Just purchased a 16' 1983 Scamp - but it is very bouncy on any imperfect road. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-19-2017, 08:07 AM   #1
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Name: Gabriella
Trailer: Scamp
Colorado
Posts: 14
Question Just purchased a 16' 1983 Scamp - but it is very bouncy on any imperfect road.

Total noob, so please forgive me. Any suggestions to help me trouble shoot?

It's uncomfortable to ride with, but more than anything I'm worried about damaging my car from it being bounced too much. Is that possible?

I've heard it could be the axel. How will I know if it is?

Would getting shocks installed help?

What about a tow tightener?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:38 AM   #2
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Welcome, Gabriella, and congratulations on the Scamp purchase!

The bouncing could be the axle, or it could just be that the unloaded trailer is light. My Scamp bounces a lot more when empty than when loaded for a trip.

Best to check the axle, though, given the age of the trailer. Jack up one side of the trailer, placing the jack on the main longitudinal frame rail just behind the axle. As you raise the axle, look (or measure) to see how much the wheel drops as the trailer rises. It should drop several inches. Little or no movement means a dead axle, and the only fix is a new axle.

A hitch tightening device is a good idea. It won't solve the bouncing, but it will quiet the rattle and banging of the drawbar in the receiver.

Best wishes!
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:53 AM   #3
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Name: Gabriella
Trailer: Scamp
Colorado
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Welcome, Gabriella, and congratulations on the Scamp purchase!

The bouncing could be the axle, or it could just be that the unloaded trailer is light. My Scamp bounces a lot more when empty than when loaded for a trip.

Best to check the axle, though, given the age of the trailer. Jack up one side of the trailer, placing the jack on the main longitudinal frame rail just behind the axle. As you raise the axle, look (or measure) to see how much the wheel drops as the trailer rises. It should drop several inches. Little or no movement means a dead axle, and the only fix is a new axle.

A hitch tightening device is a good idea. It won't solve the bouncing, but it will quiet the rattle and banging of the drawbar in the receiver.

Best wishes!
Thank you so much for the thorough response, Jon! I will check the axel and go from there.
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:43 AM   #4
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Name: Wayne & Barbara
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As long as the wheels are balanced .... check for mud inside the rims, ...
You are probably experiencing NATUAL FREQUENCY. The combination of wheel base, speed, and the spacing of the expansion joints in the road makes the entire rig go into RESONANCE. Bouncing like a super ball.
Things you can do: Let some air out of the trailer tires, (35psi should be enough). Drive faster or slower. Make sure the hitch is snug. Any play there can aggravate the bounce.
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:47 AM   #5
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Name: Tom
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CO
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Congratulations. Jon gives great answers. If the axle is ok, consider adding weight by filling propane and fresh water tanks as applicable. If you need more weight, consider one or two of those Reliance Aqua-tainer square blue water containers found in camping departments. Full, the 7 gallon ones weigh about 56 lbs. But, you need not fill them. Or, fill and empty them in the camper. I would place more weight in front of the trailer axle. When not camping, store water in them for your next hurricane or natural disaster. Enjoy!

PS, check the tires in case they are over-inflated.
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:28 AM   #6
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Name: David
Trailer: Scamp 13 ft
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Tires ??

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Originally Posted by Tom 72 View Post
Congratulations. Jon gives great answers.

PS, check the tires in case they are over-inflated.
--------------------------------------------------------

Certainly good answers ! Are there any other kind on this site ? Well, maybe occasionally ! The tires have date-of -manufacture stamped on the back : they may be over inflated, or more likely on an old trailer that has been sitting, under inflated. And unsafe because of the age. More than 6 yrs old is time to think of replacing them. . For a test, instead of buying new water containers, consider loading some paving stones or sandbags or whatever is laying around into the trailer. Weigh them as you load, it may give you some idea about the amount of weight that it takes to tame the trailer. . . or it may make no difference at all. BTW, if you follow any Scamp or Casita ( I've said this before ) , you will not believe the bouncing caused by bumps and ruts! And you may need to come up with ways to keep your cupboards and draws closed and screws and bolts tight ! Good luck, we all wish you the best! Happy (smooth) Trails to You ! David in Fresno and Sonora, CA
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:33 AM   #7
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Name: Gabriella
Trailer: Scamp
Colorado
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Originally Posted by Wayne Collins View Post
As long as the wheels are balanced .... check for mud inside the rims, ...
You are probably experiencing NATUAL FREQUENCY. The combination of wheel base, speed, and the spacing of the expansion joints in the road makes the entire rig go into RESONANCE. Bouncing like a super ball.
Things you can do: Let some air out of the trailer tires, (35psi should be enough). Drive faster or slower. Make sure the hitch is snug. Any play there can aggravate the bounce.
Good to know, thanks Wayne!
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:34 AM   #8
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Name: Gabriella
Trailer: Scamp
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Originally Posted by DavidG View Post
--------------------------------------------------------

Certainly good answers ! Are there any other kind on this site ? Well, maybe occasionally ! The tires have date-of -manufacture stamped on the back : they may be over inflated, or more likely on an old trailer that has been sitting, under inflated. And unsafe because of the age. More than 6 yrs old is time to think of replacing them. . For a test, instead of buying new water containers, consider loading some paving stones or sandbags or whatever is laying around into the trailer. Weigh them as you load, it may give you some idea about the amount of weight that it takes to tame the trailer. . . or it may make no difference at all. BTW, if you follow any Scamp or Casita ( I've said this before ) , you will not believe the bouncing caused by bumps and ruts! And you may need to come up with ways to keep your cupboards and draws closed and screws and bolts tight ! Good luck, we all wish you the best! Happy (smooth) Trails to You ! David in Fresno and Sonora, CA
That definitely makes sense. We'll play around with the weight and see what happens. Thanks for the info!
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:35 AM   #9
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Name: Gabriella
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Originally Posted by Tom 72 View Post
Congratulations. Jon gives great answers. If the axle is ok, consider adding weight by filling propane and fresh water tanks as applicable. If you need more weight, consider one or two of those Reliance Aqua-tainer square blue water containers found in camping departments. Full, the 7 gallon ones weigh about 56 lbs. But, you need not fill them. Or, fill and empty them in the camper. I would place more weight in front of the trailer axle. When not camping, store water in them for your next hurricane or natural disaster. Enjoy!

PS, check the tires in case they are over-inflated.
Tires will be the first thing we check, thank you. Going to check the tire pressure, then play around with adding some weight and see what happens. Everyone here has been very helpful, thank you!
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:48 AM   #10
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Name: Bob
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Make sure you check the frame for cracks. This is a problem on the older Scamps. Mine was bouncing pretty badly and on the way home from a trip I noticed the clearance between my battery box on the tongue and the shell of the Scamp was lots less. When I got home I found the frame was broken where it widens on both sides, I had a welding shop repair it and all is well now.
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Old 09-19-2017, 12:05 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by 3ll4t View Post
Tires will be the first thing we check, thank you. Going to check the tire pressure, then play around with adding some weight and see what happens. Everyone here has been very helpful, thank you!
Check tire dates as well as pressure, tread wear, and overall condition. There should be a date code stamped into the sidewall as WWYY. Over 6 years old, uneven wear, cracks and dry rot are all reasons to replace the tires. None have much to do with bouncing. Uneven (inside) wear can be another indicator of a worn-out axle, though.

In my experience unbalanced trailer tires manifest as a vibration, not bouncing. Some shops do not balance trailer tires, but many will if you ask. I don't balance the tires on my small utility trailer, but I would definitely want my Scamp tires balanced when installed.

I would personally hesitate to run a Scamp 16' at only 35 psi. Most trailer tire manufacturers recommend running at full sidewall pressure, typically 50 psi for the 13" ST radial load range C tires common on Scamp 16's. Beware of the manufacturer's sticker above the wheels on an older trailer. If it was originally fitted with bias play tires, the recommendations no longer apply to newer radials. If you confirm that your loaded trailer weighs significantly less than the combined load rating of your tires, you might get away with a little less than the maximum sidewall pressure, but lowering pressure significantly to mask other problems is asking for trouble, in my opinion.
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Old 09-20-2017, 12:15 PM   #12
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Trail Cruiser
Alberta
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It's not your axle and unlikely your frame. It's your tires. If your trailer bounces while driving on pavement you have a lump on one or both tires caused by broken or damaged belts underneath the tread. Tires will need to be replaced.
If it only occurs on rough roads your tires are over inflated for the weight of your trailer. Maximum air pressure (stamped on the side of your tire) should only be used when your trailer is fully loaded. Use the tire pressure recommended by the trailer manufacturer.
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Old 09-20-2017, 02:04 PM   #13
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
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Make a fist. Put your fist on top of the tire. If your fist fits between the top of the tire and the inner wheel liner you are probably OK with your axle. If your fist doesnt fit then it may be wise to have your axle checked. If you look at the side of your trailer at tire level if the top of the wheel opening get down to the top of the rim have your axle checked.

Check to see if the axle has been replaced most axles will have a tag, markings or a sticker identifying the axle. Its just very hard to get under there to look.
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Old 10-05-2017, 09:40 PM   #14
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Name: bob
Trailer: Was A-Liner now 13f Scamp
Missouri
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bouncy road I would be driving very slowly!
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