Matthew, wondering about trillium floors... - Fiberglass RV
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Old 07-24-2015, 09:43 PM   #1
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Name: Matthew
Trailer: Trillium
Texas
Posts: 129
Matthew, wondering about trillium floors...

Hello, I bought a 4500 recently, I couldn't help myself... it is at a friends place for now but I wanted to get my head around what I should be looking at when I go out there and what I might have to do, especially in the front and around the doors... there is a cabinet for a portajohn right by the door and I noticed the plywood between the main fiberglass floor and the tray the toilet goes on is rotted... the door is not closing quite right.

I have looked at a lot of posts and am beginning to get the picture but I wanted to see if I could get it all together.
so this is what I have gleaned
1. The front bunks/bathroom/dinette are not structural, the font of trailer will hold up with any configuration or none at all
2. the main support comes from plywood laminated between 2 fiberglass sheets, the underbelly and the fiberglass sub-floor
3. The replacement of this plywood is a big deal... but if the floor and door area are not sagging it may be possible to inject or otherwise strengthen the plywood in place
4. The body is bolted to the frame though this plywood

is there anything I am missing? what happens if the floor is sagging? I will take some pictures while I am out there.
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Old 07-25-2015, 06:26 AM   #2
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Boler13/trillium4500/buro13
Ontario
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Mathew congrats on your new 4500 ,without photos of the area of concern it will be hard to judge the extent of damage but when you say the door is not aligned properly remember that trillium doors never aligned ( belly band) ever it is a defect in the mould and is not fixable . The floor area of which you speak of is one of the areas of concern and if you have major cracking at the top right corner of the door the area will need to be reinforced.
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Old 07-25-2015, 02:36 PM   #3
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Name: Matthew
Trailer: Trillium
Texas
Posts: 129
Thanks

Thanks for the reply, I think warped might be a better word for the door, I think it needs to be rebuilt but I wanted to know more about the body issues so it fits all nice.

When you say the top corner of the door does that repair start at the floor area?

anyway, I had meant to make a better introduction... My name is Matthew, I had seen an old Trillium 1300 years ago and have been thinking of little travel trailers since. I have ended up with quite a few old aluminium trailers the most note-worthy being a Broken Arrow TeePee, It's a huge undertaking... I looked at it and poked a bad spot, the next thing I know it is fully disassembled stacked neatly against the wall of the shed. I have hopes to have this trillium be something fun, a project but not a total rebuild. I'd like to do right by it but I already have my long term slow rebuild project.

With a bit of luck and guidance from this forum I would like to get this thing camp-able...

-Matthew
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Old 07-27-2015, 11:44 AM   #4
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Name: Dave W
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Matthew, If the front curb side of the trailer is sagging, I am not sure how to fix that, or soft spots in the floor. I have good guesses, but that is all.

Some things to look at:
Is the roof flat over the closet? This can be seen by standing on the tongue and looking down the flat part of the roof, on the curb side. If the closet forms a high point in the flat, that would be a problem.

The road side, over the kitchen almost always sags. This can be easily fixed with a support pole, between the top of the counter to the bottom of the upper cabinet, at one or the other, or both ends of the kitchen.

Soft spots in the floor would indicate that the plywood sandwiched between the shell and the floor has issues. Also a problem.

Pictures would really help.
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Old 07-27-2015, 12:12 PM   #5
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Name: Matthew
Trailer: Trillium
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I added some photos to my gallery ironhinge 77? Not sure yet how to get them right in a post... I am out at my friends place with the trailer. From what we could tell there was a lot of floor rot. A few of the body mount bolts have rusted out. I am not sure if I am headed in the right direction or not but I will try and keep up a lot of pictures so others may learn from my madness
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Old 07-27-2015, 12:21 PM   #6
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Name: Matthew
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My general thought is that the floor has been rotten for a long time and that the fiberglass has slowly reset with a sag... I was not attached to the bunks in the front and was willing to sacrifice them to access the floor. The section along the front of the trailer where the fiberglass encases the plywood seems to be somewhat worse than any were else. The dried out wood probably wicked though and was unable to dry... it seems like the plywood runs across the trailer, the first 4ft sheet ends just under the wardrobe and seems like it is somewhat shaped to match and support the curve of the front
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Old 07-27-2015, 12:27 PM   #7
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Name: Matthew
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This is the front around the door
The floor here is very thick 3/8 or more
Attached Thumbnails
20150727_112530.jpg  
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Old 07-27-2015, 12:47 PM   #8
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Well... I don't see any hump where the closet is, so if the front is sagging, it is not sagging much.

Since you have cut out the gaucho, what is your plan? Can you get the replacement plywood down without removing the closet? Do you plan to bend the plywood up around the front like the factory did? I honestly have no idea how they did that.

I will be following your progress closely. This thread will be a valuable reference for me.
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Old 07-27-2015, 12:48 PM   #9
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Name: Matthew
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So for better or worse I have made a decision and will move on from here. Some of my ideas of where to go from here

about the floor
Replace plywood and fully encase with fiberglass

Leave plywood mostly exposed, maybe adding a fan or vent just in case it ever gets wet again

reinstall as it was, it has lasted almost 40 years

I am planning on using polyester resin to patch everything back up when that time comes, for now however I am wondering if epoxy might give a better wood to shell bond also considering construction adhesive. To get a good bond I am considering screwing the floor to the shell from underneath with fender washers then patching those holes afterwards


About support
Rebuild from behind hinges of door a fiberglass or wooden truss to hold the shell to shape, support the door and be the attachment for a screen door in the future

Add a new cross brace to the trailer frame that extends from the hinge side of the door to hold everything flat (the floor seems to make an s shape rather than a flat curve because of the under hanging fiberglass below the door)
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Old 07-27-2015, 12:52 PM   #10
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Name: Matthew
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Oh I was wondering about that... it seemed like the plywood wrapped up the wall but my brain didn't know how to see it as curved... maybe they steam bent it... I had assumed there would be a fiberglass v that filled in the Crack between the sheets
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Old 07-27-2015, 12:57 PM   #11
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Having never opened one up, I have no idea. Seems like a tight bend for 3/4" plywood.
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Old 07-27-2015, 01:31 PM   #12
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What do you think about my options to proceed?
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Old 07-27-2015, 01:58 PM   #13
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Since there does not seem to be any sagging, I am a fan of the original construction. I would try to put it back as close to factory as possible. With the exception of possibly going for a front dinette.

But that is just me, for what it is worth.
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Old 07-27-2015, 02:01 PM   #14
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Name: Matthew
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This is how I ended up with the wardrobe... the part I cut out was pinching the old wood. Might be good to pry this up a little when I go to put it back
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Old 07-27-2015, 02:08 PM   #15
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I agree to a certain extent, I am worried that the fiberglass has changed shape since it was molded. But truly if I managed to get it back as it was and it lasted until 2045 that's not a bad run. Oh I have the door jamb jacked up... check and see if the picture you were looking at has a little red jack or not... maybe I am overly worried about it sagging

Is it 3/4 or 1/2 ply ? What I have pulled up has been 1/2
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Old 07-28-2015, 06:22 AM   #16
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few more pictures
Attached Thumbnails
20150727_190922.jpg   20150727_172302.jpg  

20150727_140700.jpg   20150726_100844.jpg  

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Old 07-28-2015, 10:49 AM   #17
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I would just go with the same thickness as what you pulled up. As for the bend at the front, like I said, I have never done this, but I think I would look for thin sheets, like a hardwood veneer. Steam bend, then glue like them, with the grain at right angles. Maybe 5 layers, or what ever adds up to about 1/2". This would take lots of time, but doable.
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Old 07-28-2015, 08:09 PM   #18
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Oh, good idea
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Old 07-30-2015, 06:30 PM   #19
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Matthew, did you consider Pressure Treated plywood for replacement? This would add a few more years.

Harvey
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Old 07-30-2015, 07:05 PM   #20
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Name: Matthew
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I am weighing my options over the work week and hope to have a plan and get to it on the weekend...

Pressure treated was what first came to mind but after thinking a bit I am not as sure. It usually seems like a lower grade wood product with rot resistance added. More importantly it is usually difficult to get things to stick to pressure treated wood, the fibres are already saturated in preservative

I have also thought about using CDX exterior grade plywood, it usually is dryer (for a better bond to the fibreglass) and seems stronger for the weight... Might be a readily available compromise

marine plywood seems like a good choice, although i just found out that not all marine plywood is actually water resistant!
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