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Old 12-27-2014, 07:31 AM   #1
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2007 25' International CCD FB
Sarasota , Florida
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Difference in single axle vs. double axle in towing?

We'll be purchasing our second airstream and considering a 2011-13' 19 ft Bambi. After owing A 25 ft. Double axle we are having an ongoing debate over whether or not we'll be happy towing a single axle. Are singles that much less stable and more 'fishy' on the road, in wind etc? Would appreciate the opinions of those of you who have experience towing single axles.

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Old 12-27-2014, 07:45 AM   #2
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There was a recent thread on this exact topic. The single axle is slightly less stable that a tandem, but slightly easier to pull (less rolling resistance). The tandem gives you a little redundancy in case of a tire failure.

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Old 12-27-2014, 07:49 AM   #3
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I have towed both and honestly, I can't tell any difference. We now have the 20FC

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Old 12-27-2014, 08:02 AM   #4
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This is always a debate. There are lots and lots of single axle campers being pulled all over the place out there. Double axles are needed for heavier and longer trailers. I recommend good sway control for your single axle trailer. And I recommend very good tire maintenance to help avoid blow outs which are even more dramatic on a single axle trailer.

Trailer engineers design single axle trailers with all the due diligence needed for safe towing. I would not have a concern towing a single axle trailer.

I did pick a longer, heaver 1966 Trade Wind with dual axles over the Safari or Globetrotter because I liked the idea of dual axles. And they were twice as expensive to replace when that time came. I did pass on a nice 1959 Overlander at 26 feet long and a single axle trailer. I just envisioned it wiggling in the wind back there.

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Old 12-27-2014, 08:15 AM   #5
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Greetings Westwind !

Welcome to the Forums!

When speaking of Airstreams and Argosys, I haven't found any difference in stability between the single axle and tandem axle models. A blowout can be a bigger issue on a single axle so I am very cautious with tire maintenance on the single axle (it is important on both as a blowout on either can cause significant skin and structural damage). The single axle also responds much more quickly to steering inputs, particularly when backing. I utilize Reese Strait-line hitches with dual can sway control on both of my trailers.

Good luck with your investigation!


P.S. -- Assuming that each Airstrem is properly loaded to maintain. 12% to 15% of trailer weight on the hitch, I don't think that you will notice a difference when towing with a properly rigged hitch.
Kevin D. Allen
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AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
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Old 12-27-2014, 08:23 AM   #6

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Yes....our single axle 23' was a bit more swing'n than the dual axle 25', (with the same hitch and sway.)

BUT.... not enough to prevent a very happy 18 Seasons worth of Stream'n.

I would venture to say that if you get a single and end up trading it in, it won't be because of sway, more likely size.

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Old 12-27-2014, 08:52 AM   #7
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Not an engineer so no hard numbers from me, just seat of the pants feel. I went from a 17 ft single to a 23 double. The 23 is less twitchy with a more stable feel on the road. It is easier to park for me. I also feel better knowing the if I do have a flat I still have 3 tires to keep it on the road.

Do you know what a learning experience is? A learning experience is one of those things that says "You know that thing that you just did? Don't do that."
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Old 12-27-2014, 09:38 AM   #8
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Here is a picture of that lovely 1959 Overlander 26 with a single axle. I think dual axles were an option later on, and finally standard equipment by the mid-sixties. This trailer was in pretty good shape and being used regularly during the Minnesota camping season. The only reason I passed on this trailer is the length versus the single axle. If it was a 20 footer Globetrotter, no problem.

I can feel it sway on a windy day just looking at it.

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Old 12-27-2014, 10:26 AM   #9
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We have had both. We liked the 2007 Safari 20 single axle, but it was the interior space restrictions for extended travel that caused us to trade for a double axle FC 25. Neither had a side-to-side sway problem, it was the ProPride hitch that finally took away the side wind and passing semi push we experienced in both of them.

The single axle liked to move around on the ruts left in older paved roads by heavy semi traffic, I didn't notice that after we got the 25.
Doug and Cheryl
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Old 12-27-2014, 10:53 AM   #10
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It's all in how you load it out, that is, how much weight is biased to the front of the axle, never to exceed the recommended tongue weight. It will behave nicely when loaded correctly, worry free. Load it heavy towards the back and the gremlins move in.
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Old 12-27-2014, 10:56 AM   #11
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single axle towing

We have a 2005 19' Bambi and have towed it with a 2008 Ford F150 and more recently, a 2012 F150 (with eco boost). Although it came with an anti-sway bar, which we used with first truck, we never experienced any sway. With the new truck, we abandoned the anti sway bar because the truck has this feature built into its electronic towing package. The trailer is very easy to pull and tracks the truck like a dream. Also, we can make some pretty tight turns, given 19' length, so that is an advantage in some cases.
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Old 12-27-2014, 11:27 AM   #12
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I tow my single-axle 20ft FC behind a 2012 Tahoe and, although being extra vigilant when I'm going 65mph on an interstate on my twice/year Florida trips and seeing an oncoming or passing semi, I have had no trouble re swaying or, God forbid, losing control, even while being passed. After bending my anti-sway bar backing up in the first week, I have not seen the need for one in the past 4 years of traveling. Just pay some attention to balancing the load and keeping the tires inflated. Stay safe. jon
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Old 12-27-2014, 11:29 AM   #13
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Back in the day, I used to tow a lightweight but wide catamaran that tilted up due to width and therefore presented a very large profile. On the west Coast, a lightweight single axle trailer was available. Total boat, gear and trailer was about 1500 lbs. In moderate winds, this would scoot sideways a bit in every gust, but never interfered with the very small TV's tracking, probably due to the overall light weight. Never noticed movement around semi's. On the EastCoast, the only "tilt" trailer available was a much beefier double axle with much bigger wheels and tires. The first time we hit moderate winds, the trailer tracked perfectly straight, but we were shocked to see that the two wheels in the uowind side were both off the ground! (We stopped and took the boat apart, and immediately got rid of the tandem trailer.) Our 28' 2009 Airstream is much heavier, of course, so we don't exoect to see it "fly" the wheels in a stiff breeze--in fact, it both tracks and handles side forces nicely, and the extra wheels for a blowout is very nice--we once tiwed59 miles after hearing a slight bump only to find out at our destination that what we had heard was a blowout! But if you are maneuvering in and out if tight places a lot, the torque loss transmitted to the sidewalls of the front tires when backing up is significant. You can observe this by noting that sometimes when parked after a sever angle back in, the wheels are not straight up and down, but canted in or out at the top. Although we replace our tires every four years, we have already had one blowout and two instances of replacing tires early due to the begiinings of tread separation. All three were in the front tires. So a double axle has the added safety during a blowout and tracks a bit better (but tracking bf's not an issue with an antisway device properly adjusted), but a single axle seems to exert less wear on the tires in extreme parking maneuvers. Also, tough covered elsewhere, even though your TV has antisway, this must engage after detection of sway. So it should not replace a physical hitch antisway device, but rather be the second part of an antisway system for added safety. How can you be "too safe?" :-)
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Old 12-27-2014, 12:24 PM   #14
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The biggest difference I notice in pulling my twin-axle 27-ft. Sovereign over my single-axle Globetrotter is that the ride in my tow vehicle (Tundra) is less bouncy when pulling the double. And I prefer backing up the double over the single. But I certainly notice the heavier weight of the double as opposed to the single (4800 lbs. vs. 3000).

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