New axle and new wheels and tires. - Fiberglass RV
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Old 03-29-2015, 05:39 PM   #1
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
Posts: 2,419
New axle and new wheels and tires.

I just finished a major part of my 1986 Scamp 16' rebuild.
So far I have removed and modified the front of the frame extending the side rails to where the turn in is just past the cabin.
This gives me room to move the side bath to the front between the frame sides. I have a bath floor with the dropped shower pan and a toilet with the black tank under the floor.
The floors have been replaced with 3/4" exterior plywood covered in 6.5 oz. fiberglass cloth and epoxy.
Before installing the main floor I installed the new Flexiride 3500 lb axle (derated to 3000 lbs to improve the ride harshness).
I installed the axle to place the centerline of the wheel in the same place as the AL-KO 2500 lb axle I removed.
Since I had to buy new wheels anyway since the brakes are not available with 4 lug hubs for the Flexiride I bought 14" 205-75R 14 Kenda tires and wheels at Pep Boys for $94.00 each (3 with the spare).
I set the ride angle at 22* down so the ride height is greater from this along with the larger diameter of the tire/wheel.
While the wheel is centered in the wheel well the actual cutout of the shell is a little close to the fiberglass at the front of the cutout.
I think I will rework wheel cutout for a little more clearance.
I would lower the axle if there were a little more clearance over the tire where the fiberglass wheel well if flat instead of curved to match the rest of the tub.
I changed the tires and wheels since these Scamps seem to be heavier than the original ratings. The original tires were rated 1360 lbs or a total of 2720 lbs. If the axle rating of 2500 and maximum weight were correct then these tires would be marginally adequate. The 185-80 13 are rated higher, but still not comfortably higher for 3000 lbs rating of the new axle. ( the new axle was made with shorter rubber encapsulation of the rotating stubs on the 3500 lb. base setup.
Has anyone else fitted 14" tires and how was the axle setup? I assume that the Dexter or AL-KO axles with 22* down would fit like my setup.
If I rework the wheel tubs to have round tops then I might move the trailing arms up a little to lower the trailer for better handling while keeping the 205-75R-14 s.
If I were to redo the axle I would mount it about 1 inch towards the rear (maybe not since this would shift the center of gravity). I would also order the axle with the face to face distance of 63" instead of the 65 inch of the original AL-KO with the 13" wheels.
Also I found that the frame was 48 1/2" outside dimension where at the front it was 48" (Oh well!). Also the Flexiride axle delivered stock the bolt on flange vertical with mounting holes is on the inside rather than outside. Mounting would have been easire if I had got the 48 1/2 " right and if the larger mounting flange were on the outside. I think you can specify that a different mounting flange that matches the AL-KO / Dexter mounting. This was not a problem not having the same bracket since the trailing arms are 2" shorter and the axle has to be relocated to put the axle hub centerline in the correct place.
The 14" wheels and tires really fill the wheel well, but I think there is enough clearance.
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Old 03-30-2015, 10:27 AM   #2
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Name: Tim
Trailer: '88 Scamp 16, layout 4
North Florida
Posts: 1,547
When I did the axle on my 1988 I was in a time crunch and just ordered what I knew would work, an axle from Scamp. As such I have whatever down angle they use but even so when I measured things after the install I figured 14" rims/tires would still fit and work fine. I opted for 13" anyway wanting to keep the rig as low as possible. Since the axle is bolted on now I can always fab up a couple of spacers and lift the trailer later on when I go a-full timing after retirement if I want to run a larger tire. I even di not weld the little tab that holds up the floor in the middle but made a little "hat" that sits on the axle and welded the floor tab to that.
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Old 03-30-2015, 12:19 PM   #3
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
Posts: 2,419
I would have bolted in the axle except for my ordering/measuring problem.
The mounting holes provided ended up arigh on the inside edge of the frame tubes and this precluded drilling for the bolts I had already purchased.
I mentioned this to help make others who might want to do this aware of potential problems.
I figure that this axle should be good for longer than I have left to use it.
I plan to jack the wheels off the ground when it is not in use to prolong the life of the rubber.
I don't know exactly how aging would affect the flexiride since the torsion is in the twist of the encapsulating rubber and not in the compression of the rods like the Dexter and AL-KO axles.
I do like the looks of the trailing arms and the whole setup.
On mine the center angle in the floor ended up right on top of the beam and I welded it directly to it (a little at a time to keep the heat on any rubber as low as possible).
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Old 03-30-2015, 04:08 PM   #4
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Name: Tim
Trailer: '88 Scamp 16, layout 4
North Florida
Posts: 1,547
I should have mentioned that by "bolting on" the axle I meant the axle bolts to a new bracket that is welded to the frame. Unlike the original that had no separate bracket. Also, my floor had sagged a little, probably from me walking around inside with the old axle cut off. I had to jack the floor up quite a bit to get it back flat.
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Old 04-03-2015, 04:30 PM   #5
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
Posts: 2,419
The 24* down set the trailer too high for my liking so I reset the Flexiride axle to 6* up to raise the camper enough to ride level with my VW Sportwagen TDI and this raised the next problem - not enough clearance for the tire in the wheel well and the cutout for the wheel too small.
I bought a set of 6320 trailer fenders form tractor supply and have installed them in the place of the factory fiberglass ones. These are biting welded into the 1 1/2" square tubing frame extensions I have added to support the sides of the fiberglass shell and the outer flooring.
I am now the proud owner of a 16' Scamp with 205/75-14 tires, 10" brakes and Flexiride 3000 lb axle with steel wheel tubs.
I have not yet fiberglassed them in and I still have some fabricating to do for the mounting.
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Old 03-11-2021, 01:56 PM   #6
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Name: John
Trailer: Casita
British Columbia
Posts: 5
I have a 1986 13 ft. Casita. Has anyone evr changed the original axle?. Thanks John
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Old 03-11-2021, 02:44 PM   #7
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
Posts: 11,540
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Kinney View Post
I have a 1986 13 ft. Casita. Has anyone evr changed the original axle?. Thanks John
Many have, and the issues invoked are pretty much the same as any other molded trailer. Some older trailers had marginal or underrated axles for the actual weight of the trailer, so if possible, the first step is to find out how much your fully loaded and provisioned trailer weighs. Truck stops, gravel yards, feed lots, and refuse transfer stations are common places to get a weight.

If yours is a basic, no-bath model, you’re probably looking at a 2000-2200# rubber torsion axle. They can be spec’d for different ride heights, or you can choose the user-adjustable Flexi-ride described in earlier posts.

Utility trailer shops that do in-house fabrication and welding are often good places to do an axle swap rather than an RV shop. They will help measure and spec the new axle. This would be a good opportunity to evaluate the overall condition of the frame.
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Old 03-11-2021, 03:33 PM   #8
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Name: John
Trailer: Casita
British Columbia
Posts: 5
I have a 1986 13 ft. Casita with the bathroom that I am remodeling, so complete gut out. I am hoping my others have experience as to what to glue on the fiberglass inside to refinish. I thought, mybe 1/2 inch foam , then a spray glue on fun fur, which is easy to install around curves. Ant help would be much appreciated. Cheers John
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Old 03-11-2021, 04:57 PM   #9
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
Posts: 11,540
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Kinney View Post
I have a 1986 13 ft. Casita with the bathroom that I am remodeling, so complete gut out. I am hoping my others have experience as to what to glue on the fiberglass inside to refinish. I thought, mybe 1/2 inch foam , then a spray glue on fun fur, which is easy to install around curves. Ant help would be much appreciated. Cheers John
Just a suggestion... you might want to start your own thread on your project. Keeps things cleaner. Go to the main forums page and choose the sub-topic that best fits, perhaps "Owners Helping Owners" or "Modifications, Alterations, and..." Look for the little "Forum Tools" option above the list of threads. Click, and a drop-down menu will give you the option to "Post a New Thread." It's pretty self-explanatory from there. Choose your thread title carefully, perhaps something like "1986 Casita 13 Interior Remodel."

You could start another thread to discuss the axle- there's a section for that, too.

Personally I would never, ever gut a trailer until I had at least made one attempt at a thorough deep cleaning and reconditioning. Many, many people quickly get in over their heads. At best, the trailer will be out of commission for many months. At worst, some give up and sell at a loss. If you have previous frame-up RV renovation experience, then I withdraw my concern. If the wood in the floor is rotted, you have no choice. If you've already done the deed, then hold on- you're in for a ride!

Molded trailers can sag and lose their shape when gutted- the interior provides support for the shell. It is a good idea to provide some temporary floor-to-ceiling support while the interior is out.
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