Trillium exterior access doors - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-09-2011, 11:58 AM   #1
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Talking Trillium exterior access doors

Hi all,

The time has come to modify our Trillium that we bought last fall. It was in good shape, only 2 owners before us, but it did not have some features that we wanted and used most from our previous Boler. Lots to do, but in this stage we wanted to add exterior access doors for the rear cargo spaces.

We like to have the rear bed set up most of the time. That means that it is a pain to get at the rear storage spaces under the bed. To solve this on the Boler, I installed a couple of exterior access doors, which I got from a local RV shop which had some for replacement on an R-Pod. That thread is here: http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f56/reno-s-gone-wild-exterior-access-doors-42298.html


That was so useful that we wanted to do the same thing on our “new” trailer. Last fall I went and got two more access doors, then waited all winter until the weather turned better. I was a bit worried because I could only get 1 door of the same size that we had on the Boler, and the other one was bigger. The big one was 28 inches long and about 11 wide, not the 20 X 10 (more or less, I can’t remember the exact dimensions) of the smaller one.

I needn’t have worried, as it turned out. The Trillium is both larger in the storage areas (it is a 15 foot trailer as opposed to the 13 foot Boler) and also flatter on the outside surface, so the doors went on much more easily than the Boler with its more curved surface.

I decided to install the large door on the closet side and the small door on the kitchen side. The kitchen side has the plumbing and electrical inputs, and it has a false wall to separate those things from the storage area. That makes that side a bit smaller, although later I found out that there was enough room to put a big door in there if I had wanted to.

Before installing, I painted the doors with Tremclad RV white paint. It is really a cream colour. Since our trailer is that colour, more or less, we wanted it to blend in better. We also painted the existing lower fridge exterior vent, which was originally stark white and stood out like a sore thumb.

Pictures are below. I started with the larger door by measuring and drawing the shape on the outside of the trailer, using the actual door as a guide. Then I cut the hole using a standard jig saw with a standard wood-cutting blade. I used up one blade for each of the two holes. I made sure not to mark the outside surface of the trailer by holding the jig saw away from the trailer so only the blade was in contact. That was not as hard as it sounds. I also made sure to cut on the outside of the pencil line so that there would be a fraction of an inch of slack in the hole. From past experience I know that it is a pain to try to enlarge a hole slightly once it is cut. Unlike the Boler, for this job I did not have to move the red marker lights, which saved some time and effort.

Once the hole was cut, I put Butyl tape ($10 for a 30 foot roll at the RV dealer) all around the flange of the door, then put the door in the hole and adjusted it so it looked level. I left a 1/4 inch space in the butyl tape on the bottom edge so that any water that does get in has a place to drain out. The door fit very well. I then drilled small holes for stainless steel 6-32 bolts at the corners and bolted it on. On the Boler, the curve of the trailer meant that I had to use 10 bolts on each door to make it sit flush to the walls. However, on this trailer the doors fit almost perfectly, so I was able to use just 4 bolts, one at each corner. I then cleaned away any excess butyl tape oozing out, and painted the bolt heads with Tremclad RV white paint. Done.

I installed it with the hinges at the bottom, so that it would naturally fall open. I do not understand why most RVs have the doors installed with the hinge at the top, especially since we have not one but two latches on each door. It makes no difference at all for water leakage. We did the doors with hinges at the bottom for our Boler and loved it.

By the way, I changed out the access door locks for a different key number from the RV dealer. Apparently 95% of RV access doors use the same lock, making it convenient for RV dealers and easy for anyone else to break in. I used the same key number for both doors, for convenience.

Rick G
Attached Thumbnails
cutting big access panel.JPG   cut big access door.JPG  

acess big door installed2.JPG   access small door installed.JPG  

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Old 05-09-2011, 09:02 PM   #2
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Looks good! Thanks for sharing the "how to" and pictures too
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:51 PM   #3
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Hello Rick. Very professional installation. I find it interesting that you used a wood blade. I would have thought the vibration would have made such a clean cut impossible.

In regard to the hinges on the bottom, our old camper had a baggage door installed that way. The only issue I recall was that water would get trapped in the hinge and after 6 years the rivets were showing a little rust. Aside from that it is much easier not to have to hold the door up when you are looking for something. Ours had the "universal key". Number 751 as I recall. Thanks for sharing, Raz
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Old 05-11-2011, 07:20 PM   #4
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I think that job looks as good as if it had been done at the factory, good job.
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Old 05-12-2011, 01:37 PM   #5
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Hi Rick, I saw in another post that you mentioned of installing access hatches in the Boler. What size did you use? I assume you had to either move the running light or install it on the hatch?
Thanks
Karen
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:03 PM   #6
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karen L W View Post
Hi Rick, I saw in another post that you mentioned of installing access hatches in the Boler. What size did you use? I assume you had to either move the running light or install it on the hatch?
Thanks
Karen
Hi Karen,

Yes, in the Boler the marker lights were in the way, so I had to raise them a few inches higher. You can sort of see the difference in the before and after pictures in the first post on that thread here: http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f56/reno-s-gone-wild-exterior-access-doors-42298.html


As for the size, they were about 20 inches by 10 inches, but I can’t remember exactly. We got them new from a local RV dealer for about $50 each. I would expect that they are a standard size. I wouldn’t want a bigger one on the Boler, both because it would be too big for the compartment and because the Boler walls curve a lot more and I doubt the bigger sizes could be made to fit without warping them too much to close the door properly.

Hope that helps.
Rick G
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Old 05-13-2011, 04:02 PM   #7
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Name: Michael
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick G View Post
Hi all,

The time has come to modify our Trillium that we bought last fall. It was in good shape, only 2 owners before us, but it did not have some features that we wanted and used most from our previous Boler. Lots to do, but in this stage we wanted to add exterior access doors for the rear cargo spaces.

We like to have the rear bed set up most of the time. That means that it is a pain to get at the rear storage spaces under the bed. To solve this on the Boler, I installed a couple of exterior access doors, which I got from a local RV shop which had some for replacement on an R-Pod. That thread is here: http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f56/reno-s-gone-wild-exterior-access-doors-42298.html


That was so useful that we wanted to do the same thing on our “new” trailer. Last fall I went and got two more access doors, then waited all winter until the weather turned better. I was a bit worried because I could only get 1 door of the same size that we had on the Boler, and the other one was bigger. The big one was 28 inches long and about 11 wide, not the 20 X 10 (more or less, I can’t remember the exact dimensions) of the smaller one.

I needn’t have worried, as it turned out. The Trillium is both larger in the storage areas (it is a 15 foot trailer as opposed to the 13 foot Boler) and also flatter on the outside surface, so the doors went on much more easily than the Boler with its more curved surface.

I decided to install the large door on the closet side and the small door on the kitchen side. The kitchen side has the plumbing and electrical inputs, and it has a false wall to separate those things from the storage area. That makes that side a bit smaller, although later I found out that there was enough room to put a big door in there if I had wanted to.

Before installing, I painted the doors with Tremclad RV white paint. It is really a cream colour. Since our trailer is that colour, more or less, we wanted it to blend in better. We also painted the existing lower fridge exterior vent, which was originally stark white and stood out like a sore thumb.

Pictures are below. I started with the larger door by measuring and drawing the shape on the outside of the trailer, using the actual door as a guide. Then I cut the hole using a standard jig saw with a standard wood-cutting blade. I used up one blade for each of the two holes. I made sure not to mark the outside surface of the trailer by holding the jig saw away from the trailer so only the blade was in contact. That was not as hard as it sounds. I also made sure to cut on the outside of the pencil line so that there would be a fraction of an inch of slack in the hole. From past experience I know that it is a pain to try to enlarge a hole slightly once it is cut. Unlike the Boler, for this job I did not have to move the red marker lights, which saved some time and effort.

Once the hole was cut, I put Butyl tape ($10 for a 30 foot roll at the RV dealer) all around the flange of the door, then put the door in the hole and adjusted it so it looked level. I left a 1/4 inch space in the butyl tape on the bottom edge so that any water that does get in has a place to drain out. The door fit very well. I then drilled small holes for stainless steel 6-32 bolts at the corners and bolted it on. On the Boler, the curve of the trailer meant that I had to use 10 bolts on each door to make it sit flush to the walls. However, on this trailer the doors fit almost perfectly, so I was able to use just 4 bolts, one at each corner. I then cleaned away any excess butyl tape oozing out, and painted the bolt heads with Tremclad RV white paint. Done.

I installed it with the hinges at the bottom, so that it would naturally fall open. I do not understand why most RVs have the doors installed with the hinge at the top, especially since we have not one but two latches on each door. It makes no difference at all for water leakage. We did the doors with hinges at the bottom for our Boler and loved it.

By the way, I changed out the access door locks for a different key number from the RV dealer. Apparently 95% of RV access doors use the same lock, making it convenient for RV dealers and easy for anyone else to break in. I used the same key number for both doors, for convenience.

Rick G
Outstanding Work Rick. Now you got me thinking about another project. That will make getting to your stuff a whole lot easier.
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Old 05-14-2011, 12:05 AM   #8
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Hi, Michael,

The doors look really nice!
Did you remove the inside under bench drawers permanently?

Thanks, Francesca
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Old 05-18-2011, 08:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick G View Post
Hi Karen,

Yes, in the Boler the marker lights were in the way, so I had to raise them a few inches higher. You can sort of see the difference in the before and after pictures in the first post on that thread here: http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f56/reno-s-gone-wild-exterior-access-doors-42298.html


As for the size, they were about 20 inches by 10 inches, but I can’t remember exactly. We got them new from a local RV dealer for about $50 each. I would expect that they are a standard size. I wouldn’t want a bigger one on the Boler, both because it would be too big for the compartment and because the Boler walls curve a lot more and I doubt the bigger sizes could be made to fit without warping them too much to close the door properly.

Hope that helps.
Rick G
Thanks for your help. Karen
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Old 05-23-2011, 03:09 AM   #10
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Thank you! This is exactly what I was trying to explain to my local RV service shop. I leave my bed made in the 4500 too!
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