Single Axle vs Dual in Peanut butter mud... Physics of getting bogged?

Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 01, 2016 at 21:45
ThreadID: 132609 Views:3685 Replies:5 FollowUps:0
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I need to choose which type of trailer to buy for a trip to the goldfields in Western Australia. I just need a normal box trailer, it will carry my Yamaha quad bike which is 300kg (660 pounds). The terrain where I am going is mainly hardpack, but there are a few pockets of peanut butter mud (clay), which is almost impossible to get traction in.

I must add that the terrain is almost entirely flat, so articulation over rocks etc is not an issue.

I have a Landcruiser with heaps of ground clearance, dual diff locks, winch and recovery gear so thats not a problem.... but which trailer is better in muddy conditions, dual or single axle?

If I go single axle:
- I can put 33 inch tires on it which will lift the axle off the ground. The single axle is also 200kg lighter.
- Trailer is lighter at only 370kg

If I go dual axle
- Trailer is heavier (570kg), but less ground pressure per tire than single axle due to shared weight
- Have to make to with smaller tires (axles closer to the ground)

I was thinking independent suspension but the only trailers with them that I have seen are super expensive & also camper trailers...I don't need a camper as I have accommodation where I am going.

Also... Fat tires or skinny tires? This trailer is going to be used for 3 months in these conditions so I need to make the right decision.
Any advice appreciated.
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Reply By: pop2jocem - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2016 at 22:00

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2016 at 22:00
I would use a single axle trailer. You don't appear to need much carrying capacity and although a tandem axle setup will spread the load a bit more the effort to turn it especially in mud will create more drag on your vehicle.
Personally I would use wider tyres on a trailer but skinnier on the vehicle where traction/grip in mud is needed. The only exception to that is if you want to keep the tyres and wheels common for car and trailer.

AnswerID: 600826

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2016 at 22:09

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2016 at 22:09
Single axle, maximum tyre diameter and profile first, width second, good quality longer leaf springs with shockers.
Reduced pressure gives flotation on a trailer just as it does on the 4X4.

AnswerID: 600827

Reply By: Rod W6 - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2016 at 22:09

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2016 at 22:09
In this link is what I drag behind me in the WA goldfields bush carrying my Polaris 400cc quad. I made the trailer and I've never had and problems and it gets dragged down some well overgrown tracks. It works well for me. The axles are the same ground clearance as my Troopy. Ya don't need the overkill your stating above.
AnswerID: 600828

Reply By: 08crd - Wednesday, Jun 01, 2016 at 22:33

Wednesday, Jun 01, 2016 at 22:33
The problem is the ground will be already broken by the Landcruiser, if it is muddy, so the single axle will cause less drag through the mud.IMO

The trailer with quad on board, will weigh much less than the Landcruiser, so if the Landcruiser hasn't broken through the crust, the trailer won't.
The single axle wins again, less rolling resistance and better turning properties.
AnswerID: 600830

Reply By: gbc - Thursday, Jun 02, 2016 at 08:30

Thursday, Jun 02, 2016 at 08:30
More important than single/tandem is making sure the track of the trailer is the same as the tow vehicle. Singles are always easier to manoeuvre off road and don't bog in reverse like a tandem. The weight you are talking is not a lot so a matched track single sounds right for you. If you must have mismatched wheel tracks we have found tandems need less air pressure so float better over the soft stuff. We do tow bigger stuff though.
AnswerID: 600837

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