Converting Trillium bunk beds into dinette - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-07-2020, 07:41 AM   #1
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Name: Laurie
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Converting Trillium bunk beds into dinette

Has anyone converted their trillium (1980 ish) bunk bed into a dinette for two? How did it go? Any photos or plans you can share?

Someone told me that if I mess with the fiberglass on the inside, it may impact the structure integrity. Is this true?
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Old 05-10-2020, 10:02 AM   #2
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Hi Laurie, just remember that you are working with a trailer built and designed in the late 60's early 70's that has no structural integrity without the interior that it came with. Also due to financial pressures the outer skin kept getting thinner over the years. I have a late 70's T4500 that was the same as the T1500 but the T1500 is a little shorter and therefore more sturdy without extra framing. I my case, the trailer was built with a lot of the interior integrity removed due to extra interior comfort features a result of large holes cut into the sides of the bunks for access doors. I have also had to strengthen the driver's side upper kitchen cupboard to support the roof. I suggest that you think of a way to strengthen that area once you make the modification since the front end gets the most wind pressure/damage when travelling. Think carefully how you plan on using your RV, if you spend most of your time eating outside under the tent or inside?
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Old 05-10-2020, 03:04 PM   #3
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Trillium offered a front dinette version, so it would seem they thought the structure sufficient without the full-width front bench.

Itís a cumulative thing. One small change here or there has minimal impact, but if you start cutting and hacking indiscriminately, you can end up with problems.
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Old 05-12-2020, 01:35 AM   #4
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Name: MJ
Trailer: Trillium 4500
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurie Oshawa View Post
Has anyone converted their trillium (1980 ish) bunk bed into a dinette for two? How did it go? Any photos or plans you can share?

Someone told me that if I mess with the fiberglass on the inside, it may impact the structure integrity. Is this true?

Hello Laurie,

There are many threads which touch on what your asking about. A recent one, started 4-25-2020 was titled “Trillium Gaucho mystery??” You should be able to look it up. I'd share a link, but I’ve not quite figured that out yet.

In that thread, I enjoyed sharing my “not fancy” changeover from front bunk/goucho to small dinette, in a ‘79 Trillium 4500. There are many variations and customizations possible, but as you mentioned, the less ”structural” change, the better. My model year trailer allowed me to do it without requiring fiberglass work, or having to add any holes to the trailer interior, and still maintain flexibility to change the layout back. There are a few pics of the unfinished project.

Others also shared some ideas, and some quotes and references to interior layouts were shared.

Definitely check out what others have posted on FGRV about conversions and structural changes. There are many varied approaches and opinions on the forums, and being informed will allow you to weigh the viability of what’s offered.

Best of luck with your trailer!

MJ
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Old 05-15-2020, 07:52 AM   #5
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Name: Laurie
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Thanks to all of you for your words of advise. I will definitely check out the references you suggested before I start to mess with my wee trailer.

Hoping all of you are doing well in these tough times. Can't wait to get on the road...August?

Again thanks a bunch!

Laurie
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Old 07-03-2020, 09:54 PM   #6
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We have a 2004 trillium and might be similar. We stopped by Outback in Calgary and. Joe and crew took out our bunk bed setup and put in a. dinette table. Nothing structural involved.
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Old 07-04-2020, 05:09 AM   #7
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
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Early Trillium design in front was much different than later models.


In 1979, they switched from a solid gaucho across the front, with no gap for a table, to a gaucho with a cut out in the middle. At that point, removing the bunk and switching to a dinette table was easy. Prior to that, you are cutting out a large portion of the gaucho bench, which is fiberglassed to the floor and front wall. So its a serious undertaking and IMHO, the gaucho does help the trailer structurally hold its shape side to side.

One thing to consider on the interior of the 1300 and 4500 Trilliums is the interior cabinets are fiberglassed in place to the fiberglass floor and the fiberglass outer walls (not held by rivets like some brands). Most have multiple ribs in them for further strengthening. Ever notice the vertical rib in the kitchen backsplash? There are similar vertical ribs in the dinette benches and the front gaucho. All of this allowed Trillium to make the shell thin.

I don't think the original designers are still around. It would be interesting to hear their reasoning in the design. We may be giving them too much credit, or not enough.

A picture of my 1977, you can see the vertical rib in the lower kitchen cabinet and the center of the gaucho. You certainly are not just removing a bunk and dropping a table in place. You are doing some serious fiberglass modification. I do not consider these ribs to be a cosmetic touch, instead, I believe they add significant support. When they later replaced the full across the front gaucho base with individual benches, they created additional strength by adding a corner to each base and having the fiberglass continue forward to the front wall where it is attached.


But I will leave that up to the fiberglass engineers to tell us for sure.

1977 Trillium Painted Cabinet Doors by wrk101, on Flickr
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Old 07-04-2020, 08:47 AM   #8
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Name: Jason
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Bench conversion

Following this thread, the 1979 4500 I just bought has the single fiberglass bench in the front with no space in the middle.

It was titled as a 1979, I wonder if the serial number would confirm that?

I'll be converting to a front Dinette also, I sent Joe an email a few days ago asking if they had the two separate moulded seats for sale, which I thought would make the conversion easier than building a wood frame around the sides after cutting out the center.
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Old 07-04-2020, 05:10 PM   #9
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I thought I saw they sold a one piece unit. Individual benches would require additional fiberglass work to patch the floor between the benches. Front wall would need some type of ensolite patch.
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Old 07-04-2020, 10:58 PM   #10
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Spent 3-4 hours tearing out all the old stuff, here's what the front of my 79 4500 looks like with the bench that came with it.

Makes sense if they have an all in one piece for seats and backing under window.

Considering putting a small telescopic table mount in, so when it slides down it'll make a small bed.
Attached Thumbnails
IMG_9350.jpg  
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Old 07-05-2020, 07:17 AM   #11
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Jason,

Just a thought ....

The Lagun Table might work well instead of a telescoping leg ???
https://www.lagunusa.com/

You can search YouTube for "Lagun Table" and find all sorts of examples and applications. One example follows:



Best of luck to you with your project!

Ray
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Old 07-05-2020, 08:34 PM   #12
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Thanks for that Ray, I have seen those style of tables before, will give that some consideration.

Just pulled out all the windows and removed the belly band today, so making progress on mine.

-Jason
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Old 07-05-2020, 10:03 PM   #13
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You are welcome!

I put one in our 2017 Scamp Deluxe Layout A (with swap of sofa/bunks in place of front dinette) and we like it.

Ray
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