HELP! 13ft Scamp Deluxe VERY difficult to tow - Page 5 - Fiberglass RV

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Old 06-22-2006, 05:03 AM   #57
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Your descriptions of cupped tyres (sorry, tires) and worn bearings makes me wonder if your axle is bent or damaged. The drag you describe could be produced by toe-in or toe-out of the wheels, though I would expect there to be a lot of tyre wear and for the bearings to fail due to excessive side load. But you have got tyre wear and it may be the bearings that are noisy, so this might fit.

The check would be fairly simple - take the trailer to a tyre shop to have the wheel alignment checked. I don't know what the toe-in specs for a torsion axle should be - I'd expect a slight toe-in, but anything more than 1/8" either way would have me suspecting the axle had been damaged.


On edit: It may be worth adding that there is no adjustment possible for toe-in and an alingment shop might say there is no point checking the toe-in, since it cannot be adjusted. If toe-in/toe-out is the problem, only replacement of the axle will fix it.

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Old 06-22-2006, 06:55 AM   #58
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Just to add my two cents worth... your "little" 13' Scamp has the same weight and frontal area as the 16' and I would expect it to tow the same. We tow a Scamp 16' with a '99 Dodge Durango. The tug has the 5.2L V8 with a bit over 300 ft/lb. torque. I've been towing stuff for over 30 years and I can always tell that there is something being towed. With our rig with flat land towing @65-70 mph I can use overdrive and cruise. Slight incline and/or rolling hills and cruise control shifts to frequently... cruise off. Hills and long steep grades and overdrive gets turned off.

The bottom line is that most of your tow vehicles were marginal tugs for a trailer that is equivalent to a 16' Scamp (the roof air conditioner doesn't help a bit either since it has a bunch of drag too). I think your expectations for the trailer may be a bit too high.

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Old 06-22-2006, 07:58 AM   #59
Trailer: Scamp
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Wow thank you everyone so much for continuing to help me troubleshoot this...
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.
I have had 3 Scamps everyone has blown a tire all on the curb side (passenger side) and have heard of many others. Ligthen the weight and try it. If I remember right the parts list show a 2200 lb axle for the 13 ft and a 3000 lb for the 16ft
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Old 06-22-2006, 10:03 AM   #60
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It still seems to me that if it rolls along just fine on flat road, doesn't drag when you let off the gas, the Scamp is fine and it's a problem with the tow vehicle or the combined weight. I know you have eliminated the tow vehicle from the problem based on your experiences, but I don't see what else it could be.

Although I would make sure the brake pads are not flopping around when you do the bearings!
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Old 06-22-2006, 11:11 AM   #61
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If I remember correctly you said that you 5,000 miles on the tires and they are showing cupping. If there's any visible tire wear other than wearing off the nubbins I would think there's something wrong. It sounds like the tires are being scrubbed. This site does talk about checking toe in, even though it a Porche site the technique is the same.
Byron & Anne enjoying the everyday Saturday thing.
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Old 06-22-2006, 11:42 AM   #62
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Have been following this thread but not closely. The one thing I have not seen is mention of axle gear ratio. If all tv's are set for general transport they will very probably be geared a a ratio unsuitable for much up and down towing. I'd check to see if the optional tow ratios offered by many manufacturers are what is being run in any of these vehicles.

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Old 06-23-2006, 09:03 AM   #63
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To The Hard to tow guy:

That little egg weighs almost as our Scamp 5th wheel loaded.

Here is something you may want to try:

This will be a lot less expensive than experimenting by putting in new axles, bearings, brakes, and tires.

1. Get a powerful tow vehicle and tow the trailer to see if it is still hard to tow.(F250)

2. If it is, then rent a heavy equipment tandem wheeled trailer and tow it with the same vehicle. If it tow’s ok then go to step 3.

3. Put the Egg on the heavy equipment tandem wheeled trailer, strap it down, and then tow it to see what happens. If the problem goes away, then you more than likely have an axle problem to include the tires, bearings, brakes.
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Old 06-23-2006, 11:06 AM   #64
Trailer: 1997 13 ft Scamp Deluxe and 2006 Airstream 75th Anniversary International Bambi Prototype
Posts: 43
Hi Darwin...

Yes, I realize my Scamp is very heavy...but that 2480lb result was with the trailer VERY loaded as I packed it with everything I could salvage from Hurricane Katrina. I'm sure it doesn't weigh that much packed for a normal trip. However, as my posts indicate, once I got rid of all that extra cargo it still towed the same.

I've towed the trailer with an F-250 and a 1999 Trans Am 315hp 3.73 rear axle RWD 6 speed manual. Trailer is still just as difficult to tow. Trailer was towed by a GM Kodiak equipped tow truck; the driver commented how heavy the trailer felt, and we slowed to 35-40mph on hills. You shouldn't feel it behind any of these vehicles.

I've towed larger and boxier cargo trailers with my smaller tow vehicles, the Neon and the turbo Beetle. Neither of these cars EVER exhibited a problem towing these box type cargo trailers, and the cars were also loaded down further as I had a passenger with me each time. The trailers were wood framed tandem axled typical box trailers, and I was hauling $11000 worth of custom made mahogany Klipsch speakers...14 in all. I never had the "Why can't I go" feeling when approaching an incline or hill.

Something's definitely going on. I don't have the resources to get a utility trailer and strap the Scamp to it.
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Old 06-23-2006, 11:33 AM   #65
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You might try the suggestion I made in the thread you started on this subject.
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Old 06-23-2006, 01:32 PM   #66
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Nick had a great idea also.

You're going to drive yourself nuts before you figure out the problem if you don't do the simple tests first. Nick's test is the easiest of all and will not cost a dime.

My test will determine if the egg is at fault as you will be pulling the egg on top of the tandem axle trailer.

The alternative is to replace the axle, brakes, berrings and tires all of which will be costly.

A slightly bent axle on one side will create a towing problem and wear out the tire(s). You might want to see if a mechanic can attach a wheel alignment gauge to see if the wheels are alligned straight with each other.
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Old 06-23-2006, 02:00 PM   #67
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I think your speedometer is off, your car is doing top speed but only regitering 35-40 mph
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Old 06-23-2006, 02:49 PM   #68
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You said that the tires are cupped. That shows that something is amiss. It might be a bent axle, bent frame, or maybe one/two wheels are bent, so that they are not tracking right. Have you had the same experience towing other trailers ?
Was the trailer so overloaded that the tires were rubbing on the fenders ?

When I was towing a small, overloaded, travel trailer, moving across the US, I had to stop, and re-situate a lot of stuff inside, to make it tow right. In the TV, too. Finally got it right, so that I could cross the Rockies !!
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Old 06-23-2006, 03:13 PM   #69
Trailer: 1997 13 ft Scamp Deluxe and 2006 Airstream 75th Anniversary International Bambi Prototype
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Hi Nick...I haven't been able to re-test the 60 to 0 characteristics yet. But, if memory serves me correctly, the van and trailer on this most recent trip slowed pretty fast, albeit not nearly as if the trailer brakes were on. Combined with wind at the time, however, it is hard to judge the results.

As far as the speedometer being off...the speedometer in the Caravan at least IS off...but its not in a beneficial way. The speedometer doesn't read SLOW, but it reads fast...4mph too fast (verified by GPS and those irritating cop signs on streets that flash). So, when I THINK I've finally hit 60mph (a landmark with this trailer HA HA) I'm really only going 56!!! Kinda a punch to the belly wouldn't you say???

Thanks for everyone's help. Keep the suggestions coming!
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Old 06-24-2006, 08:43 PM   #70
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I just read this entire thread (I hadn't before because with so many replies I figured it was sure to have drifted off-topic; happily, I was wrong).

1. You have convinced me that the trailer, not the TV, is the problem -- You've towed it with a variety of vehicles from a Neon to an F250, plus the muscle car, and the problem stays.

2. Without heat on the metal running gear (hubs/bearings), it is extremely unlikely that the problem is there.

3. With the extra height you have, presuming you are towing level, I doubt there is any "air dam" effect holding the egg back.

4. I don't believe weight, by itself, is the culprit -- Joy on Yahoo Scampers is running her 13' (dunno the year) weighing 2,200 lbs on a Dexter #9 rubbered at 2,200 lbs and reports no problems of this nature.

5. I sense Brian B-P is right that there is an axle misalignment problem affecting the tires and creating drag, altho as Scamp points out, the cupping wear is on the wrong side of the tire for overload. My recommendation would be to take the rig AS-IS, before any more new gear is added, to a true axle and frame shop and let them have at it -- They have the frames and gear to do the precise measurements and can maybe even do the bending required if the axle can be adjusted.

6. Before I went to the axle shop, however, I would try Nick's "How well does it coast in neutral on flat pavement" idea. That takes the tow vehicle almost completely out of the picture (except for its own rolling resistance).

I would suspect that if there is an alignment problem of any sort, the larger tires may magnify the fault. Regardless, if alignment is a problem, I would expect it to show up in hot tires.

The axle tag might be on the other side of the axle beam; it is usually riveted on. Sometimes the capacity is also painted or stenciled on the beam. My 91S13 came with less than a 2,200 lb axle (I believe it was 1,600, but I didn't keep the old tag...). Scamp should be able to tell you precisely what axle went on by reference to your VIN and their records which were reportedly not damaged by the fire -- I dunno when they started using 2,200 lb axles as standard on the S13.

I believe Scamp is now using Al-Ko axles under the 16'/19' models because of alignment problems with Dexter #10 axles. Casita had at least one problem with a Dexter #10 axle failing on one side.

Keep in mind that if your axle is undersized and you decide to replace it, the least expensive way to get brake parts (including the drums you want) is to order them with a new axle.

Don't forget to provide feedback, even negative results, to both the group and to Kent and crew -- The more we all learn, the better we are able to help ourselves and others.

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