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Old 07-08-2020, 06:38 PM   #1
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Riv Nuts in Fiberglass Top?

I was planning on using Riv Nuts to attach solar panel brackets to my fiberglass wheelchair van high top. Normally I'd use bolts, nuts and fender washers but I don't want to have to remove my headliner, so I need a "blind" fastener.

I'm wondering if the flange on the Riv Nut is too small or the fiberglass too fragile. I may be better off with an expanding rubber well nut.

Hopefully someone has first hand experience with this. What do you think?
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Old 07-08-2020, 09:23 PM   #2
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I'd be concerned about leaking with a rivet nut. I just had to redo my lap sealant on my vent fan because I was a little shy when I first applied it, and that one has a large flange. If you do it, use a lot of lap sealant, and maybe even some eternabond tape over it. Maybe you could use a rubber gasket sheet and sandwich that between the nut and the roof.
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Old 07-09-2020, 05:37 AM   #3
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Id sooner use VHB tape over rivnuts. Ive seen a lot of loose rivnuts over the years in various applications.
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Old 07-09-2020, 07:37 AM   #4
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Thanks everyone, my initial idea was to use VHB, but I was a bit nervous and was thinking "belt and suspenders" by using both VHB and Riv Nuts. I've been reading the spec sheets and watching some videos, so VHB it is.

My situation is a bit complicated since my top has a slightly crowned ridge down the middle. It's maybe a foot wide and my panel is about 20" wide. I think I have a plan, using VHB and aluminum angle stock.

1. A couple of small brackets on the top of the crown, front and rear (two each so the slight side-to-side curve won't be a problem).

2. I'll then add some triangular brackets VHB'd to the sides of the crown, front and back, extending upward to the front edges of the panel. These will support the cantilevered parts, and may make the center brackets unnecessary, so I'll do these first.

3. Since I've already purchased the Riv Nut tool and nuts, I'll use them to secure the panel to the brackets.





This is probably overkill but I do tend to over-engineer things.

Comments?
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Old 07-09-2020, 11:19 AM   #5
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Would something like these clickbond studs/standoffs be helpful? I recently ordered some for a project but have not used yet. I spoke to one of the sales reps and he was extremely helpful in providing i sight into what their products can tolerate. I like these due to no holes in my fiberglass top that could potentially leak.

https://www.clickbond.com/products/studs-standoffs
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Old 07-09-2020, 11:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oly11 View Post
Would something like these clickbond studs/standoffs be helpful? I recently ordered some for a project but have not used yet. I spoke to one of the sales reps and he was extremely helpful in providing i sight into what their products can tolerate. I like these due to no holes in my fiberglass top that could potentially leak.

https://www.clickbond.com/products/studs-standoffs
I'm sure they'd work but more expensive than my aluminum angle/VHB solution, which has significantly more surface area for adhesion.
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Old 07-26-2020, 02:17 PM   #7
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My solar panel came with 4 Z-brackets, each of which had 4 holes to attach to the roof. I used coarse thread self tappers along with JB Weld to secure the brackets, then liberally caulked all around afterwards. 7 years later, all still good.

1995 B3500 hightop SMB
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Old 07-26-2020, 05:11 PM   #8
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Riv Nuts like to spin out. I'm going to go ahead and go on record to say if you're going to attach something to the roof of your van, that's going to go down the road at highway speed while being passed by semis, you're going to want to through bolt the damn thing!
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Old 07-26-2020, 06:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oly11 View Post
Would something like these clickbond studs/standoffs be helpful? I recently ordered some for a project but have not used yet. I spoke to one of the sales reps and he was extremely helpful in providing i sight into what their products can tolerate. I like these due to no holes in my fiberglass top that could potentially leak.

https://www.clickbond.com/products/studs-standoffs
Are they rated for exterior highway automotive use?
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Old 07-27-2020, 06:48 AM   #10
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I tend to agree with Gahamby here.
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