller or "pop rivet gun" They are not that expensive and easy to operate. Come to think about it you may as well get a small tool box just for a "rivet replacement kit" The box should include a Rivet puller, rivets and washers, and a few drill bits, a small punch set, and hammer. The rivets used on the interior skin are "all aluminum" or Aluminum with aluminum mandrel (the thing the puller grabs)". I hope someone chimes in with sizes.

You will need to drill our the remaining "body" of the rivet or sometimes they can just be pushed into the hole with a small punch. I recommend the drill. Then just insert a new rivet and use the puller to "pop" it (it may take 2 - 3 squeeze before it pops) Search here and you tube to see how they work.

Now lets figure out Why it happened in the first place?
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Old 03-17-2010, 10:17 AM   #6
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I too have a question...we are preping for the spring trip... discovered a total of 5 rivets popped along the SO trim of our '06 classic...two on one side and three on the other just near the curve of the top...does the position of the problem indicate a problem with stress???... what size rivet do we need to use to replace with???

It is so comforting to have the pool of knowledge available on the fourms!!
thanks glogeo
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Old 03-17-2010, 10:35 AM   #7
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Easy does it now....

One other little bit of advise is to put a strip or two of ducktape on the ceiling around your work area to keep things nice.

The final pull and "snip" of the rivet gun that actually shears the rivet sometimes comes suddenly and the gun will jump a bit and scibe up the surrounding finish......

I got the scars to prove it !

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Old 03-17-2010, 11:43 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by glogeo View Post
I too have a question...we are preping for the spring trip... discovered a total of 5 rivets popped along the SO trim of our '06 classic...two on one side and three on the other just near the curve of the top...does the position of the problem indicate a problem with stress???... what size rivet do we need to use to replace with???

It is so comforting to have the pool of knowledge available on the fourms!!
thanks glogeo
Running gear that's unbalanced, is the typical cause for sheared rivets, and other strange but correctable problems.

Andy
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:14 AM   #9
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Thank you so much for the valuable advice, you have given me confidence to do this repair myself.
To answer Aage's question about my towing setup, I use an '89 F350 diesel w/ duellys. My 19' International has equalizer bars set so they carry some tension when level. To tell the truth, I believe it was the rough road on Rt 57 by Marion, Illinois! It was bad.
I am very excited to join the ranks of Streamers and I know I have a lot to learn...
Thanks a bunch, Horse Sense
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goin camping View Post
.... Go get a rivet gun (Looks like a goofy set of pliers.) and some rivets. Someone will chime in with the proper size. And all you do then is stick the skinny end in the tool and the fat end in the hole. Squeeze the handle and you are done...
I think I got the gist of what you are saying, could you say it again in less technical terms...
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:27 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by horse sense View Post
Thank you so much for the valuable advice, you have given me confidence to do this repair myself.
To answer Aage's question about my towing setup, I use an '89 F350 diesel w/ duellys. My 19' International has equalizer bars set so they carry some tension when level. To tell the truth, I believe it was the rough road on Rt 57 by Marion, Illinois! It was bad.
I am very excited to join the ranks of Streamers and I know I have a lot to learn...
Thanks a bunch, Horse Sense
I think you will find that the "dually" is the culprit.

Time and miles will tell.

Andy
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:58 PM   #12
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We have the same trailer and year and tow with a 08 Tahoe and we also have the ring around the rivets on the floor when we get to where we are going. The trailer tires are new and I had them balanced. The hitch is a Equalizer 1000lb bars and not a lot of tension because the Tahoe has the load leveling suspension and I knew about hitches adjusted too tight. Last the freeways in So Cal are not that bad. The 5 in the OC and the 10 going towards Palm Springs, which is where we go.
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