Need advice: New Trillium with a hinge problem - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-05-2010, 12:31 PM   #1
Raz
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Need advice: New Trillium with a hinge problem

When we got our new trillium I noticed that the door would swing freely for the first 90 degrees but required some force to open it fully. At first I thought this was intentional until I noticed that the hinge screws had loosened. Upon measuring the distance between each screw in the upper hinge and its counterpart in the lower hinge I discovered that the hinges on my trailer are not parallel (off by 3/16") and as the door is opened, the screws are being "squeezed" out. By strategically placing my cooler as a door stop I have been able to postpone the repair but next spring it will have to be done (too cold to do it now). Here is my plan so far:

--Tape the door in place to preserve the alignment.

--Resent one hinge such that all screws are equidistant from their counterpart on the other hinge.

--To do this I will remove the 5 forward most screws and loosen the sixth so that the hinge can be swung clear of the holes.

--Holes backed by wood (from reviewing old posts, the 3 on the trailer body) will be drilled and filled with dowels then covered with resin. Holes just in fiberglass (two on the door) will just get filled with resin.

--I then will drill new holes and install the hinge.

Any encouragement, ...constructive criticism, ...don't do that, ...here's how I'd do it, etc. is most welcome. Raz
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Old 12-07-2010, 11:39 PM   #2
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I did mine using a 2 part neadable putty system. Worked it into to the widened screw holes in a couple of phases. Deep first to give a bottom to the hole then filled it up to the top. I noticed you've got a 2010 so your situation might be different than for my 1979.
Have you contacted the manufacturer for suggestions, you may be under warranty.
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Old 12-08-2010, 08:29 AM   #3
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Hello Roy, I have read the posts where the epoxy putty was used. I have no experience with it. How does it stick to the fiberglass but not to your fingers? Also are there any shrinkage issues? I had planned on using the stuff that comes with the fiberglass repair kit you find at the auto parts store but if there is a better way....

As far as the warranty, we have had numerous build quality issues and talked to Trilliumrv numerous times. Lots of creative excuses and unfulfilled promises. I suspect if we drove to the factory they would take care of things but then again they are the ones who hung the door in the first place. Sorry. End of rant. Thanks for the help. Raz
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:28 PM   #4
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The repair sounds good. As a Carpenter I would think to use the dowl and resin, but the 2 part neadable putty system sounds like a good idea. Learn a lot from the posts.
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Old 12-09-2010, 05:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
When we got our new trillium I noticed that the door would swing freely for the first 90 degrees but required some force to open it fully. At first I thought this was intentional until I noticed that the hinge screws had loosened. Upon measuring the distance between each screw in the upper hinge and its counterpart in the lower hinge I discovered that the hinges on my trailer are not parallel (off by 3/16") and as the door is opened, the screws are being "squeezed" out. By strategically placing my cooler as a door stop I have been able to postpone the repair but next spring it will have to be done (too cold to do it now). Here is my plan so far:

--Tape the door in place to preserve the alignment.

--Resent one hinge such that all screws are equidistant from their counterpart on the other hinge.

--To do this I will remove the 5 forward most screws and loosen the sixth so that the hinge can be swung clear of the holes.

--Holes backed by wood (from reviewing old posts, the 3 on the trailer body) will be drilled and filled with dowels then covered with resin. Holes just in fiberglass (two on the door) will just get filled with resin.

--I then will drill new holes and install the hinge.

Any encouragement, ...constructive criticism, ...don't do that, ...here's how I'd do it, etc. is most welcome. Raz

I don't know what kind of Warranty Trillium has, but this sure sounds like a warranty issue. Call the manufacturer and see what they to say about getting it fixed.
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Old 12-09-2010, 06:23 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
Hello Roy, I have read the posts where the epoxy putty was used. I have no experience with it. How does it stick to the fiberglass but not to your fingers? Also are there any shrinkage issues?
Raz,
I had no experience with it either. Alf suggested Tech Steel but I could only find a different brand very similiar locally. I came home with the package, checked the specs etc. on the web and decided to give it a try. The worst case scenario was that I could always drill it out.

My screws all initially went into wood behind the FG. The wood was the problem, a previous owner had tried using an expansion type device to lock the screws in place, but those too had failed. I took all the harware out, cleaned out the holes trying to provide a clean, rough surface with a "mechanical locking" contour should the bond fail. The product suggests using gloves, I feel that is analgous to using plastic with bondo, it helps handle it and limits bonding to the tool. The stuff does stick to your fingers but washes off before it sets, and scrapes off after it sets.

Seeing as how it bonds to itself, I forced some into the hole with a wooden chopstick forcing it into the sides and forming a bottom to the hole, all while trying to keep some roughness for the second layer. I let that hit it's initial set before filling the hole left by the chopstick. I mixed up some more then forced it into the remaining hole filling it completely with a "slight" overfill. Much like one does bodywork, allowing for shrinkage and sanding. The next day, I drilled pilot holes for screws and attached the hinges. So far everything has been OK, but this is the first winter the set material is being exposed to.
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Old 12-10-2010, 01:55 PM   #7
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Roy, thanks for the info. I can't do anything until spring which gives plenty of time to work the problem. I am assuming the new Trillium is built similar to the original with wood behind the body hinges but unlike an older version rot should not be an issue. The putty might be perfect for the two screws in the door where there is no wood. Next time I'm out I'll pick some up to see how it works. Again thanks.

Hello Byron, We are also doing the Saturday thing. Ain't it grand. The warranty is "2 years ball to bumper". As I said earlier in the thread, lots of creative excuses and unfulfilled promises. On the bright side I enjoy working on the trailer and because of all the issues I have become very familiar with its construction Thanks, Raz
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Old 12-10-2010, 05:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
Roy, thanks for the info. I can't do anything until spring which gives plenty of time to work the problem. I am assuming the new Trillium is built similar to the original with wood behind the body hinges but unlike an older version rot should not be an issue. The putty might be perfect for the two screws in the door where there is no wood. Next time I'm out I'll pick some up to see how it works. Again thanks.

Hello Byron, We are also doing the Saturday thing. Ain't it grand. The warranty is "2 years ball to bumper". As I said earlier in the thread, lots of creative excuses and unfulfilled promises. On the bright side I enjoy working on the trailer and because of all the issues I have become very familiar with its construction Thanks, Raz

Yup, the Saturday thing is grand. We'll be heading for Southern CA an on to TX in about 3 weeks. Going to give the Scamp a good workout.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:13 AM   #9
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I noticed on my 78 Trillium that a couple of the hinge screws would not tighten,so I assume it is "weak" behind it. Let me know if there is a problem with what I am intending to do. First I have become a HUGE fan of the six10 Epoxy that fits in a standard caulking gun and mixes itself. I plan on taping the door in place. Unscrewing one side of one of the hinges. Drilling out the screw holes to accomodate a wooden dowel."BEFORE" putting in the dowel I am going to apply some of the Epoxy then insert the dowel pushing it in as far as it will go and allowing it to stick out some. Then I will "grind" the dowel flush and apply Epoxy to make sure there is no air gaps around dowel to let any water in if there is need,but I think any Epoxy placed in first will squeeze out. Let it set,pre-drill holes and put screws back in. Then do the other side of hinge,then the next hinge. Does this sound correct? Also as far as the dowel goes. Does anyone suggest a particular wood? Hardwood or Pine? Or something else? And should the dowel be just about the same size as the original hole or larger so it doesnt split when screwed into? Thanks Randy
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:57 PM   #10
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I would not say for sure Randy. A Pine or Spruce dowel may be too soft, and hardwood may too hard. Do you have something in between? The "tech steel" 2 part putty epoxy seemed to do the trick for me.
I like your idea of taping the door in place and removing the screws. Your 'epoxy + wood' and the 'putty' are both relatively inexpensive. Why not buy everything you might need, remove the screws from one half of each hinge and make your decision based on what you find underneath each hole. From what I've seen in other posts you are pretty handy with a variety of materials. With the screws out, you can look, see and probe before making a final decision. Trust your judgement for each screw hole, then proceed with the other hinge. (I would not say that to everyone, but you seem to be a "Red-Green" kind of guy)
Please post your findings and results so we may all learn. Remember, you have 10 screws to deal with. Each one may tell you that it needs a different approach.
Roy
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Old 12-24-2010, 09:14 AM   #11
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Hello Randy. First, let me suggest you search the forum. Try "Trillium door hinge". Lots of good ideas. One member solved a loose screw issue by using tooth picks with good results. Second if you need to go to dowels be aware that the "birch" dowels found at the hardware store may no longer be birch. Mostly imported species, they are labeled inch sizes but are really the closest metric size i.e 1/4" is really 6 mm, 1/2" is 12 mm etc. I've never seen softwood dowels at local stores. Finally, if the wood is really rotted replacement might be better, However, it is my understanding that to do that requires cutting into a fiberglass structural member inside the trailer to gain access to the wood. At that point bolts and a metal plate would be a consideration. Let us know what happens. Raz
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Old 12-27-2010, 02:38 PM   #12
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Hi: P. Raz... Sorry to hear of your plight!!! Here's a pic of the stuff I used on my Boler. It filled the holes in the fiberglass door...set rock hard in 1hr. and was drillable and fileable to re-align the bolt holes. You just cut off a piece of the putty stick and knead it till it's all the same colour...then stuff in the hole and smooth out as best poss. When dry it can be filed then drilled to re-align the holes. You can see it in the hinge holes in the pic. The holes were shaped like clover leaves not 1/4" holes.
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 12-27-2010, 04:15 PM   #13
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I noticed on my 78 Trillium that a couple of the hinge screws would not tighten,so I assume it is "weak" behind it.
Randy, On my '77 Trillium the wooden blocks behind the hinges on the shell were rotted beyond repair and I had to peel back the ensolite to cut access holes in the fiberglass so that I could replace them with new hardwood which I glassed in solidly. For the door I drilled 1/2 inch holes (as big as I could go and keep them hidden beneath the hinge) and inserted hardwood dowels using fiberglass resin. The dowels were set about 1/8 inch below the surface, then filled over with resin for a good dry seal. Then I drilled pilot holes for the screws. Fred
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Old 12-29-2010, 04:48 AM   #14
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Alf, thanks for posting the picture. Raz
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