Just purchased a 16' 1983 Scamp - but it is very bouncy on any imperfect road. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-19-2017, 08:07 AM   #1
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Name: Gabriella
Trailer: Scamp
New Mexico
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Question Just purchased a 16' 1983 Scamp - but it is very bouncy on any imperfect road.

Total noob, so please forgive me. Any suggestions to help me trouble shoot?

It's uncomfortable to ride with, but more than anything I'm worried about damaging my car from it being bounced too much. Is that possible?

I've heard it could be the axel. How will I know if it is?

Would getting shocks installed help?

What about a tow tightener?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:38 AM   #2
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Welcome, Gabriella, and congratulations on the Scamp purchase!

The bouncing could be the axle, or it could just be that the unloaded trailer is light. My Scamp bounces a lot more when empty than when loaded for a trip.

Best to check the axle, though, given the age of the trailer. Jack up one side of the trailer, placing the jack on the main longitudinal frame rail just behind the axle. As you raise the axle, look (or measure) to see how much the wheel drops as the trailer rises. It should drop several inches. Little or no movement means a dead axle, and the only fix is a new axle.

A hitch tightening device is a good idea. It won't solve the bouncing, but it will quiet the rattle and banging of the drawbar in the receiver.

Best wishes!
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:53 AM   #3
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Name: Gabriella
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Welcome, Gabriella, and congratulations on the Scamp purchase!

The bouncing could be the axle, or it could just be that the unloaded trailer is light. My Scamp bounces a lot more when empty than when loaded for a trip.

Best to check the axle, though, given the age of the trailer. Jack up one side of the trailer, placing the jack on the main longitudinal frame rail just behind the axle. As you raise the axle, look (or measure) to see how much the wheel drops as the trailer rises. It should drop several inches. Little or no movement means a dead axle, and the only fix is a new axle.

A hitch tightening device is a good idea. It won't solve the bouncing, but it will quiet the rattle and banging of the drawbar in the receiver.

Best wishes!
Thank you so much for the thorough response, Jon! I will check the axel and go from there.
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:43 AM   #4
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As long as the wheels are balanced .... check for mud inside the rims, ...
You are probably experiencing NATUAL FREQUENCY. The combination of wheel base, speed, and the spacing of the expansion joints in the road makes the entire rig go into RESONANCE. Bouncing like a super ball.
Things you can do: Let some air out of the trailer tires, (35psi should be enough). Drive faster or slower. Make sure the hitch is snug. Any play there can aggravate the bounce.
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:47 AM   #5
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Congratulations. Jon gives great answers. If the axle is ok, consider adding weight by filling propane and fresh water tanks as applicable. If you need more weight, consider one or two of those Reliance Aqua-tainer square blue water containers found in camping departments. Full, the 7 gallon ones weigh about 56 lbs. But, you need not fill them. Or, fill and empty them in the camper. I would place more weight in front of the trailer axle. When not camping, store water in them for your next hurricane or natural disaster. Enjoy!

PS, check the tires in case they are over-inflated.
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:28 AM   #6
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Name: David
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Tires ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom 72 View Post
Congratulations. Jon gives great answers.

PS, check the tires in case they are over-inflated.
--------------------------------------------------------

Certainly good answers ! Are there any other kind on this site ? Well, maybe occasionally ! The tires have date-of -manufacture stamped on the back : they may be over inflated, or more likely on an old trailer that has been sitting, under inflated. And unsafe because of the age. More than 6 yrs old is time to think of replacing them. . For a test, instead of buying new water containers, consider loading some paving stones or sandbags or whatever is laying around into the trailer. Weigh them as you load, it may give you some idea about the amount of weight that it takes to tame the trailer. . . or it may make no difference at all. BTW, if you follow any Scamp or Casita ( I've said this before ) , you will not believe the bouncing caused by bumps and ruts! And you may need to come up with ways to keep your cupboards and draws closed and screws and bolts tight ! Good luck, we all wish you the best! Happy (smooth) Trails to You ! David in Fresno and Sonora, CA
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:33 AM   #7
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Name: Gabriella
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Originally Posted by Wayne Collins View Post
As long as the wheels are balanced .... check for mud inside the rims, ...
You are probably experiencing NATUAL FREQUENCY. The combination of wheel base, speed, and the spacing of the expansion joints in the road makes the entire rig go into RESONANCE. Bouncing like a super ball.
Things you can do: Let some air out of the trailer tires, (35psi should be enough). Drive faster or slower. Make sure the hitch is snug. Any play there can aggravate the bounce.
Good to know, thanks Wayne!
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:34 AM   #8
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Name: Gabriella
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Originally Posted by DavidG View Post
--------------------------------------------------------

Certainly good answers ! Are there any other kind on this site ? Well, maybe occasionally ! The tires have date-of -manufacture stamped on the back : they may be over inflated, or more likely on an old trailer that has been sitting, under inflated. And unsafe because of the age. More than 6 yrs old is time to think of replacing them. . For a test, instead of buying new water containers, consider loading some paving stones or sandbags or whatever is laying around into the trailer. Weigh them as you load, it may give you some idea about the amount of weight that it takes to tame the trailer. . . or it may make no difference at all. BTW, if you follow any Scamp or Casita ( I've said this before ) , you will not believe the bouncing caused by bumps and ruts! And you may need to come up with ways to keep your cupboards and draws closed and screws and bolts tight ! Good luck, we all wish you the best! Happy (smooth) Trails to You ! David in Fresno and Sonora, CA
That definitely makes sense. We'll play around with the weight and see what happens. Thanks for the info!
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:35 AM   #9
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Name: Gabriella
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Originally Posted by Tom 72 View Post
Congratulations. Jon gives great answers. If the axle is ok, consider adding weight by filling propane and fresh water tanks as applicable. If you need more weight, consider one or two of those Reliance Aqua-tainer square blue water containers found in camping departments. Full, the 7 gallon ones weigh about 56 lbs. But, you need not fill them. Or, fill and empty them in the camper. I would place more weight in front of the trailer axle. When not camping, store water in them for your next hurricane or natural disaster. Enjoy!

PS, check the tires in case they are over-inflated.
Tires will be the first thing we check, thank you. Going to check the tire pressure, then play around with adding some weight and see what happens. Everyone here has been very helpful, thank you!
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:48 AM   #10
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Make sure you check the frame for cracks. This is a problem on the older Scamps. Mine was bouncing pretty badly and on the way home from a trip I noticed the clearance between my battery box on the tongue and the shell of the Scamp was lots less. When I got home I found the frame was broken where it widens on both sides, I had a welding shop repair it and all is well now.
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Old 09-19-2017, 12:05 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by 3ll4t View Post
Tires will be the first thing we check, thank you. Going to check the tire pressure, then play around with adding some weight and see what happens. Everyone here has been very helpful, thank you!
Check tire dates as well as pressure, tread wear, and overall condition. There should be a date code stamped into the sidewall as WWYY. Over 6 years old, uneven wear, cracks and dry rot are all reasons to replace the tires. None have much to do with bouncing. Uneven (inside) wear can be another indicator of a worn-out axle, though.

In my experience unbalanced trailer tires manifest as a vibration, not bouncing. Some shops do not balance trailer tires, but many will if you ask. I don't balance the tires on my small utility trailer, but I would definitely want my Scamp tires balanced when installed.

I would personally hesitate to run a Scamp 16' at only 35 psi. Most trailer tire manufacturers recommend running at full sidewall pressure, typically 50 psi for the 13" ST radial load range C tires common on Scamp 16's. Beware of the manufacturer's sticker above the wheels on an older trailer. If it was originally fitted with bias play tires, the recommendations no longer apply to newer radials. If you confirm that your loaded trailer weighs significantly less than the combined load rating of your tires, you might get away with a little less than the maximum sidewall pressure, but lowering pressure significantly to mask other problems is asking for trouble, in my opinion.
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Old 09-20-2017, 12:15 PM   #12
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Name: Michael
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It's not your axle and unlikely your frame. It's your tires. If your trailer bounces while driving on pavement you have a lump on one or both tires caused by broken or damaged belts underneath the tread. Tires will need to be replaced.
If it only occurs on rough roads your tires are over inflated for the weight of your trailer. Maximum air pressure (stamped on the side of your tire) should only be used when your trailer is fully loaded. Use the tire pressure recommended by the trailer manufacturer.
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Old 09-20-2017, 02:04 PM   #13
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Make a fist. Put your fist on top of the tire. If your fist fits between the top of the tire and the inner wheel liner you are probably OK with your axle. If your fist doesnt fit then it may be wise to have your axle checked. If you look at the side of your trailer at tire level if the top of the wheel opening get down to the top of the rim have your axle checked.

Check to see if the axle has been replaced most axles will have a tag, markings or a sticker identifying the axle. Its just very hard to get under there to look.
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Old 10-05-2017, 09:40 PM   #14
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bouncy road I would be driving very slowly!
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Old 10-05-2017, 11:36 PM   #15
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I've had the same experience.
First of all, does the bouncing only occur on a rough road? If so, your tires are over inflated, too much air pressure! Reduce the tire pressure to solve the problem.
If the bouncing occurs on pavement, you either have a badly unbalanced tire or one of the cords in the tire has broken and you have a lump on the tire which causes the bounce. A lump may be visible as a high spot. A broken belt often causes a sideways distortion in the tread pattern which should be visible when the tire is rotated on the axle. As your watch the tire spin the tread will appear to move sideways where the belt is broken. This can occur from age but more often from a bruise due to the tire striking a large rock, curb etc. especially under load. A tire shop will be able to detect either when they check the balance.
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Old 10-06-2017, 02:28 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by 3ll4t View Post
Tires will be the first thing we check, thank you. Going to check the tire pressure, then play around with adding some weight and see what happens. Everyone here has been very helpful, thank you!
Any updates for us ? Just a little FYI, even TT's that tow beautifully behind the tug are like an earthquake inside the trailer .
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Old 10-06-2017, 05:50 AM   #17
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Iím sorry but was reading this while laying down and may have marked something as immaterial by error. So sorry to whosever post it hit on.
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Old 10-06-2017, 07:03 AM   #18
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funny!!


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Old 10-06-2017, 12:12 PM   #19
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We pulled our 16' Scamp for one season and experienced similar bouncing. The tires were new and we paid to have the frame and axle inspected before we took our trailer out for our first trip. All checked out fine but we still bounced around more than I would have preferred.


While at the service center, it was suggested that most of our problem was being caused by incorrect hitch height. The trailer was riding behind the tow vehicle at a slight angle and this enhanced the squirreliness of the trailer towing. We added a 6" drop hitch to our receiver and this helped immediately.


The other point that was suggested on this forum was that we needed to put our camping gear in the trailer to weight it down, since we'd been pulling it around empty. The Scamp only weighs about 2,000 pounds dry weight, depending on year and floor plan.


Ultimately, we decided that we simply didn't want to pull our camper any faster than about 60 mph and that 55 mph was the sweet spot for best handling. Faster than 60 mph and it didn't take much to allow the trailer to jump into the air over bumps. Of course, your experiences may differ...
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Old 10-06-2017, 06:34 PM   #20
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Name: Gabriella
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Smile Update

Hey y'all -- you all left some fine suggestions, so thank you! We loaded up the trailer with our gear and deflated the tires a bit --- all good now! Thank you all so much for your thoughtful responses.

As far as I can tell, the axel seems alright. Passed both the fist and the jack tests. Thanks for those tips!
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