HELP! 13ft Scamp Deluxe VERY difficult to tow - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-21-2006, 06:06 AM   #43
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Overloading the axle to even twice it's rating shouldn't cause drag, just a lack of suspension. A sidewall blowout, barring a tire defect, is usually caused by overloading and/or underinflation. The sidewall flex heats the tire until it fails.

Your post about the brakes and the prodigy not having a great deal of effect causes me to wonder a couple of things. First, you may in fact have a 1200 lb axle under your 2400 lb Scamp. That would have 7" brakes which wouldn't be all that effective on a 2400 lb trailer. Secondly, you mention that the wheels roll freely when the trailer is jacked up (and presumably not connected electrically to your tow vehicle) but the trailer is difficult to tow with ANY tow vehicle. Although you report that you're not recognizing any heating issues with the wheels I wonder if you don't have a wiring issue that is causing the brakes to come on as soon as you plug the trailer wiring into the tow vehicles. While it may not be a full-on braking condition, might they be getting enough to cause drag on the brakes? I would think that the Prodigy would indicate some fault, but I'm not an automotive electrician.

Just another thought...

Roger
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Old 06-21-2006, 06:57 AM   #44
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Roger

Our 13 foot Casita with 7 inch brake drums and a prodigy controller was capable of smoking the tires. It weighed in the 2200 lb range.

Jeff

Hook your trailer up. Find a straight level road with little traffic. While running about 60 mph shift into neutral. Just coast and see what happens. Then try the same with just the tow vehicle for a reference.

Nick
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Old 06-21-2006, 06:59 AM   #45
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If the brakes are adjusted to certain specs, and you overflex the axle, couldn't they drag under load wether they're hooked up or not?
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Old 06-21-2006, 08:24 AM   #46
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Nick's suggestion is excellent!

Maggie, there's nothing I can think of in the way of loading or overstressing an axle that would affect whether or not the brake shoes are in contact with the brake drum surface. You'd either have to signficantly warp a drum or experience a total wheel bearing failure that allows vertical movement of the hub on the spindle for that to happen (and at road speed, that condition wouldn't last long). Generally even when a drum gets out of round, the only thing that happens is that the brakes will "pulse" and/or you'll feel a "stuttering" from the trailer when you apply the brakes. The only thing that can cause them to drag all of the time is either misadjustment (which would show up as drag on the drums all of the time) or if there's electrical current reaching the magnets causing the brakes to be "on" all of the time when the trailer is attached to the tow vehicle.

What's puzzling here is that if the brakes are "on" all of the time to one degree or another, it should show up with the wheel getting substantially hotter than ambient air temps and/or the magnets should eventually "burn out" and the trailer brakes fail altogether. Neither seems to be the case in Jeff's situation.

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Old 06-21-2006, 08:40 AM   #47
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Hi Nick...

My problem is not an underpowered tow vehicle. I've towed this trailer with a 160hp 4cyl Neon, a 200hp turbo 4cyl Beetle, a modified ram-air equipped open exhaust V6 Caravan, a 315hp RWD 6spd 3.73 axle ratio suspension modified Trans Am, and a V8 F-250 Ford truck.

It feels the SAME regardless of what you tow it with. The Neon did just as good as any of the others. I'm not exaggerating my point. Something else is going on. I've towed heavier loads and bigger/square trailers with these vehicles and never once had a problem or a feeling of "not being able to go".
Your 2400+ weight is more than the axle is rated at!!!
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Old 06-21-2006, 08:41 AM   #48
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Jeff, I can only conclude at this point that your tow vehicle has inadequate HP and torque, despite your experience with the other tow vehicles. The trailers are so simple that barring a drag issue from brakes or heated axles, the inability to pull the load up a hill can only be the torque power and gearing of the Caravan. And your tow truck driver may have been kidding you about the hard time pulling it.

It's an Occam's Razor thing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_razor

And I think this is the proof: "The Neon did just as good as any of the others. " A 2004 Neon, for example, has a towing capacity of 1,500# with 135# of torque and a the 1998 model 1,000# (per Edmunds).

And I looked again at the Dodge Caravan Cargo for 2006, both engine sizes, and the towing limit is 1,800#. I don't recall if you posted your year.
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Old 06-21-2006, 01:37 PM   #49
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Trailer: 1997 13 ft Scamp Deluxe and 2006 Airstream 75th Anniversary International Bambi Prototype
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Wow thank you everyone so much for continuing to help me troubleshoot this...

Roy...I haven't been able to verify my axle rating yet. Kent at Scamp doesn't have that info at the moment...but he says that my trailer is the ONLY complaint he's EVER gotten regarding difficulty pulling...which I don't honestly believe. Regarding the weight of my trailer, it is a Scamp Custom Deluxe in Oak, with full front bath, microwave, stove, furnace, hot water heater, gray/black water tanks, full wraparound roof cabinets, TV built into the cabinet by the door, car minidisc recorder stereo w/cd changer and 4 6X9's, dual propane tanks, roof air, refridgerator, some small oak 4"X5" nick-nack holders on the front wall...I assumed my weight would be similar to any other comparably equipped Scamp Deluxe, maybe a little more. When I had it weighed at 2480 lbs, remember I had the trailer loaded with all the personal belongings I could fit on half the bed and under it due to evacuating from Hurricane Katrina. So, I'm sure that added a lot...but that was a realistic reading. BTW...I don't have a breakaway switch.

Martin...I've always paid attention religiously to my tire pressures and weight distribution. The trailer tracks amazingly well, and my tires are absolutely all (tow vehicle and trailer) kept at their maximum cold ratings (44psi at present) when towing. I believe my sidewall failure was due to non-use of the trailer parked in the hot swamps of southern Louisiana (even though I kept 303 on the tires) for about 3 years. The weight rating of the tires is much higher than the weight of my trailer. Also, the tire that blew was the passenger's side, which is the lightest of the two sides of my trailer.

Roger...I only recenlty on my evacution trip even hooked up the brakes on the Caravan. I didn't have the Prodigy even in the van, and had no wiring to the trailer connector, for the majority of my trip. I've checked the wiring at the brakes with the trailer both not hooked to the tow vehicle as well as hooked to the tow vehicle with the Prodigy on and disconnected at a stop for voltage...nothing. I don't have any extraneous voltage going to my brakes. I think the fact that my brakes are slightly ineffective is due to the fact that they have never really been used since new...just once, for about 1500 miles when I bought the trailer towing with the Neon. I've never serviced or used them besides that until the latter end of my evacuation from Katrina. I remember they made more of a difference when the trailer was new; ie, they "worked" more. The only reason I don't adjust the brakes themselves on the trailer is that I don't want to cause the chance of ANY more drag, and as I understand it...aren't these brakes adjusted the same as old fashioned car drum brakes, where you set them for a tiny bit of drag when you spin them??? Needless to say, I don't need anything else pulling me back. BTW, I have to set my Prodigy at all the highest settings for it to even seem like its doing anything as far as helping me slow down. And, I have proper voltage at the wiring just before the brakes themselves.

Patrick...the tow truck driver wasn't kidding. We went very slow for about 50 miles up hills in Utah. Other people that have towed this trailer weren't kidding. A 315 hp V8 RWD 3.73 rear axle ratio 6 spd 3500lb Trans Am with a correctly modified rear suspension should be able to to tow 2400 lbs like its not there. And, it SURELY should tow easier than a car with less than half its power. More power makes NO difference in this situation; its been tried. F-250's pull 30 ft 12 ft high fifth wheels up mountains (albeit slowly) easier than this trailer. I already posted my van's specs and its GCWR as well as its towing limits straight from my factory manuals.

I'm leaning toward the axle scenario....but some say that shouldn't make any difference in drag, and my trailer has plenty of bounce and doesn't bottom out....so I'm back at square one. How does an overloaded axle (assuming I may have one) contribute to drag if you're not losing shock ability and your trailer is at the normal height???

Thanks all again!
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Old 06-21-2006, 02:06 PM   #50
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I don't know how an overloaded axle would contribue to drag, I've never had this problem. I have had axles that were borderline for their purpose and failed, but both times they just blew out the wheel bearings. Underpowered, poor weight distribution, tremendously bad airflow, or friction. Oops, I almost forgot...or anchor. I am out of ideas. Good luck!
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Old 06-21-2006, 02:29 PM   #51
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Apparently on a car drum brake system, if you didn`t have a return spring to pull the shoes back after a brake application, the front shoe would apply brake pressure all by it self just by dragging on the drum and you would get more brake drag as the speed increased......now on an electric brake system the shoes operate differently and I don`t know if one of the shoes would apply brake pressure to the drum with an increase in drum speed....but since there was no real heating of the drum area, it kinda shoots that down..........another possibility is way too much toe in but then you`d also have high heat in the tires and the wheel.....so that`s out....either a couple of people are joshin with you and your vehicles` power is actually not enough, (which still doesn`t explain the Camaro).......I tow with a GMC pickup with about a 280 HP 4.8L V-8 and when I`m hooked to my 17' Boler, the truck has to really work into any head winds and won`t engage over drive at all unless I have a tail wind.....I think it would be a real dud in the real mountains...it tows the 13' like there was nothing on the back until it`s in the mountains and it struggles on the steep grades.......anyway, good luck on finding the real reason why you are having this problem.... ....Benny
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Old 06-21-2006, 03:05 PM   #52
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Hello again...

I've just been under the trailer, and can't find any markings or tags anywhere on the axle itself. Where would the axle's rating be listed on the axle specifically? Is there some part of the axle that I'm overlooking? Please give me details; the axle has a lot of surface rust, and its not easy to get under.

Jeff
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Old 06-21-2006, 03:23 PM   #53
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Trailer: 1997 13 ft Scamp Deluxe and 2006 Airstream 75th Anniversary International Bambi Prototype
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Just got off the phone with "Alan" at Scamp who has been with the company for 23 years. He's "never heard of a problem like this before". He doesn't think my axle is the culprit; he states that the axles on 13ft trailers have been 2200-2500lb axles for a "long time".

He had no idea of why I'm having this problem.

BTW...when under the trailer, I verified the cupping problem. Both tires are cupped on the outside edges, the right (passenger) side worse than the left. The right tire's outer blocks are easily 1/8" cupped, up and down. "Alan" stated that's usually due to the trailer not making good contact with the road due to the trailer being too light, which definitely is not my case. He has no clue either.

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Old 06-21-2006, 04:17 PM   #54
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Ethanol?
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Old 06-22-2006, 12:01 AM   #55
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It's a fascinating puzzle, because the answer is far from clear. Here's one new idea for an experiment. Rent or test drive some other travel tarailer of similar size and weight, if you can. Tow it behind a few of your vehicles and compare the results to your Scamp.

Also, if you want to test the rolling resistance of your wheels under load, just push the Scamp around on level asphalt, by hand. Then push that other trailer.

Or you could just do what I do. Buy a smaller car, a bigger trailer, and drive it over the Rockies every few weekends. My Forester has hauled our lightweight 16-foot Scamp up I-70 to the west side of the Eisenhower Tunnel at a steady 60 mph-- all right, with a strong tailwind-- and up the other side at 45-55, into the wind. Oh, fifth gear is mostly a memory now, but fourth serves for most hills until you need third for the steep parts.

For me, this is a curious new form of high-performance driving. Towing small and light. Now I can really exercise my engine, working the gears for maximum advantage. It offers a few of the safer challenges of race driving but at saner, legal speeds. Reminds me of something someone said back in my kayaking days. I asked the expert canoeist why he chose and open boat, holding only "half a paddle." The canoe, he said, was less capable, but it gave him the same challenge as paddling a kayak in much rougher Class 4 rapids. "And if I fall in, I'm not swimming in Class 4."
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Old 06-22-2006, 12:12 AM   #56
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Trailer: 1997 13 ft Scamp Deluxe and 2006 Airstream 75th Anniversary International Bambi Prototype
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Please, everyone...don't give up on me and my problem...any little bit of light shined on this problem helps....



I'm going to go ahead and replace the bearings tomorrow...although the originals don't show any signs of problems, although I did notice a dark area on the inside of the rear bearing assembly on the right wheel. I'm HOPING TO GOD (no offense) that this at least at one time indicated a source of resistance. But, I'm still amazed at the ease at which the tires spin when jacked up. But, like I said, I have a lot of cupping on the outside edges of my tires with very low miles.

Also, the place that packed my bearings tightened the nut on the hub VERY tight (although the wheels as mentioned above spun freely) and you can see in one of the front races that there is an edge worn. I'm hoping that I had resistance due to this and it wore the race down...although it made no difference in towing difficulty neither before nor after I had the bearings packed a few months back.

Also, when I spin the wheels, although they spin fine, I hear slight scraping, but its different than the scraping I associate with automobile drum brakes. Also, since my trailer brakes hardly work, I'm assuming that they need adjustment, and if they are so out of adjustment as to cause less effective breaking (my Prodigy settings are maxed out, with hardly any breaking assist by the trailer provided) then I wouldn't think they are rubbing the drums at all (if they are, I would think it would be very, very slight). Is this scraping sound caused by the magnet rubbing the drum (I'm assuming this is normal)??? Forgive me, but I'm not that well versed in trailer brakes.

Thank you again everyone so much for your help.

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