Increasing Scamp 13 Ceiling Height / Headroom - Fiberglass RV
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Old 04-29-2021, 05:22 AM   #1
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Name: Archie
Trailer: Scamp
California
Posts: 7
Increasing Scamp 13 Ceiling Height / Headroom

Hello

I have a 13 Scamp from the 70s that Im renovating which has a maximum ceiling height of about 510. Id like to increase it by at least 4 inches to comfortably stand up and walk around. Id imagine it would involve to cutting the camper in half horizontally at the seam and add at least 4 inches of fiberglass around the entire camper, even extending the door, or cutting around it to avoid altering the door. A couple shops I called could not offer to do this as it is a project out of their comfort area. I found one nearby shop that would, though they are charging at least twice of what I paid for the actual camper.

Is it so daunting? Ive found one thread on this site where one member cut their RV in half vertically and extended its length by a few feet after watching YouTube videos. To a person new to fiberglass, it seems very doable by cutting it in half, keeping the top half raised in place through adjustable supports then attaching wooden planks to both fiberglass halves to secure them in place, grind the edges of both halves, apply the fiberglass, and grind/sand it down before painting.

It seems simple enough, though Id like to reiterate that I basically dont know what Im doing. Ive only watched several videos on how to repair fiberglass and dont have any actual experience.

Is there a safe and/or cost effective way of accomplishing this in a timely manner? Id like to keep the scamp and not sell it to get a different RV that might be tall enough.

Best,
Archie
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Old 04-29-2021, 05:31 AM   #2
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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Cost effective method is to sell and get a newer Scamp that is taller. That’s a significant change to a 50 year old trailer. Scamps even in project condition bring good $$ right now.

Realize that some interior pieces will have to be modified too, and I would hate to cut through the door opening (which is likely). At that point modifying and reinforcing doorway will be important and modifying door too. Adding a vertical section is very involved but this is harder.

In short it doesn’t seem very simple to me. Trades people here would charge $100 per hour or more for their work so the costs get crazy fast. Now if you do it yourself you can save the labor but do you have the TIME? An enclosed work area will be a must.

If someone hired me to do this work I’d want a hefty payment up front.

Then when all the fiberglass work is done, you will have the body work and paint.
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Old 04-29-2021, 05:49 AM   #3
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Name: Archie
Trailer: Scamp
California
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
Cost effective method is to sell and get a newer Scamp that is taller. That’s a significant change to a 50 year old trailer. Scamps even in project condition bring good $$ right now.

Realize that some interior pieces will have to be modified too, and I would hate to cut through the door opening (which is likely). At that point modifying and reinforcing doorway will be important and modifying door too. Adding a vertical section is very involved but this is harder.

In short it doesn’t seem very simple to me. Trades people here would charge $100 per hour or more for their work so the costs get crazy fast. Now if you do it yourself you can save the labor but do you have the TIME? An enclosed work area will be a must.

If someone hired me to do this work I’d want a hefty payment up front.

Then when all the fiberglass work is done, you will have the body work and paint.
Hey thrifty bill, I appreciate the response! I should mention that I’ve already removed all of the interior pieces and plan to build different custom pieces for the interior. I currently have the time and an enclosed work area. I’m just wondering if there’s too much risk involved to do it myself.
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Old 04-29-2021, 06:20 AM   #4
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Old 04-29-2021, 06:36 AM   #5
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Lol
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Old 04-29-2021, 06:49 AM   #6
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
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You could add att he bottom easier, just take the shell off and build a ring around the bottom to raise the shell.
Think of it as dropping the floor and raising the roof.
Easier still is to buy a newer trailer.
Also you could just add to the roof where the center section is raised. Cut the roof out along the crease and build up. or find an old Westfalia camper and graft the pop up roof on.
Buying the trailer you want would be cheaper and easier, by far.
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Old 04-29-2021, 07:35 AM   #7
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
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Did you actually use the trailer much before you started the rebuild? Plenty of taller people use the older Scamps without modification and find it’s not as big a deal as you might think.

If you decide to move ahead, I was thinking along similar lines- just increase the center “trolley roof” bump-up. In a trailer this size you really don’t stand up straight very much anyway- dressing and food prep, which are done in the center of the trailer.

The other solutions involve modifying the door along with all the other changes. It is simple in concept only. Getting a smooth, well-integrated end result will be a challenge. Unless it’s very well done (unlikely with a first-time project) I could see resale taking a big hit. I’m picturing “Frankinscamp.”

I know it’s popular to say, “Forget resale, just make it yours.” But life has a way of throwing curveballs, and there’s a lot of potential value in these popular trailers if you don’t get too idiosyncratic with your rehab.

Don’t forget the bed. Some taller people also find the transverse bed too short. Unlike standing, you will spend many hours sleeping every day.

Finally, make sure to include vertical support in your interior build. Many of the original cabinets- particularly the closet by the door- were structural, serving to support and maintain the shape of the flexible shell. Provide temporary support while the interior is empty or the shell will sag and the door won’t fit correctly.
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Old 04-29-2021, 07:48 AM   #8
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 4,798
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archie S View Post
. Id like to increase it by at least 4 inches to comfortably stand up and walk around....
Standing up in the camper is overrated. Besides cooking inside or doing dishes I can't imagine standing very much. And walking around in such a small space? Even in my 2015 sixteen footer there is a very limited area where I can stand up straight (I'm 6'0") and I can pace 2-3 steps at best, back and forth. So put me in the camp of thinking it is a very small benefit for a heck of a lot of work with potential problems.

And Jon hit the nail on the head.. the important thing is sleep, so if the bed is not long enough for you... that is what I would look into modifying. Otherwise, just don't stand up straight unless you go outside.
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Old 04-29-2021, 11:09 AM   #9
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Name: Frederick
Trailer: 1974 Perris Valley Pacer
California
Posts: 122
When I added a ceiling fan to my Pacer, I built a shim to raise the assembly so I wouldnt bump my head. It was a tricky project with compound curves in two directions. Modifying a Scamp to gain 4? I agree with the others, sell your Scamp and buy something that fits your size. Unless its a project you want to tackle, get something different and get camping. Cheers
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Old 04-29-2021, 01:20 PM   #10
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Name: Archie
Trailer: Scamp
California
Posts: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by redbarron55 View Post
You could add att he bottom easier, just take the shell off and build a ring around the bottom to raise the shell.
Think of it as dropping the floor and raising the roof.
Easier still is to buy a newer trailer.
Also you could just add to the roof where the center section is raised. Cut the roof out along the crease and build up. or find an old Westfalia camper and graft the pop up roof on.
Buying the trailer you want would be cheaper and easier, by far.
Thank you! I’m currently leaning towards adding 4” of tubing around the entire frame, I’m just a little concerned about the added weight and the bottom of the frame sticking out 1-2 inches which I might have to cover up. I’ve also considered increasing only that middle area but I think that would take away from its aesthetic.
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Old 04-29-2021, 01:25 PM   #11
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Name: Archie
Trailer: Scamp
California
Posts: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Did you actually use the trailer much before you started the rebuild? Plenty of taller people use the older Scamps without modification and find it’s not as big a deal as you might think.

If you decide to move ahead, I was thinking along similar lines- just increase the center “trolley roof” bump-up. In a trailer this size you really don’t stand up straight very much anyway- dressing and food prep, which are done in the center of the trailer.

The other solutions involve modifying the door along with all the other changes. It is simple in concept only. Getting a smooth, well-integrated end result will be a challenge. Unless it’s very well done (unlikely with a first-time project) I could see resale taking a big hit. I’m picturing “Frankinscamp.”

I know it’s popular to say, “Forget resale, just make it yours.” But life has a way of throwing curveballs, and there’s a lot of potential value in these popular trailers if you don’t get too idiosyncratic with your rehab.

Don’t forget the bed. Some taller people also find the transverse bed too short. Unlike standing, you will spend many hours sleeping every day.

Finally, make sure to include vertical support in your interior build. Many of the original cabinets- particularly the closet by the door- were structural, serving to support and maintain the shape of the flexible shell. Provide temporary support while the interior is empty or the shell will sag and the door won’t fit correctly.
I have not used it but maybe you’re right!

I agree, I don’t want to risk too much of the “Frankenscamp” situation in case it doesn’t turn out too well and I decide to resell it.

And thank you for the support advice, I’m currently using the extending pole supports. I think I might had some type of framing or cage and possibly adding a small layer of insulation along the sides.
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Old 04-29-2021, 01:27 PM   #12
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Name: Archie
Trailer: Scamp
California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Standing up in the camper is overrated. Besides cooking inside or doing dishes I can't imagine standing very much. And walking around in such a small space? Even in my 2015 sixteen footer there is a very limited area where I can stand up straight (I'm 6'0") and I can pace 2-3 steps at best, back and forth. So put me in the camp of thinking it is a very small benefit for a heck of a lot of work with potential problems.

And Jon hit the nail on the head.. the important thing is sleep, so if the bed is not long enough for you... that is what I would look into modifying. Otherwise, just don't stand up straight unless you go outside.
Thank you Gordon, fair enough
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Old 04-29-2021, 01:31 PM   #13
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Name: Archie
Trailer: Scamp
California
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Originally Posted by Fredomatic View Post
When I added a ceiling fan to my Pacer, I built a shim to raise the assembly so I wouldnt bump my head. It was a tricky project with compound curves in two directions. Modifying a Scamp to gain 4? I agree with the others, sell your Scamp and buy something that fits your size. Unless its a project you want to tackle, get something different and get camping. Cheers
Thanks Fredomatic! I really do want to finish customizing the entire camper as I’ve gutted it, renovated the frame, installed a new axle, etc, but I understand why others are recommending a different camper for sure.
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Old 04-29-2021, 07:50 PM   #14
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 4,798
I have to commend Archie for responding to all the replies and thanking the posters for their thoughts instead of taking a defensive attitude and becoming dismissive of any suggestion that his plans might be ill advised. An open mind and willingness to see things from all sides cannot but help but lead to a better experience. And if discussion of politics or religion were allowed on this site then I might draw a collaraly. As for the RV lifestyle... Whether you turn left or right.. consider that both paths might have some merit.
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Old 04-29-2021, 07:56 PM   #15
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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I always like a project. Bought a house that the inspector told me it was too far gone and I needed to tear it down. I ignored the advice, did most of the work myself, and it’s our dream home!

If I needed four inches, I’d probably go with six.

Best of luck on your project!
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Old 04-29-2021, 08:35 PM   #16
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Name: Eddie
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21, Lil Joe
Florida
Posts: 1,774
If you really need to add 4" inside height to the Scamp, why not just lift the trolley top? You would not have to extend the closet and the door which would be the biggest issue.
Eddie
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Old 04-29-2021, 11:40 PM   #17
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Name: David
Trailer: looking
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Originally Posted by Eddie Longest View Post
If you really need to add 4" inside height to the Scamp, why not just lift the trolley top? You would not have to extend the closet and the door which would be the biggest issue.
Eddie
I would think it might be easier to make a fiberglass box to fit the interior walk way and just drop the floor. Make a plywood box, encapsulate it in fiberglas and then fiberglass it to the underside of the unit. Metal supports might have to be fabricated to help support it. I am not sure what is all in the way underneath, but it is worth a look.
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Old 04-30-2021, 05:59 AM   #18
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ordjen View Post
I would think it might be easier to make a fiberglass box to fit the interior walk way and just drop the floor. Make a plywood box, encapsulate it in fiberglas and then fiberglass it to the underside of the unit. Metal supports might have to be fabricated to help support it. I am not sure what is all in the way underneath, but it is worth a look.
Scamp already has a drop floor.
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Old 04-30-2021, 07:37 AM   #19
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Name: Eddie
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21, Lil Joe
Florida
Posts: 1,774
A floor drop is possible. With a 70's S-13 the axle beam is behind the floor but most people want to turn the axle around placing it under the lower floor. With a 70's model it is due for an axle anyway so you would have to block the axle up 4-5". Then you could order the swing arm angle to fit your needs. I would leave the current threshold and entrance walkway in place causing a 4 in step down inside the trailer. As Jon stated the floor is already dropped and the frame is cut and a frame support beam is under the entrance walkway floor. I have seen this set up on older stick built trailers. Keep in mind you would also be raising the hitch height 4". The floor mod would require only metal and woodwork. The trolley top mod. only requires fiberglass work. Or trade up to a taller trailer. Your choice.
Eddie
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Old 04-30-2021, 11:39 AM   #20
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Name: lee
Trailer: trailswest campsterl, 1996 Scamp 16 foot
Idaho
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Scamp

Just a thought , since you only stand up in the middle of the trailer how about cutting a strip out of the roof just as wide as the middle portion and then have a shop fabricate a raised portion ( kinda like they do with vans ? Seems a lot less intense than other alternatives ) . Lee and Norma
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