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Old 10-20-2018, 12:55 PM   #1
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1957 22' Caravanner
Portland , Oregon
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Moving overhead shelf rivets or screws?

I have a 1957 Caravaneer and want to move an original compartment that is above the sink 2 ft over into an open space closer to the front. I'm 6'2 and washing dishes with that thing in my face makes me stand awkward and it hurts my bad back. Is there much of a difference between using screws vs rivets? I have a quite "lived in" trailer that has a mixture of the two, so I'm not concerned with keeping a rivet consistency and I have the ability to install either kind. I'm just wondering if there is more strength in one over the other. Also how do you create the right sized hole for a new rivet?
Appreciate
-T
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Old 10-20-2018, 02:32 PM   #2
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The answer to your last question is matching the drill bit size to the rivet diameter. You will find more insight and can source rivet/bit supplies here: www.aircraft-tool.com

As for fastener choice, I prefer rivets. The key to holding the cabinets in place is to place the fastener into the rib behind the sheet aluminum rather than just the interior skin alone. The rivet head is further strengthened (ensuring longevity) by use of a washer if the exposed head terminates on the wood surface.
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Old 10-20-2018, 07:22 PM   #3
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Don’t know the configuration of your headlockers, but the ones in the 55 are all aluminum with a top/front rivet flange and a bottom/rear rivet flange. When I install them in a couple of months I will use the proper length 5/32” dome head pop rivet and drilling the rivet hole with a #21 drill bit. Rivets in the correct sized hole and the correct length have tremendous holding power. I do use #8 ss screws now and then with locktite to prevent backing out. Like SeeMore said, going into ribs or stringers is the optimum. Good luck, Bubba
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Old 10-21-2018, 07:42 AM   #4
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1957 22' Caravanner
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Thanks for the reply. I'm new to Airstream's but how do I find the rib to attach? Is it basically a stud? Also, there's no wood surface on them. The shelves are basically thin aluminum frames that attach to the skin. The back of of the shelf is the interior skin. Most efficient design ever.
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Old 10-21-2018, 08:14 AM   #5
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1966 22' Safari
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On your model there are probably 6 ribs placed between 2 and 3 feet apart depending on opening locations. They attach to the bottom C-channel at the floor and are curved all the way around to the C-channel at the floor level on the other side. Some call them studs, ribs or hoops and are part of the semi-monocoque construction. They are strategically placed on the side of windows and the door. You will see a row of pop rivets on the inside from floor, around the ceiling curve to the floor on the other side. You will also see corresponding bucked rivets on the exterior at the same locations bucked into the ribs. Hope this helps. Good luck, Bubba
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:12 AM   #6
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If I have 1/8 diameter rivets, is that the drill bit size I want?
Thanks again
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:47 AM   #7
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You want to be sure to use a positive stop on the drill bit to keep it from grabbing and going too far.
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Old 10-23-2018, 08:27 AM   #8
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Rivets

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomifost View Post
If I have 1/8 diameter rivets, is that the drill bit size I want?
Thanks again
You can go to Vintage Trailer Supply’s site and see the rivet install/removal bit size chart. Installing new 1/8” pop rivets, a #29 bit should be used according to charts. Just make sure you use the correct length rivet for the material thickness. Good luck, Bubba
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