Single axle vs tandem axle (2 wheels or 4)? - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 05-10-2016, 09:22 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Name: Margaret
Trailer: in the market
North Carolina
Posts: 197
Single axle vs tandem axle (2 wheels or 4)?

I apologize for all the questions, but I'm finding this forum to be a great help!!

I think fiberglassies rock! That's a made up term; there's probably another one, LOL.

Anyway, seeing as I'm going to be living in a new RV full time, at least for awhile, is it worth getting a bigger RV just to have the four wheels?

Essentially, do four wheels make towing safer, and do they add stability to keep a trailer from fishtailing?

On the other hand, are they a good bit harder to hitch and unhitch, and can you boondock or camp in state forests with them?

Thanks again!!! Margaret
__________________

__________________
Lonely Road is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2016, 02:48 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Borrego Dave's Avatar
 
Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
Posts: 2,924
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonely Road View Post
Essentially, do four wheels make towing safer, and do they add stability to keep a trailer from fishtailing?
On the other hand, are they a good bit harder to hitch and unhitch, and can you boondock or camp in state forests with them?
Thanks again!!! Margaret
First off, tandem/4wheels will not make a difference to stability or fishtailing/sway. That is only caused by not having the correct tongue weight.....or maybe a tornado. There is no difference to hitching/unhitching either. You will find 2,4 and 6 wheel trailers all over the place camping. After towing for 50 years I like tandems over a single axle only because if I do have a flat I'm not riding on the rim until I can get it stopped. Yes, it's more expensive as you have double the costs for tires and bearings and such. One thing I will say, and others with tandems may chime in, is that from my experience if the front tire runs over something it tosses it up just right and the rear tire seems to gets punctured by it. Here's one "over the top" example that stands out. One of the guys on my crew at work had a flat on the rear tandem. There was a 3/8ths" threaded round stock end showing about an inch outside the tire. When the tire guy took the tire off the rim he found a complete front car shock inside !!! If I hadn't seen it myself I wouldn't have believed it. He took it back to his shop for a wall hanging.
Single or duel axles for trailers are decided by the rated weights of the trailer. Not anything to over think, they're designed for what they are.
I've read all your other posts and want to reply to your outgassing/mold question. Everything outgasses for a while, add the new car smell too. Any new trailer will have some production smells from materials used in the building for a while. After reading thousands of posts there have been only a handful of posts dealing with mold problems. You've mentioned a trailer with an aluminum frame, that has nothing to do with the interior materials used that do/will off gas, the frame doesn't. As others have said, you probably should look for something a couple years old as any of that will be gone. Good luck in your search.
__________________

__________________
Borrego Dave is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2016, 08:10 AM   #3
Moderator
 
Jim Bennett's Avatar
 
Name: Jim
Trailer: 2017 Escape 5.0 TA
Alberta
Posts: 4,728
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonely Road View Post
Essentially, do four wheels make towing safer, and do they add stability to keep a trailer from fishtailing?

On the other hand, are they a good bit harder to hitch and unhitch, and can you boondock or camp in state forests with them?
I have towed hundreds of different trailers of all different flavours.

Properly loaded, almost all trailers are fairly stable, and won't fishtail. With tandem, a blowout is less violent being towed, but with a slow leak a lot of folks have not noticed a tandem tire failing until it goes completely.

A tandem definitely beats a single axle for stability and towing ease, though the difference is not great. This is not to say a single can't do the job, but with tandem axles, the effects from bumps and dips is lessened to a good degree, resulting in a better ride. In the single axle trailers I have towed, the loads have always jostled about a bit more.

Frankly, I would be more concerned that the trailer fits your needs, and not really worry too much about tandem vs single.

Hitching is the same for both, and where you tow them does not differ much at all. In tight turning while reversing, the tires on a tandem axle do scuff the surface more, but that really is no big deal either.
__________________
2017 Escape 5.0 TA (January 26)
2015 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5L EcoBoost
2009 Escape 19 (previous)
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” — Abraham Lincoln
Jim Bennett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2016, 08:33 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Donna D.'s Avatar
 
Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Oregon
Posts: 24,433
I own both. More than one person towing a double axle has ruined a wheel when a tire goes flat and they didn't realize it. Five tires to replace instead of three is not chump change. When turning a dual axle sharply (like backing into a site) tires scrub across the pavement making it a bit more difficult to back up. If my 5.0TA came with a single axle, I would have been just fine with it, but it didn't and I'm just fine with that too.
__________________
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
Donna D. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2016, 10:03 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
floyd's Avatar
 
Name: Floyd
Trailer: 2004 13 ft Scamp Custom Deluxe
IllAnnoy
Posts: 6,049
Registry
Tandem axles work best for large trailers and more importantly utility and box trailers in which the load varies from trip to trip.
For small RV trailers, a single axle has some advantages...
Tandems are much more sensitive to small increments of attitude,a high tongue overloads the rear axle while a low tongue overloads the front axle.
Tandems also stress each other on turns, causing tire scrub and lateral stress on suspension and other chassis components. The result is more push and stress on the TV as well.

Advantage tandem....
Tandems generally require a smaller percentage of weight on the tongue.
__________________
floyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2016, 03:39 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Name: Patrick
Trailer: R-Vision Trail Lite
New York
Posts: 592
Having had blow outs while towing I can say having 4 tires is better than two.
__________________
Uplander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-11-2016, 11:19 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
minke's Avatar
 
Name: alan
Trailer: looking
Colorado
Posts: 144
I have limited experience towing. I've towed a single axle Bambi (likely ~4,500 pounds) for ~4,500 miles and ~2,500 miles on my tandem boat trailer (~8,000 pounds including "stuff") long enough for a 27' sailboat.

I thought that the lighter single axle trailer hobby-horsed much more than the tandem. This was merely an annoyance. With a lighter tow vehicle it might be more than an annoyance. I tow with a 3/4 ton pickup.

I find that the longer (tandem) trailer backs much easier. I speculate that that was due to 1) my ability to visualize what the boat was doing better than the travel trailer, and 2) the longer distance ball-to-center-of-rotation reduced the sensitivity. With the Bambi I had difficulty telling how much the trailer turned. The boat's bow easily showed the trailer angle. Next time I tow a travel trailer I'll try to line up a piece of vertical tape on the rear window of my topper with a corresponding piece of tape on the trailer so that I can see right-left displacement as easily as I can see it on the boat's bow.

I look forward to anything I may learn from.
__________________
minke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2016, 01:26 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Carol H's Avatar
 
Name: Carol
Trailer: 22' Airstream Formerly 16' Scamp
British Columbia
Posts: 11,731
Registry
As others have said the tandem is common to larger heavier trailers - often found on trailers over 19'. But I would not base my purchase decision on whether or not a trailer had or has not a tandem (although I would think twice about purchasing one over 19' that did not have tandem though).

Better to pick the trailer on what size and floor plan you think will work best for your needs.

I currently have a tandem axle trailer and I pulled a single axle for 9 years. The single axle was a very solid tow and again as others suggest if the trailer is set up correctly on the hitch and you have a well balanced load it should be stable & not be swaying - regardless of the number of axles.

Having tandem axles is a good thing if you have a blow out but then again 9 years and thousands of miles on the single axle trailer and no blow outs. But I do know folks who have had blow outs on single axle trailers and all lived to tell the story ;-)

The larger the trailer the more complicated the hook ups can become. Often the larger dual axles for example will have a WDH - which can be heavy and do take an extra couple of minutes to hook up but once you have done it a few times it gets easier. Its also a lot harder if not impossible to push the trailer over the hitch ball should you be off a tiny bit with a larger trailer than a smaller trailer.

Whether or not the trailer has a single or tandem axle makes no difference as to where or how you can camp..... some spots may be length restrictive - but if you stay under 24' you should not have any issues in that regard.
Carol H is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2016, 01:54 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Borrego Dave's Avatar
 
Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
Posts: 2,924
Quote:
Originally Posted by minke View Post
I find that the longer (tandem) trailer backs much easier. I speculate that that was due to 1) my ability to visualize what the boat was doing better than the travel trailer, and 2) the longer distance ball-to-center-of-rotation reduced the sensitivity. With the Bambi I had difficulty telling how much the trailer turned.
I agree with you Alan. I've found that it's pretty easy backing a 30-40' trailer than the short coupled FG units as they do react real quick to a wheel turn. One other thing that I've never seen mentioned here is the rounded/curved edges to our eggs for backing up. You kind of loose the straight edge reference that the standard flat edge trailers have. I'd like to back up an Oxygen some time just to see how far off I'd be from straight .
__________________
Borrego Dave is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2016, 08:16 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Name: Margaret
Trailer: in the market
North Carolina
Posts: 197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Borrego Dave View Post
First off, tandem/4wheels will not make a difference to stability or fishtailing/sway. That is only caused by not having the correct tongue weight.....or maybe a tornado. There is no difference to hitching/unhitching either. You will find 2,4 and 6 wheel trailers all over the place camping. After towing for 50 years I like tandems over a single axle only because if I do have a flat I'm not riding on the rim until I can get it stopped. Yes, it's more expensive as you have double the costs for tires and bearings and such. One thing I will say, and others with tandems may chime in, is that from my experience if the front tire runs over something it tosses it up just right and the rear tire seems to gets punctured by it. Here's one "over the top" example that stands out. One of the guys on my crew at work had a flat on the rear tandem. There was a 3/8ths" threaded round stock end showing about an inch outside the tire. When the tire guy took the tire off the rim he found a complete front car shock inside !!! If I hadn't seen it myself I wouldn't have believed it. He took it back to his shop for a wall hanging.
Single or duel axles for trailers are decided by the rated weights of the trailer. Not anything to over think, they're designed for what they are.
I've read all your other posts and want to reply to your outgassing/mold question. Everything outgasses for a while, add the new car smell too. Any new trailer will have some production smells from materials used in the building for a while. After reading thousands of posts there have been only a handful of posts dealing with mold problems. You've mentioned a trailer with an aluminum frame, that has nothing to do with the interior materials used that do/will off gas, the frame doesn't. As others have said, you probably should look for something a couple years old as any of that will be gone. Good luck in your search.
Borrego Dave,

That's useful information. In that case, I'm giving up on the double axle idea.

A tornado, LOL! Kinda funny, unless you're in Kansas during stormy weather.

I realize that all trailers off gas. I've heard that before. The problem is that in NC, the used ones may have mold. If I bought a used trailer, it would have to be out West, somewhere in a dry climate.

The old Camplite, before its corporate takeover, was supposed to have the fewest problems with off gassing. So much for that . . . now it's built out of different materials.

I figured I would find a big sunny field (not sure if there is such a thing in a National Forest, LOL), and let the thing off gas for a few days.

One dealer told me that he could kinda tell which ones were the worst, bc his eyes would burn! I think he was mostly speaking about formaldehyde though.

Thx.!!

Margaret
__________________
Lonely Road is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2016, 12:52 AM   #11
Senior Member
 
Borrego Dave's Avatar
 
Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
Posts: 2,924
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonely Road View Post
I realize that all trailers off gas. I've heard that before. The problem is that in NC, the used ones may have mold. If I bought a used trailer, it would have to be out West, somewhere in a dry climate. Margaret
Margaret, just MHO but you may be under a misconception of mold in FG TTs. Any RV may have had or has a mold problem. You do read about some owners dealing with it in their posts. What you don't see/read is the vast majority of owners without the problem. The location of a possible TT is not an issue, it's really the maintenance done in keeping all seals in good condition. I believe there are test kits you could use to find any indication of mold.
__________________
Borrego Dave is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2016, 07:24 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
Name: Joe
Trailer: 1999 Casita 17' SD
Ohio
Posts: 553
Moisture is the cause of mold so keep the water out!
At least on the windows Casita uses there are drain holes in the tracks of the frames that can clog that need to be kept clean.

My 1999 17' Casita SD sat in a field in PA for 5 years before I bought it and no mold!

Joe
__________________
Joe Romas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2016, 04:07 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Mike Magee's Avatar
 
Name: Michael
Trailer: Li'l Hauley
Oklahoma
Posts: 5,145
I have had too many nails and screws in the rear tires of a tandem axle trailer. Yes, almost always they find the rear tires. I think the front tire rolls over it and kicks it up so it stabs the rear tire. Give me a single axle trailer any time... unless the trailer is too heavy for a single axle to support it.

They both seemed to handle the same to me as far as stability and lack of fishtailing.
__________________

__________________
How much time do we have left? 2 Chr. 7:14
Mike Magee is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
axle


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Tandem vs single…. cpaharley2008 Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 28 01-28-2014 06:12 PM
tandem axle vs single axle trailer Wayne Hill Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 26 07-17-2012 11:39 PM
Tandem or Single Axle? Dana T Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 19 03-27-2009 05:54 PM
SOLD? 1982 Fiber Stream 16ft rare hard to find tandem wheels ardis harper Classified Archives 3 11-10-2008 07:53 PM
Tandem Axle Scamp Setup Donna D. Modifications, Alterations and Updates 7 01-28-2007 06:00 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:26 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.