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Old 10-10-2019, 07:54 AM   #1
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how hard is to replace rivets

I've got more questions about Airstream trailers. I saw a thread that op had a 2015 25 and had floor rot in the plywood. I've looked for that tread again and have't found it. My question is does the rivets break or they hard to replace? Is it easy to check and reseal the "seams" I know that there is always a possibly that the A/C may leak. thanks again for your answers. We are looking at later models and maybe new trailers.
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Old 10-10-2019, 09:27 AM   #2
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2017 30' Classic
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Hi

Rivets do indeed "break". They are easy to replace. Since there are a range of lengths, you likely will need several sizes in stock.

The aluminum to aluminum seams don't normally need any attention at all. If a tree falls on your trailer, they will have issues. That damage will be *very* obvious.

The areas that do need to be sealed up are things that go through the roof or walls of the trailer. The A/C unit on the roof where it meets the roof is one. The vent pipes going up through the roof are another. They get caulk around the area where they go through. Like any caulk, it only lasts just so long. How long depends a bit on the type of caulk, how well it was applied, and what sort of weather its been out in.

Re-caulking an RV is not rocket science. You scrape off the old caulk and put on new. There is work involved if you do it right. Since you are likely up on the roof doing it, you need to be a bit careful.

All RV's require maintenance. There will always be things that break. The more you use it, the more some stuff will wear out. With some RV's the roof is the weak link. When it hits it's "end of life" point, replacing it may not be cost effective. Since this or that type of roof has this or that lifespan, that's the "life" of you RV. Airstreams ( and most fiberglass RV's) get around that issue. They still do not "last forever" if you ignore routine maintenance.

Bob
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:03 AM   #3
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thanks, so the seams aluminum to aluminum does not leak under normal wear and tear. I know about chalking around "openings" but water entering the body is a non worry? where i read that the plywood floor gets water is entered mostly where?
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:53 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Denkim View Post
thanks, so the seams aluminum to aluminum does not leak under normal wear and tear. I know about chalking around "openings" but water entering the body is a non worry? where i read that the plywood floor gets water is entered mostly where?
Hi

If you have a window (or vent or fan) open and it rains (for weeks and weeks) your floor will get wet and stay wet. If you have a broken pipe (or drain) that drip drip drips your floor will get wet and stay wet. If the caulk around this or that thing through the roof opens up water will come in. Same thing around doors and windows.

On a newer trailer the aluminum to aluminum stuff is not where the water typically comes in. ( never say never ....). There is always the chance of damage and issues resulting from it ..... The newer trailers have "white stuff" painted on the roof so what's up there is a bit different anyway.

Bob
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:19 AM   #5
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:49 AM   #6
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Replacing Rivets

Rivets are usually pretty easy to replace, even if broken. Typically, you can drill out a solid rivet (just MAKE SURE NOT to enlarge the rivet hole...otherwise you can't put in a new rivet of the same size).

Most Airstream rivets are Olympic rivets which have a smooth head. This is done with the right rivet (check https://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/category-s/205.htm). Get a ratcheting rivet gun with multiple rivet size pullers - go to a Lowes or Home Depot for a lower cost than any of the trailer specialty stores online though.

After an Olympic rivet is in you can use a specialty drill attachment (yes it costs more than the rivet gun or the drill...grrr. Here's the link - https://www.vintagetrailersupply.com...-p/vts-177.htm) to smooth down the head and create a clean smooth appearance.

Re leaks in the trailer. Always check seals around skylights first. Then gaps in aluminum panels.

Remember "All Airstreams leak". Just minimize the problem. Do not put a cover onto an Airstream. It acts like sandpaper and will ruin the aluminum finish.

Best if stored under a car cover. Just make sure it can't distort in wind or collapse under snow.

Have fun!
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Old 10-11-2019, 12:24 PM   #7
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Denkim, I bought a 25ft front bed with a rebuilt floor. The previous owner said water came in at floor level and per him, it was a common problem.

Iíve never met anyone else with the same problem but he was emphatic that many people have had replace their floor.

Over the rear bumper was the culprit, again according to him.

Mike
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