Double Axle or Not - Fiberglass RV
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:43 AM   #1
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Name: Dale
Trailer: In the market
Posts: 3
Double Axle or Not

Hi folks, we're looking around for a fiberglass trailer, and want your opinion on dual axles. I've always been concerned about towing a trailer with a single axle. If you blow a tire at speed, big trouble can follow. So what brands produced a tandem axle Fiberglass trailer? And what is your experience? Am I being too concerned? Singles are everywhere, do they tow as well as a tandem?
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:55 AM   #2
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I don't think a tandem axle is a big enough advantage to make it a criterion for choosing a trailer, especially a small fiberglass one. Replace your tires every 5 years or so and keep the bearings packed and odds are that you will be fine.

Anecdotally, my brother's tandem trailer blew a tire and he didn't notice it until the tire disintegrated and did damage to the trailer including breaking a gas line.
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:14 AM   #3
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Trailer: Bigfoot 21 ft Front Bedroom
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The size and weight of the trailer determines how many axles the manufacturer puts under it. However trailer axles do come from their manufacturers in a wide range of weight ratings (as do the tires}. For my part I would much rather have a single heavier axle with appropriately rated tires than two lighter ones. For example one 7000 lb rated axle rather than two 3500 lb rated axles. Two axles bind when you turn sharply and that puts the suspension, bearings and tires under a lot of stress. If they get out of perfect alignment with each other because of that stress or because they were imprecisely installed, the tires will wear rapidly. I have never seen an rv trailer with any kind of axle allignment adjustment. The suspension brackets are just welded to a fixed spot. I have seen tandem trailers with excessive tire wear because of this. Also two axles give you twice as many tires, wheel bearings and brakes to maintain. I am a lot more concerned about a sudden tire failure on my tow vehicle, especially the steering axle, causing an accident than I am about a tire failure on the trailer.

Bottom line: When you find a trailer with the size, floor plan and features you want you won't have a choice about how many axles to put under it.
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:20 PM   #4
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Name: john
Trailer: scamp 13
Posts: 1,318
i am 61 years old and have been towing boats , campers and utility trailers for at least 40 years .i have had one tire fail and that was clearly my fault as i new it was low and was trying to go around the block to fill it up before i left,,,anf it came off the rim.

buy and maintain good tires in good condition and you will not have any problem .

double axels are a function of trailer weight. as has been said.
find the trailer you really like, and trust the maker to have the right axel on it for you.
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:25 PM   #5
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Name: Dave W
Trailer: Trillium 4500 - 1976, 1978, 1979, 1300 - 1977, and a 1973
Posts: 6,926
The only trailers that I am aware of that have a choice between single or double axle are the Trillium 5500, and the Bigfoot 5th wheel. They are available with either axle arraignment.
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Old 08-29-2012, 02:22 PM   #6
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Name: Bob Ruggles
Trailer: 2015 Escape
Posts: 1,537
When I was a kid my dad was towing a 1939 Kozy Koach single axle trailer. At one point one wheel dropped right off the trailer. The trailer dropped down on that side but did not cause any loss of directionality or loss of control. Take this for whatever you think it's worth. I might mention that the trailer was 22 ft long and VERY heavy with the outside covering being Masonite hardboard. The tow vehicle was a 1937 Ford with 85 hp.
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Old 08-29-2012, 02:27 PM   #7
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Name: jim
Trailer: 2022 Escape19 pulled by 2014 Dodge Ram Hemi Sport
Posts: 6,710
Escape Trailers have a double axle f/g trailer 19' model. 19 Foot Escape
The doubles will ride smoother and give you that extra braking. On the other hand, tolls will be greater as well as maintenance.
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:49 PM   #8
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Name: Norm and Ginny
Trailer: Scamp 16
Posts: 7,517
Single Axle

Axles and tires are heavy and carry costs from tire cost to maintenance. Since tires typically don't wear out, but rather age. As a result every 4 or 5 years you'll be replacing 5 tires instead of 3 tires.

Most double axle trailers have them to support heavier trailers.

We have had single axle trailers for 5 years and have not yet had a tire failure. We maintain our tire pressures carefully and have installed sensors on our tires to measure pressure and temperature much like new vehicles. The sensors alarm on pressure decrease or inadequate pressure.

If you plan on buying a heavy trailer more likely than not you'll have dual axles; buy a lighter trailer and you'll likely have a single axle. Personally I don't think the numbers of axles should be the primary concern.

The reality of a double axle trailer is that if you don't know you've lost a tire on one side, it's highly likely the second tire will fail.

Coming back from Alaska we ended up beyond a 5th wheel with a literally shredded tire. The driver had no idea that one tire had failed. It took us 15 minutes to catch their attention. My suspicion is that the driver would have never known the 1st had failed until the 2nd failed.
Norm and Ginny

2014 Honda Odyssey
1991 Scamp 16
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:37 PM   #9
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Trailer: Casita 1999 17 ft Liberty Deluxe
Posts: 10,957
The Fiber Stream trailers were tandem axle. That's the only one I'm aware of besides those already mentioned.
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:41 PM   #10
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Trailer: Bigfoots, Scamps, Burro, Boler, Escapes, Trillum, Compact Jr., Trails West Campster, Eco, Sunrader
Posts: 808
Bigfoot 19,21,25 and some 5th wheels have dual axles.
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:26 PM   #11
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Name: Cathy
Trailer: Escape 19' sold, 21' August 2015
POBox 1267, Denison, Texas
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Dale, we were very interested in that point and aware, as Norm said, that we would not know if a tire blew with dual axles. So we have Tire Trakers (about $250). The same sensors are sold under a second name which escapes me. Low pressure is usually the culprit so the idea is to monitor that to try to avoid a blow-out, but if you have one, the monitor will sound.

Besides keeping the trailer upright and stable at the time of such an incident, which is probably what you have in mind, you may not need to stop immediately. As I understand it, each tire is supposed to be able to carry the load and people have been able to travel some distance to a better stopping point. Of course, you'd have to monitor that every little bit so as not to do more damage. Maybe some others can comment on their experiences on that.

I have also heard from some very convincing people that dual axles travel better.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:08 AM   #12
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I have not towed my Fiberstream a lot but I do have a 4000 to 4500 lb boat that I tow. It is not my experience that if you maintain tire pressure all will be fine. I replaced the original tires with 5 Goodyear marathon tires and in the first year two of them had tread separation where the tread came off. One tire took off a fender and I had checked the tires less than 50 miles earlier. All five of those tires separated.

I think that our lighter trailers (under 3000 lbs) don't have as many tire problems as heavier trailers. I have talked with a few tire dealers and one tire store owner that I know personally and I get about the same answer: watch your tires closely, they are all made in China except Carliel, non are better than another as long as you have the correct load rating, and replace them often.

I have had three blow outs on my boat and the tandem allowed me to get to a safe place off the road for the repair. One was on a hill with a railing and no place to get off until the top of the hill.

Tandem or single is personal choice and on light trailers I would tow either. If you see or feel vibration in a tire change it ASAP even if you don't see anything wrong. If the vibration goes away there is something wrong with it.
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:20 AM   #13
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Trailer: 1988 16 ft Scamp Deluxe
Posts: 25,739
Hi Dale, to FiberglassRV. I see there are plenty of people giving you their opinions and you'll continue to find kind and helpful people here.

Good luck on your egg hunt, I'm sure you'll find the perfect all molded towable that will suit your needs.

Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:20 AM   #14
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Name: john
Trailer: scamp 13
Posts: 1,318
would be a good info thing if we could somehow report on tire failures, and the suspected cause, along with the resulting damage or lack thereof and somehow chart it for reference.

i have a feeling we would be amaised at the number of miles our community puts on trailers between tire issues.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:55 AM   #15
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Name: Dale
Trailer: In the market
Posts: 3
Wow, excellent responses. I'm really happy I found this forum!
I suppose I should let my wife know what I'm up to.

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