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Author Topic: small travel trailers/hybrids --single axle or double?  (Read 7181 times)

mollibee

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small travel trailers/hybrids --single axle or double?
« on: June 26, 2011, 08:22:57 AM »
We're hoping to do some serious downsizing (if we can ever get our MH sold) and are looking at TTs and hybrids that are no more than 20'.  Quite a few of these are single axle instead of double.  Assuming we keep the weight down, are we looking for trouble with single axle trailers?  My husband is convinced that they are not sturdy enough; I'm guessing that if it's a good manufacturer, it'll be ok.  Anyone with thoughts or experience?

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: small travel trailers/hybrids --single axle or double?
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2011, 09:38:24 AM »
Sturdiness has little to do with it. It's strictly a matter of weight.  While you can get single trailer axles that can handle as much as 8000 lbs, most trailer manufacturers try to stay around 5000 lbs/axle and use multiple axles if the trailer weighs more than that. The primary reason is tire size and cost - the tires needed to handle more than around 2500 lb each will be larger sizes with higher load capacities and can get expensive.  So, if the trailer is light enough, a single axle is fine.

When looking at trailers, check the axle load rating and also the tire max load rating. The trailer will have a federally-required sticker on the left front that gives the axle GAWR and total trailer GVWR, and each tire has its max load embossed on the sidewall.  Ideally the axle(s) will be able to carry the GVWR with room to spare, and the tires will exceed the max axle rating too. But trailer manufacturers tend to go cheap in that are and you don't often find that. If the trailer fender wells have room, you can add larger tires later and that helps both reliability and tire life.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

mollibee

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Re: small travel trailers/hybrids --single axle or double?
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2011, 02:23:16 PM »
Good to know.  The trailers we're keeping "on the list" are under 4,000 lbs, so that should work well.

mlts22

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Re: small travel trailers/hybrids --single axle or double?
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2011, 04:38:29 PM »
Double axle trailers are also more forgiving when it comes to balancing weight.

featherweight

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Re: small travel trailers/hybrids --single axle or double?
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2011, 03:17:17 PM »
We have a '09 Jayco 17C EX-PORT, just about exactly what I would imagine you're looking at.  It's a single-axle trailer, and as long as the sway control is attached, it's no trouble.

One word of warning when shopping for single-axle trailers though - from our shopping experience they tend to have very heavy tongue weights, in the neighborhood of 20% of trailer weight.  For example, our trailer has a loaded tongue weight of 800# on a 3500# GVWR trailer.  So be careful if you're going to be towing it with a smaller truck or SUV.  While they may claim to handle 3500# with ease, hang 800# on the bumper and you'll not only be over the rear GAWR, you'll be swerving all over the highway regardless of any sway bar(s).
Dan
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06 Ford F150 "Heavy Half"
09 Jayco EX-PORT
Grand Rapids, MI

Carl L

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Re: small travel trailers/hybrids --single axle or double?
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2011, 03:42:07 PM »
We have a '09 Jayco 17C EX-PORT, just about exactly what I would imagine you're looking at.  It's a single-axle trailer, and as long as the sway control is attached, it's no trouble.

One word of warning when shopping for single-axle trailers though - from our shopping experience they tend to have very heavy tongue weights, in the neighborhood of 20% of trailer weight.  For example, our trailer has a loaded tongue weight of 800# on a 3500# GVWR trailer.  So be careful if you're going to be towing it with a smaller truck or SUV.  While they may claim to handle 3500# with ease, hang 800# on the bumper and you'll not only be over the rear GAWR, you'll be swerving all over the highway regardless of any sway bar(s).

Odd.   One would think that a decent WD hitch with integral sway control should be able to handle the load transfer to the front axle.   You would need 1000-lb spring bars, but that is doable.

The one thing about single axle trailers that creeps me out is what happens in the event of a tire blow-out?    You would immediately go down to the wheel and the tow would twist around.
Carl L/LA   [Forum Staff]  KI6SEZ

Prowler 23LV TT pulled by a '95 Ford Bronco

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: small travel trailers/hybrids --single axle or double?
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2011, 04:06:07 PM »
True enough re a blowout, but most smaller trailers are single axle since there is no other reason to have dual axles if the weight is low enough for one.

There is no inherent reason for a single axle trailer to have a high tongue weight - it's just a matter of placing the axle so that the load is balanced.  But RV manufacturers are notable lax on that sort of thing - it does not surprise me that some trailers are poorly balanced.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
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luv2campmore

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Re: small travel trailers/hybrids --single axle or double?
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2011, 03:37:24 PM »
I recently traded my Jayco 165 (18') with one axle.  I originally decided on one axle because (thinking like a woman) I would only have to buy 2 new tires instead of 4 when the time came for replacement. My camper only weighed about 3000Lbs loaded.  Then my son made the remark - what if you have a blowout - you don't have that extra tire that could possibly hold up your camper and do less damage to the camper!  so I have upgraded to a larger 23' with 2 axles.  I feel more confident pulling it by myself.

bttravel

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Re: small travel trailers/hybrids --single axle or double?
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2011, 09:52:51 PM »
Currently have an 18' single axle, see picture, that is balanced well and tows very well. I triple tow with it, 1200 lb Ranger Rebel inboard jet and the whole set-up goes down the road smooth. My main concern, too, was the single axle and the what if, blowout scenario. First thing was new tires and 2 new spares. Just doing mostly weekend and 3 to 4 day stuff and within 250 miles. Will be looking to upgrade to 20 to 22 footer, double axle in a couple of years. Have to stay within my triple length limit. I pay very close attention to tire pressure, condition and temperature.  A friend I was camped with last weekend has nitrogen filled tires and says it really keeps them cooler. Anyone else use nitrogen filled tires and what do you do to top off if needed?? Smooth travels to all. :D
2010 Dodge Quadcab Hemi 4X4
2012 Layton Joey 253
16' Ranger Rebel Jet Bass Boat

PHS79

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Re: small travel trailers/hybrids --single axle or double?
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2011, 05:51:30 AM »
We have a Kodiak K215, it is a 21' hybrid with double axles.   GVW of 5000 lbs and a loaded tongue weight of 600lbs.  I tow it with a 04 F150 FX4 and it tows very well, and I average 11.5-12mpg through the rolling hills of western Wisconsin.
04 F150 FX4, highly modified
new TT:2012 Grey Wolf 26BH
sold:01 Kodiak K215

luv2campmore

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Re: small travel trailers/hybrids --single axle or double?
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2011, 06:28:26 AM »
to BTTRAVEL
I also check air pressure before each trip in all my tires.  It was a new camper that had only been on the lot 2 weeks so I felt that they were in good condition when I got it.  The TT I have now (with the roof problems that you may have read about) is a Puma and tires are Nitro-filled.  When I got home I noticed 2 on drivers side were extremely low.  I called around and found someone that filled nitrogen tires about 30 miles from my home.  A charge of $10 a tire.  I just topped them off with air.  Really didn't have a choice.  I;m just sorry the service dept at the dealer didn't take the time to do that before I drove 100 miles home with low tires.   I did read good things about the benefits of nitrogen filled tires.

Marc L

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Re: small travel trailers/hybrids --single axle or double?
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2011, 06:51:44 AM »
But RV manufacturers are notable lax on that sort of thing - it does not surprise me that some trailers are poorly balanced.
The floorplan often has something to do with the tongue weight.  Front kitchen VS middle kitchen VS rear kitchen tend to be a large factor in the balancing act.  With the kitchen in the middle, it's usually fairly balanced and the fact that the axle is aft of the center usually gives enough tongue weight and can be tweaked with the placement of the gear.
Marc...

Marc L

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Re: small travel trailers/hybrids --single axle or double?
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2011, 06:58:21 AM »
I did read good things about the benefits of nitrogen filled tires.
I have too, but I'm still trying to separate fact from marketing.

It's been proven that proper tire pressure is the key to a long tire life, but checking the pressure frequently is just as good in my opinion as paying for expensive gas to put in my tires.  I check mine frequently, thanks to the tire pressure monitor system, and they wear evenly.  To me, a tire that wears evenly is a tire with the right tire pressure.

I wonder if CO2 has the same properties as N2, I have a bottle of that in my garage to carbonate and pressurize my beer kegs.  Nah, forget that, I'll keep the good gas for my beer.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 07:01:05 AM by Marc L »
Marc...

wadeh

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Re: small travel trailers/hybrids --single axle or double?
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2011, 07:01:54 PM »
I am also looking for a Hybrid and may go with a single axle.  Apart from tire blow out issues, how do they tend to handle wind etc.  Do they end up fishtailing or swerving more?

Thanks
Wade

Gary RV Roamer

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Re: small travel trailers/hybrids --single axle or double?
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2011, 07:58:44 PM »
Single vs double axle will be determined by the weight of the trailer you select.  A single axle trailer works just fine up to around 2500-3000 lbs. Above that, you will find that the manufacturers add an axle rather than increasing the carrying capacity of a single axle. It's probably driven by economics.

I've owned all kinds of trailers of various sizes and designs, single and double axle, 5W and utility and boat and travel trailer and pop-up. Currently have a 2400 lb boat trailer with a single axle and it tows like a dream.   I don't believe there is any notable difference in sway in single vs double. Intellectually I can see the argument for a tandem axle, but as a practical matter I do not believe it matters.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

Molaker

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Re: small travel trailers/hybrids --single axle or double?
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2011, 08:07:10 PM »
One word of warning when shopping for single-axle trailers though - from our shopping experience they tend to have very heavy tongue weights, in the neighborhood of 20% of trailer weight.  For example, our trailer has a loaded tongue weight of 800# on a 3500# GVWR trailer.  So be careful if you're going to be towing it with a smaller truck or SUV.  While they may claim to handle 3500# with ease, hang 800# on the bumper and you'll not only be over the rear GAWR, you'll be swerving all over the highway regardless of any sway bar(s).
Typically, a 3500# hitch is only rated for 300-350# hitch weight.  The 3500#'s is how much it is rated to tow, not hold up.  So a 800# tongue weight would exceed a 3500# hitch capacity as well.
Tom & Joyce and Ditto the "don't tell her she's a dog" Westie
U.S. Navy (Ret)
2014 Winnebago ERA 24' class B

wadeh

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Re: small travel trailers/hybrids --single axle or double?
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2011, 07:59:43 PM »
Thanks Gary
Edit: Eliminated unnecessary excessive quote.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2011, 08:21:13 PM by Tom »

bigtexan99

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Re: small travel trailers/hybrids --single axle or double?
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2011, 10:43:05 PM »
The one thing about single axle trailers that creeps me out is what happens in the event of a tire blow-out?    You would immediately go down to the wheel and the tow would twist around.

Is this a demonstrable fact?  Any single axle that has a tire failure 'twists around'?     Or does it just happen 'sometimes'?   Seems that if all single axle trailers that failed twisted around there might be regulations prohibiting single axles?
« Last Edit: September 14, 2011, 10:48:20 PM by bigtexan99 »