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Old 05-28-2015, 09:09 AM   #1
The Sign Lady
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 674
TheSignLadys tips for finding and repairing leaky rivets + Fixing with Olympic Rivets

OK, I've been meaning to post this one for a while...

Here's a simple but amazing way to find and repair leaky rivets

First I had already visually gone over my trailer and replaced any obviously failing rivets. Then I went over every one of my rivets a few times with Captain Tolley's creeping crack cure, Captain Tolleys is nice because it wicks in under the rivet and seals it, but only if the gap is not too big.

Capt. Tolley's Creeping Crack Cure

Now for the cool part...

Everyone know the concept of how a suction cup works right, apply a suction cup to a smooth surface and it will seal, if you place it on incorrectly and air gets under, there is no seal...so based on that concept I went out to my trailer and went over each rivet one by one. If I tested a rivet with my suction cup and it didn't stay stuck on I knew that air was coming through from under the rivet itself and if air is getting through so can water.

Here is my video showing the process we used to find and repair leaky rivets


The suction cups can be found at pretty much any auto repair place

This is the Olympic rivet kit I bought from vintage trailer supply

Olympic Riveting Kit

The rivet remover tool I also bought from VTS

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Old 05-28-2015, 09:22 AM   #2
Rivet Master
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1965 24' Tradewind
1962 28' Ambassador
Mesa , Arizona
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Signlady, Nice job on the video.


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Old 05-28-2015, 09:51 AM   #3
Rivet Master
1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
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Good job.

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Old 05-28-2015, 10:59 AM   #4
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1964 17' Bambi II
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Schererville , Indiana
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1964 Bambi II
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Old 05-28-2015, 06:42 PM   #5
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2012 27' Flying Cloud
W , New England
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Great tip to find the leakers and repair them! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 05-28-2015, 08:39 PM   #6
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'Possum Holler , Georgia
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very clever!


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Old 05-28-2015, 10:10 PM   #7
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1999 34' Excella
Currently Looking...
Round Rock , Texas
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Nyce job! could really see how the aluminum was deflected inward after you installed the new rivet...

Peace and Blessings..
WBCCI# 30676
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Old 05-29-2015, 12:16 PM   #8
Rivet Master

2007 22' International CCD
Corona , California
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I'm gobsmacked at the simplicity of using a suction cup to find leaky rivets! Never though of that one...

And the rest of the video is super useful for understanding how to fix it....

Many thanks for posting this!
'The Silver HamShack' (2007 International 22FB CCD 75th Aniversary model)
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Old 05-29-2015, 09:40 PM   #9
2 Rivet Member
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Watertown , Massachusetts
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Brilliant idea to use a suction cup! I happened to have one of these so just for giggles I checked out some of my rivets. I found several that don't let the suction cup stick, but I don't see any evidence of a leak. So, am I suffering from wishful thinking, or could they be OK? My AS is practically brand new, so I can't imagine that several could already be leaking. And I only checked the reachable ones on one side - heaven knows how many I'd find if I checked all of them.

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Old 05-29-2015, 10:40 PM   #10
The Sign Lady
1969 23' Safari
1974 Argosy 22
1964 24' Tradewind
Victoria , British Columbia
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 674
I used the Captain Tolley's creeping crack cure before the suction cup test as I figure it will help seal the really minor air gaps that may be too small to be letting water in. It may not be foolproof test but as I have all the tools to do the repairs quick and easy and it helped me nail down my mystery leaks
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Old 05-30-2015, 04:40 AM   #11
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2012 27' Flying Cloud
W , New England
Join Date: Oct 2012
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Thesignlady - I was wondering about something - did you find any places on your Airstream where the curve of the shell or the indent of the rivet would have prevented a good seal on the suction cup even if the rivet itself would have been fine?

We had ours pressure tested at the factory last year and they found no leaks but I think your process once or twice a season is very good preventative maintenance!
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Old 05-30-2015, 06:16 AM   #12
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Great info and video. Thank you.
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Old 05-30-2015, 08:49 AM   #13
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1967 22' Safari
MILAN , Illinois
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,816
Great Job!

So glad you are willing to share this with the Airstream Community here! I cannot believe that none of us here have ever thought of this! We are in your debt on this one. It works for all leaky rivets on any age riveted travel trailer not just Airstream! As to the question of if it indicates leaks on new trailers my answer would be that yes it is very likely showing air leakage around even newer rivets. Every time you move the trailer it will flex the panels and therefore loosen the rivets. Perhaps only a minor amount of gap occurs but worth a treatment with Capt. Tolleys. This is a great preventative method of stopping leaks before they happen. Again, thanks so much. Ed
1967 Safari Twin "Landshark" w/International trim package
1999 GMC Sierra 1500 SLT

"My tire was thumping, I thought it was flat!
When I looked at the tire... I noticed your CAT!"
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Old 05-30-2015, 08:58 AM   #14
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airstream leaks, olympic rivets, riveting, sitka flex 221, leaks, mystery

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