tandem axle vs single axle trailer - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-06-2011, 09:56 AM   #1
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tandem axle vs single axle trailer

All,
I looked for this topic in other areas and did a search - nothing came up.

Question:
What the advantages or disadvantages of towing a tandem axle vs a single axle fiberglass travel trailer? I'm talking about for instance a 19 ft Bigfoot tandem vs a 19 ft single axle.

A couple of things come readily to mind.

Advantage
Greater towing stability with a tandem?
Possibly a heavier frame in a tandem?
Safety? 4 tires under the trailer instead of 2.

Disadvantage
Equivalent trailer "weighs" more when considering the running gear on a tandem.
More maintenance - tires etc on a tandem
"Harder" to turn a tandem trailer.


Wayne
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:55 AM   #2
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Is there a 19 foot available without tandem wheels?
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:27 PM   #3
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Paul,
I don't have a clue. What I was trying to do was to get some input on the pros and cons of single vs tandem wheeled travel trailer. So in this case, what would be differences, besides size, of a 17 - 18 ft single axle vs a 19 ft tandem?

From what I can see (at least right now) a 19 ft is the largest trailer that I could comfortably haul with my 2001 Nissan Pathfinder 3.5 L auto with a total towing capacity of 5000 lbs.

It looks as though you have a new 19 ft trailer, I'm assuming tandem. What's good about it? What's not so good? Would you have gotten a single axle, something else, if you had to do it over?

Wayne
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:48 PM   #4
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We have been going over the same question too. We have a single axle Bigfoot 5th wheel but would like a double axle for the reasons you stated. We do have and have towed a dual axle trailer and we prefer it.

As for the disadvantages you have listed the only one we feel is important to us is the expense of buying four tires. For us the extra weight isn't an issue and the turning thing has never bothered us.

Wayne I think towing a 19ft Bigfoot would be a stretch for your Pathfinder. Bigfoot trailers are notoriously heavy.
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:25 PM   #5
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Possibly a heavier frame in a tandem?
Wouldn't tandem axles enable a lighter frame to be used? I'm not saying they are, but I think they can be - because there is less unsupported length.
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:51 PM   #6
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Lizbeth,
You said "Wayne I think towing a 19ft Bigfoot would be a stretch for your Pathfinder. Bigfoot trailers are notoriously heavy."

That's the kind of info that I need. Stretching my Pathfinder means that I wouldn't like pulling the trailer and would end up trading something, again.

Does the trailer world suffer from " 2 footiteis" like the boating world?

So how about a 17 or 18 ft ? From what I see from one of my previous posts and the responses that I received this size trailer,when fully loaded, would be well within my Pathfinders limitations.

Wayne
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Old 01-06-2011, 04:03 PM   #7
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I have a tandem axle cargo trailer, although I don't need it for the weight. And I want to sell it and get a single axle trailer. Why, you ask? Because anytime I run over a nail or screw, the front tire throws it up on end and it buries itself in the rear tire! Towing this trailer 20K miles per year, I have to visit the tires store for repairs about 8-10 times a year. And 90% of those repairs are for the rear tires.

I had a single axle trailer previously, same size and same loads, and only had 1 or 2 tire repairs per year. Oh, and I have never noticed any difference in trailer stability between the two. I only got the tandem because I wanted brakes and didn't want to wait for a single with brakes to be built and delivered.
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Old 01-06-2011, 04:06 PM   #8
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In one word, more money. They cost more, weigh more, your mileage will suffer, and the tolls are triple not double, in some states each additional axle is another toll. Only good thing about dual axles, you do not need a jack if you ever get a flat tire.
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:16 PM   #9
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The tandem will pull better and carry more weight, but you will have four tires to replace, four bearings to maintain and when cornering hard or backing in at a hard angle you will scrub the tires causing excess wear and tear.
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:53 PM   #10
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All good pros and cons for tandem axles. One pro I like is reversing. It is much easier to back up a tandem axle trailer.

I think the cut off for single axle versus tandem axle is 17'. I am not aware of an 18' fiberglass RV, not sure what sort of axle it would have.

Tire wear and flats are always possible, not sure I would be driving 20,000 K per year but it "might" be possible. The rear tire flats is a new one for me, I will admit I did have a rear nail. Has anyone else experienced rear flats? Can we draw any conclusions or is this just chance or anecdotal evidence?
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Braun View Post
All good pros and cons for tandem axles. One pro I like is reversing. It is much easier to back up a tandem axle trailer.

I think the cut off for single axle versus tandem axle is 17'. I am not aware of an 18' fiberglass RV, not sure what sort of axle it would have.

Tire wear and flats are always possible, not sure I would be driving 20,000 K per year but it "might" be possible. The rear tire flats is a new one for me, I will admit I did have a rear nail. Has anyone else experienced rear flats? Can we draw any conclusions or is this just chance or anecdotal evidence?
Airstream makes a 22' single axle trailer with a 3500 lb axle, that is the biggest I'm aware of.
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:14 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Wayne Hill View Post
Lizbeth,
You said "Wayne I think towing a 19ft Bigfoot would be a stretch for your Pathfinder. Bigfoot trailers are notoriously heavy."

That's the kind of info that I need. Stretching my Pathfinder means that I wouldn't like pulling the trailer and would end up trading something, again.

Does the trailer world suffer from " 2 footiteis" like the boating world?

So how about a 17 or 18 ft ? From what I see from one of my previous posts and the responses that I received this size trailer,when fully loaded, would be well within my Pathfinders limitations.

Wayne
Instead of the Bigfoot, you may want to consider the 19' double axle Escape, Escape Trailer Industries > Home
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:32 PM   #13
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Cool Fiber Stream is the only 16' double axle travel trailer

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Originally Posted by Andrew Gibbens View Post
Wouldn't tandem axles enable a lighter frame to be used?
That's how the Fiber Stream was manufactured, with a ridiculously light weight frame; 1" x 2" box channel. It's half the weight of a comparable Casita's frame. I could have sworn that my frame was straight when I bought the trailer, but over 5 years of towing on some pretty lengthy trips have taken a toll on it. I now have in effect sistered-in another frame to the bottom if the original to fix the flexing and bending, because I didn't want to go through all of the logistical problems of a total frame-off rebuild.
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:22 PM   #14
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I tow a Bigfoot B19 with a 5.0L Savana van,this is a good combination with lots of storage.The two bikes can travel inside out of the weather. One big plus with the tandem axle is the increased braking.The person I bought the trailer off was towing with a Pathfinder and had toured Nova Scotia with no problems.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Hill View Post
All,
I looked for this topic in other areas and did a search - nothing came up.

Question:
What the advantages or disadvantages of towing a tandem axle vs a single axle fiberglass travel trailer? I'm talking about for instance a 19 ft Bigfoot tandem vs a 19 ft single axle.

A couple of things come readily to mind.

Advantage
Greater towing stability with a tandem?
Possibly a heavier frame in a tandem?
Safety? 4 tires under the trailer instead of 2.

Disadvantage
Equivalent trailer "weighs" more when considering the running gear on a tandem.
More maintenance - tires etc on a tandem
"Harder" to turn a tandem trailer.


Wayne
With a tandem axle, it is more important to tow level. too often you see them being towed tongue up or tongue down, resulting in overloading and over scuffing on the affected axles.
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:44 PM   #16
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Hi: Paula Downing...We love our 5.0 Escape 5th.wh. The ease of hookups is great. The dual powered landing gear is a snap, or should I say a push o the buttons. The 15" tires and 3500 lb. axle is a closer match to the size of the tug tires. On a purely economical level at the toll booths we only get dinged for 1 extra axle. The 19' Escape has dual 2200 lb axles and 14" tires but either trailer is very manuverable or so I'm told.
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:09 AM   #17
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Pulled a 27' Woods dual axle trailer year round; moving twice every weekend Fri and Sunday for years around Ont. Do not remember any flat problems? Tires did not last as long and they did charge for extra for the second axle at times. As stated by Laura and Rick above Quote: "you may want to consider the 19' double axle Escape," weight will cost you at the pumps.
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:54 PM   #18
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No trailer manufacturers do it, but I submit that on a larger trailer, one properly placed 8,000 lb Dexter axle with an oil bath hub (which requires no bearing repacking) would be much better than two 3,500 lb Dexter axles which require hub removal and repacking of bearings every year.

The single axle trailer does not "bind" the axles when making sharp turns. Axle to axle allignment and weight distribution equalization issues are eliminated with a single axle.

Trailer sway and backing difficulties are a product of the ratio of the length from the trailer axle(s) to the pivot point (ball or king pin) vs. the length from the tow vehicle rear axle to the same pivot point.

A SHORTER TRAILER IS MORE MANUEVERABLE FOR FORWARD TRAVEL IN A TIGHT AREA SUCH AS A GAS STATION OR CAMP GROUND.

THAT FORWARD MANUEVERABLITY IS ENHANCED BY A TOW VEHICLE WITH A SHORT WHEEL BASE.

A TOW VEHICLE WITH A SHORTER WHEEL BASE IS ALWAYS EASIER TO BACK.

BUT!

A LONGER TRAILER IS EASIER TO BACK.

A TOW VEHICLE WITH A LONGER WHEEL BASE IS ALWAYS SAFER AND MORE STABLE AT HIGHWAY SPEEDS THAN THAT SAME VEHICLE WITH A SHORTER WHEEL BASE.

A TRAILER THAT HAS A LONGER TONGUE IS ALWAYS SAFER AND MORE STABLE WHEN TOWING AT HIGHWAY SPEEDS THAN THAT SAME TRAILER WITH A SHORTER TONGUE.

I know these things from my commercial trucking days and from building and using utility trailers on my ranch.
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:04 PM   #19
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I have personally never noticed any major difference in single vs double vs triple axles in terms of towing straight ahead at highway speeds, but the more axles the easier it is to back up & park.

Someone on here said that you don't need a jack if you get a flat tire with a tandem, which left me sitting there like the little cartoon character with a humongous question mark floating over my head.

I'd love to get a tutorial on how to change a tire on any one of my multi-axle trailers sans a jack, as I have never found a way to do it. (Of course, I am well-known for being dummy at times! )
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:10 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce H View Post
No trailer manufacturers do it, but I submit that on a larger trailer, one properly placed 8,000 lb Dexter axle with an oil bath hub (which requires no bearing repacking) would be much better than two 3,500 lb Dexter axles which require hub removal and repacking of bearings every year.
Bruce, that is what my husband has been telling me too. My question to both of you is.... What tires do you use on an axle rated that high? We were going to do some research but haven't. Do you know off hand?

We really like the head room in the single axle Bigfoot 5th but only having two tires with close to 5000 lbs makes me nervous.
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