Surfside info request - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-17-2009, 03:22 PM   #1
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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
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Old 01-17-2009, 05:23 PM   #2
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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
I have a 1976 Surfside TM14. Its made by Triple E ( A Winnipeg company I believe) They still make trailers. The only thing I don't like about mine is that the furnace is right below the fridge and heat rises so it gets quite hot. There is a drawer between the two but if on to long the drawer gets really hot. If there is a model out there where the furnace is away from or above the fridge it would be better. Otherwise I love it (I don't use the furnace that often). Otherwise its very functional. I don't use the water system but it works the same as most trailers.. Also they are usually only equipped with 15 amp service and most campsites are 30 amp. You can save spending the money and just by a $15.00 15 to 30 amp convertor. The last thing I can think of is that unlike the fiberglass interior of the Trillium, the Surfsides have the ensolite walls which when get old can look ugly but since it can be painted it can be brought back. Above all, the Surfside is a decent functional trailer. Hope this helps
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Old 01-17-2009, 11:03 PM   #3
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...information regarding the manufacturer and certain problems to look for.
Since Surfside is one of the brands that are no longer manufactured, I would think that it would be a moot subject. Most molded fiberglass trailers share the same generic problems as they age. I don't think any one manufacturer had significantly shoddier workmanship than the others.

One thing I always thought was cool about Surfside was that they put their refrigerators up at eye level, while others kept them low. I also like Surfside's front kitchen floor plan, in addition to their having a standard floor plan.
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Old 01-18-2009, 12:01 AM   #4
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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.)


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* 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.


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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.

Good luck!
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Old 01-18-2009, 11:55 AM   #5
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Thank you, everyone for the information I've learned alot already, you all have been very helpfull. Not sure if I'm going to pursue this surfside as it doesn't sound as good as a Trillium. I wonder what type of fiberglass trailer has the best ratings for quality. hmmmm?

cheers, Deb
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Old 01-18-2009, 12:15 PM   #6
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Honestly, I think anything that has lasted 30 years+ can be called a quality product. In the end it may be the condition of the trailer that will matter most to you. Are you prepared to take on a major reno job or do you just want to go and camp.

All the trailers have advantages/disadvantages. For example, the Trilliums had an all fiberglass interior included floor and cabinets. This great from a maintenance point of view, no so great if you want to modify the interior. I like the height of the Trillium but it both causes more air drag and costs more on our BC Ferries then a Boler.

In the end the added interior height and all the windows are what made us choose a Trillium over the Boler's and Scamp's in our area.

Saying that, if you have the money maybe you should consider a new Escape trailer - you will find nothing but accolades for the quality of their products =)
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Old 02-05-2009, 01:26 PM   #7
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We bought a 14.5' Surfside project trailer last year.


* 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.

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.

Peter,

Were you guys able to jerry-rig some means of continuing to use your Surfside until you HAD to gut it for structural repairs? Also, did you come across a source for window cranks?

Thank you,
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Old 02-05-2009, 02:44 PM   #8
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Peter,

Were you guys able to jerry-rig some means of continuing to use your Surfside until you HAD to gut it for structural repairs? Also, did you come across a source for window cranks?

Thank you,

Most trailer sales/parts stores have the window cranks.
It's best to bring 1 with you.
They are not expensive at all.
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Old 02-05-2009, 04:09 PM   #9
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Were you guys able to jerry-rig some means of continuing to use your Surfside until you HAD to gut it for structural repairs? Also, did you come across a source for window cranks?
We have both a Scamp 5th wheel and the Surfside, so we've been trailering with the 5er until the Surfside is fixed. That said, we've noticed the sagging has gotten worse over time, and really needs to be repaired before we start using the trailer again.
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:05 PM   #10
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Drill a couple of holes in the bottom of the door. Mine had a couple of gallons of water in it.
Otherwise it is awesome. The bed is wide enough for at 6'2", we tore out the old wooden interiour and redid it in pine. Painted the exteriour with zebra stripes, and finished the interiour with animal print fabrics.
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:13 PM   #11
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Drill a couple of holes in the bottom of the door. Mine had a couple of gallons of water in it.
Otherwise it is awesome. The bed is wide enough for at 6'2", we tore out the old wooden interiour and redid it in pine. Painted the exteriour with zebra stripes, and finished the interiour with animal print fabrics.
oooh Pictures????
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:58 PM   #12
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oooh Pictures????
Pictures!!! Scheme sounds way cool! We talked about leopard print and zebra stripe fabrics inside but the exterior in stripes sounds very good.

My sagging door issue rather seems to be buggered screw backing inside the door itself. The hinge screws are unable to get gription these days. Anyone know if there's plywood inside? I guess a 2-part epoxy spooged into the old (cleaned) holes and re-pilot drilled should get us back in action. ('78 Surf Side 14)

Thanks,

F
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Old 02-06-2009, 06:34 PM   #13
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Pictures!!! Scheme sounds way cool! We talked about leopard print and zebra stripe fabrics inside but the exterior in stripes sounds very good.

My sagging door issue rather seems to be buggered screw backing inside the door itself. The hinge screws are unable to get gription these days. Anyone know if there's plywood inside? I guess a 2-part epoxy spooged into the old (cleaned) holes and re-pilot drilled should get us back in action. ('78 Surf Side 14)

Thanks,

F
You can simply drill right thru to the inside,
and replace the screws with SS bolts,and use SS acorn nuts on the inside so no one has to ever worry about loosing your door while traveling, or scratching themselves rubbing up against the inside of the door(in case of too many wabbly pops).
That will solve alot of the door adjusting problems.
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Old 02-06-2009, 07:01 PM   #14
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Pictures!!! Scheme sounds way cool! We talked about leopard print and zebra stripe fabrics inside but the exterior in stripes sounds very good.

My sagging door issue rather seems to be buggered screw backing inside the door itself. The hinge screws are unable to get gription these days. Anyone know if there's plywood inside? I guess a 2-part epoxy spooged into the old (cleaned) holes and re-pilot drilled should get us back in action. ('78 Surf Side 14)

Thanks,

F
Hi Francis... I used a product called Tech Steel to fill the cloverleaf shaped holes in the door. You can re drill the 1/4" hole in 1 hr. google www.nlsproducts.ca to read all about it!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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