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Old 05-23-2007, 09:22 PM   #1
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Buck rivets or Olympic rivets?

We recently posted about our AS being vandalized. We now have estimates from C&G. One estimate is using the buck rivets for $2,705.79 to replace the rear segment #28, and the other estimate is for $1,998.67 using the olympic loc rivets. Since we are submitting a claim for this to the responsible party, which rivet is preferable? There is a big difference in cost. Is there a big difference in the look, or the quality? This is for a 2007 International.
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Old 05-23-2007, 09:26 PM   #2
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I would go with the bucked rivets if it's on someone else's nickel...they are better and how the factory built it originally. However, (big "BUT" coming...) they will most likely have to remove some inside panels to do it right so it might be too invasive...and ultimately cause more "issues" to live with on the inside. C & G has a great reputation for this sort of work, so I think you are in good hands either way.

We have a replaced panel on our GlobeTrotter (by PO) with olympic rivets and most can't tell or don't notice until it's pointed out. Heck, we didn't know for the first 18 months we owned it ~

Shari
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Old 05-23-2007, 09:49 PM   #3
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If they buck you have to remove the interior skin. Go that route if the insurance will go for it. Supposedly not much difference in strength but it does look much better up close.
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Old 11-06-2008, 10:19 PM   #4
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I realize this is an old thread and the insurance is long paid, but I thought I'd add my 2 cents.

We sell a LOT of Olympic Bulb-Tite Rivets, so you might not expect me to say this, but I'd absolutely use buck rivets if cost is not an issue. Buck rivets are stronger. In practical terms, you'll probably never have a problem with Olympic rivets, but the shear strength is many times greater on a buck rivet (approx 16000 psi) than on the Olympic Bulb-Tite (350 psi).

I realize the 16000 psi is complete overkill, but it points to a significant difference between the two.
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Old 11-06-2008, 11:27 PM   #5
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If anybody has doubts, please look at my blog. I am now in the process of removing all of the interior skins to replace the Olympics. There are photos of how the center of the Olympic falls out and the you have an instant water leak. I would never use Olympics for anything structural. Airstream did not use them when they built it and I won't when I restore it.

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Old 11-07-2008, 12:15 AM   #6
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I have put about 100 of the Olympic rivets in my Airstream and another 100 in my 55 Boles-Aero so far and I'm not done with it. The Airstream has had them in for 2 years and I have not had any trouble. I caulked every blessed one though and maybe that's the difference. The only time I had holes was while installing the rivets. For some strange reason the center comes out while installing them every now and then. Then I have to drill them out and try again. No matter what rivet one uses, you better caulk them or you will be asking for trouble. It's a pain to do but better to be safe than sorry later.
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Old 11-07-2008, 04:03 AM   #7
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This topic sure does come out a lot... Serious kudos to Steve for being honest and not just promoting what he sells.

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Old 11-07-2008, 12:14 PM   #8
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Can someone comment on what should be used when they replace the belly pan?
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Old 11-07-2008, 12:40 PM   #9
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ts8501,
I put my belly pan back on with these large flanged rivits. They work great.
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Old 11-07-2008, 12:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crispyboy View Post
ts8501,
I put my belly pan back on with these large flanged rivits. They work great.
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We used the same.

Shari
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Old 11-07-2008, 02:34 PM   #11
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Perfect, thanks!
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Old 11-10-2008, 09:30 AM   #12
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I don't want to leave an impression that Olympic rivets are poor quality. They are excellent and there are hundreds of thousands of them in use on Airstreams at this very moment. They're just not aircraft-grade structural rivets. They're all you need for almost any repair, but when you're finished, you may not want to fly your Airstream at 30000 feet.
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Old 11-19-2008, 03:46 PM   #13
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Can someone explain the difference between Olympic rivets and the aluminum rivets sold everywhere? Airstray
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Old 11-19-2008, 04:24 PM   #14
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Can someone explain the difference between Olympic rivets and the aluminum rivets sold everywhere? Airstray
This older thread might help...specifically these pictures.

Basically there are three different kinds of rivets:
  • Bucked Rivets - Solid and strong - BUT, you must have access to both sides of the rivet in order to install them. Also, in most cases, a second person to help install them. These are the kind that were originally used on your Airstream exterior.
  • Olympic Rivets - three legged with heads that look like solid bucked rivets, if they are shaved properly - can be installed w/o removing interior panels. These are often used as replacements for bucked rivets when you don't want to or can't dismantled your entire interior to access the back side of the panels being riveted. Not as strong as bucked but strong enough for most small repair projects and/or non-structural uses.
  • Pop Rivets - the kind you can get at the hardware store, they have a stem & hole in the center - can also be installed w/o removing panels but were only used on the interiors of Airstreams. They aren't nearly as strong as the other two types.
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Old 11-22-2008, 07:32 PM   #15
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Shari,

Great job. Let me add something to what you said. There's another style of rivet used on Airstreams: tubular squeezed rivets. You see them in the assembly of old windows and other items. They have solid heads but the shafts are hollow and squeeze with a special squeeze tool quite easily. Unlike buck or blind (Pop or Olympic) rivets, tubular rivets leave a nice finished look on both the front and the back of the rivet. It requires the rivets be within an inch or two of the edge of the material so the yoke of the squeezer can get to both sides. In fact, if you have a solid "buck" rivet near the edge of the material, you can squeeze solid rivets with the same hand squeezer tool. A good example of that would be installation of the rivet-on door gasket used on 1956 and earlier Airstreams. Hand squeezers cost about $125 to $150.

One other thing: There are many types of rivets made under the Olympic name. Only one type are used on Airstreams. They're called Olympic Bulb-Tite Shavable Head rivets in size 5/32".
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Old 11-23-2008, 12:06 AM   #16
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You're right...it's an AirSTREAM not an AirPLANE!

Thanks Steve...as you know, we have used our fair share of Olympics this year, always needing one more bag than we ordered! We recently replaced a previously replaced panel on our GT - over 300 Olympics just for that project! WOW! But it looks great, if I do say so myself - and there was no way we were going to disassemble our entire interior for the panel replacement. Thanks for suppling those - geez, I went to our local Airstream dealership to pick up "a couple more" for the weekend, and they wanted $.79 each! Needless to say, we just put off that project until the next weekend until our order from you arrived!

We have one of those squeezers you posted about - we used it with soft solid rivets near the edges of the wheel wells and doors - they are great - much less of a chance of jumping off the head and marring the skin...and you don't have to shave them.

Shari
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Old 02-27-2009, 09:00 AM   #17
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How to install buck type rivets?

Hello,

I have a 65 A.S. Land Yacht Trade Wind. I've been trying to find information on installing the buck type rivets. I understand they need to be done from both sides so the interior needs to be removed. My question is how do you go about installing them (what tools are needed and what is the technique). Any information would be much appreciated. Also if there are any pictures or video's out there that would be great.

Thank you
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Old 02-27-2009, 11:44 AM   #18
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Hi Brian, there are some good guides to riveting in this forum. This thread has a lot of information:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f381...ment-9362.html

But to answer your question, you'll need a 3x air rivet gun (looks a lot like an air hammer but has more precise control), and obviously the air compressor to drive the rivet gun, and you'll need "bucking bar" for the backside. Bucking bars come in all shapes and sizes, but it is simply a piece of flat, hard steel with some kind of handle or place to hold it. Its purpose is to act as a backing plate for the rivet that is driven from the front side. Unless you're bucking rivets around a doorway or open window, you'll probably need a helper to hold the bucking bar still on the backside, while you hammer the rivets from the front side.

Here's a picture of the process on a test scrap of aluminum, taken at the recent Texas State Vintage Rally:



The guy to the left is holding the rivet gun against the front of the rivet, while the guy on the right has one hand holding the bucking bar to the backside. As the rivet gun hammers the front of the rivet, the opposite force exerted on the back of the rivet by the bucking bar causes the rivet to expand into the hole and squeeze your sheet metal together from the front and back (or something like that, I'm certainly not an expert).

I definitely advise reading the thread I linked above. It is lengthy, but full of great information.

Good luck!
-Marcus

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Old 02-27-2009, 09:48 PM   #19
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Marcus thanks for the help. I just finished reading all the info you sent. I have one dent in the upper left of my trailer and I plan on trying to pull it out with a suction cup. I hope it works otherwise I'll be replacing it. I also have some sides that are creased and the bottom front belly has some dents. I'll take some pictures and hopefully show my progress.

Brian
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Old 02-28-2009, 02:12 AM   #20
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I concur with the posts in this thread! Use buck rivets if at all possible. When we restored our Bambi, my hubby used the air gun and I bucked the rivets! We feel much more secure with the structural parts... we also used some Olympic rivets on interior panels... and use them if we have to make a small repair. The difference in cost is minor compared to structural safety in my book...

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