research for Trillium rehab - Fiberglass RV

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Old 09-06-2018, 09:03 PM   #1
Junior Member
Name: Hannah
Trailer: Trillium trailer
Posts: 1
Red face research for Trillium rehab

Hey all,
I am honored to have been gifted a 1976 Trillium trailer. Currently, it resides in the Adirondack and hasn't been used for a number of years. So as you can imagine the road to refurbishing this little guy is going to be a long and complex one. Plus the fact that I have never owned an RV or rebuild anything to this scale. I am willing to put in the work. However, the budget is tight and my know how is minimal. So I am starting my research here!

I am unsure if it will make more financial sense to fix up this 1976 treasure or invest in a newer trailer. (the Trillium was my grandmother's so there is a sentimental value.) My goal is to move to California and life full time out of the trailer starting around Oct. 2019.

I am happy to be here! I will be posting more pictures and asking LOTS of questions in the months to come! Thanks to all in advance!
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Old 09-07-2018, 05:06 PM   #2
Senior Member
Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Posts: 2,856
My suggestion go ahead and do essential task such as taking care of any leaks, putting new tires on, new wheel bearings. The belly band trim is easy to buy and install. Shine it up on the inside and outside. Then make a decision after doing those task. It won't be a waste of time or money if you wanted to sell it because those efforts will bring a faster sale for more money than if you had not taken care of the things that need to be done so someone can hitch up to it and take it away. Every penny you spent plus a return for your labor will come back to you. But you will also have gained a sense of does it make you happy to own it and did you get enjoyment out of working on it. If you spend that time on the project then you will know if the space feels large enough for living in it. The way you will know is because all the while you are working you will be visualizing your new life inside the space.

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Old 09-07-2018, 07:00 PM   #3
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David Tilston's Avatar
Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1977, 1978 (2), 1300 - 1977, 1973, and a 1972
Posts: 5,849
Hannah, What a nice gift! I will need more pictures, and maybe the serial number, but it looks like you have a later model Trillium 1300. It was manufactured with a furnace, fridge and has a door window. These are all options. What it also has, that is new for me, is reverse lights on the tail lights. I see no obvious problems. These trailers age very well. Congrats!

I have a bit of a check list of common Trillium age related issues. These five items are not necessarily a problem with your trailer, but should be checked:
1) The axle. If it is the original, then it's on the order of 40 years old. They age. After several years the rubber gets very hard and the axle no longer has any travel, or the rubber disintegrates and the axle sags. Get a new one, with brakes.
2) The door. The quick and dirty fix for door sag is to pull the door off, but leave the hinges attached to the door. Fill the screw holes with resin, and glass, tape the door back in place and use the holes on the hinges to drill new mounting holes. This is at best a temporary fix. This thread shows the best fix I have yet seen:
Trillium sagging door repair
3) The belly band. Due to how the top and bottom half of Trillium trailer are joined, they eventually leak, and the belly band falls off. Being in Florida, with no freeze, thaw cycles, this may not be an issue for you. This is a complex repair:
My First Belly Band Thread
My Second Belly Band Thread
4) The frame bolts. These hold the cab to the frame. They always rust out. Some disintegrate completely. There are six of them on your trailer.
5) The windows. The butyl tape gets old and the seal gets compromised. You pull the windows, and install new butyl tape. The windows are puled out from the bottom first. This is actually kind of easy, unless you also have to replace the plywood frames on the inside:
My first Trillium window thread.

As for research, take a look at this thread:

Compare your serial number to those on the list to get an idea where your trailer fits. Please feel free to post your serial number as well, and I will eventually add your trailer to the list.

I look forward to more pictures of your beautiful trailer.
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Old 09-13-2018, 01:03 PM   #4
Junior Member
Name: Shane
Trailer: Trillium 1300
British Columbia
Posts: 24

What an amazing gift.

Speaking from recent experience, I can tell you that doing some of the maintenance work really isn't extremely hard if you take your time (whether you have mechanical experience or not which I don't). Having friends or family to help with the grunt work would certainly be helpful too. The only thing I honestly wouldn't attempt myself is welding a new frame and anything related to the propane lines.

This forum has been so helpful for me as I have been working on the repair basics (among other things) that David mentions. If you run into an issue ask your question here and it'll be answered by someone who's been there and done that.

Doing the work yourself is pretty rewarding. Even if you have to buy parts such as a new frame or upholstery it'll still be much cheaper than buying a new RV and I'm willing to bet the Trillium will last for another 40 to 45 years with the required maintenance.

I vote for you to fix it up and use it. You'll be glad you did.
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Old 09-13-2018, 05:08 PM   #5
Senior Member
Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
Posts: 4,982
Dave; as per post #1 the trailer is in the Adirondacks of NY and unused for several years. That means it will have been subject to freezing weather and heavy snow loads. That may change it's current condition and what repairs are necessary.
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Old 09-13-2018, 05:44 PM   #6
Senior Member
Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
Posts: 2,753
You really need a covered space to do the work (carport or better), time and money. Search via google, lots of great threads on Trillium repairs. Trillium floors are difficult to repair if the floor is rotted due to the somewhat unique design of the Trillium. I passed on one recently for this reason.

Since it has sentimental value, I'd do all I could to rebuild it, including a part time job here and there to boost my budget. And if I didn't have a covered area, I'd get one of those cheap Harbor Freight tent/carports to create adequate covered workspace.

As far as living in it full time, I met a couple in CO that had been living full time in a Trillium 1300 for over two years, and they were loving it. No AC, no toilet, small bed, there's lots of reasons to say it wouldn't work for two. But they were proving that wrong. Not everyone can do it, but with the right attitude, it can work! And if you are going solo, its that much easier.

Dave has put up some excellent postings on Trillium repairs. Trilliums are desirable trailers, and hold their value very well.

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