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Old 07-07-2006, 03:04 PM   #1
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1977 31' Excella 500
Berkeley Springs , West Virginia
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34-Footer Triple Axle Questions

Hi All!

My apologies for a possible double bombed the first two times I tried to post it...

I've been looking pretty hard at the 34 footers and had a few questions.

First, how do they handle? I've heard some say that with a triple axle rig, they really scrub the tires bad when you're trying to make tight turns, and that they're hard to park. Is this true? Do you find them hard to maneuver in tight confines? What have you noticed? Do the tires wear any faster than on a tandem axle rig?

Second, do the 34's ever exhibit the frame sag? Or, were they brought out AFTER the frame rail was deepened from 4" to 5"? I may be answering my own question here, but I thought the frame was enlarged in '84 or '85, and I don't remember seeing a 34 footer older than an '88. What was the first year of the 34? And has anybody experienced the frame sag with the 34'?

Overall, those of you that have them, how do you like them?

I currently have a 31 footer that I was looking to do some serious mods on. But I've been having second thoughts. Not sure which way to go. Was thinking that maybe I should just sell the 31' and go whole-hog and get a 34'. Any advice? Got a wife who likes to pack a bunch and two kids.

Was at Camping World in Statesville, NC, earlier in the week. Was looking at some SOB's. I have to admit, a 31' Holiday Rambler does have a bunch more room in it than my 31'. Got me to thinking about the bigger Airstreams.

Thanks for the advice,

- Jim
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Old 07-07-2006, 03:13 PM   #2
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1973 23' Safari
North of Boston , Massachusetts
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not much help, but just wanted to comment that my 1973 trailer has a 5" frame. most of those frame issues you hear about happened on models newer than this. Whatever the more recent change was, it wasn't simply going from 4" to 5"...maybe heavier steel? boxed in, instead of "c-channel"? don't know...But I haven't heard of any frame issues with the 34 footers. doesn't mean there aren't any, though...

(btw: I deleted your other post...the first one worked!).

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Old 07-07-2006, 03:53 PM   #3
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I'd say the rearmost tires scrub a bit more in tight turns, but unless one habitually/routinely finds themselves in tight confines, this isn't much of an issue. I mean, I wouldn't try doing donuts in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot or anything. I always try to avoid tight situations with the rig, being as selective as I can with things like restaurants, gas stations, congested streets, etc. I would think that would be the norm for anyone towing a trailer, though, regardless of size.

Definitely not difficult to park. I can park this thing in a shoebox on the first try. Cannot say the same thing for the large pop-up and Jeep that was my previous rig. Tows with complete ease. I doubt very seriously you'll notice a whole lot of difference between it and your 31' at all. DW drove it for the first time ever this weekend out of a campsite, 200 miles, and into another park, and had positively no issues.

I have not noticed any difference in wear on these tires that I haven't seen on a two-axle trailer. Also don't notice any issues with rear sag. However, you do have to kind of keep an eye out for tail dragging, since the rear hangs out so far past the reamost axle. This is a very very rare occurence, but it does happen. Typically good prior route planning helps to avoid this.

You might want to give a shout to Axel (SilverToy). He could probably give you the lowdown on traveling with a larger family in a 34'.

There are only the two of us (and sometimes two cats) and we absolutely love ours. I expect we'll always have a 34' of some kind.

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Old 07-07-2006, 04:21 PM   #4
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My dealer's son once told me that if given a choice he would always tow a 34' unit. They haul trailers to a lot of rallies and RV shows. He said that the 34' really tracks the best.

Logic would tell me that the rear end dragging is something to be wary of. We've come pretty close with the 30' in some situations. I'm sure a 34' may have drug. Obviously the extended length also means giving the fuel stops a close eye.

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Old 07-07-2006, 05:38 PM   #5
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I'm solidly in the 34' camp. The only dislike I have is paying for the tires and wheelbearing greasing episodes. Other than that, it tows like a cloud, and is a dream to back. I've never had a trailer so easy to maneuver. You can ask Silvertwinkie about getting them into tight spots. I got into a space a couple of years ago at Indiana Dunes campground near Chicago that Eric swore just wasn't going to be possible.

All the normal caveats apply; pick your fuel spots 'cause you can't whip around pumps... try not to get stuck six blocks down on a cul-de-sac... that sort of stuff... but don't hesitate for a minute to get one.

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Old 07-07-2006, 08:18 PM   #6
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Mansfield , Texas
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Go with the 34'. With me and the Mrs., 3 kids, its the only way to go. As of any long trailer, you have to be careful where you go. Its a dream to tow, easy to park, and it has enough room for a family of 5.
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Old 07-07-2006, 08:45 PM   #7
1993 34' Limited
Hamilton , Ontario
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I feel the same as the rest of you do. Backing up was easier than my 1969 31' trailer. I also like the 4 electric jacks on my 34' classic.
The size is good for my family.
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Old 07-08-2006, 06:08 PM   #8
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Thanks for the replies. I'll look into these. Kinda attached to my 31, but we'll see. You all have given me food for thought
- Jim
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Old 07-09-2006, 06:39 AM   #9
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Jim - I have no personal experience, but two 34' owners have told me their only complaint about their trailers was that there was less storage space than they had in their 31' models. I guess gaining the dinette cuts into storage. Anyway, I figured it was worth a mention since you talked about gaining space.
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Old 07-09-2006, 09:12 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by HP9K
Jim - I have no personal experience, but two 34' owners have told me their only complaint about their trailers was that there was less storage space than they had in their 31' models. I guess gaining the dinette cuts into storage. Anyway, I figured it was worth a mention since you talked about gaining space.
We were all set to buy a 30' (OK ... it's really a 31') ... until Petunia walked through a 34'. She was amazed at the extra storage. The dinette, bigger galley and wardrobe is the reason.
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Old 07-11-2006, 09:14 PM   #11
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By the time we get home from the International rally we will have pulled in 47 of the lower 48 states and all with a 34'. You do have to watch the drop offs, only once was this a problem and that was on an Indian reservation in New Mexico it did hit bottom. It pulls better than a shorter trailer in that it tracks easier. The tail will swing inside the track of your tow and that can be a problem if you make a hard swing when pulling out of a campsite. My 94 has good storage, better than the current new ones. We love it just wish it was a wide body.
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Old 07-12-2006, 06:38 PM   #12
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This will echo many of the earlier replies. We moved from a 29 to a 34. Primarily to get the dinette and the thought we'd spend longer times in it in years to come. The 29 was a great size but the additional 5 ft are very noticable. At first, I thought the length of the 34 was huge but I've gotten used to it. It's easy to tow, requires more planning for gas stops etc, as easy to park and very livable when parked. I don't regret doing it. The triple axle gets alot of comments (which is not a reason to do it.)
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Old 07-19-2006, 10:56 AM   #13
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Miamisburg , Ohio
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We started with a Holiday, years ago to get our feet wet, and after a couple trips with it, decided we liked the freedom of a tow behind.
Next was a 79 31 foot Excella, lots of family trips and adventures, after about 7 years we were in a position to do the same thing you're faced with, do some extensive upgrade/ rehab or move on.
Well , we bit the bullet and found a gorgeous 2000 Limited 34'. I was also a little leery of the size difference, but after a 2500 mile shakedown trip to Colorado we couldn't be happier. This unit tows as well or better than the 31' and isn't a problem to maneuver after a little getting used to. There is a weight difference to adjust to, but count me in as a newbie triple axle convert.
Oh, and we recouped all of what we paid for the '79, love that AS resale
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Old 07-20-2006, 11:58 PM   #14
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1992 34' Limited
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My thoughts on the "BIG Rig"....

Jim -

Short and sweet - get that 34 footer, NOW!

Just a few thoughts for those that are thinking about adding the 'ultimate' in TT to your list. BTW, Thanks for the mention, Dave!

I will readily admit that this it the first TT I have ever towed (Jump right in to the DEEP end, mate!) but having towed several examples of other TT's since, I have found that there is NO better towing trailer than the '92 Classic I have now - SilverToy.

The triple axle, IS/ can be, a PITA when the tire/ bearing replacement comes around - there is no argueing that. Tail drag, turning radius and etc... are some additional issues but.... In ALL other areas it flat out-performs everything. Period.


Backing is really easy. Seriously. If you can back any other trailer, then you can back this baby with NO ISSUES. I backed SilverToy into a REALLY tight spot at a BS Campout ( I DON'T do cots!) with about 30+ folks watching and pointing - sorry to disappoint. Perfect!

NO ONE else got in and out without a scrape or scratch - again, sorry to diappoint! NOT.


Seriously, the backing (I have a 'Burb) is NOT an issue. I have seen folks with shorter TT's that can't handle anything but Pull-thru's because of the backing problems on TT's, 5th wheel's, long, med and short TT's - all manner of TV's....

There is, no doubt, some tire scrub when turning in radiai other than highway size. Remember that RV tires seldom wear out from lack of tread - it is the lack of use that winds up doing them in!

As to suitability for a family.... I have myself, the lovely Lady Lisa, and 4 of the rug rat version..... We have ample room. Add to the fact that we home school ( LOTS of books, guides and the like), loads of clothes ready for anything from pools to arctic blasts, and just the usual kids, wife and ttooooollllllssss for me and SilverToy!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is, seriously, no shortage of space.

If I did run into "space" issues then I would seriously need to reconsider the whole TT thing. Then again I ain't full-timing either.

As long as you have 'enough' TV, then I wouldn't hesitiate to consider the 34 foot solution!!!!!!!!!!!

I sure LOVE AS'in with my 34', and get nothing but HUGE Kudo's anywhere I pull SilverToy! It feels great to enjoy something, pull it where you want, have all YOUR stuff, with the people you Love, enjoy the heck out of where you are, AND get a kick from others that see your fun and enjoyment - and WISH they had a BIT of it!!!!!

Toss my .02 cents in for the "get a 34" vote!!!!

You WON'T be disappointed!


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