In the unlikely event that you should need to replace rivets in your Airstream travel trailer, Airstream Supply Co. offers a variety of options. But it can be confusing figuring out which rivet you need for the job. With that in mind, we've created this handy guide to rivets.
In general, trim rivets are the first to wear. Once one trim rivet loosens, vibrations can c cause the other trim rivets to start shaking loose. Attending to trim rivet issues promptly can save a lot of time in the long run. A basic rivet gun and closed-end POP rivets are all you need to do the job.
Different than a buck rivet, a POP (or blind) rivet requires the use of a special POP Rivet Handgun to install. Each blind rivet has three parts – a shell that's inserted into the hole, the rounded-flat head, and the mandrel (a long stem that's pulled by the POP rivet gun in order to collapse the rivet).
For rivets you purchase from Airstream Supply Company, a unique coding system identifies the rivet material and size. Example:
All Airstream rivet codes begin with AD to signify they are Aluminum (A) and Dimple (D).
The two numerical digits 43 identify the shell diameter (4 = 4/32") and the grip range (3 = 3/32")
Finally, the last three letters ABS identify the material used in the shell (the cylindrical part of the rivet that's inserted into the hole) and the stem (the mandrel that is pulled out to collapse the rivet). The B in this code tells us it's a blind rivet, and the A tells us the shell is aluminum, and the S tells us the mandrel is made of steel.
You'll need to measure two things: The diameter of the hole where you'll place the rivet (shell diameter), and the thickness of the material to be riveted (the grip range). Once you've measured, refer to the section above and determine the correct rivet code for your job.