Replacing skin screws with rivets?

Converting Cargo Trailers into TTTs

Replacing skin screws with rivets?

Postby rebar » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:46 pm

I'm looking at buying a enclosed trailer with screwed on siding/skin. Can I unscrew each screw and drill to 1/8"- 3/16" and replace with a water proof pop rivet? I'm imagining the answer is"Yes", but just checking..

Thanks!
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Re: Replacing skin screws with rivets?

Postby aggie79 » Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:44 pm

Can't see why not. Instead of the off-the-shelf standard rivet, I would probably used a stainless steel, closed end, structural rivet (to handle the vibration and for better weather-sealing.) It would be a ton of work though.
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Re: Replacing skin screws with rivets?

Postby Woodbutcher » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:03 pm

I guess my first question would be why would you want to do this? Second, I believe you want Buck rivets, like Airstream uses. They have a solid head and require a second person on the inside, but they are water tight.
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Re: Replacing skin screws with rivets?

Postby hankaye » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:35 pm

rebar, Howdy;

I'll be the first to tell ya that SS rivets are a bear to install no matter which type you use
the solids are the worst. They take special tools and a good anount of practice to learn
how to do properly. Also, they are extremely difficult to remove when you screw one up
on install or for repair work. The rivets Airstream use are aluminum aircraft grade. I've
installed several thousand in my time working on the Navy's aircraft.
POP rivets will leak after a short while unless you dip them in some sort of sealant right
before installing them, messy gawd-awful mess ensues, spend the next 3 weeks cleaning up
the messes inside and out. I can think of more fun things to do ...

The screws used for assembly of your trailer are just fine for their intent and purpose.
I mean, take a look at a 20 year old CT and they generally have the same screws in them
that were there when it rolled off the assembly line. If it ain't broke it don't need fixed ...

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Re: Replacing skin screws with rivets?

Postby rebar » Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:11 pm

Thanks.

When I looked at the trailer, I noticed many of the screws were different and the owner explained they continue to unscrew and fall out.. This isn't the first time Iv heard of this and I wouldn't be considering such a hunk of junk if it wasn't a narrow track model. 7' wide with wheels under and inside wheel wheels, not fenders.
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Re: Replacing skin screws with rivets?

Postby Iconfabul8 » Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:24 am

A little red loctite might do the trick.
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Re: Replacing skin screws with rivets?

Postby cantsitstill » Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:33 pm

Ive had good luck with removing screws-dab with RTV and run back in.


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Re: Replacing skin screws with rivets?

Postby hankaye » Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:24 pm

rebar, Howdy;

you can always upgrade to the next size screws with the addition of some RED Locktite
or if you have access to their backside use some nylock nuts with washers on some regular 10-32 screws. Will
take 2 folks most of the time but consider it family time...

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Re: Replacing skin screws with rivets?

Postby GuitarPhotog » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:51 pm

cantsitstill wrote:Ive had good luck with removing screws-dab with RTV and run back in.


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RTV is not a good thing to use on a trailer. It will fail, and when it fails, you will have the devil's own time removing it do the job over.

Better to use a polyurethane caulk like Sikaflex or Trempro 630.

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Re: Replacing skin screws with rivets?

Postby rebar » Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:06 pm

GuitarPhotog wrote:RTV is not a good thing to use on a trailer. It will fail, and when it fails, you will have the devil's own time removing it do the job over.

Better to use a polyurethane caulk like Sikaflex or Trempro 630.

Search here for confirmation

<Chas>


Iv heard good things about those two GuitarPhotog. I liked proflex and butyl.

I made the guy a offer, so we will see. More than likely, I will be the proud owner of a crappy trailer here pretty soon..
Last edited by rebar on Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Replacing skin screws with rivets?

Postby dmdc411 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:09 pm

If you use red Locktite, it's permanent! I'd use the blue stuff, or a polyurethane sealant. At least if you need to remove them, you should be able to. Other question, why not buck them? If you know how, that's half the battle. Spent 23 years in aviation. I buck any rivet I have access to. And install a stainless screw with self locking nut if it's a higher strength area. I do have the aviation tools, so that is a benefit! Thanks NwA!@#$.
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Re: Replacing skin screws with rivets?

Postby Iconfabul8 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:40 am

dmdc411 wrote:If you use red Loctite, it's permanent! I'd use the blue stuff, or a polyurethane sealant. At least if you need to remove them, you should be able to. Other question, why not buck them? If you know how, that's half the battle. Spent 23 years in aviation. I buck any rivet I have access to. And install a stainless screw with self locking nut if it's a higher strength area. I do have the aviation tools, so that is a benefit! Thanks NwA!@#$.

I doubt that red loctite would be permanent on a screw going through thin wall tubing. Not a lot of surface area to glue to. But even if it was, isn't that the idea? You were after all, comparing to rivets, which are a whole lot more permanent than glued screws.
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Re: Replacing skin screws with rivets?

Postby hankaye » Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:41 am

dmdc411, Howdy;

dmdc411 wrote:If you use red Locktite, it's permanent! I'd use the blue stuff, or a polyurethane sealant. At least if you need to remove them, you should be able to. Other question, why not buck them? If you know how, that's half the battle. Spent 23 years in aviation. I buck any rivet I have access to. And install a stainless screw with self locking nut if it's a higher strength area. I do have the aviation tools, so that is a benefit! Thanks NwA!@#$.


Ok, ... we both have about the same amount of time working on aircraft. How long did it take you to
become proficient at bucking rivets? Who will be on the other side of the wall? How much experience
do they have bucking rivets? I know I had a lot of re-dos when I first started out don't think the OP
wants to spend the bucks to buy the equipment only to become frustrated and loose interest in his
project then end up with an attitude towards his trailer. Building these is supposed to be fun or at
the least enjoyable why introduce an unnecessary expense that can lead to frustration when there are
other ways to accomplish the same goal.

hank
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Re: Replacing skin screws with rivets?

Postby McDave » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:01 pm

rebar wrote:I made the guy a offer, so we will see. More than likely, I will be the proud owner of a crappy trailer here pretty soon..


:applause:
Many a great story begins just like this. ... ;) ...

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Re: Replacing skin screws with rivets?

Postby hankaye » Fri Feb 02, 2018 6:09 pm

rebar, Howdy;

Don't forget to post a pic or 2 along the journey, 1 or 2 of the "Diamond in the rough"
to start with would be nice.

hank
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