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Old 08-11-2004, 01:27 PM   #1
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Why only a single axle on 23'

So here is something that I've wondered about for a while now. On our '75 Safari, Airstream offered either a single axle (like ours) or a tandem axle. Got pictures/diagrams of both in the manual. Of course, we have to use LT tires on the single axle... The GVWR plate on the trailer says 4400, if I'm not mistaken.

Why would Airstream have done this? What was their reasoning at the time? The trailer is 23' long, although i'd have to say it doesn't too badly at all.

I've noticed that you cannot get single axle anymore on anything greater than a Bambi.

Inquiring minds (mine) wish to know!
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Old 08-11-2004, 02:06 PM   #2
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Last question first. The max axle weight, and tire specs, and the new heavyweight coaches mean that only a Bambi will fit on a single axle today.

I have asked the same question but have not had any concrete answers. I would assume it was either an option or was based on what trim level the coach was built with (read, more options = more weight). I would assume that the single axle coach has a higher tongue weight than a single axle. Also with a dual axle losing a tire is not a catastrophic event. I know a dual axle trailer tows differently than an single.
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Old 08-11-2004, 04:33 PM   #3
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My first Airstream was a '70 Safari Special LY at a reported 3460 lbs dry weight with a single axle as well. I've never heard anything definitive, but I believe that they built them both ways as there was a market for both. Some buyers preferred tandem axles, and some preferred singles. I think Airstream was trying to cater to both buyers with a single chassis and trailer.

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Old 08-12-2004, 01:19 AM   #4
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Why only a single axle on 23'

There have been several historic instances where Airstream offered the same coach as both single and tandem axle. The various explanations that I have heard included accommodating buyer preferences, addressing buyer concerns over "axle" taxes, and allowing time for the market to adjust to an industry trend. During much of the 1950s through the very early 1960s, the 26' Overlander could be ordered as either a tandem axle or single axle. During the early-to-mid-1960s, the 25' Tradewind could be ordered with either a tandem or single axle.

Kevin
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Old 08-12-2004, 08:48 AM   #5
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I have a 59 overlander dual axel. Do you think this gives me a higher load rating or is the rating based on the frame when it comes right down to it. I intend to keep it light in the rebuild but if someone has the load rating for a dual 59 26 I would appreciate it.
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Old 08-12-2004, 08:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Over59
I have a 59 overlander dual axel. Do you think this gives me a higher load rating or is the rating based on the frame when it comes right down to it. I intend to keep it light in the rebuild but if someone has the load rating for a dual 59 26 I would appreciate it.
To venture a guess... and mind you this is JUST a guess, I'd say that the GVWR for your trailer is no different than for the single-axle version. The weight tables don't list any differences in model by number-of-axles. It just flatly says your unladen weight; hence, the GVWR is probably very close to the same on both. It's been my experience that two axles of much lighter GVWR are used rather than a single heavier axle to support the same weight.

Roger
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Old 08-12-2004, 11:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Over59
I have a 59 overlander dual axel. Do you think this gives me a higher load rating or is the rating based on the frame when it comes right down to it. I intend to keep it light in the rebuild but if someone has the load rating for a dual 59 26 I would appreciate it.
By 1960, tandem axles appear to have been standard on 26' Overlanders and single axles no longer available on Overlanders. This also may apply to 1959 Overlanders, but I have nothing definitive on 1959 Overlander axle options. 1960 tandem axle trailers used four 700-15 6 ply tires whereas the shorter single axle 22' and 24' trailers used two 700-15 8 ply tires. Only 6 ply spare tires are listed as available for 1960 Overlanders, and that is the basis for my conclusion that 1960 Overlanders came only with tandem axles. Perhaps that held true for 1959 too, but I can't say for sure.

I do know that Overlander overall weight for 1959 is 3250 pounds with 380 pounds on the hitch. This will be a minimum weight used for advertising purposes, and trailers as actually delivery usually weight more that their advertised weight. Once finished, weigh your trailer fully equipped but otherwise "empty" to get an accurate base weight to figure your load carrying capacity.

GVW was not provided in 1959 or 1960. But add up the maximum capacity of your four tires at whatever tire pressue you use, and that should be your maximum load carrying capacity (assuming, but not knowing that, all other load carrying components having higher load capacity ratings than your tires). Subtract your trailer's actual fully equipped but empty weight, and the difference should be your net "stuff" load capacity.
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Old 08-12-2004, 11:37 AM   #8
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I want to add to this that a single axle trailer will be much lighter in weight ( axle and brakes, etc will weigh in at over 200lbs).
Also, it will have a much smaller inner wheel well, offering better interior space. Single axle trailer are easier to maneuver in tight places, with less strain on frame and wheels in tight turns. Perhaps this would expain some people's preference to single axle trailers.
I believe that dual axle trailers offer better handling and towing safety, also better braking.
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Old 08-12-2004, 07:46 PM   #9
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Why only a single axle on 23'

Greetings Fred!

Quote:
By 1960, tandem axles appear to have been standard on 26' Overlanders and single axles no longer available on Overlanders. This also may apply to 1959 Overlanders, but I have nothing definitive on 1959 Overlander axle options. 1960 tandem axle trailers used four 700-15 6 ply tires whereas the shorter single axle 22' and 24' trailers used two 700-15 8 ply tires. Only 6 ply spare tires are listed as available for 1960 Overlanders, and that is the basis for my conclusion that 1960 Overlanders came only with tandem axles. Perhaps that held true for 1959 too, but I can't say for sure.
From reading the literature, the clues point to a demise of the single axle Overlander in 1959. There were at least two 1960 Overlanders produced with single axles. Scott Scheuermann, past-President of the Cleveland OH WBCCI Unit has a 1960 Overlander that his grandparents purchased new in 1960 and all of the documentation (including serial number) verifies that it is a 1960 model. I can't remember the name of the owner of the second single axle 1960 Overlander, but it was at one of the Rallys that I attended in 2001. R J Dial also has photos of another 1960 single axle Overlander on his site.

The other issue that also accompanied the single and tandem axle availability was the practice of having electric brakes on only one axle of the tandem with the second having hydraulic brakes - - I have no idea when this practice stopped, but records that came with my '64 Overlander indicated that electric brakes were added to the second axle in the early 1970s when the split rims were replaced with modern wheels. Whether this was peculiar to the Overlander series or was true of other coaches offered with the choice of tandem or single axles is unclear based upon what I have read.

Kevin
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Old 08-13-2004, 01:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overlander64
The other issue that also accompanied the single and tandem axle availability was the practice of having electric brakes on only one axle of the tandem with the second having hydraulic brakes - - I have no idea when this practice stopped, but records that came with my '64 Overlander indicated that electric brakes were added to the second axle in the early 1970s when the split rims were replaced with modern wheels. Whether this was peculiar to the Overlander series or was true of other coaches offered with the choice of tandem or single axles is unclear based upon what I have read.
Kevin,
I've got this peculiar setup on my 1963 Overlander. I wonder if the single axle Overlanders would have had electric or hydraulic brakes. In any case, I am researching hydraulic/electric disc brakes for the Overlander as we speak. Dexter makes a nice vented rotor disc brake system with a hydraulic actuator that works of most conventional brake controllers, and it uses 12V from the tow vehicle charge line to actuate the hydraulic system.
The reason I mention this within this thread is that a hydraulic disc brake system might give better braking to single axle trailers than electric drums can. Overlanders are not small and light, and a single axle Overlander would need to have 6000lbs of brake capacity on only 2 wheels. I am comparing this to my Tradewind, with similar size and weight. It's 4 brand new brakes are just adequate when towing with a 1/2 ton vehicle, in my amateur opinion.
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