Working on a Trillium 5500 - Page 8 - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 05-31-2016, 10:18 AM   #99
Senior Member
 
Carl V's Avatar
 
Name: Carl
Trailer: 1981 Trillium 5500
Quebec
Posts: 448
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
I wonder how they keep that mirror like finish?
They have to polish them.

The idea was to save weight, so applying a clear coat would defeat this.
American Airlines used to have their planes mostly on bare aluminium. Their opinion it they were saving money on weight and repainting jobs, and those savings outweighed the increased maintenance cost of the bare aluminium skin.
See:
http://infohouse.p2ric.org/ref/28/27906.pdf

Now I must say that quite often I found AA planes looked shabby. Didn't look shiny at all. Maintaining a mirror finish on bare aluminium requires regular polishing, and I don't think their planes got that polishing job too often.

Most other airlines figured that the weight saving wasn't worth the extra maintenance cost and had their planes painted.

Many newer aircrafts having composite parts that can't be polished, AA had those parts painted gray. An Airbus half-painted and half-aluminium sure don't look as nice as an old 707 on shiny aluminium. Eventually AA abandoned the bare skin and went for a full body paint on their newer livery. May be they figured the bare skin was not as cost effective as they first said.
Here's what Boeing says about this:
Painting versus Polishing of Airplane Exterior Surfaces

A friend of mine built his own aircraft, a Van's RV-7, a single engine two-seater with a full aluminium body. He didn't paint it but decided to polish it. No clear coat, just polished aluminium. Man did he spent hours and hours on this project. But the aircraft was a beauty, the skin was like a mirror. Just like the older Airstream trailers.

Me, I'm flying "Ice Blue" painted planes and nobody really likes it!
__________________

__________________
Carl V is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2016, 08:05 AM   #100
Senior Member
 
Carl V's Avatar
 
Name: Carl
Trailer: 1981 Trillium 5500
Quebec
Posts: 448
Registry
As previously, mainly a repost from my restoration blog.

Range

Despite all the reno work in my house, I managed to find some time to work on the trailer. My next job on the Trillium is to replace the counter top. It has already been replaced in the past by a previous owner, 6-7 years ago. He used a length of Formica/Arborite type laminate from a hardware store.

It's not super nice, but the worst is when the gas range was put back in, it wasn't properly installed, and as a result the laminate is now damaged, and worst of all, so is the range...

Here's the old counter top:




Damage is visible to the right of the range. Other side has similar cracks.

Not sure if I can explain that right as my english isn't perfect, but if you look closely you will notice that the metal trims on each side of the range actually rest on top of the counter. The range itself is supposed to rest in the bottom of the cabinet, where it has "legs" to support its weight, but when this range was put back in, the whole weight of the unit was resting on these metal edges, especially at the front of the unit. The edges are mainly decorative and are not designed to support the entire weight of the range, and the metal had actually started to tear at the corners.



The opposite corner, torn metal trim.



So I need to replace the countertop, then somehow fix those sharp and dangerous edges on the range.
First step was to get the range out of the cabinet. It wasn't held in there by much, 3 or 4 loose screws. I had to take the oven door apart because one hinge wasn't working properly. The bolts inside had loosen over time and fell inside. This wasn't hard to fix. So here's the range on its side with the dismantled oven door:



I did test the range last fall, and I know for sure it's working right, all 3 top burners and the oven as well. Speaking of the oven, the interior looks like it has never been used, it's like new. But the top sure needed some cleaning. See:



Close up shots of the damaged edges. Try cooking without cutting your wrists open!


https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-z...0/IMG_2348.JPG

I wasn't sure what to do with this. This range model dates back from the 70's, so there's is now way I can get new replacement parts for this. I checked at the local hardware stores if I could find some sort of metal trim or extrusion that I could use to cap these edges with and hide the damaged parts, but I never really find anything suitable.

Then I had this idea of keeping this simple. I didn't know if it would work, but I decided to try it. I thought of simply cover the damaged trim with a small aluminium L bracket.

I already had a piece of 1" X 2", 1/8" thick aluminium angle in my shop. I got my L brackets by cutting a strip, about 3/4" wide, out of it.



(Continued..)
__________________

__________________
Carl V is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2016, 08:09 AM   #101
Senior Member
 
Carl V's Avatar
 
Name: Carl
Trailer: 1981 Trillium 5500
Quebec
Posts: 448
Registry
Then I smoothed it out and beveled the edges, using a simple hand file.





Then a bit of hand sanding. Next I drilled 3 holes, and countersunk them. Then some polishing.

Last year I bought a metal polishing kit at Canadian Tire.
Mastercraft Buffing and Polishing Kit, 7-pcs | Canadian Tire
The kit includes 3 cotton buffer wheels and 3 different grades of polishing compound. It was my first time using the kit - my first time polishing aluminium I should say - and I was amazed at the results. Within minutes, my little brackets became like chrome.



I can't believe how easy and quick the metal went from dull aluminium to a mirror finish, and that didn't take hours, it got shiny like that less than 5 minutes!! I never expected a nice result like this:






Using small stainless bolts, I mounted the brackets over the damaged corners of the range, effectively hiding and reinforcing the broken edges. And the result doesn't look bad or out of place (my wife approved!!)




(Continued...)
__________________
Carl V is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2016, 08:18 AM   #102
Senior Member
 
Carl V's Avatar
 
Name: Carl
Trailer: 1981 Trillium 5500
Quebec
Posts: 448
Registry
I thoroughly cleaned the dirt and rust on the stove top interior, and cleaned the burners, then sprayed some hi-temp paint (gas grill paint actually).
Looks much better now:



The space in the cabinet where the range sits wasn't super clean, so we did some cleaning in there too. There are some old stains caused by water, food spills or whatever, but the wood wasn't damaged at all. I must say that the cabinet construction is very nice in general, good plywood and solid wood, nothing like the stapled particle board (cardboard!) found in today's RVs.



With the range out of the cabinet I was able to take apart the top "hutch" and remove the old counter top.
Now I could see that my furnace, which sits in the same cabinet, just left of the range, looks like it could use some TLC...
Oh well, might as well tackle this one right now.




The furnace

The gas furnace in the 5500 is a Coleman ST-200 forced-air furnace. It's got a LP gas heat exchanger, a 12V fan, and is thermostat-controlled. It's a rather simple and older design. It's got no electronic or automatic ignition, there is a pilot flame that has to be manually lighted with a match or ideally, a grill lighter. This pilot flame in turn ignites the main burner according to the thermostat signal, and then the fan kicks in and pushes the warm air around when the heat exchanger gets hot enough. Simple enough, but the thing is, last time I tried I couldn't get this furnace to light up.



It was last fall, I decided to give the heater a try, and I never succeeded. The pilot wouldn't stay lit, it went out as soon as I released the start button. And the flame was very tiny, certainly not enough to properly heat the thermocouple. Now with the range removed from the cabinet and the LP gas line disconnected, and my 12V system being a mess for now, there was no way I could test the furnace again.

So I took it out of the cabinet. Only about 4 screws to remove, the main gas line and some wires to disconnect, and the furnace simply slid out the cabinet.

I installed the furnace outside on a table, rigged a gas bottle and regulator, and used my 12V booster pack as a 12V source.



You can get the manuals for this heater in the document center of the forum (which explain why my laptop sits on the table by the furnace. Not, this heater doesn't have any USB ports or Wifi connectivity!!)
The manual includes the wiring schematic, which is quite simple.

The main heater switch has been replaced in the past with some generic switch that wouldn't fit the mounting hole of the original, so it was just hanging there by the wires.



I couldn't even figure On from OFF on that switch, so I replaced it with a new one that's like the original.



I tried again to light the pilot burner but just like last year, it wouldn't stay lit. This is often caused by a defective thermocouple, but with such a tiny flame even with the valve button fully depressed, I figured there was something wrong with the valve or the pilot burner. Then I saw some flames coming from lower down the pilot burner, from the air inlet holes. It was hard to seen since all of this is inside the heat exchanger and the only access is a 1" hole used to light it up with a match. So there I was using a flashlight trying to see what's going on in there through that small hole.
Eventually I decided to take the pilot and thermocouple unit off the heat exchanger. Just a couple nuts to remove, but the hardest part was trying not to bend the thin metal tubes too much.



(Continued...)
__________________
Carl V is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2016, 08:21 AM   #103
Senior Member
 
Carl V's Avatar
 
Name: Carl
Trailer: 1981 Trillium 5500
Quebec
Posts: 448
Registry
Once I had the pilot burner in my hands I saw right away that it was completely clogged with dirt of rust. I gave it a good cleaning, using some carb cleaner and compressed air, then made sure the jet (orifice) was clean.
I put everything back in place and tried it again. Now I got a nice blue and stable pilot flame, directed right at the thermocouple as it should. I released the start button, and the flame stayed perfectly stable. Great !!
Then I shorted the thermostat wires together, simulating a "closed" thermostat, and immediately I heard the 'click' of the main gas valve opening, then right after I heard the main burner ignite! Again, nice blue and stable flame. And heat!! After a couple minutes, the blower kicked in. I was relieved! I ran the heater through its paces, starting it up and shutting it down, simulating start cycles, all was good. I made sure here wasn't any leaks, cleaned the dust, cleaned and spray painted the outside.
There was a safety paper label on the front panel that was dirty and almost unreadable. The same label appeared in the manual, so I printed off a new one and used it to replace the old one.




Then I put it back in the cabinet. Looks much better now, and it works!



I applied a some wood stain in the cabinet where the range sits. Please no comments on the ugly color, that was a leftover, and it will be hidden anyway (good thing!!). I just wanted to protect the wood from any water, spill or moisture, and give it a cleaner look and better smell!



Now I'm ready to put the new counter top, then reinstall the range, sink, and a new faucet.
__________________
Carl V is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2016, 01:59 AM   #104
Member
 
Name: Linda
Trailer: Boler 17 ft
Ontario
Posts: 76
Wow!

You are a brave and handy man! Good job!

Linda
__________________
Linda Stewart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2016, 07:48 AM   #105
Senior Member
 
Carl V's Avatar
 
Name: Carl
Trailer: 1981 Trillium 5500
Quebec
Posts: 448
Registry
Last weekend I put on my new countertop.

Wife wanted stainless, so I found a way to get one at a decent price. I found a SS service table at a restaurant equipment store. That's the type of rectangular table with 4 legs, sometimes on wheels, with a lower shelf, commonly used in restaurants and hotels. Its available in many sizes, including 24" X 48", the exact size of my countertop, and has finished edges all around.

I looked carefully at the table before buying it, to make sure it would fit the top of my cabinet. The guy at this store said I wasn't the first one to buy a similar table to cap a counter in an RV or house. For small project like this, it is a much more affordable option than a custom made SS countertop.

So last Saturday I got my 4" angle grinder out, put on a cutting disk, and went on to butcher that nice and shiny new table!

I needed to cut a hole for the sink, an opening for the range, cut one of the corners off to make it fit the trailer wall near the door frame, and two 1" holes for the faucet.
On that 1st picture, there wasn't anything cut yet, I was just checking how all of this would fit on top of my cabinet. The table comes with a white protective plastic film, on which I draw where I was going to cut, using the old countertop as a guide.



That's the underside of the table. It's shiny as a mirror. There are two stiffeners running lengthwise under the table, and make it 3/4" thick, the same thickness as the original counter top. The 4 brackets for the table legs, which I will need to cut off, are visible.



I started by cutting off the corner as needed. Only one corner needed to be cut like this, the other 3 stayed square. I was almost getting blind with the sun reflecting on the shiny surface!



After I just cut the 4 leg brackets:



Here I'm about to cut the hole for the sink:



Just checking the fitment. Looks good so far:



One more fitment test after I cut the opening for the range:



I slid the range in, just to make sure it fits right:



(continued next post)
__________________
Carl V is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2016, 07:50 AM   #106
Senior Member
 
Carl V's Avatar
 
Name: Carl
Trailer: 1981 Trillium 5500
Quebec
Posts: 448
Registry
Then I drilled the two holes for the faucet, using a bi-metal hole saw. Worked like a charm, and while drilling I kept spraying some WD40 lube to avoid any overheating of the saw or metal sheet:



The following pictures show the final result. I took the protective film off, then simply put the range, sink and faucet in place and snapped the pictures. Nothing is screwed in yet, I just wanted to see how it looks. Still some cleaning left to do.







Good enough, and the wife is happy! (most important point!)
It was a bit pricier than a laminate counter top, but not by much. It wasn't harder to install either, just different. It should outlast the trailer, and we really like the look.

When I picked up the table, I was surprised at the weight. It's a pretty well built and sturdy table, and was heavier than I anticipated. But once I cut the opennings, it didn't feel much heavier than the laminate countertop it replaced. Out of curiosity, I weighted them: the SS counter is only 4.5 lbs heavier then the old counter top. I can live with that!

We also put in a new faucet. The old faucet was leaking at the base, it was an all-plastic cheapo thing, original to the trailer. We replaced it with a similar-looking, all brass, residential faucet. It was a plug'n play replacement, as the original faucet used standard fittings.
I also put a new strainer in the sink. The old one was made of "chromed plastic" and the "chrome" was peeling off. Got a new one at my local RV shop, since nothing at the hardware store would fit. That strainer is smaller than a standard kitchen sink strainer, and larger than those used for bathroom sinks. I was told they are only available from specialty plumbing stores or RV parts stores. And of course, they are twice the price of a standard one... The worst is I bought 2 because the bathroom will need a new one too!
__________________
Carl V is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2016, 09:17 AM   #107
Senior Member
 
Ellpea in CA's Avatar
 
Name: Ellpea
Trailer: Bigfoot
California
Posts: 870
Registry
Great read. Not *quite* as exciting as an episode of Game of Thrones, BUT it kept me riveted all morning anyway! You're going to have an awesome trailer when you're finished, and probably better than *new*!

Now that I'm completely caught up, will enjoy reading your reports. I like how you're doing those, BTW -- step by step per project.
__________________
Ellpea in CA
1988 13.5' Lil Bigfoot
2002 Volvo V70 (turbocharged)
5 cylinders, 5 speed auto transmission
Ellpea in CA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2016, 09:37 PM   #108
Senior Member
 
Carl V's Avatar
 
Name: Carl
Trailer: 1981 Trillium 5500
Quebec
Posts: 448
Registry
Thanks Ellpea!
We all like to see pictures of other people's' trailers, so I take a lot of pictures. But then I need to explain all of them!

The 5500 is a special trailer, not only because it is rare, but also the interior is built differently from other Trilliums (only the Jubilee is apparently similar). I just hope all of this can help other 5500 owners work on theirs, that's all!
__________________
Carl V is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2016, 05:01 PM   #109
Senior Member
 
David Tilston's Avatar
 
Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1977, 1978 (2), 1300 - 1977, 1973, and a 1972
Alberta
Posts: 5,293
Registry
Carl, I am sure that there is, and will, be several 5500 owners who really appreciate your insights. Thank you!
__________________
David Tilston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2016, 08:14 PM   #110
Senior Member
 
Carl V's Avatar
 
Name: Carl
Trailer: 1981 Trillium 5500
Quebec
Posts: 448
Registry
I'm almost done rebuilding and installing the cabinet above the kitchen counter. Looks super nice so far. I'll have pictures and update this post tomorrow night or monday.
__________________
Carl V is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2016, 11:12 AM   #111
Member
 
Anne-Marie L's Avatar
 
Name: Anne-Marie
Trailer: 1977 Trillium 1300
Ontario
Posts: 72
Very nice work Carl and resourceful too! Looking forward to continued photos.
__________________
Anne-Marie L is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2016, 07:39 PM   #112
Senior Member
 
Carl V's Avatar
 
Name: Carl
Trailer: 1981 Trillium 5500
Quebec
Posts: 448
Registry
I've redone the cabinet above the kitchen counter. I took A LOT of pictures, but due to the 8-pictures-per-post limit on this board, I will not post them all. I have over 40 pictures, it would take too much time to repost everything. So here's the condensed version of my blog post on this job. I'll put a link at the bottom if you want to access my blog and see all the pictures (and laugh or scratch your head at the goofy the Google-translated text from French to English!)

So this upper cabinet is all wood (no FG), and has two vertical supports on each side, made of plywood & pressed wood, covered with the typical "faux wood" finish. These supports are screwed against the wall into wood (for the most part, the same wood pieces as the window frames actually) with metal brackets. They also rest on the top of the counter, and that's where my problems started.

Every time there was some water or liquid spilled on the counter, the ends of the supports would soak it up. 35 years later, the ends are in pretty bad shape: the wood has swollen, delaminated, and rot. I had to do something about this.

Second issue: the bottom of this cabinet, made up of 1/8" thick plywood, had to be replaced. The inside was dirty from various spills in there over the years, it was full of holes drilled for the different lights attached under it over the years, and the "faux wood" finish was peeling just above the oven, I presume because of the heat from the burners.

Other issues: the metal brackets holding the cabinet where dirty, tarnished and rusted. There are also plastic brackets holding the shelf (common to many Trilliums) that turned yellowish over time, not very good looking. And I had some pieces of brown "edge moulding" that were missing.

First, I replaced the thin plywood at the bottom of the cabinet. To protect it from the heat from the stove just below, I doubled it with a thin aluminium sheet. I found this thin aluminium at my local hardware store, it is sold in rolls of various lengths and widths and is not very expensive. It's thin enough that you can cut it with a utility knife: you score it a few times with the knife, then snap it off. The look of the bare aluminium sheet nicely matches the stainless steel of the counter top. So here's my first picture, showing the cabinet kinda upside down, with the new aluminium-lined bottom:



I didn't want to leave the other side of the plywood on bare wood, so we applied some of that sticky vinyl liner that they sell to protect shelves. It's got a "metal" finish, it looks pretty good and matches the rest:



Then I tackle the damaged wood at the bottom of the vertical supports. Here's what it looked like:



Both support ends were like that. I salvaged what I could, but had to cut a bit off the ends and reconstruct them using new plywood and construction glue (Lepage's PL Premium). Then in an attempt to prevent the same water-sucking and wood rot issue later, I prepared some FG resin (polyester) and used it to seal the ends of the supports (that's why they look wet in the following pictures).







Using aluminium to cover the bottom of the cabinet gave me an idea. The repairs I did at the ends of the supports were visible. I thought of capping them with some of this aluminium. It would look good, and match the steel counter. So I cut 6" strips of aluminium, and sprayed some 3M's glue to attached them over both sides of the ends of the supports, effectively hiding my repairs.



(continued next post)
__________________

__________________
Carl V is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
5500, trillium


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
BC (Canada) - Trillium 5500 - 1981 - $5500 David Tilston Referrals: Molded Fiberglass Trailers 0 06-23-2015 11:07 AM
78 Trillium 4500 heater not working gomerthetrillium Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 28 01-28-2015 09:57 AM
On (Canada) - 1981 - Trillium 5500 - $5500 David Tilston Referrals: Molded Fiberglass Trailers 4 10-13-2014 11:09 AM
WA Trillium 5500 $5500 kootenaigirl Referrals: Molded Fiberglass Trailers 6 09-05-2014 09:59 AM
1976 13' Trillium and 1980 Trillium 5500 18' Jenn Classified Archives 10 05-19-2010 02:36 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:57 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.