Need to repair '78 Trillium upper bunk - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-07-2014, 06:57 PM   #1
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Name: Jane
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Need to repair '78 Trillium upper bunk

Ha! The more I deal with this little trailer, the more I think I bit off a bit more than I can chew!

The other day while hitching up to move to a better spot in the driveway, I set the ball by pulling forward and then braking rather rapidly. That went well, but in the meantime the bunk (which I had set up for measuring) came completely off the wall!

I want to put it back, but I think I'll just strip the fabric off, use the fixtures, and use it for a storage area. No one should sleep there except a small child!
Any suggestions for re-attatching the bunk to the wall? It looks like the screws should be longer. Do I just plug all the holes and start over with new drilling, etc? Ah, for a fabricator!!!!

Thanks for all suggestions.
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Old 12-07-2014, 07:29 PM   #2
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Bunk Hinge Attachment

Hello,
The screws that hold the bunk hinge to the front of the trailer screw into
the same piece of plywood backing around the window that the window
screws go into. If the wood has been wet much it might need to be replaced.
Barring that you can use the old carpenter trick of using a kitchen and white glue to fill the hole and then reinsert the screws after the glue has set up.
I think I would try that before tearing into to wood window hole backing.
Good Luck, Larry H
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Old 12-07-2014, 09:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry C Hanson View Post
Hello,
The screws that hold the bunk hinge to the front of the trailer screw into
the same piece of plywood backing around the window that the window
screws go into. If the wood has been wet much it might need to be replaced.
Barring that you can use the old carpenter trick of using a kitchen and white glue to fill the hole and then reinsert the screws after the glue has set up.
I think I would try that before tearing into to wood window hole backing.
Good Luck, Larry H
I believe Larry meant to say "trick of using wooden kitchen matches inserted into the glue filled holes with the wooden end in first, then break off flush with the wall, then reinsert the screws after the glue has set up."
Dave & Paula
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:37 AM   #4
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Examine the screws. Are they rusty? I suspect the plywood spacers around the windows are rotten. The bunk should not pull out that easy. Here is a thread you might find helpful.

1979 Trillium Restoration by The Egg Plant

Be aware, the wall covering is ensolite and is hard to find. If it is in good shape be gentle. Raz
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:18 AM   #5
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Jane, Breath deeply. What you have is a trailer that under all circumstances is repairable:
I was sure I was done buying Trilliums for Now
There are two layers of wood that the upper bunk screws into. The frame around the window, and another piece that is screwed into that. They are both 3/4" plywood. The screws that hold the bunk on are about 1-1/4" long. If the plywood that makes up the inside window frame are rotten, which is not uncommon, then they will have to be replaced. I did this on a Trillium this summer:
My first Trillium window thread.

It was removing the inside frames that was the most time consuming. I used a sharpened putty knife to separate the Ensolite, (insulation) from the plywood. This is mostly a slow process, not too difficult. Be careful not to rip the Ensolite, like I did. The corners are kinda difficult to get into. I am thinking that a U shaped chisel would work. Attached is a picture of a spindle gouge, that I think would be perfect for the job. It is normally used on a wood lathe.

I separated the flat surface first. Then I pushed the putty knife down the beveled surface. This left the corner of the beveled surface still attached. This is where the spindle gouge would help. Push it down the outside corner of the beveled section to separate the Ensolite. Not having this tool caused me to rip the Ensolite. This turned out to be no problem, because the rips were on the front upper corner of both the side windows. This is where the shelves attach to the window frame, so you can't see the rips.
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Old 12-08-2014, 03:29 PM   #6
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Dont give up , as you see there is all kind of info on here. take the time to learn from the experts ,( owners ) have a beautiful day
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:48 PM   #7
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Hi Jane: I had a similar thing happen to our Trillium. The bolts had rusted & broke. I ended up getting 5/16" stainless steel bolts (about 3" long, if memory serves) with large washers. Nuts with big washers on the inside. I drilled holes all the way through to the outside. So now theres three bolts showing their heads on the outside - but they're shiny, so it doesn't bother me. And now the upper bunk is secure!
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Old 12-11-2014, 06:47 PM   #8
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All you folks are so helpful and knowledgeable! I am sure that the plywood is the problem. But since I'm not going to try to restore this to perfect condition, I think I will try Larry's method of using the big bolts. My ensolite is in fairly good shape, and since I will be tackling most smaller repairs myself, I think I'll skip trying to replace the wood frames for now. Maybe I'll win the lottery and then have a reputable trailer repair place do this for me! "The Egg Plant" 's restoration photos are amazing. It would be a dream of mine to have my Trillium look this beautiful! Thank you all for your continued help and opinions. I have more questions that I will ask in another thread.
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Old 12-11-2014, 08:58 PM   #9
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The fewer holes you drill in the exterior skin, the better. I would not put in through bolts .

Just my 2 worth

Spanke
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Old 12-12-2014, 10:39 AM   #10
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The problem with the bolt idea is that the fiberglass alone may not be strong enough to handle the load. In the original design the bunk fastens to the plywood. The plywood is held in place by the window hardware. The plywood and the window frame distribute the weight. Bolts alone, even with big fender washer, will torque the fiberglass. How much depends on the force applied. At best it will leak. At worst, it will crack the fiberglass. And as Spanke suggests, the fewer holes the better.

Find someone with a table saw. Buy a sheet of plywood. Fix the problem right. Fortune favors the bold. Raz
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Old 12-12-2014, 01:21 PM   #11
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Jane, If the plywood is rotten, then leaks from the window are not far behind. You will not regret replacing the plywood. Just take your time.
The costs are minimal:
1 full sheet of 3/4" plywood
1 roll of butyl tape.
100 #8 3/4" stainless steel, pan head screws.

You will need someone with a table saw, to cut the plywood sheet. one sheet is way more then you need, but a 1/2 sheet is too short for the longest pieces.
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Old 12-12-2014, 04:30 PM   #12
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Both Spanke & Raz are right- the fewer holes the better. However, I work in an industrial factory & that's a repair method commonly used. I felt that the plywood wasn't in bad shape. The bolts I used go through the plywood and the fibreglass, obviously. That's about an inch of support right there. I also filled the holes with a polyurethane sealant (better than silicone) It's been 12 years since I did this repair & NO leaks! I feel that the factory method of fastening the upper bunk to the window frame isn't very sturdy ( just a few screws )
I've actually slept on the upper bunk ( I'm 200 lbs ) to test my repair. No, I didn't sleep overly well - that's a narrow bed! But I wanted to make sure it was OK for my 90 lb daughter. I "hid" the bolts in the black strip below the window. Tried to make it look like it came that way from the factory.
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Old 12-12-2014, 07:17 PM   #13
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Nice repair job Larry and hiding the bolts in plain sight.....perfect
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Old 12-14-2014, 06:14 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Tenhage View Post
Hi Jane: I had a similar thing happen to our Trillium. The bolts had rusted & broke. I ended up getting 5/16" stainless steel bolts (about 3" long, if memory serves) with large washers. Nuts with big washers on the inside. I drilled holes all the way through to the outside. So now theres three bolts showing their heads on the outside
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Tenhage View Post
Both Spanke & Raz are right- the fewer holes the better. However, I work in an industrial factory & that's a repair method commonly used. I felt that the plywood wasn't in bad shape. The bolts I used go through the plywood and the fibreglass, obviously. That's about an inch of support right there. I also filled the holes with a polyurethane sealant (better than silicone)
The polyurethane sold in tubes is not what I would consider a sealant but rather an adhesive. It is sold in smaller containers under the brand name Gorilla Glue. I can not argue your fix won't work, obviously it has for 12 years. But when the next owner wants to remove the 3" bolts protruding into the interior of their trailer and replace the plywood, they are in for a bit of a challenge. The thread should make interesting reading. Raz
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