Working on a Trillium 5500 - Page 9 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-11-2017, 08:00 AM   #161
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Trailer: 1981 Trillium 5500
Quebec
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As for the fabric, we wanted curtains that blocked the light. We found it at a local fabric shop. It is actually a fabric that's normally used to line curtains to make them light tight. In our case, we made our entire curtains straight from this fabric. The color was great, and it was not very expensive.

My mother did the sewing. Me, I can sew a button if I have to, but I don't know much about sewing. I could probably fix a sewing machine, but don't ask me how to use it! For me, a curtain is just a rectangular piece of fabric. Well, now I know it's a little more complicated than this!



At some point, I was ashamed of having asked my Mom to do this. I had no idea how big a job this was. Professionals charge an arm and a leg to do this for a reason. From my Mom's pont of view, she was saying not to worry, "they are all straight lines, that's easy!". Might have been easy for her, me I thought it was one of the hardest job so far this trailer, for two reasons:

1- my "super magnets" system: the ball chain had to be positioned precisely at the bottom of the curtain, to line up with the magnets on the window frame. This required precise positioning the metal chain relative to the where the hooks attached at the top of the curtain
2- the type of fabric we choose: although it was totally light-blocking and the appropriate color, this fabric was not easy to work with. It reminded us of silk, it was "slippery", stretched easily, hard to sew. We had to pin everything carefully before we could sew it, and consider the stretch when measuring sew line positions.





The first one was the toughest. We used it as a prototype for the others. After 8 of them (lots of windows on a 5500!), we were getting pretty good! The white band sewed at the top also comes from IKEA, that's where the little plastic hooks attach:



Ball chain sewed in about 1.5 inch from the bottom of the curtain. It was all finished by hand, then I cut the ends of the chain off:







Mom is very talented, and very patient. And it paid off: we now have beautiful curtains!

(continued next post)
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:01 AM   #162
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I was relieved to see that my magnet system worked beautifully! The curtain can be totally or partially closed, and then pushed towards the window at the bottom, and it sticks to the frame and stays there. No more free hanging at 3 inches from the window. Here's how the embedded chain lines up with the magnets on the frame:



Curtain hangs vertically when not pushed against the frame. That's how it would look without the magnet system:


With the curtain held against the frame by the magnets:


And they look great! This completely changes the interior. It is now much warmer, more cozy!





And when the curtains are closed, it is DARK in the trailer. At night, barely any light escapes from the trailer.



So we're totally happy with our new curtains. And thanks Mom!
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Old 07-11-2017, 11:56 PM   #163
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Quebec
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New decals

Even before we bought this trailer I knew the decals on it were not originals, and I knew one of the first thing I was going to do is pull these horrible decals off:



I can't imagine someone someday found these big ugly orange decals nice enough to stick them on his trailer. That's beyond me.

Decals on a Trillium 5500 normally look like this (not my trailer):



Removing the large decals was quite simple, we simply pulled and they came off. But then we saw why they were there: to hide the original decals that had been damaged (probably by someone who tried to remove them).

So we also had to remove the original decals under it. That proved much harder. They were impossible to remove with any solvent, or light abrasive. They were like plastic and almost melted into the gelcoat. In the end, I was able to scrape them off with a wood chisel, going very slowly are carefully, taking care not to scratch the gelcoat, the old decals turning into dust.







It was easier to remove the orange stripes just by pulling on them, they were only vinyl tape.

The Trillium logo, on the front rock guard, had been erased and painted over when I rebuilt the rock guard last year.



So, since then my Trillium didn't have any logo, stripes or decals on it.


Choosing a vinyl color

We wanted the new decals to look pretty much like the original ones. No fancy schemes or colors. In fact, if the original decals had still been good, we would have kept them. But since we had to start from scratch, we thought we might customize it a bit.

First thing, no orange! It might have been fashionable in 1980, but not anymore!
We were looking for something more neutral, like a tone of gray. In the end, we picked a metallic-charcoal gray vinyl made by 3M.

Design

The 5500 decals have basically 3 items:
-the Trillium "flower" logo on the front rock guard
-an horizontal stripe all around the trailer, partially doubled on "Deluxe" models like ours.
-large TRILLIUM 5500 letters on each side.

The Trillium "flower" is readily available for download form the web, in .eps (Postscript) format. I just has to provide the file to the shop.
The horizontal stripe is just that, 2" strips of vinyl.
The TRILLIUM 5500 lettering was another story.

First I tried to find the computer file for it. The 5500 is the only Trillium that uses it, the trailer is very rare, and this logo just can't be found online.

Then I tried to find the font used to make it. I've done some graphic work before, I have hundred of fonts on my computer, and of course you can get thousand fonts on the internet. I spent many hours trying to find the font used to make this logo, without success.

So I tried to find a font that kinda look like it. That's still not easy. In the end, I went with a font that clearly reminds the original, but with a more modern and stylish look. The font, called Republikaps, is freely available on the web. It looks like this:



(continued next post)
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Old 07-11-2017, 11:56 PM   #164
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Now we had everything we needed, I called the shop and booked an appointment. Here's the trailer backed in the shop:







Two hours later it was done.
Wow! Without any decals, our trailer looked bland. With the new logos on it, it looks like came back to life, with it's own personality!
It looks very sharp to us, it's clearly a Trillium, displaying it's vintage look but with a modern touch. We really like it!











Next step is a nice cleanup and wax!
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Old 07-12-2017, 02:43 AM   #165
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Very nice work and look Carl. Your fix for how the curtains hang away from the shell is great, no slides to deal with, love it and I might have to steal....borrow your idea.
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Old 07-12-2017, 06:38 AM   #166
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borrego Dave View Post
Very nice work and look Carl. Your fix for how the curtains hang away from the shell is great, no slides to deal with, love it and I might have to steal....borrow your idea.
If I was to do it again, I would maybe try to go with larger chains. The curtains stick all right with the small ball chain I have, but I think if they can be lifted off the window frame if it's windy and the window is open. It's just my impression, I haven't been out with the trailer yet to check if it's the case or not.

Each case being different, make some tests first with the magnets you're looking at, the type (thickness) of fabric you plan to use, and the chain, and see how hard they stick. You don't want them to stick too hard either. "Super magnets" (neodymium magnets) are amazingly strong, if the curtain don't stick hard enough it probably won't be because of the magnets (get a larger chain). Careful, some sellers sell regular magnets as neodymium, and they are not as strong (if you buy online, read the comments).

Neo magnets are so strong that if you let them snap together freely, they hit each other so hard that they can shatter. Neodymium is a very brittle metal, almost like glass, and I've broken a few like that. Large neo magnets are actually dangerous to manipulate and can cause injury. The small ones I have were pretty tough to get off a flat metal surface once they stuck to it! Amazing magnets!
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Old 07-23-2017, 08:42 PM   #167
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It's ready!

It's been 2 years since we bought our Trillium. I figure I spent well over 500 hours working on this trailer, spread over 100 days. Now almost everything is done, and our 5500 is finally ready to hit the road!

I took over 800 pictures of my work on this trailer, many I posted here on this thread, many more on my dedicated blog. Now here's a final set of pictures with the reno's complete. First, outside shots:















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Old 07-23-2017, 08:42 PM   #168
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Interior shots:















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Old 07-23-2017, 10:02 PM   #169
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Wow, a work of art, and a labor of love.
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Old 07-23-2017, 10:03 PM   #170
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Not much to say except that is simply gorgeous. Nice work. The layout is so similar to my Escape 19. I've seen some nice Trilliums, but this is one of the best.
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Old 09-09-2017, 05:52 PM   #171
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Decal removal

Hi Carl, I've read about your 5500 and wondered how you removed the decals, mine are in rough shape and I'd like to remove them.
thanks for the information. You're 5500 looks amazing now.
Wenda
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Old 09-10-2017, 05:07 AM   #172
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Hi Wenda

The orange stripes was just vinyl tape, we just pulled on it and it came off. Some glue residue was left at some places that we had to clean off afterwards, but nothing too hard.

The "TRILLIUM 5500" letters were another story. It was not like the stripe. It it was vinyl, it was hard and dry. It looked painted in the shell, almost part of the gelcoat itself. We tried various solvants (alcool, brake cleaner, varsol, acetone - careful with acetone on FG!) with no effect. Tried to rub it off with mild abrasive (compound, magic eraser, etc) didn't work either.

Finally I scraped it off carefully with a wood chisel. And I mean very carefully, with a very sharp (brand new actually) chisel. The blade would glide softly on the gelcoat, but pick the decal off, which was turning into orange dust. Working slowly with great care not to scratch the gelcoat, I got it all off with the chisel. You can see pictures here:
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...tml#post649647

Once you're done, you will probably see a shadow of the old decals on the FG. This will not go off. This is because the gelcoat under the decal was protected from the elements and didn't wear off over time like the rest. Once the new decals are in on and the trailer waxed and all shiny, that shadow isn't much visible.
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Old 09-10-2017, 05:13 AM   #173
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As I write this, we are on our first camping trip with our 5500, at the 2017 Quebec Bolerama in Roberval QC, parked among about 140 FG trailers, and we're having a great time!
Lot of very nice people, super nice trailers, and we had very good comments on ours.

Absolutely no issue with the trailer, everything working as it should, and me and my wife are like two kids on christmas morning playing with our new toy!!
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Old 09-10-2017, 07:58 AM   #174
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Love it
Beautiful great work
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:44 PM   #175
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Trillium 5500 Decals

Hi Carl, I feel kinda bad for wanting to eliminate the original decals but ike you I don't want the orange colour. I'll try to remove then before next camping season.
Your trailer is stunning, you and you're wife did an awesome job. Love the outside it has a clean classy look to it.
Wenda
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Old 09-17-2017, 07:35 PM   #176
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Thanks Wenda!
We are just back from an 11 day trip along the St-Lawrence north shore, we had a great time, and our trailer was flawless!
We really enjoyed it!
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Old 01-24-2020, 03:32 AM   #177
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Over two years since completion, I hope you, and your family, are still enjoying the results of your efforts.

Just read all 9 pages chronicling your project on FGRV. Very enjoyable thread. Much appreciated.

MJ
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Old 01-24-2020, 07:25 AM   #178
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Trailer: 1981 Trillium 5500
Quebec
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Thanks MJ!
Yes we've been using the trailer since and enjoy it very much!!
I've since made a few improvements that are documented on my blog but not here:
Fiamma F65 awning
150W solar panel
"Beauty rings" hubcaps and new GY Marathon tires
Entrance door rebuilt, with new door lock.
I've also started an online registry for all Trillium 5500 trailers, to kinda keep track of them (they are so rare).
Here's the link:http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...try-87424.html
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