Starting work on Trillium 1300 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-11-2019, 03:58 PM   #1
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Name: Brian
Trailer: 1980 Trillium 1300
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Starting work on Trillium 1300

Hello everybody, I am new here and new to owning a fibreglass RV. I recently purchased a Trillium 1300 from a previous member here, Thinh. While he had done a lot of work on the trailer, I knew when I bought it that I would need to do a lot of work sealing it up from leaks. Right now I am in the process of removing windows and re-sealing them. I will also have to do the door hinges. I have the back window and the curb side back window off so far. Both showed signs of water infiltration and some wood rot. My question is, how clean of old silicone and butyl tape do I need to get the surface before replacing the windows? It is clear to me that the PO painted over the previous PO’s silicone, so in trying to remove it, i am removing paint. It’s unfortunate, but I knew that I wanted to paint the trailer eventually (I wasn’t planning on doing it this summer though). Is it ridiculous to paint it later with the windows in?
Another thing i was wondering about is the slope of the kitchenette. I am going to post a picture below. Is it supposed to be this sloped? Do i need to support it and brace it so it is less slanted? I know that the PO fixed some rotten plywood under the fridge, but I am unsure it this would create this issue. Would this also affect the fibreglass on the roof? THere is no cracks, but I can see some spider cracking in the front driver side corner (pic below).
Lastly, what’s the best way to remove sticky glue from ensolite? Ok, I am going to try to keep you all posted with my progress. Wish me luck - I will need it if I am going to try to get all of this silicone off of the window perimeter.
Why are the pictures sideways? I didn’t take them sideways.

Brian
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Old 01-11-2019, 04:03 PM   #2
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You need to open the sideways pix in a photo processing program and rotate them, before posting. Or, you can shoot all the pix in landscape orientation.
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Old 01-11-2019, 04:10 PM   #3
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That kitchenette sag is not normal. No wonder! That upper cabinet was not designed to support a microwave oven. OUCH!

On the windows, I used barkeepers friend and a green scrub pad to clean the residual off. I carefully removed all I could first with a plastic scraper first.
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Old 01-11-2019, 04:41 PM   #4
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I hate microwaves

I had no plans to keep the microwave anyway. Doesn't really interest me to have one while camping. Do you think that would fix things?
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:33 PM   #5
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The best way to look at it is that unsupported microwave has damaged the fiberglass structure. Removing it now is not going to fix it, the damage is done. I would pull that microwave for sure to keep from doing more damage.


I would buy some type of support, Scamp sells one, or make a chrome pole or whatever. I'd consider it damaged now. So moving it back to its original position may put even more stress on the fiberglass. So its going to take care and caution to correct it.
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Old 01-11-2019, 06:32 PM   #6
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It appears that (1) the upper cupboard is sagging, and (2) the base cabinet is slanted up. To fix problem (1), as thrifty bill said, insert a support. Actually I have found in my Boler 17 that this can be very effective. Best to raise it a little at a time. As far as problem (2) (base cabinet slanting up toward the aisle), that's a tough one. Is it possible the PO inserted a too thick layer of new plywood underneath?

Regarding the removal of caulk, etc around the windows, its not extremely critical to remove all crud before applying new butyl tape and re-installing windows. I did actually clean down to bare gelcoat, then wipe with acetone or isopropyl alcohol before re-installing windows. My thought was strip and clean it now or do it later, and more work to do it later.

Regarding question about painting, one option is to buy matching paint and just touch it up now. Then totally re-paint later, and decide at that time whether you are going to remove everything.
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Old 01-11-2019, 06:53 PM   #7
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Thanks John and Bill

Thanks a lot, I agree that the base is slanted, but I'm uncertain as to whether or not its something to worry about. I'll take the microwave off for sure though.
Bill - can you tell me what you mean about the fiberglass being damaged? I don't see any cracks or anything, do you mean that it's permanently warped? Warped I can handle, but "damaged" seems like more of a concern. Do I still need to worry if there is not cracks?
As I said, I'm a total newbie at this stuff, so i'll take whatever info I can get. As much as I'd love to have a pristine, new-looking Trillium, I'm also pretty satisfied with totally usable, looks alright, and will last me a long time as is.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b_houf View Post
Thanks a lot, I agree that the base is slanted, but I'm uncertain as to whether or not its something to worry about. I'll take the microwave off for sure though.
Bill - can you tell me what you mean about the fiberglass being damaged? I don't see any cracks or anything, do you mean that it's permanently warped? Warped I can handle, but "damaged" seems like more of a concern. Do I still need to worry if there is not cracks?
As I said, I'm a total newbie at this stuff, so i'll take whatever info I can get. As much as I'd love to have a pristine, new-looking Trillium, I'm also pretty satisfied with totally usable, looks alright, and will last me a long time as is.
So 2 questions
1-Is the underbelly of the trailer still sealed Fiberglass or is there a cut somewhere near the Kitchen Cabinet area outside under the trailer?

2-What is the exposed surface of the floor inside the trailer made of?
Is it wood or fiberglass and can you tell if that Kitchen cabinet is fiberglassed to the side wall at the bottom or the floor along the front edge?

If I remember correctly the floor in there should be a Fiberglass/wood/Fiberglass sandwich and that cabinet should be sitting on top of the sandwich and riveted to it along the front bottom edge somewhere or fiberglassed to it along that seam.

It sort of looks to me as though that whole cabinet which was originally attached to fiberglas on its entire perimeter has been disconnected from that attachment which has allowed the counter and base to angle up and the upper cabinet to sag down?

I have a feeling that unless the original attachment is restored somehow that neither will really be right again as the cabinet is sort or cribbed onto the whole shell of the trailer from the factory making both the shell and cabinet structural and they need each other for both to be right.

Does any of this description make sense to you looking at these things?

Can you post pics of the floor/cabinet junction and see from inside the cabinet and seat bases if the cabinet is still attached to the trailer walls?
That side wall above the stove and sink is actually a double wall with the outside wall being one wall and the cabinet back between the upper and lower the inside wall,if you look inside the upper cabinet you should be able to see what I mean if they are still connected.
Also the entire cabinet structure should be a single formed piece which forms the inside cabinet back wall.

I think if the cabinet is not still connected to the trailer and in one piece then merely installing a brace will not do much good until the underlying issue is fixed.

So what I am really wondering is exactly how the floor under the fridge was repaired and if this maybe is causing all of your issues in this area?
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:19 PM   #9
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:39 PM   #10
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1. The under belly is a continuous piece of fiberglass, from the belly band down. Cabinets inside the Trillium are separate pieces of fiberglass, that are then fiberglassed in place. The floor is covered with fiberglass as well, but you will see the plywood extending past the floor under cabinets.

2. I believe the kitchen unit is fiberglassed in on all four sides. I'll wait for others to chime in.

3. No rivets. Cabinets are fiberglassed into place. It makes for a very attractive trailer IMHO, but also makes some repairs much, much harder. To get to the area inside a Casita dinette bench, you just remove a few rivets. To get inside the bench on the Trillium, you have to be a contortionist, and just about stand on your head. Example, I found replacing and rewiring the tail lights and rearward side marker lights to be challenging.

You can see how the floor meets the cabinets if you look carefully on my floor cleanup. Residual glue from the carpet is on the fiberglass floor.

1977 Trillium Floor by wrk101, on Flickr
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:44 PM   #11
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This is exactly what I was trying to describe.

I have seen them both virgin as yours appears and also riveted into place after the fairly common floor repairs in that area which is why I described it like I did.
I have seen them where the floor in front of the cabinet was cut to gain access to the plywood for repair/replacement and then rivets or screws used to reattach the cabinet base there.

I have also seen the trailer with the Kitchen cabinet as a separate part distinct from the benches unlike how it appears on yours?
What year is this one Bill?

It sure does make for a slick interior but I think you can imagine that if this integrity between the shell and the cabinet is broken and not repaired adequately that the op's pic of the trailer in question is a likely or possible result?

So it has been a long time since I had one of these but this is just how I remembered mine and your pic makes it come to life for the OP better than I could hopefully.

You can see too how merely bracing the upper is hardly a complete fix if this cabinet is not attached like it should be as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
1. The under belly is a continuous piece of fiberglass, from the belly band down. Cabinets inside the Trillium are separate pieces of fiberglass, that are then fiberglassed in place. The floor is covered with fiberglass as well, but you will see the plywood extending past the floor under cabinets.

2. I believe the kitchen unit is fiberglassed in on all four sides. I'll wait for others to chime in.

3. No rivets. Cabinets are fiberglassed into place. It makes for a very attractive trailer IMHO, but also makes some repairs much, much harder. To get to the area inside a Casita dinette bench, you just remove a few rivets. To get inside the bench on the Trillium, you have to be a contortionist, and just about stand on your head. Example, I found replacing and rewiring the tail lights and rearward side marker lights to be challenging.

You can see how the floor meets the cabinets if you look carefully on my floor cleanup. Residual glue from the carpet is on the fiberglass floor.

1977 Trillium Floor by wrk101, on Flickr
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:35 PM   #12
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I'm not doing anything on it until monday, but in the meantime, this is a previous post from the PO. Not sure if its helpful or not. I don't find it helpful at this point, but you might.

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...tml#post389581

If it's fiberglassed to the wall, it doesn't make sense to me that it could come loose, but I'm seriously green at all of this. I guess I could take out the fridge, but the sink side of the kitchenette is over the wheel and wouldn't be supported by the same piece would it? Thanks for weighing in on this so far. As I've said, I'm just looking for a functional, useable trailer, that's not going to leak, and will last. Whatever I've got to do to achieve that, I will do my best. Slants and dips I can deal with, but structural issues are whole other matter.
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Old 01-12-2019, 07:43 AM   #13
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Mine is a 1977. Yes, the benches look integral to the kitchen cabinet, you can see the pass through. But I can't image them being one piece, as it would have made building the trailer very difficult. I guess they did a great job fiberglassing them together.

I don't see it coming loose. I see it causing a big dip in the roof, that could eventually cause roof damage. The upper cabinets were never designed for that hanging weight. Dump the microwave, slowly jack up that upper cabinet, add supports at either end, and enjoy.

I used acetone/green scrub pad, along with bar keepers friend (separately, not at the same time) to clean up the gunk around the windows. Two layers of butyl tape, 1 inch SS screws, replaced rotten wood, and I was done. Where the wood was not rotted, but the screw holes had some issues, I used hot melt adhesive and toothpick pieces to tighten them up.

Body to frame screws 99% chance they are toast unless someone replaced them already.


Picture that microwave, while the trailer is bouncing down the road. That microwave is going to torque that upper cabinet and roof every bounce. Not good. At some point, I would think it would crack the roof. Immediate removal and maybe you are OK!

I believe the kitchen section was molded as one piece, from the floor to the ceiling, and then fiberglassed into the trailer. Assume all interior cabinetry have a dual purpose: use as cabinets and structural support of walls and roof. That microwave has been pulling down the roof. Looks like it has the side wall leaning in too. Notice the ensolite on the ceiling is all bunched up in front of the upper cabinet? That is a possible sign of a leak. Or something is going on.


You have my favorite Trillium 1300 layout with the front dinette. Wish I had that!


David Tilston and Randy Bishop are the two Trillium experts here. Both own several and have refurbished many of them. There are several others that have done wonderful jobs refurbishing their trailers as well. I'm new to the Trillium world.
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Old 01-12-2019, 08:53 AM   #14
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I have also had a refurbed a few of these which is how I know what I am offering here in the first place.
What I will try to tell you one more time is that I have seen a few where that cabinet has been detached from the trailer to repair the floor.
I would not do it that way but others have and unless repaired to a decent standard that will also cause the folding of that side of the rig that the one sideways pic seems to show to me.

I also agree the Microwave is a terrible idea to have hung there.

Many of these also have sagging roofs all on their own and part of my renovations is always to add shelving above the windows with support jacks to the roof vent area to lift the roof back into better position too.

Anyway without better pics of the issue it is impossible to really know what the trouble is so I am butting out of this pending better pics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
Mine is a 1977. Yes, the benches look integral to the kitchen cabinet, you can see the pass through. But I can't image them being one piece, as it would have made building the trailer very difficult. I guess they did a great job fiberglassing them together.

I don't see it coming loose. I see it causing a big dip in the roof, that could eventually cause roof damage. The upper cabinets were never designed for that hanging weight. Dump the microwave, slowly jack up that upper cabinet, add supports at either end, and enjoy.

I used acetone/green scrub pad, along with bar keepers friend (separately, not at the same time) to clean up the gunk around the windows. Two layers of butyl tape, 1 inch SS screws, replaced rotten wood, and I was done. Where the wood was not rotted, but the screw holes had some issues, I used hot melt adhesive and toothpick pieces to tighten them up.

Body to frame screws 99% chance they are toast unless someone replaced them already.


Picture that microwave, while the trailer is bouncing down the road. That microwave is going to torque that upper cabinet and roof every bounce. Not good. At some point, I would think it would crack the roof. Immediate removal and maybe you are OK!

I believe the kitchen section was molded as one piece, from the floor to the ceiling, and then fiberglassed into the trailer. Assume all interior cabinetry have a dual purpose: use as cabinets and structural support of walls and roof. That microwave has been pulling down the roof. Looks like it has the side wall leaning in too. Notice the ensolite on the ceiling is all bunched up in front of the upper cabinet? That is a possible sign of a leak. Or something is going on.


You have my favorite Trillium 1300 layout with the front dinette. Wish I had that!


David Tilston and Randy Bishop are the two Trillium experts here. Both own several and have refurbished many of them. There are several others that have done wonderful jobs refurbishing their trailers as well. I'm new to the Trillium world.
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Old 01-12-2019, 09:01 AM   #15
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Thanks for all that Bill. Not sure if it is apparent or not, but I'm kind of freaking out about it - in a small freak-out way. My worst fear in all this was buying a lemon and I was glad to see that he had already reinforced the frame, replaced the axle and addressed all sorts of other "body" issues. I've been pouring over his previous posts as well, trying to get a sense of what he has done and whether or not he did a decent job of it, but its hard because his explanations are sometimes a bit mixed up and difficult to understand.
I think everything will be fine. I will try to take a closer look on Monday, take off the microwave, see where I am at and report back.
One last question though, if there were signs of damage, what am I looking for? I plan on checking for any stress fractures in the upper kitchen unit itself, I will peel back a bit of that ensolite and see if anything looks wrong, and then check the roof directly above it to see if there is any cracks or signs of stress. Do you think that front corner spider cracking could be related at all? or is that a bit of a stretch? Thanks again for all the replies everyone - these situations, I feel the more I know, the better off i am to do something about it.
Brian
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Old 01-12-2019, 09:17 AM   #16
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Thanks Ed as well. I'll try to get better pics on Monday for you. Your help and advice is greatly appreciated. I don't think the bottom cabinet has been removed, but I will have a better look and report back. All comments are greatly appreciated and any input from more knowledgeable folks is exactly what I am asking for.
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Old 01-12-2019, 09:34 AM   #17
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yes, whatever it was originally it may not be now. Not sure the age of yours, mine at 41 years old has had 41 years to be modified and changed. So whatever it was originally does not mean it is that way still. Count on a few surprises along the way.

Some spider cracks would be normal. I would not freak out. Trailer overall looks really nice to me. That ensolite damage may just be from heat off the microwave. Kind of looks localized to me.
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Old 01-14-2019, 07:37 PM   #18
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I’m just not going to Worry about it

Ok, so my kitchenette is wonky. I think I am at peace with that. There is a dip in the roof from front to back and a bit around the vent, but I saw a few threads where others had the same issue and one very ambiotious person installed some great supports hat extended to the frame. Others have also made fibreglass “framing to add support to the roof. I am going to do nothing right now.
You can see the shadow lines from the shelf where its the “level” line
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Today I took off the microwave and repaired my back window. The PO had devised an A/C setup worthy of Macguyver, but, I don’t want A/C and it leaked, so I had to dismantle it and clean the windows of all the caulking and glue. THankfully, he had the foresight to keep the emergency window and hardware, so through looking at previous posters pictures, I was able to reassemble the window and hardware as well. I’m not looking for “showroom” clean, just “clean” with the windows, so i just cleaned all the gunk off, sprayed them with a degreaser and scrubbed a bit with a green scrubby.
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I also purchased some PVC Trim and cut that up for the window filler strips. That stuff gets all over the place when you cut it, so make sure you wear some sort of dust mask. It does machine quite easily though.
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The PO said that he used 1-Shot fibreglass urethane paint on the exterior, but I can’t really find anywhere around here yet that sells it. I might just touch up with another type of white paint.
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Here’s a question though - Do I need to prime around the window before I paint? I ended up taking quite a bit of the white paint off when cleaning the shell because it was painted without removing any of the old silicone or caulking. I removed it all as much as I could to get it relatively smooth and take off the old sealant, so now I have revealed the old gel coat and what looks like a different previous paint colour. As usual,any and all ideas are welcome.
As well, the picture attachment program hates me. I rotated the pictures so they would appear “correct”, but then it made them look wrong the other way, so I put them back and now they look like this again. No middle ground apparently. Don’t hurt your neck looking sideways.
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Old 01-14-2019, 07:56 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by b_houf View Post
Thanks for all that Bill. Not sure if it is apparent or not, but I'm kind of freaking out about it - in a small freak-out way. My worst fear in all this was buying a lemon and I was glad to see that he had already reinforced the frame, replaced the axle and addressed all sorts of other "body" issues.
Brian, Don't worry. This is a common problem with Trilliums. A design flaw in my opinion. I am not sure if the microwave is responsible, or just snow load. It is actually worse on the 4500 models. They have a longer roof, and less height to the trolley roof. Every one I have seen pools water above the kitchen. Jim Bennett purchased a 1300 that had it bad:
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...lin-67367.html
It's funny, I remember there being a visible angle to the vertical part of the trolley roof, but it doesn't show in the pictures.

The point is that what you need is a couple of supports on either side of the kitchen, and time. Fibreglass is quite plastic, (no pun intended). It will deform, but it can be pushed back into shape. Take it easy. Jack up the roof a bit, then wait a couple of days and jack some more. Don't go too fast, or it will break. Warm days seem to help. once the roof is high enough, put in more permanent supports. This process may also help with the kitchen counter sloping back. The assumption that I am making is that the pontoon under the kitchen has also deformed, (sagged). and the back of the kitchen is now lower then it should be. Trillium really should have put supports there to begin with.

There is another spot forward of the roof vent. Mostly on 4500's, but also on 1300's. The roof will go concave. If you push on it it will pop back up, but then come back down when you let go. My theory is that the roof vent causes a gap in the structure, allowing this to happen. I found that if I supported this section from the inside over a long period of time, then it would stay up, even when not supported.

Also for all the other Trillium, (fibreglass trailer?) owners out there. It is a good idea to support the roof, from the inside, anytime you are not using it. This will protect against snow loads, or any other load on the roof. In the case of a Trillium, I would cut a 1/4" sheet of plywood to fit the arched trolley section and wedge 2x2 lumber between that plywood, and another couple of plywood sheets on the floor. One sheet at the kitchen level and another at the dinette level. If you want to get fancy, Princess Auto sells support rods:
https://www.princessauto.com/en/deta...od/A-p8660292e
But I would never pay that much. The ones I got were on the order of $15, and included a hand jack mechanism.

I hope that helps.
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Old 01-14-2019, 08:06 PM   #20
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Brian, prep the gel coat by sanding it with 120 grit sandpaper, then clean it with isopropyl alcohol or acetone. Urethane, polyurethane or acrylic based paint will stick directly to the gel coat, however, to be sure check with your paint supplier and read the paint label.
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