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Old 03-25-2004, 03:53 PM   #1
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Rivet Replacement

Someone Help Please! I have 4 rivets on the outside skin that the heads are gone. Should these be replaced, if so what size/type rivet do I use? What will happen if I just leave things as they are, will more rivets break? I have installed rivets in other applications but only the type that leave an open head. Not sure how these would look on my lovely airstream.
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Old 03-25-2004, 04:23 PM   #2
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this is what you want to use:

http://www.airstreamdreams.com/categ...l?UCIDs=516076

works like a pop-rivet, using an ordinary pop-rivet tool, except it has a rounded head like the factory buck rivets. only thing is, the stem will need to be ground off. that's what the really expensive "rivet shaver" tool is at the bottom of the page. if you're only doing a few, you can probably get away with just using a dremel tool to grind it down. I've found that using a cutoff wheel on the dremel to cut it flush first does a really good job...then minor sanding/grinding with one of the soft stones will clean it up pretty nicely...
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Old 03-25-2004, 04:25 PM   #3
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Hey Mr. Boo -
Not to panic. All is not lost. Yes you should replace those broken rivets or more will loose their heads. You'll want to use Olympic rivets to closely match the existing buck rivets. These Olympic rivets can be purchased through several sources but I have purchased mine from AirstreamDreams.com. You'll want to get the ones without the neoprene seal and use a sealer called Vulkem also available from Airstream Dreams. These rivets are put on with a regular rivet tool such as one from a home center or local hardware store. The shaft of the rivet is designed to break off above the rounded head of the rivet and be shaved down to match those of the factory installation. For just these few you need, I'd just shave them down carefully with the side of a cut-off wheel on your Dremel tool. The actual rivet shaver is quite expensive. Best of luck.

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Old 03-26-2004, 08:08 AM   #4
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Thanks Chuck and Flyfshr, for the information, I will order Olympic rivets from airstreamdreams.com

Flyfshr, you say to use rivets without washers and apply vulkum, is the vulkum applied in the hole before rivet? Is it okay not to use vulkum? Would the rivets with washers give the same protection?

Sorry to have so many questions, but I want to do right.

I really appreciate you guys, I have owned an airstream for a year, it took only one rally for me to discover that airstreamers are the GREATEST.
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Old 03-26-2004, 08:54 AM   #5
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MrBoo -
You certainly hit the rivet on the head, Airstreamers are the greatest. The washers over time will dry rot and crack causing them to leak. The vulkem stays pliable for at least 45 years. I moved an eyebrow over one of my access doors and the factory applied vulkem underneath was still soft and pliable. Apply the Vulkem directly to the rivet just under the head of the rivet and apply it all of the way around. Don'y worry about excess because after the rivet is fastened, a clean up with Mineral Spirits will do the trick.

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Old 03-26-2004, 09:06 AM   #6
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rivet replacement

hello,
i too have a missing rivet head. my question is what size of drill bit is used to drill the rivet stem out? i assume it needs to be drilled out as it is still in place. also, does the rivet just pop into place with sealant and then shave the stem?

thanks,
david h
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Old 03-26-2004, 07:45 PM   #7
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I've used 5/32nds and its just slightly undersized for the existing hole. I used plenty of Vulkem to seal it up good.

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Old 04-07-2004, 03:32 PM   #8
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I replaced the broken rivets today, could not have done it without the advice I received here. Many thanks to all.
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Old 07-21-2014, 12:58 PM   #9
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Airstream Dreams is now vintagetrailersupply.com and the new replacement product for Vulkem is TremPro 635 (it is supposed to be better than Vulkem).
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