Checking a Old Scamp Frame for cracks - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-08-2016, 07:20 PM   #1
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Checking a Old Scamp Frame for cracks

i haven't any reasons or clues to think my 1978 Scamp 13 may have a cracked frame, but would like to be sure that it's doesn't, and have it fixed if it does.

Being somewhat well-fed (and short and round in shape) I will need to jack the trailer up to provide room for me to climb underneath.

Where should I place the floor jack to do the least damage? Under the axle or beside the axle, etc.?

And, where are the locations where most cracks appear on the Scamp frames?

Any, and all, information and comments will be appreciated!

Bill
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Old 01-08-2016, 07:31 PM   #2
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Jack on the frame near the axle, never on the axle itself. For safety, I'd recommend putting the trailer up on jack stands while you crawl underneath. Like the jack, place the stands on the main frame rails near the axle.

The most likely places to find frame cracks are toward the front, especially where the A-frame bends under the front of the cabin.
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Old 01-08-2016, 07:45 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Jack on the frame near the axle, never on the axle itself. For safety, I'd recommend putting the trailer up on jack stands while you crawl underneath. Like the jack, place the stands on the main frame rails near the axle.

The most likely places to find frame cracks are toward the front, especially where the A-frame bends under the front of the cabin.
Thanks Jon for the information. i will follow you advice.

I have two jack stands, and will lift only one side of the trailer at a time, using the jack stands on that side.

I had a high school friend who jacked up his very old car using one of the old type bumper jacks, and then climbed underneath. The jack slipped sideways, and my friend spent the rest of his short life in a wheelchair!

Bill
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Old 01-08-2016, 07:57 PM   #4
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Myself, I'd put both sides up on stands at one time. Then there's no possibility of a wheel rolling while you're underneath. Deploy the rear stabilizers, too.

Very sad about your friend. Something you never forget. I had a close call myself many years ago, so I never take shortcuts.
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Old 01-08-2016, 08:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Myself, I'd put both sides up on stands at one time. Then there's no possibility of a wheel rolling while you're underneath. Deploy the rear stabilizers, too.

Very sad about your friend. Something you never forget. I had a close call myself many years ago, so I never take shortcuts.
Jon, I'll tell my dear, long suffering, wife that you recommend that I use four jack stands...as a safety feature! So, I HAVE to buy two more jacks!

Yes, you are right about never forgetting, My friend has been gone for many years, but, I still remember him, and only by the grace of God, or blind luck, more of us guys were not hurt doing stupid things like that.

Bill
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Old 01-08-2016, 08:18 PM   #6
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Sorry, Bill, can't help you there… you really only need two.

You want them near the axle, one per side, because that's the part of the frame that is designed to support the whole weight of the trailer. Deploying the rear stabilizers keeps the tongue planted.

But you can tell your wife anything you want…
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Old 01-08-2016, 08:43 PM   #7
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This is what I use when I want to work under my trailers. I leave it hooked up to a vehicle or one of my tractors.
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Old 01-09-2016, 02:39 AM   #8
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Bill, our 13' Scamp had slight bending where Jon said to check, the "A-frame"
where the tongue starts to go under the front of the trailer. We welded thick supports to this area. Later we found cracks just behind the axle but still under where the axle brackets were welded to the axle. I had a trailer builder remove the axle, weld the cracked areas and add new square tubing and a flexi-ride axle at the same time. I have read where it is also common for the frame to fracture just in front of the door, but ours was fine. Your really have to get up close with a good light, wheels off, and a wire brush to be able to really check out the frame. Best of luck with your PM project.
Dave & Paula
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Old 01-09-2016, 02:54 AM   #9
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I have done EXTENSIVE repair to the frame of my scamp. I have been in the 'Mechanicing' business for 40 years. I would NEVER jack a Scamp up by the frame. Put the jack under the axle close to the wheels!
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Old 01-09-2016, 05:46 AM   #10
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I have done EXTENSIVE repair to the frame of my scamp. I have been in the 'Mechanicing' business for 40 years. I would NEVER jack a Scamp up by the frame. Put the jack under the axle close to the wheels!
You had better do some investigation about travel trailers. Everything from the electrics to the axle are different than what you're "Mechanicing" on for 40 years. I'd suggest you check out the manufacturer brand of the axle on your Scamp.

For any newbie, Danny has given the incorrect advice in his post. That's okay, we allow do-overs.
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Old 01-09-2016, 07:14 AM   #11
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Yep spoken like someone who knows all the answers to all the questions. Sorry, but the frame on one of these things is WEAK. Do you not realize that the Axle carries all of the weight of the trailer and is made of Much Stronger steel. BTW.....screws and nuts work better than rivets! AND Silicone caulk has it's place on a Scamp as well!
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Old 01-09-2016, 07:23 AM   #12
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Yep spoken like someone who knows all the answers to all the questions. Sorry, but the frame on one of these things is WEAK. Do you not realize that the Axle carries all of the weight of the trailer and is made of Much Stronger steel. BTW.....screws and nuts work better than rivets! AND Silicone caulk has it's place on a Scamp as well!
The axle is also a hollow tube. You know that right? And if lifting on it, it may collapse and deform. If it deforms at the point where the rubber torsion exists you'll pinch the rubber and it won't rotate properly, effectively creating a dead axle.

And silicone is fine on the interior, but on the exterior it will solve a temporary issue and can become a permanent problem.

I don't expect you to believe me. Do some research here on FiberglassRV. There are thousands of posts and just as many members who are of the same inclination as what I've posted. We can't all be wrong...

But Danny, you do what you want to your trailer. After all, it's yours. I just worry about newbies getting incorrect information.

Have a good day!
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Old 01-09-2016, 07:32 AM   #13
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Danny, here's some information from Dexter Axle. Note what I highlighted in tip #17.
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Old 01-09-2016, 08:09 AM   #14
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I started to say much the same thing as Donna. The axle tube is not a weight-bearing component in a torsion axle set-up. Suffice to say that both Scamp and Dexter agree: jack on the frame near the axle, not the axle itself. Scamp recommends just behind the axle on the large 1"x3" main frame rail.

Scamp's recommendation is here. See the video entitled "Tires and Bearings." Here's a screen shot of the recommended jack point (viewed from rear of trailer):

Name:   ScampJack.jpg
Views: 131
Size:  36.6 KB

Dexter's recommendation is here. Here is a direct quote related to jacking: "Dexter recommends that you do not jack up the trailer on the suspension components because there is always the potential for damage. Bent hangers, leaf springs, or axle tubes can cause bad axle alignment with bad tire wear resulting. Also, many trailer builders do not use Dexter hangers and we have no idea how strong these hangers may or may not be. Therefore, we take the conservative approach and recommend jacking up only on the trailer frame."

I'd guess it's one of those things where you might do it once and not suffer any consequences; you might do it a hundred times. You are also correct that the Scamp frame is very lightweight. Jacking on the wrong part of the frame, especially the corners, could also do a lot of damage. But if the main frame rail where the axle is mounted is too weak to jack, you probably shouldn't be pulling that trailer down the highway.
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