Cracked Trillium kitchenette- advice? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-18-2020, 09:48 AM   #1
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Name: Mike
Trailer: 1976 Trillium 1300
Wolcott
Posts: 6
Smile Cracked Trillium kitchenette- advice?

Hi, I am newly signed up here, but have viewed the site since purchasing our Trillium. I have been soaking up the advice and pictures on this site for a few years now, So thanks to all of you!

Mike and Maria in CO. We use our camper 3 seasons, generally primitive sites, fewer campgrounds, occasional drive by campings...

We've had our "Buttercup," as the previous owner named her, for 4 years now and love it, but have had to do some maintenence to keep her up.

The Rocky mountain backroads sure are rocky, and my tendency to look for secluded offroad camp spots with tricky access has taken its toll.

The latest: a crack in the corner of the kitchenette. I attached a photo.

I noticed the heater was not in it's usual place, upon removal of the cover, there were no screws holding the heater to face of the kitchenette, there are four obvious attachment points. One where the screw has blown through the fiberglass.

Our Dometic refridgerator and Duo therm heater both function well but do not look the best. Interior of the fridge metal is corroded, the plastic is disocolored a little, we just keep it clean.

I am looking for advice on whether to go full kitchen remodel with a new fridge and heater or repair the existing. My gut is telling me repairing the exisiting is going to be a ton less headache. I also like the patented phrase " keep it simple, keep it stock" or something like that from my 4wd ventures.
Another issue on remodelling the kitchen: is the stock configuration more valuable than a remodeled to some buyers?


To add, we will likely be selling this beauty in the fairly near (post covid?) future. Thoughts on whether we'd get our money out of new appliances?
Kitchen remodel? I have time and have done home bathroom and kitchen remodels, tile, moderate trim carpentry. If I went with new appliances I'm concerned about getting the three way fridge to match up with the older fittings/electrical. Maybe that's not a big deal?

I am leaning towards repair over remodel. I'm thinking of refastening the heater with larger screws in the original mounting holes, then adding 6-8 new fasteners around the flange of the heater into the kitchenette face. Then epoxy/frankengoop the corner of the kitchenette.

I can take it to the fiberglass shop to have them repair the crack and make it look normal after this summer, but also worried the crack will worsen if I don't secure it well.

Also, I can access the screws to the sink, but the one on the left is in a pretty tights spot, any advice on how hard it is to remove and reinstall the sink? I can get my hand and a small adjustable wrench into the left at the electrical panel.

If I can get the sink out I feel like I could reinforce the corner from inside so the crack wouldn't get worse.

I removed all of the screws on the intake/exhaust flange and ports behind the heater but no luck getting the heater out, and I'm afraid to pull it without seeing what's behind it.

I also attached a front view of the kitchenette.

In general, we lucked out an scored a beauty of a camper, and I'm hoping I get some thoughtful advice from you in this community on how to move forward.

Cheers and happy camping!
Attached Thumbnails
tril cracked  kitch.jpg   tril kitch 2 sm.jpg  

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Old 06-18-2020, 10:24 AM   #2
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Name: John
Trailer: 1978 Trillium 4500, 1979 Boler 1700
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That's the first time I've seen a water heater in a Trillium 1300. I would remove it, then turn that area into a cupboard. Standard Trillium sink has a single city water tap and a separate tank-fed pump faucet.

Since you are not planning to keep long term, I would suggest cleaning up and repairing trim. And repairing the fiberglass crack from behind, then patching and sanding the gelcoat on the front of the cabinet.
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Old 06-18-2020, 10:33 AM   #3
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Name: Mike
Trailer: 1976 Trillium 1300
Wolcott
Posts: 6
John,
It is a space heater not a water heater. No intention of removing it without a replacement.

Thanks for your input!
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Old 06-19-2020, 11:10 AM   #4
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Name: Frederick
Trailer: 1974 Perris Valley Pacer
California
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I would remove the kitchenette and do it right. If your fiberglass is cracking that bad, it will only get worse without patching the cracks and reinforcing the stress points. I donít know how the Trillium is made but if itís similar to my Pacer there are a number bolts to remove all around then you can pry it out. You will want to remove the appliances first of course. Fiberglass is messy but isnít necessarily difficult. If the kitchenette has a gel coat, you have to decide if you patch and paint over or redo the gel coat which is more complicated. I applied an automotive spray paint over my kitchenette and it will scratch unlike a gel coat.
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Old 06-19-2020, 01:40 PM   #5
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
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The kitchenette in a Trillium is much different. No bolts or rivers, it’s fiberglassed to the floor and wall of the trailer. It might be one piece to the ceiling, I am not sure. Anyway, taking it out is not a good option.

I’d want to know what is supporting the heater. If it is just hanging off the cabinet, then it’s no wonder it cracked.

I’d fix the crack after making sure the heater is securely supported inside the cabinet.
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Old 06-20-2020, 07:29 AM   #6
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Name: don
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What Thrifty Bill said!
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Old 06-23-2020, 12:24 PM   #7
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Name: Mike
Trailer: 1976 Trillium 1300
Wolcott
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
The kitchenette in a Trillium is much different. No bolts or rivers, it’s fiberglassed to the floor and wall of the trailer. It might be one piece to the ceiling, I am not sure. Anyway, taking it out is not a good option.

I’d want to know what is supporting the heater. If it is just hanging off the cabinet, then it’s no wonder it cracked.

I’d fix the crack after making sure the heater is securely supported inside the cabinet.
Bill you are correct the entire kitchenette seems to be one piece.

I was able to remove the sink, with bruised forearms and a box wrench.

Once I could see the behind the face of the heater I realized the front of the kitchenette was plenty strong - I could put all of my wieght on it. I cut some 3/4" Plywood backing and remounted the heater to the face of the kitchenette, this time permanently, and with a few extra fasteners, all sunk through the face of the kitchenette into the new blocking.

Next step is repair the damage to the corner. Back to the threads on the recommended products...

Thanks to all!
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Old 06-23-2020, 01:06 PM   #8
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Washington
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It wont be too difficult to fix that crack. Take out the furnace. Bevel the edges of the crack and remove any loose material. Take a board at an angle further down the sides of the opening and clamp it in a position that brings those edges into proper alignment. Using cloth and resin build up several layer of cloth on the interior.

Hint: This is a method of work that makes this job a whole lot less messy.
Trying to hold pieces of fiberglass cloth against a surface an them brush resin onto it makes a big mess. I learned this method of repair from a pro who has a fiberglass repair business, it is a real time saver which is important when you are working with resin that kicks off quickly in the summertime.

Cover a table with some plastic, a cut open plastic garbage bag taped to the table will do just fine for this. Lay the fiberglass cloth that you have pre-cut to the right size for the patch onto the plastic then apply the resin to it while it is laying flat. Saturate it just enough so that the fibers turn clear, not too dry but not at all drippy. You can stack several layers of cloth together at the same time when you are saturating it. Then lift that stack up carefully and squeege and brush it against the inside of the cabinet where the crack is. You can trim any overhanging edges flush to the opening after it cures.

On the exterior side, after the patch has cured and been trimmed, you can apply some fairing compound or epoxy putty to bring the outside surface to level then touch it up with some color matching gel coat brushed over the filler. A marine supply store usually sells little jars of color matched gel coat for blending in small repairs such as this. They also sell fairing compound in small size tubes or jars.


Before you reinstall the furnace play detective and figure out why the weight of the unit was not being properly supported so as to prevent that kind of stress on the cabinet.
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Old 06-23-2020, 02:51 PM   #9
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Name: Mike
Trailer: 1976 Trillium 1300
Wolcott
Posts: 6
KC,
Unfortunately I couldn't quite figure out how to get the heater out, and was in fear of breaking something that would be hard for me to fix if I kept trying. I am pretty sure ithe heater is a retrofit, as there were old pop rivets in the framing that didn't fit to anything any longer.

Thanks for the detailed advice.

best,
Mike
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