Fiberglass and door hinges on '75 Trillium 1300 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-26-2015, 10:12 AM   #1
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Name: Kelly
Trailer: '75 Trillium 1300
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Fiberglass and door hinges on '75 Trillium 1300

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The door more or less fell off. My husband tried to put larger screws in as a stop gap, but I think the fiberglass is too badly damaged. Would a body shop be able to fix this? Could we bondo it over and then drill new holes? We are absolutely clueless when it comes to fiberglass repairs.
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Old 06-26-2015, 10:25 AM   #2
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I used JB Weld putty stick, it was either the steelstik or plasticweld, I would have to check and see if I have any left. Worked well, set fast. Cleaned out holes best I could, the filled with putty, used a knife shortly after to remove excess and make it smooth, pre-drilled the holes, then while still a little soft put the screws in gently so that it would have nice threads when it hardened. Let it sit a couple of hours and put the door back on. Did that last year (or year before) to our '76 Trillium, still holding strong.
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Old 06-26-2015, 10:52 AM   #3
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I have a newer Trillium but it was made using the original molds. I had to reset my hinges. Most original Trilliums have a piece of wood inside to hold the screws. After time it rots. You might find my solution useful. Raz

Trillium Hinge Repair
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Old 06-26-2015, 10:54 AM   #4
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I did the exact same repair and so far, so good. One thing I wasn't sufficiently careful about was making the sure the door was properly aligned before I drilled the holes for the hinges. The door sags slightly (it did before the repair), so when I get the chance I will redo the fix, this time taping the door in place perfectly and then drilling the holes!
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Old 06-26-2015, 12:17 PM   #5
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Here is what I did:

Typically the hinge pulls out of the trailer side, and stays on the door side OK. I would pull the screws on the door side. leave the hinges on the trailer side.

Clean out the area around the screw holes, then stuff as much fibreglass and resin into that area as possible. Fill up the post beside the door. Sand smooth, then paint.

Tape the door back in place, you should have an even gap all the way around. Use the hinges, which are still attached to the door, as a drilling guide for the new holes. The size of holes will be determined by the screws you purchase. Fibreglass will crack if you use screws that are too big for the holes. When you put the screws in mix up some more resin and stuff some glass, soaked in resin, in the screw holes. Then screw in your NEW screws. Once that sets, repeat on the screws in the door. You should not need to repair the door. Just stuff in some glass and resin, then put the screws in. Again, use new screws. I bought stainless screws.

The screws in the door are quite short. To get the correct screws, Pull one screw from both the door side, and the trailer side and take them to a specialty fastener shop. I went to Calgary Fasteners. A box of screws cost as much as 4 or five from Home Depot.

For the next door I do, I am contemplating making a metal bracket with threaded inserts pressed in. This would be inserted on the inside of the fibreglass using a biscuit tool to cut a gap at the hinges, or maybe a larger gap at one hinge, and work the bracket up to the other hinge. Then using machine screws pull the bracket tight in and then once again fill the area with fibreglass and resin. Once it sets, I will pull the machine screws out and put the door back on with the same machine screws. I expect that the fibreglass and resin that I stuff in the support post will hold the bracket in place.

BTW, P. Raz's link is awesome!
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Old 06-26-2015, 05:24 PM   #6
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Name: Duane
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Hello I just fixed my Trillium door by drilling out the holes to 3/16" and inserting a wooden dowel coated with 5 minute epoxy. cut the dowel flush once the epoxy is set. drill a small pilot hole for the "new " screws. You can do both the door and trailer body this way. Use stainless screws if you can find them. This will keep the rust stains away. Good luck and take your time aligning the door. do it once, do it right !
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Old 06-27-2015, 04:20 PM   #7
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Hubby went today and bought JB Weld, but we have our first hiccup. I'm guessing the hinge disassembles in some way? How do you get the pin out (and subsequently back in)? We can't remove the top screw on the trailer side off because the pin is in the way.
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Old 06-27-2015, 04:23 PM   #8
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Just use a hammer and a nail or something like that and tap up from bottom, only needs to move about 4mm before pin is loose.

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Fiberglass RV mobile app
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Old 06-28-2015, 07:18 AM   #9
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I suspect if the wood is rotten JB Weld will only provide a temporary fix.

Be aware that it is not possible to align the raised band on the door with the raised band on the trailer. The misalignment is in the molds and wasn't corrected until 2011.

To disassemble the hinge tap from the bottom with a punch as suggested. Here's a picture. Note the washers. Raz
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Old 06-28-2015, 09:35 AM   #10
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I did this repair about three years ago, but this thread got me thinking. I had a look at the hinges yesterday to see how they were doing and discovered several of the stainless screws had loosened with time, vibration etc! I tightened them in again, but will think of doing something more when I get home...
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Old 07-01-2015, 05:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckayaker View Post
I did this repair about three years ago, but this thread got me thinking. I had a look at the hinges yesterday to see how they were doing and discovered several of the stainless screws had loosened with time, vibration etc! I tightened them in again, but will think of doing something more when I get home...
This problem can be patched up or cured. In my humble opinion, the best permanent repair would be a metal plate behind the fiberglass which is the typical way to assemble critical parts on a sailboat. You may think using stainless steel all the way will be a permanent cure... not necessarly. On this link, you will see that in a wet environment, without air, stainless steel rots too!
brokenchainplate.jpg Photo by lamimartin | Photobucket

There are a few mistakes to avoid:

1-Galvanic corrosion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_corrosion
Two different metals or alloys in contact will provoke an accelerated chemical reaction in a wet environment. In order to reduce the chances of premature corrosion, it is wise to check for compatible metals (Galvanic and Corrosion Compatibility Dissimilar Metal Corrosion - Engineers Edge) and to eliminate the direct contact between the fastener and the holding plate by using plastic washers or spacers.
2-Stainless steel anaerobic corrosion: in presence of salt and water, without air, stainless steel will rot over time. Stainless, like aluminium, is protected from corrosion by a coat of oxide on metal surface. Without air, in presence of water, the protective effect of this oxide coat is compromised. On a Trillium, salt and water is easy to prevent by using high quality butyl tape behind hinges to seal the stainless steel fasteners without clogging the threads. Using silicone may clog the threads and cause the SS bolt to snap as it jams into the locking nut behind the plate.
3-Vibration, as you point out will likely compromise any screws holding only in thin plastic, unless you use very high quality epoxy and large diameter and coarse thread ... and even so. Without a holding plate behind this is a risky solution. The hinges holes are very small, the weight, heat and vibrations is substantial. The fiberglass shell is thin and remains flexible. In order to make a permanent solution, I think the illustrated srtategy (opening a cut and inserting a holding plate is the way to go. Remember that epoxy is six times stronger than polyester resin for repairs, because it has a much stronger chemical bound, but without fibers, epoxy is not very strong unless it is confined into a cavity.

I've been inspired by my sailboat repairs, and I'm about to make the same repair on my trillium, thanks for inspiration !
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Old 07-01-2015, 09:42 PM   #12
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Name: Anne
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Hello everyone. My 74 Trillium has a door that is beginning to sag. This is an awesome thread, though daunting.
Thanks
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Old 07-01-2015, 10:43 PM   #13
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In case you are interested to see more technical pictures, here are a few web sites that show how to properly seal hardware on fiberglass using stainless steel fasteners and BUTYL, (not silicone): It is no surprise to most of us who had to reseal RV windows. Butyl tape is the best permanent sealant for bedding RV window frames and most hardware. Such logic even finds it way into the ultra conservative sailing community.

The Most Controversial Article You'll Ever Read About Bedding Deck Hardware - Messing About In Sailboats
Windtraveler: Bedding with Butyl Tape
VIDEO:
Bedding Deck Hardware Using Through Bolts & Butyl Video

Of course, as you can see behind Kelly's hinges pictures (or mine), some structural and cosmetic repair is needed in order to make sure fiberglass will hold and look perfect. If any structural repairs are needed, I strongly suggest to use marine epoxy with fiber such as Interlux watertite or West System Epiglass with woven fiber. Don't forget prior cleaning with Interlux Solvent Wash 202 that will remove any wax residue and increase the chemical bound on old fiberglass. On old fiberglass, structural repairs should NOT be done with polyester resin, which will likely delaminate under stress. Epoxy 5 minutes does not contain fibers, so it will split under stress too.

Body shops crews are great for cosmetic repairs on cars, but for structural repairs that are looking perfect too, guys trained for marine repairs are far better. On a sailboat, there is a basic rule: anything structural or under the waterline repair is to be done with epoxy. Polyester resin is used to build brand new hulls, but then only for cosmetic repairs on old fiberglass. On small pieces Polyester resin patch may still do fine when it is overbuilt (and heavier), but it will never match light and rugged epoxy/fiber repair.

I hope my little marine repair experience will inspire you all if you dare to repair your own Trilium sagging doors and loose hinges. It is not difficult to do with a multitool for quick and chirurgical precision cuts. Even if you only fix the structural problem and get a body shop assistance for the paint/gelcoat restoration, this will save you a lot of money.

Good luck !

Martin
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Old 07-02-2015, 12:01 PM   #14
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It should be noted that while epoxy itself may be stronger, then polyester resin, most of the strength is in the glass. Many people from a boating background recommend epoxy. But there are problems with epoxy. Mainly the cost, and that only epoxy sticks to it. Our trailers were built with polyester resin, and that is what I use when doing fibreglass work. Epoxy is just not necessary.
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