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Old 01-05-2020, 08:57 PM   #1
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Weld or Rivet Window Skin?

Iím removing windows, re skinning with 18ga and installing RV windows... how are successful (no leaks of air or water) conversions doing it?

Re-rivet?
Tack welds along remaining columns to keep from adding any more holes than necessary?

I lean to welding but wonder if anyone has a strong opinion on the matter?

Working my way forward from the back (master bedroom area getting skinned on one side and a single escape RV window on the other.) The skins are 80.5Ē long to delete three windows at a time. Iím not sure how exactly Iíll handle the seams as I move forward with the next area... either rivets (like the piece that used to be there between each window) or fully butt weld and grind smooth (this may be hard to imagine without posting pictures but hopefully it makes sense??)

Thank you!
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Old 01-05-2020, 09:01 PM   #2
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I considered this during my build. To lessen the amount of rivets in the panels, the panels can be tack welded from inside through the old rivet holes in the hat channel. It would be more structural than any other method.
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Old 01-05-2020, 10:28 PM   #3
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When I skin over my rear windows I will cut the panels to size then prep and paint them. Then rivet them on using closed end rivet and seam sealer to seal the panel.

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Old 01-05-2020, 11:53 PM   #4
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When I skin over my rear windows I will cut the panels to size then prep and paint them. Then rivet them on using closed end rivet and seam sealer to seal the panel.

Ted
That is what I did and I am quite happy with the results.

One note: Stainless Steel rivets not aluminum.
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Old 01-06-2020, 08:36 AM   #5
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How big sections did you all do? One window at a time or 2-3 at once?

Also is 18 gauge thick enough? I see lots of stores stock 16 gauge but it seems like 18 isn't very common.
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Old 01-06-2020, 09:14 AM   #6
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How big sections did you all do? One window at a time or 2-3 at once?

Also is 18 gauge thick enough? I see lots of stores stock 16 gauge but it seems like 18 isn't very common.
That is exactly what I did.. Two or three windows at a time using 18 gauge secured using SS closed end rivets and seam sealer.

I have been working inside of the bus during a pretty good storm. Rain in sheets pretty much raining sideways. Wind 30+mph and gusting to 50.

Not a drop of water in the bus except for what came in around the bottom of the service door. Ithere is a 3/16" gap at the base of the door that I need to address.
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Old 01-06-2020, 09:15 AM   #7
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That is what I did and I am quite happy with the results.

One note: Stainless Steel rivets not aluminum.
Yes use stainless rivets. Aluminum and plain steel together will corrode.

I would do as large of a panel that can be reasonably handled. There would be fewer seams that way and a smoother appearance.

Ted
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Old 01-06-2020, 09:28 AM   #8
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Yes use stainless rivets. Aluminum and plain steel together will corrode.

I would do as large of a panel that can be reasonably handled. There would be fewer seams that way and a smoother appearance.

Ted
Someone had used aluminum rivets on some interior repairs on my bus. They were easy to tell from the steel rivets. When I hit the steel rivets with the air chisel the heads kind of "pealed" off. The aluminum rivets "smeared" leaving a white pasty residue.

I sized my panels to be the largest that I could handle by myself. That turned out to be three windows.
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Old 01-06-2020, 09:46 AM   #9
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Those who used rivets, did you go back through the existing holes or make new? 3/16 or 1/4?

Iíve loosened the top of the rub rail so that the skin will go behind rather than on top to eliminate any induced angle (what little there would be) and I plan to stuff the top underneath my rain guards (mine are not individual per window but run the length of the bus).

Not sure how thatíll go! Those who handled sheets this long by themselves, did you use any tools to hold them in place or??

Also, any recommended readings on framing for RV windows?
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Old 01-06-2020, 10:00 AM   #10
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I used the existing holes in the hat channel where I could and drilled new where needed.

My rivet supplier recommended a maximum hole size for 3/16" rivets. I picked up a drill bit of the appropriate diameter and used it as a "go/no-go" gauge. If it would fit in the existing hole then I would step up to 1/4" rivets. If the existing hole was small enough that the bit didn't fit I stuck with 3/16" rivets.
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Old 01-06-2020, 01:51 PM   #11
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How big sections did you all do? One window at a time or 2-3 at once?

Also is 18 gauge thick enough? I see lots of stores stock 16 gauge but it seems like 18 isn't very common.
18 ga is, IMO, perfect. 16 is much too heavy and more of a pain in the arse to work with.
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Old 01-06-2020, 04:07 PM   #12
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Those who handled sheets this long by themselves, did you use any tools to hold them in place or??
You want some clecos and a pair of cleco pliers: https://www.amazon.com/Boulderfly-Cl.../dp/B008PJYUTA

These are a must-have for riveting work, IMHO. You won't need the side clamps for putting up your siding (ironically), but they're handy little gadgets to have for other tasks.

(You don't need a full kit like what I linked, just for info. You just need the pliers and enough clecos of the same size as the rivets you're using. It doesn't hurt to have a lot of clecos.)
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Old 01-06-2020, 04:47 PM   #13
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we used 3/16 carriage bolts and sealed all seams as i did not want a blind rivet hole let water inside the wall. they look just like the original rivets on the outside
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Old 01-06-2020, 06:38 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
You want some clecos and a pair of cleco pliers: https://www.amazon.com/Boulderfly-Cl.../dp/B008PJYUTA

These are a must-have for riveting work, IMHO. You won't need the side clamps for putting up your siding (ironically), but they're handy little gadgets to have for other tasks.

(You don't need a full kit like what I linked, just for info. You just need the pliers and enough clecos of the same size as the rivets you're using. It doesn't hurt to have a lot of clecos.)
Oi! Clecos would have been useful when covering escape hatch and adding a new one in new location!

I did, however, employ EastCoasts ratchet straps across the top when getting the steel in place over the old holes haha

I had not considered carriage bolts... did you Loctite the nuts Or anything? Gone down the road with them yet?
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Old 01-06-2020, 06:39 PM   #15
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Not HIS ratchet straps of course ... lol
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Old 01-07-2020, 04:14 AM   #16
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I used stainless steel screws. Covered 2 windows at a time with 20 ga galvanealed steel. Also used lots of seam sealer.
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Old 01-07-2020, 07:31 PM   #17
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on my BB I welded individual panels in each window, in a do over would I think longer sheets would be better but harder to blend in, especially since every window has it's own eyebrow, other systems looks better when blocking windows with their continuous eyebrow. I think on long sheets rivets are a better way because of twisting which will eventually pop some welds loose, whats the factory do, rivets. I think about when you ride in the bed of a pick up truck, don't put your hands in between the cab and bed or you'll get your fingers smashed....so much movement!
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Old 01-07-2020, 07:52 PM   #18
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on my BB I welded individual panels in each window, in a do over would I think longer sheets would be better but harder to blend in, especially since every window has it's own eyebrow, other systems looks better when blocking windows with their continuous eyebrow. I think on long sheets rivets are a better way because of twisting which will eventually pop some welds loose, whats the factory do, rivets. I think about when you ride in the bed of a pick up truck, don't put your hands in between the cab and bed or you'll get your fingers smashed....so much movement!
If the welds are popping loose they're not good welds man.
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Old 01-11-2020, 01:09 PM   #19
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I used the existing holes in the hat channel where I could and drilled new where needed.

My rivet supplier recommended a maximum hole size for 3/16" rivets. I picked up a drill bit of the appropriate diameter and used it as a "go/no-go" gauge. If it would fit in the existing hole then I would step up to 1/4" rivets. If the existing hole was small enough that the bit didn't fit I stuck with 3/16" rivets.
So you ended up with an ad-hoc mixture of 3/16" and 1/4"? Did that lead to any visual uniqueness, or are the heads sufficiently close in diameter to each other that it worked out?
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Old 01-11-2020, 03:51 PM   #20
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So you ended up with an ad-hoc mixture of 3/16" and 1/4"? Did that lead to any visual uniqueness, or are the heads sufficiently close in diameter to each other that it worked out?
i cannot pick out the difference from ten feet away.
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