We finally bought our 1st FG trailer earlier this month. There was only one model we were really interested in, the Trillium
5500 (wife wanted the shower). They are very rare, and we watched them for 3-4 years before we settled on this one, a 1981 Deluxe.
Like any old trailer, is has some issues, but so far I didn’t find anything I can’t fix. FG shell is in decent condition, frame is like new, floor is solid. We’re not planning a full remodel (we love the floor plan as it is), but certainly a significant redecoration. The interior look will change, we’re thinking of a «*retro modern*» style that will include some modern items but keep the Trillium
‘vintage’ legacy alive. We figure it’ll take at least two years to complete.
I’m apparently the 4th owner at least. Owner #2 owned it from the early 90s up to last year. He tinkered a LOT with the trailer, making a lot of modifications, especially to the plumbing and electrical
systems. There are wires and plugs and junctions boxes everywhere, as there are pipes and valves and T’s, I have no idea why he made all this so complicated. I can’t wait to clean this up and get back to simpler systems, closer to what the trailer was initially.
Owner #3, from who I bought the trailer, said there was no water leaks
anywhere. The only thing he mentionned is the front right dinette seat has a spot where water has leaked in and damaged the wood, just below the front right window. He said he has no idea where the water came from. Well, just by looking I was pretty sure I knew where the water came from: the window just above!
We towed the trailer back home under pouring rain. Once home, I found a bit of water in the front right corner, and the rear left corner. And on the following days, with the trailer parked in the driveway, a bit of water still leaked in the same spots after rainy days. I need to fix this ASAP, so the first job on the list is to reseal the windows
. Then the roof vents. Then if it still leaks
, I’ll look at the parking lights
, and finally the belly band, which I know I’ll probably have to remove one day.
Today I did my first window. I started with the front right one. Thanks to the numerous threads on the forum and the good advise from those who tackled this job before, it went quite smoothly.
Most of the screws were badly rusted, but they came off easily. Then I saw that this window had been pulled off before. The original butyl tape had been scraped off, then the window was basically glued back to the camper with silicone. There was LOTS of it. So that window was pretty tough to take off. The previous owner botched the job so much that he failed to completely remove the old butyl tape, and that’s what helped me getting the old silicone off.
Once off the camper, as expected the plywood frame was badly rotten. So this window had been «*resealed*» but the damaged frame hadn’t been replaced... The worst part of the job was to get the ensolite off the plywood. I knew from reading the forum that this wasn’t going to be easy, and this is true. I don’t know what type of glue they used, but even on wet rotten plywood this damn glue just wouldn’t let go. Pretty good glue! I finally managed to do it slowly, without any tear in the ensolite.
It hasn’t rained here for a few days now, but the old plywood was soaked wet with water. Just for the fun of it, I threw one piece in my pool, it sank right to the bottom!
To replace it, I hesitated between exterior grade plywood or strips of cedar. After some dicussion with my Dad, I followed his advise and went with the cedar. Boy that smells good when you cut it!
The original plywood was 7/8in thick. I had choice of 3/4in or 1in cedar. I went for 3/4in.
I thoroughly cleaned the window flanges, pulling off all the old silicone. That wasn’t too bad, I just pulled on it and off it came. I bought some aluminium wheel spray cleaner at Canadian Tire, I sprayed the window and used a small brush and a scotchbrite pad to clean it as much as I could. After I rinsed, it came out quite nice.
The only place I could find large rolls of butyl tape is at a nearby RV center. My local hardware store doesn’t have it, and the guy at Home Depot had never seen this in his life. I bought two large rolls of 3/4 inch wide.
My daughter helped me putting back the window in place, properly positioning the wood strips and pushing on them from the inside while I started the first few screws from the outside. Then it was just a matter of putting on all the screws, not too tight, letting the butyl stuff ooze out. I used my cordless drill but did the final tigtening by hand (I’ll retorque all of them a few times over the next few days, allowing time for the butyl tape to spread and seal properly). I used 3/4in #8 stainless screws, Robertson head.
I don’t know if I will reuse the screw covers. They have seen better days… I know they are available on the web but I’ll try to find them locally.
I didn’t glue back the ensolite. If some other guy, in another 35 years from now, wants to reseal these windows
again, he won’t have to unglue it again.
Now I need to find some interior framing to put around the windows
. One previous owner did put some MDF mouldings that I didn’t reinstall as they were not very good looking. Maybe some aluminium molding or decorative trim.
But this can wait, as the 5500 has a total of 7 windows!
1 down, 6 to go!