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Old 11-25-2020, 01:12 AM   #1
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1988 25' Excella
Sunriver , Oregon
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Ribs, Skins & Rivets

A source who seems to be very knowledgeable about the technical details of the brand says the Airstream Factory has built new trailers in the past by installing vertical exterior surfaces with shaved rivets (i.e. Olympic) rather than using bucked rivets.

Personally, I've neither heard of nor witnessed evidence of such a practice.

I am NOT trying to initiate a debate about the wisdom or reasoning behind such a practice; I merely wish to inquire if there is anyone here with intimate first person knowledge and experience with factory production activities back into the 70's or 80's who can tell us the truth because you were there.

In advance, thanks for your assistance.

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Old 11-25-2020, 06:52 AM   #2
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Dewey , Arizona
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Having visited the factory many times, I have never heard of this and frankly, it does not make any sense.

Olympic rivets cost much more than the buck rivet and take considerably longer to install and finish. Olympic rivets are used in the service area as an alternative to pulling the interior walls to replace outer skin.


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Old 11-25-2020, 07:48 AM   #3
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1956 22' Caravanner
Don Pedro Island , Florida
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Ditto Richards comment.

The only reason I would see the factory using a Oly. type rivet is... if they missed a hole and the interior skins were already on. There is a place for everything.
My Rebuild page : 1956 Caravanner

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Old 11-26-2020, 11:22 AM   #4
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1988 25' Excella
Sunriver , Oregon
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Ribs, Skins & Rivets

Thank you for responding.

Appreciate everyone who has knowledge of this topic and shares that information we on this thread.

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Old 11-26-2020, 01:20 PM   #5
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2016 27' International
Sherwood Park , Alberta
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This is a timely thread. My 2016 27 FB is going into the dealer next week to replace the roof and all three front and rear panels damaged in a late spring hail storm here in Alberta.

Am I correct to assume that all of these replacement panels will be affixed with Olympic, shaved rivets because they will not likely remove the inner skin for the repair? Is there a big downside to this?
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Old 11-27-2020, 01:14 PM   #6
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1988 25' Excella
Sunriver , Oregon
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 18
Ribs, Skins & Rivets

1. To be certain, why not ask the dealer beforehand how the new panels will be fastened? Be smart, ask in writing.

2. Is there a big downside in using shave rivets? Situational, it appears. Opinions vary, seemingly dependent on whether or not you have a dog in the hunt.

3. Things I have learned in my research that are important to me:
a. in general, garden variety shave rivets are not approved for structural applications by the rivet vendor and/or manufacturer
b. shave rivets have a reputation for leaking over a period of time. To be clear: I have no personal experience or opinion in this regard. I am repeating second hand opinions of people whom I have come to trust over time. Having said that, as an engineer I can see in the design of these things questionable performance over repeated dynamic load cycles and the passage of time.

c. Airstream trailers that have been repaired in a manner different than how they were built in the factory are not as popular and in general do not command the same resale value.

4. Airstream Inc. seems to base its reputation on quality and durability. If your trailer was factory built with shave rivets, than where is the downside to a factory approved shave rivet repair procedure?
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