Problem solving: front jack on Scamp 13 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-15-2018, 07:06 PM   #1
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Name: Kathy
Trailer: Scamp
Wisconsin
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Problem solving: front jack on Scamp 13

Hi, all.

I use an '09 Subaru Outback to tow my '04 Scamp 13'. (I've seen the Subaru "arguments" on this site--I'm not trying to go there!)

The hitch that I have allows the Scamp to be level when I travel (which I know is good). The problem is that the arm on the front jack is too long to swing out of the way when the car is level with the trailer. To adjust to this, I have been using leveling blocks (and before that, bricks) to raise the back axle of the car when I hitch (or unhitch), so that there is enough clearance to swing the jack arm up (or down), a solution that works, but is starting to seem like a (possibly unnecessary) nuisance.

I have thought of reversing the ball so that there is a bit of a rise (rather than a drop) in the hitch, but I'm guessing that would cause the trailer to be tilted a bit backwards as it travels down the road, which I gather is not ideal, not only for traveling, but also for those short one-night stops when it's easiest to stay hitched (and I want to use the fridge, which I've learned, likes to be level).

What I think that leaves me with is exploring the possibility of shortening the jack (and/or jack arm?) so that it can swing up or down when the car and trailer are level. Does this make sense? Is it inadvisable for some reason? Have any of you encountered this issue--and if yes, how have you solved it?

Thanks again in advance for helping this newbie!

Kathy
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Old 06-15-2018, 07:18 PM   #2
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
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Probably should be looking at replacing the axle on the trailer. Make a fist and place it on top of the trailer tire and see if it fits between the tire and the top of the wheel housing. I have this problem on my sloped driveway so I use a flat foot on the trailer jack instead of the wheel. But sometime in my future it is time to change the axle in my 1984 Scamp 13.
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Old 06-15-2018, 08:23 PM   #3
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Name: Floyd
Trailer: 2004 13 ft Scamp Custom Deluxe
IllAnnoy
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Shaking your fist at it won't solve the problem.
Your trailer came originally with a swing jack. it is likely that it has been replaced with a longer one.

Scamp now uses a vertical jack with a shorter leg below the frame, and has, since they converted to a 2" coupler.
I have a 2004 Scamp13D which I converted to the newer vertical jack offered by Scamp for the 13. It works fine with the trailer towed level...
While it is designed for a 2" coupler, it is a simple matter to retrofit it to your 1-7/8" coupler as shown below.
Other wise, buy a shorter swing jack, it is simply attached with a single circlip.


The swing jack bought at your local bigbox lumber store is inferior quality and too long for this application.
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Old 06-15-2018, 08:25 PM   #4
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
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pictures would help. one of how the jack is mounted also.

Floyd; she says it doesn't have enough clearance to "swing", so must be the one that swings up even with the tongue. How are they mounted, and could the mounting be modified. I had to cut one off the base and turn it for the crank to clear a storage box. I could have raised it if I wanted to before welding it back on.
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Old 06-15-2018, 08:30 PM   #5
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Name: Kathy
Trailer: Scamp
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Thanks, Steve.

So if my fist fits, that would be a good thing? Or not a good thing?
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Old 06-15-2018, 08:34 PM   #6
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Name: Kathy
Trailer: Scamp
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Thanks, Floyd.

I'm much more of a head shaker (and scratcher) than a fist shaker.

I *do* have the swing jack, but there isn't quite enough clearance to swing it up or down when my car is on level ground and the trailer is hitched to the car.
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Old 06-15-2018, 08:49 PM   #7
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Name: Kathy
Trailer: Scamp
Wisconsin
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Thanks, Bob.

Changing the mounting would be an option.

I sure hope I don't need a new axle. It seems like every time I think I am beginning to understand anything about the care and feeding of this Scamp, someone suggests that I have a much bigger problem than I had even considered...

I have an appointment at my local RV place tomorrow--I was just hoping to be a little more educated before I talk with them. They've been great, but Scamp isn't their first language.

Thanks again to you and Steve and Floyd!
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Old 06-15-2018, 10:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mary and bob View Post
pictures would help. one of how the jack is mounted also.

Floyd; she says it doesn't have enough clearance to "swing", so must be the one that swings up even with the tongue. How are they mounted, and could the mounting be modified. I had to cut one off the base and turn it for the crank to clear a storage box. I could have raised it if I wanted to before welding it back on.
I have an '04 Scamp13 which came with a swing jack short enough to deploy when the trailer was level and the jack was fully retracted.
The pictures show the mod I made to convert to a vertical jack.
This mod should solve the problem in the best way.
I suspect that the swing jack on the OP's trailer may not be OEM and that going back to the OEM swing jack may also solve the problem.
There may be some other problem, like the tongue is actually below level when attached to the Subaru... Of course a hands on examination would yield a solution.
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Old 06-15-2018, 11:13 PM   #9
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Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
Oregon
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FYI... Scamp designed the earlier 13' trailers to have an tow ball at 18"" above the ground. The swing tongue jack is also designed to work in most cases when trailer is level and the top of hitch is 18" above the ground.



I have had an occasional problem with tongue jack not being able to swing it but that because of unlevel camp site.


One other thing I didn't see mentioned is too much tongue weight for the tow vehicle, which would lower the connection to make it difficult to lower the swing tongue jack. Which ends up with you towing with tongue slightly low or "nose down"


If it were me I'd be checking all these things.
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Old 06-16-2018, 01:25 AM   #10
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Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kgphd View Post
I *do* have the swing jack, but there isn't quite enough clearance to swing it up or down when my car is on level ground and the trailer is hitched to the car.
Have to ask, are you retracting it fully? You don't say if you have a wheel or sand foot on it. I took the wheel off altogether for the same reason and just set the stub down on blocks. You could also cut what ever you need off the stub so it swings up. I'm guessing that it being a 13'er you move it by hand and need the wheel.
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Old 06-16-2018, 06:01 AM   #11
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Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
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The swing jack on our Uhaul has a permanently attached wheel. I installed a Ultimate Jack on our Casita but that may not be an option for the OP. A good trailer shop could surely solve the problem. A utility trailer dealer would be a good place to go for help.
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Old 06-16-2018, 07:42 AM   #12
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A previous owner of my Burromust have been a “belt and suspenders” kind of guy... it has the swing down type jack with welded-on base on the side of the tongue and a crank-down vertical right behind the hitch. I can only swing the former into position when the latter is at least partially raised. Go figure!

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Old 06-16-2018, 01:30 PM   #13
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Trailer: Trillium 2010
Vermont
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My current trailer has a swing arm with a attached wheel. My previous trailer had a vertical jack. Each has it's advantages and disadvantages. The vertical appears more sturdy because it's bolted to the frame but the below frame part can bottom out and the above frame part can obstruct tailgates and hatch backs. The swing arm mounted on the side of the frame tends to wobble but is out of the way when not in use. I'm not a fan of the wheel but cutting it off reduces the range of the jack unless you block it. At some point I might replace it with the pad style. On occasion I've had the same problem as you trying to deploy the jack. In my case it happens when the trailer is level but the tow is headed up hill. Sometimes I back further and some times I get out a shovel. Finally if you are headed to an RV place, be prepared for sticker shock.
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Old 06-16-2018, 02:16 PM   #14
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Name: Kathy
Trailer: Scamp
Wisconsin
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Final report--for today

Hi, again.

Here's the full report, in gruesome/hilarious detail:

So, I towed the Scamp (I call her Liz--Liz Traylor) to my local RV place--Finnegans in Beloit, Wisconsin--and, as I said, I really think they're great.

I had asked them to tighten one of the rear stabilizing jacks, which I thought I had loosened, but that's a story/confession for another time.

After reading your replies to my original query, I thought, "Oh, geez, maybe I need a new axle. I better have it looked at."

John (one of the owners) came outside to do a quick axle assessment and look at the stabilizing jack. He looked under the trailer, said the axle looked good, straight, and strong. He checked out the stabilizing jacks, and said that they are supposed to have some play front to back, but that the one I was worried about had a place that was slightly bent, and that it would be quick and easy just to tap it flat.

Then, I asked him about the front swing jack, and how I might be able to get the ball just a little higher so it will clear without having to lift the rear of the car. He said, "No problem, we'll just turn the bar over and put the ball on the other side, which will give you about an inch and a half, and not adversely affect the tilt of the Scamp as it travels."

I love these guys.

I was so grateful and relieved, I went ahead and had them install a new battery, which I had decided to buy within the next few weeks anyway, as the previous owner had installed a car battery, rather than a deep cycle battery, and I'm going to be camping without electric.

So, the axle is good, the stabilizing jacks are good, the swing jack now has enough clearance, and Liz has a new battery. And there was no sticker shock.

In fact, I had enough $$ left over to pay for the little hydraulic jack I needed to lift Liz back up after my housemate (who is trying to learn this stuff, too) failed to fully engage the front jack when we got home from Finnegans. You can't make this stuff up...

Thank you again for being such a helpful and interactive community.

Happy camping,
Kathy
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