Trillium door repair - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-30-2018, 03:39 PM   #1
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Name: Jen
Trailer: 1975 1300 Trillium
Yukon
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Trillium door repair

Hi everyone,

I have read some of the very useful posts here on the forum in regards to fixing the issue of door sag. I am likely not using the right search words to find all of the relevant posts, so I thought I would ask the question directly instead of spending hours on this forum (which in many ways is preferable than just getting started!).

Here is my issue. In the middle of a trip 2400 kms away from home, I noticed that the door hinges were almost falling off. The screws were not gripping properly and couldn't be tightened. Yikes. Rather than start a job and have it go poorly, we drove home and used a wooden shim to attempt to lock the door. Now that we are back, I want to fix it.

We have a 1975 Trillium 1300. Would this year of Trillium have been made with a wood support where the door hinges are attached? If so, do I have to glass a new piece of wood there before fixing the hinge issue? I've read David Tilson's idea about the metal bracket which I'm still trying to wrap my head around. What seems easiest to me is to take out the rotten wood (if indeed there is a rotten piece of wood there), then fill the holes (maybe either with glue and wood pieces or resin and wood pieces?) and reattach the door. Does this seem reasonable or am I missing something?

I will try to attach pictures this afternoon.

Thanks for your help!

Jen
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Old 07-30-2018, 05:38 PM   #2
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I could be wrong, but I don't think there is any wood in there. I think there is just a post formed by Trillium attaching a fibreglass sort of half cylinder to the hinge side of the door frame.

While the bracket idea is still percolating in my head, the only fix I have actually done is to take the door off, leaving the hinges attached on the door. Then fill the screw holes with as much fibreglass and resin as I could stuff in. I used a razor scraper to get the excess off, including the glass that was sticking out of the screw holes. When that set up, I sanded the area with a 400 grit sand paper, to clean off any resin residue.

Then I taped the door in place and used the hinges as a guide when I drilled new holes and screwed the door back on. Then I pulled the screws out of the door, one by one, and filled the hole with resin and glass. Before it set, I put the screw back in.

One of my 4500's was repaired by a previous owner by drilling all the way through the shell and the post on the hinge side of the door and installing threaded bolts and nuts on top of the ensolite.
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Old 07-30-2018, 06:05 PM   #3
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brass threaded insert experiment

Jen,

On our Trillium 4500, for the past couple of months we've been permanently sealing the center band. This forced us to remove the rear window introducing another project. And while my DW has been cleaning and polishing the rear window, I went ahead and addressed several additional fiberglass repairs (holes, cracks, stone chipped front lower areas) ...

AND started correcting the door sag by experimenting with brass threaded inserts (1/4" - 20 inside thread). To start this experiment, I removed the screws holding the hinges to the camper body and left the hinges on the door. Then with my DW steadying the door, I used duct tape to attempt to optimally position the door. Then I marked the 3 screw holes where the upper hinge rests against the camper body. Then drilled and screwed threaded inserts into those 3 locations and re-fastened the hinge to the body with 1/4"-20 1" long machine screws. That's where things are now. So far have only replaced 3 of the sheet metal screws with threaded inserts and machine screws. We'll soon see how this holds up on the road when we get the camper back together.

(CORRECTION: Threaded insert internal thread is actually 10-24, NOT 1/4"-20, thus 10-24 machine screws are used.)

-John
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Old 07-30-2018, 06:58 PM   #4
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John, did you have to drill the hole in the hinge larger to accommodate the 1/4"-20 machine screws?
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Old 07-30-2018, 07:06 PM   #5
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more info / Trillium door alignment

Jen,

I should add that in addition to incorporating 3 threaded inserts, I also re-positioned the hinges slightly. I don't recall which screw holes had to be moved.

More importantly, it should be noted that, due to a flaw in the Trillium mold, its not possible to perfectly line up the center band on the door with the center band on the body. The center band mis-alignment is most apparent on the left side of the door.

-John
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Old 07-30-2018, 07:14 PM   #6
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threaded insert size error

Dave, good catch! I erroneously indicated that the internal thread is 1/4"-20. Its actually #10-24, so no I didn't have to enlarge the screw holes in the hinge.

Complete brass threaded insert info: E-Z LOK 400-3 (package of 25), internal thread 10-24, drill: 25/64" (to thread the insert into the camper body). After a couple of attempts, I had to use a drill bit slightly larger than 25/64" to thread the inserts into the fiberglass.
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Old 07-30-2018, 07:28 PM   #7
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Gee Jen, just noticed you are in Yukon Territory! That's a heck of a lot closer to where my oldest sister lives (Wasilla, AK) than to me! (the other side of continent)
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Old 07-31-2018, 10:00 AM   #8
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Jen..

I recently had reason to "realign" the door on my 1975 Trillium 1300 and have strong reason to believe that Trillium did incase a piece of wood on the Trillium side of the door.. Not that it matters now because, in my humble opinion, the Trillium folks did not put Butyl tape between the hinge and the fiberglass thus after 43 years of westcoast weather water has done what it does, rusting and disintegrating the steel screws and rotting out a lot of the wood into which they were originally screwed into.. Fortunately for me there was still some wood for longer screws to grab and this quick fix is giving me another season.. This fall I will be removing the longer screws recently installed and filling the holes with either fiberglass or JBWeld products to give me a longer term solution and I will be putting Butyl between the hinge and the fiberglass..
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Old 07-31-2018, 10:20 AM   #9
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The reason I am dubious about there being wood in there comes from this thread:
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...air-47624.html

Now Raz has a 2010 Trillium, so things may have changed. Tom Young, who restarted Trillium early in the new millennium, was employed by Trillium in the 70's and I don't see why he would change the design.

Note the fibreglass pillar. This is exactly the same shape as on every Trillium I have owned, (six of them). If Trillium did put wood inside the fibreglass, it did not help much. A metal plate would have made more sense. This is the thread where I got the idea of a stainless steel plate, with threaded inserts, or nuts welded to it. The plate would span the distance between the upper and lower hinge. If the plate is glassed in, then the hinges would be fixed in place. I would also use stainless machine screws that are galvanically isolated from the hinges.

ON EDIT: In this thread, you can see that there are small wood blocks. I see why they rot out. I was thinking a wood post.
http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/f...tml#post709945
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Old 07-31-2018, 11:28 PM   #10
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Name: Jen
Trailer: 1975 1300 Trillium
Yukon
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Thanks everyone!

It sounds like the easiest solution would be, as David said, to fill the holes with resin and fiberglass and then rehang the door.

But then I read the other post where Island Claire talks about her 4500 and the rotten wood she found. I am still curious whether there is wood in the 1300. David, did you post that to show the idea of the metal piece? Or to show that there might be wood pieces as a support for the screws?

Thanks again--this community is so quick to lend insight and wisdom! I also appreciated John's idea of the brass threaded inserts. Yes, John, I am in the Yukon. Its a wonderful place to live, but far away from everywhere except Alaska! I definitely didn't want our door to fall off in the middle of the trip coming home, especially because I was travelling with our 2 and 4 year old!

Jen
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Old 08-01-2018, 08:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jen11o View Post
David, did you post that to show the idea of the metal piece? Or to show that there might be wood pieces as a support for the screws?
It was the wood, at first, but the fact that she also used a metal backing plate was neat.

If I had gone that far, I would have skipped the wood all together. I would go with a stainless steal plate, with stainless nuts welded to it. The plate would sit flat on the inside of the glass, with the nuts on the other side of the plate. Then I would lay fibreglass over the plate, but not over the nuts.

What I can't figure out is how to align the door perfectly. When I just filled, and re-drilled the holes. I taped the door in place. I redid this several times, because I got the alignment wrong. Another set of eyes would have helped. Then to make sure the latch was engaged, I went in the escape hatch in the rear window. All this made me realize that if I went the metal plate route, I would have to get it right, the first time, because it would be very difficult to correct any errors later.

Since I have five more doors to reinstall, any ideas about that would be appreciated.
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Old 08-01-2018, 12:25 PM   #12
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Dave and anyone else. I have been reading the recent door repair posts with great interest as I am about to attempt the same repair. Wrt realigning the door after the repair I had thought about using a block of "nylon/plastic" wood as a backing piece. It would be placed on the inside of the body shell perhaps "tacked" in place temporarily. The door would be remounted and messed with till it was right. The holes would be redrilled through the body and that block. If there was any problem it would be relatively easy to redo. Once the door was properly aligned the door could be removed and the block glassed in. A metal bar could then be fixed to the inside of the block, holes drilled through the bar using the existing holes in the block as a guide and the door remounted a final time. Whew! Well that's the plan. Much, much thanks to the posters and responders. I love this site!
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Old 08-08-2018, 11:01 AM   #13
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Hi guys,
I have used the following method to “freshen up” the door hinge backing and belly band mounting on both a ‘73 13’ and a ‘78 4500.... Whittle off some decent slivers from a 2 x 4 or similar wood and then stuff in a mixture of wood and 5 minute epoxy. Tap in with a hammer. Cut off remnants and sand flush before epoxy is completely set. The original wood backing can be pretty rotten so any that you can pull out through the worn hole before you start would be good. To make aligning the door a bit easier I first do one hole top and bottom, remount the door hinges with remaining loose screws, lift the door into best alignment and mark the two new holes. Then I remove the door and repair the remaining four holes. Drill pilot holes and mount the door using the first two repaired holes. After the door is in place mark the four repaired holes for drilling or just drill

This plug is permanently bonded to the old wood backing and the FG shell. It only takes a few minutes and is a permanent repair. It is very easy and can be done anywhere, usually when you realize the door could easily fall off and ruin your day Any drilling done is with a thick band of electrical tape on the bit to act as a depth gauge.

Cheers!
Glen
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Old 08-08-2018, 08:11 PM   #14
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Name: Francis
Trailer: 1975 Trillium 13 ft
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Hi Everyone
I have a 1975 Trillium as well. My hinges have been in need of replacment for several years. This spring i finally installed new ones.

Here is me procedure i used for accomplishing this task.

Installing hinges on the door:
1--use all stainless screws and nuts, and washers where needed.
2--remove door and hinges from body
3--obtain and drill 2 holes in 2 pieces of 6 inch long 1 inch wide 1/4 inch thick
steel plate . the holes should be spaced apart the distance of the screw holes in the new hinges. These plates will be used as hinge backing plates for the next step.
4--on the door, remove the screws from the old hinges, and remove the hinges.
Drill the 4 hinge screw holes nearest the edge of the door all the way through the door. drill these slightly larger then the new mounting screws. Using long screws, loosely mount the new hinges on the door with long screws, putting the plates you made in step 3 over the screws, install washers, lock washers and nuts. Snug is good not tight for now.
5--Now to align the hinges parallel to one another, place a straight edge on the edge of the hinge pivot points, adjust hinges so there are no gaps between the hinge pivot points and the straight edge, and tighten up the screws and nuts some more.
6--Now drill through the third holes in each hinge. You now need to remove the hinges from the door, and drill out the third hole in the door a little larger. Clean out these holes, fill with a mixture of epoxy and wood shavings, cut and sand smooth once hardened. Reinstall and ALIGN hinges as in step 5. Securely tighten the hinge edge bolts
7--Drill and tap holes into the epoxy wood mixture for the third screws and install and tighten them

Installing the door with new hinges installed on it onto the body:
1--you will need 4 long screws, thick fender washers, washers, lock washers, and nuts. (installed in that order)
2--carefully peel back the ensolite covering in the hinge bolt areas of the "fiberglass column" as mentioned by David Tilston. Now, using a dremal tool with cut off wheel, cut out rectangular openings by each hinge area. (On my '75 there was a wood block glassed over where the hinges attach)
3--with the aid of a helper, place the door on the body, and after carefull alignment, mark the upper hole of the top hinge. Remove door, drill this hole to correct size for your screws. Replace door, and install screw fender washer, washer, lockwasher, and nut on this top screw. Tighten snuggly. Adjust door for best door gap alignment, and be SURE door latch will still allow you to open and close door. When you are sure of alignment, drill the bottom hinge bottom hole and insert and tighten hardware (a helper inside the trailer makes this part easier)
4-- once satisfied with door operation and alignment, drill the 2 remaining screw holes and install and tighten hardware.
5-- use the dremal tool to cut off excess screw length
6--obtain and cut 2 pieces of thin aluminum slightly larger then the openings you cut in the fiberglass column . Shape and secure these with small wood screws into the fiberglass column.
7-- glue the ensolite back in place. (i used contact cement).

8--Stand back and admire your work !
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