Fixing the Trillium Belly Band - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-04-2010, 06:25 PM   #1
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Trailer: 1977 Trillium 13 ft
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My 1977 Trillium 1300 has a black beltline (not sure if this is the right term) around the middle of the trailer that covers the opening where the two halves of the body are joined together. It's an unsightly mess. A previous owner must have had leakage problems since the upper side of the aluminum strip has been caulked and I think it's silicone (not the right stuff to use with fiberglass if I recall something I read here). It's a sloppy job and I want to fix it. In addition, the black strip that fits inside of the aluminum strip appears to have shrunk since there are gaps - the black strip does not extend all the way to the end of the aluminum strip in a couple of places.

So my questions are:

Can I first remove the entire aluminum strip - it's held on with rivets I think.
Can I then apply caulk to the space between the upper and lower halves? If so, what kind of caulking should I use?
Once the caulking is thoroughly cured, can I re-fasten the aluminum strip using screws? Is there anything in that gap that will accept screws? If so, how long do the screws need to be so the strip is fastened securely?
Finally, can the black strip be restretched so that it fits properly all the way around without gaps?

If all this is possible, it's an inexpensive solution.

Any other ideas?

Thanks all, Clark
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Old 03-04-2010, 09:10 PM   #2
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Check out the previous of discussions listed in "Trillium belly band rivet removal

I had 5 or 6 loose rivets on my Trillium that I just drilled out and re-riveted. They are still tight and leak free years later though others my have had different experiences. I did run a thin bead of caulking (not silicone) along the top of the band to keep water out esp. with our freeze thaw cycles up North.

The black strip seems to shrink over time but if you remove it, place it in hot water, and stretch it while reinstalling you should be able to restore it's length.

Most of our old trailers have been visited by a madman with a gun full of silicone at some point. There might not have have been much or any leak in the first place. Try removing the old caulk with a plastic scraper and see if you can get things tight without removing the whole band first. You wouldn't want caulking behind the band to cure before reinstalling, I think it would prevent a tight fit.
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:32 AM   #3
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I have some of the same issues. And as you can see from my posts here are a few of my learnings

If you do not have to take it off DON'T! the belly band is only decorative and if it is secure then shine it up and buy new black strip from a local RV shop. I got mine replaced exactly for $15. THe silicone on top (if flexible) or acrylic (if dry and cracked) is only to keep water from getting in the belly band and rusting the backing plates. Those little darn plates are sealed in there good and if they rust they swell and possibly pop.

Replacing rivets require drilling holes through the shell and we all know what that means. I can and will be placing pictures soon of the ordeal. Some body before me has already taken the liberty to drill teh holes and replace half of the rivets. If you have leaks, it is mostly coming from the windows especially if they have never been sealed before. PM me if you have specific questions and I can call you to discuss further.

Silicone can be removed with razors and there is a product at Home Depot called silicone gone"I think" which say that it will remove the remaining residue.
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:29 AM   #4
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Silicone can be removed with razors and there is a product at Home Depot called silicone gone"I think" which say that it will remove the remaining residue.
I don't have any personal knowledge of the product to remove silicone, but when using anything metal against the gelcoat be very, very careful. Metal will "cut" into the gelcoat. Plastic knives and even an ice scrapper works pretty well to scrape off the caulk, just don't dig at the silicone or they too may gouge the gelcoat. But they're much safer to use than metal objects.
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Old 03-05-2010, 09:28 AM   #5
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Hi: Clark Martin... There is a tool avail. at most paint dept's or Home Hardware. It is for removal of caulking and is a plastic scraper with rounded edges to prevent digging/gouging. I think I have a pic. of it in use!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:04 AM   #6
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Check out the previous of discussions listed in "Trillium belly band rivet removal

I had 5 or 6 loose rivets on my Trillium that I just drilled out and re-riveted. They are still tight and leak free years later though others my have had different experiences. I did run a thin bead of caulking (not silicone) along the top of the band to keep water out esp. with our freeze thaw cycles up North.

The black strip seems to shrink over time but if you remove it, place it in hot water, and stretch it while reinstalling you should be able to restore it's length.

Most of our old trailers have been visited by a madman with a gun full of silicone at some point. There might not have have been much or any leak in the first place. Try removing the old caulk with a plastic scraper and see if you can get things tight without removing the whole band first. You wouldn't want caulking behind the band to cure before reinstalling, I think it would prevent a tight fit.
This is the best stuff I have found if you really need to resort to a silicone sealent:

http://boatlife.com/silicones/silico...artridges.html

Comes in Clear, Black or White colour.

I've used it on my Belly Band with great success (just a thin bead and the one and only siliconed area on my trailer). I have been personaly using it in the Marine world (on lots of boats) now for over 32 years with great success as well.

I know the cheap stuff draws you in, but spend a little more for this stuff and you won't regret it.

Be fore [b]Warned all silicones are [b]not equal to each other. Do yourself a favour and use this stuff only if a silicone seal is absolutly required. Most trailer seals are obtained by using only butyl tape. Keep the silicone applications on your trailer down to a absolute minimum if possible. You will be glad you did in the end.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:10 AM   #7
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FYI - here's what Trillium RV recommends:

http://trilliumrv.com/Service.htm

Quote:
[b]Sealing
All Trilliums were sealed at the factory with an acrylic sealer. Silicon will not stick to fiberglass for extended periods of time.
To repair/reseal the various sections, first wash thoroughly with soap & water. Once dry, wipe the surfaces that the sealer will come into contact with, with acetone and a white cloth. (Acetone will remove color from fabrics, and transfer it to the trailer. Also, be careful not to touch any of the decals with this cloth. Acetone will remove this color as well.) Acetone can be purchased at most auto parts stores. Be sure to dispose of rags properly, as Acetone is very flammable.
Once dry, and completely free of loose dirt & contaminates, reseal using GE Maxx 3500. This is an acrylic sealer found at most Home Depot stores and similar. It should be applied the same way as any other caulking job. Be sure to follow the instructions on the tube, especially about ambient temperature. Cold will add to the cure time, which could be a problem if rain is eminent.
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:30 AM   #8
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Knowing the name of this strip ... belly-band, not beltline sure makes it easier to find help on this forum. Thanks all for pointing me in the right direction. Many solutions offered so much reading to do before going ahead with this.

One question for now. Many warnings, (Donna), about being careful when removing old silicone caulk. Is there a liquid that can be used to soften it first, making removal easier - I'm thinking of Varsol / mineral spirts. Mike/Sarah mentioned "Silicone Gone" but implied that it was good for removal of final residue.

Quote:
My 1977 Trillium 1300 has a black beltline (not sure if this is the right term) around the middle of the trailer that covers the opening where the two halves of the body are joined together. It's an unsightly mess. A previous owner must have had leakage problems since the upper side of the aluminum strip has been caulked and I think it's silicone (not the right stuff to use with fiberglass if I recall something I read here). It's a sloppy job and I want to fix it. In addition, the black strip that fits inside of the aluminum strip appears to have shrunk since there are gaps - the black strip does not extend all the way to the end of the aluminum strip in a couple of places.

So my questions are:

Can I first remove the entire aluminum strip - it's held on with rivets I think.
Can I then apply caulk to the space between the upper and lower halves? If so, what kind of caulking should I use?
Once the caulking is thoroughly cured, can I re-fasten the aluminum strip using screws? Is there anything in that gap that will accept screws? If so, how long do the screws need to be so the strip is fastened securely?
Finally, can the black strip be restretched so that it fits properly all the way around without gaps?

If all this is possible, it's an inexpensive solution.

Any other ideas?

Thanks all, Clark
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:33 AM   #9
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FYI - here's what Trillium RV recommends:

http://trilliumrv.com/Service.htm
I do the same prep work as they are stating (soap water wash and acetone clean) prior to a silicone application. But I go with what I already know works. I'm sure they know to, but [b]just maybe they should be looking at Boatlife Silicone Rubber Sealant (doubt they have).

All other seals if butyled properly should not leak. And if they are leaking the proper fix is to rebutyl. A silicone patch job is not the best solution. It's the temperary fix / short term solution, for the lazy man (in the end it will only cause more work and look crappy).

Cheers
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:13 AM   #10
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I do the same prep work as they are stating (soap water wash and acetone clean) prior to a silicone application. But I go with what I already know works. I'm sure they know to, but [b]just maybe they should be looking at Boatlife Silicone Rubber Sealant (doubt they have).
I've had decent results with a locally available rubber-based sealant myself (Flextra), although I haven't had it on there very long so I can't judge its long-term durability. I think the "plain" silicone stuff is what everybody should stay away from.
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:37 AM   #11
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I've had decent results with a locally available rubber-based sealant myself (Flextra), although I haven't had it on there very long so I can't judge its long-term durability. I think the "plain" silicone stuff is what everybody should stay away from.
Yep, there's simply to many silicone products (and variations there of) to choose from. And it causes a lot of confusion for people who just don't have the long term experience, with all the different silicone products and applications there are out there. I know there are still many silicone products I have yet to try, but I've tried a lot of them in the past and have finally found what works and will stop there. Confusing for the best of us.

I can say I have been through the mill with fiberglass silicone applications though. And like your self if ya finally find something that works well, stick with it. "If it ain't broke don't fix it" lol.

Cheers
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Old 03-05-2010, 03:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
One question for now. Many warnings, (Donna), about being careful when removing old silicone caulk. Is there a liquid that can be used to soften it first, making removal easier - I'm thinking of Varsol / mineral spirts. Mike/Sarah mentioned "Silicone Gone" but implied that it was good for removal of final residue.
It's not hard to remove... I mean it's not like hard chewing gum, it's just a tedious job. I think softening it would actually make it more time consuming. When I removed silicone from around a window, once I got one corner peeled up it sort pulled off in a strip (and chunks), it was that last little bit that caused me heartburn and shortened thumbnails from scrapping. YMMV

BTW: I edited the topic title... hopefully it will make it easier for others to "Search."

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Old 03-05-2010, 05:52 PM   #13
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Hi Donna,

I agree with you ... I tried to remove a bit of it and it does peel off as you say.

Thanks for updating topic title.

BTW, what does YMMV stand for?

Clark



Quote:
It's not hard to remove... I mean it's not like hard chewing gum, it's just a tedious job. I think softening it would actually make it more time consuming. When I removed silicone from around a window, once I got one corner peeled up it sort pulled off in a strip (and chunks), it was that last little bit that caused me heartburn and shortened thumbnails from scrapping. YMMV

BTW: I edited the topic title... hopefully it will make it easier for others to "Search."

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Old 03-05-2010, 08:28 PM   #14
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BTW, what does YMMV stand for?

Clark
YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary

In other words, you may have a different outcome.

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