Submitted: Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 20:49
ThreadID: 54411 Views:3101 Replies:7 FollowUps:8
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What are the advantages/disadvantages of towing/reversing/positioning a van with bogie axles compared to a single axle van?
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Reply By: Member - jjt98 (QLD) - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 21:53

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 21:53
Hi Bobbev,
Towing is safer due to more stability & weight balance on the road, reversing is easier as the trailer is not as 'twitchy' so there is not as much over correcting, however, positioning is a little more difficult as the dual axle makes the trailer not as responsive so fitting into tight areas may need several attempts.
Depending on the size of the van, i would choose a dual axle over a single as the benefits are outweighed - again, depending on van size.
AnswerID: 286612

Reply By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 21:58

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 21:58
Easy , also I seen first hand experience of a tourist near Mt Isa with a new van and the rear right spring broke forcing the the wheel and azle back under the middle of the van , If that was a single axle that would have steered the van violently to the right , and rolled the whole combination, or a worst case scenario into an oncoming roadtrain,
4 Wheels to carry the weight
more stabillity.
better ride,
better brakes,
and when you can back an 8ft wide van around a corner and into a 9 ft wide door using the mirrors ....let me .

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AnswerID: 286613

Follow Up By: Geepeem - Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 08:10

Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 08:10
HI Doug & Dusty,

have you tried putting a towball on your front bull bar to "push" van into tight areas? I had one on my last troopy and it made it was amazing how easy it was to put van in awkward position. Best if towball is offset to drivers side for better vision.
Obviously you can only do this on private property etc.
FollowupID: 551848

Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (FNQ) - Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 08:41

Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 08:41
Everything has it's limits, It either fits or it don't (no smart ass sexist comments for that statement) , yes I have seen blokes do what your talking about, overall it makes the combination wider too when offset, having been a Truckie for many years that is not an option so you learn to reverse with mirrors , even if the load was a 10ft wide X 40ft hut you still have to use the mirrors by swinging the prime-mover L & R a bit to see, anything wider and a 2nd set of eyes on someone else's head helps,

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Reply By: Member - Raymond S (QLD) - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 22:31

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 22:31
I agree with what has been stated & I have experienced tyre failure travelling at 90 klm p/hr with a tandem & you will find that the van tracks straight with out causing mayhem.
Next time your on the hwy take notice of how a van with a single axle travels along the road most will continually bounce along where as a dual axle glides along smoothly & are more stable.

Regars Ray
AnswerID: 286619

Follow Up By: Member - Tessa (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 22:57

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 22:57
what sort of glasses do you wear. I have never seen a van "continually bounce along". If they did they would be too dangerous to tow. The truth is that up to a reasonable weight a single axle is fine. Eventually you get to the stage where the overall weight requires the extra axle. And let me tell you, I would rather be reversing a single axle job into a van site than a double. Not only that, I enjoy the fun and games in the morning when the people with dual axles are trying to get them back onto the tow ball.

FollowupID: 551805

Follow Up By: Willem - Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 09:29

Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 09:29

Remind me to steer clear of you when you are towing that single axle van of

I agree wholeheartedly with Raymond and speak from experience having towed a 27footer in excess of 250,000km.
FollowupID: 551857

Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 13:05

Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 13:05
Yep ...Sorry Tessa I reckon your out voted here!
I agree with Raymond.

FollowupID: 551894

Follow Up By: Crackles - Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 19:52

Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 19:52
"van with a single axle travels along the road most will continually bounce" That's a slight exaggeration Ray :-) In reality only a handful continualy bounce & is more an indication of a poor setup or loading than the fact they are single axle. A correct sized towing vehicle with suitable springs & shocks using level riders tow pretty steady in my experience & when one adds a decent independent suspension & shocks on the van they can be very smooth. Having said that a well set up tandem will always tow smoother.
Single axle or tandem doesn't really matter, just get a van of the size & features you need with the best suspension you can afford, the smaller the better so it doesn't restrict where it can be towed or parked.
Cheers Craig.............
FollowupID: 552001

Reply By: Member - Derek L (QLD) - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 22:45

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 22:45

Its to do with the size and weight capabilties of the van. More tyres, brakes, springs and shockers to replace. Towing is great no difference when towing single axle. Reversing is no different. Twitchy reversing has alot to do with the lenght of the drawbar. Longer the drawbar easier to reverse. So why do some vans have two axles in stead of one. It quite simple, bigger van means more weight carried on the chassis so it needs more wheels axles springs and shocks to support it on the road. Thats why tippers that carry heavy loads have two set of axles instaed of ones that carry less have a single axle. Get what van you feel comfortable with when it comes to towing it safely, storing it at home. Oh and I forgot when you've got a bigger van the hand brake thinks its for loading more unwanted junk in it that you don't need. (so my farther in law tells me) A mans van is his castle.

Derek L
AnswerID: 286625

Reply By: Motherhen - Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 23:53

Saturday, Feb 09, 2008 at 23:53
Hi Bob bev

I once made up a list of the advantages and disadvantages of dual v single axled caravans. We have had both.

The only advantage of the single axled one (it was a small windup up van with slide out beds) was that you could manouvre it around 180 degrees by hand if needed, which we can't do with our Bushtracker. A bit like the way we girls sometimes cheat when we can't back the trailer to turn in a confined space, we unhitch, spin it around then move the vehicle to re-hitch (sshhhh - don't tell they guys what we do). Meanwhile i have to rely on my man to back the present caravan into a precise position.

Disadvantages of the single axled caravan; stuff was tossed from one side of the cupboards to the other (we travel off the bitumen frequently), damage to fittings, milk bottles and cartons leaking from the bottom from the bouncing. I wouldn't even try and take eggs! My husband insisted on a dual axled caravan next time, although his reasoning had more to do with safety in case of a blowout or losing a wheel, and general stability of the unit when on the road.

Now everything gets a smooth ride. There is also less thrust up and down on your tow hitch with the van stable on dual axles.


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AnswerID: 286636

Reply By: jdwynn (Adelaide) - Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 07:45

Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 07:45
This is an interesting post but I have issues with some of what is being said here. Basically I’m a lifelong caravanner but have only ever had experience with a single axle vans and didn't know I was SO disadvantaged…………………..! I don't doubt that dual axles have some advantages but that is not to say there is anything wrong with a single axle.

Now a 6 x 4 trailer is twitchy but a 15-17’ single axle caravan – no way.

I can't argue with the point that a blowout would be a problem to single axle van – but Ive never had one. Obviously you should use quality well maintained light truck tyres. Perhaps there is a greater chance of blowout with dual axle vans because the tyres always seem to be in much poorer condition due to scrubbing………? Still, it probably depends where you intend to take your van.

I can't argue with Motherhens point about off-road stability but my vans have been on-road vans so in that respect it probably depends what type of caravanning you want to do.

Regarding manoeuvring by hand when unhitched - unless you could rotate a dual axle van on the spot with something like a Maco jockey wheel (is that possible anyone??), then dual axles would have been a SIGNIFICANT disadvantage to me over the years. In caravan parks etc, not such a worry, but getting it into my garage at home would be next to impossible.

Just my two bits worth.

Cheers JD

AnswerID: 286645

Follow Up By: Geepeem - Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 08:02

Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 08:02
HI to all,

About manoeuvring a large van when unhitched.
A few weeks ago I purchased an Ezimove Jockey Wheel setup from Supa Cheap auto. They had one of those big sales days. It was reduced from (I think) $169 to $79. It is one of the best gadgets I have ever bought. Our van is 2700kg and virtually impossible to move unhitched. But with Ezimover its a dream - just use lever to slowly move backwrda, forwards or sideways. Also has a lock position. And as it replaces your existing JW there is no extra equipment to carry. Although made in China appears very robust - it is an ARK Engineering product. So far only tested it on hard stand areas but should be OK on grass etc as the solid rubber wheel is large and has deep tread.
So far very happy with this purchase - makes life a lot easier to get large van back on towball.
FollowupID: 551846

Follow Up By: jdwynn (Adelaide) - Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 09:35

Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 09:35
thanks Glen, just found it on the net - looks a good one. No doubt about it, that seems to be an answer to my biggest worry about dual axles. JD
FollowupID: 551861

Reply By: Geepeem - Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 08:20

Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 08:20
HI Bobbev,
I would have to agree that a dual axle van is likely to be more stable on the road than a single axle. Our first van vas an old Chesney single axle and if cornering on a rough road the van actually "skipped" sideways a little. This would be less likely in a dual axle setup. In good road conditions there is probably no difference but I think in adverse conditions a dual axle is safer and more stable. In addition as stated in case of tyre failure its a lot better to have three lft than one.
After the Chesney we have always had dual axles and found them very stable to tow. They are a lot more difficult to move unhitched but see my reply to post above about my new Esimove Jockey Wheel setup.
AnswerID: 286648

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