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Old 03-22-2015, 10:53 PM   #1
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Opinion on standard dual axles vs wide stance axles?

Thinking about trading for new trailer, some brands now have the wide stance axles instead of standard dual axles. Would love to hear from those who have pulled similar trailers with each kind and which is best. Thanks,
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:07 AM   #2
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Wide stance axles are just a way for the manufacture to make a light weight trailer and have a lighter tongue weight. I had the so called Wide Traxx axle spacing on a Heartland TT. It towed horrible. It came from the factory with a 9.5% TW. The axles were positioned closer to the center of the TT. That caused the trailer to not track straight. It would constantly wander. Our previous trailer had the normal axle spacing and the axles were placed more rearward. It towed beautifully. If it was such a great idea then they would all be doing it.
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:44 AM   #3
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In trailer design, axle spacing is based on on a few variables that are all dependent upon loading - on one hand to distribute the load better to the axles, on another to increase efficiency of the frame design to optimize member sizing, and there somewhere in-between in the consideration of behavior running down the road. There's absolutely nothing wrong with a wider spacing, and it has been used on trailers outside the camper industry far longer. The only real thing you can "blame" on spread axles is that you cannot "turntable" a trailer with them went backing a tight spot for which I'd argue you have no business doing a turntable with any trailer wearing ST tires in the first place.

The comment about too light of a tongue is a very good one, and the ~12% guideline good for consideration when shopping and looking at the axle configuration. You will often note spread axle models often have large front storage that the designer is pretty much aware campers overload like crazy so you can get tongue weight back. Our 232IS is a great example of a balanced, spread axle as we have two slides over the axles, two of the four holding tanks too, and a front bedroom layout but with front storage area. Right off the lot it had 12% on the tongue with a pair of 30#ers full and battery and tows much more smoothly down the highway, especially with road joints in the condition we have here. Conversely, if you are looking at a model like a lightweight camper with a murphy bed up front leaving no storage it might be a challenge to find the tongue weight for a good attitude running down the highway. I've seen some of the manufacturer's thinking about this too with the spare tire slung below the A-frame, pair of larger propane bottles, and a heavy power jack included.

To get to the point, just be conscious of the weight distribution when shopping - regardless if close or spread-axle - and don't fear one or the other.
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Old 03-23-2015, 11:04 AM   #4
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The trucking industry went to a lot of spread axles on trailers years back, but if you will notice, so are seeing less & less of them these days. Spread axles cause much quicker tire wear because the axle with the least amount of weight will drag the tires when turning, especially sharply. I have friends with TTs that have spread axles & they have had nothing but trouble. Rapid tire wear as well as bent axles. Just watch a TT with these axels when they turn sharply. Personally, I would stay away from anything with spread axles, although there are probably people out there with these that have had no problems.
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Old 03-23-2015, 11:14 AM   #5
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So, with ST tires we should never turn table? What are we supposed to do, just tow and back straight and never turn? It was my impression that ST tires were built for the side loads in turning. Guess I was wrong again.
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Old 03-23-2015, 11:16 AM   #6
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You can definitely see the tires dragging on these spread axle units when they back in really tight. In fact, I even see it happening to normal axles to a much lesser degree. It is just a factor of the design.
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Old 03-23-2015, 11:25 AM   #7
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You can definitely see the tires dragging on these spread axle units when they back in really tight. In fact, I even see it happening to normal axles to a much lesser degree. It is just a factor of the design.
All tandem axle trailers do it, it is just the design of wheels not steering/turning and the one with lesser traction has to slide while the one with the greater traction pivots somewhat. I have found that both will distort about an equal amount, on deflects in and the other deflects out.
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Old 03-23-2015, 01:24 PM   #8
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So, with ST tires we should never turn table? What are we supposed to do, just tow and back straight and never turn? It was my impression that ST tires were built for the side loads in turning. Guess I was wrong again.
Simplest way to put it OC, the design of STs were originally based on generally lighter use in smaller diameter than where they have reached presently. Manufacturers have only scaled basic design up in large part. Further, the original design wasn't focused on use in multiple axle configurations. I'm sure that retired tire engineer that popped in here, and if still reading the forum, can take it further than I.

The issue is not true side loading that's at issue with turntabling. It's torsion working at the construction not designed for it. Sure, we've all turntabled but let's admit that at least 75% of those times we could have done a multi-point negotiation to get our rig in there... Let me share an experience I had with an old client. He bought a new TT that was 7 feet longer than his prior and was constantly blowing curbside rear tires on the tandem axle. Spent thousands between tires and alignments and even axle replacement before I was asked to look at it. After meeting him at his Houston home I began to see clearly why he was facing this constant problem. In order to negotiate the narrow street and driveway angle with that long trailer and pickup, he was binding the tandems so tightly (ugly too) he was spinning on that tire (on a broomed concrete drive) as it was taking nearly all of the load on that side with the forward axle lifting due to the slope and coupler fixity. He was basically pushing the trailer in place skidding the curbside front too. Worse yet, he was leaving the bind and just unhitching! He didn't realize any of this should be a concern, but anything that puts something in a state of stress other than its at-rest design condition is a concern.

We sent the tires to one of my sponsors at the time to have them cut and examined. Sure enough, this maneuvering was causing the tread to shear away from the carcass. These were 5 month from manufacture, big brand tires with less than 1500 miles on them. The same manufacturer is who cut them and examined.

So, I am in the camp of if your axles look really ugly negotiating backing in, readjust and work it in over forcing it in. YMMV.

He never had a problem with the trailer again after adjusting his backing habits and then moving 1.5 years later out in the countryside where he now has acres, a 5er, and a pole barn for it to sleep in that he can literally pull-through!

As I said before, I'd be willing to pay a premium for a well-engineered and manufactured trailer tire!
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Old 03-23-2015, 01:44 PM   #9
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Very well explained geotex1. I still think that spread axles are a problem & would steer clear of them. When we go to dealers or RV shows, we won't even look at a unit with spread axles. Call me crazy, but thats my opinion & we all know about opinions.

Thanks for the good info
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Old 03-23-2015, 01:48 PM   #10
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Simplest way to put it OC, the design of STs were originally based on generally lighter use in smaller diameter than where they have reached presently...
So the tire mfgrs have not changed the design since the first ones built?

According to: All About Trailer Tires | Big Brand Tire & Service

they state the following:
Attached Files
File Type: docx Find the Right Trailer Tire.docx (16.2 KB, 46 views)
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