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Old 01-05-2010, 02:57 PM   #1
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Replace Olympic Rivets?

I am currently working a shell off restoration. The interior, including walls and insulation, has been removed. The shell frame has been braced, and most of the C channel rivets are out. Hopefully the shell is coming off this weekend. There are several places where olympic rivets have been installed. Among those are the streetside front corner panel and refrigerator vent (both all the way around), and the odd and end spot where buck rivets might have been loose or broken maybe. I,ve sprayed and soaked these areas with a hose, and none of them seem to be leaking. Should I replace the Olympics with buck rivets, or go with the adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"?
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Old 01-05-2010, 03:22 PM   #2
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No, you have enough work ahead of you, stop looking for more.
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Old 01-05-2010, 04:02 PM   #3
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My background is in aviation maintenance and I wouldn't replace them. They are structurally the equivalent of the bucked rivets and I've never seen one fail. We used them routinely in our jets and helos.

mike
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Old 01-05-2010, 04:10 PM   #4
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Rivets?

I was reading your post with interest but find that I don't know what a "buck" rivet is. Help? ......Tim
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Old 01-05-2010, 04:11 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Birdwell57 View Post
I am currently working a shell off restoration. The interior, including walls and insulation, has been removed. The shell frame has been braced, and most of the C channel rivets are out. Hopefully the shell is coming off this weekend. There are several places where olympic rivets have been installed. Among those are the streetside front corner panel and refrigerator vent (both all the way around), and the odd and end spot where buck rivets might have been loose or broken maybe. I,ve sprayed and soaked these areas with a hose, and none of them seem to be leaking. Should I replace the Olympics with buck rivets, or go with the adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"?
When your ready to reassemble the shell, you can apply a generous coating of "Vulkem" sealer, to the backside of the Olympic rivets.

That will assure water tightness.

Andy
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Old 01-05-2010, 04:30 PM   #6
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I was reading your post with interest but find that I don't know what a "buck" rivet is. Help? ......Tim
A "buck" rivet is the rivet that the is trailer held together with.

It's installed by using a rivet gun (a vibrating hammer) with a special rivet set (the tool that fits over the rivet head) and on the back side, a solid piece of steel (bucking bar), is used to hold against the back side of the rivet. As the rivet gun vibrates, on the head of the rivet, through the rivet set, the back side of the rivet, and it's shank (the body of the rivet) is swelled, because the bucking bar is hitting the backside of the rivet.

That operation, usually take 2 people, one on each side of the rivet.

Hope this answers your question.

There are many different ways to describe "buck riveting" and this is just one of them.

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Old 01-05-2010, 04:32 PM   #7
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One vote for replacing the Olympics

I would check each Olympic very very closely to see if they are loose or leaking even a drop of moisture. Olympics are well documented to more easily leak water over the long term. If the Olympics have rubber washers, then absolutely replace them, as the rubber will fail over time, and you guessed it, they will leak water. There is well documented evidence of Olympics leaking; just search the posts. Just remember, in your lifetime you will never again have this easy access to replace with Buck Rivets. I for one would replace them all while you can, but maybe that is just me. Certainly you can save money and time by carefully checking first, and then deciding which if any you want to replace.
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Old 01-05-2010, 04:43 PM   #8
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I was reading your post with interest but find that I don't know what a "buck" rivet is. Help? ......Tim
This older thread might help...specifically these pictures.

Basically there are three different kinds of rivets:

Bucked Rivets - Solid and strong - BUT, you must have access to both sides of the rivet in order to install them. Also, in most cases, a second person to help install them. These are the kind that were originally used on your Airstream exterior.

Olympic Rivets - three legged with heads that look like solid bucked rivets, if they are shaved properly - can be installed w/o removing interior panels. These are often used as replacements for bucked rivets when you don't want to or can't dismantled your entire interior to access the back side of the panels being riveted. Some say not as strong as bucked rivets but, most will agree they are strong enough for most repair projects and/or non-structural uses.

Pop Rivets - the kind you can get at the hardware store, they have a stem & hole in the center - can also be installed w/o removing panels but were only used on the interiors of Airstreams. They aren't nearly as strong as the other two types.

Shari
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Old 01-05-2010, 06:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
When your ready to reassemble the shell, you can apply a generous coating of "Vulkem" sealer, to the backside of the Olympic rivets.

That will assure water tightness.
Currently there is a white "caulk" covering the existing buck rivets, and the Olympics are punched through it where they are installed. Is this Sikaflex? and can I put vulkem over it?
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:20 PM   #10
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Where can I buy buck rivets? Thank You.
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Old 02-11-2010, 07:09 PM   #11
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:44 AM   #12
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Where can I buy buck rivets? Thank You.
Vintage Trailer Supppy has them. Here's the link.
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Old 05-17-2010, 11:43 AM   #13
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In another post people were saying to purcgase a hydraulic Riveter the tool that costs about 35.00 from harbor freight. Will that tool also work for Buck Rivets or will the vintage trailer supply airstream buck riveting kit work for other types of rivets.
Thanks
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Old 05-17-2010, 11:47 AM   #14
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Buck riveting is a two person process, requiring an air rivet gun, and a bucking bar. Olympics work like pop rivets; a one person job that does not require access to the back-side of the rivet. See Post #8 above which should help you.
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