Tongue Extension - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-07-2006, 09:14 PM   #1
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I need to lengthen the tongue on my 13 Scamp trailer. I have added a cargo box which performs beautifully, but gets in the way a bit when I am using the front level crank. Here are my questions; will this negatively affect the trailerability of the Scamp? Will this decrease the structural integerity of the trailer (yes, I will have a professional do the work). Has anyone else performed this mod - and if so, is there anything I need to consider when bidding this project out? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-07-2006, 09:42 PM   #2
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My 2 cents:
I think your jack(s) might be replaced with one centrally mounted side crank one
like this one. If the crank is mounted facing forward, it would not interfere with your box.

Your footed jack it a top crank, and your wheeled jack is mounted facing the side.

If you changed your jack, you might not need to lengthen your tongue.
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Old 03-07-2006, 11:17 PM   #3
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Can't tell from the picture, but if the tongue has a 2" or larger hole in it on top center, with threaded bolt holes around it I would consider an electric jack (Atwood or other brands make them). If one fits it would make this mod unnecessary. Spendy, but probably convenient.
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Old 03-07-2006, 11:48 PM   #4
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I recently added 30 inches to the tongue of my Trillium. I've towed it over 1,000 miles since and it is much better behaved and stable. I put the CW slant lid box on the tongue. That wasn't my original plan, but that's what has evolved. I still might make it quickly reconfigurable, but haven't worked out the details of the fasteners yet.

Why do you have the two front jacks? Not that it really matters.

To answer your questions: It will probably enhance the trailerability of the scamp, especially backing because it will turn slower.
It could decrease the structural integrity of the tongue if it is not done properly. A good welding shop will know how to do it so it is structurally sound. I didn't bid it out. I just went to my favorite welding shop, asked how much, cringed, and said do it. It is not the type of purchase I would shop around for the lowest bidder.

Curt
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Old 03-07-2006, 11:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
I need to lengthen the tongue on my 13 Scamp trailer. I have added a cargo box which performs beautifully, but gets in the way a bit when I am using the front level crank. Here are my questions; will this negatively affect the trailerability of the Scamp? Will this decrease the structural integerity of the trailer (yes, I will have a professional do the work). Has anyone else performed this mod - and if so, is there anything I need to consider when bidding this project out? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I did what you are talking about. It worked great. You can see my photos here. Tongue Extension
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Old 03-08-2006, 06:30 AM   #6
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Quote:
My 2 cents:
I think your jack(s) might be replaced with one centrally mounted [b]side crank one
like this one. If the crank is mounted facing forward, it would not interfere with your box.

Your footed jack it a top crank, and your wheeled jack is mounted facing the side.

If you changed your jack, you might not need to lengthen your tongue.
Great information!! I had not considered just moving the jacks and keeping this project simple. It appears I would still need a welder to move/replace the jacks but this process will not affect the structural integredy of the trailer. Thanks for the information - I like your idea!
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Old 03-08-2006, 06:39 AM   #7
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Thank you all for your help (and quick responses). I am going to price an extension and jack replacement. If the extension is too costly I'll have the jack repositioned.
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Old 03-08-2006, 06:42 AM   #8
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I recently added 30 inches to the tongue of my Trillium. I've towed it over 1,000 miles since and it is much better behaved and stable. I put the CW slant lid box on the tongue. That wasn't my original plan, but that's what has evolved. I still might make it quickly reconfigurable, but haven't worked out the details of the fasteners yet.

Why do you have the two front jacks? Not that it really matters.

To answer your questions: It will probably enhance the trailerability of the scamp, especially backing because it will turn slower.
It could decrease the structural integrity of the tongue if it is not done properly. A good welding shop will know how to do it so it is structurally sound. I didn't bid it out. I just went to my favorite welding shop, asked how much, cringed, and said do it. It is not the type of purchase I would shop around for the lowest bidder.

Curt
When I purchased the trailer it came with two jacks - one from the manufacturer and the other "wheeled jack mod" from the previous owner. The wheel has been quite useful while setting up camp; simply unhitch the trailer then move it around by hand to the exact location. Really simple and easy on the back.
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Old 03-08-2006, 07:32 AM   #9
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You might consider just adding wheels to your original jack.

If it's not required that they swivel for steering, just drill through the pipe stand, insert an axle with thrust washers and wheels.

Another idea would be to shoe the bottom of the pad with a slippery surface such as high density polyethelyne. The cheapest place to get it would be your local thrift store in the form of a recycled plastic cutting board.

I have done that with several of my woodworking tools. Wheels on one end and HDPE for the other. If your concrete is reasonably smooth they slide very well.
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Old 03-08-2006, 07:56 AM   #10
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I had a welder make an upright spare tire rack that is located in front of my propane tanks. I knew that it would prevent me from using the top wind jack, so I replaced it with a front wind. On my trailer, it was held in place by three bolts. Extremely easy and quick. I didn't think I was going to like it as much, but I ended up liking it much better.
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Old 03-08-2006, 07:57 AM   #11
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If you decide to lengthen your tongue, be reminded that the frame is essentially a beam. Lengthing a beam and the corresponding support distance increases the bending moment, i.e., makes the beam weaker.

The weakest point on the frame is the angles where the vee straightens and goes straight back on either side. Not only is there vertical force that would apply bending moment to the frame, but also a rotational force that apply twist as the load is increased.

So now you have added length, weakening an already marginal frame and you have added a box at the weakest point on the weak frame. As you put junk in the box, insult is added to injury. More junk, more insult.

However, if the box and its contents is considerably lighter than the propane tanks, and the propane tanks are moved considerably closer to the hitch, (which is a support point) the combination may cancel out or could even reverse the additional frame loading. If all the weights and distances were known, this could be calculated.

Not to worry. Just beef up the frame. A good welder can do it. Most of them don't especially like welding overhead while laying flat on their back, if for no other reason than sparks and slag have a strange way of getting to them. But at the right price, they'll do it.

A better idea would to do a body lift and slide the frame out for reinforcement. For sure you would get a better welding job that way.
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Old 03-08-2006, 08:41 AM   #12
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Here's a link that might give you some ideas of the various jack options available.

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/sto...Id=6970&Ntk=All

I switched from the factory top crank to a side crank jack when I installed a EU3000 genset on the tongue of our 16' Scamp (pics on the group website under Cindy & Al). Less than $40. NOTE: Before adding the generator, I called Scamp and asked if they thought I should strengthen the tongue due to the additional 150 lbs - the answer was 'No'

Most jacks I've seen can accommodate either a foot plate or a wheel - the above website lists these. You may even be able to swap the wheel on your swing up jack with the foot plate on the center mount (assuming thats what you have, I couldn't tell from the picture).

Oh, your storage box looks great. Do the gravel shield supports have lights on their ends? I feel another mod coming on.

Al
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Old 03-08-2006, 09:08 AM   #13
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Loren makes very good points. In addition to putting more stress where Scamp frames have some history of breaking, your box and an extension will affect balance and tongue weight.

I'm sure the whole project can be done, and done well - but I would be very careful about it.
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Old 03-08-2006, 09:10 AM   #14
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If it were me, I would install an electric jack. I think that would maintain the structual integerity of the unit and be less expensive in the ling run.
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Old 03-08-2006, 10:15 AM   #15
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If it were me, I would install an electric jack. I think that would maintain the structual integerity of the unit and be less expensive in the ling run.

ME TOO! Here's the recent discussion where folks helped me with this exact issue:
Electric Tongue Jack - Ever Installed One?
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Old 03-08-2006, 12:55 PM   #16
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LeB...,
A well done tongue extension will be of benefit in several ways:
#1 The inherent original frame weak point can be corrected.
#2 The jack issue can be rectified.
#3 A longer tongue makes for easier backing.
#4 More stable mounting for tongue box.
#5 Room for propane bottle.

If not planned well, the tongue weight/ trailer weight ratio can be easily exceeded. The tongue weight should be between 10-15% of the trailer weight. Also keep in mind that the more weight on the tongue, the harder it becomes to roll around.
A good example is "Nuestra Casita" our 17' FD Casita. Due to many heavy mods including a 6" frame to axle lift, 24" tongue extension with propane fueled Yamaha 3000EUI generator in tongue box, dual propane bottles in cover, & extra battery in it's vinyl box she weighs 4000# and her tongue weighs 600#. A wheel on the jack would only work on concrete and I suspect it would not stop easily once she began moving. A certified welder did the tongue mods specifically for the reason that liability is on his shoulders if there are problems.
"Nuestra Casita" tows like a dream with our Toyota V8 Tundra with both WDH and sway control. The mods fit our desires for a, go-anywhere the 4WD Tundra will go, travel trailer. In "sunny" Southern California she has been subjected to 3" of rain in 30 minutes (no leaks), 75 MPH winds, 17- 110 degreeF temps, and since we went to bed last night, 2" of snow. She's seen lots more snow than that, but that is the most recent. We may well exceed 10,000 miles this year and have faith she'll do just fine.
Make your TT fit your needs, but just keep in mind to make changes safely.
See you on the road,
Kurt & Ann K.
PS, that crazy banana just won't keep the spring in his step!
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Old 03-08-2006, 09:37 PM   #17
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If you have a power failure, what does one do to jack up the tongue? Or if the motor goes bad?
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Old 03-08-2006, 09:53 PM   #18
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If you have a power failure, what does one do to jack up the tongue? Or if the motor goes bad?
it also has a handle to hand crank it to
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Old 03-09-2006, 04:45 AM   #19
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A better idea would to do a body lift and slide the frame out for reinforcement. For sure you would get a better welding job that way.
I would add a couple of things to what Loren said :

- If the tongue extension is significant (say more than a few inches), a reasonable rule of thumb would be that the extra strengthening added to the old frame should extend at least half the length from the joint to the axle.

- To reinforce the existing frame, it's going to need to have quite a bit of welding done on it within an inch of the floor of the trailer. Gulp.

Andrew
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Old 03-09-2006, 07:01 AM   #20
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Here's a link that might give you some ideas of the various jack options available.

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/sto...Id=6970&Ntk=All

I switched from the factory top crank to a side crank jack when I installed a EU3000 genset on the tongue of our 16' Scamp (pics on the group website under Cindy & Al). Less than $40. NOTE: Before adding the generator, I called Scamp and asked if they thought I should strengthen the tongue due to the additional 150 lbs - the answer was 'No'

Most jacks I've seen can accommodate either a foot plate or a wheel - the above website lists these. You may even be able to swap the wheel on your swing up jack with the foot plate on the center mount (assuming thats what you have, I couldn't tell from the picture).

Oh, your storage box looks great. Do the gravel shield supports have lights on their ends? I feel another mod coming on.

Al[/quote]

Thanks Al, great information. My gravel shield supports DO have lights attached. See the pic below. They are $8 solar models which fit over the sheilds clasp.
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