Instructables
Picture of Fix a broken suitcase strap bracket
I bought a brand new suitcase to take a family vacation this summer, it two flights for one of the straps designed to hold the contents in place broke. I'm not sure how important those straps are, but it sure seemed a waste for my brand new suitcase to be less than 100% intact, so I reviewed the situation, made a plan to fix it, and got it done. It is a very simple fix, but I was pleased with how well it went, and I was glad to be able to reuse an altoids tin in the process. This basic concept should apply for fixing most plastic bracket that has pulled free of a rivet, particularly on a suitcase. I hope it can help someone else, and it gives me a good excuse to make my first Instructables post.

Step 1: Assess the Damage

Picture of Assess the Damage
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Have a look at your broken strap and see what's gone wrong. In my case the plastic bracket holding the strap end had pulled off of the rivet on the suitcase frame. That is a much better situation than if the rivet had pulled through the suitcase frame. Everything is structurally sound, the rivet just doesn't really have a big enough head to allow the plastic bracket to bear much weight. I had a hard time getting a picture of the rivet by itself, but I did my best. Looking at the outside of the suitcase where the other side of the rivet should be coming through I discovered that there was a rubberized strip running all around the outside of the suitcase. Prying up the strap showed the other end of the rivet firmly in place, and measuring it showed me that it was about 1cm wide would be the maximum width for the head of the replacement rivet. Here we have a picture of the bracket with an aching hole where its heart used to be, an out of focus but clearly lonely rivet attached solidly to the suitcase frame, a shot of another bracket still firmly attached to the frame and looking a bit smug, a look at the rubberized strap, and the outside end of the rivet.

What I needed was a replacement for the rivet, and a nice big washer or metal brace to keep the new rivet from pulling through the plastic bracket.
 
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I don't want to say anything about broken straps....my questions is - how do you open them? Most of the closures you press the sides to open, this one is not like that. It is a two year old piece of Protocol luggage?

brie4644 years ago
whoa! you are the best, thank you for the fast reply. I could drill my own hole in...but that would be risky since I have already painted the entire outside....but that could work. I will let you know how it goes. Thanks for putting up this step by step instructions....I have been googling for this all day and this is the only one I have found so thanks for that!
ultrabob (author)  brie4644 years ago
 How did it go?  Did you get your new straps in ok?
brie4644 years ago
I have one question about this article and have images to explain it. I am having trouble with my inside luggage straps as well...mostly a fixing it to the suitcase problem.

I ripped out everything out of my samsonite suitcase and bought new straps and a plastic buckle to replace it...but the small metal bolts won't come out on either side because they are larger at one end. I tried to make a hole in the stretchy strap to try and fit it over the metal head but it just comes right off when I pull on it. How would I go about doing this so it's secure? Thank you.
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ultrabob (author)  brie4644 years ago
 Hi and thanks for the comment.  I'm certainly no expert on this so I went with my own intuition for this project.  Not being able to see your suitcase with my own eyes beyond the pictures uploaded it is entirely possible that there is some reason why my idea won't work, but it if were me I think I would probably leave the rivets be if they aren't removable and instead drill my own hole next to it to allow me to bolt things in.  Alternately, if you are trying to utilize that hook that shows up in the first picture, It is probably best to approach that by trying to replicate the way the strap was attached to it originally.  I don't know how that was done so it is hard to speculate.  I have my doubts as to whether this will be much help to you, but I hope it is.  I'd be interested to find out what ends up working for you.