Roof support, 1989 Lil Bigfoot - Fiberglass RV
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Old 03-05-2021, 12:06 PM   #1
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Roof support, 1989 Lil Bigfoot

Somewhere along the way, my LB lost the closet to the left of door, and there is also no support from the kitchen counter up to the cabinet.

I see no sag in the ceiling, and none of the cabinets seem misaligned, and the door is also OK except having a gasket that is too large.

Im about to investigate having a new closet built, but am wondering how I would determine if there is some sort of sag I'm not perceiving? When I do some upgrades Id like to make sure were fitting things as they should be...

Is there something about the construction of the LB that did not require that counter/closet support? Im certain it came with the closet, but dont know if the counter support was standard or even needed.

Any thoughts or advice appreciated, TIA!
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Old 03-05-2021, 12:14 PM   #2
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Long straight edge on the roof. If it bows down relative to the straight edge you have sag.
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Old 03-05-2021, 03:00 PM   #3
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Sag is temporary. Trillium 4500s are prone to roof sag. The kitchen should have support posts at either end. The trolley roof is about 1 shorter than it is on a Trillium 1300, so less support. Many 4500 owners have water pooling on the roof, above the kitchen. Surprisingly, this is not much of a problem when using the trailer. The worst effect that I have suffered is getting a bunch of dirty water dumped on my head when I was at the rear bumper, and someone lifted the tongue, (yuck!). My dad thought it was hilarious.

However, I have found that using some telescoping jacks,

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inside the trailer, in the winter to support the roof, has allowed the plastic nature of fibreglass to shine. The roof line no longer has any sag. There was an area, at the front of one of my 4500s, in the middle of trolley roof, that sagged. You could push it up, and it would pop up, but would return to the sagged shape when released. Since I am a controls tech, it reminded me of a CCS Dual Snap switch.
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After one winter of being pushed up to the correct shape, it stayed that way.
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Old 03-05-2021, 03:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Adams View Post
Long straight edge on the roof. If it bows down relative to the straight edge you have sag.
Alex, I decided to be more scientific about the whole thing! I uploaded some photos and will elaborate a bit below.
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Old 03-05-2021, 03:28 PM   #5
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Dave, I don’t think there is a sag, but am putting up some photos in a bit for expert critique. I think the roofline on my LB is different from the Trilliums... but I could be wrong! So far I haven’t had any unexpected showers, thank goodness!
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Old 03-05-2021, 03:45 PM   #6
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Here is a photo of the roofline from the side. (I hope this doesn't load as a HUGE photo... it's been a while since I've done this!)



And here is another look from a front-ish angle:



When standing back at a distance, I thought I COULD see some sag in the middle, so I went looking for my level and got up to look.

Here is the level placed directly above the closet:



As you can see, the bubble is not DEAD CENTER, but it is between the lines.

Then I moved it toward the back to check:



And toward the front:



So, what is the concensus? (I suppose I could also test the back side over the kitchen...)
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Old 03-05-2021, 03:47 PM   #7
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And back to my original question... does anyone know if the LB actually came with supports from the kitchen counter up to the cabinet? I do not see any signs of anything being removed.
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Old 03-05-2021, 03:51 PM   #8
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David, so when you say "trolly" roof, are you referring to that bumped up area? Then I guess the Trillium and the LB would have a similar roofline. And when you're speaking of sag, was the sag in the center, trolly area?
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Old 03-05-2021, 04:11 PM   #9
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It wouldn't surprise me if Bigfoot used a heavier fiberglass spray than the run-of-the-mill Scamp or Boler. I don't see anything of great concern here. The contouring for the flat door adds strength. It wouldn't hurt to put in a temporary brace and apply gentle upward pressure while you build the new closet.

As to the galley side, if you see no holes or evidence a support was there, there probably wasn't. And unless you live in the snow belt, I think you'll be fine without it. If it concerns you, perhaps your cabinetmaker can design a support that integrates some extra storage.

Yes, "trolley roof" refers to the bumped up part in the center, which serves the dual purpose of increasing headroom and adding rigidity to the roof. Early Bolers had flat roofs, but after a year or two they realized sag was a problem and added the trolley. Most of their descendants inherited that feature. So named because it recalls the raised center of the famous San Francisco trolley cars.
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Old 03-05-2021, 04:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EllPea in CA View Post
David, so when you say "trolly" roof, are you referring to that bumped up area? Then I guess the Trillium and the LB would have a similar roofline. And when you're speaking of sag, was the sag in the center, trolly area?
The trolley roof is the bumped up area exactly. The important bits are the vertical sides. These act like support beams. ON EDIT: I see Jon beat me to it.

The sag that I was talking about, on a Trillium 4500, happens on the flat part, above the kitchen. It is possible to stand on the tongue of the trailer and look towards the back and see it. The puddle is a dead giveaway.

Also, the popping bit was in the raised part, near the trailer door. I think the hole for the roof vent may be a contributing factor.
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Old 03-05-2021, 09:21 PM   #11
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In looking at the photo of the forward bit of the roof, there is a PIMPLE looking thing. Have not seen it before... not sure what it is? Its dark now or Id get a ladder and take a better look. Maybe a former antenna spot? Or?
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Old 03-06-2021, 01:47 AM   #12
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Thanks Jon!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
It wouldn't surprise me if Bigfoot used a heavier fiberglass spray than the run-of-the-mill Scamp or Boler. I don't see anything of great concern here. The contouring for the flat door adds strength. It wouldn't hurt to put in a temporary brace and apply gentle upward pressure while you build the new closet.

As to the galley side, if you see no holes or evidence a support was there, there probably wasn't. And unless you live in the snow belt, I think you'll be fine without it. If it concerns you, perhaps your cabinetmaker can design a support that integrates some extra storage.

Yes, "trolley roof" refers to the bumped up part in the center, which serves the dual purpose of increasing headroom and adding rigidity to the roof. Early Bolers had flat roofs, but after a year or two they realized sag was a problem and added the trolley. Most of their descendants inherited that feature. So named because it recalls the raised center of the famous San Francisco trolley cars.
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Old 03-06-2021, 07:28 AM   #13
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One thing about "original design" on these vintage trailers, original does not mean correct or appropriate. None of these trailers were designed to last to the age of some of our trailers. And many original designs were full of mistakes. I could give a long list of design mistakes on the old Trilliums for example.

It's just this simple. If your roof has no sag, then it's good. If it has sag, then it needs more support. Roofs can sag front to rear, and side to side. Based on input from Dave, I added checking for floor sag to my Trillium inspection list. Sag from the front of the kitchen cabinet to the door is bad. First old Trillium I looked at, it had this sag. You should have seen the face of the seller when I pulled out my straight edge and showed him the floor sag. Thanks to Dave's advice, I avoided a big mistake. The frame of the Trillium does not extend under the doorway.

Note, the moment you start putting stuff on the roof, like solar panels or whatever, none of that was in the original design and you might start seeing sag. People also see sag from snow loading, when in storage. The worst I have seen was Dave's collapsed egg Trillium!

I would consider the roof on a vintage Trillium, Boler or a Scamp, to be on the flimsy side. Not sure on a Bigfoot. Yours is looking good to me.

The trolley design is not for appearance (although it looks good), rather it provides strength to the roof. Every turn/transition/rib can provide more strength. Of course, some manufacturers use this technique to use thinner fiberglass. So its a balancing act. "How thin can we make the roof yet maintain it's shape?"
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Old 03-06-2021, 11:50 AM   #14
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My 1987 Lil Bigfoot shows no signs of a counter support pole but I have been considering putting one in. I see no evidence of roof sagging. I have seen some interesting designs that would make it multi-functional such as hanging or attaching things to it, and possible as a hand grip to help you out of bed.


I checked the original brochure. I don't know the year it was published. It shows a simple wooden support pole. Again, I would consider something more multi-functional.
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Old 03-06-2021, 01:56 PM   #15
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Smile trolley car

Just an aside, Jon, while San Francisco does have trolley cars, the picture you posted is of the famous S.F. cable car. San Franciscans are sensitive about that sort of thing. Karin
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Old 03-06-2021, 02:44 PM   #16
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Thanks John! So you also do not have one. Interesting! I like the idea of adding something functional. Also, I have that same upholstery!

Quote:
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My 1987 Lil Bigfoot shows no signs of a counter support pole but I have been considering putting one in. I see no evidence of roof sagging. I have seen some interesting designs that would make it multi-functional such as hanging or attaching things to it, and possible as a hand grip to help you out of bed.


I checked the original brochure. I don't know the year it was published. It shows a simple wooden support pole. Again, I would consider something more multi-functional.
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Old 03-06-2021, 06:36 PM   #17
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The next time you go camping, would it be possible to check out other trailers similar to yours, that may still be original? Just a thought.
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Old 03-06-2021, 11:23 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
Based on input from Dave, I added checking for floor sag to my Trillium inspection list. Sag from the front of the kitchen cabinet to the door is bad. First old Trillium I looked at, it had this sag. You should have seen the face of the seller when I pulled out my straight edge and showed him the floor sag. Thanks to Dave's advice, I avoided a big mistake. The frame of the Trillium does not extend under the doorway.
Thanks Bill! I do try to help. The sag you are talking about is the only thing, short of frame modifcations, that I don't know how to fix.
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Old 03-07-2021, 10:39 AM   #19
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The next time you go camping, would it be possible to check out other trailers similar to yours, that may still be original? Just a thought.
Mike, I would, but so far have not encountered another LB like mine. (I should probably get out more!)
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Old 03-07-2021, 12:13 PM   #20
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Mike, I would, but so far have not encountered another LB like mine. (I should probably get out more!)
It looks to me that you now have another good reason to go camping! Enjoy!
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