New owner of a 1974 Trillium 1300 - Fiberglass RV
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Old 09-10-2021, 04:25 PM   #1
Junior Member
Name: Jeremy
Trailer: Trillium
Posts: 3
New owner of a 1974 Trillium 1300

Hi all,
We finally beat the rest of the crowd to pick up a little trailer. We'll probably start in on belly band and window work this winter see how far we get. We know it probably needs those things. Needs stabilizer jacks, fiberglass repair, maybe a fridge upgrade, some more lights, and probably lots more. Oh, it has some bunk hardware, but not enough to make a usable bunk... we need that since we'll be traveling with 2 kids.

Excited to have a Trillium!

We're in central WA.

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Old 09-10-2021, 06:21 PM   #2
Senior Member
David Tilston's Avatar
Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1976, 1978 (2), 1300 - 1977, 1973, and a 1972
Posts: 6,397
Jeremy, I apologize if I am speaking, (typing?) out of turn, you didn't ask for my opinion, but I'm kind of a Trillium fanatic.

Some comments on your pictures:
Picture 1:
The first thing I noticed was the date of manufacture sticker, just above the red sticker. I get excited by these. I started the Serial Numbers on a Trillium thread because I purchased a Trillium 1300 that I knew the date was wrong, but I could not find any way to figure out what year it was. That lead to discovering that some 1300’s had a sticker that included the serial number, and the date of manufacture. A Rosetta stone of sorts. Your trailer has one. If you are uncomfortable sharing your serial number, I totally understand. But if that is not a problem for you, I would love it if you posted a picture of the data sheet that is on the inside of your closet door, and a close-up of that sticker.
Also, I noticed a large number of screw holes below your front window. Weird. Do you know the story behind these?
Your front awning/rock guard looks to be in good shape. That is a real bonus. Many Trilliums have lost this. I suspect that they came off at highway speed when the latch opened. It is a good idea to confirm that it is secure before travel. It is nearly impossible to duplicate these today.
Picture 2:
Mud flaps! Very good! Your door seems to be hanging a bit low, and not quite straight. This is typical of Trilliums. The way the door is mounted is one of the flaws in the design. There are others, but more on that later. The metal ridge over your door could use some TLC. Some time with a pair of plyers and you can smooth that right out.

Picture 3:
The first hole that I noticed. What did the previous owner, (PO) do to this trailer? The rear bumper is also showing signs of impact.
Picture 4:
I like this. I am a fan of the Trillium logo, and if a 1300 did not have a fridge, then there was a road side logo. Trillium must have had two lower half molds, one with and one without the logo. Some seem to have had a fridge added later, because you can still see the remnants of the chopped up logo. If you install a 12VDC compressor style fridge, then you don’t need to mutilate the logo. The fact that you have a furnace is also very good. I love gravity furnaces. They are basically a fire in a box, simple and easy to fix. Since there is no fan, they use no electricity when operating. However these furnaces are no longer allowed in new construction. They lost their DOT / CSA approval as a result of high surface temperature. So high that they can ignite a fire if something flammable, (like a sleeping bag) is touching the front when they are running. You might want to keep that in mind.

Picture 5:
Problem. Both of the frame bolts in that picture have failed and are only being held in by rust. This is not uncommon, but you will want to replace all the bolts that hold the coach to the frame. In later years Trillium attached an angle iron tab to the frame and bolted through that instead of drilling hole in the square tube. This allowed them to use shorter bolts, and made the frame slightly stronger. You can change to this setup, but it would be best if the coach was off the frame, if you do. I’m guessing that the hole in the bottom of the coach is the drain for the water tank. Is your drinking water tank on that side?

Picture 6:
I see nothing of note, other than no brakes.

Picture 7:
Furnace exhaust / air intake. The combustion air goes in the outside ring and the exhaust comes out the inside ring. The grill looks to be in OK condition, it only has one break. The fact that you only have a city water port and a water tank port, with no drain port, means that the sink is plumbed to a drain out the bottom of, what I call the pontoon, just in front of the wheel well.

Picture 8:
Big ouch! Did the PO have an explanation for the big hole? This can be fixed:
The frame reinforcement has been done strange. Why the perforated steel? Also, is that a from bolt totally missing the frame?

Picture 9:
More ouch. Given the damage, fixing this is probably best done with the frame off. I also see that what thought was a frame bolt is in fact a bent piece of ready rod.

Picture 10:
Early Trilliums had only one closet door. This makes the top space in the closet not very useful. In later years, Trillium put another compartment, with a door above the main compartment. You are missing a good deal of the T-molding. If you want to replace it, Paul Neumeister sells it: It looks like your trailer spent some time wet as well. A new table top may be in order. The cushions have been recovered. And the curtains are newish.

Picture 11:
I am not seeing any lights. Am I missing something?

Picture 12:
Lots of glue residue. I assume you are going to put down carpet, or flooring. That 120VAC outlet is not stock.

Picture 13:
The kitchen. Your furnace is missing some of the front metal tabs. This may have been done intentionally to make it easier to light. Later versions had an access hatch for lighting and adjustment. This model required you to remove the whole front to light it. However, I have a theory that people may have tried to adjust the air flow by bending the tabs and in short order, the tabs snapped off. The grill on this furnace is not the best design. However, the fire box makes more heat than later designs. It just has more surface area. If it doesn’t work, don’t worry, it can be fixed. There is enough room inside that it is not difficult to change the gas valve. In later models there was much less space inside. Beside the furnace is the ice box. Do plan to keep this? Simplicity is beautiful. Or are you going to put in a fridge?

Picture 14:
The ripples in your T-molding can be smoothed out by pulling it off, (it snaps back on) and boil it. I know how crazy this sounds, but the ripples are caused by repeated cycles of heating, which softens it up and causes it to expand thus ripple. Cooling causes it to harden in this condition. Heating the vinyl softens it up and if it is not installed, then it can harden up in a flat condition, smoothing it out. Then you can just snap it back on. The shower curtain rod holder is for a fall restraint bar for the upper bunk. There should be another one on the opposite wall. Do you have the two piece bar, and spring?

Picture 15:
The beginning of belly band failure:
When I did a 1300 belly band:
When I did a 4500 belly band:

Picture 16:
An interesting perspective on the axle. Also, I would mount your propane fittings better.
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Old 09-10-2021, 06:42 PM   #3
Senior Member
Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 4,015
When I removed the upper fridge vent, there was a portion of the street side Trillium logo present. Apparently on mine, they just cut out most of it.

On fridges, if I was starting fresh, I'd just use a truck compressor fridge. I would probably leave it in my tow vehicle and keep the ice box for food storage. Regardless of what I did, I wouldn't cut a bunch of holes on the exterior wall.

I followed David's process on the belly band. It actually is NOT as big of a job as it might seem. I used a flap disk sander on an angle grinder. It quickly sanded down all the humps and I easily removed what was left of the metal plates. I used Bondo Glass, a couple of layers, then a couple of layers of regular Bondo. Painted to sort of match, and then covered with body side molding (self adhesive, no holes).

Seems like some seek a belly band short cut, but doing it right really isn't that tough of a job. I spent more time redoing the windows.

The good news with a Trillium, there are many, many threads already detailing the repairs. Click on the manufacturer tab on the upper right, choose Trillium and you are there.

Nothing against the other vintage brands, but overall, I love the Trillium design. First, you have the ample windows that OPEN. There is more opening area on my Trillium 1300 than on my Escape 19! Secondly, the pontoon design is brilliant and has saved many a floor out there. Third, cabinets are fiberglassed in place (no rivets!)

Your wheel looks much closer to the body of the trailer than mine. If that is the case, your axle is DEAD, DEAD, DEAD. May just be the picture. These axles have a stated useful life of 15 years. Mine is 44 years old (overdue), but does show signs of life (jack it up and see if it moves).
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Old 09-10-2021, 08:06 PM   #4
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Borden's Avatar
Name: Borden and Carole
Trailer: 1978 Earlton Ontario boler
Posts: 1,486
Congratulations on your new toy
Our postage stamp in heaven.
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Old 09-10-2021, 09:28 PM   #5
babyblue's Avatar
Name: Anna
Trailer: Trillium
Posts: 30
I just got a 1977 one in Seattle! I posted a thread with picture too if you want to see mine.
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Old 09-12-2021, 05:54 PM   #6
Junior Member
Name: Jeremy
Trailer: Trillium
Posts: 3
Thanks for all the replies, and I really appreciate any and all insights. BabyBlue, I did see your post - congrats! It also inspired me to do this one.

The PO didn't have much info. He wired the 110V outlets, put new tires on and greased the bearings. He also provided fiberglass repair materials but never actually made the fix. He only had it a year or so and doesn't know what caused the damage. Unfortunately I have no info about how these things happened... Just need to deal with them!

Generally, we prefer to camp off the grid so we'll probably set it up for rough roads and camping without hookups - not sure if we'll upgrade the fridge or not.

What's the best order of operations? It seems like dealing with frame issues, then belly band and windows, and any other exterior patching/filling would be prudent... Then move indoors.

Is there a good way to add a bit more clearance when replacing the axle?
Also wondering what the best way to paint the exterior is, once all the repairs are done. I'm sure there is lots of info on the site that I'll dig into.

Thanks again for all the resources!

I'll check on the serial number...

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Old 09-25-2021, 10:41 AM   #7
Junior Member
Name: aaron
Trailer: in the market for Trillium
Posts: 7
thanks for Trilly info

Thanks to Dave, Bill, and others for adding their comments. Good to learn. We have a Matman 2011 Trilly. Apparently only a few were made. Still finding out the details. Any news appreciated. (PnA) Patricia and Aaron in Port Perry, ON, Canada
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Old 09-26-2021, 04:11 PM   #8
Name: Rob
Trailer: Trillium
British Columbia
Posts: 30
A bunch of screws recently fell out of our fold up bunk, because the piano hinge was misaligned when it was reinstalled after being re-upholstered. I needed something quick so I built a bunk out of 2x2's and 3/8 inch plywood, with camping matresses. With two kids we never used the bunk as a bench seat, but were always forced to move everything and fold it down to travel, so this bunk is way better, and lighter.
I kept the original bunk and will probably reinstall it once the kids are grown up, because of course everybody wants original...
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