Trillium 4500 in Michigan Journal - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-07-2018, 04:08 PM   #29
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belly band and rear window progress

Belly band:

Aluminum molding has been removed. After donning a filter mask and safety glasses, used a dremel with reinforced cutting discs to cut all fiberglass bulges (approx. 45) along the belly band flush with original molded surface. Then removed ALL (approx. 50) steel plates along the belly band. So based on these counts, about 5 of the steel plates were NOT rusting to the point that the fiberglass was bulging! Many of the rusted steel plates had disintegrated to reddish brown powder and gravel, requiring much picking and digging to remove.

Then using a random orbital sander, began sanding the belly band.

Rear window:

Removed the rear window. Uppermost vinyl molding needs to be replaced (cracked, disintegrated). Only way to get it out is to remove aluminum top/cap, managed to remove after spraying wd40 in tiny philips head screws. Must replace worn out torque operator/searching for replacement. Cleaning aluminum window frame pieces using barkeepers friend with green pad, and narrow brass brush for corners and grooves. Next will attempt to polish with dremel buffing bits and polishing compound bars from Ace Hardware.

Also removed soggy strip of plywood behind belly band below rear window. Scraped and cleaned out remains of this strip of plywood, then cleaned out adhesive that held it in place between the belly band and the rear interior FG panel. Plan to replace it with strip of 3/4" pvc trim.
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Old 05-07-2018, 05:11 PM   #30
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belly band and rear window progress pictures!

And pictures! As you can see in the pictures, there are no steel plates on the rear of the camper, but instead a now rotten and removed strip of plywood between the belly band and the interior FG rear panel.
Attached Thumbnails
4500belly1.jpg   4500belly2.jpg  

4500belly3.jpg   4500belly4.jpg  

4500belly5.jpg   4500belly6.jpg  

4500belly7.jpg   4500belly8.jpg  

4500rearwindow.jpg  
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Old 05-07-2018, 05:25 PM   #31
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belly band next steps

Found that on our Trillium 4500, the fiberglass strip behind the belly band is very thick and sturdy, and as strong as the rest of the camper body. So no need to strengthen the belly band.

Now that all FG bulges and steel plates have been removed, plan to finish sanding with a random orbital sander (40 grit, 80 grit) then fill with bondo glass, sand w/80 grit, fill with bondo, sand with long board (and probably palm or random orbital sander as well) with 80 grit in steps up to 400 grit, then paint with matching paint.

After painting BB, may apply vinyl side molding or striping tape.
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Old 05-07-2018, 06:56 PM   #32
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A bit late now, but using a dremmel tool with a cutting disk, to cut the plates in half, before you pull them, makes it much easier to pull them out.

The belly band below the rear window on my 4500's is the same. Not sure why Trillium didn't just use the fibreglass strip there as well. They did on the 1300's.
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Old 05-07-2018, 07:12 PM   #33
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David, thanks for the input.

I did actually cut many of the plates in half before removing, particularly in spots where there was no bulge to be carved down. While other plates were corroded to nothing but bits of rust, and those I sucked out with the shop vac. Some of the disintegrated ones literally poured out while I was carving out the bulges. And finally some of those bits expanded greatly inside the pockets and had to be picked and scraped out with a small screw driver.

For the rear end of the belly band where there is no FG backing, I plan to sandwich in a PVC trim board.

I must say I have benefited greatly by reading and re-reading the threads posted by you and others. Thank you!!

John
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Old 05-28-2018, 01:26 PM   #34
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belly band progress ...

Making progress with inserting backer behind belly band seam below rear window (recall that on the 4500, the belly band seam is fiberglassed except in the section below the rear window).

Tested my idea of using a piece of cellular pvc exterior trim by applying Loctite PLt max premium construction adhesive to a test piece. Says on the Loctite label that its compatible with PVC, but it did not hold.

Decided to use 2 strips of 1/2" aluminum c channel joined together with a 3/8" x 1" wood strip. The c channel assembly has been sandwiched between the outer FG shell and the inner FG shell, centered along the belly band seam. I glued the c channel assembly to two steps. First glued to the inner FG shell and the lower edge of the seam, clamped and let dry 24 hours, then glued the upper edge of the seam, clamped and its now drying.
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Old 05-31-2018, 03:53 PM   #35
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Wow, glad you got the brakes sorted out. The belly band project looks like a small nightmare. I hope I don't have to do anything like that with my Scamp. Knock on fiberglass. :-)

Harold
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Old 05-31-2018, 05:18 PM   #36
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Harold, fortunately for you the center band problem is specific to vintage Trilliums. I knew my Trillium 4500 had this problem when I bought it. Still the wonderful design makes the camper great deal. Fix the center band and the camper is good for another 40 years...

The Trillium center band problem is widely documented on this forum, and of course other issues specific to Trilliums, as well as those specific to other FGRVs. This is great, because if you do some research on this forum, you can check for problems before buying a camper. Then you can make an offer or keep looking.

For our last two FGRV purchases, we spent a lot of time examining, poking around, etc before buying.
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Old 05-31-2018, 06:45 PM   #37
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Good to know. Although my Scamp is quite old, it looks like it's never been abused. I'm pretty confident that other than small issues needing fixing, it should serve me very well for a very long time. The axle is maintenance, brakes and everything else are upgrades.

Hopefully someday we will cross paths in our fiberglass rvs
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Old 06-29-2018, 11:59 AM   #38
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Okay this week I finally finished filling the center band with bondo glass and then bondo filler. Now sanding with a long board with 80 grit in steps up to probably 400 grit (?). I found an auto paint supply shop to match the paint. Went there today and left the door for precise paint matching. Here's what I am buying from the shop:

- Topcoat: PPG JE acrylic enamel paint (matched color) to mix with JH6001
hardener
- Primer: PPG JP202
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Old 07-02-2018, 01:07 PM   #39
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painting the center band

Decided to use PPG ALK-200 industrial alkyd paint instead of PPG JE paint. Reason is that the PPG JE paint when used with JH6001 hardener contains isocyanate which should only be applied with a ventilated suit. I don't have a ventilated suit, paint booth, etc. and don't want to go this route. I also don't want to take the camper to a paint shop to have the center band painted. I will also not be using ALK-201 hardener (contains isocyanate) with the ALK-200 paint. The paint will be matched using the exterior side of the door.
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Old 07-02-2018, 02:16 PM   #40
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I do hope you plan on using a mask, maybe one with positive pressure....
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Old 07-02-2018, 02:59 PM   #41
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Hello again Doctor Harold. I definitely plan to use a cartridge filter mask and apply the paint in a garage with the overhead door wide open.

Its difficult finding matching (tintable) paint that's relatively safe and easy to use. I believe most marine paints are relatively safe and easy to use, but I haven't found any of them that I can get matched at a local retail shop. And I don't have a "paint chip" that I can mail to the manufacturer to match the paint. Automotive paints can be color matched, however they must generally be sprayed on in a sealed paint booth wearing a ventilated suit, etc.

So I finally settled on a PPG industrial paint (ALK-200) that is an alkyd paint (no isocyanate) and can be color matched (I removed the door and took it to the paint shop) and can be brushed or rolled reasonably well.

-John
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Old 07-02-2018, 03:50 PM   #42
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Hi John,

Some thoughts:

I used to work in an auto shop about 40 years ago that had a body man. He had a mask (not full face) that had a line that he hooked compressed air to. It had a valve to reduce the pressure, I don't remember if he even had driers and oil-water separators. His system was pretty primitive and I don't know if it would get past OSHA today. You definitely don't want to breathe unfiltered compressor air.

I see some positive pressure full-face masks on ebay for around $70. I did some painting on a firearm not too long ago with a cartridge respirator and won't do that again. With the alkyd paint I think a cartridge respirator might do fine.

Also about 40 years ago I had a darkroom. Most hobby darkrooms had an exhaust the to clear the air, but after reading everything I could get my hands on I found an article on positive pressure for darkrooms. You blow filtered air in and create positive pressure and if there is dust, it blows out. If you blow the air in, every crack sucks dust into your darkroom. Paint booths are similar.

About a year ago I needed to paint the hood on my Jaguar. Instead to trying to seal every crack in my garage, I put an extra-fine filter over the swamp cooler inlet and ran it without the water pump running. Then I blew pretty much everything in the garage with compressed air and raised a huge amount of dust with the garage door open. I closed the door and let the filtered air blow in all night and by morning had pretty much a dust free environment in which to paint. I was surprised at how well it worked.

Of course if you're using a roller, as Emily Litella said: never mind.
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