Yippee...I just bought a 13 foot Scamp - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-15-2007, 12:44 AM   #1
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Hello Scamp Campers,

How do you get involved in the Scamp Club? I heard the Scampers are going to Leech Lake soon. I was thinking of joining but I have no clue who to contact.

The second question is this:
I hope I can tow my 13 ft. Scamp with an Impala 6 cylinder. I plan to get the better hitch (I believe it is the second choice that U-Haul has). I was told that my Impala can tow 1,000 pounds but I am thinking that the Scamp is not 1,000 tow weight only 1000 dead weight.
I hope I am right because if I am not able to tow my Scamp this camper will need to sit in my yard.

I would appreciate it if you would give me your advise about my 2000 Impala being able to tow my 13 ft. Scamp? I will need to know by Tuesday because I plan to get the hitch on that day.

Where is the best place to buy a cover?

Thanks for reading this and if you can help please email me at

Also, I do work on my computer for my job. What is the fastest connection I can get for accessing the internet for my job. I download and upload large files.

Sunnie

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Old 07-15-2007, 07:45 AM   #2
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Hi: You have come to the right place for answers to your questions. It's hard to find difinitive info on towing as no one these days wants to assume any responsibility for what you might do in this regard!!! The Auto Mfg's seem to quote under weight and R.V. Dealers quote over weight What I know in our case is we are towing a '77 Boler reg. dry weight 1020lbs. (GVWR) 1700lbs with a 3ltr. V6 '05 Taurus Wagon tow rated 1250lbs. The wagon is rated to carry 7 pass. or 2000lbs of cargo which it doesn't when we tow!!! We have a good class 1 hitch installed by our local R.V. Dealer and a Transmission cooler added by our Mechanic!!! With 4 wheel ABS disc brakes...stopping...the other 1/2 of towing... seems fine. We don't expect to set any land speed records while traveling and this seems to upset a few drivers but the maximum speed limit is not the minimum p.s. I took our trip ready rig to the Agra Weigh Scale and Tipped the scale at 5500lbs without food/beer/Wife so I may need to DIET
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 07-15-2007, 11:54 AM   #3
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Hello Scamp Campers,

[...]
Thanks for reading this and if you can help please email me at
[...]

Sunnie

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Hi, Sunnie. Welcome to FiberglassRV.com. We're glad you found us!

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Old 07-15-2007, 12:28 PM   #4
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There are three parts to towing, of which the power to pull it is only the first.

1. Pull it
2. Steer it
3. Stop it

Besides the obvious engine power, there are a lot of other factors, like transmission, cooling, brakes, suspension, body geometry, tow hitch attachment points, rear end gear ratio, etc.

Bottom line is to look in the owner's manual and find out what GM rated YOUR Impala, as equipped, to tow. Should be in the index under either trailer or towing. For a rough guide, presume your loaded Scamp 13' weighs about 1,500 lbs (the 950 on the tongue tag or papers is a dry weight), altho some 13's loaded with all the gizmos have be weighed as high as 2,200 lbs. The tow weight has to include all the stuf you would pack into the trailer to take along, including water and propane.

Tow weight = Actual axle weight on a scale, loaded for a trip. Dry Weight = Just the trailer as it came out the door of the factory plus/minus anything a subsequent owner did to it. Dead weight is the same thing, although some might consider it to include the tongue weight, which I consider to be part of the cargo load on the tow vehicle.

There is a Yahoo group devoted to Scamps (altho others are welcome to join and have) at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/scampers/ but you need to have a (free) Yahoo account to join it. You can get the messages as emails, digests of emails or read them directly from the web site (I prefer the latter, then I don't have a lot of stuf in my inbox).

There is also a Scamp Owners International Group.

Info on Scamp Camps can be found in both places, but there's nothing wrong with going to other Egg Gatherings!

You can find lots of info on covers (and all sorts of egg stuf) by using the search functions of this group and Yahoo Scampers.
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Old 07-15-2007, 12:30 PM   #5
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If I'm not mistaken, the Impala is mfr. tow-rated for only 1000 lbs. Odds are that your Scamp actually weighs more than that, even bare bones, and might be hundreds of pounds heavier with a normal traveling load (water, propane, bedding, kitchen gear, etc.

Although mfrs. tend to understate their towing capacities (for liability), I would be leery of towing a Scamp with a 1000 lb. rated car. Yes, it is probably possible and relatively easy; it might even be fairly safe if you stay under 55mph. But if the brakes in your car are rated to stop less weight than you're hauling and you get in an accident, that difference might be extremely expensive in court.
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Old 07-15-2007, 06:40 PM   #6
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When Chevrolet says that the Impala is only rated to tow 1000 lb, they really mean the weight of the entire trailer and all of the stuff in it should not be more than 1000 lb. The Scamp weighs at least that dry and empty, and as others have mentioned it will weight much more with your stuff (and maybe a tank of water) in it.

There will also be a tongue weight (or hitch weight, same thing) rating to stay under.

I was curious about the current Impala's tow rating a while ago, so I went to a dealership to check it out; yes, I found the same 1000 lb rating. The Impala is a big car for such a low rating, especially the version with the same small-block Chev V8 engine used in pickup trucks; however, it was not designed for towing, and there may be suspension or structural factors limiting its capacity. In addition, even though it has lots of power, it is not intended to work hard continuously, so it may not have sufficient engine or transmission cooling capacity to keep up with - for instance - the work of dragging over 1000 lb of trailer up a long highway hill.

Obviously, an Impala can move a small trailer, and it's not going to immediately fall to pieces doing it. Without knowing why GM set the limit where they did, there's no way to know if you can make any changes to allow you to exceed that rating safely or reliably.
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Old 07-15-2007, 06:44 PM   #7
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How do you get involved in the Scamp Club? I heard the Scampers are going to Leech Lake soon. I was thinking of joining but I have no clue who to contact.
You may have missed it. They had a group get together in June at Leech Lake.

June FGRV Calendar

Unless it was so much fun they're going back!!
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Old 07-16-2007, 10:42 PM   #8
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When Chevrolet says that the Impala is only rated to tow 1000 lb, they really mean the weight of the entire trailer and all of the stuff in it should not be more than 1000 lb. The Scamp weighs at least that dry and empty, and as others have mentioned it will weight much more with your stuff (and maybe a tank of water) in it.

There will also be a tongue weight (or hitch weight, same thing) rating to stay under.

I was curious about the current Impala's tow rating a while ago, so I went to a dealership to check it out; yes, I found the same 1000 lb rating. The Impala is a big car for such a low rating, especially the version with the same small-block Chev V8 engine used in pickup trucks; however, it was not designed for towing, and there may be suspension or structural factors limiting its capacity. In addition, even though it has lots of power, it is not intended to work hard continuously, so it may not have sufficient engine or transmission cooling capacity to keep up with - for instance - the work of dragging over 1000 lb of trailer up a long highway hill.

Obviously, an Impala can move a small trailer, and it's not going to immediately fall to pieces doing it. Without knowing why GM set the limit where they did, there's no way to know if you can make any changes to allow you to exceed that rating safely or reliably.
It is my impression fafter having been underneath around a hundred of the impalas now, that the 1000 lb. rating would come frome the very weak unibody construction, in conjunction with the Aluminum powertrain subframe assembly. Although today's fuel costs are leading to this kind of construction on the newer vehicles, for those of us that tow.... "Steel is Reel". Your cars construction will determine the potential of it's tow.

HTH
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Old 07-17-2007, 04:56 PM   #9
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It is my impression after having been underneath around a hundred of the impalas now, that the 1000 lb. rating would come frome the very weak unibody construction, in conjunction with the Aluminum powertrain subframe assembly. Although today's fuel costs are leading to this kind of construction on the newer vehicles, for those of us that tow.... "Steel is Reel". Your cars construction will determine the potential of it's tow.
I agree that construction details are important. Dan, do you mean that the Impala has a particularly poorly designed unibody, or one which is simply not intended for the purpose of towing (which is my suggestion), or that a unibody can't be strong?

Similarly, the aluminum front subframe surprised me when I saw it, but only because it seemed like an expensive solution. I then realized that the V8 Impala (perhaps the only one with the aluminum front subframe) is relatively rare, and the lower tooling cost of the fabricated aluminum design would offset the higher material costs. Aluminum is not weaker than steel - it just takes a larger volume to reach the same strength, so essentially any structure can be made to the same strength in either material.

Neither the unibody nor the aluminum would discourage me from towing with a vehicle... but this one is not intended for that purpose. For comparison, the antiquated Ford/Mercury Grand Marquis is a full-size traditional sedan with a steel body on separate steel frame, with no aluminum in sight (at least in the back), and as a result a massive towing capacity of... 1500 lb.
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Old 07-17-2007, 05:38 PM   #10
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I agree that construction details are important. Dan, do you mean that the Impala has a particularly poorly designed unibody, or one which is simply not intended for the purpose of towing (which is my suggestion), or that a unibody can't be strong?


In my opinion the unibody on the impala is weaker.... thinner steel, and what appears to be fewer layers.

Similarly, the aluminum front subframe surprised me when I saw it, but only because it seemed like an expensive solution. I then realized that the V8 Impala (perhaps the only one with the aluminum front subframe) is relatively rare, and the lower tooling cost of the fabricated aluminum design would offset the higher material costs.

To my knowledge the aluminum subframe is available with the v6 I could be wrong.To be honest I don't recall ever seeing a new impala without the aluminum powertrain subframe. And I have to say that I've only had to be doing suspension, and brake work on them so far. I'm not doing a lot of looking around under the hood. I've grown disenchanted with their quality, after having done many brake jobs and struts on cars with less than 35k miles.


Aluminum is not weaker than steel - it just takes a larger volume to reach the same strength, so essentially any structure can be made to the same strength in either material.

Agreed here, with a minor exception. Although it can be made as strong as steel, the structure is easier to damage due to impact and flexing. I've seen several come in through the door, with what would appear to be post production repair welds. I can't put a finger on who's doing the work but it's general appearance is substandard to what I've come to expect from machine welds.

Neither the unibody nor the aluminum would discourage me from towing with a vehicle... but this one is not intended for that purpose. For comparison, the antiquated Ford/Mercury Grand Marquis is a full-size traditional sedan with a steel body on separate steel frame, with no aluminum in sight (at least in the back), and as a result a massive towing capacity of... 1500 lb.

The only concerns I would have with towing behind the impala would be the road conditions, and the lack of a class 3 hitch. The road conditions could present enough of a hitch bounce to produce excessive flex in the unibody, although it might not make it past the hitch. As an installer I have come to find little faith in the class 1 and class 2 hitches, many of which are held on to the vehicle with only grade 5 fender washers through the spare tire tub, and grade 5 or even hardware grade u-bolts around the rear bumper struts. I allways recommend to the customer that the original components be replaced with higher quality fasteners. It seems silly to pay the price that you do for a hitch, when the manufacturers cut corners with low grade hardware.

This being said, I think it's possible to make the impala do the job. If you can't buy a class 3 hitch, buy the best you can. Find a way to get the best sway and load controll accessories you can for the job, and experiment with load balancing when you pack the camper. Many truck scales, will charge for the first weigh of the day, but allow free re-weighs within a 12 hr period. Your not weighing the whole trailer here, your trying to get the best balance of hitch weight to over axle load, for a smooth, less "bouncy" ride. This will reduce the stress on the chassis of the car.
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:16 PM   #11
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As an installer I have come to find little faith in the class 1 and class 2 hitches, many of which are held on to the vehicle with only grade 5 fender washers through the spare tire tub, and grade 5 or even hardware grade u-bolts around the rear bumper struts.
Scary stuff!
I would not consider towing with a hitch installed to the spare tire well sheetmetal. When I suggest that I think a Class 1 hitch is suitable, I'm assuming that it's properly attached - I guess I should have been saying that. My Class 2 hitch is fastened to the points provided for that purpose by Toyota, with the same six bolts used for the "Class 3" hitches for the same vehicle.

The fastener grade is an interesting point. I suspect that most people don't realize how much better original equipment automotive bolts are than common "hardware grade" (SAE grade 3 or lower) bolts.

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To my knowledge the aluminum subframe is available with the v6 I could be wrong.
No, I'll defer to much greater experience under these cars - I can believe they all have aluminum subframes. I only noticed the aluminum in the V8 Impala because that's the version I was curious about.

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Although it can be made as strong as steel, the structure is easier to damage due to impact and flexing.
The fatigue strength is an issue which must be addressed in design; that is a way aluminum use can go wrong, but it doesn't need to be a problem. My working example of durability in automotive aluminum is wheels: while long ago they gained a reputation for fragility, the reality for decades has been that under the constant flexing of load changes and impact of bumps and curb hits, aluminum wheels are durable. I've hit curbs in competition with both steel and aluminum alloy wheels (on the same car), and the alloys survived much better. I'm not worried about an aluminum subframe (well, I wouldn't be worried in a Toyota...).
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Old 07-17-2007, 10:54 PM   #12
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I once had a Pinto station wagon that I used to pull a small utility trailer. There was no place to mount the trailer hitch except the spare tire well, so I put a sheet of steel inside the well so the bolts wouldn't tear through.

Actually, I was more concerned about the well rusting through...
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