HELP! 13ft Scamp Deluxe VERY difficult to tow - Page 6 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-25-2006, 01:04 AM   #71
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Thank you very much, Pete, for your insight and not immediately jumping to the tow vehicles as the culprits.

I will definitely post my findings (if I can actually come to a conclusion) when I (hopefully) resolve the problem with my trailer. I'm having problems in Miami finding a reputable shop however; I've been to two, and not only did they have no clue as to what I was talking about, but they didn't seem to WANT to know what I was talking about. Let alone no one here seems to speak good English.

I hope I can find an answer. I will be getting my hubs and new wheels together soon (at least that will eliminate those variables). I'm thinking of a 400hp 400ft/lbs torgue Chevy SSR 6 speed 3.91 axle ratio RWD tow vehicle...although, the Trans Am should be just as competent, given that it weighs over a thousand pounds less than an SSR. I'm sure the little tiny Scamp will still feel like a train behind even a monster like an SSR as well, however.

Please, everyone, keep the ideas coming.

Thanks again!


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Old 06-25-2006, 07:49 AM   #72
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I will be getting my hubs and new wheels together soon (at least that will eliminate those variables). I'm thinking of a 400hp 400ft/lbs torgue Chevy SSR 6 speed 3.91 axle ratio RWD tow vehicle...although, the Trans Am should be just as competent, given that it weighs over a thousand pounds less than an SSR. I'm sure the little tiny Scamp will still feel like a train behind even a monster like an SSR as well, however.

Please, everyone, keep the ideas coming.

Thanks again!
Jeff, not to be a wet blanket, but your definition of a monster tow vehicle "like an SSR" and mine are significantly different. The SSR has a total trailer weight tow capacity of 2500 lbs with a 250 lb max tongue weight. I'm sure your 2400 lb Scamp WILL feel like a train behind it, regardless of what you do to it. We're still in the range of subjective here, but I always knew my 2700 lb Scamp 16' CD was behind my Tundra V6 with a 5,000 lb towing capacity, and it significantly impacted my gas mileage. My Bigfoot was even worse when I towed it home. It tows well, just feels heavier even though it's not significantly heavier than my Scamp 16', maybe 300 lbs or so. My Scamp 16' dry weight would have been overload for the factory specs on the SSR, regardless of the horsepower and rear end gearing.

So, keep in mind the 'towing feel' is subjective and light weight tow vehicles that aren't seriously built with towing in mind will always struggle with towing relatively light weight loads at the upper end of their towing limits.

Configuration also plays a huge part in the picture. I'd expect, for example, that your Scamp WOULD tow significantly 'heavier' behind the Trans-Am because of the exposed frontal area of the trailer behind a relatively short, wide car. The areodynamics factors of any specific towing combination have as much, if not more to do with how the tow 'feels' than the actual horsepower to weight ratios.

My 17' Burro wide-body towed very differently behind the Excursion than the Toyota compact truck 4wd pickup I had before the Tundra. The Toyota, even though a V6 with a 5000 lb tow rating struggled with the Burro just from frontal area, and it lost about 8mpg towing, down to 11 mpg generally, and I pulled it several thousand miles with the Toyota. The Excursion didn't feel any different, and only lost about 1mpg towing it, a combination of aerodynamics and greater reserve horsepower to weight ratio. The Burro really wasn't much taller nor wider than the Excursion. The net result was that the 7000 lb Excursion actually got better gas mileage towing the Burro (with three passengers) than did the Toyota with me alone! I averaged 14 mpg on a trip to Chicago with the Excursion towing the Burro with three passengers, luggage and load.

I just thought it prudent that you recognize going in that a $40k SSR is not the ideal tow vehicle, that you'll be loading it to near max, and that because of the aerodynamics of the combination there is the potential for it to have as poor, if not a worse an experience with it towing than towing the Scamp with the Trans Am.

Roger
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Old 06-25-2006, 04:12 PM   #73
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Hi Roger...

Your points are well taken regarding aerodynamics of the tow vehicles. I've given considerable thought to that. What is puzzling though in this situation is that I've towed larger flat fronted box type wood/aluminum trailers with the Neon and VW Beetle with NO problems of 'feeling that its there" of any kind. Not even comparable to the Scamp. I had no problems pulling 70mph up hills with capacity to go faster if I wanted.

As far as the SSR goes, its a common misconception about its towing abilities. The 2500lb rating is based solely on the SSR's limited cooling system due to the constraints of the small engine compartment and overworked electric fan. There is an aftermarket towing kit accessory fan available for the SSR which adds a second fan to the system. Besides the cooling system constraints of the SSR, the truck has the exact same underpinnings as the Trailblazer SS, with the LS2 400 hp engine. The Trailblazer SS's towing rating is 6800lbs. The only difference is the cooling system of the SSR. I'm not saying the SSR can tow 6800lbs...but I am saying the same vehicle with a different body and cooling system CAN. So, the limitations on the SSR being a "monster" tow vehicle are only because of the cooling system limitations. The engine, transmission, frame, suspsension, rear axle, etc are definitely up to the task. Also, the SSR is a LARGE truck in person. Its not lightweight, which is its downfall as a performance vehicle. It weighs nearly 6000 pounds. It is a VERY overly-heavy porker! The 250lb tongue weight is based on the hitch that comes with the truck, as its a custom piece that locks into a rear crossmember so that it disappears when not in use. SSR owners have had standard 2" receiver hitches mounted to their trucks without problems. But, if you use the factory hitch, 250lbs is the limit.

My point here is that the SSR will easily handle 2500lbs and with slight modifications to the cooling system and a standard Class III or IV hitch easily double that.

Your comparisons between the Tundra and the Excursion are very well explained and completely expected. The Excursion has so much of its own heft and a big V8 to move itself; overcoming aerodynamic drag was designed into having an adequate engine for the job. A small tiny trailer behind such a large powerful vehicle shouldn't make a difference since a properly equipped Excursion should only struggle with the largest trailers.

A lighter weight Toyota 6 cylinder is all together a different beast, and I would expect any trailer to be felt behind it; mainly due to the much increased resistance and lack of torque. Torque is what moves trailers...unless you have a lead sled like my Scamp!!!

That being said, I realize what you say about the SSR's aerodynamics; although its massive power and structural design should overcome this easily. The heft should add to its stability for towing.

Bottom line...these trailers' sole purpose is to be able to be towed easily by a smaller vehicle...otherwise, if you need a giant truck to tow them easily, why not just get a 30ft fifth wheel? It defeats the main purpose of having a tiny little trailer.
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Old 06-25-2006, 05:49 PM   #74
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I dunno about the Miami area, but there are frame and axle shops on the east side of Tampa that some of my friends have used.
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Old 06-25-2006, 09:56 PM   #75
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After the first trip I took with our Scamp 15, about 3500 miles, the tires on the Scamp seemed to show extensive wear. So I replaced them with new.

The next trip, about the same distance, wore the new tires about half. So I did a rough alignment check with a tape measure and found about 1/2 inch toe-out.

To find an alignment shop, I checked with a welding shop that specialized in custom trailers and trailer hitches. They sent me to an alignment shop in the Tacoma, WA area that had a lot of experience with various trailer axles.

Once there, within an hour the job was done. The alignment procedure involves bending the axle. It seems pretty crude, nothing more than a chain, a couple of large C-clamps and a hydraulic jack. With the Scamp setting on a Frame machine, they take measurements, hook up the chain and bend the axle with the jack, release the jack, take a few more measurements, repeat the sequence a couple of times and it's done.

In my case I didn't notice any increase in towability, pulling force or stability. In that respect I was a bit disappointed, not that it ever towed badly, I just expected that I would notice some improvement. But it sure cut the tire wear.

My tow vehicle was a 78 Chev K1500 4wd with a 350 and a standard 4 speed. It weighs about twice what the Scamp weighs, so that would have an effect on towability.

I have also towed a 26 ft Avion extensively with the same pickup. Travelling through western Texas and through New Mexico in a heavy head-wind the truck didn't have enough power to use 4th. I would wait until a semi pulled around me, then try to draft behind it, but even then I could only stay in 4th a short distance as my draft distance would increase and increase.

I don't think the above adds much to solving your problem, but like several have mentioned any mechanical friction creates heat. However aerodynamics don't. But air resistance goes up with the square of the speed. This translates into about twice the power needed to travel at 60 mph with a 30 mph head wind as with no head wind, if my understanding is correct.

Good luck, and be sure to post the solution when you figure it out. That what makes this forum such a valuable resource is that we don't give up.
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Old 08-14-2006, 05:27 PM   #76
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So Jeff, any update on your effort to solve this problem?
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Old 08-16-2006, 08:15 AM   #77
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you mention flood damage. is it possible that the fiberglass or wood floor is saturated with water? this could be encapsulated and conceivably not leaking at all. i have heard that weigh ins are notoriously inaccurate; what if the heavy weight of the scamp was not due to your extra evacuation stores, but instead due to water trapped in the hull? the water could also relocate when being towed to the front end adding to your problem, like a hidden lake.
i've towed a 13' scamp and a 13' boler with an old heap of a chevy caprice on its last legs and i have to remind myself to slow down, even on big hills when i suddenly notice i'm up to 65 and the wind is hitting the trailer head on as the car is low and sleek.
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Old 08-16-2006, 09:52 AM   #78
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Sorry for starting this thread then not replying for several weeks.

I have been really busy...but have progressed some on the trailer.

I purchased an SSR to tow it and got it set up (wiring, relays, airbags in the coils, auxillary cooling fan, Prodigy installed). Regarding the Scamp, I found a few interesting things.

First off, my wood isn't saturated (I'm fixing the rot as we speak). Secondly, when I removed my wheels and hubs, the last place that packed the wheel bearings for me had the wheel nuts WAY too tight. So tight in fact that the races on each bearing had a slight ridge worn in them after 4000 miles. Also, two different types of grease were mixed. My spindle on the driver's side also has a burnish mark toward the inner bearing surface. I'm guessing all this combined was contributing to my difficulty pulling the trailer. Remember, when I jacked up the trailer with the bearings as I stated above the wheels spun pretty freely. I'm guessing that under high speeds/friction they were causing some resistance. At least I'm HOPING that that was the majority of the culprit.

I purchased my new lightweight aluminum wheels, American Racing Torq Thrust 15X6. I studded my hubs (to accept lug nuts), painted/cleaned/sealed them. I repacked the hubs/bearings with Valvoline Synthetic Wheel Bearing Grease as recommended by Dexter. I thoroughly cleaned/refurbished my brakes as well.

One thing to note...I bought the 1 1/16" bearing kit from Dyer's RV online. It comes with the bearings, races, cap, cotter pin, and a grease seal. BUT BE WARNED: THE GREASE SEAL WILL NOT FIT THIS DEXTER AXLE SPINDLE. I tried it, and installed it...its too small. The hub was very difficult to get on all the way, and I tightened it up. I didn't realize until I removed the other wheel that the grease seal was completely improper, so I removed the wheel and hub for the side I previously did. The seal was torn, ripped, and crumped up against the bearing seating surface. I had to clean up the original seals and re-use them. This wasted a lot of time because I had to repack the first hub. I have no CLUE as to why this bearing kit has the wrong grease seal in it; all the other parts were the same with correct part numbers. But, it was made in China. Just be careful when purchasing this kit.

BUT...

I haven't PULLED the trailer yet. I DO know that the wheels spin MUCH more free than they ever did (when jacking up the trailer they spin and spin and spin just from touching them). I want the least resistance possible.

I'm going on a trip in a week or so for a month. I will let everyone know if I solved my problem!!!


Thanks again,
Jeff
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Old 08-16-2006, 03:26 PM   #79
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Befor you take off on a 30 day trip, find a hill and make a test pull. If you fixed the problem it will ease your mind. If it still pulls like a brick than you can prepair yourself for problems that you might have. Maybe a membership in Good Sams would be a good idea. Eather way let us know. I have my fingers crossed for you.

Ronj
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Old 08-16-2006, 03:59 PM   #80
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Hi Ronj...

Thanks for the tip. I already have Good Sam...they towed me about 8 times on my last trip with my Caravan.

This time, I have a new SSR which is 400hp and 400lb/ft of torque. So, even if it IS still difficult to pull I probably (hopefully ha ha) won't feel it.

Besides rolling resistance, I can think of nothing else that would cause this unless the axle is out of alignment...but, some people here have had that problem, and had theirs fixed with no benefit noticed.

But...I'll let everyone know of my findings.


Thanks again,
Jeff
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Old 08-16-2006, 08:50 PM   #81
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wow scary thread. I'm looking for a 16 footer to pull with a v6 SUV rated for 5000#.

With so many of the for sale ads 300-500 miles away, I'm going to have to be careful with what I buy used.
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Old 08-17-2006, 05:44 AM   #82
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lose the CD player
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Old 09-02-2006, 09:25 AM   #83
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wow scary thread. I'm looking for a 16 footer to pull with a v6 SUV rated for 5000#.

With so many of the for sale ads 300-500 miles away, I'm going to have to be careful with what I buy used.
Tracy, we pull our 16' Scamp Delux (all wood interior) with our v6 SUV, no problems at all and we've pulled it all over the Cascades. This thread is really a strange problem.
cb
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:03 PM   #84
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Did you ever find out what the problem was? Did the SSR make a difference?
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