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Earl E. November 12-19-2010 02:11 PM

Lifting the Scamp 13'
Since the primary use of my little 13' is for off road use, I am thinking of doing a 4" lift.
Pretty sure the axle is OK as I have well over a fist width of clearance between the top of the tire and the wheel well.

Reason for the lift is to keep from dragging the bumper while negotiating dips and depression.
Plan is to add 4" of steel tubing or "C" iron for the lift, but wondering if putting a coil spring assist on the leading arm would be a good investment of time while I have it down.

I am also thinking of putting some form of skid protection on the rear bumper.

Curious to hear from others who may have had similar needs.


Darwin Maring 12-20-2010 09:05 AM

Changing it to a bolt on axle will allow you to install a new axle in the future all by yourself in a very short time.

Frederick L. Simson 12-20-2010 10:50 AM

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Originally Posted by Earl E. November (Post 231832)
I am also thinking of putting some form of skid protection on the rear bumper.

I put mine just forward of the bumper on the frame, but only because my "bumper" is plastic and only for "Stinky-Slinky" storage, but otherwise decorative. I feel that skid protection is more effective on the frame anyway, unless the bumper is substantial.

Robert Johans 12-21-2010 07:42 PM

So, are you keeping the stock axle? Does that mean you're also keeping the stock 13" wheels?

If you are replacing the axle, adding square tube to the frame is no problem. (I added 3" to my '88 Scamp to accommodate a new axle and 15" wheels.)

But as all off-roaders know, real ground clearance is defined by the wheel/tire size.

Earl E. November 12-21-2010 07:59 PM

Hopefully I won't have to replace the axle, however tires are in need of replacing any way.. Wheels is another question but not out of the picture.
I agree bigger boots would help.

Donna D. 12-21-2010 09:05 PM

Doesn't matter how big the square tube you add, the trailer is lifted but the axle stays in the same place. And it could scrape the axle in rough terrain. To get the axle to lift, the angle of the axle needs to change and larger tires certainly help too. When I had the axle changed on my Scamp, I went to a 45 degree down (no additional tube added) and now 15" tires fit just fine. It probably raised the trailer a good 8" over the ole low rider it was before. AND, there's alot more distance between the bottom of the axle and the ground.

Archie J 12-22-2010 09:51 AM

So what is the maximum tire size that can be put on a 13' scamp? Probably out of the question, but I have 31x10x15 wheels on the tow rig and it would be great to get compatibility between the two.
Donna- I haven't really started looking into this yet, but is the 45 deg axle different axle or just a different way of mounting it?

Donna D. 12-22-2010 05:09 PM

Archie, I can't answer the wheel size. But my Scamp is running Goodyear Marathon tires ST205/75 R15... there's plenty of "head room." The wheels are custom made, Chevy Rally wheels with a Ford bolt pattern to match the "someday" tug. The axle is a Dexter and I ordered it with the 45 degree down, brakes (obviously!) and EZ-lube bearings. There is an axle manufacturer where the consumer can change the angle... but, a brain drain is keeping me from remembering the manufacturing name. You purchase the Dexter with the angle you want, a consumer can't change the angle after manufacturing.

Hope this helps :yep

Earl E. November 12-22-2010 05:41 PM

Donna,, I haven't been to worried about axle clearance where I go, more concerned about the rear bumper. However you bring up good points, and if a guy is going to get dirty, he may as well do everything he can.
From snooping on Dexter's sight, it looks like the 45 down will get about 2", but it looks like you need to go from a forward arm to a rear arm.. I am guessing the forward arm doesn't like that much angle, which is understandable.

While I am in the mood of back yard engineering I to am looking to see if I can't save my axle, turn it around and remount to get the 45 degrees as Archie has mentioned.

Probably have to change out the hubs to put a 5 bolt rim on so a guy can go with the bigger boots, but in theory it should all work.

Donna D. 12-22-2010 05:53 PM

I believe all Dexter axles are all now all trailing arm and it's because of a better ride. Instead of jamming into potholes and lumps, they "trail" over. Don't know what age your Scamp is Earl, but axles "typically" only last 15-20 years then the rubber dies. If you flip the axle... flip the hubs from one side to the other too.

Earl E. November 12-22-2010 10:16 PM

Good evening Donna,

My Scamp is an 88 but probably has less than 1000 miles on it. a couple bought it new back then and after a couple of local runs with it, they were getting ready to go to Canada with it. She was working, he was home loading it.. When she came home she found him dead on the floor..

Two years later her and her sister took it to Co. . It has been setting on blocks ever since, until I bought it out of her estate.

Not sure how much life is left in the rubber, but it has plenty of bump clearance over the 13" tires.

Going with the assumption that it is ok, I'd as soon give it a chance to fail rather than pitch it because it may be bad.

The Dexter sight says both leading and trailing arms, but all of the leading arms are 22 degrees down or less, which makes sense.. The 45 downs in a leading arm situation could want to go pure vertical on a good pot hole.

If I do this I will probably change the hubs to 5 bolt, and the brakes will probably have to switch sides as you suggested, to keep the proper brake shoe placement front to back.

Lizbeth 12-22-2010 11:40 PM

If I was going to all the trouble to change the axle around (which IMO is a good idea) I'd do it with a new axle. Yours being 20+ yrs old is probably shot, the rubber hard as a rock. Since it was on blocks it froze with room to spare. :D

Earl E. November 12-23-2010 06:45 AM

I'm not going to argue that logic, but for now a new axle would double my investment, and the guys who is going to do the works said it will cost me a box of adult beverage and my help. (And possible future considerations)

What is a good way to test the function? Bounce on the bumper, like testing the shocks on an old car?

Lizbeth 12-23-2010 11:24 AM

I was told one can test an axle by having someone inside the trailer bounce the trailer while someone watches to see if the axle "works". It's a little tricky because you have to watch to see if the axle is actually moving because you are going to have tire deflection too which can make it appear that the axle is working.

We went with a 22 degree down angle and added brakes on the Boler. The new axle raised the trailer several inches. At the time we stayed with the 13" wheels but should we ever replace the tires again we will go with bigger wheels.

The biggest issue I see about off roading is sealing the sucker up against trail dust. Our Boler is not at all air tight, I'm sure Scamps have the same problem.

PS. don't bounce on the back bumper...the trailer might rear up, that is always a heart racing experience. :)

Earl E. November 12-24-2010 03:04 PM

Well I think I got lucky on the bounce test.. Did it a bit different.
I took one wheel off and set the hub down on a block,, Arm moved about 1 1/4" with the weight of an empty trailer.
With it setting on the cinder block I took a spade which gives me about 8:1 mechanical advantage. With the heal of the spade on the block and the blade under the hub I levered up and down on the handle and I was getting about another 1/2" of movement.

Without a real life road test or a base line to check it against, I am pretty sure the axle will see more service before it is pronounced DOA.

Anyone with a new axle and time on their hand want to repeat the test, it would be interesting to compare the results.

Gary Carvajal 12-27-2010 11:55 AM

Probably a third of the miles we have put on our 13ft 'Scamperoonie' over the last fifteen years have been off road, and in some pretty gnarly places like over Mosquito Pass in Colorado back in the mid 90's ---eighteen miles of low range low gear creepy crawl from 10,000 ft to 14,189 ft if I recall from Fairplay to the pass and to Leadville.

A few years ago I changed our old worn out front facing axle for a trailing 45 degree down angle new Dexter unit. it not only raised the whole trailer about 6 inches, but gave us about 12 1/2 inches of clearance under the entire trailer with the axle at about 11 1/2 inches.

I dragged the Scamperoonie over about 55 miles of some of steepest sidehills, uphills and downhills, boulder infested, rutted trails, turning around once in about a foot deep creek bottom when the the road ran out this past fall here in western Montana. Ground clearance cannot be discounted in offroad situations. It took all day and we hardly ever got out of first and second gear low range in the Tacoma with the rear differental lock on.

My advice would be to order the new axle and go with that, as the camber and alignment will be correct. Trying to flip axles and rotate them may cause more problems than they might solve.

My axle swap took one day by myself on my pal's auto lift with a torch, a 4 inch hand grinder, a wirefeed welder and a transmission jack with a tape measure and the appropriate steel tubing, angles, and flat stock to fabricate the new spring mounts.

Without a lift, the work would be very hard to do in my opinion. If one was not proficient with the use of these tools, a good welding or fabrication shop is needed.
high quality welding without burning up the trailer requires some skill, as the steel thickness of the these trailers is typically pretty light.

What ever you decide to do, plan it well, and make sure you have plenty of time and enough material available.


Archie J 01-02-2011 11:44 AM

Garo- So what size tire are you able run with this setup? Current TV runs 31" tires and would love to run same on the trailer for simplicity. So yours is a custom setup I take it? Do you have any pictures? How did lifting it affect the highway manners? Mine is in the planning stages currently and I'm trying to get as much info as possible. The axle appears to be shot and I need to do some 'glass work, so this might be ripe for customization.

Earl E. November 01-02-2011 07:53 PM

I've been reading all I can on this subject and things I have found out.. Per Dexter, they feel over half the axles replaced are still serviceable. Also even though all of the new axles are trailing arm, they feel they will work well in leading arm installations as well.

Or in other words. 1. My axle is in fine shape and 2. It should be just fine if I convert it to trailing arm.
On the other hand my only real concern with off-roading is hanging up the rear bumper going thru dips.. Considering I am now pulling it on a bumper hitch, going to a receiver hitch and a dropped ball, should raise the tail end enough as to get by.
I would not mind going to bigger tires but with a 4 bolt pattern, it looks like 13's is as big as I will get

Gary Carvajal 01-02-2011 09:14 PM

Archie, I run 13 inch tires still. The highway characteristics are the same, to me. You might be able to run 31 inch tall tires but you might run out of wheel well room. The 185/85R 13 tires I run are about 23-24 inches in diameter and for trailer tires I cannot ask for more. All my trailers run the same tires and wheels for simplicity.

carsonjk 06-28-2011 12:23 PM

I would love to hear how it turned out. I took my scamp in for the axle reverse thinking the same thing, it would be way cheaper, but come to find out the labor is a lot to cut out and re weld and then your tire isnt toed in the way it should be but rather toed out and I would eat tires and possibly be unsafe. The guy was unwilling to do it and I was unwilling to pay the money without even getting a new axle which will also cost a lot. I guess it's constant leveling blocks for now, hopefully a new axle in the future.

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