HELP! 13ft Scamp Deluxe VERY difficult to tow - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-20-2006, 09:38 PM   #29
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I'm lucky to be able to reach 65 or 70. Its not a problem for most other people towing things to reach this speed or more, with MUCH less powerful/equipped tow vehicles, with MUCH bigger trailers. Its embarassing.

Also, please lets not turn this into a discussion on safety/towing under 50mph, etc...while I respect those views, I am looking at realistic situations. I need to be able to get up the tiniest of hills and the smallest whoosh of wind without going into 2nd gear foot to the floor 9 miles a gallon 4500rpm at 30mph.
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Old 06-20-2006, 09:51 PM   #30
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My Boler B1700RGH will not lock the tires, under any reasonable brake current. It does brake well under normal conditions, but at some point it just can't brake any harder, and the brakes cannot overcome the available tire traction to lock the wheels. This is expected, according to the brake controller (Cequent/Tekonsha Prodigy) manual, in some combinations of trailer weight and brake size.

I believe the problem in my trailer is that one pair of 10"x2.25" brake drums just are not enough for almost 3000 lb of vehicle. Jeff's brakes are likely (and here I acknowledge I'm guessing) the 7"x1.25" drums as shown for the 1000 - 2200 lbs capacity axles (the #9 series of Torflex) from Dexter. That's about the size I see in the rear end (the easy-to-brake end) of the small Toyota and Hondas I have owned, and their curb weight is only about a ton total. Too little brake, so not enough ability for severe braking, and no wheel lock in testing.

If the axle is another brand, there are links (including the Dexter one) in FiberglassRV's Helpful-Links section, but I think the situation will be similar.

As for the drag, I think that some recent posts have hit the relevant point: the axle may be overloaded, the rubber which serves as both springs and bushings to control alignment may then be overly distorted, so the trailing arms are no longer parallel under the rolling drag at speed, and thus the wheels are no longer properly aligned. The description sounds like an air drag or hill climbing problem, but perhaps those situations are just the last straw. Wheel misalignment would cause lots of drag, and cupping tire wear.

I would very quickly leave any shop which claimed to perform wheel alignment work, and did not understand how to check a trailer. The design is fundamentally the same as the rear suspension of many vehicles, including my Toyota Sienna - it's trailing arms. Regardless of the design, they just need to clamp on their hardware and measure toe and camber.

Please keep in mine that I have not experienced the potential axle problem, and am only trying to help interpret what has been said, in the context of my understanding of how rubber torsion axles are constructed.
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Old 06-20-2006, 10:49 PM   #31
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Quote:
Its not a problem for most other people towing things to reach this speed or more, with MUCH less powerful/equipped tow vehicles, with MUCH bigger trailers. Its embarassing.
I hear you. My Honda never had any "difficulty" pulling my Fiber Stream up a hill going 75 miles per hour. While doing that my engine speed would be at 3500 rpm (but not red-lined) and my fuel consumption was 10-1/2 to 11 mpg, (In a vehicle that is capable of 27 mpg when not towing). (Yes, Byron, I have seen the light and repented.)

I get the feeling that something is causing friction somewhere in your suspension system. You state that when the trailer is jacked up, the tire spins freely. But under that circumstance, you have also taken the pressure off of the torsion axle, as well as the wheel bearings. You haven't isolated those two separate functions. If only there were a way to test with the pressure off of the bearings, but on the torsion axle.
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Old 06-20-2006, 11:00 PM   #32
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Trailer: 1972 boler American and 1979 Trillium 4500
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Quote:
I'm lucky to be able to reach 65 or 70. Its not a problem for most other people towing things to reach this speed or more, with MUCH less powerful/equipped tow vehicles, with MUCH bigger trailers. Its embarassing.

Also, please lets not turn this into a discussion on safety/towing under 50mph, etc...while I respect those views, I am looking at realistic situations. I need to be able to get up the tiniest of hills and the smallest whoosh of wind without going into 2nd gear foot to the floor 9 miles a gallon 4500rpm at 30mph.
Tire Cupping @ 5000 miles indicates a problem.
Many axles have a tag on them describing the weight they were designed to carry, check that and your trailer tags where the serial # or VIN is as the max weight is listed there as well.

As for the safety discussion. I'm gonna say one thing to consider. Many suggest you pull 75% of your vehicle max. You are pretty close to that with what you've said so far, but can't tell because you mentioned adding propane tanks. 2480lbs/3375lbs X 100% = 73.5%
Now does your Tow Vehicle manual say anything about max frontal area for a towed trailer? mine does.

And here is a page on Tire FAQ's that says:
"Research indicates that the average vehicle is driven about 15,000 miles per year. A vehicle with a toe alignment just .34 degrees (.7 inches) out of specifications has dragged it's tires sideways for 85 miles by the end of the year. This will result in premature tire wear out, tire cupping and also decreased fuel economy."

One last question, are you driving in OD on the hills?
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Old 06-20-2006, 11:06 PM   #33
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I'm sure this is an obvious question and you've thought of it. Just to be sure, have you looked at the wheel well with the tire off for rub marks, primarily where the tire would rub when the suspension bottomed out?
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Old 06-20-2006, 11:19 PM   #34
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Hi Roy...

Thanks for the advice. I've checked my frontal area, and I'm way under the maximum square footage indicated by my manuals. As far as the weight of my van, it weighed at 4400lbs fully loaded. As such, I'm still way under my GCWR.

As far as the cupping, it is very slight; no "wear" as far as decrease in treadlife per measuring treadwear, but the outer edges are simply slightly cupped. No one has answered this, but with such a simple axle set-up, how would you ALIGN this axle set-up, and who would be equipped or knowledgable to do it???

I have a 3speed Torqueflight transmission in the Caravan, all the other tow vehicles are manuals. I could NEVER tow in overdrive; the rig would just slow down. Hills are tackled in 2nd gear, the big climbs in 1st at 10-15mph.

I have always thought of the idea of friction under load at speed...but what would I have to do to check for this, and what could be the culprit??? Like I said, I have NO hint of even "warmth" on the rims after a long pull.

Also, I have no rubs or anything of the sort on the wheelwells or tires. I have plenty of clearance, and my suspension never really bottoms out.

Thanks for all the suggestions...
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Old 06-20-2006, 11:39 PM   #35
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How about the hubs, are they warm? (Someone I know has an infrared thermometer from Radio Shack that he uses to check hub temperatures and other vehicle parts after travel a few hundred miles.)
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Old 06-20-2006, 11:47 PM   #36
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Well, I've never really felt the actual hub. I have "Smoothie" rims on the trailer now, and have felt the rim, and the area around the lug bolts...but didn't grab the bearing cover or anything. When I had my blowout in Arizona, it was after a 5 hour straight run...and the wheel and hub were cool to the touch when I finally got the trailer off the ground...and this was after a massive sidewall blow-out.

Jeff
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Old 06-20-2006, 11:55 PM   #37
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What is the actual horsepower and torque of your engine? And the year?

And have you ever had someone drive behind you and see if the trailer is tracking straight with the van?
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Old 06-21-2006, 12:11 AM   #38
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My trailer has always tracked straight down the road, and I have followed it myself. The trailer does "lean" a little to the left; ie, the left (driver's) side is a little lower to the ground than the right when you look at the trailer from behind. But, I think this is normal for these trailers, as nothing is really "straight" on them. I can't really see how that could affect anything, and there is nothing really on each side thats in the same position to measure distance from ground to trailer for comparison. Maybe the rear bumper, but I never really measured it for the difference. How could I correct this, by the way? I doubt if its possible easily...

Also, I already listed the power/torque of my different cars. That's not the issue. The Trans Am and F-250 are more than powerful enough especially torque-wise to tow 2500 pounds. If other people's Honda minivans can tow MORE weight than I have with a fully loaded van...well, then power isn't the issue here. I've tested that with so many different cars and variables and always had the same result.
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Old 06-21-2006, 12:34 AM   #39
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It may, or may not be the issue, since the issue remains unresolved. There's been a lot of postings and I don't see offhand the specs on the Caravan. I do see "modified ram-air equipped open exhaust V6 Caravan". But if you don't think it's relevant, then it isn't.
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Old 06-21-2006, 01:04 AM   #40
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Sorry Patrick...thought I listed the specs of the Caravan. Its a 1992 Caravan C/V 3.0 V6 3spd Torqueflight Cargo/Conversion van. The van's engine as I stated, was COMPLETELY rebuilt with new valves, lifters, rod bearings, etc-the whole shebang. ("She bangs, she bangs...gotta love William Hung LOL). I never have any engine problems. The van has, among everything else, new, swapped, or reconditioned:

1) Fuel Pump & Fuel Filter
2) Fuel Pressure Regulator
3) 02 sensor
4) Distributor Cap and Rotor (distributor is original)
5) Magnecor Spark Plug Wires
6) Autolite Dual Platinum Plugs
7) No EGR valve on this van
8) New PCV valve
9) No Catalyitic Converter, new Flowmaster, dual exhaust 2.5"
10) K&N Air Filter with cold air induction/functional hoodscoop
11) 52mm throttle body with changed out TPS and idle motor (3 times in all)...throttle body, pintle, orifices, etc thoroughly cleaned
12) Coolant Temperature Sensor
13) MAP Sensor
14) EVAP system disconnected from the intake (purges to outside air, vacuum line on plenum capped)
15) Coil
16) Thermostat
17) Timing increased to approximately 15/16 degrees, always run 93 octane name brand fuel
18) All new relays for everything, Every single electrical connection cleaned/lubed with dialectric grease, all grounds reinforced, new master ground 4 gauge wire installed
19) Fuel tank flushed, lines flushed
20) New radiator, new hoses, new water pump
21) New oil pump
22) New alternator
23) New battery
24) New complete intake manifold
25) New HVAC check valve/reservoir
26) New transmission & torque converter
27) Unrelated new items: struts/springs (Quick Struts), air shocks, completely new brakes front and rear, new A/C system (everything but the evaporator), radiator and A/C fans, headlights, turn signals, cowl grille, license plate lights, paint, pinstripes, rear wing, roof rack, running boards, rims, tires, hood latch cable, emblems, wiper motors front and rear, front wheel bearings, steering rack, all new belts, A/C pulley, new motor mounts...basically EVERYTHING has been replaced...

I'm estimating my horsepower to be in the 190-200 range, same with my torque. Not a LOT, but like I said, compared with much higher horsepower/torque V8 RWD vehicles it makes no difference in towing this amount of weight.
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Old 06-21-2006, 05:00 AM   #41
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Hi Roy...

Thanks for the advice. I've checked my frontal area, and I'm way under the maximum square footage indicated by my manuals. As far as the weight of my van, it weighed at 4400lbs fully loaded. As such, I'm still way under my GCWR.

As far as the cupping, it is very slight; no "wear" as far as decrease in treadlife per measuring treadwear, but the outer edges are simply slightly cupped. No one has answered this, but with such a simple axle set-up, how would you ALIGN this axle set-up, and who would be equipped or knowledgable to do it???
You still have not said what the tags say about trailer weight and / or axle capacity.
For example my 13'er has a 1200 Lb axle.

I'm still trying to figure out how you get a 13' to weigh in at nearly 2500 Lbs when the original specs are 1000 Lbs. You are weighing in at more than the 19' 5th wheel. Something is screwy.

Axle alignment is built in when they are made if you are running a torsion flex. Plus when it is welded or bolted on. Any alignment shop should be able to give you readings off the trailer, you should be able to give Scamp a call and get the original specs. A good body shop with frame straightening equipment should be able to check your frame for you.

Does the trailer have a break away switch?
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Old 06-21-2006, 06:03 AM   #42
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Hi Jeff. I my years as a "Billy BigRigger" I found that a hard pulling trailer has 3 main causes.
Overload (to the tire capacities )
Poorly distributed loads
and under-inflated tires.
You mentioned that you blew the side wall out of a tire, I always associate that with underinflation
Just my humble observation
Martin
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