My First Belly Band Thread - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-04-2013, 12:07 AM   #1
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My First Belly Band Thread

Since I have four Trillium Trailers, this is not the last time I will do this procedure. This, and the door, and the windows. I have years worth of fun ahead.

I used a 4.5" Canadian Tire grinder with a sandpaper flap disk. It cut like a knife through butter. It goes really fast, maybe a bit too fast. I did slip in a few places.

I have consulted my fibreglass expert, my neighbor. The first grind was a bit wussy. I left some pretty sharp corners. My next try was quite a bit more aggressive. I went through in several places, but as the before pictures show the inner bandage had come out flush with the surface of the gel coat. To get any kind of grind, those spots were going to have to go.
I have divided the pictures up into the quadrants of:
Front Street Side
Front Curb Side
Rear Street Side
Rear Curb Side
This will make it easier to compare the different situations.

BTW: The black lines are electrical tape.
Attached Thumbnails
Cantaloupe - Before - Front - Curb Side 01.jpg   Cantaloupe - Before - Front - Street Side 01.jpg  

Cantaloupe - Before - Rear - Curb Side 01.jpg   Cantaloupe - Before - Rear - Street Side 01.jpg  

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Old 06-04-2013, 12:09 AM   #2
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The Final Grind

This is how the grinding looked after the second go.

Most of the metal plates have been removed. Some I cut with tin snips, others I cut with a dremmel. Then I pulled the two halfs out like rotten teeth.

Next is prep, and glassing.
Attached Thumbnails
Cantaloupe - Grinding - Front - Curb Side 01.jpg   Cantaloupe - Grinding - Front - Curb Side 02.jpg  

Cantaloupe - Grinding - Front - Curb Side 03.jpg   Cantaloupe - Grinding - Front - Street Side 01.jpg  

Cantaloupe - Grinding - Front - Street Side 02.jpg   Cantaloupe - Grinding - Rear - Curb Side 02.jpg  

Cantaloupe - Grinding - Rear - Street Side 01.jpg   Cantaloupe - Grinding - Rear - Street Side 02.jpg  

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Old 06-04-2013, 05:09 AM   #3
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David, Sorry I'm lost. What are you attempting to do? Are you replacing it? Stopping a leak? Customizing?
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:40 AM   #4
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Steve, Perhaps Trillium trailers in Las Vegas don't suffer the problems associated with the belly band, like Canadian Trilliums do. When Trillium joined the top half to the bottom half they riveted through the belly band into metal plates that were on the inside of the two shell halfs. This lines up the top and bottom of the trailer. Then they run a bandage of fibreglass over the metal plates from the inside. The trailer is now water proof. But, this creates pockets that the metal plates are in. On the bottom, water gets in. When it freezes, it opens that pocket a bit. The metal plate also starts to rust, which doesn't help. Over the years, (40 in the case of this trailer) that pocket eventually ruptures into the trailer. Now there is a leak. Also, once the metal plates rust enough, the rivet comes out, and the belly band falls off.
The attached drawing is close, but where it says "gelcoat" is actually the top half of the trailer. Also, where it says resin is actually the bandage, but it is only as wide as the raised part of the fibreglass that the belly band is on.
The solution is to close up the seam completely.
The steps, as I understand them, are to remove the belly band by drilling out the rivits.
Then grind down the fibreglass on either side of the seam, so that there is a bevel, about an inch wide, on each side of the seam. This provides a large surface area for new fibreglass to adhere to. (this is were I am now)
Then lay down fibreglass strips to fill the seam, and joint the top and bottom shell in one continuous surface.
Next sanding and Bondo to smooth it out.
Then paint.
Some put a self adhesive replacement belly band. I like the clean look with just fibreglass.

Some other threads on the subject.
Trillium Belly Band
Trillium Belly Band
Another reborn Trillium
Bye bye belly band!
Trillium belly band rivet removal
1978 Trillium 4500 restoration ...
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Anatomy of the Belly Band.jpg  
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Old 06-04-2013, 12:47 PM   #5
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Dave, are you going to expose the inside of the joint, to seal that up where leaks may have now started? Or are you just going to ensure the good seal from the outside?

Either way, it looks like a fair bit of work ahead of you.
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Old 06-04-2013, 02:00 PM   #6
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Jim, I am just going to seal it up from the outside. The metal plates are gone, I am thinking an acid to wash out the rust. I think it leaked from several places, and getting under the Ensolite would be too much work. I think the combination of the remaining bandage on the inside, and what I add to the outside, should be stronger then before. I doubt there will be any leaks when I am done.
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Old 06-04-2013, 03:32 PM   #7
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Good write up, David. I've thought about doing the same to my '77 13' Trill. I also thought about changing the "hump" on the door to line up with the belly band. The door closes ok but as with all these old Trills, the door line is WAY off!
A little grinding, a little fibreglassing, a little paint and viola'!
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:00 PM   #8
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There's no real documentation, but I like what Reid did, he ground off the Trillium belly band and painted the entire area. Maybe this thread will give you an idea, no one says you have to put a belly band back on! Another reborn Trillium
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:48 AM   #9
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Oh, I agree Donna! I have no intention of putting a belly band back on any of my Trilliums. I really like the clean look.
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Old 06-05-2013, 12:00 PM   #10
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If I do it (and I like the idea of cleaning up the body!) I think I still want the door lines though.
Keep the pics coming David!
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Old 06-05-2013, 12:31 PM   #11
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??? Door lines?
The raised fibreglass ridge will still remain, just the aluminum belly band will be gone, including on the door. It still won't line up though.
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:08 PM   #12
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I talking about moving the door raised fiberglass ridge to line up. As long as you're itchy from fibreglass you might as well make it line up. :-)
Yes, that would involve grinding the old one down and building another one.
Too much work? Maybe, but that's my thoughts anyway.
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:20 PM   #13
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Umm... I am pretty sure that even if the door is installed perfectly, it still won't line up. There was a flaw in the mold.
But, re-installing the door is next.
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Old 06-05-2013, 03:07 PM   #14
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I know it is flawed. I'm talking about "un-flawing" it.

I guess now that I've said it, I'll have to do it. Maybe at the end of the year. Still working my solar system right now.
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