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Old 02-03-2021, 01:51 PM   #1
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Name: Not
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Massachusetts
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Is my axel on backwards?

We bought a 1977 Scamp 13' in 2011 and have been driving it all over the USA since then.


We're going to be retiring in the spring and are planning a 2-month trip using a new tug. Many new cars have significantly less tow rating for an unbraked trailer, so we are thinking of either adding brakes to this one or having a new axle installed with brakes on it.


Looking at my trailer, I always thought it had been modified to make it ride higher, but now I'm thinking the axle is on backwards. It's in the woods covered in snow right now so I can't get a leading vs. trailing arm photo.


I do know that the axle plates are welded onto a rectangular box structure under the camper and that box is open on both ends. It seems like someone welded an extra rectangular box onto the frame to increase the ground clearance.


Also, the wheels are farther back in the wheelwell. I have no idea what's up with that.


Anyway, without more photos, I suspect I'm asking questions without giving you enough information to reply with help.


1) Should I try to add brakes and a brake controller to this axle?
0) (We are planning on getting a 2021 Volvo XC40 to tow)
2) If you think We should just buy an axle with brakes, what's a good one for a 1977 Scamp 13-foot?
3) Are you around Boston? Can you recommend a shop to do this work?


Here's the best photo I have showing the wheel arrangement.


Thank you in advance. I promise to send more photos.
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Old 02-03-2021, 02:08 PM   #2
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Name: Alexander
Trailer: 1979 Boler B1300
New Hampshire
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Alan, does the arm that the wheel attaches to point to the front or back? I think someone may have put a trailing arm (pointing to the back) axle on it and it may originally have had a leading arm (pointing to the front) axle. Someone more familiar with Scamps may be able to tell you which it should have been for that model year. It certainly looks like the axle isn't original.
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Old 02-03-2021, 03:39 PM   #3
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Name: Greg
Trailer: 2008 Casita 17 SD
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My Casita has a Dexter 3500# Torflex axle, with a 10 degree down LEADING arm, (in other words the suspension spring arm faces toward the front of the trailer.) From the photo, it really does appear that the replacement was installed bass ackward.
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Old 02-03-2021, 04:05 PM   #4
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
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Normal installation of a rubber torsion axle is trailing. Based on the year the original axle was probably leading. It was done on some Bolers and early Scamps in order to mount the axle tube directly to the frame rails under the rear dinette floor rather than under the center drop floor.

When they switched to trailing arm, they welded on pieces of frame tubing to lower the axle tube to clear the center drop floor. To keep the original ride height, they angled the arms up 22.5* into the wells. Very recently (and long overdue IMO) Scamp switched to a 0* axle (in trailing configuration) for a slightly higher (2-3") ride height. It has bigger brakes, too. I will likely take mine to the factory in a few years to get the new axle (and a few other things).

It's impossible to tell from the photo which you've got now or why it appears off-center in the wells. Have it inspected carefully for proper attachment and correct alignment. If it's not original, there's a good chance a newer replacement axle has brake mounting plates, which means you can add brakes without changing the axle. And yes, you should have them.

Here's a link to a lengthy discussion of leading and trailing axles:
https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...ing-60297.html
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Old 02-04-2021, 11:31 AM   #5
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Trail Cruiser
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Many jurisdictions have weight limits for trailers without brakes. Even if you are under these weight limits, trailer brakes are recommended to reduce the chances of jackknifing during a hard shutdown.
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Old 02-04-2021, 11:44 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Here's a link to a lengthy discussion of leading and trailing axles:
https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...ing-60297.html

Thank you for that. It led down a HUGE winding path of great information.


I'm going to get some photos and measurements from my Scamp and then give Dexter a call and see what they suggest.
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Old 02-04-2021, 11:53 AM   #7
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanKilian View Post
Thank you for that. It led down a HUGE winding path of great information.


I'm going to get some photos and measurements from my Scamp and then give Dexter a call and see what they suggest.
"Winding path"... an apt description of all the really good threads!

Scamp is another good source of information. While Dexter knows axles, Scamp knows the peculiarities of their frame design.

I hope you'll share what you find out. I am curious about the odd alignment with the wheel arch. I'd love to see the other side. The door side is a bit asymmetric anyway.

Best wishes!
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Old 02-04-2021, 02:53 PM   #8
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Name: Not
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Scamp is another good source of information.

I wrote to Scamp and gave them the trailer serial number and just got back a link to their replacement axle without brakes and a note saying I "might" be able to use the newer axle with brakes if I modified some things.


It was a bit of a disappointment.
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Old 02-04-2021, 03:05 PM   #9
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanKilian View Post
I wrote to Scamp and gave them the trailer serial number and just got back a link to their replacement axle without brakes and a note saying I "might" be able to use the newer axle with brakes if I modified some things.


It was a bit of a disappointment.
E-mail has never been their strength. You never know who's on the other end. Phone is better. I've heard Micah mentioned as the best person to talk to for technical questions. They're running flat out building trailers so it might take a while to connect with someone in the factory rather than the front desk.

It would be helpful to have the current axle evaluated before you have that conversation, since it's been modified.

The only thing I can tell for sure is you have the old 4-lug wheels. If you use their new axle with brakes you'll be changing to 5-lug, which also requires modifying the spare mount. That probably came up in the long, winding thread, but it's been a while since I read the whole thing.

If you're inclined to take your own path and custom order a new axle, one option that hasn't been mentioned is the Flexiride axle. It's a torsion axle, somewhat higher quality than Dexter or Lippert, but its biggest advantage is an adjustable, splined arm that allows you to set the ride height as you desire and change it when needed. It has shorter arms, so it probably won't work in leading configuration, and if you already have a trailing set-up, the mounting location will have to be moved closer to the wheel wells. I don't know if it's available with 4-lug hubs or not.
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Old 02-04-2021, 04:26 PM   #10
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Name: Darwin
Trailer: 2002 19 ft Scamp 19 ft 5th Wheel
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Jon Said:
"Scamp is another good source of information. While Dexter knows axles, Scamp knows the peculiarities of their frame design."

Their axle ripped away from my frame.

Contact Dexter.
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Old 02-04-2021, 05:19 PM   #11
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darwin Maring View Post
Jon Said:
"Scamp is another good source of information. While Dexter knows axles, Scamp knows the peculiarities of their frame design."

Their axle ripped away from my frame.

Contact Dexter.
That was a really bad deal, for sure. But (1) it did not affect 13ers, (2) it was basically one bad (okay, very bad) decision to use an axle on which the mounts did not align correctly with the frame rails due to a change at the axle manufacturer, and (3) it happened almost 20 years ago and leadership had changed since then.

I do understand your decision to have no further dealings with the company. In your shoes Id probably feel the same. Their response when the problem began to surface was less than forthright.

The OP will of course do what he sees best.
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Old 02-04-2021, 05:30 PM   #12
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Name: Not
Trailer: Unknown
Massachusetts
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I'm going to go out and take some photos this weekend and see:
1) What axle I actually have on there.
2) If it already has brake attach point.
3) Leading or Trailing.
4) Is it welded or bolted on?
5) What's up with the strange lift?
6) What's up with the unusual location of the wheel in the arch?

I'll post after that.

Thanks gang! You're awesome, and I'm inspired to get some darn brakes on this baby.


Also, have you seen the video of the factory hitch on a Volvo XC40?


Is this for real?
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Old 02-04-2021, 11:43 PM   #13
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Name: Jann
Trailer: Casita
Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanKilian View Post
We bought a 1977 Scamp 13' in 2011 and have been driving it all over the USA since then.


We're going to be retiring in the spring and are planning a 2-month trip using a new tug. Many new cars have significantly less tow rating for an unbraked trailer, so we are thinking of either adding brakes to this one or having a new axle installed with brakes on it.


Looking at my trailer, I always thought it had been modified to make it ride higher, but now I'm thinking the axle is on backwards. It's in the woods covered in snow right now so I can't get a leading vs. trailing arm photo.


I do know that the axle plates are welded onto a rectangular box structure under the camper and that box is open on both ends. It seems like someone welded an extra rectangular box onto the frame to increase the ground clearance.


Also, the wheels are farther back in the wheelwell. I have no idea what's up with that.


Anyway, without more photos, I suspect I'm asking questions without giving you enough information to reply with help.


1) Should I try to add brakes and a brake controller to this axle?
0) (We are planning on getting a 2021 Volvo XC40 to tow)
2) If you think We should just buy an axle with brakes, what's a good one for a 1977 Scamp 13-foot?
3) Are you around Boston? Can you recommend a shop to do this work?


Here's the best photo I have showing the wheel arrangement.


Thank you in advance. I promise to send more photos.
10 year old axle, been driven a lot, sits in snow and bad weather, no brakes on it-to me it should be replaced with an axle with brakes so you don't have to modify anything. That way you don't have any probems on a long trip. Peace of mind is good. Call an axle shop and take it to them for evaluation.
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Old 02-06-2021, 12:07 PM   #14
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Name: Not
Trailer: Unknown
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I went and had a look today and it's just a rusty old axle under there.


It is setup for leading arm surprisingly looking at the location of the wheel in the wheel well.


I'll take it to a trailer shop and have the thing cut off and a new one with brakes welded on and be done with it.


Thanks everyone.
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Old 02-06-2021, 12:49 PM   #15
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Name: Michael
Trailer: Trail Cruiser
Alberta
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Alan, wise decision. I've changed axles on trailers, usually because someone else worked on it before me. I've seen some real messes. A new axle works best because everything is new. Sometimes the frame rails get damaged when folks who maybe shouldn't work on them do so. A piece of square tubing attached to the length of the frame rail will make it stronger and give you a solid attachment for the replacement axle. A good shop will know all about this.
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Old 02-10-2021, 11:18 AM   #16
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Trailer: 2002 Casita 17 ft Spirit Deluxe
Florida
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For longer travels I would be looking for a 17' trailer for a bit more elbow room. We went from a popup to a 16' stick built and it was like night and day. I would never want bigger than a 17'.
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Old 02-10-2021, 11:35 AM   #17
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For longer travels I would be looking for a 17' trailer for a bit more elbow room. We went from a popup to a 16' stick built and it was like night and day. I would never want bigger than a 17'.

Oh, we LOVE our cozy 13'

It's been all over the US and we don't need any more space.
We just use the Scamper to carry all our stuff and setup a tent when we get to a spot so it's plenty big.

OK, we DO sleep in the camper if we get to a site late or it's raining and we setup the next day. Pretty small at those times.

We DO plan on taking breaks by staying with family and the occasional hotel, so this will be enough space for our style of camping.
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Old 02-17-2021, 01:42 PM   #18
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Name: bob
Trailer: Was A-Liner now 13f Scamp
Missouri
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looks like our scamp sets the same!
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Old 04-01-2021, 01:36 PM   #19
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Name: Not
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I'm very close to ordering a Flexiride axle from Canadian Axle.
We're just going through the final measurements and bracket orientation.

2000 pound axle, 5 bolt on 4.5 inch diameter circle and with 7" electric brakes goes for: US$400 for the axle and US$180 for shipping.

That's less than the stock axle from Scamp which is US$500 plus shipping and I get adjustable ride height.

It will take some fabrication to get it into the trailing-arm configuration.
The old 4" riser tube needs to be cut out and a new longer one installed, so the welding company will have to figure all that out.

Then I'll have an axle with more than 0.5 inches of travel.
(Really, the wheel only drops 0.5 inches when I jack up the trailer.)
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Old 04-01-2021, 02:33 PM   #20
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Name: Ellpea
Trailer: Bigfoot
CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanKilian View Post


Also, have you seen the video of the factory hitch on a Volvo XC40?


Is this for real?
Alan, I have seen scuttlebutt on the XC60 group about the retractable hitch. I do know the Volvo factory hitches "talk" to the car and there seems to be some pretty slick software.

I would just caution you to research carefully the towing capacity of the XC40, and PARTICULARLY THE HITCH WEIGHT LIMIT.

I towed my 13' with my V70 which had a 135 lb hitch weight limit. When I was shopping for a new car I read EVERYWHERE about the capacity for the XC60, but there is highly conflicting information (see discussion here: https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...bar-94200.html)

Surely the XC40 is at least as beefy as the V70... but DO CHECK. And remember, you're not asking about the capacity of the hitch mechanism, check the hitch weight limit for the vehicle itself. You might also look into the length of the wheel base... I haven't seen one of these in person except from behind (they are very cute), but the wheel base looks pretty short, which does mean a bit less control when towing.

Apologies if I sound bossy... but this whole hitch limit thing has given me a lot of grief!
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