Greetings from Jamie, Kelly, and our 2011 Trillium 1500 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-07-2020, 09:06 PM   #1
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Name: jamie
Trailer: 2011 Trillium 1500 (4500)
Midland
Posts: 5
Unhappy Greetings from Jamie, Kelly, and our 2011 Trillium 1500

Hello fellow campers. We are new to the Fibreglass RV world, but not to camping. Tents to a 1974 Rainbow Pop-up, to a Flagstaff Tent Trailer, to a Roo Hybrid, to a Rockwood Premiere 122S A-frame, to finally a trillium. It took us a while.
We have been looking for the perfect two person, light-weight trailer, for road tripping, and we think we've found it. We purchased out 2011 1500 from a couple in Port Perry. The trailer is California built by Mattman, one of several manufacturers who built for Tom from TrilliumRV.com. Incidentally, Tom has been awesome, answering all my questions and sourcing new decals for me.
Our Trillium has a toilet closet front left, a single bench front right, a Dometic CR 1080 fridge, a three burner stove/sink combo with glass covers, maple cabinet doors, a Fiamma 45 awning, and bigger tires on 14" rims.
We picked it up on a Wednesday and left that Friday for 10 days in 5 different Provincial Parks in Northern Ontario. We figured out how to pack it efficiently, what temp to set the fridge at, and what upgrades needed to be done by using it.
We've been back home for four days polishing, cleaning, and modifying. The portable 100w solar panel and new battery are working as anticipated. We leave Sunday for another 5 days in a park.
Thank you to all the wise Fibreglassers out there who have shared their knowledge on this site. It, along with many emails to Tom, have been valuable tools in learning about our Trillium that came with no manuals.
I look forward to contributing.
Jamie
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:27 PM   #2
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Name: jamie
Trailer: 2011 Trillium 1500 (4500)
Midland
Posts: 5
Smile FYI I'm not sad

Not sure how the title on my first post ended up with a sad face. Rookie mistake.
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Old 08-08-2020, 10:58 AM   #3
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Trillium 1300
Oregon
Posts: 16
Jamie, I think our Trilliums are twins; we, too, have a 2011 Mattman-built which we bought new from Tom, virtually identical specs to yours, including a portable 100 watt solar rig we added later.

We love our trailer (ďThe DoglooĒ) and have done quite a few upgrades over the years, but it has not been without its problems. Let me know what repairs and upgrades youíre considering; Iíd love to compare notes.

Safe travels.

Michael
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Old 08-08-2020, 01:27 PM   #4
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Name: jamie
Trailer: 2011 Trillium 1500 (4500)
Midland
Posts: 5
Hi Michael,

It's like a family reunion of sorts. The interior of our trailer "Pearl", was well cared for. The maple cabinet doors had split a little along seams, most likely due to humidity changes. Some glue and a clamp fixed that issue. A few of the screw covers on the stove that support the glass were melted. I fixed that with little silicone cupboard door stops. The blinds are all in great shape. I believe the door blind was a replacement. We removed it and put in a homemade roll-up curtain. One of the Fiamma leg supports on the trailer was broken and I just received the replacements and installed them. The piece of wood under the front window shield is soft, again lots of humidity, rain, snow and weather will cause this. It is on my list of things to replace.
The previous owner put a crack in the left side of the trailer, on the green stripe. I've ordered new decals and will have to do some fibreglass repair in the fall. For now, the area is sealed in silicone. Not pretty but water tight.
The battery box has been upgraded to hold something pretty large. I have a 12v 31 series agm now and there is room to house the Renogy Voyager controller and 30' of cables too. I'm on the fence about installing the solar panel on the roof as camping in Ontario Provincial Parks is often well shaded. I will see how I do being able to move the panel around to catch the sun.
Our Arvika bike rack purchased for our previous trailer fits nicely on the tongue of the trillium so we will give that a go this week.
We have resigned ourselves to having a permanent bed and not using the dinette. We had considered replacing the cushions with a mattress and replacing the table with a plywood sheet that would lift on pistons, giving us access to the storage areas more easily. That is on the back burner. We tend to be minimalists and haven't missed that storage yet. Right now we have four plastic grocery bins under the table containing cooking gear etc. We always cook outside so they are accessible. Problem is that in transit, the bins slide out. I installed a removable piece of dowel in front of the bins to keep them from moving during transit. The plastic rod holder cups, holding the dowel, are attached with industrial strength sticky velcro to the fibreglass under the table. Hopefully they work so I don't have to drill holes to install something permanent.
Clear plastic bins with lids are holding small stuff on the shelf above the bed. They sit on the bed during transit. We discovered that the trillium insulation is not stellar so on cooler mornings, the roof would be damp from condensation. Sealing everything on the shelf is keeping things dry. There is no furnace so a small ceramic space heater was purchased, but my plan is to go without electric sites as often as possible. We found turning on a burner with a little ventilation for a few minutes heated the place up nicely. Cold nights just means there will be some snuggling required.
The one quirky thing is the propane attachment. To remove the tank to fill it requires removing two bolts, a wrench up top, and one down below. Once a season doesn't seem too bad. The hose attaching the tank to the trailer seems short. I added an adapter allowing me to run a 12' hose to the front of the trailer to fuel our portable stove. To get it attached, I tried turning the propane tank a little. I noticed after a six hour bumpy drive that the handle of the tank now came within an inch of the trailer, and actually chipped the gel coat at some point. I may have to replace the original hose attachment to remedy this.
One more quirky item is the front tongue light. It is installed upside down to direct the light forward. I've seen photos of the fixture on other trilliums so I know it wasn't done by mistake. The problem is that it catches rain water. Everything inside shows much corrosion, and when I checked, about 1/2" of water. I drilled three small holes in the bottom of the light to allow for drainage.
I spent yesterday polishing and waxing the trillium. Yes, most of the day. I'm new to mechanized polishers and it took me a few youtube videos and lots of practice to get the right technique. Again, the previous owner had cared for the trailer so I used a polish/wax combo with good results.
To do? I want to replace all of the caulking below the roofline.

That's my list for now. Not bad for having the trailer for 17 days, 10 spent camping. Do you have anything for me to watch out for?

Oh yes, our trailer came without manuals. I found the fridge manual on line but without digging, I know nothing about the water pump. If you have the manufacturer or the manual, I'd be interested in the power consumption stats. And would you happen to know the volume of the black water tank?
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Old 08-08-2020, 02:48 PM   #5
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Trillium 1300
Oregon
Posts: 16
Jamie, I failed to notice that you have a 1500 to our 1300. So if theyíre twins, theyíre fraternal, not identical. But it sounds like youíve encountered many of the same issues we have.

Our cabinet doors split, too; gluing and clamping was only a temporary fix, as we frequently camp along the Oregon Coast, and the dampness insists on pulling the doors apart again. So weíre leaving them as is for now.

Our stovetop screw covers have melted also. I like the idea of using silicone door stops and will be stealing that fix from you.

The wood strip that attaches the front window guard to our trailer began splitting, so I encased it in a couple of coats of hard marine epoxy (being careful not to get any on the trailer). It seems to have worked well so far.

And you are correct about the tongue light: It is actually an RV porch light turned upside down; Tom Young confirmed this to me. He was the one who suggested drilling holes on the underside of the mount to let rainwater drain out, and I havenít had a problem since. So you should be good to go there.

Along the way we have had to replace the dinette table leg (sheared off), several of the cabinet latches (broken), and the plywood cover over the fresh water tank, which had warped. Swapped out LEDs for all the interior lights except the fluorescent tube over the sink and stove. We added a MaxxAir vent cover for the roof fan, and I replaced the carpet under the dinette with a floating laminate floor; Iím planning to install flooring in the rest of the trailer this month. I replaced the dangerously sharp plastic bottom anchors for the door blinds with a strip of Velcro, which works and looks much better. Plus a lot of normal wear and tear itemsónew CO detector, new battery, new faucet assembly after the old one cracked during a hard freeze.

Our biggest problem has been leaks. (This is the club you have joined.) We discovered water in the underseat storage areas the first winter we owned the trailer; Tom Young actually flew up to us in Boise to perform a warranty repair, although all he did was caulk the belly band, which I now know is not a permanent fix, and Iíve had to repeat it twice since then. Iíve also installed weather stripping on the door (the doorway was cut improperly, so the weather stripping around the frame had gaps) and put flexible vinyl rain gutters around the back window.

We have only a portapotty under the front seat, so I canít offer advice on the black water tank. We donít use the fresh water tank at all; cleaning and sanitizing it was just too big a hassle, so we pack our water or use campground supplies. And we got no manuals with the trailer, either. My biggest wish is that we had a guide to the fuse box, which Iíve just never gotten around to mapping out completely. Someday, in the cold and dark of night, Iíll probably wish I had.

I know some people love roof-mounted solar panels, but our Renogy suitcase setup is much more versatile, especially in wooded campsites. I didnít want to drill holes into the trailer to mount the controller, so I put it and the cables in an old camera suitcase (see photo), which makes the whole setup even more flexible.

We love our Dogloo and hope it gets a chance to meet Pearl along the road someday.

And other questions or suggestions, just holler.

Michael
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Old 08-08-2020, 04:48 PM   #6
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Name: jamie
Trailer: 2011 Trillium 1500 (4500)
Midland
Posts: 5
Funny you mention water coming in. Kelly just showed me a brown dried stain on the front bench fibreglass. The inside of the bench is dry. When I pressed the wall padding just above it, some more water came out. When we got the trailer there was a similar stain on the back bench I attributed to a spill. Now I see.
So the caulking job starts tomorrow. I can see that it may be part of the biannual maintenance routine to re-caulk. Thanks for the tip.

I'm curious how the 100w solar panel is meeting your needs. The fridge would be the big power user I'm guessing. I have the water pump as well, but it is off 95% of the time, only turned on when using the sink or toilet. I too have replaced all the bulbs with LEDs (except the flourescent).
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Old 08-08-2020, 05:10 PM   #7
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Trillium 1300
Oregon
Posts: 16
We haven't really given our solar setup a true test yet; the last few camping trips have had convenient shore power. One of my plans during the floor install starting next week is to run the trailer (including the fridge) entirely off the battery and let the panels do the recharge. I'll report back on the results.
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Old 08-08-2020, 05:39 PM   #8
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Name: jamie
Trailer: 2011 Trillium 1500 (4500)
Midland
Posts: 5
My solar test run begins tomorrow. Let's hope for sunny weather. I'll let you know how it goes.
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Old 08-09-2020, 08:27 AM   #9
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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Originally Posted by kurtzdietrich View Post
Funny you mention water coming in. Kelly just showed me a brown dried stain on the front bench fibreglass. The inside of the bench is dry. When I pressed the wall padding just above it, some more water came out. When we got the trailer there was a similar stain on the back bench I attributed to a spill. Now I see.
So the caulking job starts tomorrow.
I don't see a 100W solar panel keeping up with a traditional refrigerator. Now if you go with one of the efficient compressor truck refrigerators, there is a chance then. My 100W portable panel is more than adequate to handle LED lighting, phone charging, and ceiling fan.


I'd watch the Slim Potatohead video on the water he drained out of his Trillium. It was dark brown, looks like coffee. He got a lot of it! Something is not good with this era Trillium.

IMHO, its more than a caulking issue. It has the similar bad belly band design of the early Trilliums for example. I am disappointed in reintroducing the Trillium they didn't at least address the known shortcomings like door hinge attachment and belly band construction. And on the older units like my 1300, at least the pontoons can be easily inspected from the inside. Drain holes are a must! And the older ones come with jalousie windows. Love those windows.

To below, Raz has posted some great threads on repairs he has done. They are worth the reading. I didn't realize they had a window installation problem.

Go to the 17 minute mark on this video:

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Old 08-09-2020, 09:41 AM   #10
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Name: Raz
Trailer: Trillium 2010
Vermont
Posts: 4,761
To the best of my knowledge there are only two Mattman made Trilliums with 3 way refrigerators, mine and the replacement I was promised because mine was so poorly made. I have the certificate of origin for the replacement but the trailer was never delivered.
All other Mattman Trilliums have compressor fridges, Dometic I believe.

There's very little on my trailer I didn't have to fix out of my own pocket. I posted threads for most of the issues I encounered. As for Mr. Young all I can say is lots of unfulfilled promises followed by creative excuses. I'm glad others had a better experience.

I did a belly band fix, I'll see if I can find some pictures. The fix required removing the wall covering up to the seam and fiberglassing the ends of the rivets. There might be a better way but that was how I did it. Caulking is a bandaid fix.

Also be aware the windows are Hehr 8700 series. The front and back ones are not vertical. This puts the inner drip tray slightly below the weep holes so it's common for some water to pool there until it is level with the weep hole. On the rear window the egress side has no weep hole so it can overflow there. I caulked the channel between the two sides to fix this.

My trailer is now 10 years old and has over 80k miles and I have no interest in a replacement. But those first couple of years were a nightmare.
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Old 08-09-2020, 10:01 AM   #11
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Name: Raz
Trailer: Trillium 2010
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Belly band fix.

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