Tandem Axle Camper Trailer

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 20:26
ThreadID: 76135 Views:9633 Replies:9 FollowUps:9
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Can anyone tell why it is not a good idea to build a tandem axle camper trailer.
I have seen many singles but no tandems. I am sure they would be about but I just haven't seen any nor in any catalogues.

We are building a hardtop type and will end up with a base of about 3m x 2m. This should give a mighty large size for the custom tent we will be putting on it.

We are also using a steel chassis with aluminium frame and composite fibre panels, so it should be light even though it is large.

It is not intended as a serious off roader, but not just for blacktop either.

There is the obvious question of why, but also why not!

Your comments are welcome.
Cheers Cam.
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Reply By: Notso - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 20:32

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 20:32
Why not! If you need the extra load carrying capacity, fine. Less manoeuvrable if you don't.
AnswerID: 404807

Reply By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 20:37

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 20:37
Member Tony (ACT) has a tandem Coota Camper

and

Ed C (QLD) has a tandem Camper that I can't recall who manufactured.

Cheers Kev
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AnswerID: 404810

Reply By: rayfish - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 20:37

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 20:37
as far as l can see the only restriction is cost. many of the major caravan manufacturers build 17 foot caravans on single axles that tow quite well.also with tandems you do get a bit of side way dragging on the back wheels on sharp slow bends .l am building a camper at the moment puuting on 16 "toyota rims ,single braked axle.going for overide brakes so it can be towed by any car not just one fitted with electric brakes .hope this helps
AnswerID: 404811

Reply By: OzTroopy - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 20:38

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 20:38
Ive been considering putting together another tandem for a good while.

They have lots of benefits.

Biggest hurdle is that the tpt authorities see 4 wheels and think you are going to carry 6ton on it .... and apply rules and costs accordingly.

Extra weight & cost for the second axle compenents need to be considered as well.

Single axle on the other hand wont cause as much drag on the tow vehicle in soft conditions ... and are easier to jiggle around at a camp site.

AnswerID: 404812

Follow Up By: Camoco - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 20:58

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 20:58
That's part of the reason for scrimping on weight elsewhere by building in lightweight materials.
It is likely to be carrying an 80L engel, an outboard, kitchen, 2 lpg bottles, generator, 2 105amp batteries, 160L water + waste, tinny, king mattress and food and clothing as well as the basics.
That in itself is a heap of weight, so hopefully the trailer base will come in around the 700kg mark including front boxes, but excluding the removeable bits like the tent and that mentioned above.
I haven't yet weighed the suspension and axles, but the chassis and panelling is less than 350kg. That means 350kg for the suspension, which should cover it.

We are in QLD so they transport dept is going to be rubbing their greedy hands over this one, but what do you do?

Cheers Cam
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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Friday, Feb 19, 2010 at 11:06

Friday, Feb 19, 2010 at 11:06
Cam,
As far as the transport people go, wouldn't you be best off to just take the trailer in for rego when it is "just" a tandem box trailer... IE: BEFORE you start adding the camper stuff and boxes etc etc?

Just a thought....may not be feasible with what you are specifically planning to do.

Good luck.....

Roachie
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Reply By: On Patrol & TONI - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 20:42

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 20:42
Camoco
Mate I see no reason why not.

Just maybe the trailer might be a little harder to man handle into that perfect camping position we sometimes need to have.

If the overhang front and rear are kept to a minimum this configuration may be better than just a single axle re clearance particularly at the rear end???

Dragging it around tight corners may or may not be a problem???

If it feels good, do it!!!!!
Cheers Colin.
AnswerID: 404814

Follow Up By: Camoco - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 20:51

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 20:51
Hi Colin,
Yes the clearance is the main positive aspect, and the main negative as I see it is the harder manhandling effort, especially in sand.
It is our hope to drive straight and be happy with whatever we end up with. Though in reality the grass is always greener "just over there a bit".

Most of the bias is to the front so it is mainly ramp over that is compromised, but that is common enough anyway. Where it is likely to go, that shouldn't present a problem, but dragging the backside can be.

We know it is not cheap, but this is not a budget camper.
It may feel better when it is done, but at the moment it does feel good.

Cheers Cam
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Reply By: Member - Ed C (QLD) - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 20:58

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 20:58
Absolutely no reason why not!
Well, actually, one reason.. You can forget about manoevering it by hand (off the vehicle) unless you have a fancy air-bag set-up that can lift one axle, but I have not found this to be any kind of an issue... just accept it, and allow for it;-)

Check my gallery pics ;-))

Our current one is the 2nd we've had made (by the same mfr., no longer in the game:(, and between the 1st & current, they have followed anywhere & everywhere I've cared to take 'em, including CSR, SD, & Northern Simpson...

Only way to go, IMO ...
Others will have a different opinion, & that's quite OK with me ;-)

:)

Confucius say.....
"He who lie underneath automobile with tool in hand,
....Not necessarily mechanic!!"

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AnswerID: 404817

Follow Up By: Camoco - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 21:05

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 21:05
Thanks Ed,
We are aware of the "poor" manoevering ability, hence why my reply elsewhere to just accepting where we park.

I am glad you wouldn't go back and that helps ease my mind somewhat.

That's an interesting rig you have. Quite similar to what I have come up with. Do you have any issues with tyres hitting the guard tops or are they recessed similar to a car?

Cheers Cam
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Follow Up By: Member - Ed C (QLD) - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 21:35

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 21:35
Cam,
I have about 4 - 5" clearance between tyres & guard, and I've also fitted bump stops between axle(s) & frame, and these will bottom-out before the tyres touch the guard, so no issues there..
Suspension is the simple "roller-rocker" leaf set-up (beam axles)..

Catch ya later.....

Ed C

:)
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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Friday, Feb 19, 2010 at 11:23

Friday, Feb 19, 2010 at 11:23
The aspect of manoevering the tandem "could" be overcome by utilising a full air bag suspension set-up. So, when you need to turn the camper in a tight spot, you would "simply?" dump the air from one pair of bags and jack the other pair up to maximum.... a bit like the sophisticated semi trailers do when they're running empty trailers; they jack up one of the tri-axles on the trailer.

Air suspension is currently advertised for around $500- per axle by Pro-bag at Dapto, NSW, so it could be a distinct possibility for you to consider.
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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Friday, Feb 19, 2010 at 11:31

Friday, Feb 19, 2010 at 11:31
Sorry...... I just took the time to FULLY read Ed's comments and notice that he has already mentioned the air bag idea.... DOH!!! hahaha

Ed, I'm curious about the weights involved with your great looking camper? Tare, GVM and ball-weight (if you don't mind publising of course)....

Cheers

Roachie
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Reply By: Crackles - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 22:51

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 22:51
"why it is not a good idea to build a tandem axle camper trailer"
Twice as many tyres to puncture, more to go wrong, heavier to tow, hard to manouver, more expensive to build & will use more fuel. A single axle is good for 1.6 tonne so as most campers are well under that there is little need for a 2nd one. The only tandem camper I've travelled with was setup to carry a 500cc motorbike on the A frame.
Cheers Craig..................
AnswerID: 404849

Reply By: Off-track - Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 23:31

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010 at 23:31
I thought about this a while ago and wonder why large/heavy caravan manufacturers dont have dual axles in a dog-trailer configuration. Load is spread across the length of the trailer/caravan and virtually nil down load is placed on the tow vehicle. Also because of a swivelling drawbar there will be reduced tyre scrub.
AnswerID: 404860

Follow Up By: disco driver - Friday, Feb 19, 2010 at 15:10

Friday, Feb 19, 2010 at 15:10
Gees, there's enough people on the road now who can't back a standard configuration caravan/trailer to save themselves, let alone with a dog type trailer hung on the back.

Introducing another pivot point would make it totally impossible for a lot more people.

It may be OK for those of us who have had a fair bit of semi and/or roadtrain experience, for anyone else..........................Forget it!!

They go on holiday to enjoy themselves, not to spend most of the break trying to back the outfit/rig into a narrow van site.

Disco.
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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Friday, Feb 19, 2010 at 10:42

Friday, Feb 19, 2010 at 10:42
It would seem that the answer is simply "overkill". For example, many 'single axle line' campers have trailing arm coil and shocker suspension - as I recall, the carrying capacity of those suspension/hub/axle/tyre combinations far exceeds any likely practical loading on the trailers. More wheels just doesn't seem necessary or desirable.
AnswerID: 404910

Follow Up By: Member - Paul B (WA) - Friday, Feb 19, 2010 at 17:37

Friday, Feb 19, 2010 at 17:37
Absolutely - if you need 2 more wheels to cart all your stuff around with you, you've probably got too much stuff!! I guess that's the take home message here. I go bush to get away from stuff, not take it with me, but hey, each to his own.

Paul B Kalgoorlie
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