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Old 11-24-2019, 04:02 PM   #1
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Rivet Confusion

About to start my 14"roof raise on Thanksgiving break from work. I've got the 18ga sheet for the skin, the 14 ga hat channel made, but these dang rivets are quickly becoming the thorn in my side. I have searched quite extensively and learned more about rivets than I care to know, but I have a couple problems I can't find acceptable answers to. I have carefully ground down several rivets in different areas of the bus (2000 Bluebird rear engine) and removed them.

1 - I have read that these are 3/16 rivets. A 3/16 rivet fits very loosely in the holes I removed the original rivets from. A 1/4 rivet will not fit. I have learned that rivet diameter and hole diameter are very important, there should be barely enough room to get the rivet in. Will the 3/16 hold safely in an enlarged hole or do I have to drill all the holes to 1/4 and use 1/4 rivets?

2 - Also, how important is the rivet grip range? There are several different layers that are riveted in different areas of the bus resulting in quite a few different grip ranges. There are no interference issues so can I just get a bunch of the longest I need and draw them down in the areas that are a little thinner?

I was planning on using 3/16 closed end stainless steel rivets. Any help or advice from others that have been through a roof raise and/or encountered this rivet confusion would be appreciated. I have to order rivets in the morning.

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 11-24-2019, 04:14 PM   #2
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Are you drilling through to remove the old rivets and thus widening the hole? Use a bit a couple sizes bigger then the rivet and only drill till the head pops off, this way should not effect the holes. SS rivets are going to be harder to "crimp" than others. Grip length shouldn't be too much more than needed, but always enough to crimp properly.
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Old 11-24-2019, 04:16 PM   #3
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You want the hole to be slightly larger than the rivet, ~3% or so, so for example a 1/4 rivet would need a hole about .257 (an "F" drill bit). You need to measure your actual rivets, though, before drilling the holes. I ordered a couple hundred 1/4" rivets and a pack of F bits for drilling the holes, but the rivets all turned out to be .26 in diameter so all those bits were useless.

If you have calipers, measure the original holes and see if they are definitely too big for your 3/16" rivets. If they are, then you'll have to ream out the holes to fit the 1/4" rivets.

Also, keep in mind that the rivets will almost certainly not be waterproof, so you'll want to put them in "wet" (with seam sealer or something around the hole before you run the rivet in). I don't know if people generally do this or not with roof raises (sometimes people use butyl tape between the seams), but all the riveting I've done on my bus has required it to be waterproof.
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Old 11-24-2019, 04:56 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
Are you drilling through to remove the old rivets and thus widening the hole? Use a bit a couple sizes bigger then the rivet and only drill till the head pops off, this way should not effect the holes. SS rivets are going to be harder to "crimp" than others. Grip length shouldn't be too much more than needed, but always enough to crimp properly.
Didn't drill them, ground the heads down to the point I could drive them out with a punch. I can only guess that the bucking process of the original rivet and 150k miles of driving may have contributed to the hole size.
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Old 11-24-2019, 05:02 PM   #5
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You want the hole to be slightly larger than the rivet, ~3% or so, so for example a 1/4 rivet would need a hole about .257 (an "F" drill bit). You need to measure your actual rivets, though, before drilling the holes. I ordered a couple hundred 1/4" rivets and a pack of F bits for drilling the holes, but the rivets all turned out to be .26 in diameter so all those bits were useless.

If you have calipers, measure the original holes and see if they are definitely too big for your 3/16" rivets. If they are, then you'll have to ream out the holes to fit the 1/4" rivets.

Also, keep in mind that the rivets will almost certainly not be waterproof, so you'll want to put them in "wet" (with seam sealer or something around the hole before you run the rivet in). I don't know if people generally do this or not with roof raises (sometimes people use butyl tape between the seams), but all the riveting I've done on my bus has required it to be waterproof.
The rivets I was going to use say .192-.196 hole size and the holes are about .205-.210. I put a 3/16 rivet in and it pulled tight and popped properly but I don't know if it would hold long term. I saw a rivet supplier that showed using proper sized washers as a suitable solution but sounds sketchy to me.
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Old 11-24-2019, 05:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bridg73988 View Post
The rivets I was going to use say .192-.196 hole size and the holes are about .205-.210. I put a 3/16 rivet in and it pulled tight and popped properly but I don't know if it would hold long term. I saw a rivet supplier that showed using proper sized washers as a suitable solution but sounds sketchy to me.
Not sketchy at all, they are called rivet backers. When I drill out old rivets, I keep the head to use as a backer if needed.
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Old 11-24-2019, 05:58 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by bridg73988 View Post
The rivets I was going to use say .192-.196 hole size and the holes are about .205-.210. I put a 3/16 rivet in and it pulled tight and popped properly but I don't know if it would hold long term. I saw a rivet supplier that showed using proper sized washers as a suitable solution but sounds sketchy to me.
1/4" rivets are kind of a pain (especially if you have to re-drill a ton of holes) and a lot more expensive than 3/16". I'd go with the washers if it lets you stick with 3/16".
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Old 11-24-2019, 06:41 PM   #8
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Most of the rivets on bus skins are 3/16.
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Old 11-24-2019, 06:59 PM   #9
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Not sketchy at all, they are called rivet backers. When I drill out old rivets, I keep the head to use as a backer if needed.
I didn't think of trying to save rivet heads to use as backers. I bought backers along with my rivets.

Grip range is the range of thickness of material that the rivet can be used. I bought all one grip range. Some of the rivet locations are only 2x 18 gauge metal. The rivets that I bought would not hold properly on that thin metal so I used backers to make it thick enough for the rivet to hold properly.

BTW: I bought too many 3/16" stainless steel closed rivets. Need some?
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Old 11-24-2019, 08:08 PM   #10
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Not sketchy at all, they are called rivet backers. When I drill out old rivets, I keep the head to use as a backer if needed.
That's a good idea!

(Having moved from CO to OH, I had to triage my near 20 years of 'stash'
I left a lot of good hardware behind for the new house owner...)
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Old 11-24-2019, 09:56 PM   #11
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Drill size

I recently just did most of my riveting and discovered that the manufacturer recommended a #11 drill bit for their 3/16in closed end stainless steel rivets. Seemed to work pretty well.

The only problem I have now is that I couldn't break the mandrels off. The problem is one of the following:
1. The hand tool is defective
2. I am too weak to use it properly
3. You need a pneumatic rivet gun for these rivets
Thoughts?
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Old 11-24-2019, 09:57 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the replies! I believe I'm going with the 3/16 rivets a little longer than the longest needed and maybe one other shorter size and use backing washers.
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Old 11-24-2019, 09:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDanger View Post
I recently just did most of my riveting and discovered that the manufacturer recommended a #11 drill bit for their 3/16in closed end stainless steel rivets. Seemed to work pretty well.

The only problem I have now is that I couldn't break the mandrels off. The problem is one of the following:
1. The hand tool is defective
2. I am too weak to use it properly
3. You need a pneumatic rivet gun for these rivets
Thoughts?
I have the HF pneumatic riveter that quite a few people have said works pretty well for the 3/16 stainless rivets.
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Old 11-24-2019, 10:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDanger View Post
I recently just did most of my riveting and discovered that the manufacturer recommended a #11 drill bit for their 3/16in closed end stainless steel rivets. Seemed to work pretty well.

The only problem I have now is that I couldn't break the mandrels off. The problem is one of the following:
1. The hand tool is defective
2. I am too weak to use it properly
3. You need a pneumatic rivet gun for these rivets
Thoughts?
You need a pneumatic rivet gun. I was able to do aluminum 3/16" rivets with my hand tool so I thought I could do the same with the stainless - no way. I'll second the Harbor Freight recommendation, mine (the 1/4" variety) has worked well, although it's the second one since the first was defective.
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Old 11-24-2019, 10:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDanger View Post
I recently just did most of my riveting and discovered that the manufacturer recommended a #11 drill bit for their 3/16in closed end stainless steel rivets. Seemed to work pretty well.

The only problem I have now is that I couldn't break the mandrels off. The problem is one of the following:
1. The hand tool is defective
2. I am too weak to use it properly
3. You need a pneumatic rivet gun for these rivets
Thoughts?
post a pic or link of the tool you're using.

Solid core rivets are usually quite a bit more muscle to pull than hollow core 'pop rivets'. Cherry-max are harder still...
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Old 11-26-2019, 10:46 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by banman View Post
post a pic or link of the tool you're using.

Solid core rivets are usually quite a bit more muscle to pull than hollow core 'pop rivets'. Cherry-max are harder still...

It is a swivel head Craftsman similar to this one (attached)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg arrow-fastener-rivet-tools-rht300-64_1000.jpg (67.1 KB, 11 views)
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Old 11-26-2019, 10:53 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDanger View Post
It is a swivel head Craftsman similar to this one (attached)
This style will give you more leverage -- I'm getting to where I have to work smarter 'cause I'm not capable of working harder -- I get hurt!

https://www.amazon.com/Astro-1423-13...E4FY2QKNZ6X7BQ
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Old 11-27-2019, 03:11 AM   #18
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The riverter banman linked ratchets mandrels really well. Pneumatic riveters are nice to have but not necessary for 3/16" stainless.
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Old 11-27-2019, 06:06 AM   #19
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The rivet tool Banman posted is a manual rivit tool. The brand name is Pneumatic.
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Old 11-27-2019, 12:43 PM   #20
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Quote:
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post a pic or link of the tool you're using.

Solid core rivets are usually quite a bit more muscle to pull than hollow core 'pop rivets'. Cherry-max are harder still...
Elaborate on these pulled solid rivets?
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