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Old 07-20-2003, 03:47 PM   #1
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Unhappy Rivets

What's with the rivets? Is there an easier way to remove rivets than drilling and punching out? Can anyone tell me where to purchase rivets and tools? I have a work shop full of tools, including a couple of compressors, but I don't have anything that looks like it would work with rivets. Are there any tools available that would make rivet work easier? Thanks....
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Old 07-20-2003, 07:07 PM   #2
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On exterior rivets the best way is to center punch and drill them out with the proper size bit. Sorry.

For tools to replace them you need 2. A "pop" rivet gun that can pull diffrent sizes, and a rivet shaver to make the replacements look like factory.

Sears has a good gun with a swivel head for 20-30 bucks. The swivel head is nice to be able to get into tight spots with. The rivet shaver chucks in your cordless drill and runs around 185.00 dollars on line.

As to rivets there are two main types. Regular pop rivets and Olympics.
Pop rivets are the kind that hold the interior skin and all of the trim together. They have a hole in the middle where the shank pulled out on install. These can be purchased at the local home center in numerous sizes. 1/8 inch diameter is the norm, diffrent lengths are available, I carry them all.

Olympics are the kind for exterior repairs and need to be shaved to look like factory . They come with and without O rings. The O ring kind are not reccomended for repairs. These are usally purchased mail order or from an online source. I carry these too.

When doing any exterior repair you will want to use one of two types of sealant. Parr bond or vulcem. These are what was used to build it and will give you the longest seal life. Parr bond is for seams and small joints. Vulcem is for rivets, panel seams when replacing, vent replacement (fantastic vent install ), TV Antenna replacement, Etc. I use vulcem on mine where I would use Silicone on my home. The vulcem is very sticky and maintains bond and elasticity for years. These may be available at a local RV place or you may have to order online.

Hope that I have not overloaded you, but the right info means you do it once!
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Old 07-20-2003, 07:38 PM   #3
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"Sears has a good gun with a swivel head for 20-30 bucks"

That sounds like the one sold under both the Arrow and Stanley labels. They work ok. And it is true that occasionally the swivel head is useful. But if you are doing a lot of rivets, and you have the air tools, a pneumatic pop rivet tool would be hard to beat.

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Old 07-20-2003, 07:46 PM   #4
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The thing I like about the manual one is that you can "set" the olympics without finishing them and then go back to finish them once I have a few in place. I do not know how the pneumatic ones work, but I would think you have less "feel".
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Old 07-20-2003, 08:04 PM   #5
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Olympic Rivets

Brett,

Why can't you use "O" ring Olympic Rivets for exterior repair? We have 100 coming from Inland just for that reason. If not for exterior repair, where would you recommend we use them, since we'll have them next week for our '67 Globetrotter.
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Old 07-20-2003, 08:47 PM   #6
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I too will be doing some riviting soon. I broke one of my front corner windows and have one on order from A/S via our local dealer.
The question I have is will my standard pop rivit gun set Olympic rivits?
And, if my standard pop riviter will work on Olympics could I "shave" them at a later date?
$335 for the window is about all the budget will stand for now.
If I could change it and then keep looking for someone who will rent me the rivit shaver I could go ahead and replace the broken window.
BTW, my neighbor thinks it would be ok to use standard pop rivits to replace the window.
But I told him, "This is an Airstream and they HAVE to match
the rest of the rivits on the trailer."
So he quipped "Okay, so change the rest of the rivits on the trailer to match."
I could have smacked him.
LOL
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Old 07-20-2003, 09:11 PM   #7
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While I am not the expert I will take a stab at the answers.

The O ring rivets are nice, but I belive they are designed for the newer style construction . I would check with Inland regarding the proper use. If they have not shipped and need to be swapped, now is the time. On the vintage units there is little between the sheet and ribs. On the newer built units there is an insuation tape that has more give. I understand that the other concern using the o ring style is will it leak in 20 years? The old sytle has a track record. If anyone has a better explaination please pipe up.

Yes a normal pop rivet gun will pull the olympics, you just need a bigger nose on the gun. If yours came with more than one you should be fine.

On all of the rivets you replace and the window itself you need to use vulcem to set it. When you pull the old one and see how much airstream originally used you will be astounded.

As long as you set the olympics in vulcem you can just snip off the excess mandrel and either wait for a friend with a shaver or for the budget to recover. I have also used a dremel tool or file to knock them down a bit while waiting to borrow a friends shaver.
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Old 07-20-2003, 10:09 PM   #8
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I've heard the "o-ring washers" harden & deteriorate too fast...which means they leak sooner. The Vulcem provides a better seal for longer.

No need to return the rivets if they have already been sent...just pull off the washers.

Shari
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Old 07-20-2003, 10:25 PM   #9
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The Airstream factory uses the rivets with the "O" rings. I would use what the factory recommends. There are always different opinions but the factory would be my best source for information.

On the Airstream.com website one can ask questions. Also you can call them at 937 596-6111. They are very helpful.

Rivets are a good price at AirstreamDreams.com. I think they sell the shaver also.
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Old 07-20-2003, 11:40 PM   #10
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rivets

You can also call Airstream I found out by toll free 1-800-500-2410
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Old 07-20-2003, 11:46 PM   #11
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Rivets and "O" rings

Ok now that I now know to pull off the "O" ring, how can you tell if an old Olympic Rivet needs replacing? Asside from being loose are there other tell-tale signs? We have a few I see on our '67 Globetrotter that appear to have a rust stain running away from them. Should they be replaced as well? Or should i just clean up the surface?
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Old 07-20-2003, 11:55 PM   #12
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Typically they will not have rust.

There may be a black ring around the rivet, this is from the vibration and grit making the aluminum turn to a black dust. I have found that most of the black ringed ones are "broken" or not attached tightly. That is the criteria I have used. One of the things to be looking for as you replace these rivets is if there is a pattern of failure. The rivets failing can be a sign of trouble elsewhere. I am not the expert on this, but it is what I was taught by a knowelgeable Airstream salesman. Lotsa popped interior rivets or missing exterior rivets can spell trouble deeper into the coach structure.

Rivets will fail, it is the nature of the coach. It flexes and twists as we go down the road and there will be those that will wear to the point of breaking. Every coach I have ever owned has come with a few popped rivets. As I use a coach they all have popped a few more over time. So don't be too scared by my
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Old 07-21-2003, 12:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by thenewkid64
On exterior rivets the best way is to center punch and drill them out with the proper size bit. Sorry.
I redid both of my front wrap windows. I found that knocking the rivet heads off with a chissel worked best. After I pulled the frames off, I cut the rivet bodys flush with the trailer using a dremel tool.

When I put the frame back on, I drilled out the through the frame to the body, which may or may not have lined up with the orignal rivet hole. This insured better weatherproofing then trying to line up the original holes.
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Old 07-21-2003, 05:41 AM   #14
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Tim,

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.
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