Help! Do I need a new axle for my Scamp? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 12-05-2021, 10:57 PM   #1
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Name: David
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Alaska
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Help! Do I need a new axle for my Scamp?

I just purchased a 1992 13 foot Scamp and the previous owner put 15 inch wheels on it. After our 2nd outing, the camper has significant sagging on one side. See photos.

Does this mean that I need to replace the axle?



Tire on leaning side


Tire on non-leaning side
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Old 12-05-2021, 11:31 PM   #2
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Name: Charles
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Inspect the underside closely and if you do not have any broken frame or brackets, and the trailer does not have any unusual L/R loading, yes, you probably do have a bad axle.

Do some searches on here, there are a number of threads on Scamp axles. For a 1992 model, it is probably overdue for an axle, but a through underside inspection is in order first.

Charles
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Old 12-05-2021, 11:32 PM   #3
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Inspection time

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidbshin View Post
I just purchased a 1992 13 foot Scamp and the previous owner put 15 inch wheels on it. After our 2nd outing, the camper has significant sagging on one side.
Does this mean that I need to replace the axle?
First I do not know how any one got 15" tires under a Scamp 13. There may have been some modifications. Inspect to see if anything has moved and if the arms that hold the axle spindles are both at the same angle. Is the floor level when you park it on a level space? Both sides of the Scamp do have some slight differences but that looks like a lot. Do you know it was equal before the trip? I put 14" on my 16' Scamp and they rubbed, more on one side than the other'
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Old 12-05-2021, 11:36 PM   #4
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Due to the step down floor design, the normal Scamp shell does not appear level on the frame from the front or the rear. Look at the bumper.
I am amazed that they got 15" wheels and tires to fit even on a brand new Scamp13, let alone a 1992.
Because of this, it seems likely that you have a non stock replacement axle already. (no way to tell from your pics)
I will say one thing though.... Expect a storm of comments which may leave you looking even more askance.


I don't think its possible to accurately judge your axle condition from the pictures you have provided...
What is the tread depth across the tread? Is it significantly diminished toward the inside?

Does your axle display an obvious negative camber?
What layout and accessories on board?
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Old 12-06-2021, 12:02 AM   #5
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Name: David
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Alaska
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd View Post
Due to the step down floor design, the normal Scamp shell does not appear level on the frame from the front or the rear. Look at the bumper.
I am amazed that they got 15" wheels and tires to fit even on a brand new Scamp13, let alone a 1992.
Because of this, it seems likely that you have a non stock replacement axle already. (no way to tell from your pics)
I will say one thing though.... Expect a storm of comments which may leave you looking even more askance.


I don't think its possible to accurately judge your axle condition from the pictures you have provided...
What is the tread depth across the tread? Is it significantly diminished toward the inside?

Does your axle display an obvious negative camber?
What layout and accessories on board?


Thank you for your help!

The tires do not have uneven tread and the axle does not display an obvious camber.

The layout is the bunk layout. They did put in a newer refrigerator and the lean is on that side.

Would the weight of the refrigerator cause the lean?

I'll see if I can post more photos of the underside with the axle tomorrow.
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Old 12-06-2021, 12:03 AM   #6
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Name: David
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Alaska
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesinGA View Post
Inspect the underside closely and if you do not have any broken frame or brackets, and the trailer does not have any unusual L/R loading, yes, you probably do have a bad axle.

Do some searches on here, there are a number of threads on Scamp axles. For a 1992 model, it is probably overdue for an axle, but a through underside inspection is in order first.

Charles
Thank you!
I'll inspect the underside carefully first.
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Old 12-06-2021, 12:07 AM   #7
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Name: David
Trailer: Scamp
Alaska
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AC0GV View Post
First I do not know how any one got 15" tires under a Scamp 13. There may have been some modifications. Inspect to see if anything has moved and if the arms that hold the axle spindles are both at the same angle. Is the floor level when you park it on a level space? Both sides of the Scamp do have some slight differences but that looks like a lot. Do you know it was equal before the trip? I put 14" on my 16' Scamp and they rubbed, more on one side than the other'
Thank you for your help!

It was not equal before the trip, but it seems more pronounced recently.

I'm not sure if the floor is exactly level on a level ground, but it does not feel as uneven on the inside as it looks from the back.

I checked the axle arms that hold the spindles and it appears that they may be a slight difference in the angle, but it's hard to tell.

I'll see if I can post photos of the underside with the axle tomorrow.
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Old 12-06-2021, 08:42 AM   #8
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I would park on a smooth, level, hard surface and set a level on the rear bumper, rear belly band, and rear window frame. (Check the ground, too.) Everything forward of the axle is asymmetric left to right to accommodate the drop floor and door opening, but the rear frame rails, shell, and window should be close to level left to right.

You could also crawl under and measure from the rear frame rails to the ground (behind axle same distance both sides). That would be the most accurate way to determine if the suspension is sitting lower on the street side. While you're under there, check for a sticker on the axle (it's a long shot). Knowing the manufacturer, age, and weight rating would be useful.

I too am curious what was done to accommodate 15” wheels. There were certainly some modifications required, possibly a new axle and trimming of the shell.

Uneven weight distribution can also contribute. Unloaded Scamp 13's run a little heavier on the street side because all the major appliances are located there (stove, fridge, furnace, water heater). Loading can even it out or make it worse.

As long as there is no unusual tire wear and plenty of room for the wheels to move in the wells without rubbing, it is perfectly safe to use.
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Old 12-06-2021, 09:05 AM   #9
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
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Measure the height of the axle from the ground on each side at the end of the cross bar where the arms exit. If they are the same then the axle has the same drop on each arm.
When Scamp makes a shell that is perfectly square and level it will be an accident worth reporting.
If the tires are that large it is very possible that the wheel openings have been trimmed so that the larger tires can be fitted.
I installed 205 14 inch wheels and tires and to be able to get them on and off I had to cut quite a bit and my efforts are not symmetrical in the least.
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Old 12-06-2021, 11:04 AM   #10
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Name: Dave
Trailer: 2013Escape 21
Iowa
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Reading the comment by RedBarron55 about cutting the sides back so a 14 inch tire would fit and considering you have 15s I was looking at the photos of each tire closely. It does no appear that your body has a pure radius on the exterior of each wheel well. Close but not quite. The measuring advice and close examination are all valid. If you need professional help I’d go to a trailer and axle shop as opposed to a camper dealer. Best of luck on this.
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Old 12-06-2021, 12:53 PM   #11
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On my Scamp I felt like I needed more room in the wheel wells for the larger wheels and tires and since I was redoing the frame anyway I bought a pair of steel wheel wells and installed them.
The ones I used had rolled edges on the outside, but I was able to reform them to fit against the fiberglass shell.
After the Flexiride axle was installed and the arm angle set I found that to remove the tires easily on the side of the road the openings had to be larger. I think that to get a nice shape and match both sides you could trip one side to suit your desires and then take a sheet on heavy brown paper or poster board and trace the opening and use that as a template.
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Old 12-06-2021, 08:39 PM   #12
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I notice that they have apparently painted the belly band.
Looks nice enough, but aluminum requires a lot of prep to get it to stay painted.
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Old 12-07-2021, 09:07 AM   #13
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Name: RogerDat
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Is it possible that the axle is a flex ride or similar that can be adjusted and the two sides are adjusted differently? Not familiar with them other than second hand but been my experience that which can be adjusted can be adjusted wrong or loose proper adjustment.

Myself I would like to see some photos of the axle install. I would think it would take some sort of modification or custom work to install 15" wheels and out of curiosity and general interest it would be worth seeing what has been done and how.

To be fair I am a firm believer in if you can't make it perfect then next best thing is make it adjustable :-) Big fan of slots not holes for bolts.
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Old 12-07-2021, 12:07 PM   #14
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Name: David
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I did get a chance to check with a level.

The floor is level.
The back bumper is level.
I put a level on the belly band of the back. It is not level.


I'll have to post more photos of the axle area shortly with a tape measure of comparing the arms.
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Old 12-11-2021, 12:14 PM   #15
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Name: Ray
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidbshin View Post
I did get a chance to check with a level.

The floor is level.
The back bumper is level.
I put a level on the belly band of the back. It is not level.


I'll have to post more photos of the axle area shortly with a tape measure of comparing the arms.

Might see it you have a friend who is good with trailers and etc. Maybe a Mechanic. See if they can figure this out. It does look like something is out of wack. But probably not the axle. However you need to find what.
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Old 12-11-2021, 12:29 PM   #16
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Maybe this is a repeat of above but while checking the axle for a broken or loose components, pay attention to the ‘torsion bars’ that connect the axle to the wheels, this is your suspension (I’m assuming these are similar to trillium axles). If they are in good condition they should be approximately level with the ground. If one (or both) are sagging then you need a new axle.
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Old 12-11-2021, 02:49 PM   #17
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Get out the tape measure.

A good starting point would be to jack up the back of the trailer on level ground high enough to get the tires off the ground 1 inch each and on some jack stands for safety. Now measure the rear bumper to ground on both sides and write it down. Both rear tires need to be the exact same distance above the ground when you measure the bumper. Now pull both wheels off and measure the axle trailing arm to the ground to see if they are the same. Now measure the frame to ground where the axle is attached. With these measurements you can tell where the problem is. My guess would be that the axle is probable bad based on age and having had to replace the axle on our Trillium 4500 because it didn't spring much after 30+ years. Also swap the tires while it is off the ground and see if they are still 1 inch on both sides. Dont forget to sent the tire pressure the same on both sides before starting.

If you replace it, I would put a little higher weight rating on it because over time you will be over your axle weight limit. Also 10 inch minimum brakes.
Good luck with your challenge.
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Old 12-11-2021, 02:57 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W View Post
Maybe this is a repeat of above but while checking the axle for a broken or loose components, pay attention to the ‘torsion bars’ that connect the axle to the wheels, this is your suspension (I’m assuming these are similar to trillium axles). If they are in good condition they should be approximately level with the ground. If one (or both) are sagging then you need a new axle.
Actually Zero° axles weren't used on Scamp13s until very recently.
This trailer came with a 22° up angle when new.
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Old 12-11-2021, 07:12 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd View Post
Actually Zero° axles weren't used on Scamp13s until very recently.
This trailer came with a 22° up angle when new.
My 1990 13 came with leading arms at 22-1/2 degrees Down.
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