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Old 02-09-2008, 09:05 PM   #1
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Red face Dope! I think I may have made a big expensive mistake.

Hi, I was just listening to some historical vap podcasts and have become aware that I have used olympics where I should have used buck rivets. I put the shell of my 64 Sovereign back on, using olympics only. I do not mind making a mistake through my own ignorance but luckily the interior skin is still off and I am hoping I can still salvage some sort of integrity by doing the job properly. If it costs me it costs me. If I understand correctly, the perimeter rivet line running around the bottom floor line through to the bottom plate should be held with buck rivets. Does the whole line need to be buck riveted? Is there anywhere else that should be buck riveted?
Regards,
Pete.
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Old 02-09-2008, 09:12 PM   #2
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Pete, the entire exterior was buck riveted when new. Many people have used Olympic rivets to reassemble. Buck riveting is a two-person job, and both people need to have experience performing the task, or be ready to spend a lot of time learning.
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Old 02-09-2008, 09:17 PM   #3
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And have access to both sides of the skin. SOmeone out there must know what the difference in strength is...You can get Olympics in SS can't you, which is probably as strong or stronger than the aluminium buck rivits...but I could be wrong Hey, it might look like one, but it taint an airplane...I've seen some sheered bucks though so it is a very good question.
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Old 02-09-2008, 09:25 PM   #4
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I don't think stainless would be a good option, it would be stronger than the surrounding aluminum, and would contribute to dissimilar corrosion problems. There may be different grades of aluminum Olympics, though.
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Old 02-09-2008, 09:38 PM   #5
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Pete,

I don't know the answer to your question. Let's see what type of replys you receive on this site.

If you don't get good answers to your satisfaction let me know and I will call some of my friends who work in the airstream factory, maintenance area and see exactly what they think of buck vs olympic rivets on a 30 foot trailer.

The guys I know have a lot of experience doing alum repairs and I would have no reservations in following their opinions.

Keep that trailer under a cover or you are going to blind someone with the reflection.
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Old 02-09-2008, 09:38 PM   #6
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Okay, so to do the job properly, I am going to have to drill out the olympics and replace them with buck rivets, hopefully I'm a quick learner when it comes to fitting them, any tips? I'll do some trials before starting proper. At least I'm learning and it could always have been worse.
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Old 02-09-2008, 09:42 PM   #7
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Good point. From the "No one has tried this before" book, if one packed the rivits with a tiny bit of epoxy, that would reduce the chance of the rivit collapsing thus give it better strength without having to rip them all out...NOt sure if that makes sense or if it would work at all...so you can try it first Just remember the one foru rule...if rob suggest it ... it is probably wise to stay far far away
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Old 02-09-2008, 10:14 PM   #8
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I don't think I would rip them all out of they are already in.

Here are the important shear strength numbers:

Pop rivets - about 120 lbs
Olympic rivets - 465 lbs
5/32 2117 Rivets (28 ksi) - 555 lbs

So the buck rivets are about 20% stronger. But I would guess the design is probably a 3X safety factor, so even Olympics are strong enough.

. . . if you keep your running gear balanced.
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Old 02-09-2008, 10:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petethefeet
Okay, so to do the job properly, I am going to have to drill out the olympics and replace them with buck rivets, hopefully I'm a quick learner when it comes to fitting them, any tips? I'll do some trials before starting proper. At least I'm learning and it could always have been worse.
Pete
Pete.


The olympic rivets are 5/32 inch in diameter.

The original buck rivets were 1/8 inch in diameter.

If you change the olympics at this point to buck rivets, 5/32 diameter buck rivets will have a larger head on them, than the original 1/8 inch buck rivets.

There is nothing wrong using the olympics for the exterior metal, since they have been used for over 30 years.

What I would suggesy, is that you cover, from the inside, all the olympics, the seams, the horizontal stringers, and the main bows, with a generous coating of Vulkem sealer.

That will add considerable strength to the shell.

Hopefully, you also added vulkem in between the seams of any sheetmetal that you replaced.

If you do the vulkem coating, you will have a shell that is stronger, and certainly will be water tight.

You can also, add regular buck rivets, between the olympics, at the floor line. You can hide that line of rivets by adding some rub rail molding, that's used on current trailers.

Hopefully, this suggestion solves the problem.

Epoxy will not bond to the metal, and stay there very long either.

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Old 02-09-2008, 10:20 PM   #10
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I'll sit tight for a couple of days, I was going to have to order buck rivets from stateside anyway, although the quantity sounds like it is about to be amplified somewhat, Wingfoot 321's kind offer is looking pretty good also, it would be interesting to hear that response purely out of curiosity and it is always good to hear options, and yes, I do keep it covered, I'm a bit worried about it becoming a traffic hazard with rubber-neckers driving past my house. Polishing it has been great for my tan, albeit from the neck up!
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Old 02-09-2008, 10:41 PM   #11
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Hi Andy, yes I did seal all the seams where at all possible with Vulkem ( or at least our equivalent here ), also every olympic installed was dipped in sealant before being riveted too.

Can I take it from your reply that if I were to follow all the steps you suggest that it would not be necessary to replace the olympics around the floor line?

When I seal everything up as you say, should the existing bitumen based sealer be stripped back?

Thanks to all for being so forthcoming with the helpful advice.
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Old 02-09-2008, 11:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petethefeet
Hi Andy, yes I did seal all the seams where at all possible with Vulkem ( or at least our equivalent here ), also every olympic installed was dipped in sealant before being riveted too.

Can I take it from your reply that if I were to follow all the steps you suggest that it would not be necessary to replace the olympics around the floor line?

When I seal everything up as you say, should the existing bitumen based sealer be stripped back?

Thanks to all for being so forthcoming with the helpful advice.
Pete
Pete.

Currently, when lower panels are replaced, Olympics are used on the floor line without any problems, provided that the seams and rivets are properly sealed.

If you wish, you can double the number of Olympics at the floor line.

Make sure everything is sealer, properly, from the inside.

I have no information on the sealer you used. Is it equal to or better than Vulkem, for at least 40 years?

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Old 02-09-2008, 11:36 PM   #13
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I'll have to do some research on its longevity, it is a Fuller product, called "Metal Grip", classed as a "high performance metal adhesive, interior/exterior, weatherproof, flexible, bonding Aluminium,Zincalume, Galvanised iron, most coated and uncoated metals, steel, concrete, stone, fibre cement sheet, ceramics, wood, glass, fibreglass,plastics,rubber, contains liquid hydocarbons 48%. Properties are Excellent adhesion and flexibility, paintable, uv resistant, surface temp -30 degrees C to 80 degrees C (sorry, cannot find conversion to Fahrenheit)", so I hope that has some comparability to the legendary Vulkem, if not, my decision may have just been made for me.
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Old 02-10-2008, 08:13 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petethefeet
surface temp -30 degrees C to 80 degrees C (sorry, cannot find conversion to Fahrenheit)
That is -22 F- +176 F.
If you are operating your Airstream outside those parameters, you have bigger problems than your sealant failing.
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Old 02-10-2008, 10:17 AM   #15
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Sounds like I'm in the running at least then.
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Old 05-09-2008, 06:22 PM   #16
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Knowing just enough to be dangerous.

Hi, thought I would tie up this thread with what I ended up doing. After considering lots of valid reasons from both sides with regards to Olympic vs. Buck, including thru advice from the Airstream factory itself , I decided, for my own reasons to replace the Olympics with the Buck rivet. " Buck it ", I thought " just do a bit each day and you'll be there in no time". The reason I changed them was simply because I could. And sometime soon, that option would have dissappeared behind the interior skin as it went on. I would really like to think that the Sovereign will still be around in another 40 years or so, and that the buck rivets will help that happen.
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Old 05-09-2008, 06:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petethefeet
Hi, thought I would tie up this thread with what I ended up doing. After considering lots of valid reasons from both sides with regards to Olympic vs. Buck, including thru advice from the Airstream factory itself , I decided, for my own reasons to replace the Olympics with the Buck rivet. " Buck it ", I thought " just do a bit each day and you'll be there in no time". The reason I changed them was simply because I could. And sometime soon, that option would have dissappeared behind the interior skin as it went on. I would really like to think that the Sovereign will still be around in another 40 years or so, and that the buck rivets will help that happen.
Yeeowza, Pete! Mighty fine.
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Old 05-09-2008, 07:34 PM   #18
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Good for you Pete. You are doing it right in my opinion There are many opinions on the "right way" you chose to do it as it originally was done. I would send you karma if I could...
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Old 05-09-2008, 07:55 PM   #19
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Good for you Pete!

You're right.. once you get that interior skin back on, you've lost the chance. Now you can tow knowing that things are correct. As to Vulkem making things stronger... not so sure about that.. just that it makes it sealed. Good on ya for bucking them. We talked about Bucking on last nights show too! One day, we have to bring our Sovereigns together. Very nice trailer.
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Old 05-09-2008, 08:05 PM   #20
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Quote:
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I decided, for my own reasons to replace the Olympics with the Buck rivet...
Hey, I get to quote myself here, I also meant to say that just because anyone is "pro" something or other, does not mean they are automatically anti anything else.
Pete
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