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Old 05-01-2007, 12:26 PM   #1
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Sharp Sheet Metal Screws!!

The screens on my 25' Classic are screwed to the window frames using 3/4" #8 sheet metal screws with a white painted head. If you leave your windows open at camp grounds, eventually you'll be cleaning the sills of your windows, which you have to do from outside. Well these sheet metal screws are way to long for the job that they do. They stick out a good 1/2" past the frame and will cut your hand if your not really carefull. I went to the big box hardware store and bought the same #8 screws only 1/2" instead then I cut off the points with a pair of snips and ground the points flat using an abrasive wheel on a Dremel tool.. The screws are now only 3/8" long ;big difference. Tighten them down and they only protrude about 1/8" past the frame at the most and the holding power is just as good. Now you can get a cleaning rag in there with out fear of cutting yourself. Don't look for these screws in the hardware section instead you'll find them in the section with down spouts and gutters. Seems like a lot of work but it really isn't. You only need to change out the bottom row and I did the first screw up either side also. I also changed out all the exterior rusting steel screws on the exterior of the trailer with stainless steel.
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Old 05-01-2007, 01:21 PM   #2
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Thanks

Great tip Craftsman2.......I have wondered if those screws were only in my AS since none of the screws used are sized properly throught my unit. Either too long or too short or too fat or too thin. And of course, there are the rusty ones. Basically, we have been screwed as far as fasteners go, pun intended.

Airstream needs new engineers to improve screwing procedures.

Time
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Old 05-01-2007, 01:48 PM   #3
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I had that problem on the Excella, so I guess they've been doing that same dumb stunt for years and years. I replace the screws with truss head SS 8/32 machine screws and aluminum rivet nuts made by Gesipa.

http://www.gesipausa.com/olympic.htm

I bought the tool from McMaster-Carr. I use it all the time and have replaced fasteners all over the rig. You can get aluminum or steel inserts in various sizes. It gives a much more professional result. I'll post some pics of the tool and the screen modification.
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Old 05-01-2007, 01:53 PM   #4
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yea those screws are part of the airstream security system...

when a bad guy tries to enter via an open window...

he gets poked or ruins a fresh manicure!

i've considered using a dremel to cut off the current screws and soften the tips...

every time i clean those channels...

good tip craftsman...

cheers
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Old 05-01-2007, 03:25 PM   #5
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I like your replacement idea - I have a few nicks from cleaning windows too.

I got a new Dremel tool as a premium for a hotel/travel club I belong to because I travel a lot for my job. Its second use (the first was to sharpen lawnmower blades) will be to smooth the corners of the 'gutters' above each window. I've Walbernized our AS four times already and all four times managed to peel many layers of skin off my fingers as I ran into these babies.
Shame on me for not learning the first time, but I'm SURE there are others of you out there who have done the same.

I'll try the Dremel on the screws as well!
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Old 05-01-2007, 05:02 PM   #6
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If you prefer not to cut the screws off. Take a small paint brush and cover the tip of the screw with this stuff. It comes in clear and will cushion the sharp edge.


Clear Plasti Dip Multi-Purpose Rubber Coating, Dipping Can, 14.5 Fluid oz. - PLD-11609-6
$7.99
Description | Warranty
Clear Plasti Dip Multi-Purpose Rubber Coating, Dipping Can, 14.5 Fluid oz.

Plasti Dip multi-purpose coatings allow you to rubberize just about anything! Plasti Dip is a flexable synthetic multi-purpose coating that exhibits excellent moisture, acid, alkaline, and abrasion resistance.
  • Flexable - Won't crack, chip, or become brittle
  • Insulates - Electrical shock, vibration, and heat
  • Grip - Provides safe non-slip comfort and control
  • Durable - Resists weather, chemicals, impact, and abrasion

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Old 05-01-2007, 06:22 PM   #7
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Riv-nuts! Great idea... thanks now I have an excuse to have bought another tool
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Old 05-01-2007, 06:42 PM   #8
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Here are some shots of the Gesipa riv-nut system. They come in various sizes and grip ranges. These are 8/32. One nice thing is that these nuts are serrated, so that they grip wdhen they are set with the tool and wont work loose.
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Old 05-01-2007, 07:17 PM   #9
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Actually from a manufacturing standpoint all screws the lenght of the longest necessary for the trailer makes it so the people assembling do not have to worry about which screw for which hole.
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Old 05-01-2007, 07:19 PM   #10
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Be careful with rivnuts. We use them in airplanes and I hate them. It is very easy to over stress them putting them in and is the nut gets loose the screw is nearly impossible to remove or insert.
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Old 05-01-2007, 07:26 PM   #11
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How True !!!!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by thecatsandi
Be careful with rivnuts. We use them in airplanes and I hate them. It is very easy to over stress them putting them in and is the nut gets loose the screw is nearly impossible to remove or insert.
I'm with ya Michelle!!!! Been There....Done That!!! I used Riv-nuts extensively when I built my Lexan hurrican shutter system. They work great until they don't........then they are a royal PIA to remove. If they are loose and spinning, it's really hard to get the drill bit to bite.

Other than that.....they're great!
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Old 05-02-2007, 08:13 AM   #12
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I also hate rivnuts for the same reasons stated by Lewster and thecatsandi. I.ll put in a nutplate anytime over a rivnut. Once a spinning rivnut is removed the nole is so big nothing can be done with it. We don't use them at all on either of our aircraft.
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Old 05-02-2007, 08:23 AM   #13
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Rivnuts definatly have their place but with the screens and frames it's not only the sharpness of a sheet metal screw sticking past the frame it's the length. The idea was to not only eliminate the point but to reduce the length to the shortest possible so that you can actually clean the sills with a minimum of obstruction. My wife has the digital camera in Holland and I'll take some photo's this weekend when she returns.
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Old 05-02-2007, 09:45 AM   #14
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So now I need a MIG welder to tack down the riv-nuts, bonus tool!

Maybe Screendoor insert panel clips into liners and do away with through-bolts into window frame all together... There are myraid flavors of little clips available - one of them surely could be adapted?
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