Body Sag - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-14-2015, 01:55 PM   #1
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Trailer: 1978 Trillium 13 ft
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Body Sag

What a nightmare I am having. I've bought this trailer probably over 10 years ago and done very little. The door was falling off when I bought it and I quickly repaired the door and used it even though the door was not completely lined up with any real issues.

Last August I finally took the body off the frame to replace the axle. I took the frame to be sandblasted and painted but was ripped off. I was lucky to get the frame back with a crappy paint job and it wasnít sandblasted. I decided I would put it back together because we needed to use it and discovered the door is sagging worse. I will wait another year or two to once again get the frame done properly and rebuild the interior.

As I was sitting and looking at the trailer the other day, I noticed that the rain/drip rail above the door looks to be sagging. I took some string and put it on the belly ban and the door side is crooked, the other side seems straight. It appears the door side is sagging because of the door opening. Has anyone else ever heard of this or seen this? I donít think the frame was bent, I believe it isnít seated properly on the frame although I donít see anything.

Iím trying to figure out what to do. I was thinking of putting a spacer under the front to raise it up. I am at a loss.
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Old 04-14-2015, 02:08 PM   #2
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Is the door opening spreading at the bottom by any chance?

Don't know Trills construction but if Scamp door opening bottom is not firmly attached to the walls the bottom of the door frame spreads or one side moves outward making the opening wider at the bottom which might show up as "sag" at the top of the door or at the belly band. I know it did on mine the door looked like it was sagging down on the latch side because the bottom of the hinge side had come disconnected from the floor & frame.
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Old 04-14-2015, 02:38 PM   #3
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Steve, Yes, I have seen this, in person, and in this thread:
I just bought a mint Trillium 4500, BUT???

what I noticed about the one I saw in person is that the closet formed a high point on the roof. The front curb side was sagging. The first indications I saw was a spreading crack in the top of the door frame, near the front. Then I noticed compression at the bottom of the door frame, in the corner on the hinge side.

I have since examined my six Trilliums. They all show cracks in the gel coat around the bottom hinge side corner of the door frame that seem to be the result of compression forces. This is likely a much more common problem then previously thought.

I am at a loss, trying to come up with a solution to the front curb side, (door side) of the trailer sagging. Possibly a cradle to support that corner, welded to the frame? Reinforcement of the door frame with additional fibreglass? A truss across the gaucho?
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Old 04-14-2015, 03:10 PM   #4
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The Trillium floors are attached to the walls unlike Bolers so that should not be an issue but thanks.

I went out and took a photo on my phone to post but can't figure it out.

This is very interesting. As I keep looking at it, I keep having more questions. One of my first thoughts were that since the bolts are so far apart, maybe it didn't seat itself well where the closet is located. I later thought that something was wrong on the front corner. I guess it is the same no matter how you look at it.

I'm thinking I need to try and level the frame and again look at the lines on the belly ban. If it goes up, the problem is near the closet. If it is straight and the front corner dipped down, something bad is happening at that bolt mount. If the frame won't level, I've got frame issues.

I would think that if the frame were straight, even this weak space would be straight. The frame would support it and keep it level. Something has to be between the frame and the body if the frame is straight.
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Old 04-14-2015, 03:26 PM   #5
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Take a look at the roof. Does the closet form a high point on the flat section of the roof beside the trolly roof?

BTW, the belly band on the door just doesn't line up with the belly band on the trailer. The latch side of the door will always be lower then the latch side of the coach. It's how they made them.
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Old 04-14-2015, 03:28 PM   #6
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Just quickly read the other post. That was what I was fearing because I'm not sure I can fix it. I also see my picture did post. This could take a very long time for me to repair.
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Old 04-14-2015, 03:55 PM   #7
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Just went and put a straight edge on the floor and that corner takes a dive. I am guessing the floor is rotted out in that corner. I was suppose to be repairing the interior this winter but more important things came up. Now I'm going to have to do a quick temp fix for this summer, I need the trailer sometime in the next 3 weeks. We hope to move this fall so maybe another 10 years or so.
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Old 04-14-2015, 03:58 PM   #8
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Bummer!
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Old 04-14-2015, 04:49 PM   #9
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Steve, Please post pictures of the problem. This is something that any prospective Trillium buyer should be aware of. It would help to know what to look for.
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Old 04-15-2015, 06:48 PM   #10
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I will do my best with the picture. My wife just wants me to sell it and buy a larger camper. We did go look at one today but she backed out because I told her I wasn't going to sell the Trillium. So back to work.


At this moment I have been trying a lot of different things. I put a yard stick on the frame from front to back and everything looks straight. I loosen the front curb side bolt and jacked the body all the way up until the frame started to lift. The door was aligned with the old marks on the striker plate. That was a huge gap to fill between the frame and body. I loosen all the bolts and put a 7/16 inch stack of washers under the front and it still doesn't work. I jacked up the rear and put in 3/16 inch of washers with the front still in and tightened the middle. It still does not work, but I need more washers and a longer front bolt.


The main floor board ends just past the door toward the front of the trailer. The front bolt does not go through this board and the board feels solid. The front bolts go through what looks like a 2X8 that is only fiberglassed to the floor by itself. This board also feels solid. I can not see how this would effect the door sag.


Everything was working prior to taking the body off and changing the axle. I'm wondering if the place that replaced the axle separated the frame when they took off the old axle and re-welded everything back together at a different angle. Now if they did that, you would think the bolt holes would not line up either.


Maybe I am overthinking this. I have so much to do this summer I don't see how I will ever get this fixed. I am just trying to get it usable right now. We are hoping to move this winter and next summer I hope to go at this full bore.
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Old 04-15-2015, 07:06 PM   #11
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I will be thinking about you Steve. May the fibreglass be with you.
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Old 04-16-2015, 12:51 AM   #12
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I have been thinking about this quite a bit, (obsessing). I am fairly sure that your frame is fine, the fibrelgass itself is sagging around the frame. I beleive that the large opening of the door has weakened the structure of the shell. An extra amount of glass around the opening might have helped. The top of the door is pulled appart, and the bottom front corner is compressed. Attached are pictures of the bottom front corners of the doors on four of the six trailers I have. The Cantaloupe's paint hide any cracks, and Humpty Dumpty doesn't have any. I don't think that trailer saw any road time. Why your trailer, and not others is a mystery. I would like to offer some suggestions, (WAG's) on what to try to fix it.

First, I have come to the conclusion that fibreglass prefers to be in it's original shape. Humpty Dumpty has had its roof jacked up, and supported from below, for almost a year now. It is much closer to the original shape then when I first propped up the roof. So what I would suggest is that you support that front corner over the long run. Jack up that side of the trailer and put sand bags on a crate, or something, and lower the trailer down on them, till there is a substantial amount of force pushing up. You may want to put really large washers on the tops of the bolts that hold the coach on the frame. That would help to prevent the heads of the bolts from pulling out as a result of the upward thrust on the coach, (or actually the weight of the frame). It is my theory that this will, over time, bring that corner up. If it does help, I would not depend on it staying that way.

Reinforcing will be required to keep it from sagging again. Extra fibreglass across the top of the door, and the bottom front corner of the door. Maybe a truss across the face of the gaucho, and connected to the shell.

I hope that helps.
Attached Thumbnails
0036 Door frame - lower front 01.jpg   0980 Door frame - lower front 01.jpg  

1043 Door frame - lower front 02.jpg   5686 Door frame - lower front 01.jpg  

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Old 04-18-2015, 06:34 PM   #13
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First and foremost, thank you for all your help. I do not profess to know what I’m doing and am not trying to argue about this situation. I really appreciate any help I can get. In fact, tell me where I can bring it and I will pick it up when it is done, just kidding.

So I went and measured the door opening the best that I could. The top opening measures the same as the bottom. So I next tried what years of watching auto restoration TV does. I measured from the top right corner to the bottom left corner and the compared it to the top left corner to the bottom right corner. There was a Ĺ inch different which I believe the front would have to come up a ľ inch. Now I can’t imagine this is all the difference because I can stand back and see the roof slope and the door opening difference, but that is what I measured.

My trailer is a 1300 and most of what was written in the other posting appears to be from the 4500 standpoint. My main floor of plywood ends at the gaucho. The rest of the way forwards is fiberglass only with a board for the bolt to go through to mount the front of the trailer to the frame. Although this board seems solid; it must be warped at the least. There is nothing holding the front of the board up in place except for being encased in fiberglass. This is my opinion and trust me I could be wrong.

I believe David is correct, the frame is not bent. I believe the weight of the door, the weight on the gaucho, and the removal of the frame allowed the body to do its own thing. When I bought my trailer back in 2002 (I believe) the door was half off and I quickly replaced the hinges and re-hung the door. My door was never squared because I never seemed to have the time to do a good job or redo the interior.

I did my best at re-hanging the door today. The wood where the hinges connect to the shell was soft and rotted. I finally got all that out and put in a piece of walnut. Now the hinge side of the door looks pretty good and the dead bolt barely works. I don’t see a quick fix so I plan on moving the striker plate next.

Finally here are my questions. If I understand correctly, I should jack up the front corner and prop it up on the shell with sandbags allowing the weight of the frame to pull the shell down. This could take a long time and eventually go back to the sag if some reinforcement is not done.

My whole interior is cut up and broken and I intended to replace everything except the rear table area. If I were to remove the gaucho, counter area, and closet. I could hopefully cut out most of the floor from the inside leaving the bottom layer of fiberglass intact. I could then try and get everything squared and stretch the wood floor all the way to the front of the trailer. I could also build an interior brace or skeleton to help keep everything square. I do realize that I will have to put the closet back in but that is not a problem.

Do you think I have it figured out now or am I possible overlooking something? I know some people will freak, but the whole interior was screwed from the beginning. I’m now looking to save the trailer and make it my dog house for when the wife gets angry at me or when my daughter visits.
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