New Scamp 13' height question - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-16-2013, 03:08 PM   #1
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Name: Laura
Trailer: Scamp
California
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New Scamp 13' height question

Hello. I'm new to this forum and to RVing and would like to start by thanking forum members for being so generous with their knowledge and experience; it has been a tremendous help in my decision making. There seems to be real community among FGRVers.

I would like to request your feedback on something I've been racking my brain over since the recent delivery of my new 2013, Standard 13' Scamp with front bathroom (shower only, no toilet). Scamp states that the hitch height should be about 18". With the Scamp leveled using a magnetic level on the Scamp's frame (underneath), the bottom of the coupler is at 12"--really low. It causes my front jack to drag going out my driveway and the safety chains hang so low I'm afraid they're going to catch on something. My tires are inflated to 45lbs. Is this normal? Any comments or suggestions will be very appreciated.
Laura
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Old 11-16-2013, 05:40 PM   #2
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Welcome Laura
The 13 sets much lower than the other Scamps. The swing arms on the 13 axle are 22.5 deg. up. The swing arms on the other Scamps are 22.5 degree down. That is why the hitch height is so low on a 13. I raised a Scamp 13 about almost 3 inches by placing a 0 degree axle under it.
To stop the chains from dragging twist them before hooking up. My 13 I had swing up side mounted jack and I had no problems with it dragging before the lift. If your has a jack in the center of the frame that does not swing up you could modify the jack to make it shorter but you may have to carry a block or add a swing up foot to give you more ground clearance.
Eddie
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Old 11-16-2013, 06:19 PM   #3
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Name: Laura
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Thanks so much, Eddie. I'm relieved that it doesn't indicate some kind of problem with the trailer. By swing arm, do you mean the A-frame tongue part of the trailer that is welded to the frame? (I'm working to learn RV lingo).

My front jack doesn't swing up, so I'm taking the foot off it so I can crank it up higher before I drive.
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Old 11-16-2013, 07:03 PM   #4
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Laura
Removing the foot should help with the clearance problem. The swing arm is the part of the axle that the spindle is mounted to. The attached file explains how arm angle affects the spindle/trailer height. FYI: you have a #9 Torflex 22.5 deg. up arm configuration. More than likely more information than you need to know but the pictures should help explain things in relation to axle angles.
Eddie
http://l.b5z.net/i/u/6149609/f/Trail...nformation.pdf
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:46 AM   #5
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Ah, a diagram is worth a thousand words. Thanks, this is very helpful.
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:43 AM   #6
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Name: Laura
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I'm not sure if there is an answer for this, but just wondering, don't axles have some kind of QA tolerance associated with them? Scamp states for 13' approx. 18" and reality is 14". A four inch difference between literature and reality? Doesn't seem right.
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Old 11-17-2013, 11:01 AM   #7
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Laura,
We bought a new 13' Scamp in 2011 and came across the same issue of dragging the chains and hitch. We tow with a Subaru Legacy. Basically, we plan ahead when driving over a steeply pitched driveways (or avoid them alltogether) especially in gas stations. We find if it's a wide driveway we can go over it at an angle rather than head-in. It's a rather annoying issue, especially when the car is not towing but it's just something we got used to and adapt for. We hope you enjoy your Scamp as much as we do!
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Old 11-17-2013, 11:06 AM   #8
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Laura, I would not worry so much about what the actual height Scamps states to tow it at is - as its an approximate height used to help give you a guide line for setting up the trailer - I cant recall if the height Scamp gives was to the top of the ball or not, Whats most important is that the trailer when loaded up be level once hooked up - which may translate to a different height - depending on how much you have stored ahead of the axle in the trailer and how much your tugs rear sags once hooked up. As others have suggested removing the foot off the tongue jack if possible may help or switching over to a jack that is mounted to the side of the tongue.
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Old 11-17-2013, 11:28 AM   #9
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Name: Laura
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Thanks Carol. Your comments bring up a source of confusion I'm having with loading. I'm towing with a 2012 Subaru Outback which has a 200lb tongue weight limit. I am heavy in front, so I added about 100lbs of water to the tanks in back. Shouldn't it act like a see-saw and balance out the weight? It doesn't seem to be working.

Also, don't I want to keep the frame level at all times, especially so I don't drop the back of the TV?
Thanks,
Laura
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:22 PM   #10
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Funny you should ask I having just retired my Subaru Outback from towing after 6 years due to the issues of the limited tongue weight limit so I can relate to your problems. *BUT* I was towing a 16' with it and had to run with it at about 40lbs over the tongue limit to get a stable tow but that was due to its heavier axle weight than your 13'. I would think you would have little problem getting 10% or more on the tongue of your 13' without adding water to the rear & still stay under 200lbs. I loved how well the Outback towed so I think with a 13' once you get it set up right you should not have to fuss or worried much with it at all.

First I would not add water to the rear to fix the problem. Water or anything else at the very rear with a tongue that is on the light side to start with is not a good thing - trust me on that! sway is not a nice feeling! Yes you can add an anti sway bar but it will be called to use way more than it should be - should only be needed in extreme situations. Just in case no one has told you the best way to stop sway yet - there is a lever on your brake controller that you use. Do not use the brakes on the car. If the trailer starts to sway just use the controllers lever never the cars brakes.

Have you weighed the trailers tongue with the trailer *sitting level* to see how far over you actually are? Put a level not only on the tongue but at mid point on the trailer body itself - you may find there is a little bit of a difference. I would think that a 13' Scamp even with the shower up front isnt going to weigh anymore than 1500/1600lbs loaded on the axle (based on looking at the real world trailer weights thread) which means if your tongue weight at say 160lbs would be at 10% or slightly more which should give you due to the wheel base on the Outback a good solid tow. There should be no need to go over the 200lb limit on the tongue unless you have things other than the propane tank and battery that are really heavy stowed at the very front of the trailer. I know your manual says you can go as low as 8% on the tongue but personally I tried that and it wasnt good if you plan on driving at over 55 mph - that number may work ok with a boat but not a TT. I would rather not have to count so highly on a sway bar to keep me out of trouble. Personally think 10% or higher is better. Depending on what hitch manufacture/style you are using you may find you need to use a drop receiver on the tug to get the trailer level - I have to use a 2' drop receiver on my Outback with the current hitch that is on it - the first hitch I used only had a 1" drop receiver.

Even though I have drop receiver on the car nothing has ever hit the ground or come overly close to hitting the ground - even over big speed bumps at speed, so I am a little puzzled a to why your 13' would be having such issues. I know that the 13' do sit a bit lower to start with than a 16' but due to my trailers age I do know the axle has sagged a little so would not think it that much higher than a 13'. The rear of your Outback is higher so the hitch sits much higher than on a Legacy so it doesn't make sense to me that the tongue should be coming close to bottoming out. Unless you have the trailer with the nose to far down, which would also account for why it may be over 200lbs on the tongue as well.

Rather than putting weight at the extreme rear its way better if you add some weight closer to trailers axle - just over it or behind it if your to heavy on the tongue. Try moving things around a little bit inside the trailer. If you have everything stored in the front hatches and not much in the middle or rear that can be a problem. How I dealt with changing tongue weights due to my propane tanks state changes or occasionally having to drive a short distances with water in the rear tanks when going dry camping was to use a large rubbermaid tote that contained all my power cords, power adaptors, blocks, hoses, jacks, etc. It all adds up weight wise. Put it in the trailer in the middle of the kitchen when traveling - move it back or forward depending on the state of tongue weight. If I had water in the rear tanks the box was always moved forward of the axle. If no water in the rear the box sits right over the axle. Depending on where your hot water tank is located in your 13 adding water to it if its just a bit behind the axle may also take some weight off the tongue if your really have to but due to it being close to the axle its not going to have the same negative impact of having the weight at the extreme rear.

If you are still struggling with it post a picture of your set up with the car and trailer sitting on a flat road as others may have some further suggestions as to how to correct your problem.
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laura B. View Post
Also, don't I want to keep the frame level at all times, especially so I don't drop the back of the TV?
Thanks,
Laura

Laura I think you really do want to keep it level at all times - traveling with the tongue up is not a good thing. Assuming your not filling the Outback up with people in the rear and lots of stuff in the back of the TV you should not have a noticeable drop with 160 or 170lbs on the tongue or at least my 07 didnt drop more than perhaps an inch with 200lbs or more on it.
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Old 11-17-2013, 03:10 PM   #12
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Name: Laura
Trailer: Scamp
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Thanks for your response, Carol. I love my Subaru, although they're kind of rarely sighted down here in So. Cal. The 13' really was about all could see that would work with the tongue limit. Even a Casitas 13' is too heavy. Sorry to hear you retired your Subaru.

I think I must be doing something basic wrong. I took the Scamp to a CAT weigh station and dry (no tanks, no battery, but with a 15lb wheel jack attached back on the a-frame) the tongue weight was 180lbs. I verified that at home with a bathroom scale. I use a magnetic level attached underneath the body, as the a-frame is way off level from the body (maybe I should level on the a-frame part of the tongue instead, which would raise the tongue up?) But it actually looks level when I look at the whole set up from a distance.

I was surprised when I expected to have to use a 2" rise to get to 18" and ended up using a 2" drop. This pulls the car down a little, but not too bad.
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Old 11-17-2013, 05:02 PM   #13
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Yuppers something is *really* wrong if it weighed in at 180lbs on the tongue without propane or battery.... sounds like the tongue is sitting way to low or you are not doing it on level ground. Put the trailer on level ground and put the level on the tongue on the frame beam back by the battery and propane tank will sit and get it level then weigh it. Then add your tank and battery and then put everything you are going to be carrying in the kitchen area and rear hatches etc and then weight it again.... as that will change it again.
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:44 PM   #14
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Trailer: 1984 19' scamp
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As a side note, safety chains should not be twisted. That greatly weakens them. If they need to be shortened, shorten them.
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