Replacing Trillium Body Bolts - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-01-2021, 03:23 PM   #1
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Replacing Trillium Body Bolts

I am replacing my axle on my 1980 Trillium 4500, it has no suspension left in the torsion bars. I talked to the installer for a Dexter axle and he noticed 3 of the rear frame to body (shell) bolts have loosened and are rusty. He is not really willing to put this on a hoist because he is afraid the spring in the frame may stretch and snap the bolts. I can cut them off if needed but does anyone have experience finding and replacing the bolt heads inside the trailer? They are at the corners of the rear subframe, so I think they are likely inside the cabinets or storage areas under the bed.
Thanks, Tom
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Old 11-01-2021, 04:27 PM   #2
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Tom, In a Trillium 4500, there are eight bolts. Two each in the rear dinette seats and though I have never personally seen a front dinette Trillium, or almost dinette, (that is what you should have) there should be two bolts in each of the front dinette seats. They will have a large square washer.

Typically these are rusted right through, or nearly so. You will need someone in the trailer to hold the head of the bolt with a pair of vice grips, and someone underneath with a big wrench, (or impact). The frame bolts are one of five maintenance items on an old Trillium.
The others are:
Wood in the window frames
Re-hang door
Belly band repair
Replace axle, (you are already on this one)
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Old 11-01-2021, 06:56 PM   #3
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Trillium Body Bolts

Thank you David, this is exactly what I was looking for. I do in fact have a front dinette, so I will likely replace those bolts while I'm at it. I do have some large hand tools and breaker bars so I think I'll be able to unscrew or twist them off.
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Old 11-01-2021, 07:09 PM   #4
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My bolts were the “special” Trillium quick release design. Put a wrench on the bottom, then gave it a quarter turn and SNAP. There was about a pencil lead worth of bolt remaining.
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Old 11-01-2021, 07:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tilston View Post
Tom, In a Trillium 4500, there are eight bolts. Two each in the rear dinette seats and though I have never personally seen a front dinette Trillium, or almost dinette, (that is what you should have) there should be two bolts in each of the front dinette seats. They will have a large square washer.

Typically these are rusted right through, or nearly so. You will need someone in the trailer to hold the head of the bolt with a pair of vice grips, and someone underneath with a big wrench, (or impact). The frame bolts are one of five maintenance items on an old Trillium.
The others are:
Wood in the window frames
Re-hang door
Belly band repair
Replace axle, (you are already on this one)
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Old 11-02-2021, 06:38 AM   #6
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Great guidance above. As I recently went through this myself with our 1978 4500, I would add:
-Make certain that the plywood is intact in the area around the bolts. The fact that they are loose would concern me that there may be dry rot. I had to replace the plywood under one of my back bunks, not an easy job, but necessary to have the fiberglass shell secured to the frame.
-I used stainless steel replacement bolts to reduce risk of corrosion. I considered galvanized which would be more economical.
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Old 11-02-2021, 06:59 AM   #7
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Ditto on my Trillium 4500: Replaced the rusted out fasteners with stainless steel hex head bolts, ss nylock nuts and 3"x3" galvanized backing plates.
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Old 11-02-2021, 07:05 AM   #8
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While lubricating my stabilizers this past spring I noticed the nut on one of my body bolts was loose. Further inspection found 2 more. Being stainless there's no rust so after 11 years they had vibrated loose. I guess nylocks or thread locker would solve the problem. For now I just tightened them. I'll check them in the spring.
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Old 11-02-2021, 08:08 AM   #9
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no cracking the shell

++ for nylock nuts, the other thing I like about using nylock nuts when bolting through the fiberglass shell is that I don't have to tighten down so tight that the shell starts cracking. So I've been using nylock nuts extensively those applications. I used them when replacing all of the fasteners holding the cabinets and benches to the shell in Boler 17, and of course with the body to frame bolts. Have also used for attaching exterior fixtures, towing lights, ... No cracking the shell.
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