Trillium Hinge Repair - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-31-2011, 01:09 PM   #1
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Trillium Hinge Repair

The door on our Trillium was harder to open the wider you opened it. When our trailer was built the door hinges were installed not parallel to each other. This resulted in a torque on the hinges pins that was literally pulling the screws out of the trailer body. To solve the problem I removed five of the six screws on the upper hinge, filled the holes and relocated each screw such that it was the same distance from its lower counter part.
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:12 PM   #2
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My original assumption that the trailer side of the hinge was screwed into a block of wood was incorrect. There was nothing there but the thickened fiberglass wall. I decided that bolts and backing plates would better support the hinges. To do this required peeling back the wall covering. This exposed a fiberglass structural support. To get to the back of the hinges required cutting access holes in the support. The hinge screws can be seen protruding from the fiberglass.
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:18 PM   #3
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Next the door was removed. I used PC - 11 epoxy putty to fill the holes in the door and on the trailer. I clamped a piece of sheet metal to seal one side of the holes. At first I tried to push the putty into each hole with a bamboo skewer but the putty was so sticky it wouldn't stay in. Putting the putty into a syringe and injecting it into each hole worked great. A couple of hours later I removed the sheet metal and with a putty knife removed the putty that had oozed. This saved lots of sanding.
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:18 PM   #4
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Raz, the wood block idea is a good one as it will definitely provide more support. Just remember, that's also what Burro did and now some owners are having door sag problems because the wood dry rotted. Really work at sealing the hinge bolt area or you (or future owner) may find the same condition down the road.
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:20 PM   #5
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More pictures.
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:23 PM   #6
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Maggie and I set the door in place using duct tape after drilling the bolt holes for the lower hinge. Using the emergency window I went inside and installed the lower backing plate and the corresponding hardware.
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:25 PM   #7
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Days were spent researching and constructing a tool to precisely place the upper fasteners. Once marked, the upper holes were drilled. On the door we reinstalled the screws; on the trailer, bolts with a backing plate.

I put access covers on the holes should we need to get in there again.

The door now swings freely. Raz
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
Raz, the wood block idea is a good one as it will definitely provide more support. Just remember, that's also what Burro did and now some owners are having door sag problems because the wood dry rotted. Really work at sealing the hinge bolt area or you (or future owner) may find the same condition down the road.
Hi Donna,

We were surprised to find nothing back there supporting the door other than fiberglass. We expect that Raz's reinforcement with the metal plates will provide the extra support and avoid troubles that wood might cause. <crossing our fingers> And, yah, we sealed the hinge bolt area really well. <more crossed fingers>

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Old 07-31-2011, 03:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
Days were spent researching and constructing a tool to precisely place the upper fasteners. Once marked, the upper holes were drilled. On the door we reinstalled the screws; on the trailer, bolts with a backing plate.

I put access covers on the holes should we need to get in there again.

The door now swings freely. Raz
Super job

I really need to permanently fix my door hinges and you've inspired me to undertake the task.
Finally!
Any chance you could post pics and instructions for the tool you mention above?
Is it a template of some kind?

Thanks!

Francesca
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Old 07-31-2011, 04:54 PM   #10
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Super job

I really need to permanently fix my door hinges and you've inspired me to undertake the task.
Finally!
Any chance you could post pics and instructions for the tool you mention above?
Is it a template of some kind?

Thanks!

Francesca
Hi Francesca, the highly technical tool I developed is shown in the last set of pictures. It's a stick with 2 ten penny nails set to the correct distance. Using two screws on one side of the hinges, measure center of screw to center of screw top to bottom. That's your nail separation. Ours measured 23". The "days to research and construct" is just a bit of sarcasm on my part. You know, having to do the job in the first place!

To make the brackets I used the hinge itself as a template. All the holes lined up except for one which needed a little filing. Also, a strong magnet on a string is useful when you drop the backing plate. Raz
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Old 07-31-2011, 05:29 PM   #11
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Hi, Raz

I'm such an idjit.
I see the Terribly Technical Tool now.
I hope you've got your patent application in!
You have inspired me, though. Would you believe that my trailer's door
has for more than a year been held on by......(drum roll, please).....
!!! wood screws in blobs of epoxy !!!
At least I won't have to cut out the fiberglass, though.
In my trailer, there are cutouts already- the old timers' doors came with the hinges held on by nutted bolts.
At the time of the Emergency Epoxy Event, I didn't have access to deep sockets.
But I do now!

Thanks

Francesca
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Old 09-11-2012, 01:36 PM   #12
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Hi Raz,
Tried to repair hinges today. HMMMM not smooth going.

I cut out the rectangular hole to access the trailer side hinge backs. There was another bulge of FGlass where the three screws went in. So I don't think I can put in the metal plate that you described. I suppose I must now use the epoxy on both sides, the door and the trailer side. Am I right?

Also, as predicted in another thread, the one top pin was very frozen up and did not respond to wd40 or silicone lube or punching or twisting or even foul words. The trailer side bracket broke.

Does anyone have an old used hinge and pin? I really hope not to buy new ones. One old one would match! Really only need smaller left side piece and pin.

Any clues how to clean the small zit like bumps off the surface? I suspect the finish is just chrome. ?

Sure hope the rain stays away til this job is done!
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Old 09-11-2012, 01:58 PM   #13
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Dave,
Raz has a newer Trill without wood from his discription. Search trill hinges.
I have an older spare. Let me know if you need it.
PM me where in ON you are.
Roy
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Old 09-13-2012, 04:55 PM   #14
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Hi Raz,
Tried to repair hinges today. HMMMM not smooth going.

I cut out the rectangular hole to access the trailer side hinge backs. There was another bulge of FGlass where the three screws went in. So I don't think I can put in the metal plate that you described. I suppose I must now use the epoxy on both sides, the door and the trailer side. Am I right?
To the best of my knowledge the older Trilliums had wood rather than fiberglass. I was told mine would also have wood. Surprise ! Sounds like you have fiberglass in place of wood but shaped different? A picture would help. Since you already have the column open consider using bolts with fender washers if a metal plate won't work. Raz
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Old 09-13-2012, 05:03 PM   #15
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Here's a picture of the hinge with the pin driven out. Sorry it's too late to help you but it might help others. You can buy a single hinge from McMaster Carr. Raz
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Old 04-30-2013, 10:01 AM   #16
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Well, P. Raz, I was inspired by your solution, thought about it for months, and one morning got up, opened the Trillium, ripped back the seam, got out my Multi- tool, a fine point felt pen, sketched on the outline of the cut outs and cut them out in about five minutes. I had to make a second cut to enlarge them somewhat so there'd be no problem fitting in my backing plates. Then I shut up the Trillium for the winter and forgot about it. A week ago, I decided it was time to get moving, opened up the Trillium, re-taped the lining back out of the way, got out the table saw and cut out two backing plates of 5/116" alloy, set an old hinge piece on the plate and centre- punched one for one hole and drilled the tapping size for #10 machine screws, tapped it, screwed in a machine screw to mate the hinge piece to backing plate and then drilled the second, tapped it, put in a second screw and drilled and tapped the third hole. Repeated this for the second hinge, and removed the door and the new hinges I'd put on last summer.

I split the new hinges, door being removed - it took about five minutes, the old self-tapping screws being so loose in their mounting holes and ran a larger than #10 screw diameter drill through the three top holes and slipped in the alloy plate, held a hinge piece in position and screwed in the machine screws loosely and repeated the procedure for the lower hinge piece.

Next, I removed the door side hinge halves, re-assembled the hinges and ran the clearance drill through the holes of the two screw holes closest to the door edge, got out a jack and picked up the door, put it in place in a partly open position- sufficiently open that I could get the machine screws into these two holes top and bottom and put on fender washers, spring washers and nuts, and finger tightened the nuts to get the spring washers starting to bite and hold the nuts and closed the door, moving the jack as the door closed to keep things in position, latched the door and tightened the screws into the alloy plates. Then did the same thing with the two holes on each hinge on the door side tight enough to hold things in place until I could get a ring spanner onto the nuts and hold them while I cranked on the screw driver. I use only Robertson head screws, not because they are a CDN invention, but because they provide an amazing degree of power without the driver slipping. Finally, I ran the original self- tappers back into the third hole top and bottom. I will eventually make up two load-spreading plates of alloy, probably two inch side squares, drill a hole of clearance size in the centre of each plate and drill a hole right through the fibreglass door with an extra-length drill, if needed, and bolt on the long #10 machine screws, finishing with acorn nuts. If I don't do this I will run the long drill through, then use a hole saw, maybe 1 1/4" did to create a hole big enough to slip fender washers and lock washers and nuts and a long body socket and tighten all securely. I like this alternate method better than the alloy plates, so the alloy plates will be a temporary solution only, but I have a habit of letting temporary things carry over. . . .

I have yet to cover up the rectangular holes I sawed to get the alloy plates into the moulding in the interior of the body side of the door/hinges. Think I will simply scrape off the foam from the lining and use some duct tape to hold the pieces of fibreglass I cut out,so I can get in there if I need to in the future. I should also remove the screws one at a time, put on some never-seize compound and run them back in firmly. This wy I will not disturb relative positions of plates and hinges.

I can verify that there was no wood or metal backing behind the fibreglass at all, but possibly some wood forming the raised "boss" that runs down the edge of the door frame and definitely on the two hinge shaped bosses on the door itself. If the Trillium manufacturer had taken the time to embed a metal plate in the 'glass on the inside of the door and the frame, we would not now be suffering the results of pitiful "engineering" practice. Maybe "malpractice" fits into the syntax of that sentence better. Thanks P Raz, you were an inspiration to me.
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:29 PM   #17
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Here is the share of my Trillium door, enclosed with photos of before, during work and after installation. It could be 2 adjacent posts due to many photos. By orderly, first image is door when I bought the Trillium-with 2 door latches and bad alignment b/t top and bottom of left gap-..Including in photos is the spraying bottle of rubber-seal I used it for.." Belly band" before putting back black moulding..All photos are taken by Iphone, sorry ab quality...
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Old 04-30-2013, 04:45 PM   #18
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RANDY, There are probably as many door problems and solutions as there are owners!Your alignment, in terms of the centre line/belly band is quite good, even before you started, your hinges were probably carelessly fitted! So, your Trillium is probably a mid week manufacture, whereas mine is so far out- low low, low, that it is surely a Friday afternoon job. Late Friday afternoon. The best solution to my door fitment would be either a new door with no belly band/moulding, or serious grinding, filling and sanding and re-painting! When I win the Lotto, I'll have Airstream build me an alu door with screen door attached.
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:29 AM   #19
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Kenneth, I'm glad my post helped. That's what the forum is for. In regard to the door fit, the original Trillium molds were off and so getting a perfect fit is impossible. Even the early "new" Trilliums like mine are misaligned. Note the band on the door to the left of the latch doesn't line up with the band on the trailer. I was told they have since corrected the defect in the mold. Raz
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:37 AM   #20
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I guessed this was so, Raz, after observing a number of them ; even the rebuilt ones at the Calgary factory had the misalignment. And yes, the later model door does solve the problem with its flatter profile. Also, the trailing edge of my door is parallel to the frame, but the lower half of the leading edge is almost touching the frame in the latched position. One day I will take my grinder to it! The vertical curve is a little off too. And my door seems almost too small for the hole, particularly in height. I wonder if the Escape door fits the Trillium!? What is your year model? Mine is a 1980 with latest CDN model windows on front and sides. Wish I'd put in the latest window at the rear, now it is too late! Did you put the cut-out pieces back in in a removable manner or did you use some alu sheet metal and fix with a couple of small self tappers or contact cement? My plan was to use duct tape to hold mine in place, but I'm now thinking about some Home Depot alu sheet available in a roll , think I've got some somewhere, and simply fix that in place before I pull the lining back over and contact cement it.
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