Brand new owner - Ensolite question - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-21-2021, 05:46 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Name: Mary
Trailer: Trillium
Virginia
Posts: 7
Brand new owner - Ensolite question

First, let me say thank you to the members of this forum for all of the help that you have already provided to me while I was lurking and before I even purchased my 1975 Trillium 1300. Reading your posts and comments gave me the confidence to take on a project Trillium and to know that I can probably pull this off and end up with a nice camper.

I was lucky enough to pick up my new camper from the son of the original owner. They used it when they were kids back in the late 70s/early 80s and not much since. It was like a snapshot in time.

The first problem that I need to address is that this camper has leak in the back corner on the door side. It appears to be coming from one of the rivets or bolt that attaches the awning track. It has rotted the wood around that window. (There may also be a leak around the window,. I will know more after it rains tomorrow.) The wood around the other windows feels solid. This one, however, is damp, crumbly mush.

Once I have the leak(s) repaired, I will need to replace the wood. I have pulled off the ensolite in that corner and my plan (unless I get some strong advice not to do so from those of you with more experience) is to:
1. Remove and clean the ensolite (see photos as to how moldy it looks, though). Including mold remediation, as needed.

2. Replace the rotted wood.

3. Hopefully, add a layer of Reflectix between the wall and the ensolite (glued to the wall)

4. Re-glue the clean and fresh ensolite to the Reflectix.



Thoughts? Advice?
Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-21-2021, 08:39 PM   #2
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 3,820
Registry
Rotten wood around the window tends to be the sealing of the window itself. Lots of Trillium window repair threads. Do them one at a time.

When you have a lot of loose ensolite, thats a signal there are leaks. Window wood and belly band are the two most common culprits.
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Old 06-21-2021, 11:31 PM   #3
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Name: Mary
Trailer: Trillium
Virginia
Posts: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
Rotten wood around the window tends to be the sealing of the window itself. Lots of Trillium window repair threads. Do them one at a time.

When you have a lot of loose ensolite, thats a signal there are leaks. Window wood and belly band are the two most common culprits.
Thanks, Bill, for both the reply and the search ideas. There really isn’t too much loose Ensolite, except in that one section, so that’s encouraging.

I wanted to pull it back before the rain tomorrow for two reasons: 1) to see if it will help me figure out where the leak is and to check out the rotten wood situation and, 2) to try to keep it dry behind there.

What about my Reflectix idea? Is that something that should work?
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Old 06-22-2021, 12:14 AM   #4
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Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1977, 1978 (2), 1300 - 1977, 1973, and a 1972
Alberta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marylars View Post
Thanks, Bill, for both the reply and the search ideas. There really isn’t too much loose Ensolite, except in that one section, so that’s encouraging.

I wanted to pull it back before the rain tomorrow for two reasons: 1) to see if it will help me figure out where the leak is and to check out the rotten wood situation and, 2) to try to keep it dry behind there.

What about my Reflectix idea? Is that something that should work?
Mary, There is nothing better on you walls than Ensolite. It is completely synthetic and will not rot, and it can be cleaned, no matter how dirty. Please do yourself a favor and leave it on the walls. Reflectix is something that is used in current construction. It may be easier to install, and a bit lighter, but I think it is a distant second to Ensolite.

It would be very difficult to remove the Ensolite without destroying it. I have tried:
https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...now-61473.html

Mike got it off in one piece, (with some holes from me) but he said that was something he never wanted to do again. He is currently re-gluing it on the shell, which is also not easy.

You are best to clean it with soap and a mild bleach solution. When it is clean, re-glue it using contact cement. Gluing it to a layer of Reflectix would just make it more difficult.

What I would be concerned about is the fact that a previous owner tried to hold down the T molding by putting a fastener through the shell of your Trillium. Other than the windows, and the awning rail, nothing should pierce the shell. Those holes will need to be repaired.
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Old 06-22-2021, 12:27 AM   #5
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Name: Mary
Trailer: Trillium
Virginia
Posts: 7
Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
Mary, There is nothing better on you walls than Ensolite. It is completely synthetic and will not rot, and it can be cleaned, no matter how dirty. Please do yourself a favor and leave it on the walls. Reflectix is something that is used in current construction. It may be easier to install, and a bit lighter, but I think it is a distant second to Ensolite.

It would be very difficult to remove the Ensolite without destroying it. I have tried:
https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...now-61473.html

Mike got it off in one piece, (with some holes from me) but he said that was something he never wanted to do again. He is currently re-gluing it on the shell, which is also not easy.

You are best to clean it with soap and a mild bleach solution. When it is clean, re-glue it using contact cement. Gluing it to a layer of Reflectix would just make it more difficult.
Thank you! I will definitely heed your advice. My plan all along has been to try to keep the Ensolite, if possible.

This one section is the one with the rotted window wood, so I needed to pull it back, anyway, and it came off somewhat easy in the areas where it was wet -- but it would be next to impossible to try to get it off without damage in the areas that weren't wet, I think. I'll heed your advice and scratch the Reflectix idea. After all, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' seems like excellent advice to me. The last thing I want to do is to damage the Ensolite. It definitely needs a good scrub, but that should be relatively painless. Thanks, again.
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Old 06-29-2021, 05:35 PM   #6
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Name: Lynn W
Trailer: Trillium
Florida
Posts: 12
I'm a new(to me)1975 Trillium 1300 owner. I'm learning a lot just from reading the replies on here. I have some leaks also. The seller said they were from the windows. My handyman is on vacation and will attend to them when they return. My current dilemma is removing the rivets from the cabinet doors. After multiple failed attempts with a drill, while shopping for a grinder blade the HD guy said I just needed to use a stronger drill bit. So he recommended a titanium one. Hopefully I can get to that tomorrow, weather permitting. I've taken up the tile flooring and plan on replacing it with wood plank vinyl. Lots of the adhesive is still stuck to the floor, so much that it's hard to walk on. My question is: do I need to use underlayment under the vinyl? Also, since a roof ac isn't an option, if I cut out some of the closet for a window ac, will that affect the structural integrity of the trailer? I apologize if my questions are dumb. My construction skills are VERY limited. I'm learning as I go.
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Old 06-29-2021, 08:08 PM   #7
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 3,820
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A drill always works. Crappy drill bits tend to break and not work so well. DON'T USE A GRINDER! You will damage stuff with a grinder. You will damage the hinges and there is a strong chance you will damage the fiberglass cabinet too.

Use a small bit, much smaller than the diameter of the rivet. You are just drilling out the center, not the entire rivet.

As far as what the seller says, never just go on what they say.

There are many positives with a Trillium, and some well documented shortcomings. The way the windows are installed, probable rotten wood, the belly band, the body to frame bolts, the door hinges, the frame (depends on the year, since yours is 1975, it should be checked). Despite these shortcomings, they are great trailers. But on any Trillium for sale, if these things have not been taken care of, the new owner will have to do them. Most sellers will either ignore the shortcomings that have not been addressed or gloss over them.

Cutting the closet for an AC is a bad idea. The rear escape window is your best bet, IF you have a rear escape window. Everything inside the trailer is structural. 1975 should have rear escape window.

These older molded FG trailers were not designed for ACs. You really don't want to cut additional holes in the outside of the trailer.


There's tremendously valuable discussions on Trillium trailers here. I suggest going to the upper right of this page, click on manufacturers, then select Trillium. There you will find hundreds if not thousands of Trillium discussions, repairs, pictures and more.

One last thing on cabinet doors. The hinges are riveted to the fiberglass cabinets. Easy to drill out. But the hinges are attached to the doors with Robertson screws. Good luck trying to drill those screws out. I had to use my drill press, no way I could have done it with a hand drill. There are lots of sizes of Robertson screws, all requiring their own unique driver. After 45 years, some of them don't come out very easy. Windows are also attached with Robertson screws (different size naturally).
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Old 06-30-2021, 08:30 AM   #8
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Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1977, 1978 (2), 1300 - 1977, 1973, and a 1972
Alberta
Posts: 6,174
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn W in FL View Post
I'm a new(to me)1975 Trillium 1300 owner. I'm learning a lot just from reading the replies on here. I have some leaks also. The seller said they were from the windows. My handyman is on vacation and will attend to them when they return. My current dilemma is removing the rivets from the cabinet doors. After multiple failed attempts with a drill, while shopping for a grinder blade the HD guy said I just needed to use a stronger drill bit. So he recommended a titanium one. Hopefully I can get to that tomorrow, weather permitting. I've taken up the tile flooring and plan on replacing it with wood plank vinyl. Lots of the adhesive is still stuck to the floor, so much that it's hard to walk on. My question is: do I need to use underlayment under the vinyl? Also, since a roof ac isn't an option, if I cut out some of the closet for a window ac, will that affect the structural integrity of the trailer? I apologize if my questions are dumb. My construction skills are VERY limited. I'm learning as I go.
Lynn, I have seen several interesting AC installs in Trilliums. One that I found interesting was installed in the front gaucho, (couch that turns into bunk beds). They cut a hole in the bottom of the trailer for the outside air intake and exhaust. I donít know how well it worked, and there would be some concerns about water getting in while traveling, but it seemed like a workable solution. What I consider the most promising idea is a split AC unit. The compressor and condenser are mounted separately from the evaporator.
https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...nit-58009.html
https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...its-80173.html
https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...ces-79339.html
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Old 06-30-2021, 09:41 AM   #9
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Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Michigan
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I have found when off the walls for any length of time the ensolite seems to shrink a bit. When replacing I needed to glue an area along an edge in order to pull it out to the other edge when doing a final gluing. Or accept wider seams.

I think I read ensolite came from the space program, developed for NASA as was WD40 and we all know how great that stuff is.
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