1979 Scamp Axle Replacement - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-20-2020, 04:43 PM   #1
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Name: Erik
Trailer: Scamp
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Smile 1979 Scamp Axle Replacement

Hi all,
I am looking at replacing my 1979 Scamp axle due to the old age and was hoping to gain a little ground clearance since it is sagging quite a bit. I was curious as to what people suggest for a new axle and what would all have to be purchased in order to be able to readily swap out the old one with the new one. Ive noticed people suggesting the Dexter #9 but was curious as to how easy installation of it was and what other necessary parts would be needed if I purchased through their website?

Thanks!
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Old 07-20-2020, 08:02 PM   #2
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Wisconsin
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Welded??

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Originally Posted by milender20 View Post
Ive noticed people suggesting the Dexter #9 but was curious as to how easy installation of it was and what other necessary parts would be needed if I purchased through their website?Thanks!
Some are welded and some are bolted and the bolted ones may have a tab welded in the center to prevent floor bounce.
Also, we need more information. Size, weight, brakes?

How high is it sitting and high would you like it? Picture?
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Old 07-20-2020, 09:04 PM   #3
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Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
Michigan
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I can't find the old post on this but...

If you have a 4 bolt 13 inch wheel you can start with getting a 5 bolt hub for 14 inch rim.

With the wheel off and the trailer frame supported you can position the axle arm so that the square center hole is aligned with points horizontal like this <> That is how it was aligned when new. This allows you to establish height of "original" axle spindle on the end of the arm.

Positioned like this with the center shaft <> horizontal it also allows determining the original "down" or "up" angle of the axle. Which will provide a starting point for that angle on the new axle.

The older axles were trailing arm, that is the arm "trailed" behind the axle cross member. Later axles were "leading" arm as the arm was pointed forward of the axle cross member. Wheel trails or leads the axle.

The bracket has to face the right direction so the arms are pointed forward or rearward. The bracket is longer in one direction and typically on a scamp will be snugged up into the place the frame goes up for the raised rear floor.

You may well on a 1979 have a leading arm axle which they don't really make any more so they "turn the axle around" and make it work. This can involve welding a piece into that corner in the frame where the axle was and attaching the axle to it. That can have the effect of positioning the axle "lower" which will raise the body but won't raise that axle cross piece which is your true clearance. It may move your wheel lower in the wheel well allowing for a larger wheel.

Note: it may be that the trailing arm is the one older scamp will have that they don't make anymore but one of those two, leading or trailing that older scamps used is not commonly made now.

Your limit on increasing the actual ground clearance as in the distance between the lowest point on the frame (the axle) and the ground is the size of your wheels and tires. That size is limited by what will fit in your wheel well and not scrape when it moves up and down on bumps.

Getting your body up so it is less likely to scrape the back or front going over dips and inclines can be done by having a spacer between the frame and axle. Which you may well need anyway to transition from leading arm to trailing arm.

I would recommend getting the frame on jacks, with wheel off and find the original axle arm angle and spindle height. This gives you a starting point of what height was when new. I'm pretty sure an original axle is worn enough to have dropped the height a lot since then.

Changing wheel size means buying new wheels and tires but nothing uses the old 13 inch 4x4 bolt pattern anymore but small boat or snowmobile trailers.

If you change the bolt pattern of the wheel you will need to have an adapter plate made to put the different bolt pattern of the wheel onto the back as a spare. Need a plate with bolts coming out that line up with the new 5 bolt pattern that you screw to the back through holes using the built in 4 bolt pattern. I also strongly suggest have a support piece for the plate welded to the bumper since the wheel will be a little further out from the wall.

Last but not least order that sucker with brakes! The axle has to have a mounting plate for brakes built into it. Even if you decide to save the few bucks not buying the brakes themselves right now you want that plate to make it possible to add brakes later. I tow with an older boxy Ford Escape V6 and it stops faster towing the trailer than without due to the trailer brakes. Trailer brakes are really really REALLY nice in mountains or hills or when a traffic light turns yellow. Or wet pavement.

Also 13 inch wheel hubs with brakes are not common, you have a bearing go and damage the hub and the 14 inch or 15 inch hubs are common enough to be in stock, good luck finding a 13 inch hub equipped for brakes in stock. Two week wait would be more typical.

I ordered my axle for 13 inch wheels with brakes, really regret not going for 14 inch, the cost of new wheels and tires would have been more than offset by larger selection of tires and rims, plus I wouldn't have to haul around a spare hub to avoid being stranded waiting for a new 13 inch hub to be shipped in. Just look at etrailer for tires and rims to get an idea of how much larger the 14 and 15 inch selection is. Lot of 14 and 15 inch items, 13 inch 4 bolt? Not so much.

I can't imagine ordering a new axle without brakes.
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Old 07-20-2020, 09:12 PM   #4
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Go to the search menu item in the top navigation bar. In the drop down select Google Site Search. Search for scamp axle replace

Many posts with lots of discussion and pictures and stuff to help you get some good ideas.
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Old 07-20-2020, 09:27 PM   #5
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This picture shows the "diamond" shaped square axle shaft welded into the arm. Note the points are parallel to the bracket.

The squared end of the mounting bracket to the left that goes against the frame of raised rear "dance floor" under the table. The tapered end with two fingers against it goes toward the front of the frame. So axle is trailing arm because arm "trails" behind the axle cross tube.



This shows the old bracket in place with the short squared side of the bracket to the back against the step in the frame and the tapered end of the bracket going toward the front. You can't see the welds since they are on the outside but this bracket for the axle actually helps brace that step in the frame.



Looking at this you can see if that bracket was turned around it wouldn't put the axle in the right spot to have wheel in wheel well. That is why the shop may want to add a piece to the frame to make that step up in the frame level along the frame so the axle bracket doesn't have to have the same orientation as the original.

You might also give Scamp a call, they are good people to deal with and may be able to provide you with a specific Dexter part number. Be sure to mention brakes, it changes the part number of the axle. Be aware they are not a big outfit so getting someone to return an email of respond to a phone message can be a bit iffy. If you don't hear back call again. Eventually you will get someone who will generally be happy to help you.

Good luck
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Old 07-21-2020, 06:48 AM   #6
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Name: bill
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Assuming you are in Fargo, ND, I'd schedule a time with Scamp to do it for you. The prices I have seen others post from Scamp are reasonable and they really know their way around the trailer (obviously).

Make a short trip of it!

+10 Go with 5 bolt Ford pattern. Allow room for 14 inch wheels. As far as the cost of 14 inch wheels, I bought a set of FOUR used aluminum Ford Ranger wheels for my Trillium, off C/L, for $50. They look really good IMHO.


1977 Trillium Wheel Upgrade by wrk101, on Flickr
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Old 07-21-2020, 06:51 AM   #7
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I put a Flexiride on my Scamp so that I could change the angle to whatever worked best for me after purchase. I also had the axle made with rubber springs rated for 3000 lbs instead of the standard 3500 to help with the harsh ride of the stiffer springs.
The new axles will have 10" drums, 5 lug studs and will need new wheels at least. I put new steel wheel wells in my rebuild and 14" wheels and tires.
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Old 07-21-2020, 07:00 AM   #8
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1979 Scamp Axle Replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
The older axles were trailing arm, that is the arm "trailed" behind the axle cross member. Later axles were "leading" arm as the arm was pointed forward of the axle cross member. Wheel trails or leads the axle.
Great write-up, but isnít it the other way round? Anybody know when they switched from leading to trailing?
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Old 07-21-2020, 08:18 AM   #9
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There is some information about leading/trailing arms in this thread:
https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...ide-82063.html
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Old 07-21-2020, 08:29 AM   #10
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1979 Scamp Axle Replacement

Thanks! In typical Scamp fashion, a messy answer. Changes rarely coincide neatly with model years. Much later than I realized.
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Old 07-22-2020, 10:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Great write-up, but isn’t it the other way round? Anybody know when they switched from leading to trailing?
I thought it was the other way around too, then looked at the axle picture and confused myself.

Now you are making me go out and look!

Yep the old ones are leading arm. The dance floor frame goes up and the flat side of the bracket tucks against the rise with the arm pointed forward (leading).

That was in 77 not sure when they changed to the trailing arm design. I would think they would have needed to position the axle a good distance forward and provided some additional bracing for the dance floor.

One of the advantages of the torsion axle is being solid it imparts strength to the frame it is welded to.

I know Alko axle stopped making the leading arm. This ones measurements were put into the system as a part number as a favor to the guy who did the work. The fellow who did the favor was "let go" when Dexter bought Alko.

It seems Dexter fired everyone at Alko who had ever worked for Dexter and this particular executive that provided the favor of adding a leading arm axle to the system after 35 years and having worked his way form loading dock to management at Alko had worked for Dexter before that 35 years so he was terminated right after Dexter purchased the company.

Sad really. It seems more and more companies don't compete for customers on price, quality, and service. They just buy the competition and merge.

If you have a leading arm axle Scamp might far and away be your best choice if you can take the camper there. The transition to use a trailing arm axle either by turning axle around and changing the bracket and brakes or moving the axle location require some expertise or knowledge to get right. Or possibly Scamp may have enough pull as a customer to get the old style made for them by Dexter.
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Old 07-29-2020, 11:10 AM   #12
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Name: Steve
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Replacing axle

I have a 1976 Boler and the original axle just wore out after many years of service. I do not like the style of the trailing arm so I went to Princess Auto, bought an axle and leaf springs with brackets, cut a section out of the middle of the axle to make it the same size as the original, welded on some leaf spring brackets on the trailer and now I have a raised Boler that has the original brakes that bolted right on, new great working suspension and with some new paint, it even looks like a million dollars. It tracks straight and can handle the bumps like never before. I have been wanting to do this modification for years and only regret I didn't do it sooner.
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Old 07-29-2020, 01:08 PM   #13
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Trailer: 1975 Scamp, 13-foot
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Brakes and such....

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
I can't find the old post on this but.......
Thanks so much for this post.

I have a 1975 Scamp 13 with a leading arm axle. Someone probably replaced the hubs at one time because I have 5-stud hubs, but no brakes. (Incidentally, I have a 2-inch receiver.)

In another thread several months ago a poster highly recommended a local (Redding, California) shop for axle work. I had already had that shop check my axle and they said it was fine. From things I've read on this forum about torsion axles I was pretty sure it wasn't true. (There's another highly recommended shop here in Redding that I have reason not to trust as well.)

I'm sure my axle is totally shot, and looking at your photo in post #5 it's clear to me I need a new axle, and I expect knowledgeable Scampers will agree. (See photo -- I want to add brakes anyway).

I'd love to just drive to Backus and have Scamp do the work, but it's over 1,800 miles. Perhaps someone on this forum who has had their Scamp axle replaced by a shop within 200 miles or so from Redding can make a recommendation. I would be grateful.

--Harold
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Old 08-02-2020, 06:10 PM   #14
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park it at a good mechanic

OK this might take some doing to find the right person. This is never going to work with the in town shops. But there are a lot of small out in the suburbs one man shops. Most are as good if not better than the in the city ones. You need to check with friends to get a good set of recommendations. But then make a deal with one of these shops.

I have a local shop I use who is fabulous. And he has reasonable prices. And if you can part something there for a week or two so he can work on it at his convenience they are even more reasonable. There are a lot of very good shops like this. Frankly most of your cost will be the cost of the axle. And so I would look at going to one of these guys and making a deal. After all you probably can easily find time to park it there for a week or two.

One hint, when it is done then they will want it out in a couple of days.
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