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Old 01-29-2012, 09:52 PM   #1
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4300GVW vs 3500GVW

Does the higher GVW axel and 15 inch wheels make the newer 16's more rugged? Does this also give the 4300# unit more carrying capacity? Would the 15 inch wheels provide a higher ground clearance?
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Old 01-30-2012, 06:29 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by hellsbay View Post
Does the higher GVW axel and 15 inch wheels make the newer 16's more rugged? Does this also give the 4300# unit more carrying capacity? Would the 15 inch wheels provide a higher ground clearance?

Yes, yes and yes.

Airstream has finally started to equip some of their coaches with axles that that match the GVWR of the unit.

Negative example...ours, GVWR 7300lbs with two 3500lb axles.

Bob
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Old 01-30-2012, 10:20 PM   #3
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Thanks Robert. I had to make a decision between a 2006 and a 2008. The 2008 16' had the heavier axel and seemed to be a better choice for the out of the way places I like to travel so I decided to go with it.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:30 AM   #4
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Another factor besides GVW is CCC (cargo carrying capacity). I have seen large trailers, not just Airstreams, with a CCC of much less than 100 pounds for a 7,000+ pound trailer. In effect, anything more than a single large suitcase will overload the trailer.
The CCC tag should be on a closet or cabinet door, and should be several hundred pounds at least.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:54 AM   #5
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Thanks Robert. I had to make a decision between a 2006 and a 2008. The 2008 16' had the heavier axel and seemed to be a better choice for the out of the way places I like to travel so I decided to go with it.

Your very welcome...as Terry noted the CCC rating on some of the coaches just doesn't match what most of us need.
Our Classic is the heavyweight of the AS line and as such we have a very limited load capacity.....
Try keeping ALL your stuff under 676lbs.

Bob
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:20 AM   #6
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One should keep in mind the axle rating does not need to equal or exceed the GVWR. Take for example the typical tongue weight to total weight of the trailer. Usually the tongue weight I'd 10-15% of the trailer weight. If we use 10% as an example and you have a trailer with a GVWR of 6,000# the tongue weight would be 600#.
Subtract the 600# from the 6000# and you are left with 5400#. Now you are within the range of 2800# axle rating. Then when you consider that the axles are rated for the weight they carry. Which does not include the weight of the axles themselves along with the weight of the tires and rims etc, which could easily be 300# on a tandem axle trailer. You are well within the load carrying capacity of the two 2800# axles on a 6000# trailer.
It's the tires that carry the weight of the trailer minus the tongue weight. Not the axles.
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:50 AM   #7
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Question

TG

WADR....your illustration is hypothetical at best. All you have to do is weigh the rig loaded to know how much you may or may not be overloaded.
Same goes for the tongue weight, in my experience the factory guesstimate or 10% rule is way under what you may actually have.
At the very least if AS had seen fit to install properly rated axles I would have a much better CCC rating.

They did not and I do not.

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Old 01-31-2012, 01:11 PM   #8
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Here is an actual example: My trailers dry weight is 3900#; the GVWR is 6200#. The load carrying capacity is therefor 2300#. Loaded and ready to travel, with 2 30# propane tanks and the fresh water tank full, the trailer weighs in at 5600#. The axles are rated at 2800# each. The tongue weight is 604# ; a little over the 10% .
The new axles I have ordered are rated at 3000#. I wouldn't want any higher rating. I would have gone for 2800#'s for a softer ride, but they are not available.
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:32 PM   #9
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Keeping it light

I bought the Sport 16 with only a GVWR of 3500. But it's dry weight is just under 2900 giving me up to 600 lbs in cargo capacity. My TV has a tow limit of 3500. Any of the other 16 footers would have put me right at or just over that limit with NO cargo....including water and propane. So going lighter was more important to me than a stronger axle, etc.

In a recent interview with Forbes Magazine, the AS president said that the company is looking to more lightweight options for the future due to CAFE and economic restraints. Like he said...cars are getting lighter, so ASs have to also.

Wally would be proud, as that will make ASs available to the average Joe and Jill, once again. Now if they could do something about the prices.

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Old 01-31-2012, 01:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
Here is an actual example: My trailers dry weight is 3900#; the GVWR is 6200#. The load carrying capacity is therefor 2300#. Loaded and ready to travel, with 2 30# propane tanks and the fresh water tank full, the trailer weighs in at 5600#. The axles are rated at 2800# each. The tongue weight is 604# ; a little over the 10% .
The new axles I have ordered are rated at 3000#. I wouldn't want any higher rating. I would have gone for 2800#'s for a softer ride, but they are not available.
TW,

When I realized that we were equipped with two 3500lb axles I thought about an up-grade also. Two 4000 would be great!
I opted just too watch closely and un-load the axles for Winter storage.
If careful how we load I can stay around 350lbs over, hoping they last longer than the Stream time we have left.

Bob
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:14 PM   #11
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My first Airstream, a 22' International, had a pitiful carrying capacity. Obviously, the weight of the "furniture" inside had been underestimated since this was the first of the models with that type of Wilsonart laminate interior. The next year, the axles were uprated as was the GWR and the carrying capacity became much more reasonable. Didn't help me, though.

My subsequent Airstreams, a 2003 25' Classic and my present 2005 28' Classic have had very good carrying capacities. Airstream's published NCC for my Classic 28 is 2215. My 2003 Classic 25 was 1950. In both cases, weighing the trailer resulted in a lower NCC by several hundred pounds, still far more than I will ever load the trailer. The difference is probably mostly the weight of the optional awnings. I do not carry anything heavy in the trailer except for an occasional full fresh water tank.
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:48 PM   #12
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Question

John,

You must have had a very special 25' Classic

Our 25' Classic.....CCC 676lbs.


Bob
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:52 PM   #13
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Just to further confuse the issue, don't forget that some of the weight is shifted back to the trailer axles/tires when you use a WD setup.
At some point, I have to pull off my shoes and count with my toes to figure it out.
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Old 01-31-2012, 11:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
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John,
You must have had a very special 25' Classic
Our 25' Classic.....CCC 676lbs.

Bob
The number I gave for the 28 is from the chart on Airstream.com, but the NCC as weighed is within 200# of that number. The trailer is 10 miles away, so I can't check the number, but Airstream's numbers fit what I recall from the card inside the wardrobe.

On a recheck, my 2003 25 NCC was just under 1100# as weighed. I still have the weight slips from the scales at the truck stop with my jottings on them.

IIRC, Airstream published numbers are with propane and the 8 gallons of water in the water heater rolled in.
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