Increasing load carrying on our 16' Scamp - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-06-2012, 03:41 AM   #1
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Name: Russ
Trailer: Scamp 16' side dinette, Airstream Safari 19'
California
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Increasing load carrying on our 16' Scamp

We bought the 2003 Scamp used several months ago and personalized the interior with new carpet, cushions, upholstery and drapes. All the equipment worked as it should with the exception of the furnace thermostat which was short cycling. I weighed the unit while loaded for a weekend camping trip. The water tank was half full. It weighed 2790. It is equipped with most options, 2 propane tanks, gr27 batt, AC, big fridge, fantastic fan, etc.
The 13" wheels and Marathon tires were in new condition, but 9 years old. The tires are rated to carry 1300 + lbs. The tire rating scared me, due to being close to the carried weight and the age of the rubber. I did some research and decided to try some Kumho 857's in the 185R14 with an 1874 lb. capacity. The diameter is 25.6”, so not too tall to fit into the Scamp’s wheel wells. I also ordered some zero offset aluminum Americana wheels with 5 on 4.5” lug pattern in a kind of retro style. When I got them mounted up I installed them on the trailer and found them to be a little too close to the trailer fender opening. Ideally I would need wheels with offset inward, or a shorter axle. I decided to order a Flexiride axle and install it under some 2” spacers to raise the rig. The Flexiride will need to be 65” hub face to hub face to fit the wider tires inside the body. The ride height should end up 1/2 to 1” taller than with the stock Alko axle. The Flexiride is also adjustable by rotating the trailing arms on the splines. It should be about right when set at the ideal 23 degree down start angle though. The new axle will be bolted onto the spacers instead of directly welded, so it can be changed at a later date if needed. Flexirides cannot be welded without damage to the core material. I am also considering relocating the new axle aft about an inch to get better tire clearance at the inner fender well front. This will also make the tongue weight a little higher and help balance my rear bumper rack. I plan to order the axle tomorrow, so I will keep you posted how this all goes.
Russ
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Old 08-06-2012, 05:26 AM   #2
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Sounds like an interesting modification. Any chance for some before and after pictures? Raz
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:37 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by ruscal View Post
I am also considering relocating the new axle aft about an inch to get better tire clearance at the inner fender well front.
I suggest you double check your numbers. I recall that flexiride had one of the shorter torsion arms which would move your spindle ahead a bit. When combined with the greater down angle that will also move the spindle ahead. Does Flexiride have any charts like Dexter does on spindle position?
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Old 08-06-2012, 01:09 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Roy in TO View Post
I suggest you double check your numbers. I recall that flexiride had one of the shorter torsion arms which would move your spindle ahead a bit. When combined with the greater down angle that will also move the spindle ahead. Does Flexiride have any charts like Dexter does on spindle position?
Roy,
Flexiride does indeed have a shorter swing arm than the Alko. Flexiride is 4.5" and Alko is approximately 6.375". 1.875 shorter. Since Flexiride says their axle will be virtually level when loaded, and my alko is angling down only about 7 degrees loaded I will assume to just move the axle mounting center back by 1.875" plus the 1" relocation mentioned above. Flexiride does have spindle positioning charts available, but I did my own sketch to work it out. Sketch done in CorelDraw and converted to jpeg. Note: The sketch is shown with the axle relocated back 1" from stock position. You can see that the wheel is tucked closer to the front of the wheel well when compressed. I could move the axle back farther, but possibly add too much tongue weight? The orange tire represents the axle when compressed by 2 G's. (normal full compression) The red tire is contact with fender well. I don't know how many G's it would take to do that!
Russ
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Old 08-06-2012, 01:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
Sounds like an interesting modification. Any chance for some before and after pictures? Raz
Raz,
I'll record some pics as I go. The "before" picture would look like a stock new Scamp, as the existing axle has not sagged. When i pull the trailer out for doing the work I will get a shot before tearing it down to show the existing stance.
Russ
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Old 08-06-2012, 04:59 PM   #6
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I to didnt like the 13 in tire, low weight capacity, , I went with 205R 14s but had to radius the wheel wells out about a inch for additional clearance, worked great, tires run cooler and trailer rides better, even though my axle is almost shot
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Old 08-06-2012, 05:30 PM   #7
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I thought it was possible to install 14" tires without changing the wheel well or axle. The largest 14's are only an inch taller than 13's.

Is this not true?
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:05 PM   #8
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Norm
actually my 14 in tires would have fit in the opening , but it was at the front and rear of the wheel well where it was tight especially on the curb side for some reason, but then again I probably need new axle, and even with new axle I think I probably would have had to trim
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:08 PM   #9
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I thought it was possible to install 14" tires without changing the wheel well or axle. The largest 14's are only an inch taller than 13's.

Is this not true?
Norm & Ginny,
My 13's are 24" diameter. I got the smallest Kumho 857's in 14" wheel size. They measure 25.6". The larger ones get up to 27" diameter. The larger ones can carry even more weight too. I attached a link to Tire Rack chart.
Kumho*Radial 857 Click the specs tab

My axle length put the tire out under the fender lip with the 0 offset wheels, so I opted to buy a shorter axle. I didn't want to risk rubbing the tire. Optionally I could have purchased different offset wheels and kept the axle.
Russ
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:21 PM   #10
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The next size up for me in our Marathons is 2" bigger in diameter making it 1" higher in the wheel well.

I do think it's necessary to open one of the wheel wells just a little by removing the black trim and cutting a little fiberglass.
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:41 PM   #11
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I will wait and see if I have to cut the fender lips. I would like to be able to R&R the wheels without having to jack the trailer more than an inch off the ground or deflate the tires. The 2" spacer between frame and axle will help with that.
Russ

Photo is one of the spacers I made from 2x2x.250" tube. The Flexiride will bolt to the two holes. They will face downward when installed.
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:22 PM   #12
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Maybe you could flare the fender a bit: Boler trailer owners passionate about their RVs I can't currently find where someone installed the black extenders used on Jeep fenders, but it looked pretty good!
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Old 08-19-2012, 02:17 AM   #13
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My Flexiride axle arrived yesterday, so I pulled the Scamp in front of the garage and started removing the Stock Alko axle. My "before" shot was taken when the trailer was still sitting in the side yard, so not a very good vantage point, but you can see the fender/tire clearance as it was.
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Old 08-19-2012, 02:25 AM   #14
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The stock axle is out and on the ground.
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