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Author Topic: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?  (Read 26193 times)

Dave Marra

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Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
« on: April 28, 2011, 12:33:27 pm »

I am currently using a mostly home-made gear trailer that's based upon a typical 4x7 flat trailer to which I've added sides and a top; very makeshift.  It doesn't carry all of my gear and requires me to pick everything up to get it inside; no fun.  I will be out three days a week; sometimes four.  I can absorb the $/mo payments easy enough.

I'm looking into Haulmark trailers at the moment (other suggestions?) and have narrowed my preference down to a v-nose 6x12 trailer.  I looked at them and believe I can fit everything I currently own (and more) inside comfortably with stacking only as needed. 

My big question is whether to go the extra $ to get a tandem-axle verses the standard single-axle for this size trailer.  Will the tandem-axle indeed provide a smoother ride for my gear or am I making this up in my head?  What has your experience been with trailers?


 - .dave.

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Jerome Casinger

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Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2011, 12:56:31 pm »

I am currently using a mostly home-made gear trailer that's based upon a typical 4x7 flat trailer to which I've added sides and a top; very makeshift.  It doesn't carry all of my gear and requires me to pick everything up to get it inside; no fun.  I will be out three days a week; sometimes four.  I can absorb the $/mo payments easy enough.

I'm looking into Haulmark trailers at the moment (other suggestions?) and have narrowed my preference down to a v-nose 6x12 trailer.  I looked at them and believe I can fit everything I currently own (and more) inside comfortably with stacking only as needed. 

My big question is whether to go the extra $ to get a tandem-axle verses the standard single-axle for this size trailer.  Will the tandem-axle indeed provide a smoother ride for my gear or am I making this up in my head?  What has your experience been with trailers?


 - .dave.

I have had many many trailers. I currently have a 14' and I would never go back to a single axle myself for anything of this size.  It pulls so much better, and of course weight capacity. Alot of people with trailers this size easily over load them, as they fit alot of stuff.  And sound gear = weight...and quickly.

Steve Hurt

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Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2011, 01:11:44 pm »



I'm looking into Haulmark trailers at the moment (other suggestions?) and have narrowed my preference down to a v-nose 6x12 trailer. 
My big question is whether to go the extra $ to get a tandem-axle verses the standard single-axle for this size trailer.  Will the tandem-axle indeed provide a smoother ride for my gear or am I making this up in my head?  What has your experience been with trailers?

Following this thread with interest.

I've heard than tandem rides a lot smoother.  Also heard that Rubber torsion axles are as or more important.  Wish I knew. 

I want a 5 x 9 or 5 x 10 V-nose, but am not sure about what to do to get the best ride.  I've sure spent a lot of money on the gear.  Seems like spending a couple bucks to help the gear get hammered a little less by the road, would be a good idea!
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Todd Larick

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Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2011, 01:12:43 pm »

Go tandem axle if you can afford the extra cost, in my experience if you have the extra space you evenutally fill it!!

Todd
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alfredo cannon

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Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2011, 02:29:51 pm »

Go tandem axle if you can afford the extra cost, in my experience if you have the extra space you evenutally fill it!!
I have a tandem axle trailer. I think tandem axle shoulders more of the trailer weight and puts less weight on the rear end of the vehicle pulling it, thus less wear on your rear suspension. Think about safety, too. Less chance to get into an accident because of more stability. My trailer has its own brakes and I use a controller inside my SUV. It's safer.
Todd
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Mike McNany

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Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2011, 03:16:24 pm »

Tandem.  I prefer CarMate brand. In my smaller trailer, it's has those precious extra inches of interior size that others locally did not. Check the INTERIOR specs closely because the size designations are rounded up to the closest foot of the EXTERIOR.

I have a couple trailers. First got a single axle 10x6x6, double back doors, side door, NO brakes. The no brakes was a mistake, my open ocean sailoring experience was needed for slowing down when fully loaded (3K# max GTWR legal rating with no brakes, axle rated at 3.5K#). With a second axle & brakes the same trailer would be rated at 6K# GTWR. Everyone (else) kept thinking, you have the space, throw some more stuff in BUT you really have to watch your load weight.

2nd trailer is a 8.5x4x4, single axle, no brakes, single rear door. 2K# GTWR. This one's fine with no brakes cause it's a small load. Part of the load goes in an Astro van with the guitarist who owns the main tops and subs so I'm hauling racks, monitors, cable & light boxes with a few odds & ends like mic cases.

6 foot wide is good IF you are hauling a lot of stuff BUT I recommend 5 foot wide to make it easier to see behind and better track near your tow vehicle wheels. Still pay the extra for the 6 foot height for less bending over while inside. A 5x12 will carry a LOT of gear. Some states have vehicle laws that require you to have mirrors that allow you to look down the side of your trailer. That means ADDING wide towing mirrors for a lot of vehicles.

Side door is great for larger trailers. Rear ramps are great IF everything can mostly have wheels AND you have the drop down space at the venue parking.

V-nose is cool to use otherwise wasted space BUT you really need to have a special packing procedure OR put a movable wall/barriar to block it off to pack squared items snug like speakers and racks & cases. E-Track is a most wonderful thing to buy. It's a length of track that you can hook various accessories & tie downs to. Run one down each side of the trailer interior. I especially like the 2x4 holders to use as blocking barriers and also have ratcheting tie downs that hook into the track. I put mine about 30" up to hold speakers vertically and second level cable box from moving (my boxes interlock).

On my larger trailer I added a shelf across the front and down the non-side door side with lips that was of a height to hold my cased drums in front and light & speaker stands and some crossbarred lights on the side. I did have to angle the front shelf since the front door started 8-10" from the front ;>(  I also hung light bars with lights left mounted with bungee cords from the roof bows on the door side.

The smoother suspensions are called Torsen axles. Named for the designer not their function, although it is a torsion effect ;>).

IF buying NEW, you can likely specify the dealer to install the E-track. Get a spare tire while you are at it. After you get the trailer home, take the tires off and antiseize the lug nuts (or ask the dealer to do it). I had two flats, luckily at home, on the small trailer one at 4 years and the other the next year and had to grind off a few of the lug nuts which then required replacing the wheel studs ;>(

Mike McNany
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Randall Hyde

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Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2011, 03:56:23 pm »

I am currently using a mostly home-made gear trailer that's based upon a typical 4x7 flat trailer to which I've added sides and a top; very makeshift.  It doesn't carry all of my gear and requires me to pick everything up to get it inside; no fun.  I will be out three days a week; sometimes four.  I can absorb the $/mo payments easy enough.

I'm looking into Haulmark trailers at the moment (other suggestions?) and have narrowed my preference down to a v-nose 6x12 trailer.  I looked at them and believe I can fit everything I currently own (and more) inside comfortably with stacking only as needed. 

My big question is whether to go the extra $ to get a tandem-axle verses the standard single-axle for this size trailer.  Will the tandem-axle indeed provide a smoother ride for my gear or am I making this up in my head?  What has your experience been with trailers?


 - .dave.

I started with a 6x12' single axle with leaf springs.  I think it had a 1500 lb cargo capacity. I packed that sucker using every cubic inch for my gigs. Didn't think about it until I did a gig in Flagstaff Az (through Phoenix, from Riverside Ca). Stopped in Indio for breakfast and noted that the wheel wells were about an inch off the tires -- meaning every time I hit a bump I was rubbing rubber.  I learned a lot about trailer capacity on that trip (rearranged gear, moving heavy speakers into the bed of my pickup and a drum kit into the trailer).

Immediately went out and bought a two-axle torsion suspension trailer with a 5000-pound cargo capacity.  It served me well for a couple of years, then I simply outgrew it. Now I've got a 15' box truck (which I'm about to outgrow). Interestingly enough, I paid less for the box truck than I did for *either* trailer and it has better than a 5-ton cargo capacity. The only drawback is the five miles per gallon that it gets and the fact that I really need a 20' bed rather than a 15' bed (my gigs keep getting bigger).

Go on Craig's list. Search for "box truck lift gate." That would be my recommendation. You can get some reasonable vehicles for around $5,000 (little more than the price of a good used 16-20' trailer).

If you must stick with a trailer, single axle is far easier to move into position with a small wench, but the capacity will be severely limited. I'd vote for a double axle if weight is going to be an issue. If I were ever to buy another trailer, I'd get at least a 20' with three axles (torsion bar suspension). Expensive, but gives you room to grow.  Like I said, though, consider a box truck with a lift gate; they're cheap enough these days; get diesel if you can (better operating costs). My truck (gasoline) is a bit expensive to operator (5 mpg, though my F350 pulling the big trailer fully loaded only got 8 mpg I must point out).
Cheers,
Randy Hyde
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Jason Vanick

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Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2011, 04:05:42 pm »

2 more major things  to consider about a double axle trailer are:

1. If you have a blow out, you'll be able to pull over safely...

and depending on how loaded you are:

2.  very likely you'll be able to make it to the gig on 3 tires...

definitely get brakes... if you can, get disc brakes (they're cheaper and easier to maintain)

-J
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Thomas Lamb

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Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2011, 05:00:25 pm »

I've had Haullmarks and they are good. My preference is Wells cargo or Pace american. Obviously you need to get the size that you need and then add a couple of foot. My AV trailer is a 12'x6.6x6.6 and if I had it to do over it would be 14-16 long and I would double check to make sure it was just tall enough for a genie tower to roll into and not have to be laid down (which eats up a whole lotta space) Definitely dual axle and definitely torsion!!! If you blow a tire on a torsion axle it will not bottom out like a leaf will and you can drive if you have to a long way before you have to change it. i.e. get to the gig! or a safe place!!! with Leaf springs you are stopping NOW!!!
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Dave Potter

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Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2011, 05:14:58 pm »

+1 about the blowout.  as a kid I remember riding with my dad when the boat trailer blew out.  It took control and we used all 3 lanes of the motorway.

The other thing is the stability of the weight on the tow bar.  With brakes, the nose dips and the weight pushes the tail of the car down and your front wheels go up, which make steering unlikely.

4 feet means less pothole trouble too.
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Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2011, 05:14:58 pm »


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