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Old 05-24-2002, 10:38 AM   #1
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Question Questions on riveting technique

The top of my door frame along with the drip rail have pulled away from the body skin about 1/8 of an inch. This separation continues over the top and around the radius of the frame but not down the side past the radius.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to pull this all together?

Can I use olympic rivets and alternate the pull on the several rivets to equalize the force along the whole edge. I mean can I give each rivet just a little pull with the rivet gun and then go to the next etc. Will this work or must I give each rivet the full pull before going to the next?

Is this separation symptomatic of a larger problem I should be addressing? The rest of the frame is secure.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-24-2002, 02:55 PM   #2
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Normally to keep 2 pieces of sheetmetal together for drilling or riveting you use clecos, a spring loaded tool that holds the 2 pieces together that are installed with a special pair of pliers, they come in different diameters and lenghts, in the case of an Airstream you could get a screw/bolt that would be long enough to fit through the hole, put some wood on both sides to prevent damage to the trailer and screw it down to bring the 2 pieces together then rivet it. Sounds rude & crude but I have done it with good results (on an aircraft not on an AS). Other ideas that come to mind, 'C' clamps but the holes may not line up. You may be able to squeeze the metal together some using a rivet gun & bucking bar on the metal beside the rivet being bucked but I dont think it would be enough to make a properly bucked rivet. Hope this helps.

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Old 05-24-2002, 08:36 PM   #3
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Clamps are the first thing that came to mind for me, also. I grabbed 2 of my pistol grip compression clamps from the garage and stepped outside real quick, opened the door of the trailer and they fit over the drip rail and into the inside of the trailer. Gave them a couple of squeezes and it looks like they were made for the job.

Material needed to do the job would be a center punch, drill with 1/8" bit, a handful of Olympic rivets, a good rivet gun, mineral spirits to clean off the old Vulcem and a tube of Vulcem or ParBond (never use silicon on aluminum). A rivet shaver would finish the job if you have one, $expensive$. A Dremel type rotary grinder can be used if you are patient, to smooth the rivet heads.

The 72 Tradewind has the Suicide mounted door. Has the door ever flung open while traveling? I would think this would have to happen a couple of times to pull loose like you describe, but I guess one good time at speeds could cause quite a bit of damage.

Also what is the condition of the floor at the entrance. If it has failed, then perhaps when stepping in and out of the trailer and stepping on the step and the bottom door frame, it could be pulling down due to lack of support at the bottom.

AIR# 123

-"You want to make it two inches - or, if you're working in centimeters, make sure it's enough centimeters for two inches."-Red Green
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Old 05-24-2002, 09:06 PM   #4
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aircraft tools for solid rivets

Cleco pliers and bucking tools
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Old 05-24-2002, 09:09 PM   #5
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wrench operated clecos

These and many other aircraft tools available on Ebay...
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Old 05-24-2002, 09:35 PM   #6
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If Bobby's clamp suggestion does not work (because the frame is to stiff to clamp to the skin), you can try using a washer that is cut open on one side. Since the olympic rivet most likely will expand in the 1/8" space behind the frame and not behind the skin, something needs to be in place to keep the rivet from expanding in the wrong place.
(And if they do, they are a mess to get out!)
Insert the new rivet, slip the washer or some makeshift u-shape 1/8" thick tool on the rivet in the space between the frame and the skin, pull the trigger 1 time, remove the spacer and finish pulling the rivet. You could do the 1 pull to all the rivets, then do the 2nd, followed by third and final pull.
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Old 05-24-2002, 09:45 PM   #7
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Thumbs up

Thanks for posting the pictures of clecos & pliers, your picture is worth a thousand words.

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