I have a leak! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-10-2018, 07:27 PM   #1
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Name: Tim
Trailer: Trillium
Oregon
Posts: 5
I have a leak!

Hi all,

My trillium 4500 has been sitting for a couple months through the Oregon winter. I opened it up to prep for a spring trip and was sad to see that one of the dinette seat cushions was soaked and mold was growing on the wall behind. I discovered that a window was not completely closed and so assumed that was the problem. I cleaned everything up, but now two days later the cushion was wet again! I tried to figure out where the water may be coming from and my best guess is that there is a leak in the seal between top and bottom halves in the rear corner where the dinette seat is. See pictures for where I think the water was getting in.

So, my question is how do I re seal this? What is the best product to use? Can I simply seal from the exterior or do I need to disassemble anything for cleaning? Any help is appreciated!!

Tim
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Old 03-10-2018, 08:52 PM   #2
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Trailer: 1978 Trillium 4500
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I have a Trillium 4500 as well. We've fixed various leaks. Some have required hose testing, etc. A few months ago we fixed a leak in the rear left corner in which water water accumulating under the cushion, similar to your leak. In our case the water was coming in through the belly band fasteners.

The problem with belly band fastener leaks is that the water tends to travel around the band. We did a temporary but very effective fix: We removed the vinyl insert, cleaned and sealed (with a quality exterior sealant) all fastener heads, re-installed the vinyl insert, AND also applied sealant between the top edge of the metal band and the upper body of the camper. We did this ALL the way around the camper. We no longer have belly band leaks.

Other considerations:

- The permanent belly band fix, as documented in other threads, is to remove the belly band, remove rusted fastening plates behind the belly band, repair and reinforce the fiberglass.
- Another prime source of leaks is the window frames, so that is another possibility. The fix is to remove, re-seal and re-install the windows. Again this is extensively documented on other threads.

Appears you have an otherwise wonderful camper!

Good luck,
John
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Old 03-10-2018, 09:01 PM   #3
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recommended sealant

For the temporary belly band repair, use a exterior grade polyurethane sealant. Never use a silicone sealant. Clean all surfaces thoroughly before applying.

For sealing window frames, butyl tape is applied between the window frame and the FG body.
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Old 03-11-2018, 11:14 AM   #4
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Name: Larry H
Trailer: Trillium
Arizona
Posts: 320
Leaks?

Hi,

My Trillium 1300 had a similar problem. Turned out that
the windows need resealing which involve the removal
of the window, resealing with new butyl tape. Across the
top I ran a tiny seal of flexible bathtub caulk on the top of the
butyl. Problem solved.

Regarding the belly band. I cleaned the top of the band and the
surface body, masked it off, and ran a small bead of acrylic
paste to seal the band/bodyedge to prevent water from getting
behind the belly band. You might also have to seal the rivet heads
that hide under the belly band trim piece. This seems to keep water
from entering there.

https://www.amazon.com/Tri-Art-Model...SIN=B00E7N2FBS

Good Luck,
Larry H
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Old 03-11-2018, 12:16 PM   #5
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Name: Robert
Trailer: 2015 Escape 19 "Past Tents" 2018 F150 Lariat 2.7L EB SuperCrew
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Although the classic Trillium belly band and the Escape belly band is slightly different in design, I've never really agreed with how they're done. If I have a nice one piece shell by fiberglassing the two halves together (as in my Escape), then why would I compromise the seal and introduce potential leaks by placing rivets all the way around for the belly band trim channel? After all, the band is cosmetic in my case, not structural. Would make much more sense to me to just use VHB tape or Epoxy to mount the channel. As for your leak, if it is indeed coming from the belly band, then the advice above is the way to go. Remove the insert and seal the rivets.
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Old 03-11-2018, 12:46 PM   #6
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19
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Belly band and windows are common leak sources on the Trillium. Look up one of Dave Tilson's or Randy Bishop's excellent threads on dealing with both. All in all, the old Trillium design was pretty good, but after 37 years, its known weaknesses are bound to pop up.
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Old 03-11-2018, 12:56 PM   #7
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I will chime in with Thrifty Bill. In the short time we've had our 40 year old Trillium (and Bolers), we have had to re-seal virtually all the "through hull" and hull mounted fixtures including windows, belly band, water inlets/outlets, roof vent, cabinet mounting rivets, etc. If done right, re-sealing is good for another 20-30 years.
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Old 03-11-2018, 01:10 PM   #8
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Name: kenny
Trailer: Bigfoot 13'
Utah
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water likes to move up hill. Water will flow down over a sealed top edge and return upward at the bottom adhering by surface tension. water can then flow where there is least resistance. sealing should be done where water can enter.
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Old 03-11-2018, 02:13 PM   #9
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 1979 Boler1700
Maple Ridge, B.C.
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Our Boler was leaking at the belly band in the dinette and rear bench. I epoxied the old screw holes shut then epoxied plywood blocks where the screws used to go into the belly band. Any screws go into the plywood blocks and not the belly ban. If you use this method make sure you don't use screws longer than the width of the plywood blocks.
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Old 03-11-2018, 02:39 PM   #10
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Name: Jann
Trailer: Casita
Colorado
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Originally Posted by nimtice View Post
Hi all,

My trillium 4500 has been sitting for a couple months through the Oregon winter. I opened it up to prep for a spring trip and was sad to see that one of the dinette seat cushions was soaked and mold was growing on the wall behind. I discovered that a window was not completely closed and so assumed that was the problem. I cleaned everything up, but now two days later the cushion was wet again! I tried to figure out where the water may be coming from and my best guess is that there is a leak in the seal between top and bottom halves in the rear corner where the dinette seat is. See pictures for where I think the water was getting in.

So, my question is how do I re seal this? What is the best product to use? Can I simply seal from the exterior or do I need to disassemble anything for cleaning? Any help is appreciated!!

Tim
If you determine it is the window the only proper way to fix it is to remove window and properly reinstall it. We've been there and done that at least twice and no amount of sealant will take care of it for long. If you like to travel and not have problems don't try to put a Band-Aid like tape and sealant on it. Do it right for a permanent fix.
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