Trillium 4500 leak - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-12-2010, 10:26 AM   #1
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Name: Ken
Trailer: Trillium 4500
Ontario
Posts: 7
I am hoping someone can help me. I know this topic has been addressed before, and have read all the posts, but my trailer seems to be different, or maybe just in worse condition.
A leak into the rear lockers has been traced to the belly band, which I removed at the rear of the trailer. While rivets were used at the right and left sides, In the middle of ther rear there was screws which screwed into plywood which was totally rotten.
After removing the wood I can see right into the trailer, so I am not sure the previous comments that the construction of the trailer is watertight and the belly band is just for looks.
I am wondering if any one else has encountered this construction, this problem and has experience or an idea on how to repair this problem and make my Trillium 4500 waterproof.
I have included a drawing and some pictures to help explain.
Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 04-12-2010, 11:34 AM   #2
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
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Hi Ken,

First of all, thanks for posting with photos and a clear sketch!

That is interesting. I have noticed that the (some?) 4500s have that special receptacle molding, but have never seen what's behind it. What I can't tell for sure is whether the "extra wide" seam gap/wood/etc. were put in by a PO (maybe needing to do some wiring?) or by Trillium at the factory (or just a sloppy fit maybe). Huh.

Clearly you do need a fix though. And I'm guessing you do not have good access to the inside - the large receptacle molding is probably bonded in place, right?

I think I would want to just fiberglass that gap closed. Now, you could try to do something fancier that is removable for servicing the wiring, but if your wiring is fresh and proper (and/or you make it so - I would), then personally, I would rather just glass it closed, have it be watertight, and then IF ever necessary, just cut the glass where you need to get in and re-glass. It's also possible to install a deck plate (removable round plastic cover) on the inside of that molding if you ever need to.

You will need to be tidy with your glassing, but with some care and liberal use of tape (masking type), you should be okay.

Knowing how the belly band is attached, I would be tempted to do away with it and use something else, but yours may be fine, and I know some people like the look (you might want to check for suspicious bulges on the outside which, if there, would indicate rusting rivet-backers.

The nice thing about fiberglass is that you can easily customize the fit/shape, and it will be solid and watertight. One important point is to remember to solvent wash the gelcoat before doing any sanding, to remove mold-release wax (Interlux 202 or etc.)

That really is a great sketch. How does one make them?

Raya

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Old 04-12-2010, 03:07 PM   #3
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Name: Paul McEwan
Trailer: 1976 Trillium 13 ft
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I have a leak too and stripped off the ensolite to find it. As suspected it was the back window and repairs are under way.

Interesting to note was no backing at the belly band on mine. No wood at all. It was put together and then fiberglassed in place which makes me wonder why there is a trim detail at all. The difference in construction must be the difference between my 1300 and your 4500.

I like Raya's idea. Glass it shut. If I ever had to paint mine, I would remove that trim and seal it up into a nice clean line.
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Old 04-12-2010, 03:33 PM   #4
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Name: Ken
Trailer: Trillium 4500
Ontario
Posts: 7
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Hi Ken,

First of all, thanks for posting with photos and a clear sketch!

.........

Clearly you do need a fix though. And I'm guessing you do not have good access to the inside - the large receptacle molding is probably bonded in place, right?

Thank you for the advice Raya. I am not sure if that wood filler in the gap was factory or from a PO. Hard to say. I agree with you about filling that gap and was contemplating glassing in a piece of acrylic, or something that would not rot, as a backer, so the epoxy would not encase the wiring and outlet and ooze out around the outlet and then filling in the remaining gap, I would probabley then just re-attach the belly band to hide my probably ugly job of glass work.

I did the sketch in AutoCAD and exported it to a jpg file through another graphic program, Corel Draw.
Thanks again for your advice.
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:16 PM   #5
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Name: Ed
Trailer: 1982 Fiber Stream and 2002 Casita Freedom Deluxe,The driveway is a Dark & Lonely Place now!
Missouri
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I had a 4500 that had similar problems in the same area as yours.

I tracked it down to the metal rivet backing plates rusting out and making it nasty and permeable from the outside.
I cleaned it out the best that I could and then sort of crammed Epoxy putty into the open wound a little at a time.
Doing this slowly and in layers allowed me to build it up in a controlled way and to shape it near the surface too.

At the end I had a watertight solid epoxy patch that I could drill and screw into to attach the band again with SS Screws.

Worked well and used what I already knew how to use and already had on hand.

I also pulled all the windows out except the tiny Kitchen window.
I made new plywood backing just like what had been in there and re-installed the windows using butyl rubber as the seal and SS Screws to put them back in.

These steps fixed my leaks too which were also the worst under the benches in back.

Have Fun!
Ed
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Old 04-13-2010, 09:27 AM   #6
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Name: Ken
Trailer: Trillium 4500
Ontario
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I had a 4500 that had similar problems in the same area as yours.

I tracked it down to the metal rivet backing plates rusting out and making it nasty and permeable from the outside.
I cleaned it out the best that I could and then sort of crammed Epoxy putty into the open wound a little at a time.
Doing this slowly and in layers allowed me to build it up in a controlled way and to shape it near the surface too.

At the end I had a watertight solid epoxy patch that I could drill and screw into to attach the band again with SS Screws.

Worked well and used what I already knew how to use and already had on hand.

I also pulled all the windows out except the tiny Kitchen window.
I made new plywood backing just like what had been in there and re-installed the windows using butyl rubber as the seal and SS Screws to put them back in.

These steps fixed my leaks too which were also the worst under the benches in back.

Have Fun!
Ed
Thanks Ed, Do you have a source of epoxy putty. It sounds like a good fix.
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Old 04-13-2010, 10:15 AM   #7
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Name: Ed
Trailer: 1982 Fiber Stream and 2002 Casita Freedom Deluxe,The driveway is a Dark & Lonely Place now!
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Thanks Ed, Do you have a source of epoxy putty. It sounds like a good fix.
I think you can find it a lot of places.
I am not really sure where I got it but I try to always have some around for repairs that come up.

I imagine Walmart or a hardware store will have a variety of choices.
These are the sticks of putty that you just chop off as much as you think you will need and then knead them together which starts the process of hardening.

I would make sure it is an outdoor or marine epoxy to be safe too.

Ed
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Old 04-13-2010, 12:50 PM   #8
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
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Hi Ken,

I would want to use some fiberglass cloth and resin, and not just putty. That's because the putty alone would be more prone to cracking with the motion of the trailer.

There is fiberglass "tape" you can buy to make it a little easier. Not that it is adhesive like tape (you still need to use resin), but this means that is comes in a certain width and the edges are bound, so you will not have to wrestle with stray fibers. If you can't get a small quantity PM me and perhaps I could send you some.

I would guess that this "feature" is not present on the 1300s because they don't have the molded in 110 receptacle, do they?

Raya
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Old 04-14-2010, 06:45 PM   #9
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Name: Phil
Trailer: 1977 Trillium 4500 (previously a 1978 Trillium 4500, Rpod 171 and Surveyor SV251)
Nova Scotia
Posts: 204
You should be able to access that area by taking the rear window out. There is wood all around the rear window. The window frame is screwed into the wood and it does rot out if water gets in. Once you take the window out you should be able to cut a piece of wood to size slip it in and use it to secure both the window and belly band to the trailer.
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Old 04-19-2010, 11:14 AM   #10
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Name: Ken
Trailer: Trillium 4500
Ontario
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You should be able to access that area by taking the rear window out. There is wood all around the rear window. The window frame is screwed into the wood and it does rot out if water gets in. Once you take the window out you should be able to cut a piece of wood to size slip it in and use it to secure both the window and belly band to the trailer.
Thank you Phil.
I will have a look at that options. I am sure there must be advice on removing and reinstalling the window in other threads.
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:05 PM   #11
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Trailer: 1977 Trillium 4500
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I am hoping someone can help me. I know this topic has been addressed before, and have read all the posts, but my trailer seems to be different, or maybe just in worse condition.
A leak into the rear lockers has been traced to the belly band, which I removed at the rear of the trailer. While rivets were used at the right and left sides, In the middle of ther rear there was screws which screwed into plywood which was totally rotten.
After removing the wood I can see right into the trailer, so I am not sure the previous comments that the construction of the trailer is watertight and the belly band is just for looks.
I am wondering if any one else has encountered this construction, this problem and has experience or an idea on how to repair this problem and make my Trillium 4500 waterproof.
I have included a drawing and some pictures to help explain.
Any help would be appreciated.

I find myself facing exactly the same problem and was wondering whether you had in fact completed your repairs, and if so, were ther any lessons learned that you would pass along to someone about to embark on the same process. I am particlarly interested in knowing whether you did remove the rear window and replace the rotted wood.
Thanks for any words of wisdom.
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:52 PM   #12
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Ed, I'm sorry to tell you but Ken was Last Active 19th April 2010 - 10:04 AM. That's not to say, he won't be back... but it's doubtful he'll see your question soon.
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