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Old 06-06-2021, 11:44 AM   #1
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2018 23' International
Seattle , Washington
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Cabinet hanging down from ceiling

The cabinet above the dinette in our 2018 23FB International has completely broken loose from the ceiling, being held up mostly by sheet metal screw that attach the cabinet to the side wall. I found holes for five sheet metal screws and two blind rivets inside the cabinet, right above the sliding doors. Investigating the aforementioned holes, I poked a small metal probe into each one. There was a void behind all of them.

This cabinet is mounted above the dinette and two large windows. Looking at the interior rivets, there is a line of them going down between the two windows, as well in front and behind both. Only the middle rib is convenient for mounting the cabinet, but it wasn't used.

There are also two solitary rivets (not associated with a rivet line) that have popped, with one above the forward window, and the other above the aft window. Probing the holes indicates there is something solid behind each one of them. Note these rivets were not supporting the cabinet, at least directly.

I need some advice on how to reattach the cabinet. I was thinking of using either rivnuts or Republic rivets. Rivnuts would require the removal of the cabinet, which is doable. Using them would also make it relatively easy to remove the cabinet if that ever needs to be done. The repair using Republic rivets can likely be done with the cabinet in place. Also, Republic rivets, since they spread out like molly bolts, would be less likely than rivnuts to break free from the aluminum panel.

I'm very handy, but have never worked with rivets before. Any ideas would be appreciated. Please request any additional details. I could also post some pictures. Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-06-2021, 12:05 PM   #2
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You might also check tire pressure...if running max psi, this can cause popped rivets, broken hinges, cabinets falling, etc...lots of threads on this. As for re-attaching, both ideas you mention seem reasonable. The idea of installing screw in receptacles gives you some options, but not sure you would ever be removing again. I had similar issue once on my 28' few years back where a rear cloths closet came disconnected from the ceiling. We ended up installing l brackets underneath but I had a bathroom wall to screw into. Now, AS includes 3 little solid triangular plastic brackets, 4" long under those cabinets.
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Old 06-06-2021, 01:49 PM   #3
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2018 23' International
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Originally Posted by gypsydad View Post
You might also check tire pressure...if running max psi, this can cause popped rivets, broken hinges, cabinets falling, etc...lots of threads on this. As for re-attaching, both ideas you mention seem reasonable. The idea of installing screw in receptacles gives you some options, but not sure you would ever be removing again. I had similar issue once on my 28' few years back where a rear cloths closet came disconnected from the ceiling. We ended up installing l brackets underneath but I had a bathroom wall to screw into. Now, AS includes 3 little solid triangular plastic brackets, 4" long under those cabinets.
Thank you for the response. I am running max psi in the tires. Will lower from 80 down to maybe 70? I did put my wife's cell phone in the trailer and called mine before getting underway. Heard nothing indicative of vibration, but it could have been missed.

Good to hear Airstream is learning. Sometimes I wonder ...
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Old 06-07-2021, 12:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisnancy View Post
Thank you for the response. I am running max psi in the tires. Will lower from 80 down to maybe 70? I did put my wife's cell phone in the trailer and called mine before getting underway. Heard nothing indicative of vibration, but it could have been missed.

Good to hear Airstream is learning. Sometimes I wonder ...
There are lots of opinions on the right PSI, so your not alone here. I have a 28' now, and we run our 15" GY Endurance at 58psi; several folks run at 60-65PSI with good luck also...I think if you go to 65 and monitor for a trip, you will be happy.
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Old 06-07-2021, 02:29 PM   #5
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Screws & Rivets

Hello.

We have the same general AS as you but different finishes.

On our three lockers over the dinette small-large-small bedroom to shower, there are six screws three in front, three in rear on the aluminum rail and a large rivet on the first two, on the third locker nearest the door five screws no large rivet. I found a missing #8x3/4" screw nearest the entrance door which I replaced.

On the two lockers over the galley, each has the large rivet, one locker has six screws, the other has seven.

I wanted to add a screw to my locker near the door but figured if there wasn't one, leave it alone.

As someone who went to the factory reported "They just zip-zip-zip them together"

When we ran 80# air in the tires newbie style, we had a broken shade bracket & couple of rivets on the floor. I found one white head #8x3/4" screw under the fuse box panel. It didn't belong to anything specific.

When we reduced tire air pressure to 72#, nothing was broken.

After every trip we check for missing rivets and loose screws.

I would remove the lockers completely and securely re-install so you don't go through this again.

zoz
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Old 06-09-2021, 03:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZOZ View Post
Hello.

We have the same general AS as you but different finishes.

On our three lockers over the dinette small-large-small bedroom to shower, there are six screws three in front, three in rear on the aluminum rail and a large rivet on the first two, on the third locker nearest the door five screws no large rivet. I found a missing #8x3/4" screw nearest the entrance door which I replaced.

On the two lockers over the galley, each has the large rivet, one locker has six screws, the other has seven.

I wanted to add a screw to my locker near the door but figured if there wasn't one, leave it alone.

As someone who went to the factory reported "They just zip-zip-zip them together"

When we ran 80# air in the tires newbie style, we had a broken shade bracket & couple of rivets on the floor. I found one white head #8x3/4" screw under the fuse box panel. It didn't belong to anything specific.

When we reduced tire air pressure to 72#, nothing was broken.

After every trip we check for missing rivets and loose screws.

I would remove the lockers completely and securely re-install so you don't go through this again.

zoz

Took your advice and removed the cabinet, discovering it was covering the shade attachments. I plan on removing the shades, then reattaching after I re-hang the cabinet. The previous shade attachment screw holes won't be visible, but I will probably fill them with rivets.

From what you described, your cabinet is attached more securely. I had a total of five screws for the entire cabinet in the upper aluminum rail, plus two rivets. There were five screws attaching the back rail to the wall (one screw can't be seen unless the small divider that hides the Clarion is removed).

The forward part of the cabinet is attached to the wardrobe with three screws, so it is more important to properly secure the aft part of the cabinet.

One of the rivets was still attached to the upper rail when I removed the cabinet, as it had been pulled through the ceiling aluminum panel. Based on how long its shaft was, I doubt if it provided any support until the cabinet was significantly hanging down from the ceiling. There is also a loose galley rivet, which probably has always been that way (the galley is still being held tightly against the ceiling).

Will lower my tire pressure today, probably down to near 70#. BTW, my 2018 23FB was manufacture in August of 2017 and has the original tires.
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Old 06-19-2021, 09:53 AM   #7
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Finished the repair.

Replaced the supporting sheet metal screws with rivet nuts. Used the existing sheet metal screw holes to determine where the rivet nuts should be installed. I did enlarge the pre-drilled holes through the aluminum rails in the cabinet through which the original sheet metal screws went to ensure the machine screws would align with the rivet nuts when reinstalling, but needed to use a dremel on about half to enlarge them a bit more, I think because the original sheet metal screws were not installed through the center of the pre-drilled holes.

Took two friends to reinstall the cabinet. I was able to install a sufficient number of screws fairly quickly to secure the cabinet to the ceiling. When enlarging the remaining holes in the aluminum railings, I slid a small sheet of aluminum under the rails to protect the interior skin and the rivet nuts. Put tape on the corners of the aluminum sheet to avoid scratching the interior.

For the ceiling attachments, used 10x32 rivet nuts (read that 32s are more resistant to vibration than 24s), then added a regular washer plus a lock washer to the one inch screw. Used 8x32s on the side walls.

Used a Marson rivet nut tool to install the rivet nuts. Worked well, but it doesn't come with the 10x32 mandrel.

There was a second aluminum sheet under the sidewall interior skin, perhaps reinforcement for the original sheet metal screws. It was set back a bit, but I need to drill through it to install the rivet nuts. This second layer was not behind the most aft attachment.

This cabinet covers the shades when it is installed. To replace the shades, it would be necessary to remove the cabinet, one of the reasons why I decided to go with the rivet nuts instead of pop rivets.

There is a wiring nightmare in the cabinet, right behind the Clarion. Marked the wires with colored tape to make it easier to reconnect. The wires hung down when the cabinet was removed. Organized them better when remounting the cabinet.

Drilled a hole through a small 2x2 and inserted the drill bit through it when drilling through the interior panel. This limited penetration.

I've lowered the tire pressure from 80 to 72 to hopefully reduce vibrations.

I think it would have been more practical to not use rivet nuts on the side wall attachments, except for maybe the most aft attachment. The load on the side wall is mostly shear, so the original sheet metal screws would probably have been sufficient (none of them had fallen out).
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