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Old 09-18-2011, 04:24 PM   #1
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You scream, I scream, we all scream for Airstream

Looking at buying a 16-19 foot classic trailer to pull behind the SMB. Are there any advantages to a tandem axle? Do they tow better?

Thanks
Z
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Old 09-18-2011, 04:41 PM   #2
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Re: You sream, I scream, we all scream for Airstream

It seems to me that a blowout with a single axle would be a bigger problem than with a tandem. But, it seems the new 16'-19's all have a single axle, 23' and up are dual axle. That may answer the question for you.

The smaller Airstreams don't seem to have anymore room than my SMB. To me it might make more sense to pull a cargo trailer behind the SMB and put all the stuff in there and use the SMB as an SMB.

Mike
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Old 09-18-2011, 05:37 PM   #3
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Re: You sream, I scream, we all scream for Airstream

You could look around for a used Airstream Basecamp and have the best of both worlds : ) ??



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Old 09-18-2011, 08:02 PM   #4
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Re: You scream, I scream, we all scream for Airstream

I'm actually planning on using it for camping with friends. I'll sleep in the SMB and they in the trailer. A shower is a must so 16' seems to be the minimum. And I want a 40-60 year old classic because I'm screwed up in the head.

No other thoughts on tandem axles? They're not more stable on the highway?

Z

PS: I wouldn't have to do this if my SMB "friends" would go over Imogene with me on the 26th!
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Old 09-18-2011, 09:48 PM   #5
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Re: You scream, I scream, we all scream for Airstream

You can change a tire on a tandem just by pulling the good tire on that side on a block. Not enough trailer experience to judge the advantage, although I've had a blowout on my tandem and couldn't tell.

That modern airstream is yarg! Looks like the inside of a tupperware container designed by IKEA... I'm with you on the classic style, that will at least have seatbacks!

Some of the offroad pop-up tent campers are pretty nice too. Saw a double ATV toy hauler the other day that would go great behind an SMB.
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Old 09-19-2011, 08:56 AM   #6
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Re: You scream, I scream, we all scream for Airstream

Generally speaking, trailer manufacturers go to dual (or triple) axles when the trailer is expected to to gross out at more than a single axle can support.
A single axle has a lot of merit. It is cheaper to run (half the tires to buy), half the maintenance, half the running gear, half the brakes (on models that have 4 wheel brakes), better gas mileage, half the chance of a blowout, much easier to maneuver when unhitched, much easier on the tires; (dual axles drag the tires sideways in a sharp turn), and just generally easier to deal with.
Having said all that, if the load you are carrying is going to be more than a single axle can support, then you gotta go with duals. Plus you pretty much have to go with whatever the setup is on the trailer you want to buy.
I don't think having a blowout on a dual axle trailer in any more fun than on a single.
On any trailer you have, carrying not only a spare tire, but a spare pre-greased hub, makes for piece of mind. On my last dual axle boat trailer I had a spare tire/hub/stub axle setup all mounted on the tongue ready to bolt on if a bearing burned up. The stub axle just slid through a tapered hole in the end of the lever arm of the torsion axle and bolted on with one big nut and cotter pin. Very slick....
Whatever you get, maintain it. Trailer tires don't usually wear out, they rot off the wheels.
I've got four trailers and all this talk makes me realize that they probably all need maintenance.
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:31 AM   #7
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Re: You scream, I scream, we all scream for Airstream

We had an older 18 foot single axle travel trailer, and I feel that it was more sensitive to weight balance than a tandem axle. I mounted a motorcycle on the back of the trailer and it swayed all over the place. I would definitely try pulling it with some weight in it before purchase.

The older trailers are a LOT heavier than newer ones. A lot of wood was used in the construction (maybe not in Airstreams?) and it can get water logged.

Good luck, I really like the older trailers too. It feels like a log cabin inside.
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:05 PM   #8
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Re: You scream, I scream, we all scream for Airstream

Trailers like to have 10 -15% of their total weight on the tongue. Sticking a motorcycle way aft on the platform disrupts that balance and also creates a long moment arm that affects the stability in yaw. Never a good idea. Sometimes, if you know you're going to be carrying a lot of weight way aft you could either ballast the front of the trailer or move the axle back. Too much weight aft affects dual axle trailers just the same as single axle ones although they might seem more stable because the trailer is trying to overcome the friction of dragging the tires sideways whereas the single axle just turns.
It's REALLY important to load the trailer properly.
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:07 PM   #9
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Re: You scream, I scream, we all scream for Airstream

On the subject, is there a good, easy way to check the tongue weight?
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:09 PM   #10
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Re: You scream, I scream, we all scream for Airstream

P.S.
I'm sorry to sound like I'm preaching, but I used to own a trailer manufacturing company and I can't tell you how many awful scenarios I've witnessed that were caused by aft CG loading.
Bill
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