How do I remove the body from the frame? 1971 Trillium 1300 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-15-2012, 08:31 AM   #1
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How do I remove the body from the frame? 1971 Trillium 1300

I have a quick question - sounds silly, but how do I remove the body from the frame?

I had four large rusty plates bolted in the corners (visible from inside the bench seat storage areas) but it turns out those were used to mount jack points to the underside of the body (don't ask why anyone ever did that)

I can't see any bolts coming through the frame from underneath the trailer. But inside, I see a lot of square head screws with large washers - I just can't imagine what they are screwed into. Is it possible they are self-tapped directly to the steel below? It just seems unlikely - I expected a series of larger bolts.

Also the body appears to be caulked to the frame everywhere it touches. When I re-install, should I do the same? And with what adhesive?
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:49 AM   #2
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I took some pictures and will upload them when I get to the shop (where my camera's USB cable is)..

Thanks :-)
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Old 05-15-2012, 12:05 PM   #3
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The Trillium 1300s I have seen come off the frame all had four 1/2"? bolts through the inside of the gaucho and two through the dinette seats, one in each. It is possible that the earlier trailers used a different system.

The folks at Outback / Trillium use pieces of rubber that lay between the frame and body. They are about 1/8" thick and about 6" long. They have a hole in them and go where the bolts pass through the frame.

Instead of drilling the frame for bolt holes, my Trillium 4500 puts the bolts through the cross members and in the back, they even add angle iron tabs to bolt through. The 4500 has four bolts in the back, two in each dinette seat.

If yours are self taping screws, they are likely quite rusty. I would upgrade to some form of bolts. My bolts had rusted to the point that they were in danger of failing. Self tapping screws would likely be worse.
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Old 05-15-2012, 06:42 PM   #4
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I'm just going to take all of the robertson screws out and see what happens!

My end goal is stainless bolts that go clear through from the inside of the floor to the bottom of the frame.
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Old 05-16-2012, 10:34 AM   #5
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It seems that the 1971 model is quite different from the later models. I don't see any glassed in plywood. In my 1978 4500 there are plywood panels in the bottom of the dinette seats and under the gaucho. In place of that, it looks like you have a steel bar.
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:21 AM   #6
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I took one of the square head screws out last night and it was only about 1/4 inch long, so it's clearly not going into the frame.

What you see in this picture is a glassed in piece of wood going along the entire width of the body. The square steel plate in the picture is just the top plate of a matching one underneath the body to which the jacks would be mounted. This trailer looks as if it has had these jack mounts added as an aftermarket item, as they mount only to the body (not the frame) and have caused some cracking. I am going to remove them and put the jack points onto the frame instead.

I'm starting to think this body is simply glued to the frame!
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:25 AM   #7
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I'm starting to think this body is simply glued to the frame!
While discussing how many bolts were needed to hold the body to the frame, over on the Teardrop forum, I suggested that six good dabs of well-chewed chewing gum were probably enough, based on what folks on this forum have shown is holding their bodies to their frames.

Maybe Trillium had that idea before me.....?
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Old 05-17-2012, 02:47 PM   #8
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How do you remove a body?

Legally - you call the Police.

Otherwise, the CSI folks will find DNA etc anyway!
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:39 PM   #9
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So I got under the trailer today and removed the spare tire holder - it was bolted to the frame as well as to the body with two large bolts.

All of the robertson head screws came out in disintegrated powder, so they were doing nothing.

I jacked the body up and pried at the frame and it basically came away from the body leaving strings of adhesive behind like mozzarella pizza.

So the chewing gum metaphor is apt here - it was basically being held by two rear bolts and a bunch of black caulking.

I plan to put at least four large stainless bolts plus the rear two tire holder bolts when I reinstall it. But first, I'm taking this frame out to sand and paint and maybe install brakes.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:58 PM   #10
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That's a little scary!
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Old 06-04-2012, 12:37 PM   #11
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Update: the frame got a clean bill of health - mostly surface rust, no welding needed. I did a couple of coats of tremclad high heat enamel (brushed on) and am moving on to the lower half body work.

Three separate people have advised against putting trailer brakes on considering the weight we'll be pulling, so I'm leaving that alone. Luckily, the previous owner just put new bearing grease and wheels so we should be rolling safely very soon.

Cosmetically we are still a long ways away, but it looks like we'll be able to do some camping this summer :-)

Bit by bit we're getting there...
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Old 06-04-2012, 12:58 PM   #12
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Trailer brakes are good. If you decide to change the axle, (they are designed with a 20 year life span) I would select one with brakes.

Nothing attaching your trailer to the frame but bubble gum is scary!
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Old 06-04-2012, 01:07 PM   #13
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Here's a photo of the frame painted good ol' black. THe axle parts are just oxide red primer (too hard to brush in there).

And here's a link to the continuing saga... starting the body work: Does anyone know the original 71 Trillium colors? And how can I safely strip paint?

For ease of future searches I'm going to break this up into themed threads. Hopefully this will help someone down the road!
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:52 PM   #14
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I agree with David, brakes are good. They can do more than just help you stop. Plus the controllers are adjustable, you never know what you will be towing with in the future.

As for breaking your restoration up into themed threads ... I keep a summary thread of the entire restoration to date providing links to the more comprehensive themed threads posted separately. That lets someone simple follow what you've done from beginning to end as well as delve into the specifics of each project. For example here is my restoration:
Restoring Our 1972 Boler American
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