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Old 03-26-2017, 03:11 PM   #1
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2018 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Austin (Hays County) , Texas
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Towel bar repair

I tripped over my shoes and my elbow hit the towel bar. Scratch one towel bar. That's when I found that Airstream uses aluminum pop-rivets to attach the bar to the round plates. No strength at all.

It appears that Airstream took the cheap way since the bar appeared to have already been threaded. Using pop rivets allowed them to not accommodate screw heads behind the round plates.

I drilled out the remains of the rivets with the appropriate sized bit and tapped the bar for 3/8" 10-32 machine screws. I used a 1/2" Forsner bit to rout 1/4" deep spaces in the door for the screw heads.

This is one towel bar that should outlast the IA!
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Old 03-27-2017, 05:59 AM   #2
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Yes on the pop rivets. I didn't bother to repair or modify our towel bar, however - I went straight to replacement. Which was trickier than you might first assume, because the shallow depth required by the space does not exist in the commercial world - there is no towel bar per se that can be purchased as a replacement. So I adapted three large cabinet pulls. We didn't want "a" towel rack anyway - we needed three. Where we previously had 14 inches of hanging space, we now have 38 inches. Here's a pic below, and further info is in this blog post (the installation requires construction of a base for each cabinet pull, so that they can be screw-mounted from the same side as they are hanging).

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Old 03-27-2017, 09:23 AM   #3
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I have a window in the bathroom door that I don't want to cover, so only one on the door. There is space for two similar bars on the swing-out section of the bathroom with one at the very top. As you did, I'll use long cabinet handles.

BTW, if you look at the parts list for my IA, Airstream lists the towel bar as "handle, 14.5 inches," not "towel bar."
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Old 03-27-2017, 10:17 AM   #4
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We installed three of these in our 22' Sport, two on the door, and one on the wall beside the toilet.
The problem is the bath door is basically hollow (filled with styro) and unable to support anything with weight (such as a wet towel) while bouncing down the highway. These are attached ordinarily with four screws, then covered with the base-unit with an allen screw. Ordinary screws will pull out of the hollow walls and doors.... so I used "Binder-Posts screws" or "Boston Screws". These are aluminum, have large heads, and completely penetrate the door so that they actually rely upon a "squeezing" or "clamping" on the door, with a small button-head showing on the other side of the door. Not ugly at all, in fact ...it's virtually unnoticeable.

These towel bars actually look like they belong in an Airstream.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Glacier-B...00BN/100074869

Binding posts: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-...5601/204274862
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Old 03-27-2017, 10:59 AM   #5
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We get around the weight issue by using microfiber towels only. And almost all of our clothing is as light weight as possible, especially T-shirts, which one can hand-wash and hang to dry during longer intervals away from laundry facilities. I go for cheap AND light, in part favoring Tek Gear at Kohls, which has nice quick-drying women's T-shirts for $12 each. I bought a batch last year and they stood up well, so I bought 3 or 4 more this past weekend.
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Old 03-27-2017, 02:31 PM   #6
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Nice idea on the screws. Everything in the Interstate is solid plywood, laminated on both sides. No trouble mounting even heavy things.
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Old 08-07-2020, 07:56 AM   #7
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I likewise tripped and broke one of the rivets holding the towel bar to the door ('17 AI GT). I think I am going to try and replace the broken rivet if I can drill the remains of it out of the screw hole in the bar. Does anyone have any idea of the flat head hollow rivet specifications I should be looking for, esp diameter and length? Thx.
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Old 08-07-2020, 08:13 AM   #8
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More towel bars

In addition to the towel bar on the door, I now have 3 similar towel bars on the wall to the aisle-side of the stool. They are all drawer pulls attached with stainless steel washers with 2 drilled holes for the attachment screws. I drilled shallow holes in the wall to accommodate the screw heads as detailed in the original post in this thread.

The intrusion to shoulder space is minimal. The shower curtain covers these bars when the shower is used. It is nice to have towels and wash cloths right there when needed.
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