Considering buying a 1977 Trillium 1300 - has anyone done a gut rehab? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-26-2011, 07:23 PM   #1
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Name: Kyle
Trailer: in the market for small trailer
Massachusetts
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Considering buying a 1977 Trillium 1300 - has anyone done a gut rehab?

Hi all,

Today, I checked out a lovely 1977 Trillium 1300. And I'm smitten. But here's the issue: to me (granted, I'm very sensitive) there is a musty smell.

So I have a few questions:

I know these trailers are made in two molded fiberglass pieces, which should cut down on internal rotting etc. (With that said, is it possible for water to get in the underside or roof or at the middle seam that runs all the way around the trailer?) More logically I'm assuming that the windows are a point of potential water entry.

And if there are leaks, I know it can't rot the fiberglass (or can it?) but could it make the insulation turn mildew-y? In which case has anyone ever removed the interior vinyl siding from inside the Trillium, to replace the original insulation, and then either replace with the vinyl OR put in your own new interior siding (even a plywood interior?)

Also, how difficult would it be to remove the interior lower half fiberglass interior floor / "furniture" in order to get at rehabbing the whole interior?

I also think the rug is actually the original carpeting as well as the cushions - so it is possible that they are largely responsible for the mildew smell. Also, can fiberglass itself, which seems impenetrable, actually absorb mildew odors?

And my final question (thanks for hanging in with me so far!), under the back right dinette bench, when you lift the plywood cover, in that space over the wheel well, there is some really funky looking green gunk. Adhesive? That someone ripped up something from? Any ideas? It's not on the left side under the dinette bench.)

Anyway,I love this trailer and I'd really love to make it work, but if I can't get the mildew smell out, then it would be worthless to me, since I'm pretty sensitive. Granted, my mom went with me to check it out, and yes, she noticed it but it wasn't overpowering.

I need to make a decision on this pronto because the seller has another interested party?

Really look forward to your replies.

Thanks so much,
Kyle Elizabeth
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:29 PM   #2
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Name: Nicole
Trailer: 1976 Trillium 1300
Newfoundland
Posts: 7
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Originally Posted by Kyle F. View Post
Hi all,

Today, I checked out a lovely 1977 Trillium 1300. And I'm smitten. But here's the issue: to me (granted, I'm very sensitive) there is a musty smell.

So I have a few questions:

I know these trailers are made in two molded fiberglass pieces, which should cut down on internal rotting etc. (With that said, is it possible for water to get in the underside or roof or at the middle seam that runs all the way around the trailer?) More logically I'm assuming that the windows are a point of potential water entry.

And if there are leaks, I know it can't rot the fiberglass (or can it?) but could it make the insulation turn mildew-y? In which case has anyone ever removed the interior vinyl siding from inside the Trillium, to replace the original insulation, and then either replace with the vinyl OR put in your own new interior siding (even a plywood interior?)

Also, how difficult would it be to remove the interior lower half fiberglass interior floor / "furniture" in order to get at rehabbing the whole interior?

I also think the rug is actually the original carpeting as well as the cushions - so it is possible that they are largely responsible for the mildew smell. Also, can fiberglass itself, which seems impenetrable, actually absorb mildew odors?

And my final question (thanks for hanging in with me so far!), under the back right dinette bench, when you lift the plywood cover, in that space over the wheel well, there is some really funky looking green gunk. Adhesive? That someone ripped up something from? Any ideas? It's not on the left side under the dinette bench.)

Anyway,I love this trailer and I'd really love to make it work, but if I can't get the mildew smell out, then it would be worthless to me, since I'm pretty sensitive. Granted, my mom went with me to check it out, and yes, she noticed it but it wasn't overpowering.

I need to make a decision on this pronto because the seller has another interested party?

Really look forward to your replies.

Thanks so much,
Kyle Elizabeth
We just purchased a 76 trillium. It smelled musky when we purchased it. I ripped out the flooring and we washed all the uphostery. That seem to do the trick. We'll be replacing the uphostery and the cushions in a few weeks - that should too.
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:31 PM   #3
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Fabrics, like upholstery and curtains will hold odors. Check the floor thoroughly from underneath. Look for dark spots, it may have leaked. When you find the leaks, if there are any, see if there's rot.
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:33 PM   #4
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Name: Kyle
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Fabrics, like upholstery and curtains will hold odors. Check the floor thoroughly from underneath. Look for dark spots, it may have leaked. When you find the leaks, if there are any, see if there's rot.
Donna, here's where I'm confused. So I looked underneath the trailer and it just looks like one continuous piece of fiberglass. Does that sound right? So would I actually see dark spots on the fiberglass? Can leaks penetrate through eventually?
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:38 PM   #5
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I had odors in mine. I washed EVERYTHING. Curtains, turned the hose on the cushions on my deck and poured detergent and scrubbed them. Today I went to the car wash and shampooed the carpet. I have a little car air freshner in. It smells wonderful!!!! I open the windows on nice days to air it out. I also took out the removable water tanks and cleaned them. I will be bleaching all my water lines soon...oh..and my shower drain!!!!
I dont know if this is your problem...but I know mine stunk!!! I cleaned cleaned cleaned it away!
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Old 07-26-2011, 08:01 PM   #6
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Trailer: Two Trillium Jubilees and a Trillium 1300
Ontario
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Kyle

Your concerns are valid but not overwhelming.

It is possible for water to get into the trailer in the area of the belly band. This is where the two halves, taken from their respective moulds, are joined. Following the joining of the two parts, the exterior joint is covered with the aluminium moulding and it is this process which can eventuality lead to leaks. Corrosion, racking and twisting, freezing and thawing can all lead to a breakdown of the original seal. This is not a hard thing to fix and there is a lot of very good information in these pages on how to do this.

If there has been no penetration of the roof to install air conditioners, awnings, antennae, or other roof mounted equipment, it is unlikely that there is water between the interior finish and the fibreglass. The vent hatch is another area where a leak may occur.

Trillium used a tub mould system where the bottom of the lower portion becomes the outer skin for the unit. Immediately above this, and fiberglassed in, is the plywood floor. This provides a fibreglass encapsulated floor which, very rarely, creates a problem. To try to remove this floor would amount to a huge job, and one that I would not even consider doing until absolutely forced into it. One would have to gut the entire unit to do this !

As far as removing the interior wall covering and replacing it, yes, it is entirely possible. I am in the process of doing just that to a Trillium 1300 that lost a battle with a tree ! I have not yet made up my mind on what I will use as the replacement material.

I have no idea what the green gunk is. Only by trying to wash it out, or using various cleaners and/or solvents are you going to determine what it is.

I had a bad mildew smell in my project unit. I used a large container of soapy water with a little bleach in it and slopped it into and over all the cabinetry, lower cavities, storage areas and cupboards. I then took the garden hose to it and used my wet/dry vacuum to then get rid of the water. The carpet went immediately into the trash leaving only a tarpaper-like material on the floor. End of smell !

The problems you describe are not big cost items. You are faced with some work, but in the end, you can have a truly fine camping unit.

Good Luck with your project.

Bill Reilly
Picton, Ontario
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:57 AM   #7
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Missouri
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I have had 2 Trill' and both suffered from the musty condition you describe.

I am fairly sure that the problem starts with the windows and festers there and in the plywood mid-floor.

The windows are framed with plywood too between the fiberglass exterior and the interior finished surface.
Back then they used a Grey Putty tape to seal in the windows and then secured them with screws of some kind. Then there was a plastic cover snapped into a channel on the windows that hides the screws.

The window seals dry out and tend to let water in where it starts working on rotting the plywood and lets the water find a path to the floor.

The floor is mostly directly on top of the fiberglass"Underbelly" except in the corners and sides in front and back of the the trailer where you cant easily see it. There is a channel really around the edges of the trailer where a lot of water can sit a slosh around or worse.
I bet if you look under the benches you will see that the underbelly dips down around the perimeter of the trailer and at those spots there are several inches where you either will see no plywood or the plywood edge will be clear inches above the underbelly?

When I looked there I saw several inches of water and only God knows how long it had been in there?
My guess would be a LOOOOOONG time!

I drilled some 1/4" Weep Holes along this area so the water could drain and it did drain for some time.
Realizing that I could only see a small area of water but there was a lot more that I could not see,I left these holes there and backed them with screening so they could drain forever and also let a little air in.

Then I yanked the windows and replaced the plywood and resealed and reinstalled them.

Once the water is prevented from sitting between the floor layers I aired it all out as best I could with fans and cleaned the spots I could reach directly.

Once it was all dry I stuck some indoor/outdoor carpet in those areas and the smell mostly went away.

The exact same thing happened on both a 1300 and 4500 that I have owned ad I have seen it on several others too.
The repairs are not that difficult and I think well worth the effort for these unique little trailers and there are lots of posts here about each of them.

Good Luck
Ed
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:47 PM   #8
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Name: Francesca Knowles
Trailer: '78 Trillium 4500
Jefferson County, Washington State, U.S.A.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle F. View Post
Donna, here's where I'm confused. So I looked underneath the trailer and it just looks like one continuous piece of fiberglass. Does that sound right? So would I actually see dark spots on the fiberglass? Can leaks penetrate through eventually?
Hi, Kyle

Donna's talking about the plywood in the floor. See the seam near the cupboard in this picture? What's exposed there is part of the plywood underlayment.



Francesca
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