Replacing - Repairing Snap Caps

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Greg A
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Replacing - Repairing Snap Caps

One of the notorious leak points in Scamps especially older model used Scamps is the rivets.  This is usually due to deterioration or missing snap caps.  Snap caps are the round white plastic caps that are all over your Scamp. (Hopefully) If they aren't all over you need to pay special attention to this post.  It is a good idea on an older model used Scamp to completely redo the snap caps/rivets. On my first Scamp a 1981 13 I drilled out all the rivets and replaced with SS bolts, nuts and new snap caps.  I have always gotten my snap caps from Pro-Dec, but Scamp Parts sells packages of them for the trailers as well.  For a 13 Scamp I order 45 large 12/12 washers and caps and 20 small 8/8 washers and caps. You can also order them in most any color including chromed. I get the off-white which seems to match the Scamps especially older Scamps that have some fading. You will also need a roll of Colormetrics Gray Putty Tape / Butyl Tape 1/8" x 3/4" x 30' (Single Roll) but any RV'r worth his or her salt always has butyl tape on hand. It is what you use to reseal vents, etc. and is very handy stuff.

First step is to drill out the rivet

Next put a snap cap washer on the rivet or screw, these were the screws located under the front window.

The next step is one that a lot of folks don't know about, but will make sure your rivets aren't going to leak for many years. Take a small ball of butyl tape and wrap it around the screw or rivet before reinserting it into the hole. Now when you sink the screw or pop the rivet, the butyl will completely seal the hole for many years to come.

When you sink it or pop the rivet the putty will look like this

Carefully remove the excess butyl and snap the cap on

If you follow the procedures above you will have a very tight Scamp for years to come!  Next installment I'll post completing all the rivets.  FYI, this new to me 96 Scamp 13 had not one remaining Snap Cap. Our Monsoon season starts in AZ in July so we are making sure this is all completed in the next week. laugh

mccownw
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Our '74 Scamp 13 was put

Our '74 Scamp 13 was put together with standard pop rivets.  They never had Snap Caps, and have never leaked.

CampyTime
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Snap Caps

This is correct!  Scamp did not use snap caps in the early production years, nor are they necessary to prevent leaks.  The butyl tape is an excellent adjunct to installing rivets on the Scamp, and many people do use it.  The snap caps were simply a cosmetic add on feature that Scamp began to use later, and I am not exactly sure of when.  My guess would be late 80's maybe?

sarahspins
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My '84 scamp has snap caps...

My '84 scamp has snap caps... almost all if which are damaged. I'm in the process of replacing the old rivets with SS screws and acorn nuts inside (this coinciding with cabinet removal and painting, I have the right size rivets, but SS hardware makes more sense to me for most if them), and installing new snap caps. 

Cindy G
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Snap Cap Leaks

While examining a 2005 Scamp 16 I noticed some darkened wood inside the cabinet on the bottom. I purchased the Scamp, brought it home, and the next day we had a hard rain storm. I checked that same location and yes, it was now wet. It must be from a damaged snap cap because the old owner said he never replaced many, if any. Your description for replacing caps seems very good. I only hope I can drill out the bad rivet. Tools and I are just getting acquainted and this particularly bad spot is inside a cabinet along the floor. What size drill and screws would I use? I really like my Scamp and need to learn how to care for it. Another concern of mine is when I towed the trailer home the hubs seemed to be hot. How hot is too hot? The owner had the bearings greased this spring.

Cindy G

Greg A
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Snap Caps

Yes, the rivets will leak over time if not periodically checked and replaced. Our 13 Scamp had lost all the caps and you could see the leakage that was occurring around the rivets. I'm a bit overkill with the butyl tape, but there are two leak points on a rivet. If you take a rivet and look at the construction you'll see the barrel of the rivet has a hole down the center and then a stem that pulls up into the base of the barrel and expands to tighten against the material. When you first pull new rivets they probably won't leak for awhile, but with a trailer and the constant moving and flexing the stem loosens in the barrel and they will leak down the center. They will also leak around where the rivet passes through the fiberglass over time as they loosen. The reason Scamp primarily started using the snap caps was to prevent the leaks down the center of the barrel of the rivet and give a base washer to prevent leaks around the barrel of the rivet. By adding butyl tape around the barrel of the rivet before inserting through the hole, you add insurance against any rivet leaks for many years to come.

Cindy, you can definitely do the rivet/snap cap replacement. You need to go very slow at first until you get the hang of it and then they are easy. You can damage the shell if not very careful removing and pulling the new rivets.

  1. Use a drill bit that is just slightly larger than the circumference of the hole at the head or top of the rivet on the outside of the trailer.
  2. Tip: Have someone hold the bottom of the rivet on the inside with pliers to prevent the rivet from spinning and burning your fiberglass shell when drilling it out.
  3. You don't need to drill through, just enough to pop the head off the rivet and there is a bit of experience with this that you'll get better at with practice. The person inside can then pull the rivet on through.
  4. If it is a rivet that has an acorn nut over the bottom on the inside you can get these at Lowes (Much cheaper than Depot on these) and you have the inside person hold the acorn nut over the bottom of the new rivet inside before the outside person begins to pop it. 
  5. You can learn to do these by yourself eventually, but my daughter and I did an entire 13 Scamp in about an hour and a half. Good Helper!! 

Any questions we're here for you, ask away!

I had trouble finding the large rivets used in all the cabinet through holes, but finally found these and they were perfect.

Aluminum Blind Rivet, Meets IFI Grade 11, 0.876"-1" Grip Range, 3/16" OD, 1.200" Length, #11 Drill Size (Pack of 100)

The smaller rivets I was able to locate locally at the Depot, Ace, and or Lowes.

Our Trailers:
1997 Scamp 5th Wheel
2015 19 Escape

Buying or Selling:

Fiberglass-RV-4Sale

Cindy G
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Snap Caps

Thanks so much for your great help with these snap caps. It sounds like I should be able to handle it as long as I am careful.  How does a person decide if they should use stainless screws instead of the rivets? I cannot figure out how water is leaking in under the water heater and into the side closet next to it. It has to be weather related because it only happens after a storm, which we have had plenty of this year! I applied silicone around many of the snap caps before a storm, but rain still got in. I did that before I asked for your advice, but I still wonder why it didn't work. Can it be leaking in from under the AC ? I hate to replace all of those snap caps and then find out that it won't help solve my water problem.

 

 

Cindy G

Flyboyscamp
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Drillmg old rivets out

I am a old aircraft mechanic. I have drilled out tens of thousands of rivets. It does take a technique to do is. As you drill out the rivet, don't go deep. As you drill into,the head with the hole in it, and feel,the drill go into it, snap your drill to the right a bit and the head will pop off. It takes practice but you will get it soon. 

<p>Doug Allen 2016 Ford F-150 2018 Lance 1575</p>

GeneM
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Hubs

I would get those wheel hubs repacked.  If the unit does not have berring buddies get them added also.  If you aren't familiar with berring buddies just look at the hubs.  You should see a grease zerk on the end.  It might be under a rubber cap.  You can add grease on you own easily if so.  Regardless you should at least have them checked. 

Greg A
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Update Snap Caps

I just inherited a bag of replacement snap caps that Scamp sent to my previous owner of the 5er. Scamp doesn't manufacture their snap caps and I have no idea who their vendor is. When I put one of the Scamp snap caps next to the Snap Caps I ordered for my 13 Scamp from my supplier ProdecThe quality of the Prodec snap caps and bases blows away the ones Scamp sent out.

First the color of the Scamp snap caps is blinding white which would be OK on a brand new shell. After some years in the elements those snap caps would stand out like neon lights on most Scamps. With the Prodec snap caps there are hundreds of colors to choose from and I usually order a variation of off-white that matches the older gelcoats much better.

Second, the flimsiness of the Scamp snap caps next to the Prodec snap caps is very noticeable.

I have no interest in where you order your replacement snap caps from, but just wanted to pass along how much better the Prodec snap caps are in a side by side comparison if you need to replace them.

Our Trailers:
1997 Scamp 5th Wheel
2015 19 Escape

Buying or Selling:

Fiberglass-RV-4Sale

debstaines
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And less shipping

Prodec charges reasonable shipping rates for the goods purchased. I love my Scamp, but generally try to find my parts elsewhere if possible. I think Scamp makes more on inflated shipping charges than they do on Trailers

Deb Staines
2016 16’, layout 4
'Rapscallion'

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