Hopefully help for a first time Scamp owner - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-02-2012, 04:56 PM   #1
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Name: Mark
Trailer: 1976 Scamp 13'
Oklahoma
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Hopefully help for a first time Scamp owner

Hello everyone,

I have what I hope is an extremely simple question. I have a 1976 13' Scamp. When I lower the tongue (not sure if I'm using the right term), the portion with the jack on it.

When I took the jack off my ball and hitch for the first time everything seemed fine. I lowered the jack and everything worked correctly until I reached a point about 2/3 of the way down. The jack refused to lower anymore and in fact I could tell it apparently wasn't used below that point as the paint was scraped off to that point and I also used paint remover to clear the rest off as well as a generous amount of WD-40.

My main question is two-fold. First, is it supposed to go lower than that? If not, how do you get the supports under the back of the camper? The only way I can even fit them under the camper at that angle is to push against the wood which I'm assuming isn't good. And even then it's a really tight fit and I know it's not a good idea to actually jack the trailer off the ground to level it.

Any help you can give me is much appreciated. If you need more information please let me know.

Thanks!
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Old 09-02-2012, 05:14 PM   #2
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Mark not sure how but your question has popped up on two threads. The first one appears here to save you from keeping tabs on two threads you may want to delete one.

You may not get many responses until Tuesday to your question - folks are out enjoying the last long week-end of summer.
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Old 09-02-2012, 05:23 PM   #3
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Name: Mark
Trailer: 1976 Scamp 13'
Oklahoma
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That was actually my fault. I realized there was a section for owners helping owners and thought this might be more appropriate.

No bumper stabilizers anywhere I can see.

Here are a few pics that can give everyone a better picture of what's going on.



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Old 09-02-2012, 05:40 PM   #4
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Trailer: '84 13' Scamp & '14 homebuilt Benroy Teardrop
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Hi Mark,
My '84 Scamp doesn't have a wheel on the tongue jack, just a flat plate. Can you remove the wheel? That might give you another few inches to lower the front in order to get jacks under the rear bumper.
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Old 09-02-2012, 05:43 PM   #5
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
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Looks like your axle is worn and the trailer sets too low, the tongue jack is probably at it's limit of travel, and your support jacks are too tall. A combination of problems.
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Old 09-02-2012, 05:49 PM   #6
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I agree with what Mary and Bob said, it looks like your axle is no longer supporting your trailer. Unfortunately: a) this is common on older Scamps, b) It takes an entire new axle to fix, c) the axle assy is welded in place on most Scamps and d) it's a real PITA.... Good Luck



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Old 09-02-2012, 05:54 PM   #7
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With a trailer that old, you should not be surprised if the tongue jack doesn't work at 100%. My 1986 jack has a mind of it's own,too. You will also find that if it's even working perfectly, the ground may not be level enough or the axle strong enough to get the trailer level with just the tongue jack. Therefore, I carry a scissor jack to handle the rest of the lowering operation. I put the scissor jack under the tongue ahead of the crank jack, lower the crank jack until the tongue is resting on the scissor jack, then move the scissor jack up until the tongue jack clears the ground. I then rotate the tongue jack up to horizontal, and continue lowering the tongue with the scissor jack. On some uneven ground, I almost get the scissor jack down to completely flat before the trailer is level. You will need to experiment as to how far to go to get your back supports under the rear frame. This will work for you at least until you get a new tongue jack ( or for sloping ground) or a higher riding axle. Temporary, cheap solution is the scissor jack.
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Old 09-02-2012, 06:04 PM   #8
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Name: Mark
Trailer: 1976 Scamp 13'
Oklahoma
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Thank you so much for all the help and comments. This really is a great community! It's one of the reasons in fact that I got interested in this style of camper.

If I did use the scissor jack would it still be safe to tow?
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Old 09-02-2012, 06:11 PM   #9
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Instead of the auto jack stands(which are too tall for the trailer frame), Camping World(and most RV places) sell a support which screws up in the center-available in two heights. They are pretty cheap.

As to your question "is it safe to tow?"-Is there any flex on the torsion axle? If someone jumps inside the trailer, does the body go up and down over the axle? The best/safest thing to do is replace the axle assembly-most good RV or welding shops can do it for you.
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Old 09-02-2012, 06:39 PM   #10
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Name: Mark
Trailer: 1976 Scamp 13'
Oklahoma
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I jumped on the middle over the axle and of course the whole camper moved. I didn't feel the floor buckle or anything though.

I figured replacing the axle would probably be the "right" thing to do.

Now to figure out how to pay for that. We saved for quite a while to get one in the price range we needed, but I should have been more knowledgeable in the first place.

The gentleman that sold it had it for more than 10 years and it was easy to see he wasn't trying to swindle us in the least. He was giving it up because his grown up kids didn't want to camp anymore. Ah well, live and learn.

Thanks again for your generous help and suggestions.
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Old 09-02-2012, 06:46 PM   #11
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Dennis, if there is movement when Mark jumps up and down over the axle, is that a bad thing or a good thing?
Sorry for the dumb question.
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Old 09-02-2012, 07:23 PM   #12
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Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Michigan
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What people are suggesting to test the axle is really testing the suspension, which is inside the axle. The wheels are on an arm that allows the wheels to move up and down. The suspension is rubber bar inside the main axle tube. The rubber "twists" to provide torsion for the arm.

You need to have one person do the bouncing while you watch under the trailer. Look at the arms that the tires are mounted to. They should be moving up and down. At least a little. There is another test involving how much room is there above the tire to the wheel well. If the rubber is shot the tire will ride really close.

These old scamps did sit low, that said it's also really old and the rubber does wear out. I talked to a trailer builder and he said around $600 to replace the axle with a new torflex that would take larger tires and up the ground clearance a bit. YMMV

Why are you trying to put jack stands under it? Is it to work on the underside or just have it level and stable when your inside?
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Old 09-02-2012, 07:24 PM   #13
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Trailer: 1972 boler American and 1979 Trillium 4500
Ontario
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I agree it looks a little low / probably need an axle. In the mean time you could drive it up onto blocks to raise the whole trailer. Your floor at the door should be about 10" off the ground and you should have at least 3" clearance between the top of the tire and the wheel well.

Lil,
Yes, movement is a good thing, but it should be the right amount for the right reasons.
The first few posts in this thread will give you an idea of what to look for:
Replacing an Axle - leading arm to trailing arm
Sometimes the bounce is due to the tires not the axle.
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Old 09-02-2012, 07:29 PM   #14
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Name: Mark
Trailer: 1976 Scamp 13'
Oklahoma
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The jackstands were primarily to stabilize it while we're in it. I had a fun experience getting in the back to test it out and when a couple people walked back as well we tipped backward. I'll take a few measurements and see what I can find out.

Thanks for the help, I know I sounded a bit whiney in my last post I was just a bit crestfallen.
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Old 09-02-2012, 07:43 PM   #15
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RogerDat-thanks for clarifying what I was trying to say about the 'bounce'. You were much clearer.
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Old 09-02-2012, 07:59 PM   #16
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Yes,
Good post Roger.
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Old 09-02-2012, 08:06 PM   #17
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Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
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Originally Posted by markism View Post
The jackstands were primarily to stabilize it while we're in it. I had a fun experience getting in the back to test it out and when a couple people walked back as well we tipped backward. I'll take a few measurements and see what I can find out.

Thanks for the help, I know I sounded a bit whiney in my last post I was just a bit crestfallen.

This is the jackstand that we have to keep trailer from tipping. Came with the trailer when we got it. Stand is 8" tall and the arm is just a bar welded to a nut that raises the big bolt going through the stand.




We get trailer level with front tongue jack, then lower it just a bit, put two of these under the rear bumper, adjust to just touching bumper then raise the front jack to put a little pressure on them.


Even without good suspension you can get away with local use on good roads for a little while to get some fun out of it while saving for an upgrade.

Looks like you need some bar keepers friend to scrub the trailer FG and the aluminum with, the results of that will get you over being crestfallen pretty quick. White pot scrubbing pad is also a good tool for clean up of the tough stains.

Here is a picture to give you some inspiration. Mine was in pretty rough shape when I got it and just cleaning and polishing (low cost work) made a world of difference.



It looked like your hinges were pretty worn sort of at an angle, did not see a door handle either. Did you know that scamp still sells these parts?

It's a special joy to bring one of the old ones back and it does not have to be a total gut and rebuild, just giving it some love to offset the neglect over the years can make a world of difference. It's a really neat camper, good luck!
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Old 09-02-2012, 09:49 PM   #18
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Mark no need to be crestfallen as the trailer is still very usable as long as the frame is solid. Lots of folks towing around old Scamps and Bolers that could use a new axle. Just take your time and start checking out prices around for one - and you will be ready for the day when you do have the funds to do it.

As I mentioned you can buy some interlocking leveling blocks and use those under the tires to get it up a bit in order to get the some small stabilizers under.

In the meantime get out and enjoy it.
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Old 09-03-2012, 06:30 AM   #19
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Trailer: 28' Bigfoot Silver Cloud
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Mark, I think you combined two thoughts into one question... "If I use the scissor jack, is it still safe to tow?" The scissor jack just slides under the tongue to use while camped. When finished, reverse the operation and store in your Scamp. It has nothing to do with towing. The axle may be safe for towing as long as your tires don't rub in the wheel wells. If you don't load it down too heavily while driving, you are probably OK. Use your tow vehicle as your storage place if you want to keep weight out of the Scamp. As noted earlier, there are a lot of old trailers out there that ride low. Check it for safety and use it until you have the money for axle upgrades.

By the way, I also use a couple scissor jacks to stabilize under the rear
bumper, too. You can get them really low and crank them up to the desired height.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:52 PM   #20
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Trailer: Lance 1985~'Casita de Campo' ~23' 4"~Dinette Slide Previously: Scamp 16 ft Side Dinette, Front Bath
New Mexico
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Mark, seems like you are getting good advise.

From the photos, I'd think the jack stands you have are too tall for the trailer. I'd not put anything under the wood floor, just the metal frame work under the Scamp to jack up or put pressure on.

Your jack stands might work placing them under the bumper.

You can replace the tongue jack (not too expensively), such as:
1000 Lb. Swing-Back Trailer Jack
If you need to get the tongue down lower in front. We had to drop our tongue down almost to the ground to level it out at one campground this summer.

A Scissor Jack could work, such as:
Scissor Jack - 1-1/2 Ton

Again, don't stabilize or jack the wood floor. Use only the Steel "Struts" or Frame for that.

Just one Scissor Jack in the middle of the Bumper should keep it from leaping up in front. Our Scamp salesman at the factory said he had ridden down in the 13s many a time. Needs something back there.

Ours have built on stabilizers on back:
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