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Steve Hague 12-24-2020 03:12 PM

New Trillium owners
 
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Beth and I purchased a 1978 Trillium 4500 two days ago. We have been tent campers, so this is a new adventure. We're looking forward to learning how to travel with this cute little Trillium. Planning to pull with a 2015 Odyssey that I plan to add hitch, lighting harness, brake controller, transmission cooler, and perhaps power steering cooler as well. I would appreciated comment on this plan.
After a thorough cleaning, we have a long to-do list of updates and repairs that should keep us busy this winter.
Steve and Beth Hague, Leo, Indiana

John in Michigan 12-24-2020 03:46 PM

Congratulations! That's a very nice trailer. We have the same model and year. We weighed it empty (no water, no battery, no propane, etc) shortly after purchasing. It was 1480 lbs.

We have since done many repairs and upgrades. Enjoy it!

Steve Hague 12-24-2020 10:01 PM

I read your journal. Wow, hoping that I won't have brake issues like you described, but glad that you shared that experience. I haven't found any evidence of leaks yet, but plan to pull windows and reseal anyway. Hoping to avoid removing belly-band for now.
Thanks

John in Michigan 12-25-2020 07:09 AM

Steve, brakes, bearings and tire age/condition are definitely something to closely monitor. When towing, every stop or two I touch the trailer wheel hubs as a temperature check. If the hub is hot, generally the bearings need to be serviced ASAP. If a bearing fails, the wheel can fall off! Anyway one time I checked and the hub on one side was hot, but the bearings were new. That wasn't the problem. The brake drum was even hotter. The brakes (and axle) were also new, but as described in my thread (link below), the brake magnet clip had broken, and the brake magnet was dragging on the brake drum.

thrifty bill 12-25-2020 08:53 AM

Belly band and windows are known leak sources. Put them on your list.

On wheels, I'd replace bearings unless you know for sure they are not original. I use an infrared temperature gun, check at every stop. Its not just the age of bearings and grease, you also have the adjustment of the bearings. I had a failure once on the road after "professional' service. Never again.

Body to frame bolts and door hinge mounts are also common problems.

Steve Hague 12-25-2020 09:09 AM

Thanks Bill, I plan to replace dust caps with bearing buddies. All good suggestions. I've pulled various trailers (boat, utility, pop-up) to the Florida Keys several times with no issues using the precautions that you listed.

Steve Hague 12-25-2020 09:15 AM

There was a binder in our Trillium that includes a full color sales brochure. Its even stamped with the same dealer name where we purchased. I took photos if anyone is interested.

John in Michigan 12-25-2020 09:31 AM

thrifty bill mentioned the most critical concerns. You could check the frame for rust through and weak joints if you haven't already - my 4500 frame already had fish plates welded at the bends for reinforcement and the whole frame is solid. After 42 years, ideally all through hull fittings should be removed and resealed with butyl tape, i.e, windows, vents, electrical port, water ports - did I forget any?

Steve Hague 12-25-2020 09:44 AM

The frame on our Trillium appears freshly painted with shiny tie-down bolts. There are gussets welded on several locations as well. I crawled under the trailer to inspect it before we purchased and did not see any cracks or other obvious corrosion or flaws. Plan to put it up on hoist to do more thorough inspection before we go on the road.
I really appreciate the suggestions. I would rather find problems while its in my barn than on the road on a cold rainy night.

John in Michigan 12-25-2020 10:49 AM

Well your frame is apparently in great shape. The Trillium 4500 was originally assembled with 8 carriage bolts holding the body to the frame. I have replaced most of mine with 3/8" SS hex head bolts and SS nylock nuts. I used SuperStrut square washers found in the electrical dept at hardware stores. On my Boler 17 I actually used 3x3 square galvanized washers when replacing the body/frame bolts.

Oh I would love to have a barn or at least a LARGE garage. My 4500 is squeezed into my garage on 8" wheels/tires.

Governor Bud 12-25-2020 11:04 AM

hi steve
would be very interested in seeing the brochures
share by message or email?
thnx

Steve Hague 12-25-2020 11:35 AM

Governor Bud,
I found the same document already on this site. Go to the MORE tab, DOCUMENT CENTER, TRAILER BRAND MANUFACTURERS, TRILLIUM, TRILLIUM 1977 BROCHURE-COLOR.
Once you get to this part of the site, you will find lots of Trillium documents.

Martin.P 12-25-2020 12:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Hague (Post 801162)
Beth and I purchased a 1978 Trillium 4500 two days ago. We have been tent campers, so this is a new adventure. We're looking forward to learning how to travel with this cute little Trillium. Planning to pull with a 2015 Odyssey that I plan to add hitch, lighting harness, brake controller, transmission cooler, and perhaps power steering cooler as well. I would appreciated comment on this plan.
After a thorough cleaning, we have a long to-do list of updates and repairs that should keep us busy this winter.
Steve and Beth Hague, Leo, Indiana




Welcome.
Great score with the 4500. Hard to find!

Larry Singer 12-25-2020 01:17 PM

To "John in Michigan"

Just noticed you're from Michigan.
So am I
Curious where in Michigan ?

John in Michigan 12-25-2020 09:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Larry Singer (Post 801203)
To "John in Michigan"

Just noticed you're from Michigan.
So am I
Curious where in Michigan ?

SE Michigan. I will PM you.

slade 12-30-2020 12:44 PM

I would highly recommend the transmission cooler. As an owner of 2 Odysseys, I can attest to the poor durability of their transmissions, and the cooler is cheap insurance. I pull a 13' Bigfoot with mine, and have had no troubles. Consider it peace of mind, if nothing else, and change your fluid regularly.

Geronimo John 12-30-2020 02:13 PM

Wheel Bearings
 
I've had "difficulties" with some Chinese wheel bearings. I started using the higher quality Timken Bearings and Seals. Peace of mind. Be sure to purchase them from a trusted bearing supply house that can verify they are authentic. I don't use other sources as there are a lot of cheap pirate copies out there.

Phil 4500 12-31-2020 03:42 AM

As owners of both a Ď77 and Ď78 4500, the fridge jumped out at me when I viewed your pictures. My understanding was that the kitchen area was modified for the 1980 models for a deeper fridge. Both of our trailers had the flush set RM211 fridge, not the bumped out kitchen counter. Is it possible yours is a later model than 1978?

Steve Hague 12-31-2020 07:28 AM

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Our Trillium 4500 was manufactured in September of 1978.
Maybe they were doing a fall model changeover?

John in Michigan 12-31-2020 05:39 PM

My 1978 Trillium 4500 also has the bumped out counter with larger fridge, ceiling cabinets all four sides, blue stripes.

Phil 4500 01-02-2021 04:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Hague (Post 801628)
Our Trillium 4500 was manufactured in September of 1978.
Maybe they were doing a fall model changeover?

So having been made in September, maybe itís considered a 1979 model??

Interestingly, Iíve never seen that metal plaque, only the plastic sticker on the closet door.

Learn something new everyday!

Steve Hague 01-05-2021 09:27 AM

Our Trillium 4500 was built in September 1978 per the ID plate fastened to the front street side of the trailer. However, I think I was incorrect to assume that meant it is a 1978 Trillium 4500. I just returned from registering at our local BMV and noticed that it is titled as a 1979 trillium 4500.

Steve Hague 02-11-2021 08:38 AM

update
 
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Thanks for all the information. We have pulled all the jalousie windows, disassembled them, cleaned and polished, replaced all gaskets, and now have them back together. The plywood window frames had enough water damage that I decided to replace all except the front window's, which seemed intact. I considered using composite as some have suggested, but in the end decided to use marine plywood and apply two coats of exterior urethane.
I decided to bring the trailer into our attached garage for ease of access and warmth. Somewhere on this site I saw the Roman wheels and copied them. Great idea.
I installed hitch, wiring harness, wireless brake controller, and transmission cooler on our 2015 Odyssey. I took the trailer on a 30 mile test drive of half interstate and got 16 MPG. I'll consider adding a sway bar after trying it fully loaded.
I replaced all the 110v outlets and plan to add some 12v USB power outlets as well. Probably will install a new 12v fuse block while I'm at it.
We plan to attend at least one rally this summer and hope to get more ideas for improvement.
You all have been a great source of information and encouragement.

John in Michigan 02-11-2021 08:54 AM

Wow great progress! You are on a roll.

thrifty bill 02-11-2021 10:44 AM

You are definitely off to a great start! I find I work in spurts. I'll work hard for a while, then go to something else, then eventually get back to it. Capitalize on times where you have the enthusiasm to make great headway.

Despite its shortcomings, I find the Trillium 1300 and 4500 models to be my two favorite trailers out there. I prefer the square shape, the pontoon design, no rivets, and more. The shallower kitchen cabinet limits appliances choices, but it gives a wider aisle way!

+10 to John’s comment below. When I open the jalousie windows on my 13 foot Trillium, I have MORE open window area than I have in my Escape 19. And my Escape has two additional/optional windows that open!

John in Michigan 02-11-2021 11:16 AM

I agree will all of Bill's Trillium likes, and in addition I LOVE the ventilation offered by the jalousie windows even in a rainstorm. And they look retro.

Steve Hague 02-13-2021 05:23 PM

ensolite detour
 
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We were preparing to reinstall the curbside window, but while investigating the ensolite I discovered that it was largely detached from the fiberglass and still wet!
Plan to let it dry thoroughly, then reattach with contact cement.
Thinking of grinding the fiberglass where pop rivets had perforated and applying a fiberglass patch before regluing the ensolite.
No apparent bulging of the bellyband, so plan to hold off on major belly surgery.

thrifty bill 02-13-2021 05:36 PM

Looks like belly band leak to me. Proper repair of belly band is not as bad as it looks. I did most of the work over a weekend, then an hour here and there every night through the week.

Steve Hague 02-20-2021 04:56 PM

Pulling Bellyband
 
3 Attachment(s)
After much consideration, we have started to remove the bellyband. Only two rivets demonstrate swelling, but found that there was previous repair attempt under the back window that seemed questionable. We are finding that the plywood under that section of bellyband is rotted and pretty easy to dig out.

Question:
The process for repairing the front and side sections of the bellyband seem pretty straightforward, but in the back section that has no interior fiberglass lapping the seam, should we just fill the gap with body filler as best we can, then tape over the seam?

John in Michigan 02-20-2021 05:23 PM

My opinion is that using just a fiberglass repair will not be sufficiently rigid. I inserted a new backer that is glued to BOTH the outer FG shell and the inner FG shell.

I replaced the rotted wood backer along the rear seam of my 4500 while the rear window was removed -- yep two projects at one time. This made it possible reach down from the rear window opening between the outer FG shell and the inner FG shell using a scraper, then sand paper and solvent to clean out the rotted wood backer. Then I was able to insert and glue and clamp in a new wooden backer using construction adhesive.

The details are provided in my 4500 thread linked below.

SusanP 04-04-2021 08:19 PM

Hi John - me, too. I've figured out that my 1979 Trillium was a 'deluxe' model. It came with a few extra upgrades!

David Tilston 04-05-2021 12:28 PM

I ran into the same problem with the belly band at the back of one of my 4500s:
https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...tml#post403159
If I were to do it again, which I will, I would go with the original plan of using fibreglass instead of ply wood. This is possible because Granger in Canada now carries pultruded fibreglass. Since you are in the States, the following links apply:
https://www.grainger.com/product/DYNAFORM-Angle-4ATH8
https://www.grainger.com/product/DYNAFORM-Angle-4ATH9
I can't remember if the required piece is more than 1-1/2" wide.

What I am suggesting is to cut the angle so it becomes two strips of fibreglass, 5' long. Glue them together to form a strip that is 1/2" thick. A flat surface will be required. Then glue the assembly where the plywood was. This repair should last much longer than the original plywood.

Steve Hague 04-09-2021 06:49 PM

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To replace the plywood strip under the back window I opted to use 1/2 exterior plywood, which is similar to the original. After cutting to size (2 inches x 48 inches), I sealed the piece with 4 coats of exterior polyurethane. The piece was installed with construction adhesive and clamped in place as per John. After curing for a week, excess adhesive was removed, and the exterior gaps around the entire belly band were filled with Bondo Hair, Bondo Glass and Bondo Gold Filler.

I considered using a composite material instead of the plywood. I attempted to acquire Coosa board, but could only order full 4x8 sheets through our local supplier.

Looking forward to painting the belly band next week.

griffin 04-10-2021 01:50 AM

Congratulations on the new camper. I find it most exciting to customise your camper to fit travels. I have a 22 year old Casita that we have been traveling in and updating at the same time. There is a lot of potential In customising a small fibreglass trailer. I hope the remodeling goes well and enjoy your travels.

Griffin

Steve Hague 05-13-2021 03:45 PM

first outing
 
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Our first camping experience with Trudy was great. We just wanted a shake-down cruise, so we camped one night at Chain O Lakes State Park, which is only about 45 minutes away.

thrifty bill 05-13-2021 05:54 PM

This is how to do it! Camp close to home: close to your tools, close to supplies, close if you have to bail out. Test everything before taking that long dream trip! Well done.

David Tilston 05-14-2021 11:01 AM

I have been giving the year of this trailer some thought. The serial number is in the transition zone, between 1978 and 1979:
https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...tml#post680425

Since the fibreglass for the gaucho is not the, "almost dinette" style, I would conclude that this is a 1978, but I could be wrong.

Steve Hague 05-14-2021 02:58 PM

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David, I would like to know which model year our 4500 is for certain too. I've been calling Trudy a 1979 model based upon the model year stated on her registration when sold new at our local Trillium dealer. Build date is September 1978 per the medallion fastened to front lower curbside.
I would like to know some specific updates for the 1979 model year if that is available. I wonder if they may have been building both models at the same time in order to use up the previous model's parts inventory.

David Tilston 05-14-2021 05:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Hague (Post 814137)
David, I would like to know which model year our 4500 is for certain too. I've been calling Trudy a 1979 model based upon the model year stated on her registration when sold new at our local Trillium dealer. Build date is September 1978 per the medallion fastened to front lower curbside.
I would like to know some specific updates for the 1979 model year if that is available. I wonder if they may have been building both models at the same time in order to use up the previous model's parts inventory.

First off, I have never seen that medallion before. Since it is riveted on, I would assume that other trailers that used to have it, would at least have holes from the rivets.

As for 1979 specific changes. The main one is that Trillium stopped using the front gaucho fibreglass that you have. Instead they used the front dinette seats, but in the gaucho version, they just screwed a piece of plywood where the table would be.

Other changes, Trillium discontinued the Duo-Therm gravity furnace, but that happened mid model year as a result of that style of furnace losing its approvals. This happened because the surface temperature of the furnace gets high enough to start a fire, if something flammable is touching it. They replaced it with a forced air furnace, typically mounted in the curb side dinette seat. I see that your gravity furnace has been removed, and the space it was in has been converted to a cupboard. Do you have a furnace?

Also the fridge was changed from an RM36 to an RM360, which I understand requires 12VDC to run, even on propane.

The converter was changed as well. In the 1978 model it was a Progressive Dynamics PD6921, mounted below the furnace. In the 1979 model it was a Basler CP20 mounted at the rear dinette side of the kitchen. This caused the drawers in the kitchen to be offset from each other.

The window in your door opens. This appears to be a feature that is exclusive to the 1978 model. Before and after that year, the door window is just a pane of glass that doesn't open.

That is all I can think of at the moment.

Steve Hague 05-15-2021 12:42 PM

David, you gave some great information to mull over.
Per our paper specifications nameplate (which has the serial number, but not the build date), the furnace and converter are consistent with the 1978 model, but the refrigerator originally was a Dometic RM 360TF (gas 12/110v).
I would have like to ask the previous owner what is the history behind the medallion, but I don't think that can happen. I will ask the dealership, but the son has taken over and I don't think he will know. I wonder if this was a special request by the dealership to make the title process easier here in Indiana, which as I recall from purchasing an out-of-state vehicle in the 70's, was quite an ordeal, involving an inspection by the local police department.
I think I will start calling Trudy a 1978 Trillium 4500 based upon the information you've provided.
Thank you for the information and insights.
Steve

Roy in TO 05-15-2021 01:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by David Tilston (Post 814153)
Also the fridge was changed from an RM36 to an RM360, which I understand requires 12VDC to run, even on propane.

The converter was changed as well. In the 1978 model it was a Progressive Dynamics PD6921, mounted below the furnace. In the 1979 model it was a Basler CP20 mounted at the rear dinette side of the kitchen. This caused the drawers in the kitchen to be offset from each other.

The window in your door opens. This appears to be a feature that is exclusive to the 1978 model. Before and after that year, the door window is just a pane of glass that doesn't open.

That is all I can think of at the moment.


Interesting Dave,


I'll have to check my fridge. My trailer has been in storage out of town since before Covid.


My 79 has the Progressive Dynamics PD6921 with the offset drawers.
It looks like this 1979 4500 has the same: https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...921-93886.html


Maybe the converter type goes with early and late model years.

David Tilston 05-19-2021 08:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roy in TO (Post 814230)
Interesting Dave,


I'll have to check my fridge. My trailer has been in storage out of town since before Covid.


My 79 has the Progressive Dynamics PD6921 with the offset drawers.
It looks like this 1979 4500 has the same: https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...921-93886.html


Maybe the converter type goes with early and late model years.

Given that Steve has what appears to be a 1978, with an RM360 fridge, (this could have been changed after manufacture, by another owner) I guess that these changes happened as they ran out of inventory of the old parts. It is possible that on yours they still had excess inventory of the Progressive Dynamics converter.

This raises a question for me. Can the size of your lower drawer be increased to fill the space that the converter would have occupied? Also, can the size of my lower drawer be widened towards the front of the trailer. I will have to take a look. I like drawer space.

Glencomox 07-17-2021 11:39 AM

Hi Steve,
Does your binder include a parts and service manual? It sure would be great to get photos of that!
Thanks, Karen

Steve Hague 07-19-2021 07:39 AM

Great question Karen. I wish that I did have the parts manual and or service manual. That would be immensely useful. It would be great to see that shared on the Trillium documents page.
Steve


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