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Old 10-21-2020, 11:18 AM   #1
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Name: Diana
Trailer: Scamp
California
Posts: 26
Newbie Owners Know Nuthin'! Any suggestions?

Hey, Everyone-

We just bought a 2007 16' Scamp & will be picking it up next week. The couple who sold it to us are *really* nice & ran over the basics with us. Now, we have a list of more general questions. If anyone enjoys giving advice, we'd love any "Definitely do this!" or "Avoid this!" suggestions.

Our questions:

1) Riser/Hitch Height: we're ordering a hitch for our Subaru Outback but there's confusion about the height of the riser. The manual says the Scamp hitch height is 21" but my husband read that when you put your stuff in the trailer it adds weight, so we'll need to adjust the height of the riser we buy to match that added weight. Any thoughts?

2) Picking Up: I've driven 5-tons & a few stake bed trucks (in my youth). My husband has towed a few U-hauls. We know we need to practice before taking the Scamp on a road trip. But we want to make sure we get it home safely. The drive is a short trip through a suburb, 2 hours of highway driving, then a short trip through another suburb, then - eek! - up a tight, tilted driveway with low clearance & a sharp turn. Any hints? We had our Subaru's brakes checked & bought 4 new tires.

3) Heater: The previous owners say the original heater is so noisy they never use it. We would like to have a heater. What's worked for you?

4) Freezer: We need to replace the refrigerator with a fridge/freezer combination. Anyone find one that works well?

5) Questions We Don't Know To Ask: Are there any hints you have for the "Oh, boy - they're clearly new to this!" newbies? We'd love to avoid any stupid mistakes.

Thanks for any hints you have. It's so nice to have a place to ask. Hope you're all well & enjoying the Fall weather!

Diana & Karl
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Old 10-21-2020, 11:45 AM   #2
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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A biggie... I hope your Outback is a 2020 or newer. 2019 and older Outbacks are saddled with a low 200# tongue weight limit (see the towing section of your owner's manual for details). A properly loaded and balanced Scamp 16 will carry between 250-300# on the hitch. Tongue weight must be at least 10% of total trailer weight or you risk dangerous sway.

To estimate your actual loaded hitch height, put 275# of weight as close to the back of the vehicle as you can, plus whatever else you will have in the vehicle (including yourselves), park on a level surface, and measure from the ground to the inside top of the square receiver tube. Subtract that from 21" and that's about how much rise you'll need. Go a little less if you can't locate the exact rise. Slightly nose down is okay.

Re the heater. Yes it's noisy. Yes it will use up your battery. When possible we try to use ours only in the evening and morning and just throw an extra blanket on for sleeping. But for those times when you really need it, it does the job, and because it vents combustion byproducts outside, it doesn't come with the safety caveats of unvented catalytic heaters. Earplugs, maybe, if you're noise-sensitive?

Related note... make sure you have safety detectors. My 2008 did not come with any from the factory. Hopefully the previous owner took care of that.
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Old 10-21-2020, 01:18 PM   #3
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Name: Kenneth
Trailer: Scamp
Wisconsin
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Number 5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana Woodland View Post

5) Questions We Don't Know To Ask: Are there any hints you have for the "Oh, boy - they're clearly new to this!" newbies? We'd love to avoid any stupid mistakes.

Diana & Karl
Can you borrow a couple of ball mounts (risers) for some trial and error before you buy one? There are some variables like the amount of “sag” of your car and the age of the Scamp axle.
Most states require you to be able to see into the lane behind you so you may or may not need mirror extenders.
I would suggest that your first camping trip be in your own driveway. Try to make it through the weekend with out running back into the house.
Some equipment you may need would be leveling blocks (the jacks on the back are not for leveling) water pressure regulator and filter. I bought two 25’ white hoses, I cut one to 10 and 15 feet and have never used the other. If the 15 to 30-amp electrical adapter is missing you will want one for home use. On rare occasions (only one time for me in several years) you may need a 50 to 30 adapter, but that is rare today.
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Old 10-21-2020, 01:41 PM   #4
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Name: Glenn ( second 'n' is silent )
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B 2020 Toyota Highlander XLE
British Columbia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AC0GV View Post
Most states require you to be able to see into the lane behind you so you may or may not need mirror extenders.

It's not the lane behind you. It's adjacent lanes ( both sides ) from 36' behind the driver to 200 feet.
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Old 10-21-2020, 01:51 PM   #5
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The lane beside you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
It's not the lane behind you. It's adjacent lanes ( both sides ) from 36' behind the driver to 200 feet.
Most states require you to see onto the lane behind you, others cover both. I would not pull a trailer that I could not see behind. (LIKE THIS)

New Jersey

No person shall drive a vehicle that is so constructed, loaded, or covered that the driver does not have a clear view of the traffic following and at its sides, unless the vehicle is equipped with a device that will show the road to the rear and side.
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Old 10-21-2020, 01:53 PM   #6
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[QUOTE=AC0GV;796769]Most states require you to see onto the lane behind you, others cover both. I would not pull a trailer that I could not see behind. (LIKE THIS)


https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/trailer-mirrors
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Old 10-21-2020, 02:05 PM   #7
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Name: Glenn ( second 'n' is silent )
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B 2020 Toyota Highlander XLE
British Columbia
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If you can see the adjacent lanes, you will see the lane behind you, just not five feet behind.
BTW. I suggest looking at the motor vehicle act for your state, not AAA or other sites that tend to "interpret" the law.


eg. from AAA site:
British Columbia

Two mirrors required; if trailer obstructs view through inside mirror, then 2 outside mirrors required.


The following is from B.C. Motor Vehicle Act:

Where a trailer or semitrailer in a combination of vehicles diminishes the driver's reflected rear view through the rear view mirrors required by subsections (1) to (3), the towing vehicle in the combination of vehicles shall be equipped with 2 mirrors, one affixed to each side of the motor vehicle, and each to provide the driver with an undistorted reflected view of the adjacent lane of the highway from a point on the road surface 11 m behind the driver to a point on the road surface 61 m from the rear of the combination of vehicles.
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Old 10-21-2020, 02:26 PM   #8
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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All side mirrors leave a triangular blind spot behind the trailer. The wider the mirrors, the narrower the trailer, and the shorter the combined rig, the smaller the blind spot. Most towing laws I have read are somewhat open to interpretation of mirror rules. Once you get the trailer,, decide if your view is adequate for safe merging and situational awareness.

Merging is by far the most important function, and you absolutely must have an unobstructed view of both sides of the trailer and the adjacent lanes adequate to spot the lane-splitting motorcyclist coming up from behind.

Directly behind will always be partly obstructed. In my experience with a fairly narrow trailer like a Scamp you can get a good view behind you on a curve or by moving right or left within your lane as traffic allows.

Check your specs (which do not include mirrors). If the trailer is wider than the tug by more than an inch or two, you probably should have towing mirror extensions.
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Old 10-21-2020, 03:26 PM   #9
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Name: Lynn
Trailer: '06 Scamp 16
Rochester, New York
Posts: 151
Jon gave great info to determine ball height. The ball itself will add another 2" of lift as 21" refers to the top of the ball.
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Old 10-21-2020, 05:01 PM   #10
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
Posts: 1,880
go to the Scamp site and watch the videos that may help some.
and check the date codes on your tires.

https://www.tireamerica.com/resource...ly%20different.
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Old 10-21-2020, 11:35 PM   #11
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Name: Gilda
Trailer: 2011 Scamp 13'
California
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#1 We all make "stupid mistakes" when we get our first trailer. It just comes with the territory. The most important thing is to do what you are doing...ask questions and avoid the most serious safety mistakes! You have come to the right place.

Driving home to a "steep and sharply curved driveway" worries me. You may get your trailer all the way home and find that your car and trailer won't make it up the driveway or the curve. I suggest you have an alternative parking space. That might mean a nice neighbor who will let you use their space for your first few nights while you seek a place to rent to park your trailer. We live on a very short, narrow dead-end street and have a one-car garage and driveway. It is out of the question for us to drive/park/store our trailer at home. We found a reasonably priced and secure storage center one hour from our house. While it's a bit inconvenient before and after our camping trips to schlep all our stuff back and forth from the storage to our home, we have made it work.

We purchased our 13' SCAMP new in 2011 and drove from San Francisco to Backus, Minnesota to pick it up. It was a wonderful trip as we had never before been to those parts of our beautiful country. Our tow vehicle was a 2008 Subaru Legacy sedan. (We chose the trailer according to what our car could tow.) We asked the SCAMP dealer and the Subaru dealer as well as our UHaul dealer (who installed the tow package) about the ball height. We got to Backus and found our ball was a bit low. You can see this in my avatar. We made it home OK, but soon found that our hitch scraped a bit on every speed bump and "deepish" rise. Turns out the hitch height was the best "compromise" and we did not change it. That scraping happened regularly (we were assured that, while not ideal, it did no damage.) until 2018 when we changed our tow vehicle to a Mazda CX-5 (a "compact SUV") which we chose for clearance and tow capacity. We are very happy with it.

I'm concerned about your driveway because of our following story. Our first camping trip was at D.L. Bliss at Lake Tahoe. You don't say where in California you are from but if you are from Northern CA you may be familiar with it. We were delighted to get one of the last campsites available for the Fourth of July holiday. When we arrived, it was clear why it was the last site. Our hearts sank when we saw a steep, narrow drive that we would have to back up and turn into the level site at the top of the hill. Mind you, we had little driving/parking experience with the trailer. Thanks to the heroic efforts of my husband's driving and the help of some sympathetic neighbors we were able to park (the car remained on the hill), but it really was a harrowing experience to get both in and out! We now pay CAREFUL ATTENTION to the configuration of the camping sites BEFORE we make reservations!!!

As to other suggestions for "newbies"...Make a binder in which to keep all your notes that you will ALWAYS carry with you when towing. The first item should be a check off list of safety checks before and after towing. I believe there is such a list on this forum's site. Walk around your tow vehicle and trailer and check that everything is secure, doors, windows, and hatches...check that the back "legs" are up and that the hitch and chains are secure and the "pigtail" is plugged in.

If you decide to "decorate" your trailer interior, I am your gal. I have designed several themed interiors which you can find on this forum by searching "Gilda curtains" on the Search button above. Be sure to use the drop-down menu and go to the "Google Custom Search". I may sell some of my decor items (curtains, pillows, comforter, blankets) soon. PM me if interested.
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Old 10-21-2020, 11:45 PM   #12
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Trailer: 2011 Scamp 13'
California
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One more thing. We have an ice box (not a refrigerator) in our trailer and we, mostly, are fine with it. The door does not stay secure, nor do most of the other cabinet doors, when driving. We find we need to secure all doors with bungee cords. You will find articles on replacing latches in the Search section above. As time goes by it is harder and harder to find block ice on the road. Bags of ice cubes work in the ice box but block ice lasts longer. We also carry a back-up insulated cooler for fresh food in our trunk. You might want to ask forum members about the pros and cons of a refrigerator. I would not expect much from a freezer in a SCAMP as it would be tiny. You get used to meal planning with fewer fresh ingredients. One of my favorite books/websites for RV cooking is www.TheBoatGalley.com https://www.amazon.com/Boat-Galley-C.../dp/0071782362

I found a few "free" Boat Galley recipes here: https://www.allrecipes.com/article/t...-kitchen-boat/
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Old 10-22-2020, 07:41 AM   #13
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
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RV fridges are pricey little buggers, and replacing a perfectly good fridge to gain a tiny freezer seems like a lot of money for a little gain. But don’t they make small chest-type, 12V units that can be set to function as a fridge or a freezer? Don’t know much about them, but that might be a better way to get a freezer. You’d have to assess theIr power use and your battery/recharging capacity.
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Old 10-22-2020, 08:33 AM   #14
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Eberhardt View Post
Jon gave great info to determine ball height. The ball itself will add another 2" of lift as 21" refers to the top of the ball.
Actually, I believe measuring to the top of the receiver opening accounts for that 2". I have a 0” drop ball mount for our van. It puts the top of the ball even with the top of the receiver tube.

Others are right. It’s really hard to nail it precisely on the first try. I actually have three ball mounts for my Scamp depending on which tow vehicle we’re driving, how I’m loaded, and where I’m going.
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Old 10-22-2020, 02:15 PM   #15
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Name: Kenneth
Trailer: Scamp
Wisconsin
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And for small adjustments

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Actually, measuring to the top of the receiver opening accounts for that 2”. I think... I have a 0” ball mount for our van. It puts the top of the ball even with the top of the receiver tube.

Others are right. It’s really hard to nail it precisely on the first try. I actually have three ball mounts for my Scamp depending on which vehicle we’re towing with, how I’m loaded, and where I’m going.
And for small adjustments
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Old 10-22-2020, 02:25 PM   #16
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Name: Kenneth
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Wisconsin
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Sag

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Eberhardt View Post
Jon gave great info to determine ball height. The ball itself will add another 2" of lift as 21" refers to the top of the ball.
This is the sag on my F150. (280 Lbs)
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Old 10-22-2020, 03:51 PM   #17
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
... But don’t they make small chest-type, 12V units that can be set to function as a fridge or a freezer? ...
Yes.

Mine can hold a case of beer and runs on 12 VDC or 120 VAC. It will go down to zero degrees F (at least on the dial) and freezes very well. When we had a power failure I filled it with food from my home freezer and ran it on battery for a day. I lost a little food but salvaged most and all the valuable stuff. I usually keep it in my car and use it on grocery store runs because I am far from the store and it sometimes takes 30 minutes to get home.

And here is one with photo just posted today: https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...tml#post796836
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Old 10-23-2020, 06:31 PM   #18
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Name: Diana
Trailer: Scamp
California
Posts: 26
Thanks so much everyone for all the helpful advice! We're still struggling with the hitch issue - our Subaru dealership promised an easy fix and delivered...nothing (after three days). Ugh! We found someone who promises to set us tomorrow. It's great to know that if we have an issue when we pick it up, we'll have your suggestions to help us sort it out! Extra thanks to AC0GV for the great pics - really helpful. 2 1/2" sag blows my mind - wasn't expecting that much.

We'll definitely upgrade our mirrors if we have trouble seeing or California law requires bigger/better ones. Steve, thanks for the tire link. Sounds like our Scamp didn't get a ton of use and the tires look good. But we'll be sure to double check them!

I really need a small freezer because I keep ice packs going pretty much constantly to help with ye olde broken down bod! I'll definitely research the small, portable freezer as opposed to upgrading the fridge - helpful!

Itlives, I love that upgrade list. Definitely need roll-out storage under the bed for easy access. But I'm too much of a scaredy cat to install a wood burning stove! I do love the idea of lying in the Scamp, watching a fire.

Gilda, the tricky driveway can, luckily, be accessed from a shared drive-through driveway. So the only backing up will be at the widest part into our personal driveway (with no one honking to get us to hurry things up). The worry is clearance because the driveway tilts and has low clearance at a couple of points. Experienced truck drivers have no problems with it. But inexperienced ones tend to scrape their truck's undercarriage. Luckily I worked in the movie business for years & have tons of experience with getting overly large vehicles into tough spots. Speaking of which, I love that you do design for Scamps - what a fun business! Since I was a production designer/set decorator for so many years, I have tons of ideas already bouncing around my head. Trying to wait to implement them until we've traveled a little bit so we know what we want to improve & can predict which imagined improvements will actually work! Looking forward to seeing your designs here. Do you have a link? Do you work all over the country? We have some friends who are shopping for Scamps now & might be able to use your services in a bit. Also, Gilda, thanks for the recipe links. Karl is the cook so I'll pass them along! And we'll make your safety check list & check it off before he head out - love that idea. I was already worrying about leaving something swinging. It's so easy to forget a thing or two when you're tired & ready to hit the road in a hurry.

Again, thanks all for the great help!! So nice to have you as a resource. Happy trails, all!

Diana (& Karl)
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Old 10-23-2020, 08:55 PM   #19
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Name: Ron
Trailer: R-Vision 21'
Ontario
Posts: 8
We also have a Subaru, 2018 Forester, nice vehicle, but they are not built for towing... Firstly the four cylinder is working very hard when towing, even our utility trailer loads it down... as for tongue weight, I would never exceed the manufacturers maximum. I believe ours is 150 lb with a 1500 lb maximum trailer weight. That eliminates all but a few lightweight tent trailers... Far better to exceed the maximums in the name of your safety and peace of mind... Hopefully you will never experience an out of control trailer behind your vehicle...
We bought a used 21' travel trailer this year, we also bought a suitable used tow vehicle, 2012 Tahoe. Some may say overkill, and yes, it is, but I have no worry of unexpected control issues with the vehicle or the trailer... and if we decide to go bigger, no worries.

https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...attach/jpg.gif
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Old 10-23-2020, 11:28 PM   #20
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Name: Bob
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 17
"3) Heater: The previous owners say the original heater is so noisy they never use it. We would like to have a heater. What's worked for you?"

Ok, I'll weigh in on this one, as I've just gone through the experience of a squeal from hell (for the first few minutes) from our Atwood furnace (you can search for my post of a few days ago)..
I'm assuming your much-newer-than-my trailer has a furnace, and that is what you are referring to.
The blower motors can be changed if they become metal-on-metal noisy, and in some cases you can work some lube into it rather than change it out...the latter worked for me.
If the 'noise' is simply fan (air) noise, well, not much you can do about that.
But, its interesting in my short camp trip a couple nights ago to check all trailer systems out, we brought a small ceramic heater as a back-up. When used back-to-back, the furnace blower noise was actually quieter than our ceramic heater fan noise, which I found surprising. I suppose a heater without any kind of fan at all would be the quietest, but so far I'm happy with our furnace.

Bob T.
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