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Old 05-02-2017, 03:34 PM   #1
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1971 27' Overlander
st. louis , Missouri
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Pneumatic Rivet gun recommendations?

Hi all,

Just curious if anyone has recommendations for a specific Rivet gun, or type? I am about to undergo a full resto of my Airstream and wanted to get some input. I would rather not spend $300 + dollars. I am OK going up to $200 point, but no more.

Also, I am trying to figure out the rivet situation. I have a few pieces outside (like vent covers, and a window trim) that will need to be removed and reinstalled, so will a one type of rivet gun install all types of rivets? I will also be installing the entire inner skin : )

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-02-2017, 03:52 PM   #2
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If you are talking pop rivets or Olympic rivets and the like, Harbor Freight has a decent pneumatically-operated rivet mandrel puller in a couple sizes.

If you are considering bucked rivets, like what Airstream originally used to assemble the trailer, there are others around the forums that know better than I...

Most would suggest, if you are pulling out the interior skins, to use 'real' bucked rivets for the exterior work--they are stronger and seal better.

For the interior or the belly pan, the Harbor Freight tool works fine with 'pop rivets'
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Old 05-02-2017, 06:32 PM   #3
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I bought one for buck rivets from a nice guy on this forum. I'm close to getting my shell riveted back on. By the time you get to the point of riveting yours back on, you can buy mine. Or someone else's - there should be no shortage, given all the rehabs going on at any given time. Baby boomers and all that.
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Old 05-02-2017, 07:08 PM   #4
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For pop rivets, this one did just fine for us:

http://www.harborfreight.com/air-too...ter-93458.html
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Old 05-03-2017, 12:26 PM   #5
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Another bump for the Harbor Freight. Wish I had bought it early on, I was stupid thinking, "That's probably my last rivet"!
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Old 05-03-2017, 12:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctaulborg View Post
For pop rivets, this one did just fine for us:

http://www.harborfreight.com/air-too...ter-93458.html
I have one of these, and am having difficulty disassembling it to add oil to it. And, of course, it comes without oil in it when new...

Did you have any trouble unscrewing the base to get to the oil reservoir? Or did you put the body into a vise or something--I just can't seem to get enough torque on it to unscrew..
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Old 05-03-2017, 01:15 PM   #7
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I also bought the one from Harbor Frieght with low expectations but it's been great, really great. Especially for pop rivets. Ive done several projects with it and it hasn't let me down once. No way I could have done a couple things with the standard hand squeeze rivet gun. Retired carpenter here with pretty bad artheritis in my right hand, this tool has been very good.

I had a socket big enough to unscrew the cap to add oil. Mine did come with some oil in it but I added a bit. I think the wrench they supply with the gun might be useless.
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Old 05-03-2017, 02:58 PM   #8
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1974 20' Argosy 20
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I've used the same ValueRivet model V-4 for many years. It is American made and one of the best. Most likely too expensive for anyone other than a commercial user.
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Old 05-03-2017, 03:45 PM   #9
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Seattle , Washington
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I 2nd the Harbor Freight riveter. Has worked perfect for me.

I also bought one of these, which made removing the old rivets a cinch!

http://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/...-p/vts-497.htm
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Old 05-03-2017, 04:07 PM   #10
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I have had quite a few problems with missing belly pan rivets. This last winter when in Florida I addressed the problem (for now anyway) by using a large number of larger 3/16" pop rivets along with home made washers to resecure the belly pan wherever there was a problem.

Since I had a large number of these rivets to install, have some arthritis in my hands, and since the 3/16" rivets require quite a bit more effort with a hand operated tool, I bought a 3/16" pneumatic gun (will also do smaller sizes) for this project and took along a small ait compressor on the trip.

It made what otherwise would have been a real chore almost into fun! Worked like a charm!

Cost about $50 Can. at "Princess Auto" here in Canada. (P.A. is our equivalent to
Harbor Freight.)
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Old 05-03-2017, 04:14 PM   #11
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Rivet puller lube

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmkrum View Post
I have one of these, and am having difficulty disassembling it to add oil to it. And, of course, it comes without oil in it when new...

Did you have any trouble unscrewing the base to get to the oil reservoir? Or did you put the body into a vise or something--I just can't seem to get enough torque on it to unscrew..

Turn unit so that air connection valve is pointing open end up. Drop 3 or 4 drops of oil into valve, while pulling trigger at same time, allowing oil to flow into rivet pullet. There is no oil reservoir. Do not over oil. Maybe repeat half way thru the day, but at least once a day, prior to each use.
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Old 05-03-2017, 04:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splintair View Post
Turn unit so that air connection valve is pointing open end up. Drop 3 or 4 drops of oil into valve, while pulling trigger at same time, allowing oil to flow into rivet pullet. There is no oil reservoir. Do not over oil. Maybe repeat half way thru the day, but at least once a day, prior to each use.

That is exactly what I do with all my regular air tools - die grinders, drills, etc etc, but maybe some pneumatic pop rivet guns are different.

With mine, it seems there actually is an oil reservoir.

The instructions coming with the gun explain how to access it and fill, with particular reference not to overfill.

I opened mine up as described and it appeared to have come already with oil in it and works fine - I'll check it from time to time.

I did ask when I bought it, having read about putting oil in it, if the gun could be used in any position - ie pointing upwards when doing the belly pan. I was told it could ....... and it did!
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Old 05-03-2017, 05:09 PM   #13
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The Harbor Freight air-powered riveter is actually air over hydraulic. There is a large diameter air piston in the base that drives a smaller piston that forces hydraulic oil under higher pressure into the head assembly cylinder that pulls the rivet mandrel.

The bottom of the air cylinder is supposedly removable to add oil to the smaller cylinder inside. As long as there are no big bubbles in the hydraulic part of the thing there should be no issue using it in any orientation.

Its a PITA to unscrew...the 'wrench' they provide is a joke...I think I'll need to put it in a vise to get enough torque on the darn thing...
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Old 05-05-2017, 02:42 PM   #14
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1971 27' Overlander
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Thanks to all of you for your input! I greatly appreciate it.

So what I am gathering is that the harbor freight model you suggest will do all interior rivets, but any buck rivets (the fancy solid ones outside) will need a different gun, correct?

Thanks again!
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Old 12-12-2019, 01:09 PM   #15
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1968 26' Overlander
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Still confused...

I am still confused! I need to install interior (pop) and exterior (buck) rivets... I've been told I need a pneumatic rivet gun. These say pneumatic but the price tells me they're not what I need...true? Is there anywhere else besides VTS that sells the correct one?
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Old 12-12-2019, 02:00 PM   #16
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Pneumatic Rivet gun recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stargirl View Post
I am still confused! I need to install interior (pop) and exterior (buck) rivets... I've been told I need a pneumatic rivet gun. These say pneumatic but the price tells me they're not what I need...true? Is there anywhere else besides VTS that sells the correct one?


These are only for pop type rivets. Olympic exterior rivets and standard interior pop rivets are pulled and set with these gadgets. Essentially an air operated rivet mandrel puller. Quiet, quick and effective.

For buck rivets you need the pneumatic hammer-type rivet gun and a bucking bar to go with it. Plus eye and good ear protection for the two people it takes to install bucked rivets. Itís a very noisy process.

There are other vendors but I donít have that data. Aircraft Spruce comes to mind, but all I have is the pop rivet pneumatic too from Harbor Freight for my occasional use.
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'The Silver HamShack' ('07 International 22FB CCD 75th Anniversary)
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2012 shortbed CrewMax 4x4 Toyota Tacoma TV with more antennae on it.
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Old 08-08-2020, 11:36 AM   #17
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1960 24' Tradewind
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Hello, what model rivet gun did you get? And would you happen to know what size rivet I need ?
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