Broken Trillium 13 frame - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-04-2012, 11:10 PM   #1
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Name: Frank
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Broken Trillium 13 frame

LESSONS LEARNED> I have a 1974 Trillium 1300. I was setting the scissors jack under the right front frame metal box beam at a camp ground and noticed (thank God) that the beam had broken completely at the point where the body is bolted to the frame. There was a welding shop several miles from the camp ground so I slowly towed Trilly to the shop where they were able to weld on reinforcing metal at the break and on the opposite side. (Not sure what good it did but ran a tow chain from the back bumper of the trailer under the frame to the front of the trailer to more or less support it.) I had thought the weak point of the early Trillium frames was where they are dimpled and bent and had spent a considerable amount of time inspecting that part for cracks. I had not looked at the point the bolt holes were drilled closely - much to my chagrin. Alls well that ends well but if you own an early Trillium, make sure you carefully inspect the frame for cracks. Preventative welding of a reinforcing piece of metal would be good as well. A photo of the break would be nice but I don't have access to one to post. Just imagine the metal frame with a 1/4 to 1/2 inch break at the point of the bolt.
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:34 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear that Frank but glad to hear you saw it and it didnt cause any problems for you while towing.
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:25 AM   #3
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Scary. I have read several posts on this type of failure and it's not just Trilliums. My understanding is that the frame box beam is in compression on top and tension on the bottom due to the weight of the body and the bolt holes, especially the bottom ones, are a weak point. On the new Trilliums they welded angle iron to the frame to bolt through and avoid holes through the frame. Thank goodness you spotted it when you did. Raz
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:08 AM   #4
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Both of my 1978 4500's use a tab, or cross member to bolt the body to, and there are reinforcements where the frame bends in towards the coupler, not where it bends up. My 1977 1300 with a front quarter bathroom also adds the tabs and reinforcements.

My other 1300, the Cantaloupe, does not have an original frame, so it doesn't count.

My understanding of the frame cracking issue is that early on, Trillium tried to heat temper the frame to make it stronger. Instead, they made it more brittle. Adding steel plates to either side of the square tube, where the frame bends to form the angle that meets at the coupler, is the recommended solution.
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:51 PM   #5
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I would love to see a photo of this to continue my edumacation* on the subject of tongue strength.

The biggest load on the tongue is expected right at the front body mount and if there's a vertical bolt hole through the frame there, then that's putting the weakest link right at the highest load!

* ©Homer Simpson
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Old 09-05-2012, 05:52 PM   #6
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I believe we have two frame issues with the old Trilliums. One is the weakness at the bends in the frame that David has mentioned and a second failure at the bolt holes which is not unique to Trilliums. Am I wrong?

Here's the recall notice.
Road Safety Recalls Database


Andrew, here's an old thread with a good picture of a bolt hole crack. Raz

trillium 1300 frame crack recall info
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:52 PM   #7
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Since the recall was from '73-76, it is interesting to see how Trillium addressed the problem on my 1978 -1300

As others have said, the bolt does not go through the frame, but is split between two separate bolts with a plate welded on the bottom.

There are really not two issues, David is correct. They both occur at the same place on the frame, the inward bend and the bolt.

Spanke
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Old 09-06-2012, 04:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanke
Since the recall was from '73-76, it is interesting to see how Trillium addressed the problem on my 1978 -1300

As others have said, the bolt does not go through the frame, but is split between two separate bolts with a plate welded on the bottom.

There are really not two issues, David is correct. They both occur at the same place on the frame, the inward bend and the bolt.

Spanke
I guess my confusion comes from the recall stating "THE TRAILER FRAME MAY CRACK NEAR THE FRONT BODY-TO-FRAME MOUNTING POSITION" and this picture showing the crack at the hole. Thinner metal at the bend and the compression-tension issue at the hole. In either case, it's a bad situation. Raz
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