Axle Replacement Mechanics in NC - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-21-2010, 01:33 PM   #1
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Axle Replacement Mechanics in NC

I recently purchased a 1982 Scamp 13'. Not unexpected, I need to replace the axle. Unfortunately, I am having a terrible time finding anyone who is willing/able to do the work! One mechanic said the axle was fine (less than 1/3 of the tire is visible; I have a hard time believing that Scamps are supposed to ride as low as mine currently sits!). One mechanic said that it was impossible to replace the axle because of the lower section of the trailer floor (I imagine that's a leading arm vs. trailing arm issue) and that I could never hope to have brakes added to the Scamp. Another wanted $300 to leave the original axle & replace the rubber inserts (can that even be done??)!! I have spent hours reading the posts here, and while I am still mechanically inept, I have read enough to know that several (if not most) 1980s Scamp owners have successfully changed axles & added electric brakes! I live in the Raleigh area; does anyone have any recommendations for a mechanic/shop (within 100-150 miles) that has experience with axle work? I would drive even further if I knew I could get a mechanic with previous Scamp/Boler/etc. experience!
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:09 PM   #2
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I'm surprised noone near can do that......If you were closer i'd offer.....Bruce
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:17 PM   #3
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I'm surprised noone near can do that......If you were closer i'd offer.....Bruce
Maybe it's just the age of the mechanics! The Car Talk guys often recommend finding a mechanic with gray hair if getting an older vehicle worked on! Worked great when I had a '74 Opel!
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:21 PM   #4
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Seriously, though, when searching online or in the yellow pages, what's the best heading/search term to use? "General Automobile Repair"? "Tires/Alignments"? "Tractor Trailer Repair"? The closest I've come to success is with a custom trailer manufacturer, but he doesn't do any welding. I'm wary of the big "chain" auto repair shops, given the specificity of the axle measurements, etc.
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:44 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Terri R. View Post
I recently purchased a 1982 Scamp 13'. Not unexpected, I need to replace the axle. Unfortunately, I am having a terrible time finding anyone who is willing/able to do the work! One mechanic said the axle was fine (less than 1/3 of the tire is visible; I have a hard time believing that Scamps are supposed to ride as low as mine currently sits!). One mechanic said that it was impossible to replace the axle because of the lower section of the trailer floor (I imagine that's a leading arm vs. trailing arm issue) and that I could never hope to have brakes added to the Scamp. Another wanted $300 to leave the original axle & replace the rubber inserts (can that even be done??)!! I have spent hours reading the posts here, and while I am still mechanically inept, I have read enough to know that several (if not most) 1980s Scamp owners have successfully changed axles & added electric brakes! I live in the Raleigh area; does anyone have any recommendations for a mechanic/shop (within 100-150 miles) that has experience with axle work? I would drive even further if I knew I could get a mechanic with previous Scamp/Boler/etc. experience!
Here's a brand new one, Circa 1982, from the brochure.....
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Old 10-21-2010, 03:45 PM   #6
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does a scamp have a rubber torsion axle like a uhaul? welded to the frame? or bolted? anyone had one done and wanna chime in..Bruce
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Old 10-21-2010, 04:06 PM   #7
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does a scamp have a rubber torsion axle like a uhaul? welded to the frame? or bolted? anyone had one done and wanna chime in..Bruce
Terri's is a Dexter 1200# LEADING ARM rubber torsion axle with an up angle, later models went to various configurations until the late models, which now have a Dexter 2200# TRAILING ARM rubber torsion axle with an up angle. They have always been welded.
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Old 10-22-2010, 07:52 AM   #8
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Here's a brand new one, Circa 1982, from the brochure.....
What a beauty! I'm fortunate to still have the original awning in perfect shape. Yep, time for a new axle (My Scamp sits at least 8" lower than the one in the photo!!!)
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:03 AM   #9
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Terri's is a Dexter 1200# LEADING ARM rubber torsion axle with an up angle, later models went to various configurations until the late models, which now have a Dexter 2200# TRAILING ARM rubber torsion axle with an up angle. They have always been welded.
Thanks for the info. It is definitely welded on! I was trying to explain to the last mechanic (with my limited understanding of leading/trailing arm vocabulary) that any replacement would probably have to be reversed from trailing to leading or otherwise re-engineered b/c of the location of the dropped floor, etc. He said it would be impossible b/c there's no room for the leaf springs???? That's when I thanked him for his time & left quickly!!

Here's a stupid question that will help me further my understanding immensely: If the torsion axle is "up" does that mean the part of the arm connected to the wheel is higher than the part connected to the axle? I saw the post "What a torsion axle should not look like"
What a torsion axle should not look like

If the original Scamp axle had an "up angle" and the one in the link is pointing up (which is what mine looks like), maybe I'm not as bad off as I think?

I still plan on replacing the axle (I'd feel a lot better if I could get brakes installed, as I am pulling my Scamp with a MT Subaru Forester), but maybe it's not an immediate need?
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Old 10-22-2010, 09:35 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Terri R. View Post
Thanks for the info. It is definitely welded on! I was trying to explain to the last mechanic (with my limited understanding of leading/trailing arm vocabulary) that any replacement would probably have to be reversed from trailing to leading or otherwise re-engineered b/c of the location of the dropped floor, etc. He said it would be impossible b/c there's no room for the leaf springs???? That's when I thanked him for his time & left quickly!!

Here's a stupid question that will help me further my understanding immensely: If the torsion axle is "up" does that mean the part of the arm connected to the wheel is higher than the part connected to the axle? I saw the post "What a torsion axle should not look like"
What a torsion axle should not look like

If the original Scamp axle had an "up angle" and the one in the link is pointing up (which is what mine looks like), maybe I'm not as bad off as I think?

I still plan on replacing the axle (I'd feel a lot better if I could get brakes installed, as I am pulling my Scamp with a MT Subaru Forester), but maybe it's not an immediate need?
If you aren't showing excessive tire wear from tow out or negative camber, then you most certainly are not as "bad off" as you think.
If you still think that you must replace the axle, Dexter will still produce one like your original on request, or you can change to a trailing arm.
Dexter makes them in various set angles.
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Old 10-22-2010, 01:08 PM   #11
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Terri,

Yes, if a torsion axle is designed with an "up" start angle, the arm can point up and it can still be okay. I think that sometimes people think they are all supposed to have a "down" start angle, but that is not correct.

Of course a "down" axle could potentially sag to an "up" position, which would probably indicate a problem, but many Scamps, Bolers, etc. were made with "up" axles.

I think that when an axle is "toast," that it will seem somewhat "frozen." So for example if you watched the axle arm while someone jumped up and down in the trailer, and the tires bulged and flexed but the axle arm did not, well... that's a problem. The torsion is provided by strips of rubber and they can wear out or age.

Now, if your trailer is sitting 8" lower than even the one in Floyd's photo then I think you have a definite problem. That surely can't be right. I would think that at that point the tires would be scrubbing the wheelwells, no?

Oh, and there are some Scamps with trailing arm axles, but it is mostly the newer ones I think. The leading arm allowed the axle to sit up in the niche under the dinette floor; the trailing arm axles are mounted under the dropped main floor area. I think most of the older ones had leading arms and an "up" start angle.

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Old 10-22-2010, 04:11 PM   #12
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If you ever find someone that can replace the rubber bands please let the forum know. There was some information about the process during manufacture here at one time. It involved freezing one part and heating the other so that one would contract and the other expand. Afterwards the parts are locked together and none shall put assunder. If your mechanic says that he can do it then you're throwing your $$$$$ away.
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Old 10-22-2010, 09:21 PM   #13
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I would think that at that point the tires would be scrubbing the wheelwells, no?
On mine the tires were not scrubbing, the arms were hitting the frame, not good at all.
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Old 10-23-2010, 12:38 PM   #14
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If the torsion axle is "up" does that mean the part of the arm connected to the wheel is higher than the part connected to the axle?
Yes - see diagram
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