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Old 11-17-2018, 12:42 AM   #1
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Wide Spread Axles Advantage or Not

Looking to upsize our trailer and trying to factor in running gear differences between a few that would meet our needs. There are two TT that are on my short list. A Coachmen Freedom Express running on leaf springs but wide spread axles, and a Lance running on closely spaced torsion axles. I'm currently pulling a single axle on torsion axles and it has been trouble free and trailer is well behaved on the road.
New trailer will be close to twice the weight and up to 9 ft longer(28-29ft). Can people share experiences with the wide spaced axles. I've read they tend to greatly improve straight line stability and load handling but are prone to tire scrubbing in tight turn situations. Not sure that I need to worry about that but have no first hand experience.
Also, advantages/disadvantages of torsion axles vs leaf springs.
Tow vehicle is a f150 145" wb
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Old 11-17-2018, 06:52 AM   #2
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The torsion axles have no “equalizer” and are more sensitive to a properly leveled trailer. If the front of the trailer is continuously high the rear axle torsion arms will rotate more and take more of the load with more wear on those tires.
A few years back, my neighbor did just that with a tandem axle boat trailer and seriously overloaded the rear tires with resultant blow outs. Once leveled, tires did fine.
Personally, I think Lance has a better reputation, but, I have not owned one.

The spread axle is an interesting concept, but, one must ask why. The frame consists of rails of some shape, usually an “I”. Engineering practices allow the use of a smaller I if the load is less concentrated or more spread out.

Assuming you have access to both, go inside and see which one seems more rigid. I also suspect for a similar size and features the Lance will weigh more. Sometimes a sign of a stronger unit
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Old 11-17-2018, 08:07 AM   #3
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The wider spread axles are supposed to help reduce sway (so I'm told)...

They may also spread the weight load a little more as well.

I would think that hitting curbs and tire scrubbing during tight turns and backing up could put more stress on the tires.
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Old 11-18-2018, 01:51 AM   #4
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Was thinking about buying a trailer with torsion axles and they were spread as well. At first I thought torsion axles might be better than a standard leaf with equilizers but if you don't get that trailer perfectly level, one set of tires WILL have more load on them than the other. Couple that with the fact that you read about a lot of torsion axle failures made me decide having the torsion axles was a minus vs a plus.

It wasn't our main consideration in buying a trailer but if everything else was equal and we were deciding on one trailer vs the other, I would pick the trailer without torsion axles.
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Old 11-18-2018, 12:43 PM   #5
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I guess I haven't seen posts about torsion reliability issues. Dexter at least claims them to be very reliabe especially compared to the complexity of leaf suspensions. I understand the potential overload issues and that could be quite significant. Even a level trailer is never in perfect balance weight wise.
Question to me though is how well do leaf suspension actually distribute weight without after market upgrades?
Lance solely uses torsion as well as I believe airstream. I've heard they are significantly more expensive as well so there must be some justification to use them
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Old 11-18-2018, 12:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lamokadave View Post
I guess I haven't seen posts about torsion reliability issues. Dexter at least claims them to be very reliabe especially compared to the complexity of leaf suspensions. I understand the potential overload issues and that could be quite significant. Even a level trailer is never in perfect balance weight wise.
Question to me though is how well do leaf suspension actually distribute weight without after market upgrades?
Lance solely uses torsion as well as I believe airstream. I've heard they are significantly more expensive as well so there must be some justification to use them
Leaf spring systems are extremely simple. Way less complex than a torsion system. With the equilizer, you are guaranteed that the weight on each axle is identical.

https://www.google.com/search?q=tors...hrome&ie=UTF-8

I thought like you that they would be better at first. Then I did a little research. Like I said, they wouldn't be the only thing that would keep me from buying a particular trailer. It's just a check in the "Con" box.

Lance makes a very good trailer. My friend is buying one. We didn't see a floor plan that we liked which is more important than what axles the trailer has. We did not like the step up into the dinette on models we looked at. Airstream is just WAY overpriced for what you get..and no slides!!! My parents used to have an airstream...they hated it because it was just too claustrophobic and storage sucked because of the curved roof.
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Old 11-18-2018, 01:25 PM   #7
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I agree that leaf systems appear simple but there's actually a myriad of parts there.
On the Grand Design site there have been threads on how troublesome the leaf suspensions can be. It basically boils down to poor design and cheap build. Bushing failures, broken shackles, etc..
Your comment about the equalizer. Are you referring to that yellow aftermarket type or just the typical center connection device on most setups?
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Old 11-18-2018, 01:35 PM   #8
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Disadvantages of wide spread axles are the above mentioned scrubbing in turns and ALSO the inability to put a "chock" between the tires for stability when camped.
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Old 11-18-2018, 01:47 PM   #9
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Following on from above, I have had a lot of of tandem axle leaf spring trailers. Some I built. The “equalizer” I talk about can be either the plain steel lever or the fancier rubber containing version.
Some were in salt water, winter snow and salt. I have had single axle torsions.
Never had a failure with either, but, the plastic bushed leafs got sloppy as the plastic wore. I put in bronze bushings and greasable bolts. The greasable version lasted the longest, provided I did my part with the grease gun.
Knowing the price point of the Lance and Airstream, I cannot comment on their logic.
Another reason to have tires with sufficient head room of load capacity.
Suspensions are maintenance items that should have a regular schedule.
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Old 11-18-2018, 02:27 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by lamokadave View Post
Your comment about the equalizer. Are you referring to that yellow aftermarket type or just the typical center connection device on most setups?
The simple equilizer part between the sets of leaf springs.
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