sway with a 16" scamp - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV

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Old 02-15-2016, 05:06 PM   #15
Senior Member
Name: Frederick / Janis
Trailer: Previously Scamp 13 2002,2016. Scamp 16 on order
Posts: 291
Agree that BOTH the Scamp and/or the Subaru are top sellers. While a bit of fussing around making the change, the good news is the high resale value of either. It'll be a move you'll enjoy for a long, long time.

As things stand? You dislike it now and that concern will not go away by itself. There's no "fun" in the status quo.

Agree with Jon that a friction type sway bar is NOT intended to "fix" a normal setup but merely to provide a slight measure of extra security. Well said. These sway bars use with Scamps is widely misunderstood on Scamp oriented internet chat/FB, etc.

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Old 02-15-2016, 05:54 PM   #16
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Name: Eddie
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
Posts: 1,588
My question is how did you get the tongue weight on a S-16 SD to under 200 lbs. I tried to lighten up the tongue weight on a S-16 SD. After removing one LP and going with a single tank the best I could do was 230 lbs. Is your water tank full of water? If so dump the water see how it tows. Storage box or bike rack on the rear? Others I have spoken with say about 230lbs. is as light as they could get their S-16 SD tongue weight.
FWIW: I have always suggested an S-13 for an Outback the S-16 is bit much.

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Old 02-15-2016, 06:07 PM   #17
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Name: Dawn
Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 10
We had a hitch box on the back, with just few light things in it. We took the gas tanks (not a long term practical solution) and the hitch box off, to get the weight more centered, and we still get sway.
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Old 02-15-2016, 06:47 PM   #18
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Name: Eddie
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
Posts: 1,588
No LP tank is more than likely the issue. I know a lot of people that run with a Single tank on a S-16 SD and have no sway issues, but most pull them with light trucks. With the tank then that overloads the car specs. I own a Outback and I would not want to have a swaying trailer behind it.
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Old 02-15-2016, 07:27 PM   #19
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Name: Dawn
Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 10
Eddie - Do you pull your Scamp with the Outback?
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Old 02-15-2016, 07:37 PM   #20
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Name: Clif
Trailer: 08 Weiscraft Little Joe 14 Subaru Outback 2.5i CVT
Posts: 723
Since you have been tent camping all this time I have to ask, how many are camping. If it's just the two of you a 16 is a big step up from a tent.
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Old 02-15-2016, 08:09 PM   #21
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Name: Dawn
Trailer: Scamp
Posts: 10
2 to 4 (two teens that are sometimes with us, but can be in tents)
we had been going back and forth on the 13 and 16
a nice 16 ft came up, we probably should have waited around for a 13 ft
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Old 02-15-2016, 09:41 PM   #22
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Casita 17 ft DLX SD
NW Wisconsin
Posts: 3,078
I pulled my 1999 16ft Scamp SD with a full size 1/2 ton truck.
Since we camped mainly in the summer and did not have a furnace,
I removed one of the propane tanks from the front to save weight.
Bad idea , driving around Lake Superior we ran into some strong crosswinds and the sway started . We put the full propane tank back on the trailer and 6 gallon jugs of water in the front shower and the sway went away . Our tongue weight was around 240 to 250 lbs when fully loaded
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Old 02-16-2016, 05:19 AM   #23
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Name: Raz
Trailer: Trillium 2010
Posts: 4,336
I tried towing my 1700lb Trillium with a Forester. I soon went back to my Frontier pickup. I was much more aware of the weight with the Forester. I also didn't like how the aftermarket trailer hitch attached to the car; carriage bolts through the sheet metal. Subaru has dropped the tow rating on the Forester to 1500 lbs like the CRV and the Rav. This limits them to boats, small utility trailers, and teardrops. I think you will find the ride much more enjoyable with a different tow vehicle. Good luck, Raz
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Old 02-16-2016, 05:47 AM   #24
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Name: Norm and Ginny
Trailer: Scamp 16
Posts: 7,324
I'm not familiar with the Subaru however we towed our Scamp 16 with a HOnda CRV for 5 years and never experienced sway. Our trailer's axle weight was about 2400 lbs and our tongue weight about 200 lbs.

Our set up was as follows: Trailer tires at 50 lbs, rear tow vehicle tire pressure 38 lbs, front tires at 34 lbs, one propane tank, one battery, nothing heavy on the rear. Weight inside the trailer concentrated over the axle, clothing and bedding, stored at the ends, 1/2 tank of water. The receiver bar pushed in as far as it can go and a new hole drilled for the locking pin. Receiver bar held solidly in place by a U clamp so it doesn't move in the receiver. In the rear of the trailer, heavy items between the front and rear axles.

We typically tow 7.5 months per year and have towed our Scamp every where in NA. We don't drive over 62 mph and more typically 55-60 mph. We have never experienced sway. We have towed with and with and without the sway bar, but mostly witht he anti- sway bar..
Norm and Ginny

2014 Honda Odyssey
1991 Scamp 16
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Old 02-16-2016, 06:36 AM   #25
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Name: Roger
Trailer: Y2K6 Born Free 32RQ on the Kodiak chassis, 1995 Coachmen 19' B-van and 1996 Precision 21' Sailboat
Posts: 5,000
Originally Posted by Dawn HSV View Post
We have just got a "new" to us 16 foot scamp with side dinette (weigh in at 2340 loaded for light camping, including the hitch weight (195lb))
Our tow vehicle is a Subaru Forester (rated at 2400lb and 200lb hitch weight), so we are only just inside our specs
We have a class II hitch and a sway controller bar
between 55 and 60 we get a sway, any suggestions?
we love the 16 foot and the Subaru but thinking we may have to go with a 13 foot or a new tow vehicle.
Dawn, lets start with some specifics... are the weights you're quoting measured at a scale, or are they the specs on the trailer? What tires do you have on the Subaru at what PSI (front and rear), and on the trailer (and PSI), and last, when the trailer is hitched to the car, is the entire rig sitting level with the ground, or is the trailer tongue high or low?

Answering those questions will go a long way to determining what's happening for you. Your Forester should be able to tow your Scamp 16 without problem. I towed a Scamp 16 with a Honda Element for several years for about 15,000 miles and without incident... I even hit a deer and managed to come to a safe stop on the side of the road at night without headlights (or much of a front end on the Honda.)

Secondly, please describe what you're experiencing and calling "sway." I've found over the years that "sway" means many different things to people.

There are "wiggles" that come from a variety of causes, give steering input and are a little uncomfortable, but you never lose control. A "sway" episode is when the trailer begins to oscillate from side to side in a sine-wave pattern with an increasing amplitude that eventually, if not checked, ends up with the trailer at a 90* to the tow vehicle and then the whole rig rolls. I experienced that with Trillium. Fortunately, it was behind a 7,000 lb Ford Excursion, and I was able to bring it under control before it rolled me.

All trailers will sway at speed. The trick is to get the onset speed higher than those speeds you travel. Instability can be brought on by low tire pressures on either the tow vehicle or the trailer or both; improper loading where the requisite 15% tongue weigh is decreased by too much load in the rear or not enough in the front of the trailer, or the tongue is higher than the rear (again unloading tongue weight) or the tongue is too low (overloading the Subaru's suspension causing issues) or mechanical issues with the trailer axle or the tow vehicle's suspension.

Having gone through instability issues with the Excursion and a 34' Airstream, I can tell you that there may be more than one thing happening, and you may have to take a number of steps to overcome the problem... but if you can give us some more information, we can help you troubleshoot what's going on with your specific setup. I may have more questions as we go along but this will be a good start for you to understand "sway" and what to do about it.

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Old 02-16-2016, 07:04 AM   #26
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Name: Eddie
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21
Posts: 1,588
I towed a S-13 goucho and front bath models with my 2011 Outback. I mostly towed costal flatlands but did venture to Cheorkee NC with no issues and got about 22mpg. I once towed a stripped down S-16 about 100 miles no issues but did not like the feel and the milage dropped to just above 20 MPG. I later bought a S-16 SB with dual tanks with about 280 tongue weight. I had thoughts of trying to tow it with the OB but after removing one LP tank and with the water tank full the TW was still at 230 lbs. At that point I decided to stick with my Frontier for towing the S-16.
I do a fair amount of towing in the mountains of WV. I don't think I would venture into the WV mountains with a S-13 and an Outback without closely choosing valley routes and not crossing any mountain ridges.
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Old 02-16-2016, 07:40 AM   #27
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Posts: 6,361
Dawn, you will do what you feel is right and best with all this conflicting advice. This is an old debate hereabouts- how strictly tow ratings and recommended tongue weights should be followed…

First, no matter how you slice this, you will either end up with more than 200 pounds on the hitch, or you will end up with less than 10% tongue weight. Norm, for example, was towing at 7.7% tongue weight (200 pounds tongue weight/2600 pounds total trailer weight). As others have said, tongue weight is not the only factor contributing to instability, but it is important.

Second, nobody seems to have observed that, at least part of the time, you will have four people in the vehicle. Tow ratings only factor in the driver (sometimes one passenger) and minimal cargo. Adding people and/or cargo reduces the towing capacity proportionately. When the whole crew is along, you don't have the full 2400/200 rating. I'm curious if your owner's manual address that- mine does, in great detail!
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Old 02-16-2016, 09:01 AM   #28
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Name: Darral
Trailer: Scamp Standard 13' 2010
Posts: 1,521
I'm in TOTAL agreement with Jon's statement. To me, with the setup you have, you're in a "no-win" position. Removing the LP tanks basically exacerbated the problem. I tow a 13'er at 1800lbs ready to roll with a 4cyl Nissan Frontier rated at 3500lbs. I would NOT tow a 16' with my truck. I live in Tenn- famously known with a statement > "The hills of Tennessee". I simply would not do it.

You have too light of a tongue as you already know and I would state (as an opinion of course) that's that is 90% of your problem. I'd rather add a carrier on top of my tow any day than to add ANYTHING to my Scamp- especially- the rear!

And again, as Jon said, with the weight in the tow you're carrying, I simply do not see a solution with your setup and I KNOW that's not what you guys want to hear. Unfortunately, manufacturers simply will NOT stress enough about having the proper TV in my opinion.

My final suggestion would be to hold on to the 16' (since you have it) and save up (not sure of your $ status) and get a larger tow and BALANCE your trailer properly! Tongue weight! I dont think you will regret it. Remember, do what you know has to be done then you will be happy camping. Right now you're miserable.... and cant enjoy a wonderful "get away" that we all so desperately need at times. Life is short.

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