Buying an old Trillium - would love feedback from current owners! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-14-2019, 08:23 AM   #1
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Name: Lisa
Trailer: In the market
New Jersey
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Buying an old Trillium - would love feedback from current owners!

Hi, we are looking into purchasing an older Trillium trailer (there are 2 for sale nearby).

1 does not have a fridge - is it possible to add one?

The other one does not convert to bunk beds and we need to sleep 4. Is it possible to add this on our own?

Thank you for all and any feedback. We are so excited to purchase our very own trailer
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Old 07-14-2019, 09:34 AM   #2
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Name: Zach
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Hi Lisa. Like everything, the answer isn't exactly simple.

Anything is possible, assuming the right level of skill or bank account. But it's always best to buy the closest thing to what will work for you, "out of the box", as possible.

For the fridge: The options are - 120V AC electric dorm fridge
- 12V DC electric fridge
- 2 or 3-way fridge that can run on gas

Will you always camp at campgrounds, plugged in to electricity? You could probably install a dorm fridge; just a regular AC household mini-fridge. That's a pretty straightforward installation as long as you wire the camper correctly.

If you plan to be out away from plug-in sites, you'll probably need a propane fridge. Probably 90% of the campers out there have fridges that run on propane. There are ways to run 12V electric fridges off a battery, but that requires a lot of solar (or a generator) and expensive batteries. Plenty of people do it. Just a matter of what your plans are.

To install a propane fridge is not complicated, necessarily, but has to be done right or it won't work adequately. You'll need to build a box for it with proper clearances for the top, sides and back, with proper ventilation and proper seal from the inside of the camper. Like I said it's not complicated, it just has to be done according to the installation instructions or it absolutely will not keep your food cold enough.

I would think the bunk beds are just a matter of some building knowledge and imagination.
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Old 07-14-2019, 09:51 AM   #3
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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The old Trilliums used a refrigerator that was not as deep as the current RV ones. So installing a new one has its issues.

It would help to know what model Trillium and the layout. Most had a front gaucho. The one with the front bath would not adapt to bunk beds. The front dinette is rare and desirable.

I can't imagine four people of any age/size in my 1977 Trillium 1300, although it does have a front gaucho/bunk and a rear dinette/bed. So technically, four could fit.

I love vintage Trilliums but go in with your eyes wide open. Make sure the floor is SOLID, no sag from the kitchen to the door. Trilliums have well known issues with body to frame bolts, belly band, sagging door/hinge issues. In addition, they have issues in common with pretty much any older trailer like worn out axles, old power centers, window seals. Yes, there is plywood sandwiched in the floor, it can be seen inside lower cabinets. Some ass-u-me that the trailers are all fiberglass. They are mistaken.

The great news in the era of the internet, you can quickly read up on the various solutions people have used to the various issues. I am glad I have a Trillium and would recommend them to anyone. Getting the "right" one is the key. I passed on the first two I looked at due to extensive floor rot. Both were sold to others. I am waiting to see them post a thread on "how to I fix my rotten floor".
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Old 07-14-2019, 10:37 AM   #4
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Name: George
Trailer: Trillium
Ontario
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Hi, I have owned 2 Trillium (one pre-Trillium, one T4500) trailers that were made at the Markham Ontario plant. Just remember that these older trailers are now getting close to 50 years old and if the interior has not been changed, the appliances and cushions/curtains may be getting older too. The T4500 that I bought came without cushions, curtains and appliances and I used the ones from a used tent trailer to get newer ones.
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Old 07-14-2019, 11:06 AM   #5
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Name: Lisa
Trailer: In the market
New Jersey
Posts: 12
Thank you all so much for your comments. I need all the help I can get. I know it will be tight - our kids are 8 and 5 for the bunks. We don't typically need this for really long trips, more just weekend jaunts around the east coast It seems better than a tent which we normally do!

Here is the description of the trailer, if this helps you know about the big IF on the bunk beds:

Vintage 1975 Trillium Camper, Model 1300, beautifully restored, fits in one car garage 12'3" x 13'6", GVW 1,500 lbs., cabin 10' L x 6'3" W x 6'2" H, couch/extra bed 6'4"L x 27" W, kitchen table turns into 6'6" x 4'6" bed, new custom-made cushions and upholstery, 2 burner propane stove, sink and refrigerator all work, beautiful new flooring, electric heater, 110 volts/60 cycles/15 amps, porta potty, non-smoking, new tires and wheel bearings, new roof vent, fiberglass bottom (unlike most campers which are just wood without fiberglass over it) and led lighting.
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Old 07-14-2019, 04:03 PM   #6
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Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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Sounds pretty decent. Bed size is exaggerated. No way a Trillium bed is 4' 6" wide. Front couch is typically a gaucho, that makes into a bunk. So unless they modified it, the back should swing up to be a top bunk.

Coming from a tent is great, as it makes one of these trailers look spacious!

Find out if it has a battery, and if so, where. Old power control centers in these trailers are known battery boilers/killers. I just bought a new, better power center for my 1977 Trillium 1300, cost me $132 on eBay. Added a battery on the tongue. A battery makes these campers much more useful (can use without.a power hookup).

Front rock guard/window awning is a huge plus. Hopefully this one has one. Windows on the door and the kitchen were optional, and are very nice to have too.

These pictures are from day 1 when I bought mine last September. I've done a lot of work to it since then, but its the only picture I have of the bunk. I still have the original cushion fabric and curtains.

Front couch goes from this:
1977 Trillium 1300 by wrk101, on Flickr

to this:

1977 Trillium 1300 by wrk101, on Flickr
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Old 07-14-2019, 04:35 PM   #7
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Name: John
Trailer: 1978 Trillium 4500, 1979 Boler 1700
Michigan
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The Trillium will roll under an 8' garage door no problem. 7' door is more challenging. I get our Trillium 4500 under our 7' door frame this way:

- Wedge the door up above the door frame and that's possible because our track is located a few inches above the door frame. I always unplug the door opener before doing this and then plug the door opener back in only after removing the wedge.
- Remove the roof vent dome (takes a couple of minutes)
- Swap the tires and rims for 480-8 (8") tires/wheels
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Old 07-14-2019, 05:33 PM   #8
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Name: Lisa
Trailer: In the market
New Jersey
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Ok, this has no awning, we asked already. Looks like I can buy a new one for under $1,000. We can ask about the battery when we go see it on Sunday. It does have a window on the door. The inside is really nice, and the price is right. He has replaced a lot but I'm sure there will be more work to do! I saw on Instagram someone who had a carpenter install custom bunks in a Trillium 1300 so maybe we can do that, too! I saw on the parts website it seems like maybe they don't have the bunk parts anymore.

Thank you SO much for your help. Your trailer looks great

Quote:
Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
Sounds pretty decent. Bed size is exaggerated. No way a Trillium bed is 4' 6" wide. Front couch is typically a gaucho, that makes into a bunk. So unless they modified it, the back should swing up to be a top bunk.

Coming from a tent is great, as it makes one of these trailers look spacious!

Find out if it has a battery, and if so, where. Old power control centers in these trailers are known battery boilers/killers. I just bought a new, better power center for my 1977 Trillium 1300, cost me $132 on eBay. Added a battery on the tongue. A battery makes these campers much more useful (can use without.a power hookup).

Front rock guard/window awning is a huge plus. Hopefully this one has one. Windows on the door and the kitchen were optional, and are very nice to have too.

These pictures are from day 1 when I bought mine last September. I've done a lot of work to it since then, but its the only picture I have of the bunk. I still have the original cushion fabric and curtains.

Front couch goes from this:
1977 Trillium 1300 by wrk101, on Flickr

to this:

1977 Trillium 1300 by wrk101, on Flickr
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Old 07-14-2019, 06:08 PM   #9
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Name: bruce
Trailer: Mini T
Washington
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Talking

Lisa,

Please keep photos coming, we always love pics.
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Old 07-14-2019, 08:50 PM   #10
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueruby View Post
Lisa,

Please keep photos coming, we always love pics.
The only photos so far are mine...
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Old 07-14-2019, 11:36 PM   #11
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Name: Louis
Trailer: Trillium
Alberta
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Make sure you check the bolts on the frame. When I bought mine a few weeks ago, 3/4 had fallen out. Not something I ever would have thought to check!
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Old 07-15-2019, 03:04 AM   #12
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Trailer: Trillium 2010
Vermont
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There was a frame recall on early 1300's. The frames would crack in the front where the frame turns up. Gusset or "fish" plates were added to strength the frame at these locations. A search of the forum will produce lots of info and pictures.
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Old 07-20-2019, 03:57 PM   #13
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Hi Lisa,

I would suggest that some patience waiting for better options to show up or expanding your search area might be a good alternative. It would be interesting to hear what a conversion would cost and being budget conscious might make me look at another more expensive Trillium with a good fridge and sleeping for 4.

We had an ice-box in our 1300 and now enjoy the 3-way fridge in our '78 4500. It really does work well and will keep ice cream quite solid in the little freezer compartment. When I think back at how tedious it was to keep grabbing ice, I appreciate our 4500 all the more. And my wife would want me to say how much she likes the little gravity heater after I wrestled in a new gas control the day after we bought it - per her explicit instructions I made sure that the heater worked well, but I failed to notice that it never shut off And then, well, there is the toilet

Glen
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Old 07-21-2019, 08:51 AM   #14
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Name: Mindy
Trailer: 13’ Boler
Ontario
Posts: 14
Awning

Do NOT. Pay $1000 for any awning...way too much
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Old 07-22-2019, 07:29 AM   #15
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Name: bl
Trailer: 1978 Trillium Surfside
Ontario
Posts: 11
Hi everyone,
Appreciate reading all the posts over the last 5 years. We have a 1979 trillium built in Selkirk Manitoba. We have a great reno guy who is super creative.
We've done the exact opposite of what you are describing. We removed the table option and put in a custom mattress. We removed the bunks and put in a seating space for two with bench storage. We've removed the fridge all together as it was, we believe, original and not working very well. We manage with coolers. We don't tow it much although we hope to again. Here are a few shots.
Attached Thumbnails
trailer reno 1.jpg   trailer reno 6.jpg  

trailer reno 5.jpg   trailer4.jpg  

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Old 07-25-2019, 02:14 PM   #16
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Name: Michelle
Trailer: 1980 Trillium
Arizona
Posts: 1
I know it sounds crazy, but we live for months at a time with 4 people in our 1980 1300 Trillium
Two adults, one teen and one tween. Oh...and two dogs in, two dogs out. It's definitely doable!
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Old 08-24-2019, 05:39 AM   #17
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Name: Jenn
Trailer: Trillium 4500
Ontario
Posts: 13
Hi Glen, we too have a 4500 and just bought it a month ago. We tried out the heater and it worked but it got so hot on low (1) that we had to turn it off after an hour. The bottom of the closet door was also getting very hot. We then tried it again in the morning, and thought maybe if we turned the thermostat lower it would help. That it did, I turned it to 15 degrees and kept it at 1. I'm wondering what you keep your temp and level at when leaving it on all night? Any other worries about it?
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