Brain picking: deciding the future of our '74 Trillium - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-23-2015, 09:24 PM   #1
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Brain picking: deciding the future of our '74 Trillium

Hello all,
We've had our Trillium for a couple of seasons now, and we love it! Recently got back from a big trip out East, and are trying to decide whether to pour some money into fixing it up further for the long haul, or sell it on (everything works!) and invest in something else (not TOO different).

Any tips for things to look for to make sure it's worth the work? A few photos attached... From trips, so don't mind the accessories. Click image for larger version

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Old 08-23-2015, 09:49 PM   #2
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What is making you think of something else? We recently switched from a leaky canned ham to a scamp of the same size. Our reasons for switching instead of fixing were:
Different bed layout (bunks and a double instead of a huge bed)
Pumped sink instead of gravity fed
Fridge
Fiberglass construction
To go from something needing basically frame up restoration to something very usable and needing mostly cosmetic work.

You probably have different ones, but write them down, and see what they are worth monetarily to you.
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Old 08-23-2015, 09:57 PM   #3
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Brain picking: deciding the future of our '74 Trillium

In all honesty we're just not sure! We love our trillium, the only real 'for' switching is the idea that there might be sneaky problems hidden away that we don't know about. Trying to figure out what to look for before we put too much into it.

We know it needs an interior paint job (the paint started peeling, and I couldn't help peeling it further), and a polish/paint on the outside, but we really don't know what else. We thought asking around might help us know what to look for, problems-wise, before we start work.


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Old 08-24-2015, 11:35 AM   #4
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If you are looking at something different but similar. Why? You have had this trailer for a while. You know the little quirks of it and you are thinking of buying someone else's problem. If you're handy. Stick with this one. The shell and frame are the key components and if these are in good shape then the cosmetic stuff is gravy. My 2 cents. Tim
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Old 08-24-2015, 11:41 AM   #5
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Understood, but what I'm trying to figure out is what I should be looking for. I think ours is in good nick, and if it is we'll keep it and put the work in. What I was hoping for help with was what to look for as potential problems before spending the money. Problems that may not have been obvious, but can be major... I don't even know where to start and was hoping for ideas.

I mean I know it smells a bit funny, for example. Seems dry, so have ignored it, but that could be a mysterious sign of something I know nothing about. I am still new to this.


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Old 08-24-2015, 12:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slimmit View Post
If you are looking at something different but similar. Why? You have had this trailer for a while. You know the little quirks of it and you are thinking of buying someone else's problem. If you're handy. Stick with this one. The shell and frame are the key components and if these are in good shape then the cosmetic stuff is gravy. My 2 cents. Tim
I agree. Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know.

David Tilston is our resident Trillium expert, and he identified two "walk-away" situations (post #3). If your trailer doesn't exhibit either condition, sounds like everything else is fairly routine. Because of the bathtub floor design, Trilliums can be unbolted and lifted from the frame more easily than some other designs. Therefore, even major frame work would not, for most, be a reason to sell a trailer you like.
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Old 08-24-2015, 12:18 PM   #7
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It sounds like you are just looking for a way to confirm your camper has "good bones" before sinking more money into it. If there is some more expensive repairs in its future you might sell it and buy one with better structure to make a long term investment in improvements and customizations.

Hopefully someone such as Dave Tillston will weigh in, you can see his collection of old Trills from Google Satellite images of his house. There are members with extensive experience with Trilliums and can tell you the "hidden" places that break, wear out, or rot. One of them poste a frame diagram with exact points the frame fails at.

Used you are generally going to buy someone else's problems that they did not want to deal with BUT sometimes those problems will be less than they think and not as bad as what you would have faced eventually.
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Old 08-24-2015, 12:21 PM   #8
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There are four restorations that are required on a Trillium.
1) Windows - Probably the most common leak source. The fix is mostly easy. Pull off the windows. Clean the existing butyl putty off. Apply new butyl putty, reinstall windows with new screws. This repair may be required more often then the others. It is possible that the plywood frame, around the window, on the inside of the trailer, may be rotten, and in need of replacement as well. While this is more work, it is doable. Separate the Ensolite from the wood with a putty knife. Take your time, this is the hard part. Then cut new plywood frames and install, before putting the windows back in. Glue is optional.
2) Reinstall the door - This is less easy then I thought. I currently think this should involve opening the pillar, beside the door hinge, and install backing plates on the inside of the shell.
3) The belly band - My personal favourite. Like the other fixes, there are multiple approaches. Mine was to remove the band, then grind the fibreglass out to the edges of the raised section. Fill this gap with fibreglass and resin. Grind flat. Sand smooth. Paint.
4) The axle will need to be replaced. They age and are good for ~20 years. The new one should have brakes.

Soft floor, and sagging front curb side are the, "walk away" conditions that I would be wary of. Soft floor is fixable, but a BIG JOB. Sagging front curb side.... I have no idea how to even begin to fix this.
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Old 08-24-2015, 12:31 PM   #9
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Thank you all so much! The last owner put some work in, and clearly took his time. So far, so good. I will definitely check through for sagging floors/walls/etc as per David's other post. I know we have a bit of a bow in the roof, but sounds like that may not be the end of the world! Now to get out there with a straight edge and some tools for checking. Really appreciate the help, all. I'm a worrier so I want to check things through. May even try to get out to a meet and get some opinions after I check through that list.


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Old 08-24-2015, 12:48 PM   #10
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BTW that is a lovely little trailer. Nice pictures. Especially like the picture of dinner on the stove, always wondered what cooking sausages without a dog around to supervise looked like. Now I know.
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Old 08-24-2015, 12:49 PM   #11
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Also Does anyone have a reference for someone I could have take a look at it? Or a shop with some experience up with fibreglass trailers that might be able to do some work if needed? I am happy to do some things myself and learn on the way, but don't want to make a mess of it. I'm in Toronto, Ontario (but always willing to travel).


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Old 08-24-2015, 12:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
BTW that is a lovely little trailer. Nice pictures. Especially like the picture of dinner on the stove, always wondered what cooking sausages without a dog around to supervise looked like. Now I know.

Roger, the dog is behind me. I would never get away with cooking sausages without at least a check in, though she's learned to keep her nose out! Travelling with the dog(s) is one of the things we love about the trailer.


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Old 08-24-2015, 01:25 PM   #13
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I have just used my Trillium for the first last week and placed 2 items on my to do list:
1. Replace the curtains with blinds as they are easier to keep open so air can come in.
2. Add an outside removable table aft of the door with a table bracket fastened to the trailer. I'm leaning toward the interlocking aluminum style bracket used in the tent trailers for this. If you are not in a campground you won't have a picnic table to use. I like to be out for cooking & eating if the weather is nice.
I have installed led lighting inside & out side already with 12v battery.( Princess Auto) They are very bright, and long lasting as well, with minimal drain on the battery. I installed a cigar lighter socket inside too for various plug in devices. Make sure these are fused circuits ! I have : a fan, light, cell phone, extension cord plug in 10' or so. You should do some research before you part with the Trillium I looked for 3 years to find mine & glad to get it.
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Old 08-24-2015, 01:35 PM   #14
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I missed one item in my previous post. I you add a bungie cord to each your canopy ropes and hook them to the pegs you won't have to re-hook /re-peg if the wind gusts appear. They automatically return to their set position. I didn't see any in the pics you posted, maybe you already use them.
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