I am replacing the broken rear trucks on a Lionel crane car. I have the replacement trucks but I do not have the rivet. I am planning on drilling out the old rivet and purchasing a pop rivet gun and rivets at Home Depot. Is this ok or should I be looking at another process? Any suggestions?
Is the frame of your crane car metal or plastic? If the frame is plastic, you may have an issue with the rivet spinning and generating enough heat to melt the plastic. Currently I use a toothed anvil, sold by Brakeman's Riveter to cut down on the spinning. I also find it is helpful to hold the drill bit at an angle. Maybe others have some suggestions (which I'd like to read too).
If I am concerned about the car itself, sometimes I will break apart the truck to expose the shaft of the rivet, and cut it with a large pair of lineman's pliers. (I cut slits / grooves in the truck with a razor saw, followed by brute force)
I didn't realize that POP rivets were available in a large enough diameter to replace a Lionel truck rivet. Still, if I needed to replace a truck that was originally riveted, and did not have the resources to rivet the new truck, I'd go with a machine screw, preferably with an elastic nut. Better hardware stores will carry them. (My local Lowes has a fairly wide hardware assortment, not certain about Home Depot). I'd have to check the screw size - probably 8-32.
I would not recommend pop rivets, as they are used to hold items tightly together, and your truck would not swivel. To break the shank off, the rivet has to be tight, not loose. Get the proper rivet, and roll over the end using the proper tool. The Brakemans' Riveter BR-2 has the punch and correct rivet set for your job.
I have used pop rivets successfully in the past. Have to be very careful when drawing them tight as the rivet gun will totally secure the rivet and thus the truck. What I did was tighten in several light squeezes until it was secure but still allowed for free movement of the truck. I then removed the gun and tapped the shaft out of the rivet. It works for me.
I've done a number of trucks with the Brakeman's Riveter, great tool and is perfect for the job. I find a lot of factory cars have very loose trucks as well, the Riveter is perfect for tightening them up so the cars don't rock so wildly on the track.
Most of the parts places have the truck rivets, they're readily available.