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Old 07-21-2003, 06:31 AM   #15
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For what it is worth, Andy at Inland RV recommends against using the washer type rivets. See the thread at

I obviously have no inside knowledge, but have to wonder why Airstream would want to use the washer or O ring rivets. Rubber will fail, the seal will be gone, and the rivet will leak. Or so it would seem to me. Vulkem and standard rivets have worked so well for so long, why the switch? But what do I know.


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Old 07-21-2003, 07:01 AM   #16
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Thankyou all for your insight. We had a structural problem( rear-end separation). This was due to extended period of water leaks. The bath floor was rotton and the body was not attached to the frame.( All the rear bolts were broken.)
We spent a weekend recently, and replaced the floor. AFter taking the hydraulic jacks out from under the back end, there was a noticeable flattening of the out side walls over the wheels.
We have also determined this trailer has been submersed in water at one time. There was a ring of dirt about 18 inches above the floor on the walls. We have also found silt and sand in the underbelly. After all it is 36 years old, and was sold originally in Florida , then lived in South Caroina. There have been a few bad storms in those areas over the years, eh?

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Old 07-21-2003, 02:40 PM   #17
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Smile Thanks for the rivet information

I can't tell you how much I appreciate everybody answering all my questions. This is sure a great place to be a new guy. I have made copies on all the threads and am beginning my own manual. I am copying down all the numbers for suppliers and info including web sites. I am looking forward to the day when I can pass something along to someone as well as you guys do.

One more question: Is there any kind of shop manual available from some source on my A/S?

Thanks bunches guys.
Happy trails,
Skip & Betts
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Old 07-21-2003, 02:50 PM   #18
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Is there any kind of shop manual available from some source on my A/S?
There is, contact Helen Davis at Secretarial Services as follows (from the VAC web site):

Q: I need an owners and service manual for my Airstream. Where can I get one?

A: The first owners manuals were published in 1964. Prior to that, the owner received a brown envelope containing parts lists and other helpful information on the accessories in his trailer. The VAC has started making these available in the Members Archive section. A service manual with instructions for performing service operations did not exist until 1972.
You can get photocopies of owners manual (1964+) and service manuals (1972-1986) from:

Helen Davis Secretarial Services
PO Box 484 Sidney, OH 45365

Prices are about $33 and $70 respectively. After 1986 the Owners Manuals included available service information
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Old 07-21-2003, 02:51 PM   #19
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Originally posted by thenewkid64

I have removed vents using the same method. The thing with this method is you only want to use it if you are not planning on reinstaling the window or vent you are removing. If the rivet is in the middle of a sheet of skin you still need to drill.
Actually I did reinstall the window frame. My wrap windows were missing and I had to replace them. I put the original frames back on using this method.

It may be different for a panel, I have not had to do that yet.

It worked well for me, may not work for others.
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Old 07-21-2003, 02:55 PM   #20
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You are better with a chisel than I am

When I pull the vents they are usally too bent up to reuse, but that is me. If I was going to R&R the same piece of trim I will drill, but that is me. On a skin sheet I would be concerned about the damage that it could cause if the chisel slipped
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Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. -- Plato

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Old 07-21-2003, 02:57 PM   #21
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Thanks for the info, Shari. I will contact Helen Davis at the number you furnished and hopefully have a service manual by next week.
Happy Trails....
Happy trails,
Skip & Betts
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Old 07-21-2003, 05:13 PM   #22
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Rivets, Rivets, Rivets

I have used the Olympics, Home Depot and standard aviation rivets. Aviation rivets can be a standard "pop" rivet, buck type, or what I like to use is one called a Cherry Max pop rivet. It has the strength of a bucked rivet but is a pop style fastener. It has a steel center stem with a steel lock ring that holds the sheared stem tight.

I used Olympics with the seal ring but used Vulcum with it just to make sure it had a tight seal. When the stem is pulled a small piece is left sticking out. Use a diagonal cutter to flush cut at the head. I polished the head with a bright boy wheel and Alum-all. The shaver for rivets is about $175. The bb wheel and buffing pad is about $10 and can be used in a drill.

Center punch the rivet heads and drill with a sharp #30 (1/8") or #27 (5/16"). I use cobalt bits. They are very sharp and last forever. They are the only thing to use on stainless steel.

I use a Craftman puller and a Home Depot "el-cheapo". Dave Spann
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Old 07-21-2003, 05:40 PM   #23
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If you want to knock the rivet head off instead of drilling grind a long chisel flat and narrow, the same shape as a flat screw driver. Make a small notch near the edge of the rivet by holding the chisel at a right angle to the body and giving it a light tap. Turn the chisel so it is as close to the body as possible and in the notch, give it a light tap. You are only shearing 1/8" of aluminum so it doesn't take much. Once the shank of the rivet is ground off most of them fall out of the hole or are just held by the bead of vulkem on the inside.

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Old 08-03-2003, 09:28 AM   #24
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Hi everyone !

So, as I understand, the only rivets for a normal rivet gun are the ones with the hole in the middle.
I've seen on the net that they recommand putting a bit af mastic in the hole and shaving it.
Is there a way of using the original nohole rivets ?
Do I have to buy a super dooper rivet gun ?

I'm in France so to get all this stuff, it's not so easy, so I want to get it right the first time.

Bye for now.

First European Airstream park
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Old 08-03-2003, 10:35 AM   #25
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I used Safari Tim's method of removing the rivets on my wing windows and it worked great! I made up a flat chisel out of an old power hack saw blade and inserted it behind the window frame and cut the rivets with a few taps from the hammer. Thanks again Tim!
any help would be....ah.....most helpful!
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Old 08-03-2003, 10:46 AM   #26
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"Is there a way of using the original nohole rivets ?
Do I have to buy a super dooper rivet gun ? "

You are referring to solid, or "bucked" rivets. The process to install them is called "bucking". They require access to both sides of the workpiece. This is why Airstream uses bucked rivets on the exterior shell, but pop rivets on the interior.

Basically, an anvil is held in place on the inside, while the solid rivet is hammered throught he hole against the anvil. The anvil has a small concave depression that allows the aluminum to spread tight against the inside surface. This usually takes two people, although I understand the factory has some solid forms they put the aluminum against so it is a one man job.


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