Looking at '78 Trillium 4700 and have some questions - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-12-2012, 11:40 PM   #1
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Name: Kimberly
Trailer: Trillium 4500
California
Posts: 7
Looking at '78 Trillium 4700 and have some questions

Hi, I am really close to buying this Trillium. I'm in SoCal and haven't seen a lot of these fiberglass trailers on CL. The owner is bottom line at $4500 and from the various boards that seems like a decent price... maybe on the medium to high side.

I went back today and did a more thorough inspection. Overall, looks very clean. The only structural thing I found was a patched area to the fiberglass on the outside left front corner. It's flaking and looks a little crunchy. Is that fixable? Does that reduce the value? Also, the plugs or caps for the opening to the water tank/storage and the outgoing water are missing. Where do I find those?

Also the black trim around the windows covering the screws on the frame is missing or broken in different places all around. Were do I find those.

And where would I find an awning? It has a slider for the awning but doesnt have awning.

And one more thing, there is a little tear in the foamy wall covering near the stove. How do I fix that in a way that keeps it from getting worse but keep it unnoticeable as a fix.

Many thanks to all of you on the forum!
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Old 10-13-2012, 05:26 AM   #2
Raz
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Hi Kimberly and welcome to the forum. Most things are fixable but if you are not handy can be quite costly if you have to pay to have it done. From your comments, the windows would be my biggest concern. Around each window is a plywood frame. If there are missing screws then I would be concerned that leaking has occurred. The plywood will rot out and worse the window leaking can cause floor plywood damage. Bad floors on a Trillium are not an easy fix. Two other issues occur to me. The door latches on old Trilliums were made by Bargman and both the L 300 and the L 400 are pricey to replace. They both were dicontinued and show up on ebay with high price tags. Also if it has a refrigerator make sure it works. Finding a replacement that fits can be difficult. That said, a Trillium 4500 is a fine trailer. Good luck, Raz
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:40 AM   #3
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Name: Kimberly
Trailer: Trillium 4500
California
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Screws around window

Thanks Raz! One of the cool things about deciding to get a trailer has been finding all the various communities of trailer owners. I'm learning so much and the people are just great. Can hardly wait for my first rally!

Anyway, I am going to go back and look at the windows again and check for missing screws. How would I see if there is water damage... I didnt see any staining inside. I pressed around on the soft foam covering inside and would come against I guess plywood and other times there would be no plywood... like in the rounded corners of the ceiling. Are there going to be areas that there is no plywood, just insulation? Occasionally I see a little rust but being a novice...not sure what is acceptable and what is not.

Anymore advice on how to give this a thorough check is welcome. Thanks again!
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Old 10-13-2012, 11:52 AM   #4
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Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1977, 1978 (2), 1300 - 1977, 1973, and a 1972
Alberta
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Kimberly, A 34 year old trailer is going to have issues.

What is important to understand about fibreglass trailers is that they are almost all repairable. I have only ever found three that I would not consider fixing, and I look all the time. Like Raz said, the floor is the most difficult fix. Look in the bins under the seats, both the dinette and the gaucho, (front couch / bunk bed). On a 4500, that is where the big problems can be found. If the wood in the bottom of the bins is good, everything else is minor in comparison.

Fibreglass problems are fairly easy to fix. The only problem is painting can be expensive, especially if you paint the whole trailer. You said it had a problem on the outside, (road side?) front left front corner. If that is on the lower half, I would just fix it, then cover it, and the rest of the lower half of the front of the trailer in colour matched truck bed liner. You will never see it again. Fixing fibreglass is a very forgiving process. Got a dent, add fibreglass. Got too much fibreglass, grind or sand it down. Repeat as necessary.

It really saves money if you do the work your self. Of course some things, like welding, should probably be done by a pro.

There are four major jobs that will eventually need to be done. Some may already be done.

The belly band:
These leak eventually. Especially in Canada. It will have to be removed, the metal clips ground out and the fibreglass repaired.

The Windows:
Water damage around the windows causes the wood to rot. It is almost certain that the wood around the windows will have some rot. Especially on the wet coast. Even if they don't leak, condensation can cause rot. The curtain rods are screwed into the plywood window frames on the inside. So are the curtain hooks, half way down the windows. Give the curtain rod brackets a wiggle. Some will feel like they are in solid. Some may feel like they are not in anything. That is where the rot is. This fix is not too bad. The windows come out after the screws are removed. The the wood is removed. The hard part of this is getting the insulation (Ensolite) off the plywood. If the wood is rotten enough, this is not a problem. Cut new plywood, clean the insulation and fibreglass, glue in the plywood, screw the windows back in, using butyl tape to seal. Done.

The Door:
They eventually get loose and need to be reinstalled.

The frame, axle, brakes and coupler:
This is just a maintenance item, like the suspension on your car.

The 4500 is a great trailer, I have two. The check list of things I look for is:
The front window rock guard. Is there one? What kind of shape is it in? These are hard to find.
The insulation. Is it separating from the fibreglass? Are there rips in it?
The door latch. Does it work? Does it lock, (key?).
The furnace. Does it work?
The fridge. Does it work?
The power converter. Does it work?
Are there shelves above the windows, front and back?
How do the cushions look?
Does it have a vent fan?
How old are the tires?
Does the axle sag?
How old is the battery?
Smell?
Look at the frame. surface rust is not a problem, but look for places that it may rust through. In California it is probably fine.
The belly band. Does it leak?

None of these are deal breakers, just help to establish what I would pay. On the low end, a trailer in poor shape $1500. On the other end, a trailer that needs nothing and has the four major items done. Maybe up to $10000.
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Old 10-13-2012, 12:06 PM   #5
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Name: Harvey
Trailer: '84 Scamp 13' & 2001 Casita 17' Spirit Deluxe
Arkansas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kesslinger View Post
Hi, I am really close to buying this Trillium. I'm in SoCal and haven't seen a lot of these fiberglass trailers on CL. The owner is bottom line at $4500 and from the various boards that seems like a decent price... maybe on the medium to high side.

I went back today and did a more thorough inspection. Overall, looks very clean. The only structural thing I found was a patched area to the fiberglass on the outside left front corner. It's flaking and looks a little crunchy. Is that fixable? Does that reduce the value? Also, the plugs or caps for the opening to the water tank/storage and the outgoing water are missing. Where do I find those?

Also the black trim around the windows covering the screws on the frame is missing or broken in different places all around. Were do I find those.

And where would I find an awning? It has a slider for the awning but doesnt have awning.

And one more thing, there is a little tear in the foamy wall covering near the stove. How do I fix that in a way that keeps it from getting worse but keep it unnoticeable as a fix.

Many thanks to all of you on the forum!
I think Raz that she's probably talking about the black plastic 'inserts' that cover the screw heads in the aluminum frame of the windows. I'm pretty sure those are still available somewhere but I've no idea where. As you can see in the pic, on my '76 Trillium 13' some PO did a really crappy paint job on the FG body & didn't even bother to mask the windows/trim, as well as using copious amounts of what looks to be silicone as a sealer. I plan to remove all the old sealer (including in the belly band area) & strip as much of the rolled/brushed on paint as I can before re-finishing. I'll probably just remove the windows entirely including the makeshift bracket for the little window unit A/C in the rear window. I've already obtained a 'new' rear window & front rock guard.

Sorry Kimberly, didn't mean to hijack your thread. I think the black pieces along the sides & bottom in this pic are what are missing on the Trillium you reference. Pretty sure they're still available...

As for the tear in the 'ensolite' near the stove, I think I'd use some kind of spray adhesive to re-secure it to the fiberglass wall & then perhaps a small amount of white (or whatever appropriate color) caulking (latex bathtub??) in the tear seam to disguise the repair?? Or some kind of decorative adhesive 'patch' to cover it entirely...
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Old 10-13-2012, 12:36 PM   #6
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Name: Roy
Trailer: 1972 boler American and 1979 Trillium 4500
Ontario
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kesslinger View Post
the plugs or caps for the opening to the water tank/storage and the outgoing water are missing. Where do I find those?

Also the black trim around the windows covering the screws on the frame is missing or broken in different places all around. Were do I find those.

And where would I find an awning? It has a slider for the awning but doesnt have awning.

And one more thing, there is a little tear in the foamy wall covering near the stove. How do I fix that in a way that keeps it from getting worse but keep it unnoticeable as a fix.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harvey View Post
I think Raz that she's probably talking about the black plastic 'inserts' that cover the screw heads in the aluminum frame of the windows.
As for the tear in the 'ensolite' near the stove, I think I'd use some kind of spray adhesive to re-secure it to the fiberglass wall & then perhaps a small amount of white (or whatever appropriate color) caulking (latex bathtub??) in the tear seam to disguise the repair?? Or some kind of decorative adhesive 'patch' to cover it entirely...
I agree on the plastic strips, low cost repair.
Agree with the Ensolite fix, also low cost.

Most RV places have access to direct replacements for the missing water inlets and outlets. Cheap fix. Also found on ebay. Pictures help. Once we know exactly what you are looking for, someone may have a spare or be able to point you in the right direction.

Awnings, depending on the type and whether new or used can range from free to $1000+, if you are patient and diligent enough you can find a nice lightly used Carefree of Colorado bag awning for under $150.

Welcome to FGRV!
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Old 10-13-2012, 03:04 PM   #7
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Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1977, 1978 (2), 1300 - 1977, 1973, and a 1972
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The screw covers for the window were last located at:
Hehr Screw Cover, Molding

In black, brown, colonial white, and polar white. It would take around ten lengths to a trailer.
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:44 PM   #8
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Name: kootenai girl
Trailer: 2004 Casita Liberty 17
British Columbia
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David, do you know if the window screw cover is the same as this
AP Products 011-363 8' Black Hehr Screw Cover

as I bought it from Amazon for my Boler and it doesn't fit. Don't want to order the wrong thing again!
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:19 PM   #9
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Name: Kimberly
Trailer: Trillium 4500
California
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Thanks for all the great info.

Here is a link to some photos of the Trillium. Based on everything I've read here, I think it's a good one. Going into this whole endeavor of getting a trailer I had never intended to spend over 2k. But here I am at $4500...! so I am a little hesitant ... tomorrow is decision day!!!

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=f827eee0f8
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kootenaigirl View Post
David, do you know if the window screw cover is the same as this
AP Products 011-363 8' Black Hehr Screw Cover
I am not sure. I found it on this thred:
1975 Trillium outer plastic window trim

Looks like others have used it on Trilliums.
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:48 PM   #11
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Name: Kimberly
Trailer: Trillium 4500
California
Posts: 7
I have been reading through all the posts and really just finally feel like I can do this thing. Found the screw covers. Found the Ensolite. So if anything does sag, tear, rip, etc. I can fix it. I can even fix fiberglass cracks. I am so excited. And I want to thank you all again for replying and being so generous with your time and experience. Can't wait to return the same to some other newbie. One thing that is coming with this trailer is the original brochure. I'm going to scan it and put it up here when I BRING HER HOME!!! Thanks again.
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:56 PM   #12
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The cosmetics seem quite good, based on your photos. Nice!
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:53 AM   #13
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Name: Kimberly
Trailer: Trillium 4500
California
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ensolite

Can you use headl
iner material instead of ensolite? Thanks
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Old 10-14-2012, 05:21 AM   #14
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From the pictures that looks like a good one. There was one advertised here locally that looked much rougher for the same price. Right about the screw cover. I misread. If I'm not mistaken, that's a Bargman L 400 Door lock. As I said, very pricey. I would remove it, lubricate, and reinstall it using butyl tape which can be purchased at an RV store (They will have other stuff you will need sooner or later so it's worth a visit). While you're at it, resealing all the through body fixtures with butyl tape might be worth doing.. A good way to see what's what. Have fun, and remember we like pictures. Raz
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