Trillium Belly Band: is this a workable fixit? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-18-2015, 01:29 PM   #1
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Trillium Belly Band: is this a workable fixit?

Hello,

I know there are a lot of threads about the infamous Trilly Belly Band, but I want to ask some specific questions. I have no experience glassing, and am not really motivated to add it to my resume right now. But I suspect my 1980 Trilly 1300 may be in need of some TLC around there. Considering the state of the front window I just cleaned up ... I wouldn't be surprised. Here's what I propose to do and I'm hoping you can tell me if this is a workable fix.

1. Remove the current band by drilling out the rivets and clean the area thoroughly. 2. Fill in the rivet holes with marine grade, sand-able, non-silicone epoxy. Allow to cure, and sand. 3. Clean the aluminum band with Mag wheel cleaner. 4. Reinstall the band with stainless steel screws. 5. "Paint" around the screw heads with a bit more epoxy.

Do you think this will keep the water on the outside of the trailer where it belongs for a good long time?
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Old 08-18-2015, 01:53 PM   #2
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Don't forget you will have to re seal the top of the belly band with a a good quality non siliconized caulk .
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Old 08-18-2015, 07:17 PM   #3
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Silicone on fiberglass

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Originally Posted by Mikmay View Post
Don't forget you will have to re seal the top of the belly band with a a good quality non siliconized caulk .
Hello Mike: I think I remember reading somewhere on this site that you shouldn't use silicone on fiberglass. Have you used it successfully?
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Old 08-19-2015, 10:02 AM   #4
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Proflex works good can get it from most rv places
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Old 08-19-2015, 10:04 AM   #5
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You mentioned using stainless screws to attach the belly band, I sure hope that you are talking about stainless bolts, nuts & large washers? I mean those used for yachts. I would only use a sealant (top & bottom) as used in truck industry for HD use. Not silicone!
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Old 08-19-2015, 10:19 AM   #6
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What are you expecting to screw into? Do you plan to drill through the shell, and the Ensolite and line the inside of your trailer with bolts and washers?

This doesn't sound comfortable to lean up against.
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Old 08-19-2015, 03:42 PM   #7
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See! This is why I asked! ( : Thanks

I hope to screw the screws into the holes the rivets leave behind -- these holes get filled up with nice new tough hard stuff to screw into -- the marine epoxy.

I've understood that the belly band is just there to cover the seam -- it's an aesthetic rather than a structural thing. And that the strength of the seam is in the fiberglass ribbon on the inside of the trailer. I reasoned that the the screws are really only holding on the belly band itself, and don't serve any structural purpose per se. So, the epoxy keeps the screw holes from leaking, along with extra sealant applied on the inside of the band.

No?
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Old 08-19-2015, 04:34 PM   #8
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No.

The belly band is held on by rivets into metal plates that pull the top and bottom of the shell toward the belly band. The ribbon you refer to is applied to the inside of the shell, over these plates, after the belly band is installed. The plates rust out, and the belly band falls off. Not all the plates rust, so you would need to get them out. Leaks occur when water gets into the pockets, between the ribbon, and the shell, that the plates sit in. When the water in this pocket freezes, it expands and separates the ribbon from the shell.

The fibreglass ribbon is all that is left to hold the top and bottom together. It is about 1/10" thick. Not much for a screw to bite into.

The socket, where the metal plate used to be is somewhat deeper then the thickness of the shell, and the ribbon, due to the now missing plate. If you filled this up with resin, and something to thicken it, you might have 1/4" to 1/3" of material to screw into.

At this point, it should be noted that the belly band is very easy to bend. Removing it, in any condition suitable to put back on, will be difficult.
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Old 08-19-2015, 06:01 PM   #9
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Well ... heck. Live and learn. So the band is not just a pretty bauble then.

So, to do this absolutely right: I risk bending the belly band, need to grind out the metal plates, glass the voids, etc., etc. I need a nap.

Is there a way for the less enterprising among us to seal it up? The top of the band is currently sealed with a thin bead of silicone. I could remove that, carefully, and use maybe the Proflex stuff instead?

I'm old David . . . mercy much appreciated.
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Old 08-19-2015, 06:34 PM   #10
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The easy method would be to fill the gap between the upper and lower shells with Bondo. Forget about the metal plates, unless they fall out on their own. Sand it flat, give it a coat of paint and stick on a self adhesive belly band.

The reason I grind out the belly band is to give more surface area for the new glass to stick to. The reason I use glass is that I like the look with no belly band. Using just Bondo I would run the risk of cracking, when the trailer hits a bump. But if there is a belly band covering the seam, then no one would see the crack.

No I don't have a source for a self adhesive belly band, but they have been discussed here:
Replacement belly band
Trillium Belly Band
75 Trillium belly band replacement
Trillium Renovation
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Old 08-19-2015, 06:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colleeno View Post
Well ... heck. Live and learn. So the band is not just a pretty bauble then.
It actually ends up being just this. Like Dave explained, it is an integral part of the construction phase, but one the glass layer is completed on the inside, there is really little structural integrity left to it. What is left, is meant to look pretty.

Not sure what you found, but some (or many) of the thin backing plates have rusted out, either partially or completely, so would not hold a screw, let alone a replacement rivet.

I went the full removal route, and am very pleased with the results.
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Old 08-20-2015, 12:35 PM   #12
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Thanks to all who've responded -- I've learned a lot. I don't know why I'm inhibited by the thought of fiberglassing but I am. I've seen the posts where the belly band is replaced with a fiberglass band -- it looks really good. I think I'll start with glassing something else though before I take a grinder to my beloved little Trilly. To have it done by a pro will probably cost about as much as I paid for the trailer. (sigh) Thanks again though, I love these forums.
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Old 08-20-2015, 12:46 PM   #13
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Colleen, I had the advantage of having what I call a cadaver in my fleet. I used the Cantaloupe to experiment on. I was so pleased with the results that I had no hesitation taking a grinder to the trailer we actually use. In fact, the whole process ended up being way more fun then I expected.

Buy the smallest, cheapest grinder you can find. Second hand is even better. Spend no more then $40. The sandpaper flap disk will take off material faster then you would probably want. The trick is going slow and gentle.

Wear a disposable cover all suit, gloves, a mask, and goggles. Itch is kinda unavoidable.

Relax and have fun. If you grind off too much, put more on, if you put on too much, grind it off. Repeat as necessary.
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Old 08-20-2015, 01:51 PM   #14
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LOL David. My fear is that I'll turn my current Trilly into the cadaver. I'm fairly handy, but not quite handy enough I'm afraid for this job. At least not yet. Maybe a class or two first at the local community college. She needs to be road worthy for my cross-Canada trip next year. I'll take a few forays North first to work out the kinks. If she leaks (much) I'll fix her. Need to work on the remaining windows next.
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