Originally Posted by RossFam05BH
....Our tubular rack was attached to the roof of our Interstate with only twelve 3/16" diameter aluminum blind rivets. Airstream used blind rivets because they did not have access to the inside of the outer surface of the Van's roof. During vehicle flexion, the rivets wear and eventually fail. In addition, our tubular rack was welded with torsional stress, giving rise to the abrupt failure at one of the attachment points. I raise the possibility that many other roof racks on Interstates may now be attached to vehicles with sealant only.
An update on this.
Our rivets appear to be stainless steel, but there are effectively only 8 of them. Twelve were physically placed by Airstream, but those four that were mounted on the upslopes, where the feet meet the roof ribs, ... well, the emplacement of those made holes in the roof but did not "catch" because of the physical separations involved (too much distance). So there are rivets present, but they are not performing a function.
T1N Interstate owners may wonder... why either 12 or 8? Why not the 16 that would naturally come from riveting all four corners of all four feet?
Because Airstream was blocked by the tube itself from emplacing the final one on each foot. They couldn't get the rivet gun under the roof rack to punch there, and they did not bother with any other attachment attempt.
THE WHOLE THING IS A COMPLETE MESS.
Being shoddy construction to start with, the roof rack is now at the end of its unnatural lifespan. We are going to replace it - the only question is, do we modify and re-attach this one, or do we design and fabricate an upgrade?
Two things are clear to me - I'm not willing to give up either our vaulted solar panels, or my ATV bag
that has been strapped to the back of the roof rack, and which provides some of the most valuable storage space that the van has.
Replacing the rack is a big job which, in order to do properly, might involve dismantling part of the interior. I'll hatch a separate thread on whatever we decide will be our course of action.
Meanwhile, we will temporarily restore the attachment of this one with the treatment sequence I outlined above.
And even with that, we are not yet 100% sure that this was the source of the water leak which was the subject of this thread. Additional investigations are still pending.