grinding hitch-steep driveways - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-01-2015, 09:32 PM   #1
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Name: Bryan
Trailer: Scamp
Northern California
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grinding hitch-steep driveways

Hello,
We went camping in our Scamp for the first time recently. We towed the trailer about 10 hours down to the SoCal coast. It was a bit stressful at times pulling in and out of some gas stations, shopping centers, restaurants, etc., as sometimes I would grind the nut on the ball of the hitch on some of the steep ramps coming from those aforementioned places out to the street. The trailer looks to be mostly level with a slight slant forward. I went with a 3 1/4 inch drop hitch for a 2003 ford ranger 4x4 with stock size tires on a 15 inch rim.

My question is, do a lot of you have this same issue? I think the next size down in hitch drop is 2" which is somewhat the standard hitch. I am a bit worried that this would make me worry more about hitting the back end of the Scamp, rather than the hitch. Also, with the trailer slanted toward the back, wouldn't this be less than ideal for weight on the tongue, or would this not matter? I wish I had a photo to add, as this would probably help folks give me a better answer, but I do not have one showing the truck with trailer on level ground.
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Old 12-01-2015, 09:54 PM   #2
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Towing Tip #107
Whenever possible, enter and exit driveways on an angle to prevent scraping. The greater the angle the better.


You want the trailer to be level to slightly nose down.


You didn't mention what year Scamp you have, but if it is more that 15 years old the torsion axle may be worn and the entire trailer is lower than it should be. If you can post a side pic I am sure that several will chime in on that possibility.



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Old 12-01-2015, 09:59 PM   #3
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Ok sounds like my hitch height is OK then as it is at a slight nose down angle. I tried to ingress/egress at an angle as much as possible after realizing that taking it straight on wasn't such a good idea. I will try to post a pic soon asking about the overall height and possible axle problem. It is a 1998 so a bad axle could be possible.
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Old 12-02-2015, 09:38 AM   #4
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I had that problem both with steep entrances and when crossing highly crowned roads at intersections. At one point I bent my tongue jack and hitch receiver and had to replace them both at considerable cost and inconvenience.
I've since installed a jack-e-up. Store | Little House Customs
It's a simple device that allows me to remove the tongue jack while travelling and eliminate the possibility of that kind of damage.

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Old 12-02-2015, 09:57 AM   #5
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Name: Mike
Trailer: Bigfoot
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draging the ball/recever

I had the same problem in my driveway and other places so i went to dead level at the tongue. And went to 15" 205/75 15 and away from the 14" on my 1983 Bigfoot .things are way better ps i find dead level is best on tail waging the dog.Happy Trails
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Old 12-02-2015, 10:43 AM   #6
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I have installed the Ultimate Jack.

The Ultimate Jack | A-Frame Trailer Jack at its FInest!
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Old 12-02-2015, 11:48 AM   #7
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Arizona
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I just checked out the Ultimate Jack... it looks really great to be able to get the jack up flush... to install, does the current jack have to be cut off? or do they exchange pretty easily, of course, I can't do this work, but I like to understand how things work ?
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Old 12-02-2015, 12:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teal View Post
I just checked out the Ultimate Jack... it looks really great to be able to get the jack up flush... to install, does the current jack have to be cut off? or do they exchange pretty easily, of course, I can't do this work, but I like to understand how things work ?
Teal

I had the same attachment triangle that ultimate jack.

I just had to undo my existing jack and replace it with the new.

For operation it is simply that the inner tube is perforated with several holes which lock the desired height with the small barrure you can see on the video.

Is that when you tie your remoque to your vehicle, you simply remove the barrure and slide the inner tube at the top and replace the barrure, that nothing hangs on the go ...
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Old 12-02-2015, 12:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teal View Post
I just checked out the Ultimate Jack... it looks really great to be able to get the jack up flush... to install, does the current jack have to be cut off? or do they exchange pretty easily, of course, I can't do this work, but I like to understand how things work ?
Teal
I think it depends on what kind of jack you have now. Late model Scamps use a center-mount jack that bolts to a mounting plate between the A-frame rails just behind the coupler. If that's what you have, it's a simple swap.

Earlier Scamps used a side-mount foldaway jack welded to the outside of the A-frame. It that's what you have, you may not have the mounting plate needed for a center-mount jack. If not, modification will be required.
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Old 12-02-2015, 03:16 PM   #10
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where can i get one of those jacks ? and can you pull it out the top.
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Old 12-02-2015, 03:29 PM   #11
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Google "Ultimate Jack"



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Old 12-02-2015, 03:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilles View Post

How does the Ultimate Jack prevent hitch bottoming out on steep driveways?
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Old 12-02-2015, 04:35 PM   #13
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In many cases the jack will me into contact at the same time, sometimes causing considerable damage to the jack and, on occasion, the trailers frame. The ultimate Jack allows the easy removal of the entire jack.



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Old 12-02-2015, 06:47 PM   #14
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Name: Donald
Trailer: Scamp 16
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Grinding Hitch - Steep Driveways.

Hey HappyScamper 76, yeah I have had the same problem in the past. But beware, as most of the discussion about jacks and trailer axle will not solve the problem of the nut holding the ball on the hitch dragging the ground. You must raise the height of the nut to avoid the dragging condition. Some ways to do this include:

1. Reduce the weight on the hitch...by adjusting the load in the trailer or on the tongue.
2. Adjust the weight in the back of the Ranger to move it forward towards the cab...or reduce the weight in the back of the Ranger.
3. Add air bags or helper springs to the rear of your Ranger to raise the height of your loaded Ranger. Helper springs are cheaper and require no extra effort on your part after installation. Air bags require adjustment of the air pressure each time.
4. A weight distributing hitch...expensive , not otherwise needed, and may lower the ground clearance of your trailer, shifting the dragging problem to the rear trailer bumper.

Your assessment of changing to a 2" drop hitch is correct that it will lower the bumper of your trailer, simply moving the problem from one end to the other end.

Also, know the weight of your loaded trailer tongue and the weight in the back of your Ranger.
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Old 12-02-2015, 07:17 PM   #15
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The Ultimate Jack is available from Tractor Supply, and at least around here they are usually in stock.

Walt
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Old 12-02-2015, 07:59 PM   #16
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One of the unique problems I have observed and experienced when towing 13' FGRV's (I have had three), is that when they are tongue high (vs. Level or slightly nose down) is that they can tend to get a little light on the hitch at speeds over about 55 MPH (Where legal of course)


This sorta suggests that something that Pilots know as "Ground effect lift" is pushing up on the front of the trailer, shifting weight towards the back and contributing to possible stability issues.


Only a theory, but one I have experienced on both a 13' Scamp and a 13' Little BigFoot when they were towed a bit on the high side.


That said, if the trailer is already level, raising the hitch for clearance reasons may induce a more critical problem than an occasional ground scrape.



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Old 12-03-2015, 12:57 AM   #17
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I have had the same problem in SoCal, hardly anywhere else.
The only way to maintain the proper attitude of your trailer while being towed and correct your dragging problem is to raise the frame of the trailer which would allow you to raise your ball height.
Putting a spacer between the axle and frame mount, changing the axle or bigger tires are the only ways I know of to do that.
Personally I'm just careful going over those issues and don't worry about it.
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Old 12-03-2015, 04:08 AM   #18
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Yup, I did a 3" lift because of tail dragging too. Have had no problems with sway or anything else with it. I think any comments of possible CG is a moot point with an egg. YMMV
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Old 12-03-2015, 08:02 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FRED SMAILES View Post
I have had the same problem in SoCal, hardly anywhere else.
Funny you say that… The worst driveway I have yet encountered was a gas station in the hills west of Riverside, CA. I swung around and pulled into traffic at an angle at least 60 degrees off perpendicular. Very slowly. Success!

Quote:
Originally Posted by FRED SMAILES View Post
Personally I'm just careful going over those issues and don't worry about it.
My idea, too. My replacement center tongue jack protrudes a bit further than the original factory jack (which the PO mangled, thankfully with no collateral damage), maybe 4-5", so it seems more vulnerable than the nut on the ball. In three years, with care, I haven't had a strike. The Ultimate Jack is tempting, though…

I agree that merely raising the front of the trailer, if it creates a tongue-up attitude, is likely worse than doing nothing.
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Old 12-03-2015, 08:42 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borrego Dave View Post
Yup, I did a 3" lift because of tail dragging too. Have had no problems with sway or anything else with it. I think any comments of possible CG is a moot point with an egg. YMMV
My comment concerning possible stability issues pertained to actual experiences, when the hitch height was raised above level, not the entire trailer. In my examples, the stability problem experienced at speed was corrected when the hitch height was lowered to bring the trailers down to level. (BTW: Same trailers, same TV's)

This condition may be more common on 13' trailers as the hitch ball to axle center is much shorter. But that's only a guess. If someone want to build a hitch system that measures changes in actual hitch weight at different speeds and chassis attitude this may be proved or disproved. Until then, I am sticking with my story ... LOL

FWIW: One only need read the final report on the 1982 Air Florida crash in Washington, DC to know the meaning of "Ground Effect Lift".



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