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Old 05-23-2011, 03:39 PM   #21
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Ensolite Removal?

Looks like a spoke way too soon. The first window I opened the wood had no water damage at all. The rest need to be replaced

Anyone have a good safe system of peeling back the ensolite?


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Old 05-23-2011, 03:44 PM   #22
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Looks like a spoke way too soon. The first window I opened the wood had no water damage at all. The rest need to be replaced

Anyone have a good safe system of peeling back the ensolite?


~Rodre

I used a paint scrapper and went very slow so not to tear it or stretch it out of shape, I really think you will be glad you replaced the wood in the end..Peace of mind is what it's all about.......
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Old 05-24-2011, 02:34 PM   #23
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How to tell if your Trillium windows need to be resealed

OK, got that completed and all the remaining wood was damp and/or rotting. The advice I can give to anyone looking to do the same:
  1. Make sure you have a lot of patience. If you start and find yourself rushing at some point just stop. If you rush, get frustrated, etc. just stop and take a breather, otherwise you will damage the ensolite.
  2. Use a nice clean, sharp, and flexible putty knife. I used a Richards 1 3/8" flexible putty knife. Once I got going it took about an hour per window. Don't use a exactor knife or razor blade as these are too sharp and one slip will give you a lifetime of regret.
  3. The areas where the contact cement is white and rubbery and the ensolite comes up easily has seen some considerable moisture. You need to peel back the ensolite away from the window area and away from the fiberglass until the contact cement stops being white and rubbery and separating easily to give the ensolite a chance to dry.
  4. Remove any bits or stips of wood left over on the ensolite backing right away before the contact cement dries, making it hard to remove from the ensolite backing later. Same thing goes for the white rubbery contact cement left over on the fiberglass walls and ensolite backing, clean it off while wet so it is easy to get off to make way for the new contact cement.
  5. Patience is key.
Now that I have seen the make up of the windows system in the Trillium I think I can give the following advice to those who are wondering if their wood window frames beneath the ensolite needs replacing, complete with some non-intrusive tests:
  1. If your Trillium is a '70s or '80s series and has never had the windows "re-sealed" then chances are it does. This is due to the fact that even the slightest amount of moisture introduced, even from relative humidity, cold outside & warm inside, warm outside & cold inside etc. has no real way to escape. The backing of the ensolite in my Trillium was damp way down the sides even though the wood frame in the area had dried to some degree. My Trillium is stored in doors in a temperature controlled environment and recently spent a week in Southern California in the direct sunlite all day, with temperatures around 35 celcius, and never saw any moisture coming back to the motherland (BC Canada).
  2. If there are some attempts at sealing the various areas around the windows, utility hatches, belly band, etc. then that means someone noticed moisture in it before and performed this type of "maintenence". I am sorry to have to be the one to tell you but the only thing they probably succeeded in maintaining was the moisture in the wood or between the ensolite and the fiberglass. Once these areas get wet I don't see any way for it to dry. I took my trailer to bake in the sun in southern california for a week, and while I noticed the relative humidity inside go away I was surprised at how much moisture was in there.
  3. Smell - if it smeels like a damp basement in your trailer, or specifically in the storage bins, then you probably need window frame replacement.
  4. Take a screw driver and start to remove the screws in the corners on the outside of the window frame. If they are rusted out or turn in place (without coming out) then your wood window frames need replacing. Test a couple of them. My one window had no water damage at all, while all the others were rotted. Also, some corners were affected while others weren't. The bottom corners on the dinette windows were the worst ones, so that would be a good place to start. If you are worried about the screws not going in tight enough if the wood is ok just dip a wooden match or a deluxe toothpick in wood glue and into the hole. Let it set overnight and cut off the excess flush with the window frame and then put the screw back. This will give the screw something to bite into. I did not invent this, it was provided to me by another forum member above.
  5. On the inside of the window frames test the curtain hardware screws as above. If they turn in place, or are rusted beyond belief then you got excess mositure.
  6. If you remove a small section of the t-bar vinyl insert molding (the stuff that covers the ensolite seams) above the windows (don't worry, it snaps back in place but be careful as it may have become brittle) you will see a small white piece of the channel that holds the molding in place above the window. This small piece is glued onto the wood around the window that the aluminium window frame gets screwed into and is luckily near the corners which seam to get the bulk of the moisture ingress. Using a awl or a screw driver give the wood in this area a poke and if it feels soft then chances are they need replacement. Again, I would recommend looking at the stuff in the bottom corners. If the wood looks and/or feels wet when you remove the moulding then say a prayer and pull out your putty knife.
Now I must turn back to the forum Gods for advice. After having completed this heinous task (seriously, it wasn't that bad, I would do it again if I found an '80s 4500 with front dinette with excellent fiberglass, gel coat, and ensolite) it has left me wondering if wood is the best thing to put back in there in this day and age with a wealth of composite and "space age" materials available. A colleague of mine suggested some "Never Rot" (or something like that) material that Home Depot sells and is meant for outside window frames that is made of plastic or some kind of composite material. I think the environment behind the windows and between the fiberglass and ensolite is destined to become damp no matter what. So I wouldn't mind hearing what other people think that may be a viable replacement material. If expense was not a factor what would be the best material to replace the ply wood with? Marine Ply, painted or treated ply, plastic, composite, TITANIUM? I basically do not ever want to have to do this again, and I definitely will be "double sealing" the exterior windows with 2 plys of butyl tape as recommended above. I basically want to be able to float down the river in this thing, it should be so water tight, if the end of the world comes.

~Rodre
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Old 05-24-2011, 03:14 PM   #24
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I had never thought of using the other stuff but I will on the next one I do and it's already setting in the yard waiting.... If I were you with the little material it takes to wrap the windows I would use the composite stuff, I think it's used for decks and such that way you will never have to worry with it again and it cuts just like plywood.....
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Old 05-24-2011, 04:28 PM   #25
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I wonder if the composite stuff needs to dry out every once in a while or if it will eventually fall apart from being in contact with moisture all the time?

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Old 05-26-2011, 11:38 AM   #26
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This is the possible wood replacement stuff I was talking about:

Never Rot Exterior Mouldings and Trim | Royal Building Products

Wouldn't mind getting your guys thoughts on it.

~Rodre
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Old 08-17-2011, 05:14 PM   #27
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Use 1" #8 Screws and not the 3/4" ones like the factory did.

After having completely removed the windows and wood backing frames if I could give one piece of advice is to use 1" screws and not 3/4 ones like the factory did. These windows need to be really torqued down to the body with the butyl tape/sealant in between, hence the high number of screws and screw holes. The 3/4" screws are not long enough to do this right and you can end up stripping them out as you tighten them. My windows were not properly torqued down at the factory and that is what caused my windows to leak. I could tell from the condition of the putty tape they used as it didn't even touch the body in many areas and yes, I am sure it was like that from the factory. The only reason it probably didn't completly get soaked and break down is because the original owner took meticulous care of mine and stored it indoors. Since having redone the windows I soaked the whole trailer twice with a pressure washer and withstood 2 good rain showers and didn't get a drop of water in. It was a tough job for me as I did it all by myself but it was worth it. That trailer will easily last another 30 years and is so water tight it WILL float down the river, should the end of the world come.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:30 AM   #28
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We just did the same thing. When we tightened the screws the window seemed to bow upwards on the bottom. I thought the windows were too tight. Anyone have any thoughts on that? Windows being too tight???
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Old 08-30-2011, 12:14 PM   #29
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Pictures?

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Originally Posted by AlbertaBound View Post
We just did the same thing. When we tightened the screws the window seemed to bow upwards on the bottom. I thought the windows were too tight. Anyone have any thoughts on that? Windows being too tight???

Hello,

Do you have any pictures?
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:36 PM   #30
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I'd do some research on how well the plastic/composite material can "hold" screws. My experience is that screws easily loosen when put into plastic. Since the trailer has lots of "bumps" and vibration, and the windows depend on good grip in the wood/plastic trim, I might think twice about this.

--Fred


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodre View Post
This is the possible wood replacement stuff I was talking about:

Never Rot Exterior Mouldings and Trim | Royal Building Products

Wouldn't mind getting your guys thoughts on it.

~Rodre
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:26 AM   #31
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This thread is a wealth of information! Going to pick my first fiberglass camper a 1977 13' Tril next week. They said it's been re-sealed which makes me wonder - why?
The mention of "if it's been resealed, there was probably signs of leakage" makes me wonder.....
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:30 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by itlives View Post
This thread is a wealth of information! Going to pick my first fiberglass camper a 1977 13' Tril next week. They said it's been re-sealed which makes me wonder - why?
The mention of "if it's been resealed, there was probably signs of leakage" makes me wonder.....
A 33 year old trailer would need to be resealed even if it never leaked. Butyl and appropriate caulk doesn't last forever... it could (hopefully) be a maintenance issue rather than a former leak issue.

Best of luck!
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Old 12-24-2011, 03:38 PM   #33
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Just completed removing window number 4 (one more to go).

Here's what I learned about removal:
* there a good video on youtube: http://youtu.be/eTJGO6iXuVw
These windows are mounted just a bit different than the trillium's. But you get the idea.
* I found that the best way to pull out the window was from the outside, top first.
* this was very difficult, and I did apply a bit of prying leverage between the window
and the inside wood frame (covered with ensolite).
* I had a bunch of rusted out screws. The screws were the robertson (square head) type.
I had to use my dremel to cut a fresh groove into the rusted screw heads, then use a slotted screw driver to get these out.

Definitely mold and moisture around the window frame in places.
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Old 12-27-2011, 01:12 AM   #34
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There IS something I had not considered when I redid my windows which some of you might be interested in: I don't remember the exact details but I read there could be a potential long-term problem having stainless steel screws in permanent contact with aluminium, due to some sort of galvanic reaction between the two metals. Perhaps someone with more info, a link to an old thread, or real-world experience on this could chime-in.

But I'm thinking that something as simple as using thin rubber washers may very well solve the problem.

I really like the idea of using something other than wood for the inside frame, though if I had to do it over, I would probably just coat the wood pieces with fiberglass resin or epoxy.
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Old 12-27-2011, 02:46 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel V. View Post
There IS something I had not considered when I redid my windows which some of you might be interested in: I don't remember the exact details but I read there could be a potential long-term problem having stainless steel screws in permanent contact with aluminium, due to some sort of galvanic reaction between the two metals. Perhaps someone with more info, a link to an old thread, or real-world experience on this could chime-in.

But I'm thinking that something as simple as using thin rubber washers may very well solve the problem.

I really like the idea of using something other than wood for the inside frame, though if I had to do it over, I would probably just coat the wood pieces with fiberglass resin or epoxy.

There are concerns with aluminum and stainless steel being in direct contact with each other. Think of it as a small battery. Aluminum by nature acts as an anode. Stainless steel acts as a cathode. You need an electrolyte solution to get current flowing. In this case rain water could act as the electrolyte. If you live close to the ocean, salt water can act as a very good electrolyte. The current that is generated is what causes the corrosion.

Fortunately, if you have a larger anode (the aluminum window frame) than cathode (the SST screws) the concern is still there, but, is greatly less. If you were to attach a large SST metal sheet to something outside using aluminum rivets, the rivets would corrode very fast, especially if you lived by the ocean.

The washers would limit the contact area between the frame and the screws and would certainly be a cheap, easy solution for peace of mind.

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Old 01-20-2012, 11:02 PM   #36
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Fred,

I just began removing windows from my '77 Trill 1300. I'm not sure if our windows are the same, but I did try removing them top first as you did, with dismal results. Mine wanted to come out bottom first. I simply loosened up the ensolite from the bottom flanges, pried the windows up a bit and they pulled out from the bottom rather easily.

I don't know what this says about differences in construction techniques year to year in Trilliums, but I suspect Installer A may have done it a bit differently from Installer B, and one simply needs to poke around a bit to find the best way to get them out.

I was not very impressed with the seal job these windows had. I have no way of knowing if they had been redone at some point. The sealant was fairly dry, certainly not elastic and definitely not adhesive. It reminds me of plain old putty tape, not butyl.

I intend to replace all the plywood backing strips, and was wondering myself about using "plastic" wood, like deck boards. Has anyone here tried this?
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Old 01-23-2012, 11:57 AM   #37
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I intend to replace all the plywood backing strips, and was wondering myself about using "plastic" wood, like deck boards. Has anyone here tried this?
I have not begun to remove my windows yet, but before I paint, they are coming out. I have a small bit of rot, and I know it will spread.

I think I will use either stainless steel, or aluminum angle iron on the inside. With stainless nuts and bolts. Nylon washers make sense.
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:21 AM   #38
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Dave,

I finished removing all the windows. The plywood doesn't look to be the best quality, and I do have some rot, especially in the lower corners of the rear window, so I'm just going to replace it all. I guess I'm a bit concerned about screws working loose in plastic wood, so I think I will stick to plywood, but will use a better grade than the original, and maybe I will seal it.

If you use stainless or aluminum angle will you have to get creative in reattaching the Ensolite?
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Old 01-24-2012, 10:32 AM   #39
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If you use stainless or aluminum angle will you have to get creative in reattaching the Ensolite?
I was thinking Styrofoam, or some other closed cell foam, to fill in the gap that was filled by the wood. It would also cover the Nylock nuts, and keep it from frosting up the inside of the Ensolite.
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Old 04-08-2012, 09:30 AM   #40
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Window drip strip

I have a trillium 5500. The grey flexible drip strips that slide into a metal strip over the top of the jalousie windows has become brittle and broken. They all need to be replaced. We have been unable to locate replacement strips. Is there a source for new ones or can something be modified to fit?
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