1976 Trillium 1300 - It's leaking!! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-30-2018, 09:55 PM   #1
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Name: Thierry
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Question 1976 Trillium 1300 - It's leaking!!

I started a 10 week road trip 3 weeks ago in Canada and the weather has been poor. Lots of rain and snow!

I recently noticed that water was gathering in the rear storage areas (under the seats). Turns out that where my expensive inverter is.... So I'd like that dry asap!
The water is coming from the center outwards, so my guess is that the belly band leakes in the center at the back.

I still need to find where the leak is. I read that the belly band, the windows and the tail lights are common points of failure.
I haven't had a chance to pour water on various spots to figure out what is leaking. I'll do that in the next day or two.

I'm on the road, so I can park at home depot and do some work. I'm also a noob when it comes to trailer repairs. I'm good at the electricals, but not at dealing with caulking or fiberglass.

What's my best bet to seal the leak on the move?
Could stripping caulking and applying fresh butyl caulking do the trick? Does caulking even work well?
Bubble gum maybe (ok I'm joking)
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Old 10-01-2018, 06:23 AM   #2
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Chances are your windows could be leaking. Ours always had a bit of water in the compartments so I put my prince in the garage and removed all the windows and all the wood around the windows was rotten most screws were like slivers when they came out.

As for you in an emergency I would use some caulking untill you get home and do a good fix. Also I would drill a small hole in the lowest part of the bunks so water can drain out and not flood your inverter.
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Old 10-01-2018, 06:38 AM   #3
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As a minimum for sure I would make sure you have drains on each pontoon. I'm new into my Trillium project. The priority on my initial work will be on the outside: windows andbelly band. Any trips will be short/local.

Non-Silicone caulk can be found at Camping World. Not sure about Home Depot.

"Water gathering" makes me wonder about pontoon drains.


Wait for David or Randy to jump in with their deep knowledge.

One of the projects on my list is to REMOVE the silicone some prior owner applied around my windows!
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Old 10-01-2018, 06:44 AM   #4
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I am betting on the window too. Have they ever been pulled on this trailer, had the wood framing repaired where needed, and reinstalled with new fresh butyl tape. Doing this is really the only proper solution for windows leaks and really is not hard.

You could use something like the removable duct tape or gaffer tape too, the kind that leaves little residue, and first clean the flange and trailer and tape around the sides and top. Even the residue from regular duct tape can be cleaned off fairly easily.

I would not use caulking as a temporary measure, though it would work if properly applied, as for it to be effective the area has to be cleaned well first for adhesion and then is tough to get off. Something like ProFlex is a great RV sealant.
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Old 10-01-2018, 06:52 AM   #5
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To add to responses above -

- as thrifty bill implied, don't use silicone; its not a good permanent solution and yet its extremely difficult to remove from fiberglass gelcoat
- when I need a temporary sealant, I use Dap Dynaflex 230 caulk; very strong and easy to remove

There are numerous threads on removing and resealing the windows (with butyl tape), and sealing the center band, but of course those are not road repairs.
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Old 10-01-2018, 08:52 AM   #6
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To facilitate drainage, I have drilled 1/8" holes just ahead of and just behind the wheel wells at the lowest points on the, "pontoons". On a Trillium there are channels that run along the sides of the trailer, where water collects. Some people have used a larger hole, and a fitting with a screen that is meant to keep critters out. I have not had any issues with mosquitoes coming in through the cupboards, and mice can't fit though a 1/8" hole.
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Old 10-01-2018, 10:00 AM   #7
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leaking

You can use a garden hose simulate rain .test each spot you think there is a problem till you win. ps mine had cracks in the wheel wells .going down the road it would spray water throuthout the storage bays and floor. have someone in side to watch for water leaking .
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Old 10-01-2018, 10:23 AM   #8
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I agree with Mike. We've done lots of garden hose testing. In your case, you could use it to test whether the source is the center band or the rear window or something else.

In our case, we used it to isolate and fix the following leaks on our Trillium 4500:

- center band
- fresh water fill port
- door seal
- roof vent frame (actually this one was easy because it dripped during rain)

Of course the other value of garden hose testing is that it can be used to test after the leak repair.

We are also using garden hose testing to systematically detect and eliminate leaks in our Boler 1700.
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Old 10-01-2018, 10:49 AM   #9
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My guess is also the window. While it is raining, or shortly after, if you pull the ensolite back a little at the seam next to the window above the belly band, if it is wet there, it is coming from the window.

When it comes from my window, every few years, the bench is wet before it goes down to the storage area. I can feel the wetness all the way up the wall to the window at the seam (the edge of the window closer to the front of the trailer).
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Old 10-01-2018, 11:12 AM   #10
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I wouldn't doubt there is water coming in around the window frame. While doing the center band repair, we removed the rear window and found wet window frames, so definitely a window leak there

We also had lots of leaking through the center band, so that had to be done anyway.
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Old 10-01-2018, 12:35 PM   #11
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Is sealing the center band with fiberglass a common mod? I have a Ventura and there is a lot of silicone and calking from the previous owner all around the molding and I'm wondering if I can just remove it all and glass it together?



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Old 10-01-2018, 02:56 PM   #12
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Leaky Boler

Hi there...I also had leaks, and suspected the belly band. As a temporary fix I put electrical tape along the top of the band in the places where I could see holes in the silicone. No leaks since - it'll be ok until I can get it in the shop, I think.


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Old 10-01-2018, 03:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Berzerker View Post
Is sealing the center band with fiberglass a common mod? I have a Ventura and there is a lot of silicone and calking from the previous owner all around the molding and I'm wondering if I can just remove it all and glass it together?



Berz out.
When you see a lot of caulking and silicone that’s a signal that it was a leaker. Every brand is different. Trillium imbedded steel plates that rust and create bulges in the band. They also did a mediocre job fiberglassing the seam in the inside.

There are a lot of vintage Trilliums out there, they are desirable but they have their flaws! Since I am on just day three with my Trillium I will be learning more! Fortunately I have covered storage inside a building so I know what I will be doing this winter!

I really like the manufacturers section of this forum. Here you can find all the threads on your brand.
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Old 10-01-2018, 04:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post

I really like the manufacturers section of this forum. Here you can find all the threads on your brand.



Already dipped into my section and found lots of useful info. This site is going to save me so many headaches!



Berz out.
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Old 10-02-2018, 10:38 AM   #15
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I am sooo thankful for this community. Thank you so much for all your feedback.

It's pretty clear that my windows are the most likely issue. I drilled holes at the lowest point of the seat buckets, that will do for now to save my precious inverter.
I'm going to recaulk all of them on the road. The tutorial below seems to be good at explaining it. Looks easy and doable on the road. However I'm under 2 inches of snow right in Waterton, Alberta at the moment... Gotta let her dry.

I have noticed that the aluminum window frames are all "sweating", especially after a night in the wet and cold. Could that be condensation though?

@mensie, @Jim Bennett, What's the deal with your comments about wooden frames? Mine are aluminum, I guess some trilliums had wooden frames??

Is there a chance that mold could develop in the walls if I don't address this promptly? I assume not.

I'm going to head to a hardware store and look for non-silicone caulking, smth flexible (butyl or acrylic).

@Ian Hepher, the idea of electrical tape is a great temporary and easy solution!! I'll do that until I have a dry day.

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Old 10-02-2018, 10:49 AM   #16
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Thierry, all Trilliums have aluminum window frames with plywood strips surrounding the window behind the ensolite.

All single pane campers sweat, the colder the weather, the more they sweat. Generally the moisture accumulates at night and dries out by noon if the sun is shining.
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Old 10-02-2018, 11:20 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thimith View Post
@mensie, @Jim Bennett, What's the deal with your comments about wooden frames? Mine are aluminum, I guess some trilliums had wooden frames??
The wood is on the inside of the fibreglass. The screws, that hold the windows in, are screwed into this 3/4" plywood frame. All the upper shelves mount to the wood, as does the curtain rods, the back rest / upper bunk of the gaucho, and if you have the optional bunk over the rear dinette, it also mounts to the wood frames around the windows.

I did some drawings of the frames, that I posted here:
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...tml#post699829
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Old 10-02-2018, 12:02 PM   #18
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@David, @John, Thanks for the clarification about the wooden framing. I thought that there would be nothing that can rot or rust in a Trillium trailer. I guess I assumed wrong

The sweating on the window frames look like the attached photo. I guess that's just condensation then.
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Old 10-02-2018, 12:09 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thimith View Post
@David, @John, Thanks for the clarification about the wooden framing. I thought that there would be nothing that can rot or rust in a Trillium trailer. I guess I assumed wrong

The sweating on the window frames look like the attached photo. I guess that's just condensation then.

There are also plywood sheets in the floor, between the outer shell, and the surface you stand on. They are 3/4", same as the window frames. This can be seen in the dinette seats, and the front gaucho. Usually not a problem, but if it is, it would be tough to fix.
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Old 10-02-2018, 04:28 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thimith View Post
@David, @John, Thanks for the clarification about the wooden framing. I thought that there would be nothing that can rot or rust in a Trillium trailer. I guess I assumed wrong
This is a common mistake many make. Do a google search on the fiberglass brand of your choice, like Casita floor rot, and you will find plenty of info. I looked at three Trilliums recently, two had serious floor rot.
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