Leak(s) in rear of Trillium - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-29-2011, 08:14 AM   #1
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Leak(s) in rear of Trillium

Hi all,

So the snow is gone, the mud is trying to dry up, and Raz & I are ready to hit the road with the 2010 Trillium. But ... yes, it is the fateful "But ...".

The trailer has developed a leak or leaks somewhere in the back. The water is getting in from ABOVE the tail lights, marker lights, furnace vent, power, etc.. We know it is above these leak-threat areas, because the water is sitting/running on the ledge the benches sit on, which is above all that stuff.

Our strategy, thus far, has been pretty low-tech: Mother Nature has provided several days of rain, we've made use of the garden hose when M.N. is on break, and we've made use of black duct tape around the sides & top of the rear window as well as around the belly band. Mixed results. We think the inconclusive results might be because there is possibly a lot of water/moisture built up behind the wall covering and it is now slowing working its way out?

Two things we have noted: 1) The upper door-side corner of the rear window moves when pushed and is not tight to the fiberglass; and 2) The belly band has a few areas where the band is not tight to the fiberglass. Are either of these clues to what might be going on?

Before we go out to find butyl tape, etc., and tackle removing the window and/or the belly band, I thought it'd be good to garner info from The Forum

I'm including pictures (probably too many ... but sometimes pictures are better than my written descriptions). In the photos showing wiring inside the bench storage area, you'll see the sitting water atop the grayish goopy stuff under the bench seat (it shows as little bits of brightness).

TIA for any and all help!

Maggie
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Leak 3.jpg   Leak 4.jpg  

Leak 7.jpg   Leak 8.jpg  

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Old 05-29-2011, 09:54 AM   #2
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Water leak in Trillium

Maggie

I also encountered the problem of a leak above the lights in my Trillium Jubilee. I started the investigation by removing the Ensolite behind the rear cushions. I felt this was necessary in order to pinpoint where the water was actually entering the trailer. This can be very different from the spot where it shows up ! I found the entry point to be in the area of the belly band right at the right rear corner. Some sanding and chipping revealed an air bubble (not uncommon in fibreglass) in the skin. When I ground this out I discovered that the leak was caused by a rusted screw or rivet which was used to hold the belly band in place. I discovered that, despite a whole lot of messy silicone on the belly band, water was getting in about four feet ahead of the entry point and running along the aluminium channel to the corner where it entered. Because I plan to remove the belly band in the fall and re-glass the joint, I did a temporary repair. With the loose fibreglass sanded away, I used an epoxy stick and filled the offending screw hole and surrounding area. This seems to have stopped it for now but the more permanent fix will be done later.

I have just purchased another Trillium and find that the same type of leak is evident in the two front corners. They are slight and have cause very little damage, but will have to be addressed before any renovations can proceed.

The belly band is not meant to seal anything. It is a cosmetic device only and is used by the manufacturers to circumvent the need to finish the outside of the unit when the two halves are brought together. This is a very time consuming task, and, to the manufacturer, the cost is prohibitive. Any attempt to use the belly band to prevent leaks is likely to fail. Plastering on big globs of silicone only makes a mess and really doesn’t do anything. A better solution would be to remove all caulking from the belly band, particularly along the bottom, and allow any water to simply drain out.

Assuming that the leak is related to the belly joint, the best way to fix it is to remove the belly band and re-glass the joint using proper fibreglass repair techniques. There are many forums available on this site and others on how to do that.

Bill Reilly
Picton, Ontario
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Old 05-29-2011, 10:35 AM   #3
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Hi Bill,

Thanks so much for telling us your experience. It is more info to feed into the hopper!

We will sit tight and read responses for a least the next couple of days (it being a holiday weekend down here, there's no place open to get whatever we might need!). And then ponder some more .

Feed us more info, everyone!
Maggie
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Old 05-29-2011, 10:38 AM   #4
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A 2010, don't they come with a warranty?
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Old 05-29-2011, 12:34 PM   #5
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Hi Greg ....

Wwweeelll ... they are in California ... we are in Vermont .

From hot and humid and very wet central Vermont,
Maggie
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Old 05-29-2011, 03:01 PM   #6
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Yeah but still it's new, there should be something that could be done to fix this and not cost you anything. I would contact them and tell them about this issue.
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:58 AM   #7
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When we first took delivery of our Trillium we found water in the rear storage area and attributed it to the fact that none of the lights had been caulked at the factory. Later we thought it was due to the defective rear window. Over the winter, through many freeze and thaw cycles, the small leak turned into a major issue. Heavy spring rains brought lots of water into the trailer.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:02 AM   #8
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First we removed and reinstalled the rear and driver side windows. Except for several spun out screws the rear window was fine. The side window had been installed with 1/2" wide butyl tape that weaved in and out of the sealing ridge. We reinstalled it with new tape thinking we had found the leak. Unfortunately we had not.

We duct taped the belly band and the leak just about stopped. When we removed the interior wall covering we found a number of leaks. Most were due to poorly sealed rivets. Bill Reilly, you were right!
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:04 AM   #9
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As was pointed out, this trailer is still under a "2 year ball to bumper warranty". We asked for help. Two requests and two weeks later we were told to caulk the belly band. When we showed them pictures of the inside and asked for supplies, they told us they would send every thing we would need and that we should seal the inside with fiberglass as well as caulking the belly band. Here is what we got.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:05 AM   #10
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We went to the nearest West Marine, about 60 miles away, and purchased supplies.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:08 AM   #11
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First we sealed the belly band. We used Lexel as that had worked well on the lights. We removed the black vinyl tape. We cleaned the aluminum band with 0000 steel wool using a card to shield the gelcoat and then cleaned every thing with acetone. Lexel claims it can be smoothed with a soapy finger. We didn't find this to be the case as with in seconds of leaving the tube it behaved like marshmallow fluff. The blue tape we had used to keep things neat had to quickly be removed for fear of it becoming permanent. A small bead and slow steady application produced a satisfactory appearance. Mineral spirits cleans up the mistakes.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:10 AM   #12
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More pictures.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:17 AM   #13
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We had never worked with fiberglass before so we read numerous posts on the forum. Special thanks to Raya, (who remains conspicuous in her absence of late) and the others who provided a wealth of information. The West Systems web site is also very good.

We used 60 grit sand paper and acetone to remove the wall covering adhesive and prepare the seam

We used a kitchen scale to measure out the correct amounts of resin to hardener (5 to 1). We tried a test batch on a piece of scrap plywood first. Next we performed the actual repair. We used what West Systems called the "wet method". Working quickly we use a disposable bristle paint brush to apply epoxy resin then fiberglass tape and the resin. The whole operation took about 10 minutes. we mixed up 6 ounces of epoxy (resin and hardener) to do 6 feet of 4 inch fiberglass tape and had a fair amount left over.The warnings about the epoxy mix becoming hot are no exaggeration. Ten minutes after we were done you could not hold the container.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:18 AM   #14
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We have not reinstalled the wall covering yet. We will probably use 3m 77 adhesive but if someone has a better suggestion please let us know.
Maggie and Raz
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:20 AM   #15
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I also had a leak at the back of an older Trillium. Much to my chagrin, I would always find water after the rain in the left rear passenger compartment. Once I removed the back window, replaced the wood trim and resealed it with butyl tape, I had no other problems. Sometimes the water will not turn up where you expect it...it would move through channels in the Ensolite and find a way to the bottom, not necessarily under the leak. Best of luck with it.
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:45 AM   #16
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So a 2 year warranty means we will mail you stuff to fix it yourself, instead of the traditional find your nearest local RV dealer and we will pay the bill. Yes, i am aware of being factory direct, but they still could offer the traditional method if they wanted. When you call about a warranty claim do you deal with Mattman or Tom? And is Tom involved anywhere in the purchase process? Thanks everyone for sharing your experience here.
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:42 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken C View Post
So a 2 year warranty means we will mail you stuff to fix it yourself, instead of the traditional find your nearest local RV dealer and we will pay the bill. Yes, i am aware of being factory direct, but they still could offer the traditional method if they wanted. When you call about a warranty claim do you deal with Mattman or Tom? And is Tom involved anywhere in the purchase process? Thanks everyone for sharing your experience here.
Tom was our original contact back in 2010. Tom did offer to come out and do the repairs, but he seems to be very busy ... and promises he made last year went unfulfilled. Our confidence level was pretty low. We had no contact with Mattman until they called us in February of this year. Once the replacement deal fell through, they put the ball back in Tom's court. I hope our experience is unique .

We are located in central Vermont, pretty far from any boat or rv repair shops. Raz and I trust his skills over some outfit we don't know, so we decided to do the repair research (thank you, FGRV forum) and do the work ourselves ... successfully, I think!

And now, we're going campin' ... rain or no rain !
Maggie
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:47 AM   #18
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snoozy has offered to repair fiberglass in SC. Closer than California but still far away I know. Just tossing that idea out there in case you haven't heard. Good luck.
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Old 07-11-2011, 06:00 PM   #19
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A friend just walked in to mattman to get me a price list and they had none to give out. Just a basic brochure on the trailer, nothing else. I thought that was kind of goofy, oh well
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:04 PM   #20
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Thanks Maggie and Raz for sharing your experience, it looks like you've done a real professional job of finding the problem and fixing it thoroughly.

I had pulled back the ensolite in the closet of our older trillium (there was some odd smell in the closet that was bothering me and i needed to get it down to the glass to clean it properly) and when I was done I used 3m super 77 spray adhesive to put the ensolite back up. the 3m spray adhesive didn't live up to my expectations. Every so often the ensolite starts to let go in places and I have found it in a heap a few times at the bottom of the closet. Interestingly there is enough tack for me to press it back into place without regluing (i did add some adhesive one time) but i intend to clean things up and try again with another product, probably contact cement.

it would be interesting to find out from the manufacturer what was used the first time around to put up the wall covering.

best of luck and have fun camping, hope there are no more stressful surprises.

Kevin
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