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Old 02-12-2006, 07:58 PM   #1
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Limping on three wheels with torsion axles...how?

Hi everyone,

I've read that it's possible with dual torsion type axles to drive with a flat tire on one axle.

Would someone please explain to me how the torsion axles allow a different scenario with this than dual axles on leaf springs? I would think that if a tire went flat, the torsion axle would just push that wheel closer to the road since it's got less "vertical resistance" now than an inflated tire. So, how come you can run with a flat with the torsions and not with the leafs? I would think that you'd be out of luck no matter which type of suspension you had, but I've read several people who said that you can limp along on three wheels with the torsion types and that's a distinct advantage over leafs. Just trying to understand how this works. Thanks!
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Old 02-12-2006, 08:14 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimGolden
Hi everyone,

I've read that it's possible with dual torsion type axles to drive with a flat tire on one axle.

Would someone please explain to me how the torsion axles allow a different scenario with this than dual axles on leaf springs? I would think that if a tire went flat, the torsion axle would just push that wheel closer to the road since it's got less "vertical resistance" now than an inflated tire. So, how come you can run with a flat with the torsions and not with the leafs? I would think that you'd be out of luck no matter which type of suspension you had, but I've read several people who said that you can limp along on three wheels with the torsion types and that's a distinct advantage over leafs. Just trying to understand how this works. Thanks!
Basically because the each wheel is seperated from the other by the torsion rubber...even though you have the axle beam between them it is hard mounted and each wheel moves independantly of the others, not so on a conventional sprung axle. When you hit a dip or bump on a spring axle the movement is translated to the wheel on the oposite side, with a torsion axle the individual wheel absorbs the bump.

Aaron
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Old 02-12-2006, 08:17 PM   #3
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Aaron is right. I have seen these limp with 3 wheels....of course not at highway speeds.
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Old 02-12-2006, 09:38 PM   #4
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well jim your question is valid...

how does that work when one tire is down?

the flat tire will still drag/roll but with out supporting any weight...assuming you are not over loaded in the trailer and the torsen isn't old, tired and crapped out.....

when a flat happens, that wheel should be removed asap.....the hub will not drag and the coach will ride on the one/two good wheels....if the wheel/tire is left on, it will roll; eat the tire and potentially damage the wheel well, moldings and so on....

what does happen to many folks is that because the a/s trailer pulls so nicely....they are unaware that a flat has even happened. only when stopped is the beaten tire noticed..

i have read there that the triples axles can limp in on just one wheel....which is pretty amazing.

i can't compare to a leaf spring set up....and don't know how they ride when a tire is flat....my guess is that any multi axle trailer can limp in....but the airstream will just ride/handle better....the leaf springer would seem to exhibit more lateral instability/play when a tire is down....

this might be a question for another board...
like the rv.net or some place where more sob's hang out...

cheers
2air'
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Old 02-12-2006, 10:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
...

i can't compare to a leaf spring set up....and don't know how they ride when a tire is flat....my guess is that any multi axle trailer can limp in....but the airstream will just ride/handle better....the leaf springer would seem to exhibit more lateral instability/play when a tire is down....

this might be a question for another board...
like the rv.net or some place where more sob's hang out...

cheers
2air'
Hey, be nice, my 1954 Double Door Liner has leaf springs, tandem at that, as do all 1950 vintage. I don't think that torsion axles appeared until 1960 something.


I will be carrying a spare, one thing that I do not carry on the Safari.

Bill
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Old 02-12-2006, 10:13 PM   #6
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i can't compare to a leaf spring set up....and don't know how they ride when a tire is flat....my guess is that any multi axle trailer can limp in....but the airstream will just ride/handle better....the leaf springer would seem to exhibit more lateral instability/play when a tire is down....
====================

Nope. Not any multi axle trailer can limp in! One of the first things I learned to do for myself when I was driving semi was to chain an axle up! Flat tire, no spare, chain the axle. This saves the other tire on the dual, keeps the bad tire from overheating and perhaps causing a fire!
A flat tire can cause a fire in an amazingly short time! At least on a leaf spring setup.

Elizabeth in Iowa
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Old 02-12-2006, 10:43 PM   #7
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Hmm... I didn't know you could limp on a blowout with a torsion set up. Yet another reason I may change to torsion axles. That is, only if I find out that the leaf setup on my '58 can't take the weight of the water tanks I'm adding to the middle (just under 800 extra pounds with all tanks full).
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Old 02-12-2006, 10:48 PM   #8
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hello e in i and bill and others,

well elizabeth your experience certainly counts....
to be clearer,
i wasn't referring to semis, mohos with tags....
or any of the countless other variety of multl axle trailing units.
mostly my thoughts in this thread, are about multiaxle travel trailers made for the usual purpose of camping and so on.......and i did suggest that removing the flat tire/wheel would be useful regardless....for the limp home. "when a flat happens the wheel should be removed asap."

however, it would seem your experience only inforces what i suggested, that is, chaining up the axle did allow you to "limp home" and without removing the tire you actually limped home with 2 less wheels not just one....reminding us of the other important feature with torsen suspension...independent suspension...

bill...i assume you are joking about being nice?

yes the torsen didn't appear on a/s across the board until 60/61.
and i'm sure the leaf spring set up wally used was far superior to other leaf offerings

jim in another thread, asked about the virtues of each....
maybe you can offer some insight having both.

some think wally went to torsen because it was simpler (=cheaper)...i don't think that was the reason....

rubber suspension types (torsen, monosphere and others) were dependent on developing the proper rubber/elastomer compounds, and much of this work wasn't done till the late 50s....as the materials appeared many car/vehicle makers experimented with, and offered rubber suspension types....austin, citroen, peugeot, gm, and others built cars using this technology.....and each application had it's positives/negatives...and the rubber compounds have improved over the last 50 years...

also, these suspension types could take advantage of improved roadways that were being built...

some features of rubber/elastomer suspension are:
-the improved way high frequency/low amplitude vibration is handled
-decreased maintence issues
-lighter weights
-less space required
-greater tuneability
-built in dampening
-longer life
-improved fatigue
-less instability when it fails
-lower c.o.g. for better handling
and so on.....

so i think wally was trying to stay on the cutting edge, while still holding true to a/s tradition....

my suggestion about visiting other boards is based on the number of trailers built now (not in the 50s) that have leaf spring set ups....

btw are you still on the original leafs or have they been replaced? love to see some pics of that '54...

cheers
2air'
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Old 02-12-2006, 10:58 PM   #9
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One important thing to remember is if you do have to run with one tire, slow down. The surviving tire on that side will be carrying a load that will most likely be greater than the standard rating of the tire .

Most trailer tires are rated at 65 mph. Driving at 55 mph can increase the tire load rating as much as 9% (source RVSELF). Airstream recommends even slower speeds when towing with one tire disabled.

Jack
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Old 02-12-2006, 11:14 PM   #10
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2Air,

Of course I was joking. I would not mess with anyone who could ride the RAGBRAI unsupported.

Bill
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Old 02-12-2006, 11:49 PM   #11
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Of course I was joking. I would not mess with anyone who could ride the RAGBRAI unsupported.

Bill
ha that's funny, did i post that here somewhere? and actually i road a bike that has a rubber torsen front suspension, so i was hardly unsupported!

the route is now posted, and i'm planning to go again this year....do you ride too?
cheers
2air'
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Old 02-13-2006, 12:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
ha that's funny, did i post that here somewhere? and actually i road a bike that has a rubber torsen front suspension, so i was hardly unsupported!

the route is now posted, and i'm planning to go again this year....do you ride too?
cheers
2air'
2air,

You mentioned your ride when you posted the windstorm pictures. I have been a member of the Orange County Wheelmen for over 20 years and have worked the Ride Around The Bear, one of the toughest centuries with over 9000 feet of climb, and rode our Amtrak Century this last September.

I would love to do the RAGBRAI, maybe some day.

Bill
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Old 02-13-2006, 02:15 AM   #13
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Running with a flat....

JimG -

You may have read about this elsewhere....but in case you missed it, here is my "flat tire on an AS" story. Knock wood it is my only "flat tire" story - not however my only 'flat' story.... Ask the wife! Anywho...

Picked up the "new to us" 34' Classic Limited in Salt Lake City for the pull home to ALBQ. First experience with AS's or even pulling a rig as big as a 34'. Got a new Equal-iz-er hitch installed at a RV dealer in SLC. Got all systems explained and off we went.

Wow, did this trailer pull great!!!!

Naturally since the experience was new I spent an inordinate amount of time in the mirrors to be sure that all was well back there. Stoped after 20 miles to check everything - again after 50 - again at 75 - then 100. Checked the awnings, lugnuts, tire heat, bearing temps (by hand - have the laser guage now!) and all was well despite it being in the 70's. Got to north of Moab, temps dropping FAST due to a wicked storm. We were trying to stay ahead of it but the front caught us. Temps falling rapidly through to the low 50's with vicious gusts. Was expecting real troubles with the winds and that looonnngg trailer - never happened! Gotta love these Beauties!

Pulled into the rest area 20 miles north of Moab on the interstate and ran to the factilities due to the temps and wind. Coming back to the rig I noticed that the curbside center tire (triple axle) was only there in spirit. Sidewalls were there but the tread was ?? Wierdest feeling. I checked the mirrors every 2 seconds! Never saw a thing. I expected a shimmy, a pull, a list or some other nasty notice I was minus 1 tire - nothing. Truly, nothing! Gotta love these Beauties!

Checked underneath and around the wheelwell and found a slightly 'polished' shock mount, but not another thing out of place or untoward. Amazing! Especially since the 'tire event' may have happened quite a bit earlier than the stop that finally brought it to my attention.

The lugs (naturally) were to tight to take the rim off in the failing darkness and cold so we drove on into Moab about about 40MPH (driving everone behind us crazy!) but she pulled just as before - torsion axles ROCK!!!!! Got the tire fixed the next AM and the tire guy said that he had seen MANY, many units with huge side panel damage from blowouts, and slow leaks where the dead tire then overheats and beats the panel to death... When he jacked SilverToy, he had to get all 3 tires into the air to be able to get the dead tire. Beads were so tight that is took 3 guys to finally pull them away from the rim....

Turns out the tire guy loves AS's - he pulls a 25 for hunting, off roading and such. That trailer is a family unit that they bought new in the '60's. He loves it and has offerred to buy it every year - gramps always say NO - but he was gonna keep after him til he did sell it to him someday. Mentioned the Forums and he knew about them, and checked it from time to time. If he gets that trailer maybe he'll be here a lot!?

My naivite about the danger, and associated cost, came to an abrupt halt when I was at JC this last fall and stood in line at the store behind a couple from IA, they had just dropped a BUNDLE (several K's - like 4+) on getting their unit back up to snuff. They also had a triple with a center tire problem that caused that wallet hit!!!! 4K+ is a BIG bill for me. Made me sit down hard and realize the good fortune I had with my SilverToy north of Moab.

Anyway, this is a long way around to say that I think the tire pressure monitor systems available now would seem to be an EXCELLENT and relatively inexpensive way to virtually guarentee not having huge bills presented for shreded tire carcass damage.

I guess that in retrospect I could have had all the tires replaced in SLC, but the guys that did the bearing work for me assured me that they would be fine to get to ALBQ. And 5 of 6 were.... and fortunatly for me, I get to go over the 'might have happened' rather than the 'it did happen' / repair bill.

These trailers are truly wonderful to have on the road, Period. They are also terrific when you get them into Camp and enjoy them there. And face it folks - they are just Beauties! From every angle! Take a walk around yours tomorrow - beauty all the way around!!!!

Well, there is my .02 for the discussion. Hope it entertained a bit while informing as well.

And now to all I bid a fond "Goodnight!"

Ciao

Axel
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