O.K....I get going on this restoration project '27 Coupe and I start seeing these strange fasteners called RIVETS! AHHHHHH..there's hundreds of 'em! What do you do with them? They're everywhere!
I figured out how to get the ones out that I needed to get out.....but I still have to put something back! I've seen the rivets for sale through the dealers but have yet to see a rivet gun or some tool to install them.
Do I need to replace rivets with bolts and nuts? Or can I purchase a reasonably priced tool to install them.......where do I get something like that and what kind do I get?
Thanks ahead of time!
Many of them can be installed with a hammer. The ones on the brake bands are put from ouside in and crosswise to the lining. Use a punch especially ground to spread the legs and sink the lining into the indentation in the band. If you buy the lining, it comes with the rivets and instructions for installation.
The same kind is used for the hood lace.
I have never installed the frame rivets or the transmission drum rivets, but know it takes special skill. They are heated installed and hammered and allowed to shrink for a tight fit.
Someone more knowledgeable can explain how that is done.
Now that John's question is answered, does anyone have a source for the 3/8" hex head 1/4-20 bolts that are all over my 26 body? A few of them parted company during disassembly.
Try the Model A section of Snyder's catalog. They work.
To re - rivet the steel frame rivets easily you need a good quality rivet gun. An air hammer makes short strokes that do not bring the rivet to its shape easily. With an air hammer the set is vibrating rapidly, leading to messed up rivet heads because the tool can dance off to the side out of control. Rivet guns give long hard hits that are easy to control.
At least a 4X size is best for 1/4" - 3/8" diameter steel rivets. I have a 5X Cleco brand rivet gun that was made during WWII, but there are many good brands including Ingersoll Rand, ARO, North American Rockwell and Jiffy just to name a few. Used ones often sell on Ebay for $20 - $100 with a money back guarantee.
The rivet sets and bucking bars from Big Flats will get the job done, but for perfect results you may find yourself modifying those tools or making some of your own. You do need to heat the shop head side of the rivet red hot, then shoot it within a few seconds. It is easy and fun. Anyone can do it.
Here is a typical 5X gun from WWII or Korea that is perfect for frame rivets:
John, take it from an aircraft assembly mechanic, there is an art to riveting. If its done incorrectly, you can do some serious damage. And there are a lot of ways to do it incorrectly. If you choose to try it yourself, find something to practice on. Gets lots of practice. Then practice some more. The same goes for removing rivets too...
Aircraft aluminum rivets are sort of difficult to master. I've shot tens of thousands of them in my career as an aircraft mechanic.
On the other hand the big steel rivets are darned simple to master. For sure, try three or four in a piece of scrap steel first. I expect anybody can do it within four or five tries and graduate to expert. It is really simple.
I've got a couple of '26 demountable rims with rivets either broken or missing on the rim latches. What kind of rivits do I need and how do I use them? They are relatively small and don't really take much strain when in use. Could I just get the right size rivet and hammer them in place on my shop anvil?
Watertown, South Dakota
Thanks for all the advice, again! Sorry I couldn't get back to the forum for a while, the computer was being used by the "war dept."!
I haven't used it but the following from www.restorationstuff.com might be useful for some applications?
"Threaded Rivet ..... Itís an unslotted machine screw, the perfect substitute for hard to use rivets because it looks like a rivet on top but is held securely in place by a standard nut."
Deferring to your expertise, what does the "5X" number refer to? Thanks.
The lightest hitting rivet guns are 1X. The next size bigger is 2X. And so on. A 2X rivet gun is cpable of shooting a 3/16" diameter duraluminum rivet but is better for 5/32" and smaller. It is advantageous to use a smaller rivet gun for smaller rivets or softer rivets.
The type of rivet gun shown in the ebay auction is adjustable my varying air pressure to give more or less depending on the diameter and material of rivet. The 5X gun will shoot a red hot 1/4" Model T frame rivet in about two or three "hits" at 90 PSI air pressure. The operator varies the number of "hits" by releasing the trigger after the desired number.
There are special "one shot" rivet guns in each size, these are for specific manufacturing and have to be adjusted to give a specific power level. Once adjusted, a "one shot" rivet gun hits the rivet one time per trigger pull, allowing very rapid riveting of large quantities of rivets that are all the same exact length and installed in the same thickness materials.
Have not seen it asked yet so I will, exactly which rivets are you removing and why? I have a 26 coupe, there are indeed rivets throughout the construction. Some rivets such as the transmission band linings, the hand brake spring, and the steering gear box have got to come off for maintenance/rebuild. Other rivets like the frame members, oil pan brackets and many body panels should left alone.
John; Where are located? If you're near by I can show you how and loan you the tools.
Other than space, what are the drawbacks to using bolts in place of rivets? Thinking of the frame corners in particular.
The advantage of a rivet is that after you heat and set it, it pulls even tighter as it cools. I don't think a bolt can be tightened as much unless you use an exotic aerospace bolt. Also a rivet will completely fill the hole if it is set properly.
Another good question is, "where can you buy brass rivets now days, if you don't need a 1000?
I just need two small brass rivets to hold a Holley G float hinge on the float. They are the same size as a #6 screw and 3/8th inch in the shank area with about another 1/16th inch of hollow end area to smash over.
I would be willing to buy an assortment for future projects.
Your local hardware store should have hollow rivets. If not I may be able to find you a couple. I would need better measurements though.
We had four local hardware stores 25 years ago. Now we have Lowes and Home Depot.
Respectfully Jeff, if the body is in pristine condition you are correct, but if there is rust in the seams (as with 99% of all T bodies that have been in the weather or humid climates) the panels should be separated. Ever seen those cars at shows or tours with the paint blistering at the seams? Those blisters are there because the car was "restored" improperly and the inaccessible metal not properly treated in the seams. The only way to properly clean and treat it is separating the seams, either by busting rivets or cutting spot welds. Even dipping doesn't work as a cure-all like some will try to say because, even if it does remove that rust, there is no way to properly seal it up and prevent re-rusting. The same goes for the areas where the frame is riveted together.
I stopped trying to avoid disassembly a long time ago after learning why my paint failed around seams on my first restoration. Its the same as cleaning and painting an engine and calling it rebuilt.
By the way, I use a WWII aircraft riveter similar to the one Royce talked about, except mine is not handheld. I use it as a planishing hammer as well as riveting. When air is applied, the head extends 4" before the hammering starts.
I suppose it depends on the climate the car has lived in. I did my '30 sport coupe in '74, and it (so far) hasn't shown any signs of rusting at the seams (granted, there aren't many in it). So, it seems the seams may be rusty or not. (I had to work in that pun!)
Back in my Service days, we would on occasion have BS sessions with graduates of the Naval Academy and some of their curriculum. In later life I had discussions with what I think were called Naval Architects, in the design of our offshore equipment. It appears that there is/was a whole discipline devoted to rivets, especially in ships hulls. Diameter, spacing, metallurgy and you name it, I never dreamed it made that much difference. There is/was speculation that some of the Titanic's problems were rivets.