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Old 02-02-2017, 08:31 AM   #1
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Considering a 22FB Sport. Concerns about single axle.

Hi. I'm new and my wife and I are talking about buying an Airstream in the next year or two.

We're really focusing on finding the best balance between a tow vehicle and a trailer. We'd like to have a tow vehicle that's relatively fuel efficient when not towing, and nice to drive in general. With it's very low dry weight, as well as hitch weight, we've begun focusing on the 22FB Sport. The lower price doesn't hurt either. We feel like it offers quite possibly the most bang for your buck in the Airstream lineup.

But there is one thing that sticks out to me as a concern. A single axle. I've seen a lot of talk about tire blowouts and have even seen them in various youtube videos from Airstream owners. Obviously a tire blowout at highway speeds on a single axle is a nightmarish scenario. I'd feel much safer with a double axle trailer, but then that means a big ol vehicle to tow it, which we'd really like to avoid.

So, how warranted are my fears about the single axle of the 22FB Sport? Would changing out the tires dramatically reduce the possibilities of this ever happening? Hopefully the 2018 Sport models gets better tires off the line this year?

Curious to hear others thoughts on this. We do intend to travel a fair bit in this trailer, so before we embark on a 3,000 mile jaunt we'd like to feel safe with what we're towing.
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Old 02-02-2017, 09:07 AM   #2
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We have a 23', the smallest of the double axle trailers. It is extremely stable behind our 4Runner. (Ours is a 2004 4Runner with V8, the new ones don't have the same capacity as ours.) We like having the SUV with its covered cargo but pickups can have caps, so there's that.

As for a blow out, that can occur on a double axle trailer too and do damage to the wheel well. I had a blowout on my boat trailer but never lost control, and that was without any anti-sway hitch.

I think if you get a good tow vehicle and anti-sway hitch you should be OK with single axle, just don't try to set any speed records. Keep it to 65 or 70. Get a tow vehicle that gives you room to grow, you don't want to have one that barely meets your requirements.
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Old 02-02-2017, 09:42 AM   #3
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As for a blow out, that can occur on a double axle trailer too and do damage to the wheel well. I had a blowout on my boat trailer but never lost control, and that was without any anti-sway hitch.
Damage to the wheel well would be unfortunate, but it wouldn't keep me up at night.

I'm not a physicist, but my assumption is that if you have a blow out in a double axle, you've still got another tire on that side of the trailer to help you maintain control. With a single axle there is no help, and losing control of vehicle is a real possibility.

Check out this video of a small trailer having a tire blowout, and look at how violently it whips the tow vehicle around.

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Old 02-02-2017, 11:28 AM   #4
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If it gives you some peace of mind, Airstream has been making single axel trailers, such as the 22, for decades.

It is a proven design.

We have a 22 sport and find it easy to pull and a good size to use.

We tow at recommended speeds (60-65), keep the tires properly inflated, and do a touch-test on the tires when we stop to see if anything appears not right.

You could also consider adding tire pressure monitors (TPMS) to a 22 for additional sensing information. This would not be very costly.

If you like the 22, I would not let the single vs dual axel be a big factor in buying a larger, heavier, more expensive, and larger-tow-vehicle-needed dual axel unit.

With either type of unit you should be towing with a safe hitch set up and as others have said, you can't control for everything.
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Old 02-02-2017, 12:31 PM   #5
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The 22FB is a great trailer. I walked though one last weekend.

We had a single axle 19 and immediately switched out the stock 15 inch Goodyear Marathons for 16 inch Michelin LTX M/S2s on Sendel wheels. This is a very popular upgrade. It gave us the peace of mine of a much higher quality tire and I liked the additional ground clearance.

Two of our traveling companions had blowouts on their 22 Sports while running 15 inch Goodyear Marathons. One spun around 180 degrees at the top of the Tejon Pass on California I5 and came to rest facing oncoming traffic. The other had a blowout on a mountain pass and sustained damage in the wheel well. Both were running Marathons.

We experienced a left wheel brake failure on our 19 while coming down the pass below Tehachapi on California 58. It was pretty dodgy getting to the bottom. Two wheels of a tandem axle trailer braking on that side would have been much better. The issue was caused by dust and grit buildup on the brakes from driving on a dirt/gravel road.

This general topic may be the most heavily discussed on the AirForums.
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Old 02-02-2017, 12:44 PM   #6
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Looks like the cause of the problem in the video is oversteer of the tow vehicle, not the blow out.


Regards,


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Old 02-02-2017, 04:37 PM   #7
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We went 23FB. Similar layout to the 22, but dual axle. We think it is the sweet spot - a dual axle, all the appliances, a bed platform that will accommodate a full sized queen with no rounded corners and it is not so big as to require a mega-truck.

A single axle is not a sentence to a blow out. A set of premium tires, preventative replacement and careful maintenance combined with reasonable loading and a conservative attentive driving style should keep you rolling along safely.

The tire scrub and associated side wall loading which occurs when turning a dual axle coach contributes to tire damage. Consequently, the dual axle may be more prone to the type of degradation that might result in a blow out.

The value of the dual axle configuration is the lighter loading of the axles and tires coupled with inherent directional stability. A two axle coach also has the advantage that it can be moved on three wheels. That lets you proceed carefully at reduced speed to a safe location for wheel replacement.

With respect to tow vehicle, the smaller coach opens up options that are not suitable for heavier coaches. You have figured that out. Do your research and understand the compromises that work for you to achieve the family's goals. It is worth your time to research the posts and articles that Andy of CanAm has written on alternative vehicle solutions. You may or may not agree with his approach, but understanding the concepts that CanAm embraces opens up your options.

Warning - the weights and capacities listed by Airstream are not for a loaded and ready to camp condition. The gross capacity is what the axles will carry, but may not be possible if you do not balance the load on the left/right and front/rear with care. The tongue weight will increase. The mass of the weight transfer hitch will add from 80 to 180#s. If later on you want more battery capacity, that could easily add 50#s. So having some tongue weight headroom in the tow vehicles specification is a very good thing.

Good luck with your investigation. Pat
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Old 02-02-2017, 05:35 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Ramble View Post
Damage to the wheel well would be unfortunate, but it wouldn't keep me up at night.

I'm not a physicist, but my assumption is that if you have a blow out in a double axle, you've still got another tire on that side of the trailer to help you maintain control. With a single axle there is no help, and losing control of vehicle is a real possibility.

Check out this video of a small trailer having a tire blowout, and look at how violently it whips the tow vehicle around.

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Old 02-02-2017, 06:35 PM   #9
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Considering a 22FB Sport. Concerns about single axle.

We towed the non-FB Sport 22 for three years. I upgraded the stock 15 inch Goodyear Marathons to a higher load rating, kept maximum speeds around 62-65 MPH, and loaded the trailer very lightly. It was very easy to back up, and maneuver.

We did end up moving to a double axle, but that was based purely on space and layout.

The single axle, like all A/S, is a well-engineered coach. I wouldn't be overly concerned about the risk.
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:29 PM   #10
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Get the Sport, dump the Marathons for any other tire, change them every 3 years or 12k miles, drive 60 mph, check pressure, you will be fine.
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Old 02-03-2017, 10:39 AM   #11
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Thanks to all of you for the input. I'm going to continue to compare models, and will take this information into those deliberations.
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Old 02-03-2017, 11:54 AM   #12
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Single Axle Blowout

We were traveling on I-40 about 30 miles west of Albuquerque when we had a blowout on our 19' Bambi. We didn't feel anything, but my husband saw the cloud of smoke and we were able to pull off onto the shoulder safely. He was going 70 mph and there was no hint of loss of control. We have a sway control hitch. Since then my husband does keep his speed down between 60 and 65 mph. We also replace our tires every three years. We have had our trailer a little over 10 years now, and I have no concerns about safety with the single axle.
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Old 02-03-2017, 11:58 AM   #13
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Choose the AS model based on what best fits your family and your TV. Like the majority of these responses, I switched to Michelin LTX and larger Sendel wheels after three years, and quit worrying about it. I've had my 20ft FC with single axle for 7 years now, and feel perfectly safe going cross-country annually. Safe travels. jon
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Old 02-03-2017, 12:05 PM   #14
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Thanks to all of you for the input. I'm going to continue to compare models, and will take this information into those deliberations.
Talk to "Phoenix" here on the forum. He uses Mich XPS all steel RIB tires.


https://www.walmart.com/ip/Michelin-...&wl13=&veh=sem
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