Trillium Window Removal - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-19-2011, 04:29 PM   #15
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Name: Rod
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AHhhhhhh!, what to do? what to do? I had settled on renting a table saw from Home Depot after reading Scott's reply, but after reading Larry's reply it got me thinking of doing it the easy way. I wish I could really tell if the wood needs replacing. What am I looking for? Black rotted areas, soft or spungy spots? Should I poke it hard with a awl and see if it goes deep?

Now I am also thinking about what if I open up the other windows and their wood needs replacing? Then I am going to wish I replaced the wood in the one I just opened up and re-sealed (my trailer is in a parkade and I am not really supposed to be doing repairs there so I am trying to do it low key).

Also, what about the side kitchen window? Do the rivets hold the window frame to the trailer body? Is it going to be a pain to remove after I drill the rivets out?

Thanks everyone for your info!

~Rod
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Old 05-19-2011, 05:29 PM   #16
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Name: Larry H
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Hi Rod,
On the wood... use the awl... compare the firmness to a piece
of similar wood you have on hand... generally I would say if
the plywood is not soft and has not delaminated it is probably OK.
Mine was quit dark gray to black and it seemed to work OK as
it was not dry rotted.

Kitchen window... you have to drill out the rivets. I used my table say to
cut some backing strips to put behind where the rivets were drilled so
screws could be used on reassembly. Of course, you could reinstall using
rivets...

On my trailer I removed all the windows including the one in the door.
The caulking around the windows was over 30 years old so I figured it would
be best to do it all. While I was at it I reset the roof vent. I bought new
plastic channel to recover the screw heads as some of the the old stuff
cracked when i pulled it off.

When you get ready to reinstall the windows use plenty of butyl tape.
I doubled it to get plenty of sqeeze-out... it is not very expensive.
The butyl will keep coming out from around the frame for a day or two.
Hint... make sure the tape is warm when you use it... I put it out in the sun
or on top of the dashboard of my truck in the sun to make sure it is quite
soft. I like to get it to the stage where the paper tape between the layers
of the butyl tape just starts to stick... It can be a tad difficult to unroll
sometimes but it is worth the effort, in my opinion. Alternatively, you could
put the tape on the window frames and then warm the whole thing up
to get the tape soft. Ensure that the surfaces of the window frames and
the exterior of the trailer are very clean. I use denatured alcohol to clean
before installation. I find it preferable as it it is not as toxic as many other
solvents.

The above procedure was taught to me by my neighbor who ran
an RV repair business for over 20 years and is a wealth of information. Since
he had to warranty his work he used some overkill but found it better than a
call back for no pay.

Hope this helps.
Larry H
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:37 PM   #17
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When I resealed the windows on our trill I used #10 stainless screws figuring that since I wasn't replacing the wood I needed bigger diameter screws to hold. Good idea -they hold good but the heads are large enough that the screw cover moulding is hard to reinstall. Matches and glue-lots of holes- longer screws-maybe screws w/ smaller heads? Always another dilemma. On the plus side the windows don't leak anymore. I would also encourage you to use exterior grade ply if you do replace the wood.
Best of luck.
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Old 05-20-2011, 08:55 PM   #18
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Name: Randy
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Best place I found for the stainless steel screws is E-bay...
Stainless Steel Sheet Metal Pan Hd Screw 1000 - #10x3/4 | eBay

The ones I bought was a 1000 for $32.50 including shipping you just have to keep looking until they show up....Also the Butyl tape is fairly reasonable there too a hint on that stuff keep it in the refigerator right up until you use it that way it want stretch and tear as bad.....Hope this helps....RANDY
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Old 05-22-2011, 06:18 AM   #19
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If you buy plywood from home depot, they usually make 5 cuts free,(their saw will cut the angle you need, take a sample from the old stuff with you) the rest of the cuts should be less than $5 each,get them to make your main cuts, then get a handsaw and do your own trim cuts
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:26 PM   #20
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After reading all the above I have decided to just go the #8 screws with the matches and glue in the existing holes to give the new Stainless Steel screws something to bite into. I didn't want to risk cracking the fiberglass getting the larger #10 screws in, also on the one side the screw holes in the fiberglass are very close to the edge so I don't want to risk breaking this row of holes. I looked at the wood and it is in fantastic shape, so I think removing them would just be too much work for not so much return. I have posted some pictures and would like your feedback.

In regards to cracking screw holes, it looks like there are some pressure cracks around some of the screw holes. The worst ones crack reaches past where the window frame and butyl tape would cover. Is this something I should look at repairing before putting the window back on? If so does anyone have any suggestions? How hard would it be for me to repair? I am going to be taking the trailer to a boat fiberglass repair place to get a couple of small rock chips in the gel coat repaired and the whole trailer buffed and waxed and the gel coat brought back to new. Should I just get the boat repair place to do it before I put the windows back on myself?

~Rodre
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Old 05-23-2011, 03:39 PM   #21
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Ensolite Removal?

Looks like a spoke way too soon. The first window I opened the wood had no water damage at all. The rest need to be replaced

Anyone have a good safe system of peeling back the ensolite?


~Rodre
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Old 05-23-2011, 03:44 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodre View Post
Looks like a spoke way too soon. The first window I opened the wood had no water damage at all. The rest need to be replaced

Anyone have a good safe system of peeling back the ensolite?


~Rodre

I used a paint scrapper and went very slow so not to tear it or stretch it out of shape, I really think you will be glad you replaced the wood in the end..Peace of mind is what it's all about.......
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Old 05-24-2011, 02:34 PM   #23
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How to tell if your Trillium windows need to be resealed

OK, got that completed and all the remaining wood was damp and/or rotting. The advice I can give to anyone looking to do the same:
  1. Make sure you have a lot of patience. If you start and find yourself rushing at some point just stop. If you rush, get frustrated, etc. just stop and take a breather, otherwise you will damage the ensolite.
  2. Use a nice clean, sharp, and flexible putty knife. I used a Richards 1 3/8" flexible putty knife. Once I got going it took about an hour per window. Don't use a exactor knife or razor blade as these are too sharp and one slip will give you a lifetime of regret.
  3. The areas where the contact cement is white and rubbery and the ensolite comes up easily has seen some considerable moisture. You need to peel back the ensolite away from the window area and away from the fiberglass until the contact cement stops being white and rubbery and separating easily to give the ensolite a chance to dry.
  4. Remove any bits or stips of wood left over on the ensolite backing right away before the contact cement dries, making it hard to remove from the ensolite backing later. Same thing goes for the white rubbery contact cement left over on the fiberglass walls and ensolite backing, clean it off while wet so it is easy to get off to make way for the new contact cement.
  5. Patience is key.
Now that I have seen the make up of the windows system in the Trillium I think I can give the following advice to those who are wondering if their wood window frames beneath the ensolite needs replacing, complete with some non-intrusive tests:
  1. If your Trillium is a '70s or '80s series and has never had the windows "re-sealed" then chances are it does. This is due to the fact that even the slightest amount of moisture introduced, even from relative humidity, cold outside & warm inside, warm outside & cold inside etc. has no real way to escape. The backing of the ensolite in my Trillium was damp way down the sides even though the wood frame in the area had dried to some degree. My Trillium is stored in doors in a temperature controlled environment and recently spent a week in Southern California in the direct sunlite all day, with temperatures around 35 celcius, and never saw any moisture coming back to the motherland (BC Canada).
  2. If there are some attempts at sealing the various areas around the windows, utility hatches, belly band, etc. then that means someone noticed moisture in it before and performed this type of "maintenence". I am sorry to have to be the one to tell you but the only thing they probably succeeded in maintaining was the moisture in the wood or between the ensolite and the fiberglass. Once these areas get wet I don't see any way for it to dry. I took my trailer to bake in the sun in southern california for a week, and while I noticed the relative humidity inside go away I was surprised at how much moisture was in there.
  3. Smell - if it smeels like a damp basement in your trailer, or specifically in the storage bins, then you probably need window frame replacement.
  4. Take a screw driver and start to remove the screws in the corners on the outside of the window frame. If they are rusted out or turn in place (without coming out) then your wood window frames need replacing. Test a couple of them. My one window had no water damage at all, while all the others were rotted. Also, some corners were affected while others weren't. The bottom corners on the dinette windows were the worst ones, so that would be a good place to start. If you are worried about the screws not going in tight enough if the wood is ok just dip a wooden match or a deluxe toothpick in wood glue and into the hole. Let it set overnight and cut off the excess flush with the window frame and then put the screw back. This will give the screw something to bite into. I did not invent this, it was provided to me by another forum member above.
  5. On the inside of the window frames test the curtain hardware screws as above. If they turn in place, or are rusted beyond belief then you got excess mositure.
  6. If you remove a small section of the t-bar vinyl insert molding (the stuff that covers the ensolite seams) above the windows (don't worry, it snaps back in place but be careful as it may have become brittle) you will see a small white piece of the channel that holds the molding in place above the window. This small piece is glued onto the wood around the window that the aluminium window frame gets screwed into and is luckily near the corners which seam to get the bulk of the moisture ingress. Using a awl or a screw driver give the wood in this area a poke and if it feels soft then chances are they need replacement. Again, I would recommend looking at the stuff in the bottom corners. If the wood looks and/or feels wet when you remove the moulding then say a prayer and pull out your putty knife.
Now I must turn back to the forum Gods for advice. After having completed this heinous task (seriously, it wasn't that bad, I would do it again if I found an '80s 4500 with front dinette with excellent fiberglass, gel coat, and ensolite) it has left me wondering if wood is the best thing to put back in there in this day and age with a wealth of composite and "space age" materials available. A colleague of mine suggested some "Never Rot" (or something like that) material that Home Depot sells and is meant for outside window frames that is made of plastic or some kind of composite material. I think the environment behind the windows and between the fiberglass and ensolite is destined to become damp no matter what. So I wouldn't mind hearing what other people think that may be a viable replacement material. If expense was not a factor what would be the best material to replace the ply wood with? Marine Ply, painted or treated ply, plastic, composite, TITANIUM? I basically do not ever want to have to do this again, and I definitely will be "double sealing" the exterior windows with 2 plys of butyl tape as recommended above. I basically want to be able to float down the river in this thing, it should be so water tight, if the end of the world comes.

~Rodre
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Old 05-24-2011, 03:14 PM   #24
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I had never thought of using the other stuff but I will on the next one I do and it's already setting in the yard waiting.... If I were you with the little material it takes to wrap the windows I would use the composite stuff, I think it's used for decks and such that way you will never have to worry with it again and it cuts just like plywood.....
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Old 05-24-2011, 04:28 PM   #25
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I wonder if the composite stuff needs to dry out every once in a while or if it will eventually fall apart from being in contact with moisture all the time?

~Rodre
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:38 AM   #26
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This is the possible wood replacement stuff I was talking about:

Never Rot Exterior Mouldings and Trim | Royal Building Products

Wouldn't mind getting your guys thoughts on it.

~Rodre
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Old 08-17-2011, 05:14 PM   #27
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Use 1" #8 Screws and not the 3/4" ones like the factory did.

After having completely removed the windows and wood backing frames if I could give one piece of advice is to use 1" screws and not 3/4 ones like the factory did. These windows need to be really torqued down to the body with the butyl tape/sealant in between, hence the high number of screws and screw holes. The 3/4" screws are not long enough to do this right and you can end up stripping them out as you tighten them. My windows were not properly torqued down at the factory and that is what caused my windows to leak. I could tell from the condition of the putty tape they used as it didn't even touch the body in many areas and yes, I am sure it was like that from the factory. The only reason it probably didn't completly get soaked and break down is because the original owner took meticulous care of mine and stored it indoors. Since having redone the windows I soaked the whole trailer twice with a pressure washer and withstood 2 good rain showers and didn't get a drop of water in. It was a tough job for me as I did it all by myself but it was worth it. That trailer will easily last another 30 years and is so water tight it WILL float down the river, should the end of the world come.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:30 AM   #28
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We just did the same thing. When we tightened the screws the window seemed to bow upwards on the bottom. I thought the windows were too tight. Anyone have any thoughts on that? Windows being too tight???
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