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Old 06-15-2021, 10:10 PM   #1
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Alternative fasteners

About to replace the other two vent fans and am trying to think of an alternative screw/fastener type system to use when screwing the fans down. The current method is screws that self tap thru the fiberglass... works but I am not a fan. I am sure that the sealant between the fan and the roof is what really keep it on.

Any suggestions?
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Old 06-15-2021, 11:26 PM   #2
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You're right to be wary of self-tappers in fiberglass. They drill a proper hole for metal. For fiberglass, they drill too big of a hole.

Just use SS sheet metal screws and pre-drill a very-small-diameter pilot hole.
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Old 06-15-2021, 11:34 PM   #3
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If the fans are in factory made openings, it shouldn’t just be fiberglass. There should be a metal frame around the opening as well, and that is what your screws will go into.
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Old 06-16-2021, 12:01 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryStone View Post
If the fans are in factory made openings, it shouldn’t just be fiberglass. There should be a metal frame around the opening as well, and that is what your screws will go into.
When I replaced the standard roof vents on our 2016 Minnie Winnie the original vent bodies were indeed held in place with butyl sealant and no screws. in addition, there was no metal framing in the vent opening, just fiberglass adhered to thin plywood.

When screwing down the new vents I carefully selected a drill bit that was the same size as the inner shaft of the screw but still allowed the threads exposed enough to "bite" into the fiberglass. That and the butyl sealant have worked just fine for going on three years.
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Old 06-16-2021, 08:16 AM   #5
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My ladder was mangled when I go my current motor home. I took it off, straightened it pretty well than started on the holes. I drilled 1/2" holes and cut short sections of 1/2" dowels, drilled a hole in the center for #12 screw. I used a generous shot of Gorilla glue to hold them in. Best ladder on any motor home I've had. I did the same for a main awning mount that was dangling.

I had window awning strap hooks and other lighter items on the sides that were loose. For those I used toothpicks cut in half, as many as I could stuff in the hole. Put the thick ends in the hole first, lots of Gorilla Glue. The screw starts easily but spreads the tooth picks, especially the big ends. The Gorilla Glue foams and makes a decent plug to pull against.

Tooth picks would work on your vents.
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Old 06-16-2021, 10:32 AM   #6
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Sometimes there are leftover holes in the FG skin that are too big for a decent size screw. I have encountered this a dozen times on our old rig, where the previous owner(s) committed the usual amateur crime of overtightening a fastener. I agree that there are no perfect threaded fasteners for Fiberglas skin.
Then I found these “well nuts” on Amazon. While they might require me to drill the hole out a bit more, at least they don’t chew up the skin and make the situation worse. Since they leave about a 1/64-inch gap, a strip of Dicor or similar sealant is recommended.
I had to replace the hold-open latch for the side door on our MH. The original screws were so loose that the entire latch and holder would separate in high wind. No problems at all since installing the well nuts.
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Old 06-16-2021, 10:40 AM   #7
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You might try RivNuts but I don't think the thin wall ones will work in fiberglass, the shouldered ones will. They also have one that works like a molly bolt that may be the best for fiberglass. https://www.rivetnutusa.com/rivnut-rivet-nut/


Good luck.
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Old 06-16-2021, 12:01 PM   #8
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Thanks for the great suggestions. Seeing as there is no metal frame under my fan, I will be seeking some of these fasteners. If there was a metal frame, which I knew wasn't there, I would have used SS self tapping sheet metal screws...
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Old 06-16-2021, 12:15 PM   #9
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Sorry, I guess Winnebago does things differently.
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Old 06-16-2021, 03:27 PM   #10
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I am a fan of Riv-Nuts in sheet and plate metal, but not in fiberglass. I'd use well nuts, as someone above suggested. They're kind to the fiberglass and make a waterproof seal.
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Old 06-16-2021, 04:01 PM   #11
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Self "piercing " screws with sealing washers. These are used for vents/flashing in metal buildings just to sheet metal. You would want a drilled hole in FG.
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