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Old 10-28-2015, 01:09 AM   #1
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How To Repair Rusted Attach Points

After maintaining our 11.5 stick campers for the last 45 years we now have a '93 Flair MH. I'm used to screws and wood, but this thing is a rectangular steel frame with pop rivets and some screws. A couple of the pop rivets are gone leaving holes and some of the screws will no longer hold. I'm assuming this is because of corrosion (rust). I can't see any way to replace the metal. Has anyone here figured out a way to deal with this? I tried larger screws without success. I'm thinking perhaps a dab of some epoxy metal repair goo in the hole, or?

Thanks,

Steve
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Old 10-28-2015, 07:22 AM   #2
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For pop rivets either go larger or use an appropriate pop-rivet washer on the backside. For sheet metal screws go larger or replace with nuts and bolts or use a piece of scrap tin on the other side to screw the sheet metal screw into. Do not expect the epoxy hole fillers to hold up to having sheet metal screws screwed through them. BTW do you live in the rust belt and are attaching two dissimilar metals together such as aluminum to steel? If so you have future corrosion issues to deal with as well.

Steve
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Old 10-28-2015, 11:58 AM   #3
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The rectangular steel is the MH frame and is sandwiched between the inner and outer walls so there is no way I can see to use either washers or nuts, unless I drill all the way through the steel which would then expose the other side to moisture or the interior wall. I may do that with the front wheel well trim, debating with myself about it. If I could get to it I would just weld some new steel in there and be done with it.
We are in OR where very little if any salt is used on the roads, it's mostly volcanic cinders with an occasional rock that can destroy a windshield when thrown by the vehicle ahead.
Will avoid galvanic corrosion, thanks for mentioning it.
At one point in my life in the 60s I worked in a paper mill as a millwright and we used something called "metalset epoxy", which was designed fill and repair metal, it could even be machined, drilled, threaded, etc. (so they said). I've seen similar products in automotive stores. That's what I was thinking about using.
Specifically, the pop rivets are in the rear end cap trim and the screws are in the lower rear part of the front wheel well trim.
I'm also thinking of replacing the rubber roof when the weather gets warm again, and all the trim around it is attached with pop rivets. I kind of liked screws, they seemed so much simpler and easier to work with.

Thanks for your help.

Steve
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Old 10-28-2015, 12:10 PM   #4
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If you decide to try the epoxy, Fastenal sells a product called Lab Metal that can be drilled and tapped. The problem I see is getting it in where you need without filling the void as it is not cheap stuff.
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Old 10-28-2015, 12:19 PM   #5
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That's the sort of stuff I was thinking about, think it would work? The problem you see is the same one I was thinking about. I would have to somehow push it through the outer skin hole and hope it would stick to the metal. It wouldn't be easy and would require a significant amount of luck. I think I'll go up another size or two first.

Thanks for your help.

Steve
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Old 10-29-2015, 08:57 AM   #6
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Unfortunately, for just about any adhesive to bond it needs a clean surface and ideally for your purposes it'd need to be spread evenly for a short distance around the original hole and also be an adequate thickness. If you can't get to the backside of the original hole with a washer than how will you be able to apply the adhesive properly? I'm not trying to be a naysayer here but that's the realities it looks like you're facing.

FWIW, if it works I'd sure like to see what you did just in case I need to do it someday.

Steve
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Old 10-29-2015, 11:35 AM   #7
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I would agree 100% with your assessment of using the metal repair stuff. It's a difficult situation, at least any way I've looked at it. I just thought someone here could have ran into the same problem and would have a "magic" solution.


I'll let you know what I do and how it works, but it may be a while because at this point everything from the engine forward is out, all wheels will come off to check bearings/brakes, there is a fridge that doesn't work, and miscellaneous other items to be taken care of, so that when Summer comes we can go wherever we want to without too much worry.


Also, I always carry tools when we travel and there have been a few times when they were needed, but IMHO, maintenance is the key.

Thanks to everyone for your help.

Steve
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Old 10-29-2015, 11:59 AM   #8
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One last thing, maybe if worse comes to worse you can use some of those push-through anchor bolts that are used with drywall and thin boards. You push them through the hole and as you tighten them arms open up inside and grip the inside wall. Sort of hokey I know but if it's not under too much stress it could work.

Steve
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Old 10-29-2015, 12:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geocritter View Post
One last thing, maybe if worse comes to worse you can use some of those push-through anchor bolts that are used with drywall and thin boards. You push them through the hole and as you tighten them arms open up inside and grip the inside wall. Sort of hokey I know but if it's not under too much stress it could work.

Steve
Good answer! I think the plastic inserts or smaller Molly screws will work ok in this case.
(23 year old MH)
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Old 10-30-2015, 11:51 AM   #10
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Dix,

Would it be possible to just move over and replace the missing or failed fasteners in kind?? I can assure that the original locations were not the result of any engineering study and were probably placed for the assembler's convenience.

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Old 10-30-2015, 08:59 PM   #11
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I'll keep push through anchor bolts, plastic inserts and Molly screws in mind, I too think they're good ideas and appreciate the posts. New holes will probably work for the rivets, but the wheel well skirt holes are molded in the plastic. Many thanks you guys, I think you've given me enough ideas to whup this thing.


Steve
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