Scamp 13' tongue weight and water tank - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-28-2012, 09:47 PM   #1
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Name: Roamin
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Scamp 13' tongue weight and water tank

Hi, I have been experiencing that on my way out for a weekend of camping, when my freshwater tank is partially full, my vehicle (AWD Honda Element) and Scamp doesn't handle as well as it does when I am coming home with the freshwater tank empty and black water tank partially full. I weighed the tongue last time before heading out and it was only 70 lbs. I think it is supposed to be 150? I tried putting as much heavy gear as I could in the front bathroom to change the balance, but I really don't bring much heavy stuff with me and it didn't make a difference in the handling. That freshwater tank is at the very rear of the camper, and I only put around 8 gallons in it, which is only about 50 lbs., would that be enough to affect the handling? What I mean by handling is just a sort of vague sense of the camper not pulling that easily. It's not swerving or swaying or anything, it just feels like a lot of dead weight is behind me slowing me down. When I'm heading home and the freshwater tank is empty I zip along and barely even notice that the camper is behind me. I was just wondering if anyone else had noticed this or if anyone knows what might be going on?
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Old 10-28-2012, 10:04 PM   #2
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Heidi a tongue weight of 70lbs is way to low which can account for a real poor pull and some might suggest dangerous. If you have a bathroom put a little water into the black water tank as well. If there is anyway of avoiding putting water in the freash water tanks that would be good. Where do you carry your hoses, wheel locks, electrical cables etc? In the back of the car? If so you may want to start carrying in the trailer ahead of the axle to help with the tongue weight. What do you have stowed in your rear hatches - anything there that could be moved up front
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Old 10-28-2012, 10:46 PM   #3
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70#? Wow. Do you have a propane tank and battery on the tongue of the trailer?If you do, and the tongue weight is that low, you need to look at what's in the trailer(do you have anything hanging off the rear bumper?).
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Old 10-29-2012, 05:57 AM   #4
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Heidi, you may want to consider filling the water tank either at destination or close to destination rather than traveling with the additional weight on the rear.
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Old 10-29-2012, 06:08 AM   #5
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Name: Roamin
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Hi, me again, yes I do have a propane tank and a battery on the tongue, and nothing hanging off of the rear. I can move the extension cord up to the front, but other than that I don't have anything in that port rear compartment. The starboad side rear compartment is all taken up by the water tank. Donna I would have to carry jugs of water in the front closet and then put them into my tank on site, as I'm usually boondocking. But I can do that. Just seems really weird that the Scamp would be set up this way. Is there something about my hitch height or tongue length that could be the problem? Sometimes when I'm walking towards it in a parking lot it does look as though the Scamp is not level, with the tongue high. I did set it up with the 13" hitch height as it said in the manual.
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Old 10-29-2012, 06:23 AM   #6
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Heidi, can you post a picture?

It doesn't matter what it says in the manual, really. It's about matching the height to your particular tug and tow. You may need a bigger drop on the hitch? It's better to tow slightly tongue down than slightly tongue up too.
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Old 10-29-2012, 07:44 AM   #7
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My thoughts as I read through the string is that I’d spend some quality time with a level…

My driveway is pretty much level to begin with. So I’d put the level fore and aft on the floor then level the trailer. I’d measure the tongue height. Then I’d put the level in the reefer (fore and aft again) just to confirm it’s on the same fore and aft axis. If the reefer was a little different than the floor I’d probably level the trailer again to compare the tongue heights. Probably shoot to tow with the tongue height at about the average of the two level heights. The reefer wants to be level. It's not critical during towing but I like to shoot for mostly level during towing. Doesn’t change the tongue weight much but I’d be curious. You can’t always trust the bubble levels some trailers mount on the outside.

Another thought is to watch out for sneaky weight adds at the back of the trailer. Do you have a hot water heater back there? There’s 6 gallons or 48 pounds (“a pint’s a pound the world around!”) if you travel with the heater filled. 8 gallons of water in the water tank is more like 64 pounds.

What’s stored under the bed? What’s the bedding weigh? I don't really want to know, of course, just offering areas to think about.

All this stuff adds up.
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Old 10-29-2012, 08:01 AM   #8
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Scamp lists the tongue weight at 100 lbs and the trailer weight at 1200 lbs. Obviously both of these are low for all but a very basic model, so 70lbs tongue weight seems very low, especially for a bathroom model. Was the trailer level when you measured? To verify that it is indeed the tongue weight that is making things feel different, I would remove the spare tire from the rear of the trailer, wrap it in a blanket and place it inside the trailer on the floor over the axle. Then measure the tongue weight and take it for a ride just as if you were headed out and see if it makes a difference. If the tongue is high perhaps the change in weight lowers it enough to account for the change in driving dynamics? Raz
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Old 10-29-2012, 08:39 AM   #9
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The Scamp 13 here last weekend t/w was close to 300#, they do use the bath as a closet but still they have no sway issues. Definitely need to shift more weight forward and get at least 150 lbs. Your battery and propane should give you 70#, plus the trailer 90# plus add 4x gal water in containers- 32# should give you close to 200# which is where you want to be.
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Old 10-29-2012, 08:59 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
The Scamp 13 here last weekend t/w was close to 300#, they do use the bath as a closet but still they have no sway issues. Definitely need to shift more weight forward and get at least 150 lbs. Your battery and propane should give you 70#, plus the trailer 90# plus add 4x gal water in containers- 32# should give you close to 200# which is where you want to be.
Remember, the tow vehicle is a Honda Element.
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Old 10-29-2012, 09:29 AM   #11
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I believe the Honda is a 200# limit ?
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Old 10-29-2012, 09:35 AM   #12
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Name: Roamin
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Thank you everyone for putting your ideas down. Your posts got me thinking, so I just went out and weighed it again, and am wondering if I read the scale incorrectly the first time around. In one spot on the not-absolutely-level gravel driveway it was between 140 and 145 lbs. I filled the freshwater tank (welcome, Sandy) and emptied the blackwater, and the weight only changed by a couple of pounds. I unpacked everything else from last weekend and the weight did not change. Then I hitched back up and moved the Scamp to it's regular parking spot on a concrete pad that is pretty level, and weighed again, and the tongue weight was 175 with ~ 6 gal freshwater. So maybe that isn't a problem after all. Ball height though, I need to investigate that on a truly level surface. And maybe weighing it on a bathroom scale isn't good if the surface isn't completly level. Again, thank you everyone for your suggestions!
Um, what is a reefer?
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Old 10-29-2012, 09:40 AM   #13
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Refrigerator

Look into getting a sherline scale, more accurate seen here Sherline Trailer Tongue Weight Scale - 2,000-lb Capacity Sherline Tools 5780
measure level and with the scale in the hitch ball receiver
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:39 AM   #14
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Heidi, when you are weighing the tongue is it at the same height it would be if it was attached to the car?

You are always going to get a different tongue weight depending on the height of the tongue when you weigh it as the weight shifts - to low you will get a higher weight - to high and you will get a lower weight. Scamps suggests that the hitch when connected should be at about 18" high for a 13' Scamp. But as others have said hook it up and check it with a level - if at 18" its not level and high at the front drop it down until it is level or slightly down at the hitch. Most find slightly down to be the most solid tow and allow for the times you do tow with water in the tanks. I had to add a 3" drop down hitch to my car in order to get it right.

The hauling of water does add to the weight of the trailer and reduce gas mileage so I tend to get water as close to the camping area I am going so as to not tow it all the way there with me. Many/most gas stations have water hoses you can use to fill your tanks.
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