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Old 08-29-2007, 08:13 PM   #1
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Old style hinges? Check your rivets

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If you have a vintage trailer with the old flat hinge plates like these above and below, check your rivets. Today I came close to disaster by just shutting the door a little harder than usual. The bottom hinge rivets totally gave way, the door veered askew, and I stood with my mouth open. Further inspection revealed corrosion so severe the rivets had disintegrated and sheared off . . . all nine of them. I knew I had two loose ones in the hinge, but didn't know the whole thing was literally hanging by a thread of corroded aluminum.

Thankfully, no skin damage but a scratch, no sprung upper hinge. Glad I bought a rivet gun and some long 5/32 pop rivets last year "just in case". Never shot a rivet in my life, but there ain't nothin' stoppin' me from campin' this weekend. ! Now I feel like a REAL Rivet Master.
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Old 08-29-2007, 08:22 PM   #2
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This now makes you a Master of Airstream Repairs then! Congrats on the fix. I find that fixing something myself is so much more rewarding than having someone else do it, especially at the highway robbery prices that are being charged nowadays for half-hearted workmanship.

Frederic
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Old 08-29-2007, 10:11 PM   #3
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Yes, Stingray, a self-fix is way more rewarding. I had to do a little victory afterwards. About 30 minutes to drill out the remaining rivet bits and shoot new ones, then continue to pack the coach like nothing happened. I feel so empowered!
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Old 09-06-2007, 12:39 PM   #4
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Another Checklist Item

Thanks for the info on you near "missing" door rivets. That certainly would have been a sad sight happening on a rough stretch of Interstate Highway. Glad you are making progress on your trailer, Dacia. Everything we repair ourselves is a great learning experience.
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Old 09-06-2007, 03:20 PM   #5
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Excellent advice!! Glad it happened while stationery.

Wish I had this advice before my door flew completely off while traveling. I cannot stress enough to check your hinge rivets and skin under those hinges. My rivets were fine, it was the softened aluminum skin under the hinge plate that was comprimised.

Brad
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Old 09-06-2007, 03:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyfshr
Wish I had this advice before my door flew completely off while traveling. I cannot stress enough to check your hinge rivets and skin under those hinges. Brad
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It happened to us going down an interstate... door didn't quite fly off, but the bottom hinges held so it drug on the ground. We wound up in a WalMart parking lot making repairs for a couple of hours so we could get back on the road.

We discovered on our vintage the rivets had completely disintigrated as well. It is a problem, the backing plate behind the aluminum wall for the door hinge is a steel plate. Well, need I say more than steel, aluminum, and 40 years... Our rivits looked fine on the outside... it was the inside that was a disaster. My hubby recommends that if your trailer is vintage, to bite the bullet and take the door off and inspect behind the hinges! Some doors are really hard to replace!

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)
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