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Old 11-03-2007, 06:40 AM   #1
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It's still a couple of years before we get a new MH but I'm looking. The 36 Phaeton looks great with the side bath and the TV in the center, but I see many people who say a tag axle makes driving much more comfortable.
To move to a tag we would have to go to 42 or 43 ft. Our 37B is 38 ft. and no problem. A four slide 36 would be nice.
But my question is "Is a tag worth the effort of driving a 42 footer and is it worth the extra cost?"
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Old 11-03-2007, 06:40 AM   #2
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It's still a couple of years before we get a new MH but I'm looking. The 36 Phaeton looks great with the side bath and the TV in the center, but I see many people who say a tag axle makes driving much more comfortable.
To move to a tag we would have to go to 42 or 43 ft. Our 37B is 38 ft. and no problem. A four slide 36 would be nice.
But my question is "Is a tag worth the effort of driving a 42 footer and is it worth the extra cost?"
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Old 11-03-2007, 09:21 AM   #3
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I wonder why a tag axle would make it more comfortable to drive? I like the looks of no tag axle better than with. I always thought the only reason a tag axle would be good was due to weight capacity but maybe it steers better with? Can anyone with a tag axle fill us in on the advantages of the extra axle and wheels?
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Old 11-03-2007, 11:34 AM   #4
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Im maybe comparing apples to oranges, but had a Freighliner 38 Fleetwood that would rock and roll so terribly that things flew out of the cabinets in an uneven turn...My Spartan tag is so stable and smooth I can even leave everything on the counters and its still there 100s of miles and turns later...other plusses...more braking, better crosswind/passing truck stability...and if you want to stay shorter, Country Coach and Foretravel have tags on 40 and less...personally I'd never go back to a non tag..
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Old 11-03-2007, 11:47 AM   #5
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A tag axle is only for additional weight carrying capacity.

Those that have them say the are easier to steer in a straight line.

Tags also reduce your ability to make sharp turns, unless you have the ability to lift it.
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Old 11-03-2007, 07:12 PM   #6
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We had a 33' gasser as our first RV. We wanted to keep it short to avoid all of the hassles of a bigger coach. 18 months later we traded it on a 40' Allegro Bus. 3 years after that we bought a 42' Bus with tag axle. I guess you can see where this is going

We found that the 42' coach really isn't that big at all. It fits most any place that a 40' does and there weren't that many places that our 33 footer got into that our 40' didn't so it really was a moot issue. The longer wheelbase of the 40' coach made for a much more stable handling and ride, especially in wind. It took a bit more turning radius but not all that bad. It turned out that our preconceived idea of "bigger is harder to handle" was wrong.

With the 42' Bus we have gone to a whole new level. The ride is outstanding as is the handling. I've never had any issues with tag axle scrub on tight turns and it really is rock solid on a windy day. Class A RVs have a fair amount of tail overhang. That overhang acts as a lever and tends to push the nose of the coach around by pivoting laterally on the rear axle, sort of like a sideways teeter totter. Wind can do this, 18 wheeler bow wakes, and just plain lane change maneuvers tend to get that back end swaying a bit. The tag axle acts as a wheelie bar or whatever and anchors the back end down, effectively reducing the amount of overhang. It does make for a much better handling coach. The tag axle's main reason for existence is to carry extra weight but it does have a number of other benefits. For one, today's 40' DPs tend to get real heavy on the rear axle. All those slideouts, ceramic tile, corian countertops, washer/dryer, etc really do add up to a fair amount of weight. Most of it is over the rear axle. I've seen a number of coaches that were 1,000 lbs under the GVW but 500-800 lbs over on the rear axle GAWR. It's tough to shift all that weight to the front end. With a tag axle you have an extra 10K CCC and it's all on the rear end. My 42QRP has in excess of 9,000 lbs CCC, which I couldn't possibly fill unless I start hauling rocks. But, it lets me put stuff where I want to, not where I have to. Of course the tag does look cool too. I also found that the turning radius of my 42' Bus with 55 degree wheelcut is actually better than my 40' Bus with 50 degree wheelcut. We're sold on tag axles and very glad we went that way. No downsides that we can see and all plusses.

On second thought, there "can" be a downside.

Tag axles take up about 4' of basement storage space. If you go from a 40' single axle coach to a 42' tag axle coach you've gained 2' of upstairs storage and floorspace but because 4' of the basement goes to house the tag, you have a net loss of 2' down below. That's "normally" the way it goes. But, when Tiffin designed the 42' Allegro Bus, they eliminated the dual propane furnaces and hot water heater and strictly went with hydronic heating. They then designed the basement around that system and reclaimed the extra space. I find that I have just as much basement space in my 42QRP as I did in my 40' Bus, actually just a tad more. Note that this is unique to the Allegro Bus. You won't get that in a 42' Phaeton because they do not have hydronic heating available. When shopping, we also looked at a 42' Country Coach Allure that had terrible basement space so, depending on which coach you are looking at, there "can" be a downside in less basement storage space.
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Old 11-04-2007, 05:42 AM   #7
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My 2005 Dutch Star is a 40' model, but it measures almost 41' long and it has a long wheel base with a 55 degree steering angle. It has a 20,000 pound rear axle and when loaded for travel it weighs 18,800 pounds so it has 1,200 CCC to spare in the rear and another 1,200 CCC to spare in the front.

It handles like a dream driving down the road and wind and passing trucks don't bother it at all. I am very happy with it. But if I traded for a 43' or 45' motorhome the weight would require a tag axle due to added weight. But I don't think a longer motorhome with a tag axle would drive any better than my 41' motorhome.
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Old 11-04-2007, 06:29 AM   #8
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Ed,
I'm in the camp that says buy a coach with a tag axle. I am on my last coach that has no tag. All the reasons mentioned by Larry and Mark are true.
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Old 11-04-2007, 06:43 AM   #9
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The purpose of the tag is to carry weight but a side benefit is that it smooths out the road somewhat, especially things like dips and railroad tracks, where it effectively stops the fore & aft pitching motion.

The downside is that it increases tire costs, drags sideways in a sharp turn (unless it can be raised manually or automatically), and can leave you high and dry if the tag crosses a narrow hump or ditch that leaves the drive wheels off the ground with the tag supporting the rear end. Yes, it really can happen!

I've had both and the tag does ride well, but so does my 04 American Tradition 40 without a tag. I wouldn't buy a different coach just to get a tag - it is far, far down on the list of things to consider when purchasing a coach and a mixed bag besides, with both pros and cons.
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Old 11-04-2007, 10:37 AM   #10
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Tag pros: more stable ride (less impact from passing trucks/cross-winds); more carrying capacity; if yours will raise then a SHORTER turning radius; smoother ride -- more air bags; shorter stopping distance (maybe) -- extra setof brakes

Tag cons: cost more $$ up front and for maintenance; takes up compartment bay storage space

You can get a tag on 40' rigs -- we have a Country Coach and most of their 40' rigs have a tag...fyi, our carrying capacity AFTER fuel, water, 2xpeople is almost 10,000 lbs

Would we get a rig with a tag again -- you bet, would be tough to not get it now
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Old 11-05-2007, 04:52 AM   #11
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The tags on today's coaches do have air dump features. It'll automatically dump in reverse and you can manually dump via a rocker switch when going forward. This effectively removes all pressure from the tag and it just rolls along and follows contours when dumped. You can back up over a concrete curb or bumper and the tag will roll right over it without lifting the rear of the coach or lettin you get hung up.
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Old 11-05-2007, 06:30 AM   #12
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Lots of room for arguments pro and con on tags. Lots of misinformation too.
We've owned 2 coaches with tags, a 33' HR and a 37'HR., both gas, one P-30 and the other a F-53, both with MorRide suspensions in the rear. The tag allows the builder to use a shorter wheelbase (cheaper) chassis and maintain fairly even weight distribution. The 33' had a 178" WB and the 37' had a 208" WB. but both had relatively short rear overhangs. As for additional braking power, in normal braking maybe so but not noticeable. In a hard panic stop, the front end drops, weight shifts forward and the rear end rises and all you have is 2 single skid marks behind you and the smell of burnt rubber. Can't say how it would work with an air suspension. Our current 40' coach has a 270" WB and still has a reasonably short rear overhang and good weight distribution.
On the liftable tag, the part about getting the drive wheels off of the ground and being high centered is a fact, happened to us in our 1st coach. The part about making the turning radius shorter is wrong. What makes the liftabel tag DPs making short turns is a shorter wheelbase. Turning radius is deternined by wheelbase and front wheel cut angle. Even with a 60deg. cut you still have swing wide enough or go far enough into a corner to keep the inside rear wheels from jumping a curb. The forward axle is the pivot point on tag axles. A few years back someone, Coachmen was experimenting with a steerable rear axle but the cost factor just wasn't doable. Seems like it would be like driving a forklift where the rear end swings around and the front/drive wheels pivot.
Cruzer, this past spring we looked very hard at a 40' Allegro Bus. Kite Bros in DeRidder, La. had one at our rally. That is a nice coach, very few options since it comes with everything standard. Just couldn't get together on $$$$. There was a Camelot show coach there also, quite a bit higher priced for not as much equipment and it even had a PAC brake vs the Bus' 2stage Jake.
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Old 11-05-2007, 10:49 AM   #13
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Our 2004 40' Bus had a 276" wheelbase with a 50 degree wheelcut. Our 2007 42QRP has a rear axle to front axle wheelbase of 283" so it is longer than our 40 footer. It has an "implied" wheelbase of 307" when measured from the front axle to a mid-point between the two rear axles and the front axle has a 55 degree wheelcut. While the 42QRP does have a longer wheelbase it still turns sharper than my 40' Bus. The extra 9" of wheelbase is more than offset by the extra 5 degrees of wheelcut. If you were to compare a 40' coach with 55 degree wheelcut to a 42' coach with 55 degree wheelcut there would not be an advantage. The main thing is that a 42' tag axle coach with a 55 degree wheelcut is easy to maneuver from a practical standpoint. Just forget about the detailed specs.

As to braking - there is a big difference. However I'm comparing a 2004 40' Bus with a 2007 42' Bus. Both have air ride suspension and never had any serious squatting issues under braking. I've never left any black skid marks and I've taken both of them through some really steep mountain grades out west. That extra set of brakes on the tag axle really does help to stop the coach. If your suspension can't handle this then I could see why skid marks are left. I think that's more apt to happen on the older coaches where the MorRide tag axle was added by the coach builder as a band-aid to correct an overweight condition. Today's tags are done by the chassis manufacturer and are engineered and integrated much better.

One more thing regarding wheelcuts. Freightliner now has a 60 degree wheelcut. When I asked Spartan if they were going to go that way they replied "no". They feel that it places too much stress on the driveline components. When the wheels are cranked that hard and you step on the throttle to try to go forwards you get a ton of resistance because the tires don't roll very well when they are sideways to the motion of the coach. It makes sense to me. I also found that with a 55 degree wheelcut and the longer wheelbase of a 42' coach you cannot kiss the toad on a sharp turn. I couldn't on my 40 footer either with a 50 degree wheelcut. But, I did that in my 2003 Suncruiser, which was a 33' coach with a 50 degree wheelcut. The shorter coach made the tail swing very wide on a sharp turn and the corner of the coach's rear cap did contact the front of the Grand Cherokee once. A longer wheelbase minimizes the tailswing and that won't happen - at least not at 55 degrees.
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Old 11-05-2007, 04:49 PM   #14
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Thanks everyone,

This is so typical of this site, many good opinions.

We have been very happy with our Winnebagos but currently I like the DSDP 4355 with Tiffin a very close second. We have been to all three factories and I like the way Winnie builds but there are just too many happy owners of the other two.

Who knows what will evolve before we buy.
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