1978 Surfside - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-28-2006, 10:41 PM   #1
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Trailer: 1976 Surfside TM14 (Eggzibit)
Posts: 28
Hi, I'm new to this site. We've just bought a '78 Surfside. WE are planning on doing some modifications, and upgrades. I am finding it very difficult to find any information regarding this type of trailer anywhere on the net. I have seen lots in regards to Trilliums and Bolers...etc Just wondering if anyone knows where we might find out a little more about the Surfside??

Thanks,
J
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Old 06-28-2006, 11:40 PM   #2
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Trailer: 1978 Surfside
Posts: 18
Hi Jaclyn,

I have recently purchased the same trailer. I found a little bit of info about the manufacturer "Triple E" http://www.tripleerv.com/about/history.html.

As far as specific information about these trailers, I am not sure. The best thing is that all of these trailers use the same basis appliance suppliers, so there isn't much difference between the makes. I believe that Boler had a patent for the fiberglass trailer and gave licenses to a few companies to manufacture their own trailers. So this is another reason that alot of the models that you listed in your email are so similar.

Please post on here if you do find more information about the surfside trailers. I purchased my trailer about a month ago and have spend the last few weeks painting inside and out, removing my windows to reseal them and replacing the floor covering inside. I am planning the maiden voyage next Wednesday. I have been taking some pictures of the progress and will post them when I am finished.

Kevin
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Old 06-29-2006, 12:16 PM   #3
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Trailer: 1976 Surfside TM14 (Eggzibit)
Posts: 28
Thanks for the info Kevin I will check it out.
J
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Old 06-29-2006, 02:53 PM   #4
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Trailer: Surfside 1978
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We just purchased a 78 surfside as well. We are not handy people at all but realized after a rain that the windows were leaking. We have taken out one window and are planning on reinstalling it this weekend. We'll do the others after we find out how diff. this one is to reinstall. I imagine you used the butyl putty tape. did you also put caulking around your windows afterwards? Do you have the wooden window frame on the outside of your ensolite or is it hidden under it. Ours was on top so it was easy to see the water seeping out of it and the condition of the wood as well.

All of our appliances work which is great because we didn't try them before purchasing. we have a door hinge problem. the upper door hinge literally fell right off the door. I noticed the the door hinge area is fg + wood + fg. i'm quite certain that the wood in there is rotted and i'm not certain how to fix the door. i'm sure there are temporary methods but i'd like a permanent one. any ideas that aren't too difficult for us to do?

Thanks
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Old 06-29-2006, 06:38 PM   #5
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Trailer: 1978 Surfside
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Hi Brenjean,

My windows sound exactly the same as yours. I removed the windows and remade the wooden frames that sit on top of the ensolite inside the trailer. The original wooden frames I had were 3/4" plywood with a 1/4" wooden paneling on top. I used 3/4" "good one side" plywood and painted them before reinstalling them. I was in a rush and wasn't using my head. I should have actually used 1" thick plywood for the window frames. My windows now extend into the trailer approx 1/4" past the wooden frame. I may add some 1/4" thick wood at a later time to correct this cosmetic problem.

I bought butyl tape at a local RV dealer. I bought 2 roles and used 1 1/3 roles. It was a shame that the roles aren't long enough to do all four windows. I did caulk around 3 sides of the windows on the exterior. I didn't caulk accross the bottom of the windows because I figured if any moisture did get behind the windows, I wanted to provide a leak path for the moisture to escape. I used a paintable latex caulking that is good for exterior applications. I have seen on this website people talking about a specific brand of caulking. "Flexiseal" or something like that. I hope that I didn't make a mistake and cut corners with what I bought.

The door hinges seam to be a real weak point of these trailers. Each of my door hinges have an approx 1/4" dia x 4" long bolt running through it vertically providing the connection between the hinge portion on the door and the hinge portion on the trailer. My hinges are being held on with large rivets and nuts and bolts. It isn't pretty and this work was done by the previous owner. I am going to try and improve the hinges at a later date. I am anxious to start using the trailer, and getting tired of the fixing part I have read on here that people have bought replacement hinges from the manufacturer. Since the surfside is so similar to other brands, I am sure that you could purchase hinges from an active manufacturer of fiberglass trailers. From reading the website Triple E is no longer building any trailers similar to the surfside. I would actually like to use the large diameter pop rivets in all the hinge mounting locations when I get to them. You could purchase the pop rivets and the pop rivet gun at Canadian Tire or an automotive supply store like Napa Auto parts. I think that is you had one person inside the trailer and one on the outside while paying particular attention that the door isn't sagging, you could reattach your hinges easily yourself.

Kevin
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Old 06-29-2006, 06:48 PM   #6
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Name: Alan
Trailer: Triple E Surf Side
Ontario
Posts: 67
Mine is a 76 Surfside - built in Winkler Mantioba.
One of my window frames was rotted and I repaced the frame with plywood (used old as a template). Painted them with a similar brown paint and replaced the window with new stainless steel screws. SS is a little more expensive but will not leave rusty stains on the outside and threads will not rust like the ones that had been in there for 29 years. I used Butyl tape and it has worked well. Various RV people said not add any other sealant as it will crack over time and hold water. Be careful not to overtighten the screws. Go round and round the window tightening a little at a time. BTW, in my case the wood frame was over the ensolite.

Door hinges were loose and worn on mine too. Actually I broke my hinges when I knocked the tongue off its stand while the door was open. The fall caused the door fell to the ground with a huge amount of noise but no serious damage to the door except the hinges. I found the same design hinges in brass in a marine store and just moved them off the previous holes enough to get new holes and put them on so they covered the old holes.

A few tips. If someone warns you not to use brass screws for such an application - take the advice. Two of them snapped off in the tightening process. I subsequently replaced them all with stainless steel. They don't match the brass hinges but I was too cheap to worry about it. When putting the screws in use some kind of loctite to ensure they don't back out. Mine came sufficiently loose on the trip from Ottawa to Yellowstone, that when we arrrived at the visitor centre a ranger shouted out that the door was open. Scews had loosened enough taht the latch had moved vertically to the point that it was not retained by the plate it latches behind. Door was wid open - fortunately nothing fell out and I was lucky the door didn't fall off. I reparired it with nail polish on each of the screws threads and they remain tight. Since then I use a bungy on the inside to hold the door closed from the inside. It is hooked to the plate of the door mechanism and the other end is hooked to a cupboard handle under the gaucho bench. I can open it enough to unhook the bungy. Works well as insurance.

My brakes didn't work when i got it. Easy fix reparing one wire and one brake. Whole asssemblywas $75 with new backing plate and shoes. Quick to install. Brakes on a trailer are really a good thing. Makes the whole process much safer. Pay attention to the way you wire the controller - sloppy wiring can cause all kinds of trouble. I think all Surfsides came wth electric brakes and are wired for them in the round 6 wiring harness, so getting them working is usually a fairly minor expense.

Interior changes were to paint all the ugly fake woodgrain walls. Several coats of primer to cover the brown, then an slightly off-white that makes the inside much brighter and more cheerful. Replaced the brown plasitic corner trim with brushed aluminum. and replaeced the hollow doors with Russian plywood 11mm 1/4" approx (with simple routed edges) and finished with clear varathane. Brushed aluminum handles and hinges. This gets rid of the ugly platic embossed door edges. Thin ply is light enough that vibration doesn't cause any trouble with hinges. Didn't change the ugly table/bed (blonde fake wood) or the counter top (same material). But may yet do that. Made a new door in space under the clothes closet (otherwise space is uneusable). Put new door in the space under the gaucho bench (end near door). Deep cycle battery goes in there along with a very good marine qualtiy charger. Put in a fuse (breaker) panel under the gaucho next to the furnace. Also a propane alarm (just in case).

On the roof I replaced the originaly aluminum roof vent with spring loaded hinges and a chain with a MaxxAir fan that pushes or pulls. Works well.

We are very happy with it. Tows nicely and drops fuel mileage by about 3-4 mpg on our Subaru Outback.

I can probably figure out how to attach pictures if you Surfsiders are interested in seeing how it looks.

Alan
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Old 06-29-2006, 08:41 PM   #7
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I would appreciate seeing pictures of your handiwork.
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Old 06-29-2006, 08:53 PM   #8
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Trailer: 1976 Surfside TM14 (Eggzibit)
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Well thanks for all the info everyone. WE've now picked up the trailer and have it in the driveway now. It's actually a 1976 Surfside TM-14. WE're already getting excited about the things we'd like to do with it. WE'd like to take it out to PEI at the end of the summer...hopefully we won't have too much to do before it's "ready"

J
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Old 06-29-2006, 09:39 PM   #9
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Trailer: 1996 16 ft Scamp
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I sold my 1977 Surfside TM-14 about 3 weeks ago. I had a major problem with the hinges on the door, the stress caused the fiberglass to crack at the center top of the door, which I had to have repaired by a fiberglass guy! He also replaced the hinges with some type of boat hinges -- he filled the old holes, redrilled and rehung the door. However, he couldn't get the "tweek" out of it - if it fit tight at the top, it didn't at the bottom and vice versa!
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Old 06-29-2006, 10:17 PM   #10
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Trailer: Surfside 1978
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i have a quick question about the electric brakes. Does your tow behicle have to have a controller for the electric brakes on your surfside to work, or do the trailer brakes work by itself off your tow behicle brakes. does that make sense. essentially what i am asking is: i have no controller on my minivan, does this mean that the trailer brakes are of no use b/c i have no controller?

i was thinking of filling in the old hing holes on the door with that putty called steel tech and then redrilling into very close to the same area. people have talked about that before on previous posts but i'm not sure if those doors had the FG wood FG. anyhow, do you think that would work.
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Old 06-29-2006, 11:00 PM   #11
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Name: Alan
Trailer: Triple E Surf Side
Ontario
Posts: 67
Quote:
i have a quick question about the electric brakes. Does your tow behicle have to have a controller for the electric brakes on your surfside to work, or do the trailer brakes work by itself off your tow behicle brakes. does that make sense. essentially what i am asking is: i have no controller on my minivan, does this mean that the trailer brakes are of no use b/c i have no controller?

i was thinking of filling in the old hing holes on the door with that putty called steel tech and then redrilling into very close to the same area. people have talked about that before on previous posts but i'm not sure if those doors had the FG wood FG. anyhow, do you think that would work.
You need a controller, but I that is not a big deal. I bought mine, which is perfectly adequate for $ 70 at Princess Auto in Ottawa.
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Old 06-29-2006, 11:08 PM   #12
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Name: Alan
Trailer: Triple E Surf Side
Ontario
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Quote:
Well thanks for all the info everyone. WE've now picked up the trailer and have it in the driveway now. It's actually a 1976 Surfside TM-14. WE're already getting excited about the things we'd like to do with it. WE'd like to take it out to PEI at the end of the summer...hopefully we won't have too much to do before it's "ready"

J
My experience is that getting a trailer "ready" is like "finishing" a garden or trying to pick ther "right" time to buy a computer. A trailer will never be ready. The nature of them is thatmost of us are always identifying things taht could/should be changed or added or whatever. Trick is to get it good enough to enjoy it and then use it. It is easy to spend all your camping time at home gettting ready. And identifying tthe things you really need will not usually be done by more planning in port. You have to get out an do the sea trials and shake down cruises.
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Old 06-30-2006, 06:44 AM   #13
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Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Oregon
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Quote:
I can probably figure out how to attach pictures if you Surfsiders are interested in seeing how it looks.
I'm not a Surfsider...but I think pictures would be great!
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Old 06-30-2006, 08:32 PM   #14
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Trailer: 1978 Surfside
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I found this website of a great example of an older surfside. I wish that I could do similar modifications to my trailer and be able to take my motorcycle on camping trips.

http://www.kitshomes.net/

Kevin
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