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Ford: Use OEM rivets, approved guns on vehicles with aluminum

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Announcements | Education | Repair Operations | Technology
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A new Ford position statement advises collision repairers to use the OEM’s authorized rivets, mandrels and rivet guns when working on aluminum structural and cosmetic components.

The June 1 document also prohibits reusing flow-drill screws.

“All Ford Motor Company vehicles that incorporate aluminum structural and cosmetic body components require the use of OEM Structural repair rivets and the use of approved installation tools when performing body repairs,” the OEM wrote. “The use of aftermarket structural rivets, including Self-Piercing, Blind and Solid rivets, is not authorized by Ford. Ford Motor Company considers the use of OEM structural rivets critical to the safety, reliability, and durability of the repaired vehicle.”

Ford stressed that self-piercing, blind and solid rivets “are not universal, and placement cannot deviate from the Ford repair procedures.” (Emphasis Ford’s.)

Blind and solid rivets “meet stringent specifications for material type, dimensions, and crush,” according to Ford.

Ford devotes particular attention to self-piercing rivets in the position statement, warning about the variation in OEM rivets and mandrels that could arise on its vehicles.

“Self-Piercing Rivets (SPR) provide high strength sealed joints that are compatible with adhesives and sealants and can fasten stacks of 2 or more layers,” Ford wrote.

“There are many unique SPR rivets required to properly complete aluminum repairs to Ford vehicles. Each rivet is specific to its location and required to meet structural repair requirements. The Ford repair procedures provide the required rivet location and part number that must be used during a repair. …

“Each SPR rivet requires a specific mandrel be used during installation. The SPR installation mandrel determines the proper depth and spread of the SPR rivet. Ford repair procedures provide the correct mandrel to be used during a repair. Following the Ford repair procedures is essential in ensuring that the rivet is driven to the correct depth to achieve a safe quality joint.”

Only 11 self-piercing rivet guns have been authorized for Ford’s vehicles as of the June 1 position statement, according to the OEM.

These include the 6-ton Car-O-Liner PNP90, 10-ton Car-O-Liner PNP90 XT2 (10-ton), Chief Basic Rivet Gun Kit, CMO SPR Gun, Henrob Self-Pierce Riveting Kit, Pro Spot Electro-Hydraulic SPR Rivet Gun Kit, Spanesi SPR Gun, TKR Group 6-ton PNP90 UN 2.0, TKR Group 6-ton VAS 6790, TKR GROUP 10-ton PNP90 SNW XT and Wielander and Schill XPress 800.

“Proper installation of SPR rivets requires installation tools that can perform correct and repeatable SPR rivet installations,” Ford wrote June 1. “Ford Motor Company has tested and validated the operation of the SPR installation tools listed below. These SPR installation tools are the only tools approved to be used in the repair of Ford vehicles.”

Ford also reassures repairers about situations in which the OEM procedures call for a different joint than what the automaker used in the factory. Keep calm and follow the repair manual, according to the automaker.

“During repairs to Ford vehicles that incorporate aluminum structural and cosmetic body components blind rivets or aluminum plug welds may be required in locations that originally used SPR rivets,” Ford wrote. “This may result in repairs that have a different appearance from the original finish or from undamaged areas of the vehicle. This is considered normal and common across OEMs in the collision repair industry. It is important to utilize and follow the Ford repair procedures to determine what fastening methods must be used during the repair process.” (Emphasis added.)

And as noted above, Ford bans reusing flow-drill screws, directing repairers to instead substitute whatever rivet it says.

“Flow Drill Screws (FDS) are used in several locations during the original manufacture of Ford vehicles,” Ford wrote. “Flow Drill Screws cannot be reused and must be replaced with the rivet that is called out in the Ford repair procedures.” (Emphasis Ford’s.)

Ford also issued a new position statement on glass June 1. Read that here.

More information:


Ford, June 1, 2020

Ford OEM repair procedures

Ford position statements


The Wielander+Schill XPress 800 pneumatic-hydraulic universal rivet gun and some of its attachments are shown at the Reliable Automotive Equipment display at SEMA 2015. (John Huetter/Repairer Driven News)

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