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Old 12-29-2015, 10:04 AM   #15
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1 axle vs 2 axle affect on tires

From a tire standpoint there are some issues to consider.

I tend to agree with the vehicle control issue if there is a tire failure on tandem axle TT. However unless you have TPMS there is a good chance you might not realize you have a tire loosing air and is about to become a sidewall blowout or if you have already had a tire failure you may still continue driving at your normal speed until someone lets you know you have had a failure.
I have personally seen a tandem axle TT after it was driven for a few miles with a failed tire and there was nothing of the tire left but bead wire wrapped around the axle and the wheel was scrap also. Driver said he didn't know he had had a failure till he stopped.

Now even if you have a TPMS and know about the tire failure at once, the issue of continuing for a number of miles comes up. The other tire on the side of the failure is now way overloaded unless the wheel is supporting load as it bashes into the pavement. Tires cannot support the potential 100% overload without suffering internal structural damage. Trucks & motorhomes with dual application many times make this mistake only to have the 2nd tire fail a few hours to a couple of weeks later due to the overload damage and continued operation.

Another item to consider is that with tandem axles the tires are always fighting each other in every turn or curve as the center of rotation is not the actual center of the turn radius. This results in Interply Shear forces in the tire that can lead to belt separation.
( Google link ) With tandem axles the best practice is to run the pressure on the tire sidewall AND to also have at least a 15% margin on tire loading.
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Old 12-29-2015, 10:34 AM   #16
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Many here (including us) believe best practice is to get rid of the original failure-prone GYM's, and replace them with Michelin LTX which have little to no failure history on our Airstreams, single or tandem axle set at what tire pressures they are comfortable with.
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Old 12-29-2015, 11:42 AM   #17
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Thanks for all the answers. This really is a great site for a wanna be streamer.
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Old 12-29-2015, 12:03 PM   #18
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My first priority when buying my first trailer was a 2 axle. Just safer in my opinion.
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Old 12-29-2015, 12:20 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tireman9 View Post
From a tire standpoint there are some issues to consider.

I tend to agree with the vehicle control issue if there is a tire failure on tandem axle TT. However unless you have TPMS there is a good chance you might not realize you have a tire loosing air and is about to become a sidewall blowout or if you have already had a tire failure you may still continue driving at your normal speed until someone lets you know you have had a failure.
I have personally seen a tandem axle TT after it was driven for a few miles with a failed tire and there was nothing of the tire left but bead wire wrapped around the axle and the wheel was scrap also. Driver said he didn't know he had had a failure till he stopped.

Now even if you have a TPMS and know about the tire failure at once, the issue of continuing for a number of miles comes up. The other tire on the side of the failure is now way overloaded unless the wheel is supporting load as it bashes into the pavement. Tires cannot support the potential 100% overload without suffering internal structural damage. Trucks & motorhomes with dual application many times make this mistake only to have the 2nd tire fail a few hours to a couple of weeks later due to the overload damage and continued operation.

Another item to consider is that with tandem axles the tires are always fighting each other in every turn or curve as the center of rotation is not the actual center of the turn radius. This results in Interply Shear forces in the tire that can lead to belt separation.
( Google link ) With tandem axles the best practice is to run the pressure on the tire sidewall AND to also have at least a 15% margin on tire loading.
Another possible advantage of single axle is in case of rapid deflation you will know almost immediately and can slow and pull over before the tire does expensive damage to the trailer.
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Old 12-29-2015, 12:38 PM   #20
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One axle vs two

While most of the replies are good info the real advantage of two axles is the stability under adverse conditions while towing. With 4 tires the rig will self stabilize faster when encountering heavy wind vs. big trucks. Also is more forgiving on ice & snow, not to mention pot holes. While towing is important you must also like living in it, so really the differences are minor.


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Old 12-29-2015, 12:50 PM   #21
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Now folks let me get this straight. You are pulling a #10,000 lb two axle trailer with four tires on the ground and you think it's safe to keep going with only three tires on the ground? Amazing!!! What makes you think one tire on either side can carry the extra weight? Now as far as axles in California, they have toll bridges that charge by the axle. It can cost as much as $12.00 to pull a three axle trailer across a bridge. I will stay with my little Bambi pulled by a Ram 2500 Cummins 4X4, No problems.
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Old 12-29-2015, 12:55 PM   #22
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I bought my 20ft FC because it was a great buy and it had everything we liked on first inspection...we had not really thought about buying/affording an AS (or any camper, for that matter) until this one cropped up by accident. It was truly an impulse decision. Its a single axle, and got me into reading these forums.

Reading these forums it didn't take long to become pretty paranoid about just having one axle/a single tire on each side, and about the apparently unavoidable blowouts that were waiting for me. It sounded like it was just a matter of time until a horrible accident. But having pulled Daisy for 5-10k miles per year for the past 5 years, and after adding 16" Michelins this past summer, I don't worry about it anymore. I check tire pressures and general tire condition before I take off, don'[t go faster than 65mph, and enjoy AS life. If you go the same single-axle route, I believe you'll come to the same conclusion (after awhile). Safe travels, in either case. jan
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Old 12-29-2015, 01:27 PM   #23
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Elbo......I think by being safe is meant that you can better safely get to a point to where it is safer to change the tire. With a single axle trailer you have no choice but to pull over wherever you are and change the tire.
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Old 12-29-2015, 04:48 PM   #24
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The ability to have a flat and still tow on 3 wheels is a plus.
Also, I want the longest trailer made for space- storage, walk around room, and not having dual-purpose transformer furniture- bed is a bed, couch is a couch-
Distinct areas in a longer trailer are nice- clear demarcation from living room to kitchen to bedroom-
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Old 12-29-2015, 05:04 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by graysailor View Post
Elbo......I think by being safe is meant that you can better safely get to a point to where it is safer to change the tire. With a single axle trailer you have no choice but to pull over wherever you are and change the tire.
Precisely! I don't think anyone condones continuing to destination on three wheels - unless maybe destination is a mile down the road!

If I recall, the manual that came with my trailer has in for towing on three wheels in an emergency situation.

Actually two axles vs one is sort of academic for me anyway as I don't think I could convince SWMBO to move to any smaller RV than the one we have. I have tried!

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Old 12-29-2015, 06:56 PM   #26
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Since 2010 we've owned a 2007, 19 ft Safari, and have dealt with blowouts, but the most annoying thing about our Bambi for my 6' 2" husband, is the bed that is not walk-around. This is our only issue, but it's enough for us to consider purchasing a longer AS.
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Old 12-29-2015, 06:59 PM   #27
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Very good advice here. Basically, you'll be fine with either one or two axle setup, and should focus on the best floor plan, while paying attention to weight differences and also tongue weights, which can vary widely.

For fifteen years, I used to tow an Olympic Class catamaran around the country. It was a full 10 feet wide, and so had to be tilted up to give a footprint no wider than 8'. So although the boat weighed only 350 lbs (20 ft long, 10 ft wide, 30 ft mast), the surface area available to crosswinds was very large.

In California, there was a guy who custom built very light and well thought through single axle trailers with very small wheels. The trailer, boat, sails, gear and tools together weighed about 1200 lbs, max--you could (and we did) tow behind sports cars with no problem (at 55 max, of course.) In a strong crosswind, the small single axle wheels with the large profile allowed the trailer to skid a bit, but with the weight of the rig being so light, this was not even once a control issue for the small tow vehicle as far as the tail wagging the dog syndrome--you could see it scoot sideways in a gust, but you wouldn't feel it at all, and it would return to center easily and seamlessly.

For a while, I lived and raced on the East Coast, and ordered a trailer from a different guy in Ohio. He started with a heavier twin axle trailer with much larger wheels/tires. The very first time we towed from New England to Florida, we got into trouble not 50 miles from home. The same kind of gusts that scooted the single axle, small wheeled, light weight rig did something quite different to the more heavily anchored twin axle. It tracked perfectly straight, but we were quite shocked to see the two windward side wheels up in the air! It forced us to stop and take everything apart to reduce windage. Needless to say, we got rid of that trailer very fast.

We have had two front left tire failures on our 28' International (6980 lbs) which is of course twin axle. We have finally upgraded to 16" wheels and Michelins, and we're going to be adding lithium batteries to reduce both our forward weight and our increased weight on the left side (we have four, and two of them are left of center.) In all cases, the tire failure has been tread separation, and it's pretty clear that this has been from shear when navigating into tight spaces at extreme angles. With two tires on each side, the rotational point is such that the weight of the AS bears down on them as the TV strongly pushes them sideways--a sure formula for tread shear. But with the Michelins, the safety factor has increased tremendously. Back to the lightweight boat and the two wheeled trailer that we pushed by hand into parking spaces--wow, REALLY hard to turn that thing, whereas the single axle was easy-peasy.

With a single axle, the pivot point is right in the center of the tire, so there is a lot less shear load/resistance to turning. If you're going into tight spaces a lot (and you will be!), this is a much more tire friendly design.

If I had a choice, I would definitely choose the single axle. This in spite of the fact that everything everybody's said about being able to travel a short distance on three wheels is of course an advantage. I just know from experience what the difference in tire wear will be.

So pick your trailer by the floor plan that will work best for you. Good arguments both ways on single vs double axles. But either way, plan to upgrade those wheels/tires to Michelins, make sure you're carrying at least 15-20% safety margin in load bearing on each wheel, and plan to change your tires every four years, regardless of tread wear--sidewalls deteriorate through oxidation.

Welcome aboard, and have fun!
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Old 12-29-2015, 07:15 PM   #28
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[QUOTE=field & stream;1728829]Hi, and welcome!

We currently have both a dual axle 23' and a single axle Basecamp, and would give the preference to dual axle for peace-of-mind issues.

The 22' and 23' do not come with either one or two axles -- the 22' is single axle and the 23' models are dual axle.

Our 2005 22 foot Safari has two axles .
We purposely sought out the shortest Airstream with two axles when we bought it .
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