Working on a Trillium 5500 - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-30-2015, 04:45 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by Ironhinge View Post
did you notice if the water and rot followed the part of the plywood that was encased?
Doesn't look like it. The rot on the edge of the plywood under the FG lip didn't extend any further than the exposed area.

In fact, my damage is in a corner between the wall and the wheel well, and along the wheel well I could not remove much wood under the FG lip because it was still good. But right outside the FG along the wheel well it was total rot.

Along the wall, the rot extended right to the edge of the plywood, well under the FG lip, and even then I had to use my putty knife to scrape the bad wood off the FG. It was still somewhat stuck to the FG. Once I removed all I could, I knew it was all off because I can insert my blade under the FG all the way to the wall. But again, the damage under the FG wasn't going much further than the damaged on the exposed area.
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Old 10-07-2015, 07:25 PM   #62
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Floor is repaired.

I used both Bondo's FG resin and short strand FG filler.





If you go back a few messages on this thread, you'll see I already had a piece of 3/8 plywood cut the appropriate shape to patch the damaged area, from which all the bad wood had been scraped off.

First thing I did is spread some liquid resin on the damaged area. The resin filled all the tiny cracks of the wood and soaked the fibers. I then spread resin all over my plywood patch, and put the patch in position. To make sure there was no void between the patch and what was left of the floor, I drove a few stainless steel wood screws through both.

The patch was partially under the FG 'lip' from the wall of the trailer. It was not a perfect fit and the patch/floor looked like it was sagging somewhat, so I put two small temporary wooden slats on each side, and a another one on top of the first 2 and a long temporary wood screw partially screwed into the wood, which exerted an upward pressure, lifting the wood tight against the FG wall 'lip'. I let the resin harden while in this position.



I removed the wood slats and the long screw, then I prepared a generous portion of filler, spreading it smooth over my "patch" with a large trowel. I made sure the filler went up over the 'lip' of trailer wall.



Once cured, the floor is hard as iron. A bit of light sanding to smooth it out, and here I am with an extremely rigid floor, probably stronger than the original, perfectly sealed and water resistant.

There was also some minor wood rot around one of the anchor bolts at the rear.



I was able to remove the bolt quite easily (virtually not rust on the frame) but the bolt itself was corroded.



I scraped the bad wood off, put some of the same FG filler in the hole and around it, then put a new bolt and washer in. I didn't push the bolt deep in the recess, just deep enough for the top of the bolt head to be flush with the floor. Once the FG was set, I put a nut on and tightened it. Very sturdy and waterproof. Forgot to take a picture of that one!

Next I will reinstall the fresh water tank, install a water heater bypass (for winterizing) and a antifreeze inlet hose for the water pump.

Carl
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Old 10-17-2015, 09:27 PM   #63
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I got ready to winterize my 5500. I installed a "winterizing kit" for my pump (to draw antifreeze directly from the jug), and a water heater bypass.

My water heater already had ball valves installed at the inlet and outlet, all I needed was the actual bypass. Quick trip to the hardware store and I came back with all I needed.

My trailer uses Poly-B type piping and "press fit" fittings (picture below). I decided to use similar type.



Here's my bypass:



Back of water heater before I installed the bypass. Note the ball valves already there.



With the bypass:



My home made "winterizing kit". I couldn't find an appropriate 3 way-valve, so I used a T and 2 standard valves. Works as good.



Took just over 1.5 gal of antifreeze to winterize all the lines, both sinks, toilet, shower, and all drains and p-traps, etc.

And it was about time: forecast calls for 5 deg below freezing for tonight!
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Old 10-31-2015, 07:21 AM   #64
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Anybody ever saw replacements or alternatives to these brackets?
I'm not sure if other Trilliums have them, they are plastic brackets holding the shelves/upper cabinets, the 5500 has 5 or 6 of them. Mine are old and yellow and I'd like to replace them. I'd like aluminium instead of plastic, that would fit nicely with the aluminium extrusions used in the shelves structure.

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Old 10-31-2015, 08:20 AM   #65
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mine has the same brackets, ive just left mine the way they were, but im sure with some searching, you could find something that would work
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Old 11-03-2015, 09:40 AM   #66
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4500's also use that bracket. If you do find a replacement, then please post your find. At least one of mine are on it's last leg. Someone tightened the screws too much.
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Old 11-03-2015, 04:29 PM   #67
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I never saw anything that resemble these brackets, but I was thinking of maybe using something like this, which is a base or bracket for a square post or tubing:



You cut this piece into 4 parts (or maybe only in 2 if it's not large enough), and you'd get something that looks like shelf brackets for the Triilium. Sort of. You get the idea.

I don't even know where I could get that type of square base to begin with.
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:59 AM   #68
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Over the last few days I reconfigured the rear storage compartments in my 5500. What was initially a standard dinette with a table and storage under the benches had already been somewhat modified by a previous owner. The table had been replaced by a thick (1in?) and heavy piece of plywood, and the space under was used to store 2 large plastic bins on wheels. The seat cushions have been replaced by a one piece foam mattress to make a permanent bed.

The space in the dinette seats was only used by the water heater on one side, and the fresh water tank in the other side. Lots of unused, but hard to access storage space.
The two plastic bins are shorter than the space under the table (plywood now), leaving some unused space towards the rear of the camper.



The plywood on top of the benches had some water damage on the edges from water dripping from the leaky windows just above.

My goal was to replace that rotten plywood, get a better access to the storage under the bed, optimize the storage volume, and if possible, make everything lighter.
I think we'll keep the plastic roller bins for now, I think they were used to store clothes, which I think is a good idea. Easier to carry plastic bins from and to the house than carry piles of clothes, we had a similar system in our popup camper (plastic drawers) and it worked great.

So I removed all the old plywood, and slightly re-arranged how the compartments are divided. Now it looks like this:



I've put a new plywood in, I used 3/8 instead of 1/2in to save weight. 3/8 is not as stiff, so I had to add some more bracing under it, but overall everything is much lighter that what was there before.



The plywood is hinged about 14 inches from the rear wall. The area aft of the hinges, under the bed, is basically free. I'm thinking of adding a rear access door at the back of the trailer to access this area, which is about 14 inches deep and runs the entire width of the trailer. That would make a nice storage compartment. Lifting the plywood gives me access to the water heater and water tank if I need to and also there is also a bit a storage space in there.



Here the 2 storage plastic bins are in position under the bed:



They rollout like this:



I've screwed an aluminium angle at the edge of the plywood to add stiffness, and it also matches the brushed aluminium extrusions of the 5500 interior. The bed is light, sturdy and the storage space is quickly accessible, and new wood smells much better than the old rotten plywood!




(continued)
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Old 11-06-2015, 12:03 PM   #69
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Once this was done, I had to glue back the Ensolite that I ripped off when I resealed the rear window. Back then I had to remove some dirty and moldy open-cell foam just under the window, used to fill the recess at the belly band level and make the wall straight. Before I glued back the Ensolite, I needed something to replace that foam. I wanted something light, water resistant, and cheap! I had some of these colored foam tiles that are sold as floor mats, they are made of water resistant closed cell foam and will not soak water, they are just the right thickness, and they weight nothing. I cut a couple strips and put them under my window.



Then I glued the Ensolite using water-based contact cement, as suggested by someone here. Worked great.



I put temporary braces to put some pressure on the Ensolite until the glue set. I only glued the Ensolite on the fiberglass shell, not on the new wood frame of the window. If I ever have to replace that wood again one day, I won't have to unglue and risk damaging the Ensolite again.



Then I cut a new wood panel to replace the one on the back wall under the window. I used 1/8" plywood. It is visible in the pictures in my previous post above, as photos were actually taken after the Ensolite was glued and this panel made.

We're not sure yet if we'll try to find a wood stain that matches the camper's faux wood grain, or put a different finish on it. The similar panel under the front window will have to be replaced the same as well.

Couple other things I've done:
-replaced shelf in the compartment above the fridge
-cut thin 1/8 plywood to use as galley backsplash, reglued some Ensolite behind first.
-remove all curtain plywood supports (under the shelves) as new curtain tracks will not need them (this probably removed 50lbs off the trailer).
-made protection covers for Maaxair, bathroom vent and solar panels for winter. Made 3 interior roof support braces out of 2X4s (this year the trailer will have to spend the winter outside due to lack of storage space).

So that's pretty much where I am right now. I still have one window the re-seal (the front window) but it's getting cold up here and it will have to wait until next spring. We've bought the fabric and new foams for the cushions, and also the fabric and tracks for the curtains, so we'll be ready for this next spring. I also have the winter months to shop the web for some electrical stuff I will need (like LED lights), as working the electric system will be among the first items on my list next spring.
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Old 11-07-2015, 08:36 AM   #70
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I realized there are few pictures missing from my previous message that I wanted to post, and I can't edit my post (not sure why).
Here they are:

Contact cement on Ensolite before I glued it back on the rear wall:



Rear bed area finished, with the new plywood panel below the rear window:



Rebuild the shelf and the inside of the compartment above the fridge. Pretty much like it was originally:

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Old 03-15-2016, 08:14 PM   #71
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Not much I can do on the trailer until all that snow melts.





In the meantime, I decided to work on the interior, and try something I had in mind for some time.
The 5500 has all wood cabinets, instead of the fiberglass cabinets found in the 4500 and 1300 models. We wanted to update the look of the cabinets, and avoid painting them.

The interior of the 5500 already shows some aluminium extrusions and trims, which we think looks nice next to the wood grain. So I had this idea to add some aluminium edging to the cabinet doors.

I was having a hard time finding the appropriate aluminium extrusion that would fit the thickness of the door edges. Then I came up to those ceramic tile aluminium edges. Most hardware store have them, and they are not very expensive.



I brought one of my cabinet doors at the store to see how this would fit, and I liked they way it looked (more importantly, my wife gave her approval!) So I bought a few lengths of this tile edge (made for 1/2 in tiles) and started the project. Here's how it looks:







It is in fact a pretty simple job. Just cut 4 lengths with the ends at 45deg, and some tiny screws in the back. Anyone who ever installed mouldings can probably do it. The doors already had some vinyl trim around them. I didn't even had to take it off, it's completely hidden behind the aluminium trim. The nice thing is if I ever want to remove the aluminium, it's just a matter of removing a few screws and I'll be back with the original look, no damage done.



I cut the aluminium trim with my miter saw, using a regular carbide blade. It may surprise people, but it's actually how most aluminium trims and extrusion are cut. A carbide blade will cut soft aluminium almost as easily as wood. I've done dozens if not hundreds of cuts with no ill effect on the saw or the blade itself. Just make sure you wear appropriate eye protection...



(Continued on my next post due to the 8 pictures per post limit)
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Old 03-15-2016, 08:14 PM   #72
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I think I'm pretty good at cutting wood mouldings, I've installed a lot in my house. But metal is another thing. The length of the cut has to be *very* accurate. With wood, if the angle is not quite right, or you cut a hair too short, you can always 'cheat', and once sealed and painted the moulding will look perfect. You don't have this option with metal. Cut a hair too long or too short and you have a tiny gap and/or sharp and dangerous edges. My corners were not perfect, but good enough I think. I ran a file and a bit of sandpaper on each corner to smooth them out a bit.



Once cut, I drilled holes to screw them on the back of the door. I used tiny 3/8" screws.



Next, the hinges. The original door hinges were bronze colored. We replaced them with silver hinges, most hardware stores have them and they are the exact same size. They screw in the same holes on the cabinet, but end up a bit offset on the door because of the aluminium trim thickness (more on this later).

Now the handles. These are found on most Trilliums, they are called 'positive catch latches'. Like the hinges, they are bronze colored.



I searched the web for months and could never find the exact same in silver or brush metal. This was discussed previously on this forum, and my plan right now will be to paint them silver (when the weather warms up), and if this doesn't hold, I'll check if I can have them nickel-electroplated. But for now, I decided to just give them a good cleaning with a metal brush and put them back 'as is'.



The metal brush sure gets them rid of the dirt and corrosion and they end up nice and shiny, like new. They are actually copper colored. I brushed the "strike plates" the same.



Speaking of these "strike plates" (not sure how they are called, but I mean the part of the latch that screws in the cabinet frame): that's where things got a little complicated...
When you buy such a "positive catch latch" kit, it comes with 4 different strike plates, to accommodate different cabinet door thickness. Putting an aluminum trim around my doors actually increased the thickness of my doors, enough that the original strike plates were not long (high) enough for the strike to catch. And I didn't have any other strike plates... So I had to fabricate a shim to put under the strike plates, that would raise them enough for the latch to lock. I used 1/8 thick aluminium that I had around in my shop.



Another issue is the aluminium framing adds about 1/4 inch to the overall width of the doors. Since I screwed my new "offset" hinges in the same holes in the cabinet as the old hinges, the opposite side of the door was now 1/4 inch farther away than previously, so not only the strike plate had to be shimmed, it also had to be screwed a little farther out. But overall, once this was all figured out and done, everything works just fine and looks good to us.
I've done my cabinets 5 doors and 2 drawers using this method.
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Old 03-15-2016, 10:12 PM   #73
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Carl, very nice job....thank you for the details & pictures.
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Old 03-15-2016, 10:22 PM   #74
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Carl..nice job

Carl

I appreciate craftsmanship..the miters are great, the counter sinking of the screws, the buffing of the latches....

Nice job..can't wait to see the final results.




Bill


(p.s.....is that a chimney on top of the trailer? Santa bring anything for Christmas?)
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Old 03-16-2016, 04:22 AM   #75
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Looks amazing Carl, great work. definitely fits with the other aluminum trim on a 5500
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Old 03-16-2016, 05:34 AM   #76
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Originally Posted by BillE View Post
(p.s.....is that a chimney on top of the trailer? Santa bring anything for Christmas?)
Yeah, I tried to fool Santa with that fake chimney... Didn't work. He's a wise old man...

Seriously, it's a plywood box I made to protect the MaxxAir vent cover that's on my roof vent. I've also made a smaller one on top of the bathroom vent, and another one to cover my 2 small solar panels.

Hopefully next winter the trailer will have it's own shelter, like I have for my popup. The Trillium being 35 years old, I figured it must have spent a few winters outside before, so one more wasn't going to change anything...

I did add some internal roof supports made from 2X4s to prevent any roof damage from the weight of the snow. We didn't get much snow this winter, the more we had was about 3 weeks ago when I took these photos. It's the only time I shovelled the snow off the trailer roof. Otherwise it's been pretty mild, lots of rain. This was about a month ago, damn freezing rain:







And thanks to all for the comments. My next big job will be the counter top. I'm looking at a stainless steel counter. We'll see..
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Old 04-29-2016, 11:47 PM   #77
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Anybody ever saw replacements or alternatives to these brackets?
Have a look at the brackets for wire closet racking. They've got a few profiles that are similar that might be modified to work. For example:
ClosetMaid 2.19 in. x 2.19 in. White Low Profile Wall Brackets (2-Pack)-6641 - The Home Depot
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Old 04-30-2016, 07:31 AM   #78
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Hmmm that's interesting, I've never thought of that.
The one on your picture have a 'rounded' shape but I know 'squarer' model exist.

Another idea I just had this week is if you know someone who has a 3D printer, that's the kind of plastic part that could be replicated rather easily.
I have a coworker who recently bought such a printer, and speaking with him lately I just realized what a world of possibilities such a device brings up. My buddy is actually using his 3D printer to print himself... a larger 3D printer!!
Anyways, just another way to replicate or improve a lot of worn out or broken parts that can't be found anymore.
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Old 05-02-2016, 06:52 AM   #79
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We just had the dinette cushions redone.

Job was done by Matelas CLB in Charlemagne, QC (just east of Montreal), a mattress shop that also specializes in custom RV/marine mattresses & cushions. Very good craftsmanship, we are very pleased with the quality.
http://www.matelasclb.com

Price for the 4 foams was $176.
Work was $175.
Fabric was $203 (we provided the fabric).
Total: $554.

This is CAD $.
We expected a couple $100 over that.

I just snapped a few pictures. That's in my living room, not in the trailer yet!
Cushions are reversible, and except for the zippers on the rear edges, all the seams are at the ends.









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Old 05-04-2016, 02:46 PM   #80
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Your new upholstery looks great Carl! I just had mine re-done professionally as well, I think these types of jobs are best left to the pros.
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