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Old 09-20-2009, 12:15 AM   #1
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2007 28' Safari SE
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Shearing Off Interior Rivets While Travelling

We have had our 2007 Safari for almost two years. Are we the only people who find rivets popped out of the ceiling and laying on the floor, table, etc.? Does this seem odd to anyone but us? Is this normal? I guess it helps to know that we have aluminum interior (no wall covering). Thanks for any input.
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Old 09-20-2009, 02:55 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum.
you are not the only ones by a long shot. Your safari is not old enough to have bad axles, but you could be suffering from badly balanced wheels or a too-heavyduty tow vehicle. Also, driving too fast on our modern superhighways(or pothole farms, as we like to call them) can cause this to happen. I just carry a pop-riveter and an assortment of aluminum rivets everywhere I go.

Rich
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Old 09-20-2009, 07:14 AM   #3
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It may be that you are just driving too fast on too rough a set of roads, or carrying too much pressure in your trailer, or Tow vehicle tires, or too stiff a set of W/D bars. Breaking rivets is a sign you are being too hard on the trailer. In the long run the trailer and you will pay for it.
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Old 09-20-2009, 09:31 AM   #4
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For the occasional loose/broken interior rivet I carry 1/8" short and medium AL blind rivets (along with the ubiquitous #2 cross-tip screwdriver).

I've also found the swivel-head pop riveter to be really helpful with the odd interior angles.

With the shiny SE interior, I thread the rivet mandrel through a tiny hole in a rag before inserting into the rivet gun, to avoid scratches if the gun jumps when the mandrel releases.

While perhaps it's a sign of your pulling experience (speed, road condition, etc.,) I think it's something you should expect: the interior skin actually has very few rivets compared to the exterior, or an actual aircraft for that matter. I expect just through normal flexing you'll find loose or broken rivets every now and then, simply because there are so few of them to distribute the flex and stress across the interior.

Cheers,
-jd.
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Old 09-20-2009, 11:24 AM   #5
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Has anyone tried stainless steel rivets?
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Old 09-20-2009, 12:28 PM   #6
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You shouldn't be popping rivets with any regularity. Something is out of balance or the ride is too stiff. What do you tow with? Are you using a weight dist. hitch and what is the weight on the bars? Is it set up properly? Have the wheels been balanced? -- tires properly inflated? Properly set up, an AS should be able to tow smoothly at fairly high speed.
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:26 PM   #7
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Thank you all for the info. Something must be going on with our Airsteam. I guess we will be learning how to "rivit." Thank you for all of your assistance. I will try to report back and let you know what we discovered.
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Old 04-24-2010, 10:45 PM   #8
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We have had our 25 FB SE LS for a year now. We have 6 busted rivets in the inside. 3 of those since we purchased the trailer. I pull with a 2500 Dodge diesel with a Hensley hitch. We really haven't pulled the trailer on a long trip since we have had it. I just attributed the popped rivits to rough roads. I do not abuse the trailer or my TV during any driving.
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Old 04-24-2010, 11:08 PM   #9
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missing rivets

The "saga" continues, but in time, it's getting worse.

The caue of the shearing rivets, is one or more of the following.

1. Unbalanced running gear.

2. Excessive rated hitch bars (torsion bars).

3. Excessive rated tow vehicles.

4. And a very long distance last is rough roads, since the shell is flexible.

Andy
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Old 04-25-2010, 01:24 AM   #10
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I just want to throw this out there since it has never been discussed, as far as I know, on this forum. But maybe the rivits are not as good as they used to be, could the current type rivits be made of a more brittle aluminum than they were 20 years ago?
It just seems to me that this is happening a lot more often in the newer units.
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Old 04-25-2010, 07:47 AM   #11
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The rivets have not changed. If I treat my 63 or my 77 roughly they both pop a rivet occasionally. It is the price you pay for getting into the pretty outback camping and exploring sites. You personally have to make the choice whether it is worth it. Treat your trailer gently and it will last for years. Treat yourself to the rough country or lots of high speed roads with lots of touring and you and your trailer will have a limited but enjoyable lifetime. You can still lengthen you and your trailer's lives by doing preventative maintenance like using properly sprung equipment and taking vitamins. They partially take up the bumps in the road of life.
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Old 04-25-2010, 08:17 AM   #12
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Not that I have any first hand experience, but is 07 one of those years with on going floor issues?

Also towing fast or slow has no effect on the rivets. The speed you travel has no effect here. Hitting big holes in the road does. Hit them fast or hit them slow is no difference. I am personally dismissing that one right off the bat.

In the sticks, the gravel roads often wash board really badly every winter. City slickers drive real slow over them and say, "what horrible roads, it is rattling everything apart..." Locals drive fast and hold a steady speed and find the suspension equalizes things out.
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Old 04-25-2010, 08:50 AM   #13
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Speaking as a mechanical engineer with time spent vibration testing for space applications and trailer road testing for Outboard Marine corporation, speed does make a difference as well as how many hours you spend on the rough roads. I have towed my trailers for 24 years over some of the most beautiful but rough roads. I have used everything from a Ford station wagon to a dually 350. Speed and suspension do make a difference in how long your trailer will last. As the speed goes up the hydraulic shock absorbers become effectively stiffer and transmit more shock to the trailer. Slow down and enjoy the scenery, if you want to preserve the life of your trailer. Washboard roads should be avoided but can be navigated if you take them at 5 mph. If you want to destroy your trailer follow frank's advice.
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Old 04-25-2010, 10:16 AM   #14
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dwightdi,
How do you know that the rivits Airstream uses have not changed?
I doubt if A/S is using the same rivit supplier for the last 75 years or the same rivit mgf. We know they are using different aluminum on the skin, inside and out. Also the design changes could also be a cause. Maybe even the rib material could have changed and is causing the rivits to get sheered off.
Different mgf. with different metallurgical specs. etc.
If 62overlander is correct about a floor issue maybe, just maybe, that could be a contributing factor too. As you probably know a problem could come from the thing you suspect the least.
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Old 04-25-2010, 10:19 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluto View Post
dwightdi,
How do you know that the rivits Airstream uses have not changed?
Because "AIRSTREAM" says so.

Andy
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Old 04-25-2010, 10:36 AM   #16
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It sounds like you are joking. It's hard to tell when reading. At any rate, at least Andy says so!
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Old 04-25-2010, 02:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightdi View Post
Speaking as a mechanical engineer with time spent vibration testing for space applications and trailer road testing for Outboard Marine corporation, speed does make a difference as well as how many hours you spend on the rough roads. I have towed my trailers for 24 years over some of the most beautiful but rough roads. I have used everything from a Ford station wagon to a dually 350. Speed and suspension do make a difference in how long your trailer will last. As the speed goes up the hydraulic shock absorbers become effectively stiffer and transmit more shock to the trailer. Slow down and enjoy the scenery, if you want to preserve the life of your trailer. Washboard roads should be avoided but can be navigated if you take them at 5 mph. If you want to destroy your trailer follow frank's advice.
I am certainly NOT a mechanical engineer nor have I built anything that was launched into space with out me lighting a fuse, but I do know you have made the same point as me twice. "Rough roads" is exactly what I said. If the road is smooth then the shocks do absolutely nothing. If you are driving on rough roads, then the suspension has to work hard. Velocity does not effect the quality of the road.
I think your statement that I am advising people to destroy their trailers is rather unfair and inaccurate. My job is to save these American Icons and get as many back on the road as possible. The last thing I intend to do is people destroy their rigs.

Take note of this video. You might enjoy what you see.
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Old 04-25-2010, 03:01 PM   #18
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My '64 Safari had many missing and replaced rivets. Some had been drilled out for larger rivets. I think it's bound to happen once in a while, what with the shell flexing and panels shifting. I will be pulling out my inner panels again to fix a couple of wiring issues, and, hopefully, to change my front fiberglass end cap for an aluminum one. When I reinstall the panels I'm going to use a double sided adhesive tape at all of the overlapping joints to help seal the walls in case of leaks and to prevent movement between panels. This is the only thing I can think of that might help to limit the shifting of the panels. The over-sized rivets can be replaced with standard ones by riveting aluminum scrap pieces to the inside of the framing(if your panels are off) And drilling new holes for standard sizes. They don't fill the holes in the panels tightly but they do cover the oversized holes and look correct.
If you have severe problems with popping rivets and you have done everything else you can to solve it, you can just double-up on the interior rivets. Drill one in between each of the existing ones.

I wonder what happened to the OP's problem. 7 months since a reply.
I am hearing of a lot of issues with '07 25' to 28'ers. A friend has just been told they have bad axles on theirs. Can you have bad axles in 3 years? What does it take to destroy them in 3 years? Maybe this is the start of another thread. I mention it here because bad axles would be a contributing factor in popping rivets, and the OP's rig is/was an '07 28' Safari SE.

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Old 04-25-2010, 03:03 PM   #19
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perhaps this might be of interest also...
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Old 04-25-2010, 08:00 PM   #20
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Softer Ride

I have a 30' 04 Classic. TV is 2500 Ram TBD, a Hensley hitch w/ 1400# spring bars. I have towed the trailer about 10,000 miles and don't see any poped rivets or crackes in the skin. To acheive a softer ride why can't you just back off the tension on the spring bars?
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