Towing a Scamp 13 on rutted roads? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 01-12-2022, 08:27 PM   #1
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Name: zack
Trailer: scamp 13
California
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Towing a Scamp 13 on rutted roads?

How bad or risky is it to tow a Scamp 13 on rutted roads? I have a 2021 Scamp 13 which I tow with a 2012 4Runner with full 4WD. There are some pretty great places I can go to which involve driving on steep rutted roads, especially in the winter. Mostly I can straddle the ruts, but occasionally they move diagonally across the road and I have to cross it. My 4Runner, with it large excellent BFG tires, handles that without much problem, but I can see the Scamp, with its small tires, in the rearview and it is a little painful to watch a Scamp tire cross the rut. I was wondering: How bad is that? What sort of repairs could I be looking (axle?, frame?...?) and how likely is that to do some damage? What would I want to look at and check to see if it seems okay to get back on the highway?
I am pretty new to this and would love to get some advice (in addition to the canonical "find another camp site", which is not so easy and I am pretty motivated to go to these boondock spots which inevitably involve bad roads.) Maybe I don't need to worry about this, or would replacing the axle and tires every 3 or 4 years be a possible approach? How can I detect damage, etc. etc.? Thanks very much. -Zack
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Old 01-12-2022, 09:10 PM   #2
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Start by moving your shower drain pump (if equipped) then be aware of the plumbing and gray tanks (if equipped)
Then be aware that even with a ZERO axle you have limited ground clearance.
Perhaps a small Grader blade attached at the hitch to scrape the center of the road down to an acceptable level!


A stock Scamp13 is simply not an off road friendly trailer.
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Old 01-12-2022, 09:31 PM   #3
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Iíve had mine on worse than the photo. It does take care. Cross ruts slowly and at an angle. Biggest issue is securing everything inside so the cabin doesnít get scrambled.

That said, if it was something I did often, Iíd be looking at an axle swap.
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Old 01-12-2022, 10:33 PM   #4
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Wisconsin
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Or add a lift kit

Quote:
Originally Posted by zack sc View Post
How bad or risky is it to tow a Scamp 13 on rutted roads? I have a 2021 Scamp 13 which I tow with a 2012 4Runner with full 4WD. Zack
The axle will still be the same but all of the plumbing will be up 3.5 inches. Remember that even the bolted on axles have one weld for the strap that prevents floor bounce. I welded in a splice but you could also bolt in a splice. Picture is of a 2017 Scamp 16 foot.
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Old 01-13-2022, 03:52 PM   #5
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Have you considered getting 15" or 16" wheels + tires?
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Old 01-13-2022, 03:59 PM   #6
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Word for the day...

Canonical
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Old 01-13-2022, 04:07 PM   #7
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I went to 14"

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Have you considered getting 15" or 16" wheels + tires?
But that was the cause for the lift kit.

(yes I do have a picture for everything)
And the two sides were not the same.
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Old 01-13-2022, 04:08 PM   #8
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Not to mention all the internal screws that would back out on cabinet doors and such. Need to take it very slow.
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Old 01-13-2022, 04:48 PM   #9
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None of the small built-to-a-price trailers are stressed for operation on anything except an improved highway. Regular exposure to unimproved roads will destroy them over time. For a trailer built to withstand the stress of your application, you might consider a Cortez
https://www.cortescampers.com/
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Old 01-13-2022, 05:02 PM   #10
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Alberta
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I only boondock and have been for 40 plus years and on roads much worse than the one shown. I initially towed a stick build and these units would shake apart after a few years of use. They also let in significant road dust. Fiberglass units are infinitely better..
Anything inside the trailer not secured in boxes on the floor will be scrambled.
I use larger more robust tires than stock. I drive slowly and try to cross ruts at an angle and this greatly reduces bounce and suspension travel.
I rationalize the wear to my unit as the price I pay for travelling to the places I enjoy camping. I also do a lot of inspections just in case.
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Old 01-13-2022, 05:05 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Stephen_Albers View Post
For a trailer built to withstand the stress of your application, you might consider a Cortez
If one is ever built.
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Old 01-13-2022, 05:55 PM   #12
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Name: zack
Trailer: scamp 13
California
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Thanks everybody! I should have mentioned also that I have no shower, no tanks underneath. I am mostly concerned about something breaking, and safety, for example in the transition from off-road to freeway. I typically drive about 20 highway miles at 50 to 60 mph before I get to off road areas. Also, I go slow and nothing really gets tossed around inside. It is all pretty well secured on the floor when I move.
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Old 01-13-2022, 05:56 PM   #13
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Name: zack
Trailer: scamp 13
California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Iíve had mine on worse than the photo. It does take care. Cross ruts slowly and at an angle. Biggest issue is securing everything inside so the cabin doesnít get scrambled.

That said, if it was something I did often, Iíd be looking at an axle swap.
What is an axle swap? Are there better more robust axle possibilities?
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Old 01-13-2022, 06:00 PM   #14
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Name: zack
Trailer: scamp 13
California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_L View Post
I only boondock and have been for 40 plus years and on roads much worse than the one shown. I initially towed a stick build and these units would shake apart after a few years of use. They also let in significant road dust. Fiberglass units are infinitely better..
Anything inside the trailer not secured in boxes on the floor will be scrambled.
I use larger more robust tires than stock. I drive slowly and try to cross ruts at an angle and this greatly reduces bounce and suspension travel.
I rationalize the wear to my unit as the price I pay for travelling to the places I enjoy camping. I also do a lot of inspections just in case.
Thanks Mike. I feel the same. Bigger tires sounds great! How big can I/ should I go? Can I just get bigger tires for the existing wheels or should I/can I get bigger wheels?

Could you tell me more about your inspections? What do you inspect? What do you look for? I would love to be able to make a jump forward in my understanding by learning from other peoples experience!
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Old 01-13-2022, 06:42 PM   #15
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Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zack sc View Post
What is an axle swap? Are there better more robust axle possibilities?
The last thing you need is a "more robust" axle, if by that you mean one with a higher weight rating. That will just make a harsher, bouncier ride.

I meant an axle with more down angle on the axle arms. My 2008 has a 22 degree up angle, so it's an old-school low rider. Yours has a zero degree arm angle, so it sits about 2-1/2" or 3" higher. For my purposes, that would probably be enough. For more frequent off-highway travel, you could go to a 22 degree down angle, for another 2-1/2" to 3" of ground clearance. You can go as high as 45 degrees down, but I think that would be excessive from a stability perspective, and it would look rather like a trailer on stilts (based on a few I've seen).

Another option is a Flexi-Ride torsion axle. It has user-adjustable axle arms, so you can change the ride height in your driveway based on where youre going. Very well made by all accounts I've read.

Unlike a lift kit, changing to a different arm angle raises the axle tube along with the trailer body for high center clearance. Of course it costs a lot more because you're buying a whole new axle. You might recoup some of the cost by selling your current, almost-new axle. I'm good at spending other people's money , but I'll admit I had forgotten when I posted you have a brand new unit with the zero degree axle.

This is more of an aside, but I have seen a couple of Scamp renovations that switched to the Timbren axleless suspension for extreme backcountry use. It consists of two independent suspension modules that mount to each side of the frame with integral shock absorbers. It requires some reinforcement of the whole frame, or in one case, a whole new frame. Mr. Albers' comment seem apropos: how far do you want to take this? My point is that with care, the stock suspension can get you pretty far. And at some point you might be better off setting up a base camp and doing your deep backcountry exploration sans trailer.

As another aside, in terms of offroad use, what exactly is the advantage of bigger tires on a trailer? I know manufacturers like to slap oversized, knobby tires on "offroad" trailers, but on an undriven, non-steering axle...
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Old 01-13-2022, 08:17 PM   #16
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Name: Bob & Jackie
Trailer: 13' Scamp, 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe
Arizona
Posts: 121
14" wheels

Quote:
Originally Posted by zack sc View Post
How bad or risky is it to tow a Scamp 13 on rutted roads? I have a 2021 Scamp 13 which I tow with a 2012 4Runner with full 4WD. There are some pretty great places I can go to which involve driving on steep rutted roads, especially in the winter. Mostly I can straddle the ruts, but occasionally they move diagonally across the road and I have to cross it. My 4Runner, with it large excellent BFG tires, handles that without much problem, but I can see the Scamp, with its small tires, in the rearview and it is a little painful to watch a Scamp tire cross the rut. I was wondering: How bad is that? What sort of repairs could I be looking (axle?, frame?...?) and how likely is that to do some damage? What would I want to look at and check to see if it seems okay to get back on the highway?
I am pretty new to this and would love to get some advice (in addition to the canonical "find another camp site", which is not so easy and I am pretty motivated to go to these boondock spots which inevitably involve bad roads.) Maybe I don't need to worry about this, or would replacing the axle and tires every 3 or 4 years be a possible approach? How can I detect damage, etc. etc.? Thanks very much. -Zack
Hi Zack,
I put 14" wheels and better tires on our 13' Scamp a few years ago and found that the way Scamp cuts out the wheel openings it was not easy to R&R wheels unless trailer was jacked up high. So I opened up the radius on the trailer body. Stock axle and still plenty of clearance above tires.
Great for gravel roads, but as others have mentioned this is not an OFF Road trailer.
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Old 01-14-2022, 12:44 AM   #17
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Cortez

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If one is ever built.



But LOTS of ads out saying, "become a dealer : just send us money and you can become a dealer !" I have written many times about the trailers ; Never an answer. Possibly by the Twelfth of Never !

David in Fresno, CA.
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Old 01-14-2022, 05:21 AM   #18
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Old 01-14-2022, 06:59 AM   #19
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Looks like the Trillium mold is going to be used from the USA bankruptcy.... maybe...
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Old 01-14-2022, 08:18 AM   #20
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No problem, Zach. Go very SLOW, and try not to use the mirrors too often.
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