New Old Trillium 4500 - New Thread - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-02-2018, 02:51 PM   #1
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New Old Trillium 4500 - New Thread

My wife JoAnn and I bought a 1977 Trillium 4500 a month or so ago. It turned out to be the one described on this thread...


1977 trillium update/repair


...so let this be a continuation of its history.



Thus far, it has only had a good cleanup. But at some point, water has leached in and the wood floors under the bed and gaucho areas have swelled and smell musty.


We plan to start by adding brakes, a new axle if required, and then cleaning up the inside. Windows and Belly Band are on the list. A few photos are included as a starting point. All comments and ideas gratefully accepted.
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New to us Trillium1.jpg   Interior.jpg  

Interior2.jpg  
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Old 10-02-2018, 04:56 PM   #2
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I’d do the floor first. Someone has a thread on replacing the floor under the dinette. If floor in the kitchen area is soft then repair is very challenging. I passed on two Trilliums this year with soft floors. On one, the plywood in the dinette benches was crumbling, totally gone.

+10 Do you have a dry work area (carport or garage)? Dehumidifier?
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Old 10-02-2018, 07:31 PM   #3
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Well if the "wood floors under the bed and gaucho areas have swelled and smell musty", first thing to do is get everything very well dried out, either by storing inside or by covering. Once the wood is dried out, unless its actually disintegrating, you can apply wood hardener or resin and move on. Then of course fix all of the leaks. In our Trillium 4500 we have found and fixed leaks:

- center band
- rear window
- fresh water fill port
- door frame

We still plan to pull and reseal the rest of the windows, but none are leaking. Again, first thing is get the camper under cover and dried out. Later you can systematically isolate leaks by hose testing, etc., and begin repairing.
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Old 10-03-2018, 07:47 AM   #4
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Trillium wood floors

Bill, I think the kitchen floor is solid. I don't really have a dry work area, and we just had our first snow dump of the year, so I will have to think about this. John, we did have a few warm days, so it got dried out inside, and thanks to my e-tape temp fix, no new moisture has appeared.



Appreciate the advice, guys.


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Old 10-03-2018, 08:18 AM   #5
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Yes, snow in Alberta! 40cm, (15.75") At least the kids love it.
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Old 10-03-2018, 09:01 AM   #6
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Ian, good to know that the kitchen floor seems solid. There's hope and I say this because before we bought our Trillium 3 years ago, I triple checked to make sure the plywood floors inside the gaucho and the rear benches were solid and they were. However, there was actually moisture trapped under the kitchen floor which I noticed at the fiberglass floor seam in front of the kitchenette. Also there was moisture behind the center band confirmed by a colony of tiny ants. I immediately began storing the camper in the garage and within a few months everything was dry and ant-less.

This year, however, when I removed the rear window I found dampness in portions of the plywood window frame. Good news was that it had not rotted. I allowed the plywood to dry thoroughly, then applied several coats of minwax wood hardener. Now all is good and solid.
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Old 10-03-2018, 09:40 AM   #7
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Welcome to Team Trillium!

Ian:

Welcome to the team! Where in Alberta are you?

Somewhat agree to what others have indicated, however from where I sit, I prefer to fix the leaks, then get the damaged wood replaced. But that's just me.

I have done most of the windows on my 1978 4500, and it's highly likely that the wood holding yours in place is rotten, and the screws are probably almost non-existent, as mine were.

Our kitchen floor is OK, as was the gaucho area, although there had been some moisture in there. The bad spot in mine was under the back benches, which I cut out and replaced. I still want to install drains, as described elsewhere by Dave T and others. That will be a next spring job.

Nuther thing to check and replace - the 8 floor bolts thaht are probably only 1/2 there now!

Have fun!



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Old 10-03-2018, 11:14 AM   #8
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Inspect the pontoons and make sure each one has a drain hole. That way you could prevent more damage,

Around here, Harbor Freight sells a temporary carport. Not sure if it can handle any snow. But if it works it will give you a dry area to work on the trailer. I am fortunate that both of my trailers stay under cover, and the Trillium should fit in my garage (once I gather help to push it in).
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Old 10-08-2018, 04:12 PM   #9
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Capn. Curt, thanks for your reply. I'm in Lethbridge. The frame bolts and belly band are getting checked and replaced as necessary, and brakes + electrics being added. Once that's done, I will likely bring the old girl home and perhaps take on the windows. It seems like a big job...
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Old 10-08-2018, 04:13 PM   #10
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By "pontoons", do you mean the areas behind the wheels, under the two seats in the dinette? Thanks.
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Old 10-08-2018, 06:24 PM   #11
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There are pontoons on both sides of the trailer, both in front of the wheels and behind them. Its pretty obvious. The plywood floor does not run all the way to the side of the trailer, instead, it stops at the pontoons. (I think the pontoon runs underneath the door opening, so the plywood does run all the way to the side wall, or close to it at the door). The ends of the plywood are exposed.

I've seen pontoons without drains, so if water leaked, it eventually could get as high as the plywood and rot it out. Seems like trailers left outside when not in use are going to be more susceptible to this rot. Looked at three Trilliums recently, both #1 and #2 had obvious floor rot, #3 did not. (One trailer even had standing water in the two pontoons on either side of the dinette. Seller had some feeble excuse, I just walked away). So I bought #3. The other thing that Dave Tilston taught me was to look for sag in front of the door on the curb side. You sight down the roof (get a ladder) and if the closet is the high point, and it sags going forward, thats bad and to be avoided. The other test is to use a flat edge, from the front of the kitchen, across the floor to the door opening. I used a four foot level. If there is sag, you will see it (level will not sit flat, it will rock back and forth).


The cabinets are fiberglassed to the shell, no rivets. Good news, bad news this means you can't just easily drop in new floor plywood from the top. IF the cabinets were riveted in place (Scamp and Casita) you could remove just the lower cabinets and get ready access to the floor. So Trillium has a superior design... until water gets to the plywood. Then its inferior.

I've searched long and hard for someone's report on replacing a rotted Trillium floor. I've seen comments about finding the rot, but have yet to have found a detailed thread on the actual repair and replacement. This made me very wary about used Trilliums.
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Old 10-08-2018, 07:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Hepher View Post
Capn. Curt, thanks for your reply. I'm in Lethbridge. The frame bolts and belly band are getting checked and replaced as necessary, and brakes + electrics being added. Once that's done, I will likely bring the old girl home and perhaps take on the windows. It seems like a big job...
I resealed all the windows on our '79 Boler 17' All the windows might be intimidating, but do one at a time and it seems a lot easier. When you have the windows out is the time to tint the windows because it's easier when they are out. Our Boler wouldn't fit in our garage so it was under a tarp all winter with one window out at a time.
If you have to replace any plywood make sure the edges are sealed before installing.
Good luck on your new project.
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Old 10-11-2018, 08:25 PM   #13
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Thank you Bill...this is all good advice and I will come back to this thread once I get to work.
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Old 10-11-2018, 08:27 PM   #14
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Thanks for your encouragement, ststefan.
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Old 11-23-2018, 08:17 PM   #15
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Update on our Trillium

After some consideration about what I could reasonable accomplish in terms of Trillium rehabilitation, and what I wanted to do, we contacted Joe Thoen at Trillium Outback. He rehabilitated a Boler for us about 10 years ago, and we had a good experience at the time.





We went over the trailer with him and developed a list of priorities, which included replacing frame bolts, adding brakes, repairing the belly band, installing a new cook top, updating the wiring, checking and preparing the propane system, adding a MaxxAir fan, and repairing the fridge and furnace. Joe gave us an up-front cost for each item, then called us with interim costs as they worked on the trailer. All of these items were completed in a timely manner, for the cost quoted. Once these were done, we decided to convert the front bunk into a dinette, which looks great! I will post some photos.





Along the way, Joe and the rest of the guys at Team Trillium did a few things for us at no charge - new door mirror, outlet covers, chrome wheel nuts and centre cover, spare tire cover, ensolite repair. He also found a door for the fridge, and a replacement valve of some sort for the furnace, which saved us a considerable amount of money.




Everything was upfront and direct; there were no surprises, and we are very happy with the work. I wanted to share this because this has not been everyone's experience with Trillium Outback, but it certainly was ours.



I brought the old girl home yesterday. Happily the trailer fits in our garage, so my truck will sit on the driveway for a few months while I redo the windows, add flooring, replace the cubboard doors, and generally clean up the insides, specifically inside the pontoons. These are all things I can do, I think.
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Old 10-14-2019, 10:47 AM   #16
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Update on our Trillium 4500

It has been some time since I last posted here, and we've made considerable progress on our little trailer, whom I shall refer to as Tracy (although we haven't yet really decided on a name. This is a great place to maintain a history of this trailer, so I'll post a fair amount of detail.

1. Oct. 2018 - The following major work was completed by Outback Trailers (Joe Thoen) in Calgary: Install electric brakes, belly band removal and re-install, Maxxair fan, repair LPG system, install new cooktop, install front dinette. (Note: All the work was of high quality.)
2. Fall 2018 and winter 2019 - I removed all the windows, cleaned them up, and re-inserted them in accordance with the advice found on this website. I replaced all wood frames with PVC planks, then reset the windows using a double layer of butyl rubber. For good measure, I added a think layer of Proflex. Tracy has survived several rainstorms and two heavy snowfalls without leaking. I must add that I messed up the ensolite around the windows quite badly, so I simply made wood frames to cover up my sins.

3. Feb. 2019 - New cushions made by New Image Upholstery in Lethbridge. Thanks, Ivan! All new foam rubber and fabric.
4. April 2019 - Replaced all cupboard doors with baltic birch doors, natural finish.

4. May June 2019 - New curtains sewn by JoAnn installed. New lay-in linoleum flooring put down. I built shelves in the closet using PVC tubing, another tip from this site. They are terrific!

5. October 2019. Installed support blocks for back section of bed, as we will be leaving the bed in place permanently. (I've kept the old pivot mechanism, though, for potential buyers down the road.)


That's most of it, I think, other than general cleanup and maintenance. We took Tracy out for one night at Castle River Falls campground in August. I know, I know - it doesn't seem like much, but we have a house, a cabin, and lots of other things going on (like grandchildren), so it's not always easy to find time. We will, though!



Fun project so far...i tried to attach some photos, but the site blocked me. I'll figure it out soon.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:17 PM   #17
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Photos of our 1977 Trillium 4500

Here are some updated photos.
Attached Thumbnails
Trailer shelves.jpg   Butyl + proflex.jpg  

Doors off.jpg   Closet door.jpg  

Window repl 1.JPG   interior  new 2.jpg  

Interior new.jpg   Curtains.jpg  

Curtains 2.jpg  
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Old 10-26-2019, 12:41 PM   #18
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The front dinette looks amazing! Joe and Reese do great work. Have fun.
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Old 10-26-2019, 01:18 PM   #19
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The front dinette looks amazing! Joe and Reese do great work. Have fun.

That's what we have found too, Clayton. Thanks.
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