Love at first sight (maybe) - Fiberglass RV

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Old 03-23-2015, 08:55 PM   #1
Junior Member
Name: Aleha
British Columbia
Posts: 3
Love at first sight (maybe)

Hi there,

My husband, pooch and I are debating taking the plunge and purchasing our first egg. We have our sights on a 74 1300 trillium but have some reservations as the cost seems high @ $5500. There's a leak in the rear under seat cushion ( prob the belly band will need replacement). Also the propane to fridge isn't working but electrical is. This may be just cosmetic but the prior owners used silicon in one area of instead of the seam tape, which looks really hard to remove from the ensolite. Also the bunks were removed and it is just a sofa which is a bummer and there's lots of holes above the sink. We've seen some in BC go for less than $5000 (which was our max budget) so we were wondering if we should wait it out a bit. Anyone have any advice for us? Is this good value? We're willing to travel to check one out but want to have one to call our own in the next few weeks!! and thanks so much for running such a wonderful resource for the community!!

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Old 03-23-2015, 09:12 PM   #2
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Mike Magee's Avatar
Name: Michael
Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Posts: 4,520
Hi, and welcome! I am personally of the opinion that the prices for 'fixer-uppers' has gotten out of hand. It's 40 years old and, as you can see, it needs a few things. Some people on this forum (one owner of several Trills in Canada springs to mind, especially) have gotten much better deals. Buying something that needs fixing before use sometimes results in a back yard fixture that never gets used because the project is always waiting to be finished... not a good way to get out and camp!

The other way to think of it is to compare it to the price for a new, similarly equipped Scamp 13 (probably just a little more than double the asking price for that 40 year old Trillium).

I would be inclined to make the seller a low offer, and if he doesn't say yes, walk away.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven... --Ecclesiastes 3
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Old 03-23-2015, 09:14 PM   #3
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bluenorth's Avatar
Name: jeff
Trailer: trillium
Posts: 8
Wait it out, you can get what you want with that kind of money. Lots of them here in Ontario, the seller would be getting about half that here. I picked up a mint '77 4500 in completely original shape for $5000. I put in a brand new axle and tires, still think I'd be lucky to get five out of it.
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Old 03-23-2015, 09:23 PM   #4
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sarahspins's Avatar
Name: Sarah
Trailer: 1984 13' Scamp named "Ramblin Rose"
Posts: 159
You can always carefully trim off any lumpy caulking (you don't need to remove it all - just anything that would stick up under new tape) and apply new seam tape if you want - caulking is actually what is recommended if you want to paint though, since with a sponge it can be made to "kind of" match the texture of the ensolite.

$5500 seems steep to me, unless it was immaculate and you had maintenance records for things like the wheel hubs.. but I doubt this trailer is even in what would approach "good" condition, and it's likely that you will find many more things that need to be fixed the more you look at it - so if you want to make an offer, go back and really look at it with an eye for what you are aware needs to be done, and subtract the cost of fixing those things (and include some extra for your time) and make them an offer.

But I say that, and I paid $4000 for my scamp without a functioning axle, a nightmare of an electrical system, and multiple leaks. I would have negotiated the price way down if I had really inspected the axle before purchase (rather than taking their word for it that it was "just fine" 2 years prior - I kind of doubt that it was). Part of the problem is that there just aren't that many 13' trailers that show up in my area - and typically when they do, they have a bathroom and don't sleep 4. I'm okay with what I paid, but I'd be very hesitant to do it again.

You say the bunk was removed and it's just a sofa - do you meant there is just the bottom cushion, or does the sofa still have a "back" - because if so, the "back" of the sofa is the bunk (it just pivots up on some hinges), what you may be missing are the bunk support hardware (and possibly the skinny banana shaped cushion that fills in the space behind the lower cushion when the upper bunk is up), but those things aren't too difficult to replace and are often misplaced over time if they aren't being used.
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Old 03-23-2015, 09:25 PM   #5
Mary F's Avatar
Name: Mary
Trailer: Escape 21; (formerly Casita LD 17 & 16)
Posts: 9,087
Wow. Just wow.

I'd look for something with fewer drawbacks, especially for that kind of money.
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:02 PM   #6
Junior Member
Name: Aleha
British Columbia
Posts: 3
Wow! This forum is amazing!

Thanks so very much for all the helpful guidance and thoughtful responses you've shared with us. I think I was carried away with all the excitement of getting to finally see one but we can wait for a better fit. We don't mind putting in some work but the cost needs to reflect it. I feel so much more informed when we make our first offer!!! We have examined a number Boler buying tips, but haven't come across many specifically targeting Trilliums. Any further purchasing guidance would be much appreciated. Thanks again we really appreciate the help!
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:25 PM   #7
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David Tilston's Avatar
Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1977, 1978 (2), 1300 - 1977, 1973, and a 1972
Posts: 5,281
I think post #2 might be referring to me .

$5500 is not reasonable for a trailer that requires that much work. While I am no longer buying Trilliums, I shop constantly. Good deals still happen. I found this one today. It has sold already, but it was in BC:
BC (Canada) - Trillium 1300 - 1975? - $2500

That was a screaming deal.

What to look for:

- Sagging fibreglass
Usually on the roof, over the kitchen. Not necessarily a deal killer, but there are some kinds of sag I would avoid. Sometimes, the front curb side drops. I have no idea how to fix this:
I just bought a mint Trillium 4500, BUT???
I have seen this in person, on another trailer. The closet, which supports the roof, formed a high point on the curb side. Spreading cracks around the top of the door, and compression at the bottom hinge side of the door. This seems to be a high stress point. After looking at all my 4500's, they all have cracks in the gel coat at the bottom hinge side of the door.

- No rock guard
You have no idea how hard these are to find.

- Rotten floor
Look for soft spots on the floor. Bounce up and down, (helps test the axle as well). There is structural wood under the dinette seats, and the gaucho. It is encased in fibreglass. Look for rot. The fibreglass may be delaminating from the wood.

- Bad paint job
Just lots of work

- Axle
Bounce inside the trailer. There should be a springy feel. Also, you should be able to get a fist between the top of the wheel and the bottom of the wheel well. Maybe less so if it has 14" tires vs. 13".

- Smell
Might be a sign of rot, or a chain smoker. To get smell out you will need an ozone generator.

I am sure there are more, but that is all that come to mind.

Bonus features:
Belly band fixed
Windows resealed
Door rehung, (well)
New axle

If these have not been done, plan on doing them.
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Old 03-24-2015, 01:14 AM   #8
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Roger C H's Avatar
Name: Roger
Trailer: 2009 Trillium 1300 "Homelet"/2014 Subaru Outback "Rosie"
Posts: 2,155
Smile Welcome to the forum

I'm surprised no one showed you the "Buyer's Check List!"

The Fiberglass RV Community

This forum is like anything to do with computers, it takes a while to get familiar with the features.

Good luck on your egg hunt!
A charter member of the Buffalo Plaid Brigade!

Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.
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Old 03-24-2015, 10:09 AM   #9
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Name: Borden and Carole
Trailer: Boler 1978 17' 4" Earlton Ont Model
Posts: 936
Ours was in great shape and not that much more in price, no fixing actually, only needed 3 new ST radial tires to use it. Fridge, stove, lights, etc. all working, new battery, new curtain's, re upholstered cushions, only some cosmetic items needed. Even the brakes in good shape. Came with repair kit, the directions manual, dishes, camp stove, heater, furnace worked fine, flash light and decorations. We did add a new hot water tank later with bypass setup for quick draining and a breakaway switch.

P.S. did find a small leak in the grey water tank that needed to be fixed first use.
1978 Ontario made Boler
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Old 03-24-2015, 06:57 PM   #10
Junior Member
Name: Aleha
British Columbia
Posts: 3
Wow - thanks David, Roger & Borden! This info helps us know what to watch for, as well as what to expect from certain price points. The checklist will help us cover the bases when we check out our next egg. Everyone has been so helpful- can't wait to become a official member soon!

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Old 03-25-2015, 12:43 AM   #11
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
Posts: 2,079
Originally Posted by alehamcc View Post
Wow - thanks David, Roger & Borden! This info helps us know what to watch for, as well as what to expect from certain price points. The checklist will help us cover the bases when we check out our next egg. Everyone has been so helpful- can't wait to become a official member soon!

Sent from my iPad using Fiberglass RV
Your an official member NOW....good luck in your search
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Old 03-25-2015, 05:28 AM   #12
Pam Garlow's Avatar
Name: Pam
Trailer: U-Haul 1985
Posts: 3,096
It takes many people several trips to see various trailers before they find the 'right one'. If its close by, go take a look at it, so you can see the problems for yourself. Then you can be better educated as to what to avoid.
That price seems high for a fixer upper.

Happy Hunting!!

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