Axle Upgrade Questions - '81 Scamp 13ft - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-20-2010, 11:12 PM   #1
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 1981 Scamp 13 ft / 2005 Volkswagen Golf TDI
Illinois
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I'm doing a top-down restoration on an '81 Scamp 13ft. The droopy old Torflex axle is definitely due for replacement, just as it is with all of the other elderly trailers with this type of axle. I was considering buying a replacement unit with brakes from Scamp to eliminate any fit problems, but when I called them to get a price, the parts guy told me that I'd have to have the installer weld 2 inch square tubing blocks onto my frame before welding the new axle on. This got me doing some research (LOTS of good info on this forum) to figure out what is the best axle to buy. So:
  • Does anybody out there know anything about those 2 inch blocks? Is this how the new ones are built? Couldn't I just order a new axle from Dexter and ask to have the brackets flipped (vertical bracket surface to the outside, just like the old unit) and be good to go?
  • When I visited the Dexter web site, I saw that they now have self-adjusting electric brakes Nev-R-Adjust but only in 10" and 12" sizes. This means that I would have to buy a #10 axle (2300-3500lbs), which is the size used in the larger Scamps, instead of the original #9, which only fits 7" brakes. I'd really like to install self-adjusting brakes if I can. Have any of you installed a #10 axle on a Scamp 13ft? The mounting brackets on a #10 are 2.5" wide by 4.25" high, on a #9 they're 2" wide by 3.75" high. That should fit easily on the left side (after maybe having Dexter adjust the bracket spacing dimension appropriately), but that funky arrangement on the right side where the bottom of the axle bracket is welded to the outermost drop floor tube might be tough to line up correctly.
  • I see lots of people on this forum have installed axle mounting hangers (axle is bolted on to the hangers) instead of directly welding the axle to the frame, or plan to, or wish they had. Even without the complication of using a #10 axle, that right side construction I just described might make that hard to do on this particular trailer. Have any of you done this to a Scamp 13?
  • The Scamp owners manual states "Each spindle is set at 1/4 degree toe-in and 1/4 degree camber. Toe-in and camber can eventually go out of adjustment (blah blah blah) Have axle checked at an alignment shop and corrected if necessary." I wasn't even aware that these things could be adjusted. A bit of toe-out instead of toe-in might make the trailer a little less stable. I know some of you have flipped axles built for trailing-arm use to replace the old Scamp leading-arm units. How do these track? Did somebody "align" your axle?
I'm looking at those self-adjusting brakes because my VW Golf tug weighs under 3000lbs dry. The car is rated for 2000lbs tow capacity, and I have read about people towing 1000lb trailers over the continental divide on the TDI Club forum Show what you tow!. When I towed this trailer 90 miles home, it pulled just fine, but I'd hate to have to make a 65MPH downhill panic stop with a loaded Scamp. That, and I'm just too lazy to adjust 'em...
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:58 AM   #2
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Name: Roy
Trailer: 1972 boler American and 1979 Trillium 4500
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Hi Jon,
The short quick answers, I've done the 2x2" as a quick fix. Swapped an axle from leading to trailing. Etc.
There is no need to go a #10 the get the never adjust brakes. Unless you do a lot of towing, you'll know when they need adjustment. Better off getting the EZ lube. The bolt on brackets (hangers) are a small increase in price to never have to weld again.
Short answer is my Ranger stops better towing the 13' boler American with 7" e brakes than it does bob tailing it.
You should not need to adjust them all that often, better off greasing the bearings. Adjusting is simple if ever needed. Got a mechanic?
I am heading out till early August, but my axle swap post and related links should answer most your questions in the meantime.

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/in...howtopic=34543

If you order a stock dexter with brakes and install the axle as leading arm, you have to swap the L & R brakes to get them to work. Plus you have to watch your angles.

Dexter does not readily adjust their standards from accepted norms. Well they will for a $10G plus engineering and retooling fee.

Roy
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Old 07-21-2010, 04:09 PM   #3
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I have an 81 13 Scamp and replaced the axle two years ago. If you weren't around for the tale, here is the axle saga.
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Old 07-21-2010, 10:52 PM   #4
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Trailer: 1981 Scamp 13 ft / 2005 Volkswagen Golf TDI
Illinois
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[at]Greg A - That's quite the saga. Sort of reminds me of a Monty Python skit called Prawn Salad Ltd. Prawn Salad Ltd

[at]Roy in TO - I wasn't quite able to make out the details of your Boler's construction. I just shot these photos of the welding of the right axle bracket to show what I was talking about. The mounting bracket is a part of the frame structure because the right drop floor tube is partially supported by it. I'm trying to figure out how a hanger would take the place of this. Maybe I should just take it in to a full service trailer shop and let them figure it out - and let them take the risk of having to eat an incorrectly ordered axle.
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Old 07-21-2010, 11:23 PM   #5
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Call Dexter direct, they still build leading arm axles on request.
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:35 PM   #6
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Trailer: 1983 13 ft Scamp
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Cool

When I replaced my axle on my '83 a few years ago, I talked to the Dexter rep and he finally admitted there was no toe-in on the axle...... So, I just put it back in (welded it) just like it was- leading arm. Figured if it (a Torflex 1100#) lasted ok for 20+ years, the 2200#, 10 degree down Dexter should outlast me..... Larry
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:53 PM   #7
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Trailer: 1972 boler American and 1979 Trillium 4500
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon W View Post
The mounting bracket is a part of the frame structure because the right drop floor tube is partially supported by it. I'm trying to figure out how a hanger would take the place of this. Maybe I should just take it in to a full service trailer shop and let them figure it out - and let them take the risk of having to eat an incorrectly ordered axle.
Jon, the bracket kit is essentially a piece of angle iron cut to match the axle where yours is welded to the frame. From your pictures, it might be just as easy to match what Scamp did originally. It does not look like you have too much "wiggle" room. When I did mine the main part of the axle ends up under the lowered floor so the arms can be reversed.
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