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Old 11-15-2012, 10:32 AM   #1
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Using 'Jack Nuts' instead of rivets?

I found a product called "Jack Nuts". They are metal devices that allow us to use a machine screw to attach items like awning hardware to the aluminum skin. They are similar to well nuts but are metal not rubber. They have a head that is almost flush with the outer surface and are constructed to flair like an Olympic Rivet. They will accommodate up to a 1/4 inch machine screw. If you have a success story or a failure with these would you please post a reply?
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:43 AM   #2
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Interesting idea.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:48 AM   #3
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RivNuts

Are they the same as RivNuts?

I use them all the time with great satisfaction.

Installing Rivnuts - YouTube

Dave
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:48 AM   #4
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This is just my personal opinion and I'm sure others will disagree. I have seen them used quite a bit and they are sometimes called "rivnuts". I personally do not like them as they can spin which makes removel of the screw difficult. On the other hand, they are better then just a sheet metal screw through thin aluminum skin.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:48 AM   #5
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Also called Riv nuts as they are inserted with a rivet gun like device. They work well for things that need to be removed and replaced often.

A few of things to watch out for:

1. The hole size that is drilled to set them must be very precise, the exact drill size specified by the maker only, not just "close".

2. If you are going to put many in, buy a specific tool for their "pull". They are only about $15 to $25 and available at places like True Value and Ace hardware stores.

2. The aluminum ones are not really very strong. The steel ones are better.

3. The ones I have purchased at Harbor Freight are not very well made and I would not use them again.

4. If you spin one of the sockets with threads, they can be hard to remove to replace without damaging the original hole size, which is quite critical.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:49 AM   #6
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Sounds like a RivNut. I've used them. They are in fairly common usage at Airstream shops. They can be the most practical alternative when an original rivet has pulled out. You'd want to look at reasons why that happened and judge if a pulled rivet is the solution or if you can lessen the strain.

My situation involved too much tightening on the wheel at the upper awning mount. It pulled two mounting screws out of the skin. I've since seen this problem on a number of Airstreams.

Enter rivnut in our search field and you'll find about 20 threads where they've been mentioned. Google rivnut too.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:26 AM   #7
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Sounds like a RivNut. I've used them. They are in fairly common usage at Airstream shops. They can be the most practical alternative when an original rivet has pulled out. You'd want to look at reasons why that happened and judge if a pulled rivet is the solution or if you can lessen the strain.

My situation involved too much tightening on the wheel at the upper awning mount. It pulled two mounting screws out of the skin. I've since seen this problem on a number of Airstreams.

Enter rivnut in our search field and you'll find about 20 threads where they've been mentioned. Google rivnut too.
Bob, I curious about mounting screws pulling out of the skin. I'm guessing you are talking about the clamp wheels. Was there an alignment problem putting stress on the clamp or was there a movement problem of some kind going down the highway?

Thanks, Dan
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:29 AM   #8
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Be careful with the steel rivnuts. You'll experience galvanic issues with the aluminum and will eventually pull out.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:35 PM   #9
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I should have posted a picture of a Jack Nut. It is similar to the Rivnut but not sure if it is better or worse.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:39 PM   #10
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Can the galvanic problems be prevented by using an adhesive such as Sikaflex? The Sikaflex might help prevent spin of the Jack Nut, prevent leakage and stop any galvanic problems. Yes/No?
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:02 PM   #11
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Be careful with the steel rivnuts. You'll experience galvanic issues with the aluminum and will eventually pull out.
West Marine sells a product that prevents these issues. Designed for use on aluminum masts.
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:23 AM   #12
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I should have posted a picture of a Jack Nut. It is similar to the Rivnut but not sure if it is better or worse.

Hi, working on cars since 1968, I have installed many roof racks, truck mirrors, and other accessories using metal and rubber well nuts. The ones shown in your picture are too weak, in my opinion. I have used those on some factory applications. I like the solid metal well nuts much better. But you have to have a feel for the amount of crush you give them while installing them; Too loose and they will spin. I have not installed any in aluminum. If the item you are using them for gets caught on something, they make a nasty, un-repairable hole.
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:29 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Denis4x4 View Post
West Marine sells a product that prevents these issues. Designed for use on aluminum masts.
I looked for this in the West Marine catalog, but no luck. Do you have an item number for 'em, or even a catalog page number?

Thanks!!
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:23 AM   #14
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drboyd - I do not have a part number for them. I found the Jack Nuts at McFadden Hardware in Las Vegas but have seen them at ACE in the area where they keep the well nuts. They cost about $1 each. They seem to be a practical solution to installing a blind nut. The Rivnuts seem to offer a more solid installation. They also have a small tang to keep them from spinning whereas the Jack Nuts do not. I suspect a little Sikaflex would be useful when installing either.
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