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Old 11-07-2006, 09:01 AM   #1
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Farm Wagon type Suspension on TT

Howdy All,

In conversing with some of you and reading some threads on here, it's really got me thinking about the best type of axle/suspension arrangement.

I have a book where a guy who worked for an aircraft company during WWII built himself an aluminum trailer that had the wheels setup like a farm wagon. That is, he had one axle out back, and one out front, and the ones on the front steered. So, it was setup pretty much like a car. The tongue attached to the front axles via some linkage that allowed the front axle to steer.

Now there's also a device out there now called the Towbuddy or something like that, that does a similar type arrangement. But, it dispenses with any need for antisway units or weight distribution. As well, the two vehicle can be more softly sprung and ride a whole lot better because you're not really putting any hitch weight on it at all.

It's probably heresy to even mention this about an Airstream, but since I'm doing a new frame and have complete design freedom at this point, why not set one up like that? You could then haul your Harley on the back bumper without fear. It'd be far more stable in cross winds. It's be very easy to tow. You could use off the shelf automotive suspension; I could get the stuff from a 1 ton pickup and use it pretty much as-is. OK, it'd totally wreck the resale value (I guess....it's not worth a whole lot right now anyway), but I see a whole slew of positives about it. It'd basically be a motor home with out the motor. What are the negatives? What do you all think? Not so much just converting an Airstream to this, but about the concept in general?

All this being said, I'm a great admirer of the fellow who modified the Spartan trailer to haul his old Lincoln. what he did with converting it to a triaxle with air ride suspension was awesome. I really like how he set that one up.
Thanks!
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Old 11-07-2006, 09:18 AM   #2
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Uh-oh, thinking outside the box again?

http://www.airforums.com/forum...gon#post210972
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Old 11-07-2006, 10:15 AM   #3
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Try backing that design up. Before you go to the trouble, you might want to test the reverse handling characteristics. Sounds real squerrelly backing up.

Most farms have pull-thru designs since tractors don't have mirrors.
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Old 11-07-2006, 11:17 AM   #4
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Great link!

The backing up problem could be solved rather easily with a locking mechanism. It could be set up manually or automatically easily enough, but basically you'd lock the swivel at the hitch side when backing up. That way you'd just steer the rear axle with your tow vehicle.

I did just draw this up in AutoCAD and have to admit...it looks kind of funky. Then I saw that Argosy in that link above and woila there it was just in a shorter form.

I don't know, thought it was a neat idea. Might as well just rivet the shell to a school bus chassis and make an actual motorhome out of it before going to all this trouble Nah, I wouldn't do that. But I do see some advantages to it. Lots of issues to resolve though...

Hey I've got it; I'll buy a second one of similar year and cut a center plug out and make the first (to my knowledge anyway) 40' vintage Airstream. Set three axles under it and call it done
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Old 11-07-2006, 11:47 AM   #5
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Too much time on your hands?

The other day I told my girlfriend that I was considering designing a new frame for 70's Soveriegn that I don't yet own and she came up with the greatest idea. She asked me why don't I just design my own trailer? Now she's talkin'! Anyone know where I can get a $100,000?

Jim,
Just wondering if the new frame is going to be steel or some other "space-age" material. I know we have talked about everything from carbon fiber to titanium and aluminum.
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Old 11-07-2006, 12:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimGolden
Howdy All,

In conversing with some of you and reading some threads on here, it's really got me thinking about the best type of axle/suspension arrangement.

I have a book where a guy who worked for an aircraft company during WWII built himself an aluminum trailer that had the wheels setup like a farm wagon. That is, he had one axle out back, and one out front, and the ones on the front steered. So, it was setup pretty much like a car. The tongue attached to the front axles via some linkage that allowed the front axle to steer.


Thanks!
Jim.

The problem with that type setup, according to Henschen, is that at highway speeds, a sway condition becomes apparent rather quickly. They say that the rear end will hunt side to side, looking for stability that it will never find. Therefore when it gets to one side far enough, you will be totally out of control.

Unfortunately, there is no known sway control to stop the hunting effect.

Designing your own, would be time comsuming as well as expensive.

Do you have the resources to out figure those that have given up on that type design, at least for travel trailers?

The concept is great, but has yet to be proven, let alone with an Airstream shell design that minimizes wind resistance, therefore allowing higher towing speeds but also with sway problems.

Stay with the proven design, and invest your hard earned money in "beer."

Andy
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Old 11-08-2006, 09:12 AM   #7
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Yeah, I tend to Walter Mitty too much on this stuff. I think keeping it the way it was is probably the way I'll go. Otherwise, I might as well just get rid of it and get a motorhome, as I'd basically be building an unpowered one if I did that other setup.

And, that leaves more money for beer!
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