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Old 09-03-2006, 06:33 PM   #1
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I am still looking to become an airstream owner and need some advise, I looked at a 67 tradewind 22' that had tandum axles, then a week later looked at a 68 safari 22' that had a single axle, which is better for towing? I thought all 22' trailers were tandum axle. Thanks in advance for any advise you may be able to offer. Gene

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Old 09-03-2006, 07:07 PM   #2
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. , AZ to Maine
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1 or 2, 2 or 4

Originally Posted by gmp5
I am still looking to become an airstream owner and need some advise,..... which is better for towing? ...... Gene
I like twin axles. If you get a flat you can limp off the highway. The stability of 4 tires vs 2 is greater. 4 brakes vs 2 brakes means greater stopping power.
On the other hand at toll plazas you get an extra charge. There is additional drag with 4 wheels. Twice as much expense to buy axles and tires for replacement.
At 22' you can go either way. Nice size unit. Good luck.


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Old 09-03-2006, 07:26 PM   #3
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Go with the tandem axles, they make a big difference in towing. Tandem axles will usually sway less, ride smoother, and back into spaces more easily.
Of course, the down side is if you have to replace them, it costs twice as much, and you have to buy twice as many tires.
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Old 09-03-2006, 07:29 PM   #4
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3 are even better. Bigger trailer = more toys. Drives same as dual axels.
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Old 09-03-2006, 07:44 PM   #5
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Most people would agree that tandem axles have advantages over a single axle. I'll propose the contraian argument though; there is half the cost of replacement tires, wheels and axles. There is less "scrubbing" of the tires when you make sharp turns. Those are the main ones I can think of. There are many satisfied owners pulling single axle Airstreams which are 22' or longer. Good luck with your decision!
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Old 09-03-2006, 08:39 PM   #6
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Tandems do tow smoother, have double the amount of brake surface, and track better than single axles. They outlive tire blowouts easier as well. You can drive them with 3 tires for a little while, until you get to safety. The do not eat potholes as badly as single axle trailers.
Downside is that they are heavier, and have much larger wheel wells taking up interior space.
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Old 09-03-2006, 09:39 PM   #7
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I love our single axle 60 trdwnd ,but if it had the world traveler package and
tandems ,I would love it more .Only a handful of 60 trdwnds had tandems ,
only one person I know of (i don't personally) has a tandem early tradewind .
I use the term handful loosely as Im not certain of how many.That being said
our single tows great ,no problems ,I worry some about the fact that I only have two tires on it ,and We had a blowout when I purchased it ,old tires
but looked good ,split rims ,no im kinda gun shy now ,but no problems in 5000 or so miles or more.

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Old 09-03-2006, 09:50 PM   #8
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Hello gmp5,

I think the tandem is better as others have said,but also the trailer condition
overall is important .I would not ,not get the single axle if it was much better
in overall condition ,skin ,dents floor etc, We have a 60 trdwnd single axle
as the tandems are rare ,I really enjoy this year airstream ,so single axle
is my only choice.

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Old 09-03-2006, 10:21 PM   #9
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my vote is for tandem for the reasons stated earlier plus they look cool....a triple looks even better.

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Old 09-03-2006, 11:14 PM   #10
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This month I just switched from a 25' 2-axle safari to a 21' single axle Globetrotter. (A truck totalled my Safari)
I must say that I didn't notice any difference in the way they handled, though the Globetrotter is lighter. This was towing a distance of about 300 miles. Both tracked straight and smooth.
There have been some good points made considering costs, redundancy, safety, etc. One other difference that I have noticed is that it seems that the single axle is located closer to the rear, which changes the backing angles a little. I'll have to get used to it.
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Old 09-04-2006, 05:53 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by gmp5
I am looking to buy an AS in the near future and would like opinions of others on wether a single axle is better for towing or a tandum axle in a 22' trailer.

Thanks, Gene
I have had both and currently have a tandum. Tandum is a bit safer. The extra cost is really not that great as how often do you replace tires and such.

I had a single on my 68 Globetrotter and it towed great and was fine. I am currently looking for another Vintage Unit to restore and I am sure it will be single axle. No matter which you buy be sure to do a good insptection of the running gear before you tow as if it fails it won't matter if you are pulling a single or a tandum.

Good Luck Jim
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Old 09-04-2006, 09:05 AM   #12
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Hi, gmp5,

To add to what Fastrob said, with tandem axles you can travel slowly and cautiously with one wheel completely removed. This came in handy for me recently.

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Old 09-04-2006, 12:28 PM   #13
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Single vs tandem axles

Since 1961 Airstream has used torsion axles.

The advantage is that each wheel is independent of the others.

With a single axle, if you have a flat or other failure, such as a bearing that went out, or a bent wheel, you are "done", unless you have a spare or other repair parts with you.

Also with the older Bambi and Caravel models, there is a very large "failure" rate, because of the smaller spindles that were used. If you have a spindle failure, again you are done until you can replace the axle.

Tandems offer safer towing conditions than a single axle could ever offer. Likewise a tri-axle trailer offers more safety than a tandem axle.

Additionally, with a tandem, if you had a failure such as outlined above, simply stop, remove that tire and/or wheel assembly, and continue on with your towing. However, slow down to a safer speed until you can get the problem corrected.

You can also actually remove one tire from each side of a tandem trailer, as well as from a different axle, and still be able to tow. Again, slowing down is the key to that safety.

Additionally, pound for pound, a tandem axle braking provides much more stopping power than a single axle.

Also, with todays newer style electric barkes, they offer much more stopping power than electric brakes that were used years ago. The newer styles use oval magnets instead of round magnets. Instead of repairing older round magnet brakes, thought should be given to replacing the entire backing plate assembly, which will increase the stopping power from the old 4000 pounds to the new 5200 pounds per axle.

Accordingly, with todays new style electric brakes, a properly wired, adjusted and working properly, single axle has 5200 pounds of stopping power, a tandem 10,400 pounds and a tri-axle, 15,600 pounds. These weights ratings are for 12 inch brakes. 10" inch brakes have far less stopping power than the 12" brakes

A disc brake equipped trailer with the same axle setup, offers even greater stopping power, requires less maintenance, and does not need any adjusting, so that as the pads wear, the braking power stays the same.

In the case of electric brakes, as the shoes wear, they must be adjusted to compensate for that wear, usually every 3 to 4000 miles.

Obviously, disc brakes, at least with some brands of trailers, will be the "in" thing, of the future.

A few companies, such as Airstream, offer disc brakes on at least some of their larger models.


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