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Old 08-19-2011, 09:53 PM   #1
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Leaky windows and Star Rivets?

Hello all,

I came across some rot in my subfloor which has been linked to a leaky window by another member.

How do you fix a leaky window? Must I remove the entire window and replace it etc?

I have also come across some star shaped rivet parts in the jams.

Does anyone have any idea what they might be?

Thanks!

Mikal

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Old 08-19-2011, 09:58 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gronlampa View Post
Hello all,

I came across some rot in my subfloor which has been linked to a leaky window by another member.

How do you fix a leaky window? Must I remove the entire window and replace it etc?

I have also come across some star shaped rivet parts in the jams.

Does anyone have any idea what they might be?

Thanks!

Mikal

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Leaky windows can easily be fixed.

Usually the gaskets have hardened and cracked. Replace them.

Then seal the top of the window frame, the part that is riveted to the shell, with Vulkem, and then seal the sides with Parbond.

Lastly, you can adjust the bottom latch as necessary.

No, the window does not have to be replaced.

Andy
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gronlampa View Post
Hello all,

I came across some rot in my subfloor which has been linked to a leaky window by another member.

How do you fix a leaky window? Must I remove the entire window and replace it etc?

I have also come across some star shaped rivet parts in the jams.

Does anyone have any idea what they might be?

Thanks!

Mikal
The star rivets are probably "Olympic rivets".

Andy
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Old 08-19-2011, 11:00 PM   #4
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The star shaped rivets are Olympic Rivets or what is known as a blind rivet.

Olympic Rivets
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Old 08-19-2011, 11:15 PM   #5
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The star shaped rivets are Olympic Rivets or what is known as a blind rivet.

Olympic Rivets
Are they damaged or just what falls off the back?

Thanks!
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Old 08-19-2011, 11:26 PM   #6
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It looks like your trailer has had some shell damage repaired. probably more than once in the same area. Olympic rivets are used when there is no access to the back of the panel which is necessary when using buck or solid rivets.

they install from the front of the panel just like pop rivets, then the heads are shaved down to look like solid rivets.

What you are seeing is probably olympic rivets that have been removed to repair the area a second time. You can see one olympic still installed in the panel.
Where exactly is that picture taken?
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Old 08-19-2011, 11:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wasagachris
It looks like your trailer has had some shell damage repaired. probably more than once in the same area. Olympic rivets are used when there is no access to the back of the panel which is necessary when using buck or solid rivets.

they install from the front of the panel just like pop rivets, then the heads are shaved down to look like solid rivets.

What you are seeing is probably olympic rivets that have been removed to repair the area a second time. You can see one olympic still installed in the panel.
Where exactly is that picture taken?
Stage right of the hitch.

Under the front/right window.
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:23 AM   #8
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OK that front right window is called a wing window. Does it look like it is installed with olympics or solid rivets? I looks like to me that only the vertical seam between the front lower section of the end cap and the curbside lower curved section of the end cap is installed with olympics. I bet if you remove the inner skin below the front large lift up window you'll find more olympics.

To try and answer your other question about sealing up windows I would need to know which window is leaking. From what I can see there are a lot of leaks in your trailer.
The lift up windows should have all the gaskets replaced and seal up the seam between the window sash and the shell with either Parbond or Acryl-R sealer.
Inland RV carries the gasket material and both kinds of sealer.
The wing windows and the stack fixed windows below the living room lift up windows as well as the Vista View windows above the living room and bedroom lift up windows require a different approach to sealing.The sash is sealed to the shell like the lift up windows but different methods of sealing the glass to the sash are used depending on which window is being done.
Does your trailer have the dark plexiglass rock guard which folds down over the front lift up window and both wing windows?
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:33 AM   #9
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F I R N or "Fix It Right Now"

Hi! Looking at your last picture I would say you have at least (2) leaks in the curbside on your trailer. See how the stains on the exterior panel flow straight down? Somewhere above (your photo) on the curb side you have unsealed windows, or panels, or holes in the panels that are allowing the water into the inside space between inner and outer skins. If it is a panel seam leaking you need to remove more inner panels to expose the leak area and caulk with Vulkem or Acryl-R sealant both inside and outside on the exterior skin seams. The Acryl-R tends to wick into the smaller openings like seams and gives a better seal. Vulkem tends to be used on areas like window to shell and around larger areas that require more sealant like doors, A/C units, vent openings Etc. The other pictures seem to show areas around where panels may have been replaced or windows replaced due to some previous damage. They to appear not to have been sealed correctly and there are a few things you can try to get these areas sealed up. First, If the rivets were not coated with Vulkem when installed this could be a source for water to seep in. Seal inside and outside around the compressed portion of each rivet and exterior rivet head or better yet drill out all suspected leaking rivets and install new Olympic rivets after "buttering" them with Vulkem. Since you already have some of the interior skins off this should not be much bigger of a problem than following the leaks back to their source and re-sealing to "fix" it right. Second, You'll need to determine how much damage has been done to your sub floor and get it repaired now while it is still a small issue. After you seal all the leaking areas run water from a hose over the exterior from up high and along seams both to see if all the leaking areas have been properly sealed. Last, Put the skins back on the interior only after you are sure that the leaks are all repaired and no water comes into the area where it can cause more trouble in the future. This is long winded but after you are done you will be happier knowing you have it sealed up for a long,long, time to come. Good Luck, Ed
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:10 PM   #10
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So I see we have a lot of 10 lb. brains in the forum.

Pretty amazing how spot on everyone has been.

After a quick scan of the outside skin it was clear that the Airstream had been repaired in the exact spots you all expected it to be.

Some of the rivets had small dots in the middle which I believe makes them Olympic Rivets?

The fact that "some" not all of the rivets had little dots leads me to believe that it was a poor repair job. I assume that it isn't possible to fix a window by only removing a few but I could be wrong.

Should I use Buck or Olympic Rivets to make the repairs?

FYI: I will have most if not all of the interior skin off in my quest to remove the many mice that have taken residence in what they seem to view as their "sovereign" land.

Thanks again for all of the great feedback!

Be well.

Mikal
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:24 PM   #11
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Mikal always use buck(solid) rivets if you have access to the inside. Olympics tend to leak and they are not as strong.
Sometimes it is hard to spot the olympics if they are shaved well. They will usually show up easily when polished.
If you have the interior skins off I would replace all the olympics with bucks.
Fixing a window, I assume you mean it is leaking. The repair depends on what type of window and if it is leaking between the frame and the shell or leaking between the glass and the frame. If the window frame is installed with olympics then drill them all out pull the window, clean the area and reinstall the window with a good quality butyl tape on the frame and use buck rivets. Then seal the frame to shell connection with Parbond or Acryl-R.
You should also replace all the gaskets on the opening windows.
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:39 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by gronlampa View Post
So I see we have a lot of 10 lb. brains in the forum.

Pretty amazing how spot on everyone has been.

After a quick scan of the outside skin it was clear that the Airstream had been repaired in the exact spots you all expected it to be.

Some of the rivets had small dots in the middle which I believe makes them Olympic Rivets?

The fact that "some" not all of the rivets had little dots leads me to believe that it was a poor repair job. I assume that it isn't possible to fix a window by only removing a few but I could be wrong.

Should I use Buck or Olympic Rivets to make the repairs?

FYI: I will have most if not all of the interior skin off in my quest to remove the many mice that have taken residence in what they seem to view as their "sovereign" land.

Thanks again for all of the great feedback!

Be well.

Mikal
Many buck rivets can and do have "dots" in them.

Olympic rivets will have a small circle in the center, like about 1/16 inch in diameter.

Andy
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:49 PM   #13
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Mikal always use buck(solid) rivets if you have access to the inside. Olympics tend to leak and they are not as strong.
Sometimes it is hard to spot the olympics if they are shaved well. They will usually show up easily when polished.
If you have the interior skins off I would replace all the olympics with bucks.
Fixing a window, I assume you mean it is leaking. The repair depends on what type of window and if it is leaking between the frame and the shell or leaking between the glass and the frame. If the window frame is installed with olympics then drill them all out pull the window, clean the area and reinstall the window with a good quality butyl tape on the frame and use buck rivets. Then seal the frame to shell connection with Parbond or Acryl-R.
You should also replace all the gaskets on the opening windows.
Not quite sure if it is leaking between the frame and shell or glass and frame. I did notice that all of the window surrounds are a bit rusty. I didn't open the walls to deal with the window so I haven't taken that close of a look yet. I will in a few days (it is on our farm about 1 1/2 hours away).

I will definitely go with the buck rivets; it seems that a lot of my issues are do to the olympics, either from weak psi or poor installation.

Vintage Trailer had a nice Buck Rivet Kit to get me started. Do you know of a better starter kit or should I go that direction?

Thanks!

Mikal
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Old 08-22-2011, 08:46 AM   #14
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Mikal, I would also check InlandRv. (Andy R.) Airstream dealers will carry the right rivets too. I would use either of these vendors or Fastenal. Make sure where ever you get rivets that they are aluminum. Also be mindful that bucking rivets is mostly a two person job. Ed
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