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Old 01-11-2011, 01:37 PM   #1
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2 wheels or 4

Hi, I'm looking into getting an Airstream. I haven't done a lot of towing and I'm looking for some opinions regarding single or double axel on units up to 24 or 25 feet. Presently driving a 3/4 ton 2wd pickup.
Thanks.
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Old 01-11-2011, 01:40 PM   #2
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When you find your Airstream , it will probably come with the right amount of wheels. Sal.
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Old 01-11-2011, 01:42 PM   #3
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With3/4 ton, you can tow any Airstream. Sal.
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Old 01-11-2011, 01:56 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forums. There is a wealth of knowledge here all at your finger tips!

As to your question,

The number of axles depends on the model and the length of the stream.

In general single axles will have less maintenance but will be quicker to react when backing up there for making it some what more difficult.

Twin axles will have more mmaintenance but will slower to react to driver input making it easier to back up.

As for three axles these only come on what I call the beast. That would be a 34' stream. You will have the most maintenance with this but the same applies as for two axles.

Most people when looking for a stream need to figure out how much room is needed for how many people. It is not uncommon for new buyers to want more room so save yourself some money and do it right the first time.

Cheers!

Chris
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Old 01-11-2011, 02:00 PM   #5
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We have had two 34' trailers and even with our son now in college our 34' is still nice to have....and they pull like a dream....
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Old 01-11-2011, 02:04 PM   #6
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Thanks Chris, that's the sort of info I'm after.

How about at highway speeds. Do singles get more squirlly than duals, or do they pull fairly smooth?
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Old 01-11-2011, 02:08 PM   #7
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We have been pleased with our twin axle AS. Its easy to tow and back into campsites. This is our first travel trailer and it was the best choice. The only down side is when you need new axles its twice the price. Enjoy your search.
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:23 PM   #8
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I think you'll find two axle trailers of similar length to be a bit more longitudinally stable but perhaps a bit harder to back up, as noted above. But they come with more cost, more maintenance expense, etc.

Two added advantages of a double axle rig: if you lose a tire to the inevitable (nail, curb, pothole, underinflation, etc. - your choice), you can limp along for quite a ways on three tires to get to a convenient place to change the tire. And once there, you can drive one tire on a side up onto a ramp to change the other tire on that side, so no jacking needed for tire change / wheel bearing repack, etc. Pretty convenient and arguably safer than using a jack, jack stands, etc.

Then again, some people just like the looks of a single axle rig, while others swear by the appearance of more axles. Just like some folks like to date blondes better, others brunettes. Go figure.
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:26 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by AirsDream View Post
I think you'll find two axle trailers of similar length to be a bit more longitudinally stable but perhaps a bit harder to back up, as noted above. But they come with more cost, more maintenance expense, etc.

Two added advantages of a double axle rig: if you lose a tire to the inevitable (nail, curb, pothole, underinflation, etc. - your choice), you can limp along for quite a ways on three tires to get to a convenient place to change the tire. And once there, you can drive one tire on a side up onto a ramp to change the other tire on that side, so no jacking needed for tire change / wheel bearing repack, etc. Pretty convenient and arguably safer than using a jack, jack stands, etc.

Then again, some people just like the looks of a single axle rig, while others swear by the appearance of more axles. Just like some folks like to date blondes better, others brunettes. Go figure.
You forgot those redheads. Sal.
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:29 PM   #10
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Naw, didn't forget - I'm married to one ... they're just a rarer species, and not too many folks daring enough to take one on!
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:09 PM   #11
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Not having owned a trailer with two axles I can only comment on our experience with a single axle.

Backing up is simply not an issue - maybe it's a matter of getting used to what you've got - but backing has never presented itself as a problem in any form - in fact - single axle trailers are more often the shorter ones - and I can attest that we comfortably back into sites that many other trailer simply could not negotiate.

What may be more relevant is hitching up to a marginal tow vehicle - we towed for 6 seasons with a six-cylinder, short wheel base SUV - and in the first several years it was quick to feel the effects of passing trucks. I was told that our single axle trailer contributed to the problem. We eventually purchased a Hensley - and the effect of passing trucks totally disappeared - today I have no complaints about our single axle trailer.

Good Luck - whatever your choice.



Jay
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:12 PM   #12
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The last two trailers I have owned have had two axles - before that I had single axle. It hasn't made much of a difference to me, but I will say, justified or not, I feel a bit safer with two axles in the event of a blow out.

As I expect you know, apart from the safety aspect,you can even tow for a limited distance at reduced speeds on three wheels if you happen to be caught in an area where it would be unwise to try changing a flat.

Having two axles makes it really easy to change a tire too. Just ride the adjacent trailer up onto a stack of blocks and the adjacent tire on the other axle will dangling in mid-air, no need for bottle jacks etc. Very quick, easy, and safe.


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Old 01-11-2011, 04:24 PM   #13
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Don't spend much time thinking about 1 or 2 axles. Spend your time looking at various trailer floor plans. What you like to have in the trailer will tend to determine the length. Do you like a full time double or queen size bed? How bout a dinette? Do you plan to do a lot of traveling or only some weekend boondocking. Once you determine what you want in a trailer then you can look at the floor plans that work for you. Shorter trailers tend to have single axles and longer trailers have 2 or even 3. Good Luck!
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Old 01-11-2011, 04:32 PM   #14
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Flat Tires with Two Axles

Last year I had a flat and it did not pose a problem at all (except for the rainy conditions that soaked me as I changed the tire). I simply pulled into a convenient, wide-open parking lot to change the tire. After breaking the lug nuts loose, I drove up on a ramp and changed the tire. After that, backed up and with the new tire back on the ground, secured the lug nuts. Good to go in a a relatively short period of time.

If there is a downside to two axles... they pull so smooth even with a flat tire, that you may not know you have a flat. Then the flat overheats, the tread comes off and WHAM! you may get some body damage as the tread flies off and the sidewalls fling around. This very thing happened to my mother and father on their Airstream.

Lucius
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Old 01-11-2011, 05:06 PM   #15
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Welcome to the forums. IMHO, it's more important to know how many occupants and what length of trips are you planning. Then decide the length and floor plan that makes the most sense to you. As someone who bought new units (twice - eerk). Let me suggest this. Look at the Classifieds right here - buy gently used for your first one. Then you've got a road ready camper and if a better one comes along someone else ate the big initial depreciation.

Are you familiar with the model names and the trim levels? Flying Cloud nee: Safari, lowest price, normally with "mouse fur" interior, though the SE has bare aluminum and bigger windows. International aka: CCD which includes specials like the Serenity, Eddie Bauer, Victronex, etc. Mid level, many laminates but modern sleek decor prevades. Classic & Classic Ltd. Older ones called "Excella". Real hickory wood, older ones Oak, high end fixtures and countertops, the sky is the limit... over upholstered and curtained in my personal opinion

www.airstream.com
www.colonialairstream.com

are good places to browse and compare options.

Before you buy - attend a rally - there's always an open house and most people are glad to show off their units. (AIRSTREAMS!~)

Paula
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Old 01-11-2011, 05:54 PM   #16
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WRD,
As stated earlier, the interior and resulting length of the trailer will likely dictate the # of axles.
The backing up issue is more of a function of the distance from hitch to axle. A longer distance is slower to react and much more controllable.
I had a very short single axle to carry my Grasshopper mower. It was almost impossible to back up, I then upgraded to a single axle 12' trailer which was easier, and now have a 16' dual axle which is very easy to back up.
Bob
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Old 01-11-2011, 06:07 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nvestysly View Post
Last year I had a flat and it did not pose a problem at all (except for the rainy conditions that soaked me as I changed the tire). I simply pulled into a convenient, wide-open parking lot to change the tire. After breaking the lug nuts loose, I drove up on a ramp and changed the tire. After that, backed up and with the new tire back on the ground, secured the lug nuts. Good to go in a a relatively short period of time.

If there is a downside to two axles... they pull so smooth even with a flat tire, that you may not know you have a flat. Then the flat overheats, the tread comes off and WHAM! you may get some body damage as the tread flies off and the sidewalls fling around. This very thing happened to my mother and father on their Airstream.

Lucius

A good reason to use a TPMS, its another thing I have found gives me a bit more peace of mind when towing and makes the whole experience more relaxing! I still check all the tires visually at every stop though.

Brian.
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Old 01-11-2011, 06:14 PM   #18
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WRD,
As stated earlier, the interior and resulting length of the trailer will likely dictate the # of axles.
The backing up issue is more of a function of the distance from hitch to axle. A longer distance is slower to react and much more controllable.
I had a very short single axle to carry my Grasshopper mower. It was almost impossible to back up, I then upgraded to a single axle 12' trailer which was easier, and now have a 16' dual axle which is very easy to back up.
Bob
Very true! I have a small luggage trailer I sometimes tow behind my motorcycle, the bike has a reverse, but backing up with the trailer hooked up is a real challenge - I'd sooner back up the Airstream any time!

Most often I just unhook the bike trailer and move it around by hand!


Brian.
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