74 Trillum 13' Leak - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-12-2008, 11:08 AM   #1
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So - I spent the weekend removing three of the four windows in our Trillium, repalcing the rotten plywood with clear cedar, new butyl tape, reaplcing all the screws with stainless (who in their right mind woudl use drywall screws on a trailer??? SHEESH!) and replacing a leaky roof vent.

the end result: it still leaks.

i think it must be the belly band - there are some places where it bowed up and I can almost get a finger between the firbre glass and the metal of the band.

Can anyone tell me how to get the band off, what to seal it with, and how to re-install it?

thanks

Barry

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Old 11-12-2008, 11:25 AM   #2
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i think it must be the belly band - there are some places where it bowed up and I can almost get a finger between the firbre glass and the metal of the band.

Can anyone tell me how to get the band off, what to seal it with, and how to re-install it?
The belly band is held by rivets that grab onto metal clips that are glassed-in from the inside under a layer of resin (under the ensolite, that is). It isn't supposed to leak by design, but leaks do develop when the original steel rivets rust out and water seeps-in and freezes inside, causing small cracks to appear in the seam.

I fixed this nicely on our trailer by gently peeling off the ensolite with a sharp scraper and replacing the rivets with aluminium or SS ones that grab into a matching washer on the inside, then fiberglassed over them and glued the ensolite back on.

I'll be happy to provide any more details if necessary.
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Old 11-12-2008, 11:51 AM   #3
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Hi Barry,
The answer above is good, but trust me, no need to cut Ensolite/Membrane on inside. My way is 100% full-proof!! Do it from the outside.

I owned 3 Trillium's at once and had that same issue with 2 of them. Remove the black vinyl cover that is in the slot of the belly band 1st. The bowed areas that you stated, just carefully slide a plastic putty knife and gently pull belly band away from the trailer as far as it can go naturally. Then clean and carefully drill out old rivets that are still in belly band. The holes that are exposed from the bad rivets on the body only, just clean and use a dap of 100% clear silicone to seal water out. Now get yourself 5/32" x 1/4" to 1/2" length rivets. Drill holes to fit the rivet on each side of the bad rivets through both the belly band and the body while pressing the belly band to the body. This will give you a perfect fit when you install the new rivets. Once each rivet is installed, take that same 100% clear silicone and put a dap over each rivet. Repeat this around the entire belly. Clean the track of the belly band and for about $5.00 to $10.00 you can replace your old black vinyl molding to make it look like new. Last thing you must do is with that same tube of 100% silicone. Do a small bead on the top only of the belly band all the way around the trailer. Go back with your forefinger and slide it for a smooth clear "WATERPROOF" finish. This will solve your problem. If you have any question please ask me. Note: This will avoid removable of the entire belly band!

Dave
"The Trillim King"
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Old 11-12-2008, 01:37 PM   #4
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I think that Bolers are close enough in general design that you could do the same as I did when painting the trailer. I drilled out the old rivets and removed the belly band. Then I got a tube of SPOT PUTTY from an automotive repair section at CTC and squeezed it into the crack between the upper and lower halfs of the trailer. Sanded the edge smooth and re-rivited the band back into place. While I had the belly band off, I polished it with aluminum and mag polish made for car rims. It came up great!
BTW...
There should actually be no leakage in this area. The two small ridges covered by the 'band' are only there to help the manufacturer clamp everything in together while they add several layers of fiberglass to the INSIDE. Then it's cheaper and easier to cover it with trim than to smooth the whole body. If you are still getting moisture it may be travelling under your ensolite or ratfur. It can seep quite a distance. If you have one, how is your canopy rail fastened? Or your roof vent? Do you have rain gutters?
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Old 11-12-2008, 01:46 PM   #5
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The holes that are exposed from the bad rivets on the body only, just clean and use a dap of 100% clear silicone to seal water out.
Dave, I like your approach. One thing worth noting is you should be careful not to drill all the way through the ensolite, though there is a small gap before reaching the membrane. In my case, the ensolite was half peeled off already so this was a no-brainer. But doesn't silicone have a somewhat limited useful lifetime and is more prone to sneaky leaks later? But I wonder if you could do it from the outside, but permanently sealing the holes with epoxy or resin beforehand instead of silicone. Thoughts?

Still amazing that within less than an hour you get two different approaches on how to fix a leak in the belly band of a 34 year old Trillium without having to remove it.
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Old 11-12-2008, 02:05 PM   #6
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I think that Bolers are close enough in general design that you could do the same as I did when painting the trailer. I drilled out the old rivets and removed the belly band. Then I got a tube of SPOT PUTTY from an automotive repair section at CTC and squeezed it into the crack between the upper and lower halfs of the trailer. Sanded the edge smooth and re-rivited the band back into place. While I had the belly band off, I polished it with aluminum and mag polish made for car rims. It came up great!
BTW...
There should actually be no leakage in this area. The two small ridges covered by the 'band' are only there to help the manufacturer clamp everything in together while they add several layers of fiberglass to the INSIDE. Then it's cheaper and easier to cover it with trim than to smooth the whole body. If you are still getting moisture it may be travelling under your ensolite or ratfur. It can seep quite a distance. If you have one, how is your canopy rail fastened? Or your roof vent? Do you have rain gutters?
we have no canopy no gutters

I replaced the rivets on the drip guard over the door with new ss bolts and acorn nuts - and replaced the butyl putty there... ti was leaking as well.

I replaced the rivets holding the front window cover with SS as well, and new buytl tape, and and the same for the track for holding the cover - hopefully that will stop those leaks.

I am thinking that some water got in while the window was out and being cleaned (my tarp did leak a bit) and that I will let it dry out for a few days and see if it leaks next rainstorm.... maybe its' "old water" just finally making its way out???

i will probably pull the belly band anyway, check for rotten rivets / clips...re-seal with epoxy or resin (JB Weld) and then re-install it...I need to re-do the top black sealant - in a few places you can see right through it...
I will re-do it with the 3M Uv4000....

Barry
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Old 11-12-2008, 02:29 PM   #7
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I am thinking that some water got in while the window was out and being cleaned (my tarp did leak a bit) and that I will let it dry out for a few days and see if it leaks next rainstorm.... maybe its' "old water" just finally making its way out???
...
I need to re-do the top black sealant - in a few places you can see right through it...
You should be able to easily find out using a garden hose. Not sure about "old water"... depends on the amount you're seeing, I guess. By the way, what's the top black sealant you're talking about?

Happy leak hunting...
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Old 11-12-2008, 03:08 PM   #8
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You should be able to easily find out using a garden hose. Not sure about "old water"... depends on the amount you're seeing, I guess. By the way, what's the top black sealant you're talking about?

Happy leak hunting...

I'm referring to the black stuff on the top of the belly band - it looks like black rubber caulking?

Wish i was at home and I'd take a picture for you...
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Old 11-12-2008, 04:04 PM   #9
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Dave, I like your approach. One thing worth noting is you should be careful not to drill all the way through the ensolite, though there is a small gap before reaching the membrane. In my case, the ensolite was half peeled off already so this was a no-brainer. But doesn't silicone have a somewhat limited useful lifetime and is more prone to sneaky leaks later? But I wonder if you could do it from the outside, but permanently sealing the holes with epoxy or resin beforehand instead of silicone. Thoughts?

Still amazing that within less than an hour you get two different approaches on how to fix a leak in the belly band of a 34 year old Trillium without having to remove it.
Hi Dan,
Thanks for your thoughts! You are right on the reply's! You are probably right on using the epoxy or resin. I would go one step further and use my fiberglass based epoxy that I used to repair a couple of the trillium's and scamp's I sold. I store my 1978 Trillium 4500 Deluxe in my garage for the winter. The silicone has held up for almost the entire 6 years I have own it. My ensolite was mint on all 3. Thanks!

Dave
"The Trillium King"
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Old 11-12-2008, 05:10 PM   #10
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I don't believe that any caulking is necessary on the top of the belly band if it's installed with sealant on the rivets (which, as was mentioned, don't lead to the interior anyway unless something has been modified).

As I understand it the seam between the two fiberglass halves of the trailer is fiberglassed to hold the two halves together, and the belly band is just ornamental trim. The metal plates inside (but on the outside of the fiberglass joining strip) are to catch the rivets so that they don't have to penetrate the interior.

I'll admit I've got a "thing" about this (too many years working on boats), so I'm kind of opinionated on the subject, but in general, I believe that caulking around the outside rim of something is more of a stop-gap. The sealant doing the real job is beneath the flange of the item, and needs to have the partremoved and replaced in order to redo it. The belly band is a slightly different case, but I think the principle would still apply (sealant beneath the band before clamping to body or before tightening fasteners or rivets).

I do like that the design of the Trillium does not have too many "hull" penetrations.

Good luck tracking down your leak, Barry. At least you can console yourself that it was probably time to re-bed most of those other things anyway, and you can eliminate them from your "to-do" list.

This is a great group - there's nothing like posting a query and getting "instant" responses.

Raya
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Old 11-12-2008, 05:29 PM   #11
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On a positive note look at all the stuff you did to prevent future leaks...!!!! always a plus


Quote:
So - I spent the weekend removing three of the four windows in our Trillium, repalcing the rotten plywood with clear cedar, new butyl tape, reaplcing all the screws with stainless (who in their right mind woudl use drywall screws on a trailer??? SHEESH!) and replacing a leaky roof vent.

the end result: it still leaks.

i think it must be the belly band - there are some places where it bowed up and I can almost get a finger between the firbre glass and the metal of the band.

Can anyone tell me how to get the band off, what to seal it with, and how to re-install it?

thanks

Barry
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Old 11-12-2008, 06:24 PM   #12
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I don't believe that any caulking is necessary on the top of the belly band if it's installed with sealant on the rivets (which, as was mentioned, don't lead to the interior anyway unless something has been modified).

As I understand it the seam between the two fiberglass halves of the trailer is fiberglassed to hold the two halves together, and the belly band is just ornamental trim. The metal plates inside (but on the outside of the fiberglass joining strip) are to catch the rivets so that they don't have to penetrate the interior.

I'll admit I've got a "thing" about this (too many years working on boats), so I'm kind of opinionated on the subject, but in general, I believe that caulking around the outside rim of something is more of a stop-gap. The sealant doing the real job is beneath the flange of the item, and needs to have the partremoved and replaced in order to redo it. The belly band is a slightly different case, but I think the principle would still apply (sealant beneath the band before clamping to body or before tightening fasteners or rivets).

I do like that the design of the Trillium does not have too many "hull" penetrations.

Good luck tracking down your leak, Barry. At least you can console yourself that it was probably time to re-bed most of those other things anyway, and you can eliminate them from your "to-do" list.

This is a great group - there's nothing like posting a query and getting "instant" responses.

Raya
I see myself weeks from now, wandering around in the driveway cursing to myself and arguing with the ensolite... no sleep for weeks - dreaming about drips of water.....and then getting out a pneumatic hammer and cutting the damn trailer in half, just to find the cursed leak!

...sort of like Bill Murray in Caddyshack trying to get the gopher on the golf course!

seriosuly though - we have had the trailer for two weeks and this group has been fantastic - lots of great information and the instant responses are a real plus!

Barry
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Old 11-12-2008, 06:51 PM   #13
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I see myself weeks from now, wandering around in the driveway cursing to myself and arguing with the ensolite... no sleep for weeks - dreaming about drips of water.....and then getting out a pneumatic hammer and cutting the damn trailer in half, just to find the cursed leak!
Hee. I remember you now because you were asking about towing with a Ford Focus. Have you by chance posted photos of your "new" Trillium on the forum? I bet I'm not the only one who would enjoy taking a look.

Boats are the worst for tracking down leaks - where the water drips onto your bunk can be a long way from where it's actually leaking into the boat. Frustrating! Actually, you might think along those lines: That the water could be traveling a distance before it shows up inside (such as behind the Ensolite). You may already be on that, of course...

R.
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Old 11-12-2008, 09:04 PM   #14
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Hee. I remember you now because you were asking about towing with a Ford Focus. Have you by chance posted photos of your "new" Trillium on the forum? I bet I'm not the only one who would enjoy taking a look.

Boats are the worst for tracking down leaks - where the water drips onto your bunk can be a long way from where it's actually leaking into the boat. Frustrating! Actually, you might think along those lines: That the water could be traveling a distance before it shows up inside (such as behind the Ensolite). You may already be on that, of course...

R.
that's me! (us) we were hoping to tow with a Focus - no joy - and are now settled on picking up a Subaru Forester in the spring.

I have taken photos of the before of the trailer and will post a few - we were going to do a 'grand reveal' of the before and after when the whole thing is done....
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