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RaySowers

Using Rivets on Motorhome

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sI am new to the RV life and I have a question about using rivets to attach items to the outer shell of the motorhome. Can this be done and is it the proper way to mount an item on the outside? I know that drilling holes and using screws is the standard way but I have not seen any information about using rivets.

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The standard answer to that is It depends. How thick is the outer skin, what it is made of,  how heavy what you want to attack is, What the load will be. So it depends.😉

Bill

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What's the skin of your rig made from? What are you trying to mount?

If the skin is aluminum, then probably yes. If it's fiberglass or some other similar material, then I'd bet you're better off screwing through the skin and into something structural.

My whole coach was built from aluminum sheets riveted together, so it's possible.

Also, there are many different kinds of rivets for many different uses. Many of them will not provide a water tight seal, which could lead to water infiltration into your RV.

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Fiberglass skin and metal rivets? If it were my RV I'd pass on that option. I believe that there are some type of plastic rivets, but assume that their weight limits are fairly low.

What exactly are you trying to mount to the exterior skin of your rig?

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Drilling a hole and using Molly bolts is an option, if there is no other structural layer behind.  Before any type of fastener is used thru the fiberglass, be mindful of water plumbing and electric lines!  

IMHO, I would call the Manufacturer and talk with a Tech!

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On a fiberglass coach, I would recommend using rivets for several reasons. #1 is the fact that the compression of a pop rivet probably cause a splintering effect of the fiberglass #2 is the weeping effect of a pop rivet, when the stem is pulled backward there is only compression and no sealant to keep the water out of the walls. If you are going to add something to a wall, you will need to make sure that that area is adequately backed to support the weight of the item that you are adding, there are locations that are designed to support add ons, such as the awning but you should make sure that those are in place in your coach, and if using those places I recommend a sealant be used along with the attaching screws. Somethings added on such as placards or light weight items can easily be added with a good adhesive rather than puncturing the fiberglass skin.

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38 minutes ago, kaypsmith said:

On a fiberglass coach, I would recommend using rivets for several reasons. #1 is the fact that the compression of a pop rivet probably cause a splintering effect of the fiberglass #2 is the weeping effect of a pop rivet, when the stem is pulled backward there is only compression and no sealant to keep the water out of the walls. If you are going to add something to a wall, you will need to make sure that that area is adequately backed to support the weight of the item that you are adding, there are locations that are designed to support add ons, such as the awning but you should make sure that those are in place in your coach, and if using those places I recommend a sealant be used along with the attaching screws. Somethings added on such as placards or light weight items can easily be added with a good adhesive rather than puncturing the fiberglass skin.

I suspect you meant to say I wouldn't recommend; and I completely agree.

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Thanks for the feedback. I was hesitant to use rivets but could not find any information on the subject. I was planning to mount some hardware to support a detachable antenna. It is is not heavy but be subject to wind forces. The manufacturer recommends the use of rivets but that made me very nervous. If I decide to proceed I will use sealent and screws. I will also touch base with Winnebago about the project the see if it is feasible.

Ray

 

 

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Ray.

We have a WiFi antenna, 16' pole that separate into 2, 8' sections for travel.  When in use, we use 3 bungee cords wrapped around the rear ladder.  Holds pole in place and wind has not been an issue!  Unless you plan on keeping the coach until you die or it dies, permanent brackets may not be what the next owner wants!

Just a thought.

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I would if I could but I do not have a ladder on my coach and one cannot be added without a major overhaul - Winnebago consultation. So, I have been looking at alternatives. Thanks for the suggestion.

 

 

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If you're looking to mount an antenna for use while stationary, then maybe you should consider suction cups. They have a system which is used to mount the vertical generator exhausts that uses a few of these suction cups. There is also a flag pole system which was on display at the rally in Gillette, and I believe that it also uses suction cups. In fact, I remember the guy telling me that some ham radio operators use their flag pole system as the base for creating an antenna system.

Of course, if the antenna is for use while on the road, none of this applies.

Still don't know which model RV you have, or even if it's a class a or class c. However, If you have a class c you might have a piece of steel roof exposed which can also be used to mount an antenna.

 

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Richard5933 - I didn't think it was necessary to state the make and class of my RV since I was in the Motorhome Class A section of the forum. One could assume I had a Class A.

But, I will - I have a Class A motorhome - Winnebago - Vista.

At any rate, thank you for your advice and assistance. I appreciate it. 

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Knowing the make/model really helps us try and focus our replies to your specific situation. There are so many rigs that fall in the class A category, ranging from bus conversions to the GMC motor homes made decades ago. Not everyone has a modern "normal" motor home. Some have wood framing under fiberglass skins, some metal, and some have limited or no framing at all. Knowing what you're working on is important.

I'm not sure about others, but I read posts on the FMCA forum on a smartphone, using a format that shows me only my "unread" posts. I don't go forum by forum, so it's easy to miss which specific forum you posted in. I apologize for not noticing which forum you posted in.

 

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Ray, if you add your coach information to your signature (look at some of the others as an example) you don't have to remember to add it when asking questions. You get better answers faster.

Bill

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Make up a plate out of aluminium or stainless larger than base of antenna that you can epoxy and rivet to body  as a base to mount to 

and spread the load   

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There is also two types of flagpole systems that work well for antenna mounts while parked. I use a receiver mount, slides right into the receiver hitch and I use a 20 foot extendable flagpole to attach my portable antenna. There is also a neat unit that has a flat plate with the pole mount welded to it, you simply place the plate just under a tire and drive the coach onto the plate, I've seen several of these in use. Thanks Ray for pointing out my mistake about the rivets, I meant to go back and make the correction.

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Since there are 4 different lengths and floor plans, it would really help to know what yours is.  Due to the awning and compartments, on the passenger side, your only choice would be on the driver side, unless you have the full wall slide.  Then you only have the rear to work with!

Until we know what you got....

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