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Old 01-27-2013, 04:52 PM   #1
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Sealing olympic rivets

As you can see from the photo, the repair done by a PO resulted in leaks on these olympic rivets. Is there anything that can be sucked into the rivet area with pressure or a weeping process? This is on the upper right portion next to entrance door. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:59 PM   #2
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There's Parbond, which is a thinner version of Vulkem (kinda sorta). It has capillary action to wick into seams, etc. There's another brand too, but the name escapes me right now. You can buy Parbond at some of the online stores: Inland RV, Out of Doors Mart.
You could always drill them out and replace them with new Olympic rivets sealed with vulkem if you wanted, also. More work, but more sure.

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Old 01-27-2013, 05:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airpatton View Post
As you can see from the photo, the repair done by a PO resulted in leaks on these olympic rivets. Is there anything that can be sucked into the rivet area with pressure or a weeping process? This is on the upper right portion next to entrance door. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Why don't you drill them out & repair the seam properly like it should have been. Vintage Trailer Supply sells all of the correct "Buck" rivets & tools to install them. This is a perfect example of why you should never use olympic rivets for a structural application. Every seam in an Airstream is a "structural" application. We see these issues all the time. Olympics look like buck rivets when they are shaved but have nowhere near the clamping force or shear strength of a bucked rivet. Would you feel comfortable flying at 30,000 ft in a plane repaired with these rivets................I think not.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:16 PM   #4
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Hahahaha, I've thought of this Colin, thanks for the response.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:18 PM   #5
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Wouldn't this be a great use for that Captain Tolly's Creeping Crack Sealer? I've not used or needed it yet, but others say it is a great capillary action small crack/seam sealer.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:51 PM   #6
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Airpatton, Colin is right. You have the inside wall out...that's an enviable position to be in from a riveting perspective. Olympic Bulb-Tite rivets are good when you don't have the luxury of bucking rivets, but now you do. If you are sure you have leaking rivets and not a leaking seam, now is the time. I'm curious why they are leaking though. It might be that there is no sealant between the panels. Or the aluminum isn't laying flat on the seam.

If you want to go the easy route, you would want to backseal each rivet with a dab of Trempro 635 (polyurethane...the direct decendent of Vulkem). You do not want to use Parbond. It does not have the staying power and you'll never get to these again. You could also use Gutterseal. Gutterseal, unlike Parbond and Trempro 635 has a wicking action that slightly pulls itself into the holes and seams. It is not a magical product and don't expect it to cure everything. Captain Tolly's is similar...perhaps even thinner and more of a wicking action. But I can't vouch for how long captain tolly's lasts. We know that Gutterseal performs very well over many years.

Getting back to the best solution, solid rivets... The thing that makes a bucked rivet more waterproof than squeezed rivets is that not only does the rivet clamp or cinch the sheets together, but the rivet also swells in the hole of when being bucked. That swelling fills the hole. Make sure you use 5/32" buck rivets when you go back and do it because your holes are at least that size since they have been oversized for the Olympics already. Grab a #21 bit and a spring punch while you are at it. When you are finished, you will still want Trempro 635 for sealing the back of each rivet.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:52 PM   #7
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I may try this first since I have time inbetween my demo. Buck riveting may win though.......
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:55 PM   #8
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Thanks Steve, love your site and will be ordering supplies soon!
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