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Old 05-20-2012, 06:34 PM   #1
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Re-attaching skins with screws

I am finding out that at least with the lower interior skins that using #8 pan head stainless steel screws is the way to go. You have easy access to removing panels and you don't wallow out the holes trying to get the old rivets out. I even attached the curtin rails with screws and they work fine. There is a lot going on in the skins to the right of the door going all the way to the nose where the battery boxes are and the power distribution area. This is an area where frequent access is handy to have. I put the skins back on with the #8 screws and am happy with the results and increased access to important areas. I also got rid of the stinky pink stuff and replaced it with 1/2" RMAX which should give me an R value of about 6. I also put in some drains in the C-channel and sealed up that stupid gap where the straight section meets the curved section. Hopefully any future leaks will not end up in the floor. All pentrations in the C-channel were sealed as well to make the C-channel a gutter. I have no leaks right now but I am not sure how long that will last.

Perry
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Old 05-20-2012, 07:20 PM   #2
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I agree with the screws in many situations. They sure are easier. I'm about to seal up the C-channel on mine just like that. Post pics if you have em.
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Old 05-20-2012, 08:23 PM   #3
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I would be afraid they will work loose and strip over time. Seems screws always do.


Best of luck, though.

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Old 05-20-2012, 08:43 PM   #4
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There were a ton of screws in the interior of my safari holding most everything to the walls. They all were nice and tight when I removed them and would have been the biggest culprits to come loose since they are holding up cabinets and such. There have been a few screws here and there on the skin as well and have all been in good shape. If you screw into an actual rib I think it's very very unlikely they will strip and come loose unless you plan on taking your trailer off road for it's entire life:-)
I see the reasoning behind using rivets for the skin to skin connections, but I think it's 50 / 50 on skin to rib. Some might also sight the dissimilar metals, but with stainless on the inside I wouldn't worry much about it.
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Old 05-20-2012, 11:02 PM   #5
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If you are hitting a rib possibly... for skin overlaps or fastening something to the skin you are dealing with very little friction area for a screw... plus the pitch of the screw itself is going to deform the skin slightly when it tightens.
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:30 AM   #6
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I am not suggesting in every application but for areas that you know you are going to want to get back into then yes screws are my choice.

Perry
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:55 AM   #7
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I am curious about a few things. Not trying to flame, trying to understand the reason the wheel is reinvented so often.
Question #1, why would you want to get back into the walls?
#2 will your furniture also be easily removable for when you want to get back into the walls?
#3 are you aware of the galvanic properties of stainless vs aluminum as apposed to zinc vs aluminum?
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:32 AM   #8
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#3 are you aware of the galvanic properties of stainless vs aluminum as apposed to zinc vs aluminum?
Good point! Aluminum and aluminum alloys would act as anodes for the stainless steel, meaning that where you have steel-on-aluminum contact, if it ever gets wet, the aluminum will corrode.

Given a choice between the fasteners corroding and needing replacement, or the skin corroding and needing replacement, I'd go with replacing the fasteners.

You can postpone the occurrence by coating the fastener with dielectric grease before inserting it, but that will wear off over time, so it won't prevent the corrosion forever.

Far better is to use aluminum fasteners on an aluminum skin. Little to no galvanic action then. You can buy pan-head sheet metal screws made of aluminum if you shop around.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:10 AM   #9
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Good point! Aluminum and aluminum alloys would act as anodes for the stainless steel, meaning that where you have steel-on-aluminum contact, if it ever gets wet, the aluminum will corrode.

Given a choice between the fasteners corroding and needing replacement, or the skin corroding and needing replacement, I'd go with replacing the fasteners.

You can postpone the occurrence by coating the fastener with dielectric grease before inserting it, but that will wear off over time, so it won't prevent the corrosion forever.

Far better is to use aluminum fasteners on an aluminum skin. Little to no galvanic action then. You can buy pan-head sheet metal screws made of aluminum if you shop around.
While this is true, there are two things to remember.

- Stainless will react less with the aluminum than steel will with the aluminum.

- There needs to be water present for the corrosion to take place... if there is water than you have a leak you need to fix anyway.

Steel screws are used in many places on the interior (at least of my 74) with success. The place they are NOT good is in the C-channel, helping to hold the shell to the frame. Those screws (along with the through bolts have a lot of rust due to the high moisture content down there.

I'm certainly not saying screws are always better, but I do think there are applications inside where they could be superior and I don't think one needs to worry about corrosion (except in areas that collect moisture, like inside the walls, outside, or under the trailer).
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:47 AM   #10
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If there is a lot of water contact between the stainless steel and the aluminum you can get some corroding of the aluminum. Since the screws are on the interior I am really not worried about corrosion.

Why do I want access to the interior? Well because I am doing things in stages. I just got through fixing the scare light, the dead bolt lock to the right of the door. I replaced the Keeler door latch handle with one I made from aluminum. I also replaced both battery boxes. I had the skins off to fix leaks and find leaks. I have a small section of floor to the right of the door that needs to be replaced and to do it right I need to pull the lower skins. It is not of structural concern right now so I put the skins back on for the time being so I can use the trailer. I don't have 3 yrs to wait till I get everything back to 120% of new. I have other fish to fry. I still need to put my lower skins back on from the floor replacement I did in the rear last fall. I am using a futon in the front lounge area temporarily till I get time to R&R the gaucho or replace it entirely with a dinette. When I get the above mentioned stuff done I will take the front bottom skins off and get rid of the stinky pink insulation under that part of the floor and do some R&R on the steps and fix the damaged floor in that area.

I have not gotten around to removing the entertainment center area along the left side of the trailer. When I get around to it, I will remove all those skins on that side and replace the insulation, fix small dents in the outer skin, check for leaks etc. I will have to remove the skins over the battery boxes in the front in order to do that so again screws made more sense for now.

I need to put the street side awning back on that got torn off in the tornado. I will use aluminum pop rivets for that.

I was planning to use stainless steel screws to attach the bottom skins but I may have to rethink that a little. I think insulators between the frame and skin and skin and bolt head might be a good idea. I definitely do want access to the bottom skin area and want to be able to remove skins and inspect the condition of the floor and frame periodically. I don’t like the idea of having to drill out a ton of rivets every time I need access to something.

Yes if there is constant water exposure dissimilar metals is not good. So you think that zinc plated steel on aluminum is better than stainless steel on aluminum?

Perry
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