how does one go about tighteng up frame rivets without flattening out the rivet heads? the rivets really arent loose but i worry about them becoming looser the rivets are on the passenger side running board brackets which of course gets the most use on my TT. am i being to anal about this?
There is a video that Lang's sells that shows setting rivets very well, and you can use the same proceedure to tighten them. Big Flat's Rivet company makes the video and sells the tools. Basically you need a backing piece, like a thick piece of steel, and you clamp it in place to hold the back of the rivet. If it's one of the rivets inside a channel, like for the front cross member, you may need to use a grade 8 bolt and nut. use a drill or end mill to cut a dimple in the head of the bolt and place the nut all the way onto the bolt. Slip the bolt in the channel and loosen the nut, tightening the assembly against the opposite channel.
You need a riveting tool that is designed to make a round head; Lang's sells these to fit impact hammers, and you can get a cheap impact hammer at Harbor Freight.
Heat the rivet up bright-red or yellow hot, then hit it briefly with the rivet tool and impact hammer, resetting the head. The backing tool keeps the rivet from backing out. When the rivet cools it shrinks, tightening it.
I've installed many brackets and replaced cross members doing this and it works great.
I live near Ventura, CA. If you're close you can bring your frame by and I'll give you a hand. I''ve made up all of the backing plates for the different brackets so it's pretty quick.
You could heat them and rebuck them if you have the tools.
You can find rivet tools in the parts catalogues. You use a punch with a hemispherical recess that fits over the head. Heat the rivet soft with a torch, put the punch on the head, and mash it tight with a hammer. It's good to have a helper hold a heavy object against the other end of the rivet to keep it steady when you pound the soft end.