Working on a Trillium 5500 - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-12-2015, 08:25 AM   #21
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Name: Carl
Trailer: 1981 Trillium 5500
Quebec
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Hi Linda

In all honesty, re-sealing the windows is really not that hard. It's a pretty straightforward job, just a little more time consuming because of the damn silicone used by previous owners. I may not have enough time to seal all my 7 windows before winter either, not a big deal.

I realize my writings may sound like it's a very tiresome and difficult job, but it's definitly not that bad. Consider it's like these reality shows on TV where they add a lot of drama to keep the viewers on the edge of their seat when in fact not much happens!!

On my next window, as soon as the window is off the trailer I intend to apply a good amount of that Silicone-Be-Gone stuff and let it work for a couple hours as prescribed. I'm confident it will save me a lot of scraping and scrubbing.

Please don't consider this as a 'tutorial', I'm glad if it helps you but don't forget I'm a total newbie on this, the knowledge I seem to have is really just the knowledge of others that I have collected over time by reading on this forum! Another reason for writing about my reno is hopefully if I'm about to do something stupid on my trailer someone will come up and tell me "Hey don't do that!! "

We're planning on recovering the cushions, my wife found a nice fabric she's pretty much decided on, it has some 70's or 60's style patterns and the colors will match the interior nicely. We will use it for the back cushions, and use a matching dark gray of charcoal fabric for the bottom cushion. At least that's what the plan is right now. We don't know yet if we'll have the job done (expensive) or if my wife will do it.



It's the Quebec Bolerama this weekend, at a campground about 20 minutes from here, I saw there are at least 3 5500s registered, and we're planning on a visit this afternoon.

Carl
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Old 09-12-2015, 10:34 AM   #22
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Name: Linda
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Let me how how the Quebec Bolerama goes. I want to go to the Ontario one next summer.

I love the fabric!

Carl I am not totally discouraged and will get some silicone- be - gone to speed the job along. Starting a job is always the slow part for me but once I start it's no problem.

Considering the bastardized job that was done on my Boler previous to me owning it,and the repairs that we and Brycam Trailers in Barrie have done, it is looking pretty darn good.

On that note, I feel it is worth the sweat equity to keep going on it.

My partner wants me to sell it and pool our resources and buy a newer rig. I always find the harder I work on something the more I love it so will keep on going for now.

Take care,

Linda
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Old 09-12-2015, 10:08 PM   #23
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Trailer: 1981 Trillium 5500
Quebec
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Went to the Quebec Bolerama this afternoon, as a visitor.
Saw 3 Trillium 5500. Talked at length with owners of two of them. It was great!
Two of these 5500 were twin axle units.
One owner said his was a 1983. I thought Trillium went belly up in 1981 or so?
Also learned something I never noticed before, I don't know if it's true or not: Deluxe models have dual stripes on the sides. Standard models only have one stripe. This apparently applies to 4500s and 5500s. Not sure about the blue vs orange stripes, it apparently means something also (model year?).

One of these 5500 looked quite clean, although a lot of modifications had been made by its owner. The other two where pretty much original, and on a few aspects in need of some renovations IMO. Some have made modifications on their trailer that I would never do on mine. And some have issues that I could not live with, or things that I'm planning to fix/replace/modify on mine. It was an interesting visit nonetheless, and we are now more confident than ever on our ability to turn our own 5500 into a very good looking unit that we'll be proud of. Just give us a couple years!

We also had the chance to look at a new (2014) Trillium Outback, and for the 1st time we saw an Escape 17B (which I found nice but noticeably smaller than my old 5500).
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Old 09-13-2015, 04:54 AM   #24
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Name: Matt
Trailer: 1975 Trillium
Nova Scotia
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Hey Carl,
I finished my rear window repair/resealing yesterday. All went well though I think I might try 1" screws as it seems the 3/4 didn't bite in as much as I would have liked especially top corners. My question is whether or not to put a thin bead of the Proflex Rv caulking along the outside of the butyl. I'm not sure if my screw cover strip will fit back on if the bead is there. Any thoughts?
Thanks
Matt
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Old 09-13-2015, 07:03 AM   #25
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Hi Matt

I'm no specialist, but I think if you put enough butyl tape, and the butyl was squeezed out when you tightened the screws, the window should be water tight and I don't see the need to add any other sealant.

I was thinking of going with the 1" screws as well, altough I could torque the screws hard enough I think, considering I'm into cedar and not hard wood. Also, I don't think they have to be torqued very hard either: not all the butyl has to ooze out, there has to be a layer remaining between the fiberglass and the window frame, if the screws are too tight it looks like the aluminium frame bends/distorts at the screws (I had to straighten mine at a couple places before I reinstalled), and overtightening may also cause some stress on the thin fiberglass (mine has what looks like tiny stress cracks on the gelcoat near many of the screws, may be due to this or not, I don't know).

I haven't put the screw covers back on, I think the trailer is missing one or two, and some of the ones I took off were cracked or out of shape. I might have to replace them eventually, or go without them (not sure how it will look).
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Old 09-13-2015, 09:05 AM   #26
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Great looking trailer, Carl and thanks for all the excellent pictures documenting your window replacement/repair/resealing project. I find pictures of people's projects really helpful when we're considering similar work on our trailer. Keep up the good work and have fun with your trailer!
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Old 09-13-2015, 03:01 PM   #27
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Trailer: 1975 Trillium
Nova Scotia
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Hi Carl,
Thanks for the reply. I think I'll hold off on the Proflex. The butyl squeezed out nicely all around it looks nice and clean without a bead of caulking. Rained a lot here today and rear window is no longer leaking! Woohoo. Front window leak is the next to be fixed and will likely need new frame as well. Thanks again.
Matt
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Old 09-13-2015, 04:23 PM   #28
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It was raining today here. While I was working on my fridge I noticed water was actually flowing over the ensolite from the rear window, lower right corner ! No wonder water is pooling on the floor in that corner. So my next window to re-seal will be the rear one.

Also, it seems to me that the wood around the window I re-sealed last week was kinda damp... This I don't like. I tightened the screws a little more and we'll see. I may have to remove that window again, I hope not.

Today I repainted the tubing of the cooling unit in the back of my fridge, I cleaned the burner and burner 'jet', cleaned ans straightened the upper vent grille, and I'm getting ready to reinstall the fridge, probably next weekend. Details will be on my blog within a couple days.
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Old 09-17-2015, 07:50 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl V View Post
Also, it seems to me that the wood around the window I re-sealed last week was kinda damp... This I don't like. I tightened the screws a little more and we'll see. I may have to remove that window again, I hope not.
Well, the window I just resealed is leaking.
I'll have to pull it out and see what's going on.
Also it looks like the crank actuator for that window will have to be replaced, as I can't shut the window close tight, feels likes the little gears are skipping teeth. I never noticed that when I worked on the window last week (or maybe that failure just happened). My local RV parts dealer says they have about a dozen model of these on stock, hopefully they have one that fits.

I'm getting ready to reinstall my fridge, still debating wether I should repaint the vent or strip them to bare aluminium and polish them. I think I'll strip them and see, they look like they have about 5 coats of paint on them. Never too late to repaint if needed.
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Old 09-17-2015, 08:15 AM   #30
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I like the look of bare aluminium.
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Old 09-17-2015, 01:02 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
I like the look of bare aluminium.
I don't mind painted or bare, but my wife said to paint it. End of discussion!

I've taken my leaky window again this morning. I can't figure why or where water was coming in.

Boy is that butyl stuff sticky! Like chewing gum! Good stuff that is.

My local RV part store had the appropriate window actuator in stock, and to my surprise it wasn't too expensive ($13). The old one was riveted to the window frame, I just used 3 stainless bolts, nuts, and locking washers I had here. Fits perfectly.
The window frame has to be partially dismantled for the actuator to come out. Just 2 screws really, no big deal. Unless there is another way to remove it, I don't know, I didn't spend much time looking.

I scraped the old sealant (which wasn't old at all), this time not necessarily to the bare metal, applied new butyl tape, and reinstalled the window. Again, the sealant oozed out everywhere, I can't see this window leaking again, but then... we'll see.

Hopefully I'll be able to reinstall my fridge this afternoon.
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Old 09-17-2015, 01:50 PM   #32
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If you still have leaks, you might want to look at the belly band.
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Old 09-17-2015, 07:21 PM   #33
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Oh yeah, don't worry, the belly band is on my radar!
But in the case of that window, the leak was definitely coming from above the band. The wood (new cedar I just put in) on one side was wet.

I also know for sure the rear window leaks. It's the next one on my list, maybe tomorrow.

I couldn't find water anywhere else. I'll do all the other windows in time, I don't like living in a camper surrounded by rotten wood and mold. The wood on that last window I just did was almost growing mushrooms!
At least once the rear one is done, all obvious leaks will be sealed before winter hits.

Me and my wife were just discussing the belly band this afternoon. Right now there is a bead of silicone (what else?) on top of it. It looks old and dirty and I don't like it. If after all the windows and vent are re-sealed there is absolutely no sign of leakage anywhere, I'll just peel the silicone off the belly band and redo a nice bead of sealant (not silicone... ProFlex? is it available in "ivory" or "almond"?). Then I guess it can stay like that for a while. But I know one day I'll have do get rid of, just like you did on your trailers.
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Old 09-18-2015, 03:13 AM   #34
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The leak could be from the rear clearance lights above the Window, and traveling down inside the ensolite. I have the same issue with my 5500, and I have replaced rear windows frame already.
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Old 09-18-2015, 06:27 AM   #35
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I will look that up, I remember a few clearance lights are not original, can't remember which ones exactly. Thanks!
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Old 09-18-2015, 06:14 PM   #36
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Trailer: 1981 Trillium 5500
Quebec
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For some reason, yesterday's post on my blog wasn't displaying correctly. A Blogspot bug I guess. It's now fixed.

I know the Google translation isn't perfect, but I think you can figure it out. Knowing both languages, I sometime find the Google english version quite funny, as I can see how the original text was translated! I can provide more details if needed, just let me know.

https://translate.google.com/transla...-text=&act=url

I'd like to post some details and the pictures of my work on this thread, I'm sure most members here would appreciate. I'll try to do it when I have time. In the mean time, I hope you appreciate the blog.
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Old 09-20-2015, 07:12 PM   #37
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Mostly a repost from my blog:

Resealed the rear window yesterday. I think I’m getting better at it!
Took me about 30 minutes to get the window off. Stuck hard in silicone.



I’m calling it *silicone*, but I’m not sure if this really is silicone. One the first window I did, the sealant was a white rubbery stuff, just like the silicone you’d put around your bathtub. It wasn’t that hard to get off the fiberglass, and on the window frame you’d just peel it off and the aluminium frame would come out mostly clean. On the second window, the sealant used was gray. It has the same rubbery texture as the white stuff, but is VERY hard to remove from the trailer. On the aluminium frame of the windows, the stuff is pure hell. You can’t just grab the edge and pull it off, it always break and all you can get off is a tiny bit. I don’t know if some silicones are better than others, but this gray stuff is much tougher than the white silicone of my first window. Not sure if it’s not some SikaFlex of ProFlex sealants, I’m not familiar with these but they are apparently tougher than silicone. In any case, the stuff is a chore to remove, and white or gray my windows are leaking!

So once again I’ve spent most of the day scraping off old silicone - or whatever that is.
Wet and rotten wood, the other windows.
Lost of rusted screws.



Last week I’ve discovered Silicone-Be-Gone. Works great but requires at least a couple hours to act. So as soon as the window was off the trailer I took my utility knife and shaved as much as I could of the old silicone, trying to leave only a thin layer. Got to be very careful not scratching the gel coat.



Then I applied Silicone-be-Gone with a brush.



While the silicone remover did its thing, I began to clean the window frame. I’m using a metal brush on my drill, which usually works fine to get the old sealant off. But not this gray stuff! Looks like the brush is kinda only melting the stuff, which then sticks to the brush. Very hard to get this stuff off. Even once clean to the metal, the aluminum frame remains sticky! I found that the best way was to first trim off as much as I could with a knife, then use the brush the remove the bulk of it. It’s the remaining thin coat that seems to take forever to remove. I found that acetone dissolves this stuff quite easily. Alternating the wheel brush with rubbing with an acetone-soaked rag a few times helped a lot, and I eventually ended up on the bare, clean aluminium. Just to be clear, the actone is used on the window frame not the trailer. Do not use acetone on the fiberglass, as it will damage the gel coat.

Inside the trailer, there is a thin plywood panel just under the window. I think most Trilliums have this. I had to take it off, since it is attached to the wood frame at the bottom of the window. What was behind this panel wasn’t very good looking…



Decades of dirt and dust, mold, etc. One thing I didn’t expect, and I didn’t know Trilliums had this: there is a strip of open-cell foam in the recess where the two halves of the camper are joined. Probably just to fill the gap and have a smooth wall. But open-cell foam is like a sponge, and it probably soaked a lot of water from the leaky window just above. The result: mold! Yuk!



When new, this foam was actually yellow!



Too many pictures... continued on my next post!
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Old 09-20-2015, 07:18 PM   #38
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Of course I ripped this all off. The disgusting foam pieces where mostly just under the window. I’ll find some other foam (closed-cell this time) to replace it.



In that panel, there is a 120V power outlet. I took it off. It’s a pretty basic kind of outlet. The wires simply run through, no screwed connexions. I wouldn’t want that in my home… How safe is this?



By the time I was done cleaning the window and ripping the dirty foam off, the old silicone was ready to be scraped off the trailer. I used my plastic scraper, and I would say that about 90% of the old silicone just scraped off pretty much effortlessly.



I reapplied some Silicone-Be-Gone again, to help remove what was left.

While I was doing this, my wife did a good cleanup of the window with the aluminium wheel cleaner. Before I put the window back, I had to straighten the frame. It was bent at all the screw holes (overtightened?).



I simply used a piece of wood and carefully hammered it straight.

I did the final removal of the old silicone on the trailer, cleaned everything to the bare geal coat, then my wife helped me putting the butyl tape, then the window back in (you don’t want to drop that big window!).

Overall, the removal, cleanup and reinstall of that window took about 7 1/2 hours. I would say that about 80% of that time is spent cleaning up old silicone!

Finished the day reinstalling my fridge vents and water heater door that had just been repainted. Already starting to look better!



Carl
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:17 AM   #39
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Thank you very much for the detailed write up.

The open cell foam is new to me. I have never seen it before. Maybe just a 5500 thing? I agree, closed cell foam would be better.
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Old 09-24-2015, 08:11 AM   #40
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I see your water heater is on the opposite side to mine.
Joe
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