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Old 12-07-2013, 01:50 PM   #1
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2002 25' Safari
Fountain Inn , South Carolina
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Single Axle vs. Tandem & Sway

I have very little experience towing a single axle trailer. Do single axle trailers tend to sway more easily than a tandem axle trailer? I am asking because of my recent U-Haul trailer experience.

I recently towed a single axle U-Haul enclosed trailer (5 X 8 box) on a 1000 mile trip. The trailer was sitting level and was loaded with at least 60% of weight in front of the axle. I was traveling at 60 mph on I-40. The rear view mirror view of the trailer looked like the trailer was swaying much of the time. Tire pressure was at 45# on load range C tires. I did not feel the sway in my truck it just looked like it was swaying in the mirror. I have towed the same route with tandem axle U-Haul trailers (6 X 12) with no indication of sway. I'm leaning towards renting the larger trailer in the future, even when I don't need all of that room, to avoid the sway issues of the single axle trailer.

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Old 12-07-2013, 02:05 PM   #2

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , WNY
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Our 63 Safari was much more susceptible to cross-winds and 18 wheelers than our Classic, using the same Reese WD with friction sway control.
The second axle improves tracking, a third axle even more.

Both single and dual need to be loaded correctly with tongue weight set appropriately.

But....I wouldn't go by those u-haul boxers, I think they would dance no matter who the partner.


AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 12-07-2013, 02:11 PM   #3
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2007 30' Classic
Oswego , Illinois
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The other factor in more sway potential in shorter trailers is the distance from rear TV axle to center of trailer axle(s). The longer the distance between the two the less prone to sway.
Other factors include TV wheelbase and TV rear overhang.
But generally speaking more trailer axles = less sway potential, given the other parameters mentioned are equal.

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Old 12-07-2013, 02:27 PM   #4
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1961 24' Tradewind
1969 29' Ambassador
1970 21' Globetrotter
Jamestown , Tennessee
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From a practical standpoint I have never had sway problems with a single axle, however my tow vehicle was usually overkill for small trailers anyway.

What you will notice is a lot more bounce and pitching on road joints, humps etc. With the 70 globetrotter anything stored in the back would end up in the front of the trailer by days end.
Some will say the multi axle is safer in the event of a tire failure, and that certainly makes sense, however over the years I have experienced both a lost wheel and a couple blow outs with a single axle never a hint of a control problem .
The bang from the exploding tire can give you a pretty good scare however.
Rick Davis 1602 K8DOC
61 tradewind, plus a few others
13 Ram 2500 TD
99 Dodge TD 577K miles

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Old 12-07-2013, 03:26 PM   #5
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2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
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I've had both single and tandem axles Airstreams and never noticed much difference in sway, neither were a problem and both suffered from heavy crosswinds and semis passing. That was cured with a ProPride hitch.

What I did notice was the single axle seemed to be moved about by grove tracks in older asphalt roadways quite a bit more.
Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

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