Should I be concerned about tongue height? - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 01-07-2018, 11:29 AM   #1
Member
 
Name: Nigel
Trailer: Scamp 13
Minnesota
Posts: 62
Should I be concerned about tongue height?

I recently bought a 1997 Scamp 13. The owner manual says my TV hitch should have 18 inches to the top of the ball. However, with my Scamp empty and leveled on its trailer stand, the top of the ball receptacle is only 14 inches high. I have only towed the trailer a few miles (after I bought it) and will be taking a long trip next week. Should I be concerned or have anything checked out before I leave? Thanks.
__________________

nigeleccleston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2018, 11:39 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Jon in AZ's Avatar
 
Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
Posts: 8,849
Registry
Not a problem. I haven't measured, but I think mine is less than 18", too. I had to buy a drawbar with more drop to get a level tow. I suspect your axle has settled over the years as the rubber inside the torsion tube compresses. It wouldn't be a bad idea to check the axle, but as long as there is sufficient clearance (can you fit your fist on top of the tire inside the wheel well?), you're good to tow. Torsion axles generally last 15-20 years, and can roll on well beyond that with gradually diminishing ride quality. A harsh ride characterized by excessive bouncing is one clue the axle is near its expiration. Uneven (inside) tire wear is another.

I would be more concerned about the condition of tires and bearings. Check the tire dates (6-7 years max), and if the previous owner hasn't recently repacked the bearings, or if you're not sure, I would have them serviced before your trip.
__________________

Jon in AZ is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2018, 11:52 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 3,979
Quote:
Originally Posted by nigeleccleston View Post
I recently bought a 1997 Scamp 13. The owner manual says my TV hitch should have 18 inches to the top of the ball. However, with my Scamp empty and leveled on its trailer stand, the top of the ball receptacle is only 14 inches high. I have only towed the trailer a few miles (after I bought it) and will be taking a long trip next week. Should I be concerned or have anything checked out before I leave? Thanks.
Hitch up and load up the trailer and the tug for your trip, or with similar weight, and check that the trailer is close to level when they are on level pavement. If it is, your ball height is fine. I suggest loading the trailer and tug because higher weight on the tongue will drop it a little - how much depends partly in the rear end of your tug, but it won't be a lot so if its level unloaded, it will likely be fine properly loaded also. The axle might be a factor also with the older camper but for ball height, a level the trailer while hitched is what you want.
gordon2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2018, 12:43 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
vintageracer's Avatar
 
Name: To Infinity & Beyond!
Trailer: 1985 Uhaul VT-16 Vacationer, 1974 Hunter Compact II & 1977 Argosy 6.0 Minuet
Tennessee
Posts: 573
Yes you should be very concerned about tongue weight on the hitch.

An improperly loaded tongue weight (light or heavy) can cause trailer instability and trailer sway issues when driving/pulling the trailer.

As suggested above load the trailer and vehicle with your "Stuff" and do some checking. Your hitch has a rated tongue weight that generally will exceed your actual tongue weight HOWEVER that still does not mean the combination will be safe to drive. You did not specify what your tow vehicle is so I can only suspect it's not a F150 or similar PU truck and therefore is probably a smaller SUV or car.

I am sure this will get everyone's panties in a wad however no time like the present to load it up, hook it up, take it out, drive slow and see what happens!
__________________
Mike

Remember "Drive Fast, Turn Heads, Break Hearts"!
vintageracer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2018, 02:26 PM   #5
Member
 
Name: Nigel
Trailer: Scamp 13
Minnesota
Posts: 62
Thanks Jon, the fist test shows I have sufficient clearance. I'll check the hubs after some driving.
nigeleccleston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2018, 02:26 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Raspy's Avatar
 
Name: John
Trailer: Black Series HQ19
Smith Valley, Nevada
Posts: 2,023
Quote:
Originally Posted by vintageracer View Post
Yes you should be very concerned about tongue weight on the hitch.

An improperly loaded tongue weight (light or heavy) can cause trailer instability and trailer sway issues when driving/pulling the trailer.
The OP was asking about tongue height. Not tongue weight.
__________________
I only exaggerate enough to compensate for being taken with a grain of salt.
Raspy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2018, 04:57 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Jon in AZ's Avatar
 
Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
Posts: 8,849
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by nigeleccleston View Post
Thanks Jon, the fist test shows I have sufficient clearance. I'll check the hubs after some driving.
Check again after you're all loaded. Gordon's comment about the hitch height changing a little as you load up both trailer and tug is good. I wouldn't rush out and buy a new drawbar until you have checked for a level set-up when fully loaded and hitched (don't forget passengers).

Regarding bearings, I wouldn't wait until you're on a long trip and rely on checking hub temperature to determine if there's a problem. If they do happen to get hot, you're pretty much stuck fixing them in place. You can raise each side on a jack and check for noise and looseness (spin the wheel and listen for any noise or roughness; grab the sides and try to move the wheel back and forth). But really, if you can't satisfy yourself from the previous owner that it's been done recently (say within two years), it's one of those better-safe-than-sorry things.
Jon in AZ is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2018, 06:29 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
vintageracer's Avatar
 
Name: To Infinity & Beyond!
Trailer: 1985 Uhaul VT-16 Vacationer, 1974 Hunter Compact II & 1977 Argosy 6.0 Minuet
Tennessee
Posts: 573
Gee you mean I should actually read what the post says and not what I "think" it said?

Thanks for heads up. That beer sure was good when I was writing my response!
__________________
Mike

Remember "Drive Fast, Turn Heads, Break Hearts"!
vintageracer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2018, 06:59 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 3,979
Quote:
Originally Posted by vintageracer View Post
Gee you mean I should actually read what the post says and not what I "think" it said?

Thanks for heads up. That beer sure was good when I was writing my response!
If it makes you feel any better, the first time I scanned the post, thats the way I read it also. Isn't it funny how our brains see what they expect to see. But having an older eyeglass prescription, I tend to re-read a lot and caught my mistake. But beer at 1:43 PM? Maybe we should have a talk...

gordon2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2018, 08:29 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
vintageracer's Avatar
 
Name: To Infinity & Beyond!
Trailer: 1985 Uhaul VT-16 Vacationer, 1974 Hunter Compact II & 1977 Argosy 6.0 Minuet
Tennessee
Posts: 573
Sunday, Football, Beer @ 1:43 PM.

Ain't life great???
__________________
Mike

Remember "Drive Fast, Turn Heads, Break Hearts"!
vintageracer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2018, 08:39 PM   #11
Senior Member
 
Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 3,979
Quote:
Originally Posted by vintageracer View Post
Sunday, Football, Beer @ 1:43 PM.

Ain't life great???
Gotcha!


gordon2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2018, 09:25 PM   #12
Member
 
Name: Rob
Trailer: boler & Acorn
British Columbia
Posts: 79
The easy answer is no.. 14 is very average.. put a hitch on the TV that has the proper drop / or rise.. you want the trailer level. I built the boler frame to be 12" from the ground at level.. Did this because it's quite likely that a smaller TV will be used. Here's a photo of it hooked to my 3/4 ton truck. You can see it's just slightly too high..
Click image for larger version

Name:	20171102_085814.jpg
Views:	16
Size:	352.3 KB
ID:	114959
__________________
Retired and love new projects.. and blog about them
https://www.robeye.ca
robeye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2018, 12:04 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Name: Ed
Trailer: Casita 17 ft SD
Colorado
Posts: 118
Tongue Height

Tongue height, tongue weight, (Da), trailer level, and the weight on the tow vehicle front tires, (steering), are all life safety issues. Driving down the road, hitting a bump and loosing steering control is very exciting and can add to that bucket list of things to do that you wish you hadn't.
ehoepner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2018, 02:06 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Name: David
Trailer: Scamp 13 ft
California
Posts: 338
[QUOTE=Jon in AZ;677991] Torsion axles generally last 15-20 years, and can roll on well beyond that with gradually diminishing ride quality. A harsh ride characterized by excessive bouncing is one clue the axle is near its expiration. Uneven (inside) tire wear is another.
-------------------------------------

Jon, and 'fiberglas friends', since we pretty well covered the height problem, I hope I won't be hijacking the Thread if I bring up a related axle issue. My '93 Scamp is fairly old but spent much time in storage, and its axle seems to have a good height and lots of 'life' left in it. But tires wear out only on the OUTSIDE . Has anyone run into this problem ?? The outside edge wears out within 5-8 k miles (?), but the rest of the tire shows little wear. Bent axle possibly ? Certainly not inflation. Any first hand experiences ? David in Fresno and Sonora.
DavidG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2018, 07:54 PM   #15
Senior Member
 
Name: Jann
Trailer: Casita
Colorado
Posts: 848
[QUOTE=DavidG;678161]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Torsion axles generally last 15-20 years, and can roll on well beyond that with gradually diminishing ride quality. A harsh ride characterized by excessive bouncing is one clue the axle is near its expiration. Uneven (inside) tire wear is another.
-------------------------------------

Jon, and 'fiberglas friends', since we pretty well covered the height problem, I hope I won't be hijacking the Thread if I bring up a related axle issue. My '93 Scamp is fairly old but spent much time in storage, and its axle seems to have a good height and lots of 'life' left in it. But tires wear out only on the OUTSIDE . Has anyone run into this problem ?? The outside edge wears out within 5-8 k miles (?), but the rest of the tire shows little wear. Bent axle possibly ? Certainly not inflation. Any first hand experiences ? David in Fresno and Sonora.
Had that problem on one side after about 4,000 or less miles and it was a crooked axle. They had to cut it loose and re-weld it straight. It was only off a tiny bit but it sure made a difference. The new tires lasted a long time and never wore uneven again. Take it to an axle shop.
Jann Todd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2018, 08:33 PM   #16
Senior Member
 
John in Santa Cruz's Avatar
 
Name: John
Trailer: Escape 21, behind an '02 F250 7.3 diesel tug
Mid Left Coast
Posts: 1,947
btw, I didn't see anyone say this re tongue height.... its better if the front of the trailer is slightly LOW rather than HIGH.
John in Santa Cruz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2018, 08:43 PM   #17
Senior Member
 
Name: David
Trailer: Scamp 13 ft
California
Posts: 338
axles (now)

I have taken it to axle shops, none could 'bend' or 'realign' a torsion axle. But if BOTH tires wore on the outside, I'm sure you will agree it is not fixable by cutting lose and rewelding the axle. One shop suggested that the inside of the tire would wear more if the trailer were overloaded. My trailer has almost no accessories (light wt) and is sometimes towed from place to place empty, due to storage concerns. ( Two cities) . I do think it is possible an extra light trailer, run empty, could wear on the outside of each tire. What do you all think about that possibility ?
I now have about 3,000 miles on the tires bought on our Canada trip, and so far no noticeable wear. I will measure during and after my Quartzsite trip in February. Happy Trails, David in Fresno and Sonora
DavidG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2018, 08:49 PM   #18
Senior Member
 
Name: David
Trailer: Scamp 13 ft
California
Posts: 338
High or Low ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
btw, I didn't see anyone say this re tongue height.... its better if the front of the trailer is slightly LOW rather than HIGH.

I don't know the scientific answer for this, but you often see big cars and Pickups towing small trailers with the trailer nose up. ( of course you might drag the tail end) but it looks so wrong to see a trailer with the nose down, tail end up in the air. Weight distribution may be more important than how level the trailer is . Good luck ! David in Fresno and Sonora
DavidG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2018, 08:53 PM   #19
Senior Member
 
Glenn Baglo's Avatar
 
Name: Glenn ( second 'n' is silent )
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
British Columbia
Posts: 6,835
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidG View Post
I don't know the scientific answer for this, but you often see big cars and Pickups towing small trailers with the trailer nose up.
Which demonstrates that lots of people don't know that the trailer should be level or slightly lower at the hitch.
__________________
What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
Glenn Baglo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2018, 10:15 PM   #20
Senior Member
 
Cathi's Avatar
 
Name: Cathy
Trailer: Escape 19' sold, 21' August 2015
POBox 1267, Denison, Texas
Posts: 807
I don't think a tandem axle functions the same on that.
__________________

Cathi is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Looking but concerned abt ventilation Kelljk Hi, I am.... 12 07-25-2013 07:19 PM
17 Ft Casita tongue weight.....should I be concerned??? Karalyn Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 20 02-20-2012 03:57 PM
Concerned about wood and carpet in Scamp wet bath. Karalyn Care and Feeding of Molded Fiberglass Trailers 9 10-26-2010 06:08 PM
concerned about scamp 13' axle Rarebird Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 1 05-04-2008 02:00 PM
concerned about scamp 13' axle marjie s. Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 0 01-01-1970 12:00 AM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:16 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
×