When we bought an 1982 Scamp we knew eventually we would need a new axle. After the last couple of trips we notice some odd wear on our tires. The door side was wearing a lot faster than the back and we were going through tires to fast. So we knew it was time bite the bullet for a new axle.
The New Axle
Axel replacement is something that is discussed in great detail over at a wonderful website/forum called Fiberglassrv.com. I highly recommend this group if you own or are thinking about owning a fiberglass camper. It’s a great group of people who are very knowledgeable! If you want to know more about axles and replacements, check this site out.
We started looking for someone to replace the axle last winter. We went to a welder, he said no. Went to a camper place, they said maybe. But there wasn’t a lot of confidence in that maybe. All I could see was my tiny red caravan going up in flames from the welding machine!
The next plan was to drive up to Backus, Minnesota where the campers are manufactured and have them do it. We called Scamp when we first started this process and they recommended a 2000lb Dexter Torsion axle. Months later we called back and they recommended a Lippert 2000lb Torsion Axel. We had never heard of the Lippert Axel so we started rethinking that plan. Then we stumbled upon a company that makes trailers for a tear drop camper company. So that was promising. We drove the camper down for them to take a look. And four weeks later we had a Dexter 3500lb Torsion Axel ready to install. The trailer guy recommend a “beefier” axle. The camper weighed in at 1700 lbs, 75% loaded. So we decided that maybe a stronger axle wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Only time will tell. The heavier axle also a five lug instead of a four which required us to purchase three new rims. Two for the trailer and one for the spare. We also purchased two new tires for the trailer. The hardest part of this whole process was leaving her for a few days while it was repaired!
After the old axle was removed we found out it was bent in addition to just being worn out. They said that after the new axle was added that the tires were running on the fenders. So they then added about a 2″ square bar to raise it up, which we actually wanted to happen. Our camper is stored in between trips in our garage, so one of our big concerns with getting the new axle was about how high the camper would sit afterwards. Not too high, not too low, just right. In order to get it to fit in the garage before, we would have to remove the Maxx Fan. When we got her home and backed her up it was obvious that she was not going to fit with the solar panel on. So after removing the panel and a few tense moments with me on the ladder watching to see if we scraped she slid right in to her resting spot!! Whew. Some of the options if she didn’t fit was to let some air out of the tires or to find smaller tires to switch out. The later would have been a serious pain in the butt. So glad she fits!
We’ve traveled around 500 miles since getting the new axle and so far, so good. She seemed to tow a little better and had less bounce while driving. However there was still bounce in her, it was just a different bounce. Things in the camper that usually bounced around were fine, but a couple of new areas obviously were now getting some new vibrations. The metal plate on the door frame decided to loosen up, which could have just been coincidences, but probably not. A little superglue on the screws fixed that. We also seemed to get approximately two more miles a gallon. Every little bit helps.
Jack it up
The trailer company also took off the two, yes two, old Tongue jacks and replaced it with a shiny new crank jack! (Things that make you happy!!) I really wanted on that would just be vertical in the center of the tongue, but with the future addition of a split hitch to hold the bikes we were worried about it being to tall.
So how much?
I hate talking about cost because things are different all over the country. Parts, labor etc. can fluctuate greatly depending on where you live, but the cost in our neck of the woods of just our new axle was around $400.00. Additional cost’s were the three new rims, two new tires, tongue jack and labor with a total bill of 650.00. Not cheap. But with plans to head back out west and eventually Alaska, I’m hoping it was money well spent!
Stick out your tongue
The other new addition to the tongue, is a storage box, two new batteries and a pvc storage pipe. We are adding a little more tongue weight but we will still be good.
The tongue box will hold the two new batteries, power cord and extension, chocks and whatever else we can get in there to free up some space in the car. We bought the 2-1/3 cu. ft. Haul Master Tongue box at Harbor freight, with a coupon for about $80.00. (Here is a similar one on Amazon.) It was a black steel box so of course it needed to be painted white to match the Scamp. I used Rustoleum primer and then 3 cans of Rust-oleum Automotive Paint in Gloss White. Now it covered nice but I can’t say it was real glossy. So there might be a better alternative.
We added a PVC storage tube behind the box. The pvc tube idea is nothing new. I lot of folks use this set up for their sewage hose, which we do not need. We will be using it to store the awning poles, flag pole, mini broom, and whatever else can find a home in there. It was made with a 4″ diameter cut to 48″. Then we glued a cap on one end and added a threaded screw cap on the other end. This also got a coating of Krylon Spray paint just so it would match the box. Then the tube was attached with two adjustable full/pipe clamp’s that were attached with screws on the tongue.
I’m loving the tongue box! Not having to dig through boxes for set up items is nice.
Rolling on down the road.
So there you go. Our little scamp has got some new accessories. So when you see us on the road next we will be sitting taller and bouncing less! (Fingers crossed!)