Buying a hitch/ball - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-27-2015, 03:31 PM   #1
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Name: Michelle
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Buying a hitch/ball

I am getting ready to drive 4 hours to look at and hopefully purchase my first Fiberglass RV, a 2007 16" Scamp. My 2015 Nissan Pathfinder 4wd with tow package has a 5000 weight towing limit. After I get this trailer I am considering installing the back hitch on the trailer (I saw Scamp makes this part) to fit my Thule 5 bike hitch rack which I realize will make the back of the trailer heavier. I'm planning to go to UHaul for the hitch but am wondering about the weight distribution hitch. I assume I would need the trailer with me in order to get this style of hitch. I'm considering it due to the bike rack being heavy, do I need this? In the meantime I am not sure if I need the 2-1/4" or 3-1/2" drop on the normal starter package Uhaul sells. I am planning on using this trailer a lot and on long hauls through the mountains so I would like the best setup possible. I am traveling alone with my 3 small kids so am trying to buy a new enough trailer and set everything up well enough that we will have minimal risk of breakdowns/issues.

Thanks!
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Old 05-27-2015, 04:02 PM   #2
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I can maybe give you a bit of help with the hitch drop. Scamp recommends a hitch height of 21". Measure from ground to center of the reciever on your Toyota. Subtract 21" from that measurement. Subtract 2 or 3" for the ball height and that should get you in the ball park for the amount of drop you need.
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Old 05-27-2015, 04:04 PM   #3
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Putting a hitch receiver on the back of a trailer has some risks associated with it. It should be on your bumper, and the next cross member on the frame. There is a lot of torque on it when it is loaded up with bikes.

A weight distribution hitch is designed to cope with a heavy tongue weight. Your problem will be not enough weight on the tongue. So, not necessary.

There are several threads that discuss your exact question:
bike rack on back of Casita
Bike Rack on Scamp 13'
Installation of bike rack on Trillium
Best option for bicycle rack?
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Old 05-27-2015, 05:35 PM   #4
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Thank you for the advice!
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Old 05-27-2015, 05:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shechelle View Post
After I get this trailer I am considering installing the back hitch on the trailer (I saw Scamp makes this part) to fit my Thule 5 bike hitch rack which I realize will make the back of the trailer heavier. I'm planning to go to UHaul for the hitch but am wondering about the weight distribution hitch. I assume I would need the trailer with me in order to get this style of hitch. I'm considering it due to the bike rack being heavy, do I need this?
Thanks!

I pull a 16' Scamp with a Nissan Frontier and do not need a weight distribution hitch. BUT I am carefull to make sure I stow items ahead of the axle to balance the trailer out.

I personally would NOT put a Thule 5 bike hitch on the rear receiver of my Scamp no matter what. You may want to talk to Scamp but I seem to think there is probable a weight limit on what you can put on the receiver and I am guessing but I suspect its going to be under 200lbs. I have owned several Thule bike racks over the years - none where 5 bike and all 4 bike and they were VERY heavy - most in the 40lb range if not heavier. So putting one on the rear of the Scamp and adding just two mountain bikes has the total weight back there climbing fast! I don't know if anything has changed of late in the weights of the Thule racks but it would be worth looking into.

I for the longest time when traveling with mountain bikes or old style heaver road bikes put them inside the trailer or on the roof of the tug to avoid the problem of the weight of the bikes and the rack on the rear of the trailer. When I switched to much lighter carbon fiber type road bikes I sold one of my heavy Thule racks and purchased a much lighter rack to use on the rear of the trailer. The Kuat Beta 2 bike rack only weighs 11lbs and is probable the most stable of all the bike racks I have owned. Does very little wiggling while traveling. Kuat use to make a 3 bike rack called an Alpha that you can still get online that weighed 13lbs. Kuat does offer some 4 bike racks but the weight of them jumps up again to 30lbs or more.
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Old 05-27-2015, 05:42 PM   #6
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You may want to do a search for the threads on some of the problems people have had with rear mounted bike racks and sway issues. A roof mount on your tug would eliminate that, although loading/unloading would be more difficult.
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Old 05-27-2015, 05:55 PM   #7
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I have been reading some of the other threads. But you can buy a new Scamp with the rear receiver that it would seem was designed for a bike rack?? I will have 3 kid mountain bikes and 1 adult bike on there but the Thule rack is very heavy itself. I will have 3 kayaks on the car. I may have to go ahead and put the bikes inside the Scamp. Or maybe I can fit two bikes on the roof with 2 kayaks (Thule stacker) and two bikes on the front of the vehicle with some type of receiver up there, I just saw a pic on another thread.
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Old 05-27-2015, 07:11 PM   #8
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I for the longest time when traveling with mountain bikes or old style heaver road bikes put them inside the trailer or on the roof of the tug to avoid the problem of the weight of the bikes and the rack on the rear of the trailer. When I switched to much lighter carbon fiber type road bikes I sold one of my heavy Thule racks and purchased a much lighter rack to use on the rear of the trailer. The Kuat Beta 2 bike rack only weighs 11lbs and is probable the most stable of all the bike racks I have owned. Does very little wiggling while traveling. Kuat use to make a 3 bike rack called an Alpha that you can still get online that weighed 13lbs. Kuat does offer some 4 bike racks but the weight of them jumps up again to 30lbs or more.[/QUOTE]

Thanks for this Carol, I think I will get the double Kuat rack and either put the other 2 on the top or front of the vehicle or else try and get them inside. I looked it up and this Thule rack is 38 lbs just for the rack.
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Old 05-27-2015, 07:21 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
....You may want to talk to Scamp but I seem to think there is probable a weight limit on what you can put on the receiver and I am guessing but I suspect its going to be under 200lbs. ...

FYI, Scamp told me the limit was 300 lbs (on a 2015 16 Std. when THEY install the hitch receiver) However you are correct that the effect on tongue weight is more of a concern. If you put 300 on the back of the trailer I would guess that would lighten the tongue a lot and likely be a problem.
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Old 05-28-2015, 11:28 AM   #10
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You want as much weight as possible low & directly over the axle. The further from the axle the weight is the harder it is to control (resulting in sway issues). You also want 10-15% of the weight of your trailer sitting on the hitch. In thoey very low trailers hitched to low cars can go as low as 8%, but not with a truck or SUV height vehicle. More or less weight again will cause problems, especially less weight. The heavy rack & bikes way back there have a LOT of leverage because they are so far back.

Most of the time people resort to sway control devices is because they aren't properly loading or balancing their trailer.

When the tug & trailer are hitched up on level ground the trailer frame should be level. If not get the appropriate size drop hitch to make it level.

Sent from my A0001 using Fiberglass RV mobile app
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Old 05-28-2015, 12:06 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by shechelle View Post
I have been reading some of the other threads. But you can buy a new Scamp with the rear receiver that it would seem was designed for a bike rack?? I will have 3 kid mountain bikes and 1 adult bike on there but the Thule rack is very heavy itself. I will have 3 kayaks on the car. I may have to go ahead and put the bikes inside the Scamp. Or maybe I can fit two bikes on the roof with 2 kayaks (Thule stacker) and two bikes on the front of the vehicle with some type of receiver up there, I just saw a pic on another thread.

Yes you can buy a new Scamp with a rear hitch receiver but that does not mean you can put an unlimited amount onto the receiver. The rear receivers on the trailers are attached on the underside to the trailers main frame. One needs to be careful not to put to much strain onto the frame of the trailers or you will have yourself a pretty big repair issue to deal with. Not to mention the not so nice towing experience putting all that extra weight to the rear extreme of the trailer can cause. Add to that the further the rack sticks out from the rear of the trailer (& a 5 bike rack will stick out) and the more the items on the rack wiggle around will simple add to excitement of towing.

You might want to check what the load weight rating is on your vehicles roof....not just the load rating on the roof racks. I know on my old tug for example that it was not up to the load rating to carry the weight of two fiberglass double kayaks for example but fine for two singles.

It may be that you need to reconsider your tug and trailer chooses if you are wanting to bring ALL you have listed on every trip.

Keep in mind you need to watch what your vehicles total GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) is. That is the maximum operating weight of a vehicle including the vehicle itself, fuel, accessories, driver, passengers and cargo & the trailers tongue weight. The GVWR number should be on the sticker on the door. With 4 people & their stuff, 3 kayaks on the roof, a couple of kids bikes on the roof & trailer attached you *may* be pushing it. I don't know what the numbers are for the Pathfinder but I know my midsize Nissan Frontier with a slightly higher tow rating does not have a big pay load capacity, when compared to a full sized truck, so with trailer attached & one passenger and dog I actually need to watch I don't overload the rear of it with to much heavy stuff.

Or it may be that you need to decide what stuff you really need to bring and not bring on your trips. Maybe bring the bikes one trip but not the kayaks or just the bikes and no kayaks.
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Old 05-28-2015, 02:58 PM   #12
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My kayak is 39 lbs and am considering a small sit on top. I have an inflatable paddleboard I carry in the car. I decided just to use the Thule rack without the trailer and will purchase that super light rack for 2 bikes and put the other two in car or 1 on top. My roof rack is rated to 200 lbs, I got Thule crossbars instead of factory bars and try are extra wide. My canoe is 65 lbs but am leaving that at home in favor of the kayaks since I can't load the canoe myself and the kids are still too small to help. I will try it around the area for awhile but my goal next year is to be on the road all summer.
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