Trillium roof sag and floor cracks - red flags? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-19-2021, 11:13 AM   #1
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Name: Lee
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Question Trillium roof sag and floor cracks - red flags?

I looked at a 1975 Trillium 1300 yesterday that is overall in great shape, and the owner has put in a lot of really nice upgrades but there are couple issues and I'm wondering if they're normal age related things, or potential red flags. The owner assured me they're normal wear and tear, but it's priced at the higher end so I don't want a mega-project.

- The high part/bump out area of the roof sags about in the middle (going L to R) about 1/4". The current owner installed a fantastic fan, which is in the area that dips.

- Underneath the shell, I can see two cracks in the floor where it drops (or goes up) by the bed/table area. They're about 1" long and 1/8" wide.

- There is a 1.5" crack in the upper-right corner of the door opening. It's thin and looks water tight still. The door frame looks square and still closes nicely and seals but sticks out a bit at the bottom.

I crawled around and the frame looks like it's in good shape and all the original cabinets are there. The trailer has a flush toilet at the front which might add a little weight.

Would love the input from other trailer owners! I spent the last 10 years fixing up (and not driving) a westfalia that I bought because it had a nice new motor, but I didn't look close enough at... everything else.
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Old 06-19-2021, 12:02 PM   #2
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Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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1. Roof can't support squat without reinforcement. Sag reflects that mistake.

2. No, cracks in the outer shell floor are not normal. Check for ANY soft spots and possible floor rot. Plywood is exposed by looking inside lower fridge hatch and also inside front gaucho. Repairing rotten floor in a Trillium is much harder than on most trailers.

4. Do a Dave Tilston test. Run a straight edge from the kitchen cabinet to the door. If there is any sag there, avoid!
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Old 06-19-2021, 12:41 PM   #3
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Thanks, I can go back and take another look (and hopefully remember to take photos).

I did look at the floor under the gaucho area and it looked like it had been patched. The flooring is older carpet and I didn't notice any sag or deflection when I walked with bare feet, but sounds like a deeper inspection is warranted. I wrongfully assumed replacing plywood is an simple enough job
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Old 06-19-2021, 12:51 PM   #4
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Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
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Not simple at all on a Trillium. The Trillium design for the 1300 and 4500 models, all the interior cabinets are fiberglassed directly to the shell on the sides and top, and directly to a fiberglass floor on the bottom. Under that layer of fiberglass you have plywood. Under the plywood you have the outer fiberglass shell.

Trilliums are designed with pontoons around the perimeter, which give water leaks a chance to avoid the plywood. But if you rot the plywood, now the work begins.

Dave Tilston has recommended in that case, remove the body from the frame. Then carefully roll the body onto its side. Then cut the outer fiberglass shell on the bottom. Now your plywood is exposed. Remove the rotten plywood, reattach and fiberglass in the bottom shell, roll the body back upright. Jack it up. Put the frame under it. Reattach body to frame.

Now the rear dinette has a raised floor, it can be pieced in, still a chore, but not as bad as the main floor.

I looked at two Trilliums that both had main floor rot. So its very possible.

The plywood on the floor extends past the edge of lower cabinets: kitchen, closet, and gaucho. The frame is such that it does not lend itself to piece wise repair.

If you cut the outer shell at the bottom, you are cutting into the pontoons.

The toilet up front may give water a much easier path to the plywood.

If this sounds like something you are up for, god bless you. Be sure to take a ton of pictures of the repair process and post a thread here. You will be navigating new territory.

The lack of rivets makes the Trillium interiors very nice. The lack of rivets also makes removing interior cabinetry infinitely harder.
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Old 06-19-2021, 10:24 PM   #5
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I had no idea! After reading your post we went right back to take a second look. The crack is longer than I first realized, but doesn't appear to be from rotten floors. It's where the step up/down is, but at the top where the fiberglass connects and should be unrelated to plywood. My guess is there was a heavier owner at some point, but it's something we can ignore for now and reinforce later for piece of mind, I'll seal it up for now to keep things dry.

The roof deflection is definitely just caused by the fan, which I really like, so will also ignore.

After all that, we decided to buy it! We're picking it up early next week and are super excited. I'll start a thread about the build once we're in it. Thanks for the information Bill.
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Old 06-20-2021, 07:09 AM   #6
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The Mountains of North Carolina
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Trillium shortcomings and fixes are all well documented on this site. Go to the upper right of the screen, click on manufacturers. Then select Trillium.

There you will find everything you need to know.

Some common flaws: body to frame bolts, door sag, window sealing/wood rot, belly band. Then you have the typical RV stuff like wheel bearings and inadequate power center.
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Old 06-30-2021, 11:56 AM   #7
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Roof sag

If you purchased
We used truck bed spreaders vertically down center each year to put roof up to good hight during non camping times, after two years our boler roof sag was gone. May help; bolers also can not support weight on top. We use them every year when washing roof or checking cap vents have 4 of them
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Old 06-30-2021, 12:48 PM   #8
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Name: Dave W
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borden View Post
If you purchased
We used truck bed spreaders vertically down center each year to put roof up to good hight during non camping times, after two years our boler roof sag was gone. May help; bolers also can not support weight on top. We use them every year when washing roof or checking cap vents have 4 of them
Agreed. Though I use a telescoping support jack that I got from Princess Auto:
https://www.princessauto.com/en/63-t...t/PA0008888745

I don't know when they got so expensive. I paid about $15 each.

I also use a ¼" sheet of plywood, about 2' x 2' on the roof end of each jack, to spread out the force, so it doesn’t leave a dent in the Ensolite.
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Old 07-02-2021, 05:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borden View Post
If you purchased
We used truck bed spreaders vertically down center each year to put roof up to good hight during non camping times, after two years our boler roof sag was gone. May help; bolers also can not support weight on top. We use them every year when washing roof or checking cap vents have 4 of them
What is a truck bed spreader? When I google that I get road salt spreaders.
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Old 07-02-2021, 06:12 AM   #10
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Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
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I believe people are referring to items commonly known as "load locks", or "load bars". They are used in the trucking industry to keep loads from shifting.

They come in various lengths. Harbor Freight sells some really cheap ones (cheap in price, cheap in construction, but probably good enough). Some are made for pickup trucks, so those tend to be too short. Check specifications before buying.

Again, this Harbor Freight unit is the cheapest I have seen, supports very little weight. Looks kind of flimsy. I probably would not trust it for snow loads, but on simple support projects, it looks OK. The ones on Amazon start at about $42.


https://www.harborfreight.com/2-in-1...bar-66172.html
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Old 07-02-2021, 08:03 AM   #11
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Every winter I use a tent pole to support the roof. I place aboard on the floor to spread the weight and one on the top against the flange of my vent. To secure the extension of the tent pole I use a hose clamp.
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