Trillium belly band rivet removal - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-23-2010, 09:33 PM   #1
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Trailer: 1979 Trillium 13 ft
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I am addressing the leaks that I am having on my belly band (and maybe my windows). The band is seperating from the fiberglass and I have to remove the old rivets from the body groove. of course the rivets are mostly aluminum (some steel) and are fastened into steel backing washers.

my questions are
1. How do i typically get the rivets out (drill them out, remove the backing washer, other method)
if I have to drill out the old rivet, waht size drill bit do I use?
2. when I go to reinstall them do i need to install new backing washers and if so shoud I use steel or aluminum.
3. has anybody ever seen what looks like hot glue stick filling in the crack cavity under the belly band. (it turns back to a soft pliable product when heated. (see the picture)
4. There looks like there was a putty like product used to seat the top side of the belly band (along with teh windows, cover plates and hatches throughout the camper.) It looks most like spruce sap right off the tree and just as pliable when heated.
5. there was no buna N tape under the bell band. should I put a layer on under the band before reinstalling or should I install a bead sealing on the top of the belly band as before and if so what product shou I use
6. Is ther any other words of advice, things to look out for, things that I sould avoid?


I am looking forward to talking to someone about how to rectify this send me a message or email and I can call you

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from everyone
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:46 PM   #2
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Name: Rachel
Trailer: 1974 Boler 13 ft (Neonex/Winnipeg)
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Hi Mike and Sarah,

I don't want to put you off in this post, but on the other hand, there have been some really extensive, detailed posts on Trillium belly band repair/removal/improvement in the past.

Let me see if I can find them and post links here, before folks re-type everything.

Okay, here are some that should get you started Of course there is no problem keeping this thread going if you have more questions or ideas.

It's nice of you to offer to call people, because sometimes you can accomplish in a ten minute call what it would take hours to type, and then days to go back and forth.

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/index.ph...mp;#entry334760

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/index.ph...mp;#entry302165

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/index.ph...mp;#entry338485

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/index.ph...mp;#entry321509

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/index.ph...mp;#entry187150

Raya
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:55 PM   #3
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Quote:
Hi Mike and Sarah,

I don't want to put you off in this post, but on the other hand, there have been a couple of really extensive posts on Trillium belly band repair/removal/improvement in the past year.

Let me see if I can find them and post links here, before we reinvent the wheel

Raya
Thanks, I have tried to do extensive searches on this system but have not been sucessful. If you or anybody has already posted on this send me the reference.

Thank you
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Old 02-24-2010, 12:27 AM   #4
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Quote:
Thanks, I have tried to do extensive searches on this system but have not been sucessful.

Hi again,

Thanks for searching before you posted. I have trouble using the search system too, so I understand. My workaround is to use Google search specifically targeted to this forum (but I also had the advantage of knowing that the posts were there to search for).


If you or anybody has already posted on this send me the reference.

Were you able to see/open the links in my first reply to this thread? It's the five lines just above my closing salutation ("Raya"). They will lead you to the other extensive threads on this subject. If you can't "click" on them and open them, let me know and I will check into it.
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Old 02-24-2010, 05:45 AM   #5
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I did see them and they are very helpful. You are just so darn fast with responding that by the time I have finished replying you have already reposted.

I have read your other posts and I will have some questions expecially where i will be wanting to keep our walnut original like has anybody put theoriginal banding back on (instead of just filling it in and covering it up) and do I have to completely clean out the groove under the band along with the plethora of other questions that will come up.
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:08 AM   #6
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Sorry if I was too fast - I just happened to be sitting around surfing the web. Didn't mean to trounce you with information

I, and the rest of your fellow FGRVers, will be standing by for further questions

Once you do dig in, if you can post photos of the questionable areas, so much the better.

Raya
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:11 AM   #7
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When drilling out pop rivets I always try to drill with a bit the same size as the rivet shaft. That way, should I drill through, I maintain the same size hole.

A larger bit will work, but you better be careful not to drill through.

I would never use steel rivets and washers as I hate rust. Aluminum rivets are the way to go unless you want to spring for stainless. Stainless rivets require a LOT of pressure to set though and a standard ( cheap ) pop rivet setter will not hold up for long to this abuse.

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Old 02-24-2010, 08:55 AM   #8
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The Trillium horizontal trim was meant to be strictly decorative and serve no purpose other than hide the seam. The entire seam is actually permanently bonded with fiberglass resin from the inside before they apply the ensolite wall covering, so no amount of caulk on the outside should make a difference - "in theory". Small rectangular metal plates are encapsulated in the fiberglass seam and the trim attaches to them with pop rivets. However, the steel plates end up rusting when moisture seeps-in through the rivets, and small cracks eventually develop in the fiberglass seam, caused by the expanding rust, the freezing moisture or road tension.

While you can try removing the belly band and/or rivets and fix this from the outside, you should probably ultimately deal with this from the inside if possible, carefully peeling the ensolite and covering any holes or washers with fiberglass resin for a permanent fix. Adding acrylic sealer on the outside will not really seal anything, but may delay other leaks from developing on older trailers as explained above...
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:24 AM   #9
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so should I drill/grind out the old backing washer adn try to insert new aluminum washers?

Is it possible to grind it out and get a new one in there as Raya has informed me that they are probably in there good. Is it possible to grind it out without damaging the Ensolite underneath. My Ensolite is in amazing condition and I do not want to have to move it if not necessary.

Daniel,

I plan on runing a seam of Butyl tape around under the band before reiviting the bands back on. Is this a smart idea? or is it a waste of my time.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:49 AM   #10
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As Daniel says, the band was originally strictly decorative (and was a more economical way to deal with the seam at the factory). I say "was originally" because as they age, they often become a liability (as outlined in previous threads).

Since we're going into it here, I'll quickly summarize how the trailer was built. I think that once you understand the belly-band set-up, you'll be better able to judge the various options and choose the one that suits you.

So, the trailer has upper and lower molded halves, as if you sliced a hollow ball in half around the "equator." At the factory, they bond these halves together on the inside with fiberglass cloth and resin. As such, it's essentially permanent and waterproof, and you now have a "whole" ball.

But then.... they have a cosmetic seam on the outside, like a crack, running around the equator. It's completely possible to 'glass and fair this so that it disappears, but that is time consuming and requires a certain degree of skill and artistry. Our eggs were built to be economical. So what to do?

In comes the belly band. The belly band will look good, and can run around the equator and cover the "crack" on the outside of the trailer. It can also be installed quickly and by your basic worker with a rivet gun.

Now we have to back track in our theoretical Trillium building because we need a way to anchor the rivets that hold the belly band trim on. Holes going all the way through into the trailer would not be a good thing. So what they did was the following (I may have slight variances in the order of things since I was not at the plant, obviously, but I believe my overall concept to be correct):

1) They put the shell halves together, and then probably put on one layer of the fiberglass "tape" on the inside of the trailer. A first layer of bonding. Probably while the resin was still wet, they stuck mild steel plates, of about 1" square at equal distances around the trailer on the inside of the seam.

2) Now they went to the outside, and riveted the belly band trim on. The rivets (at this point) went all the way through into the inside of the trailer, catching on the mild steel plates.

3) Now back to the inside, where they laid on another layer (or a few layers) of resin soaked fiberglass cloth onto the seam, thus encapsulating the belly-band-rivet-backing-plates of mild steel.

So, although no water can leak into the trailer, over the years water could seep into the rivet holes of the belly band and get to those mild steel plates (if only they had not put those in...). The plates then rust, expand, and NOW you can have leaks if the expansion cracked some of the fiberglass tabbing (the "tape"). Or, if a rivet broke and someone re-riveted a section, well, they might have riveted all the way through into the interior (ask Barry about that....)

So now you see how the trailer was built, and how the belly band was installed. I'm thinking this should assist you in deciding what measures to take, and which will be useful.

If you want to reproduce the original belly band set up, and assuming there is some deterioration of your plates, I would think you would have to (or would want to) go from inside and "do it right." I would imagine something like the following:

1) Peel back ensolite and tape it out of harm's way.

2) Drill out rivets from outside and remove belly band.

3) Clean up outside seam, removing all caulking and contamination (including mold release wax, with something like Interlux 202).

4) Dig out probably-rusting rivet backing plates from inside. Decide after seeing condition of things whether to just put in new plates (non-corroding!) or whether you need to do any repair work first.

5) Re-attach belly band with new rivets.

6) Smooth over any protruding rivet ends on inside and prep

7) Put a few layers of fiberglass tape/epoxy resin on inside of trailer and wait for it to cure

8) Wash off amine blush and dry, then re-adhere ensolite.

9) Whether to caulk outside of belly band? Your call, knowing where the water can go or not go.

That said, it's not how I would choose to go about the repair, although I understand the urge to be original, and how one might choose that.

I guess for me, knowing that "original" was partly chosen to be cost-effective, well, that makes it easier for me to go in with an improved set-up. But original is cool too

Raya
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
My Ensolite is in amazing condition and I do not want to have to move it if not necessary.
The steel tabs are about 1" long or so, so grinding them out is going to be a lot of work in my opinion, especially if you need to fix more than one, which is very likely. I haven't tried attacking the problem from the outside myself so I can't really say. Maybe others will chime-in on their success stories. But you need your new washer to have a really good foothold within the seam in order to hold the trim for many years to come. Being able to drill through the entire wall and put a tight washer on the inside, then glass it-in permanently certainly works great. I can also say that that peeling the ensolite with a razor-blade type scraper isn't as bad as it sounds and it does glue back on perfectly with contact cement - but I certainly understand your concern. On the other hand, there is a gap along the seam behind the ensolite that might give you a little bit of wiggle room if you do it differently. (Squeeze-in some epoxy with a syringe?)

Butyl tape would not help solve the problem at the source... I'd say you still need to restore the fiberglass shell integgrity at the seam first and not try to patch around it.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:23 AM   #12
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My uhaul developed a leak in the ceiling.

The halves were bonded together with resin and then fiberglas cloth was resined over the seam on the inside.

There was a small resin starved ( absent ) area in the seam and another in the cloth underneath. This allowed water to enter when the outside trim was removed. I placed a masking tape dam over the seam from outside and poured resin into the void. Of course I had gravity working for me. Not the same as eggs with an equator.

I mention this only to point out that the intended means of sealing these trailers are not always foolproof.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:39 AM   #13
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A couple of notes:

1) Bud is correct to point out that there can be flaws in the original work. That's in addition to things that were done to factory specifications but that have deteriorated over time. Not to bad mouth our eggs, because they are nifty things, but they were definitely built by a semi-skilled workforce and to a price. So there are things that were built in a way that was driven by economics, and also things that just were not done consistently.

2) As Daniel points out, if you want to reinstall an original belly band, you do not necessarily need to dig out the original backing plates or to re-use the same style. You could go "over the top" of where they are now, and then glass/tape over the top of that.

The two caveats I can think of are that you probably don't want to leave rusted plates inside (I wouldn't anyway), depending on their degree of deterioration; and that if you put new plates or washers or what-have-you over the top of the old stuff, your inside seam may bulge inwards a bit more, and the Ensolite may be slightly less flat as a result.

Raya
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Old 02-24-2010, 12:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
I am addressing the leaks that I am having on my belly band (and maybe my windows). The band is seperating from the fiberglass and I have to remove the old rivets from the body groove. of course the rivets are mostly aluminum (some steel) and are fastened into steel backing washers.

my questions are
1. How do i typically get the rivets out (drill them out, remove the backing washer, other method)
if I have to drill out the old rivet, waht size drill bit do I use?
2. when I go to reinstall them do i need to install new backing washers and if so shoud I use steel or aluminum.
3. has anybody ever seen what looks like hot glue stick filling in the crack cavity under the belly band. (it turns back to a soft pliable product when heated. (see the picture)
4. There looks like there was a putty like product used to seat the top side of the belly band (along with teh windows, cover plates and hatches throughout the camper.) It looks most like spruce sap right off the tree and just as pliable when heated.
5. there was no buna N tape under the bell band. should I put a layer on under the band before reinstalling or should I install a bead sealing on the top of the belly band as before and if so what product shou I use
6. Is ther any other words of advice, things to look out for, things that I sould avoid?


I am looking forward to talking to someone about how to rectify this send me a message or email and I can call you

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from everyone

Judging from your pics (it looks quite bad) I would probably at your stage of the game save yourself the time and grief of putting the original bellyband back on. As it's only real function is to cover up the seam in the middle of the trailer (cosmetics only), from were the two halves have been joined together.

Mine was no were near that bad. I just had to clean up all the silicone (lots and lots eeech!) the guy had on it, and replaced the black trim in the bellyband, and masked the area and applied a very fine bead of black marine silicone on top of the bellyband (it just gave it a finished look for the small gaps here and there between the bellyband and trailer top body portion). Done.

Here's the how to: Just drill out the rest of the bellyband revits. Remove the rest of the bellyband. Thouroghly Clean out the seam between the two shell halves. Seal the seam from the outside up with fiberglass coarse filler, then sand, then with fiberglass fine filler, then sand, then finisher spot filler, then sand (will take a few applications, and a few grades of sand paper along the way). Then sand it down to a nice smooth finish. And either find yourself a nice wide automotive type trim to go around the old bellyband trailer seam. Or paint (nice wide strip / fiberglass compatible paint) around the the old bellyband seam to cover it up. Personally I'd go the painted route.

I've seen this done very nicely. And no it isn't original. But very effective and much easier. If this seam is giving you problems just seal it up, as I siad above and be done with it for good.

Here are a couple pics I have quickly found for you to compare jobs. First pic Automotive trim. Second pic painted trim. These are not my trailers just example pics. I could find you more if you'd like?

Good Luck with the project. No matter what you decide to do you'll love it in the end.

Cheers: Jeff
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