Caravan rivet repairs advice

Submitted: Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 19:10
ThreadID: 97561 Views:6509 Replies:2 FollowUps:7
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We have picked up our next "experimental" hard walled and floored tent on wheels, old 22ft Vicount branded tent...........
Now we need to do some things to it my first of many questions is about the rivets used on it, the outside panels seem to have very small rivets and some have sheared off, yes i am aware it is probally common to have a few rivets missing on old vans so my question is can i use bigger diameter rivets giving a bigger surface contact area .....
It has a new roll out awning and they also have used tiny little rivets and some also have come loose, i want to re do them also ......
Thanks in advance ............
and if i dont get back for a few days it is not because i am being rude we are VERY busy here with our annual rodeo so hands very full for a week ....
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Reply By: graham B9 - Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 19:53

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012 at 19:53
Yes you can use bigger rivets. This is provided you are not attaching press studs to the caravan. In caravans press studs are used for securing the annex or caravan skirt (part of the annex ) to the side of the van. Only a 1/8 rivet will fit into the press stud and allow the cap to snap over the top of it. If these have become loose you will need to reposition them an inch either side and put in a new 1/8 rivet.

A 3/16 is the next size up. If you are doing this job it is better to use stainless steel rivets and they will not corode and are much stronger.

You will also need a rivet gun with a long narrow nose. Stanley is the only brand that has this. Just have a look at a few in Bunnings and you will see what I mean. Look at the part of the gun where the rivet is placed into. This narrow nose will allow a 1/8 rivet to be set into press studs when remounting them to a caravan wall.

Remember that electrical wires run down the side of the caravan just under the skin. Drill too far and you risk drilling through a wire or causing a short. This can cause a fire in the van.
AnswerID: 493356

Follow Up By: Iain M - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 07:27

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 07:27
Dont forget to get "blind" rivets, they have the end blocked so water doesn't use them as a passage to inside the van.
FollowupID: 768960

Follow Up By: Shaker - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 09:21

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 09:21
5/64" is the next imperial size up from 1/8"
FollowupID: 768964

Follow Up By: graham B9 - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 11:23

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 11:23
On "Planet Earth", the next available rivet size in stainless steel at Bunnings is 3/16.

"Blind rivets", you mean sealed rivets are not available in stainless steel. Stainless steel ones do not allow water to get into a van either.
FollowupID: 768967

Follow Up By: Nargun51 - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 12:27

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 12:27
I’m sure that someone with better knowledge of galvanic reactions will pipe up, but it would probably wise to use aluminium rivets to rivet aluminium sheets to an aluminium frame
FollowupID: 768972

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 14:24

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 14:24
From Whitworths catalogue:

"..........stainless and monel rivets are stronger than aluminium rivets. Monel rivets react less with alloy, which reduces the possibility of corrosion between dissimilar metals.

A jointing compound should be used with rivets and on any metal - metal contact area" end quote.

What the hell is a Monel rivet, gentlemen?

Oh, and Whitworths sell these monels in 3.2x7.5mm, 4x8.5mm, 4.8x8.5mm, 10mm, 12.5mm, & 19mm.

Anything we need to know while I've got the dogalogue open?

And Joe is somewhat isolated, with his nearest Bunnings over 500kms away. Doubt if he's likely to duck down there, to browse the rivet section, on a Sunday morning, before he comes home and lights the barbie for lunch.


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FollowupID: 768978

Follow Up By: Rockape - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 19:00

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 19:00

The best rivets to use with aluminium are stainless.

If you replace the rivets please make sure when drilling out the old rivets that you limit how deep the drill bit can travel as you may hit a wire.


FollowupID: 768993

Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 19:08

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 19:08
As an alternative to long nose riveter for press studs, if you don't have many to do a few small washers over the stem before you put rivet into the gun will pack it out enough to install a press stud.
I would initially consider Aluminium rivets if that was what they used first so that there are no dissimilar metals and the ally will be more forgiving against the alloy cladding .
There will always be some movement in the joint and a stronger S/S or Monel metal rivet may wear through the sheet quicker.
FollowupID: 768997

Reply By: member - mazcan - Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 18:48

Wednesday, Aug 22, 2012 at 18:48
hi joe
when i had to replace huge number of rivets in my old 16ft viscount with same problem as yours
as the aluminuim sheet surrounding the old rivet hole is usually corroded a bit thin with age
i checked the corroded hole sizes with a drill bit if the drill bit fell in the old existing hole i would go 2 sizes bigger than original rivet sizeand sqirt a bit of sikaflex in the hole before popping the new rivetthis way i found i was getting a good tight fix
as for annex press stud bases that were loose i had to shift it to a new position and then had to get the press stud caps shifted in the vinyl
to match
or pop rivet a new replacement piece/patch of aluminuin over the old hole area /to anable the press stud to be put back in the same spot this latter method was the easiest as long as you put paintable sikaflex under the alum patches there isn't a problem except for the looks but my old van was a 1969 model so wasnt that pedantic about looks
just wanted a van that was water proof and usable
cheers hope this imfo is of use
AnswerID: 493417

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