I'm looking to purchase a used surfside and I'm trying to find information regarding the manufacturer and certain problems to look for. I had a trillium and sold it, I miss it very much and have keeping an eye out for another tiny fiberglass trailer since. I'm not familiar with the surfside, any info would be helpfull. Thanks
We bought a 14.5' Surfside project trailer last year. The two designs have a lot in common, but there are enough differences to make the Surfside easier to modify and fit our needs.
One of the major design differences between the is the windows
in the back of the trailer; the Surfside windows
are 2/3 the height of those on the Trillium, making room for upper cabinets that wrap-around the sleeper dinette. The trade-off is the smaller windows
reduce the amount of light
that comes in. The Surfside interior cabinetry is made of (easy to change and modify) wood, as opposed to fiberglass cabinets in the Trillium. The Surfside trailers also weigh somewhat less than comparably-sized Trilliums . . . which are built more sturdily, I think. (Though it can be argued that any trailer that has made it through 25 years and is still going can't be all that flimsy.)
Similarities include their overall shape and design. Both trailers have wrap-around fiberglass shells, including the underside (there is a plywood floor inside), and you have to look hard at one and the other to tell them apart from the outside.
Things wo watch out for:
* One of the Surfside's failings is a specific weakness in its frame. There's a bend where the two rectangular beams that run the length of the trailer peek out at the front of the traler to form the tounge where cracking has been known to occur. Triple-E (the company that made the Surfside) had to recall their trailers to weld on a reenforcement plate; you need to make sure any trailer you buy has the plates, one on either side of the bends on each of the two support beams, welded into place. (See the picture; please note that other variations on this repair exist.)
* Door mis-alignment due to sagging. One of the advantages of having a full finerglass hull is it protects the underside from water getting in from under the floor. Unfortunately for this grand idea, water tends to run downward, not upward, and the same fiberglass underside that keeps water from getting in from underneath does a great job of keeping water in that's somehow made its way inside the trailer. Once trapped under the floor, the trapped water rots the timbers that support the floor and helps keep the fiberglass hull's shap in-line. When the timber rots, the walls sag, and the sagging causes the opening around the door to become distorted and one side of the door to sag. Our trailer has this problem; you can see how the left upper corner of the door doesn't match the opening and has sagged downward. It's fixable, but you have to be willing to pretty much gut the trailer so you can get underneath the floor to replace the lumber and fiberglass it into place. The sagging has gotten much worse since we brought it home last Spring when ths picture was taken.
Sagging can also occur at the roof. Our roof sags over the dinette because of the weight
of the wrap-around upper cabinets. We're planning to replace our cabinets, and will build new supports into the walls and across the ceiling so the cabinets don't make the roof sag.
Most of the window operators on our trailer need to be repaired or replaced. The windows have simply been opened and closed so many times the hardware has worn out.
Another issue is wiring and plumbing. The plumbing in our Surfside is pretty basic, so no problems there, but the AC wiring one of the previous owners did looks like it was done by an untrained teenager. I will have to completely re-do all the 110V AC wiring.
There are probably other Surfside issues you should be aware of, too. These are just the ones we came across with our trailer.
I know this sounds drastic, but the truth of the matter is we bought a thirty-plus year old trailer that needs a little TLC to make it good again, and since we wanted to re-work the floorplan anyway, we were fine with that. You can save some serious money by buying an older trailer, but you'll need to invest some of that savings back into the trailer in terms of repairs.