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Title: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Dave Marra 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.

Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Jerome Casinger 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.
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Steve Hurt 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!
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Todd Larick 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
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: alfredo cannon 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
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Mike McNany 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
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Randall Hyde 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
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Jason Vanick 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
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Thomas Lamb 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!!!
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Dave Potter 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.
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Sndguy (Joel Ashcraft) on April 28, 2011, 06:15:49 pm
Dave
A lot of good comments here.  Although I have one trailer (we bought it for smaller gigs here in FL), I had previously always used box trucks.

When I decided we needed a "small format vehicle", I ordered a 7 x 12 x6' 6" v nose tandem (torsion) axle, with two sets of e-track, ramp door - with additional fold down flap between door and body, breakaway kit, electric brakes, and all LED lighting.

Having thought much of this out previously, I thought it was all ready to rock n roll, including rolling my Sumner (genie) towers right in and strap to the wall.  I use the 2x4 holders to create a bulkhead and put my spare and stuff like that in the v nose area.
Well, seeing as how most of my gear is setup in cases that fit 90" box trucks, my 1/4 pack gear packs 3 wide and has an extra 12" to fit snugly.  Oops.  Although I can get more stuff in than the 6 x 12 I was considering, I wish I would've gotten a 6 x 12 when just using my road cased equipment.  When putting the Sumners in there, I find that the extra width helps me move them around / tie them down easier, since there is just simply more room to move when putting them in, etc.  What I'm saying is, is that I almost need two different trailers for the different setups I need to haul.

Take some time to really look at your equipment, and make sure it will pack properly and safely, without too much room for stuff to move from side to side. Having said that, don't go too small or you'll be finding out that stuffing it full can be problematic and lead to really unsafe traveling. Tie downs of some sort, dual axles, and brakes should be a must for those of us who are towing for profit.  You really don't want a blowout, or loose cargo to jeopardize your life or the lives of others. It's not worth it.  A few more dollars now, can save lives, as well as reap you more down the road in resale, too.

Good luck.

Joel   
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Adam Sykes on April 28, 2011, 06:23:49 pm

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

Mike McNany

I don't believe this is correct.   Torsen is a type of limited slip differential. 

I second the votes for dual axles.  They are more stable, offer more safety in the case of a blow out, and most importantly are a hell of a lot easier to back up.  I own an 8', single axle utility trailer, a 14' dual axle deck over, and two 24' deck overs also dual axles.  They all have leaf springs.   The 14' is by far the most pleasure to drive. 
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: David Parker on April 28, 2011, 08:55:45 pm
 

I'm on my fourth trailer, and I built them all. The first one was 4'x8'. I was shocked at how much weight I could fit into it. I was glad I had put heavy springs on it. Go with the tandem, you'll be glad you did. I have one trailer that is 5'x10', and loaded it goes 2660#. The rating for the axle is 3500, so that doesn't give much wiggle room, and you have to use at least load range c tires to get 3500# capacity. With a 6x12 you'll easily go over 3500#. Another thought. My second trailer was 5.5x12. I kicked myself shortly after building it, because I could have built it 2' longer for no more cost, since all my materials were at least 14'. I filled it up quickly, and so will you. Buy more trailer than you think you need, it will help with loading and unloading having more room, and you'll probably fill it up and wish you had more.
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Jeff Bankston on April 28, 2011, 10:23:38 pm
tandem is the only way to go. haulmark and wellscargo make good trailers. torque flex axles ride the smoothest but the rubber eventually wears out. be sure to get "dexter" brand axles with the trasiler. the china made axles are junk.
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Rob Spence on April 29, 2011, 12:18:53 am
Tandem for sure. One nice thing is you don't need a jack to change a flat. I have a kit of http://www.rvwholesalers.com/catalog/lynx-levelers-15-0287.html and you can just back the good tire up on some and it lifts the flat one! I also use them under the front jack when I take the trailer off the truck.

I bought a Haulmark 7x12. Nice trailer. Too short! I should have got the 14 or 16. Longer trailers ride better. A short one doesn't have enough room in front of the tandems for a full size side door.

I got barn doors and use a ramp. I didn't want to have to lower and raise the back for each trip into the venue and I don't need to have room for the ramp door all the time.

Etrack for sure! I would do 2 rows if were doing it again. One at about 20" and another at 36". I have one row and use it all the time.
I put a shelf up front where I carry a couple of milk crates with straps and cords and such.

I wish I had got a v-nose as it would get a little better gas mileage. If you get a Well Cargo they offer a bulbous nose for that reason. They cost more than the Haulmark though.

After you load it up for the first time, take the rig to the scales and get two weights. The CAT scales are made up of four scales so park with the truck on one and the trailer on the other with the back bumper of the truck at the joint. Get a first weigh (print out will have 2 weights - one for each scale), then uncouple the trailer and get a second weigh. Now you can figure the tongue weight and the CGVW (look up the number for your tow vehicle).
When I did it I was shocked at how much weight was up front. 800lbs! A re-plan of the pack was in order. I drew up a plan and posted it in the trailer so I pack the same each time.

Oh, one last thing... I got my trailer with 6'6" ceiling. This gave me a 6ft clearance at the rear doors (which lets me load my tractor to take it for service :-) ).
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Chuck Simon on April 29, 2011, 11:12:07 am
I have had a 6X12 single axel Haulmark since 2003.  Be aware, the equipment will not have a gentle ride!  I learned that the hard way when I tried hauling lights in my trailer.  I found myself replacing lamps every gig until I moved them into the van.

My next one will definitely be a tandom.  Everyone tells me they ride smoother.  Also, make sure you get the ramp door!

Oh, and buy a spare tire!  I have a story from my younger and dumber days involving a blow out in the middle of the night in some southern state on my way to a gig in Flordia.  All I will say is have a spare, a good jack and a lug wrench that you know fits and thank goodness for southern hospitality!
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Don Davis on April 29, 2011, 06:13:03 pm
We started out with a 5x8 single axle but outgrew it in a year. We just recently purchased a 7x12 v-nose Haulmark tandem axle with a ramp door. As other have recommended we installed 2 rows of e-track and shelving in the front and down one side. Its once of the best purchases we've made recently. Tows great and hauls all our gear with a little room to spare. In the v-nose we added two small wedge shaped shelves at the same level as the e-tracks. This serves as a bulkhead and a great place to store the jack, tire iron and other small stuff. Having trailer brakes is a real plus too. A spare is a must.
Don
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Dave Marra on May 09, 2011, 11:11:39 am
On with the story.

I found a used Haulmark trailer an hour from me.  The trailer has the following characteristics:

We've agreed on a price of $3,000.  Is this reasonable based upon the above description?

 - .dave.
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Gene Declue on May 09, 2011, 12:07:18 pm
On with the story.

I found a used Haulmark trailer an hour from me.  The trailer has the following characteristics:
  • The online pictures display an excellent condition trailer and the seller says there's no rot, leaks, or rust...
  • 1997 Manufacture
  • 7x14
  • Ramp
  • Tandem Axles
  • Torsion Suspension
  • Electric Brakes
  • Ramp
  • Good tires
  • Extra height
  • Side door

We've agreed on a price of $3,000.  Is this reasonable based upon the above description?

 - .dave.

FWIW...
Haukmark is a good trailer.

I had a Homesteader, VERY cheaply made.  The exterior sidewalls vibrated due to the screw placement being so far apart, resulting in the panels breaking loose from the screws and pulling away. Stay far away...

I just bought a brand new Arising (http://www.arisingindustries.com/) 6x12 V-nose, elec. brakes, spare mount, extra interior lights!!!!!!, electric jack!!!!!!!, back support legs (so I can work inside it without it being hitched), extra interior height, single axle with upgraded axle (5200 lbs.) for under $4000. 

My experience (pulling a trailer for gigs for 12 years with various Ford Expeditions) is the extra cost, weight (and lower MPG) of the second axle doesn't justify the smoothness of ride, unless you are doing long haul and/or off road.  I've had 2 flats in 12 years, both (luckily) controllable going the speed limit.  Single axle is easier to maneuver (for me at least) in a tight parking lot and Taco Bell drive thru.  If I were using a larger tow vehicle, I'd probably go double axle, but I really like being able to control my trailer in a crowded parking lot.
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Tracy Garner on May 09, 2011, 12:29:27 pm
My initial trek was to locate a trailer until I found so many deals on box trucks.

I had the choice of 4 different diesel box trucks ranging from 16 to 22 feet with lift gates - all for less than $4000.

With all of the housing-related stores that have gone out of business, the market is flooded with box trucks. I ended up purchasing a 1996 22ft box truck with lift, rated at 25.5K gross without hydraulic brakes. The truck had 168k miles on it and have an earlier life as a furniture truck. The thing was spotless everyplace and well-maintained.
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Don Davis on May 09, 2011, 05:21:02 pm
Hi Dave,
I believe the base price on my 2011 was $4500 so $3000 for a 1997 sounds a little high without seeing it or knowing the milage and maintenance history. Its hard to say but trailers do seem to hold their value pretty well.
Does it come with a spare or e-track? If not, those are expenses you'll have to incur and might consider during negotiations.

Don

On with the story.

I found a used Haulmark trailer an hour from me.  The trailer has the following characteristics:
  • The online pictures display an excellent condition trailer and the seller says there's no rot, leaks, or rust...
  • 1997 Manufacture
  • 7x14
  • Ramp
  • Tandem Axles
  • Torsion Suspension
  • Electric Brakes
  • Ramp
  • Good tires
  • Extra height
  • Side door

We've agreed on a price of $3,000.  Is this reasonable based upon the above description?

 - .dave.
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: John Sabine on May 10, 2011, 06:38:28 pm
Tandem Axle. Take it from the guy who lost a wheel last month. 70 miles from the end of an 1155 mile weekend the right wheel came off of my trailer stranding me on the side of the road and costing me 500 dollars in parts and towing fees. Pay me now or pay me later. Btw, I'll soon have a single axle 6x10 cargo trailer for sale. LOL
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Dave Marra on May 16, 2011, 10:27:11 am
Well I ended up with a 2007 United tandem axle (spring) 7x12 trailer with ramp, side door, v-nose, 6+' interior height, and interior lights in nearly pristine condition; for $3300 and 4 hours of driving.  Very excited !!

 - .dave.
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Don Davis on May 16, 2011, 05:57:57 pm
Sounds like a good deal. Congrats!

Well I ended up with a 2007 United tandem axle (spring) 7x12 trailer with ramp, side door, v-nose, 6+' interior height, and interior lights in nearly pristine condition; for $3300 and 4 hours of driving.  Very excited !!

 - .dave.
Title: Re: Trailer purchase: single or tandem axle?
Post by: Mike Christy on May 17, 2011, 01:09:25 pm
Well I ended up with a 2007 United tandem axle (spring) 7x12 trailer with ramp, side door, v-nose, 6+' interior height, and interior lights in nearly pristine condition; for $3300 and 4 hours of driving.  Very excited !!

 - .dave.

Hi Dave, nice deal, you need a lot more gear to fill her up though! ... only kidding - Mike