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Old 07-26-2012, 09:04 AM   #1
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TAG Axle Operations

Let's talk about Tag Axles in general.

1. How do they work?
2. Can you control if it is "up" or "down"?
3. Anything else that apply to tag axles?

Obviously there is the fact that you have 2 more tires to maintain and some axle components that go with them. Beyond the other expected advantages of them going down the road, are there other pros and cons to them that might be worth listing out?
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:32 PM   #2
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Great questions.
Especially for rigs in the 38' to 40' length.
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:47 PM   #3
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Glad you asked myself. I have been questioning whether I should have considered a tag axle MH when purchasing a year ago so the more I read, the more my understanding. I used the search function on forums and found some good info on subject. Maybe some new comments of operation and pro & cons will be nice. I too understand futher expense in tires and lack of some storage but for ride/stability seems they might be worth it in anything over 40'. as always, bet you get some good advice and comments here.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by athuddriver View Post
Let's talk about Tag Axles in general.

1. How do they work?
2. Can you control if it is "up" or "down"?
3. Anything else that apply to tag axles?

Obviously there is the fact that you have 2 more tires to maintain and some axle components that go with them. Beyond the other expected advantages of them going down the road, are there other pros and cons to them that might be worth listing out?
1. Just a freewheeling axle set right behind the drive axles, on some very highend coaches (Newell,Prevost) they are also a steerable axle. The main purpose is to add extra carrying capacity to the coach.

2. Yes you can raise the axle up when going slowly around the park and or parking lot to assist with turning in tight places.

3. They make the coach handle really well going down the highway. Passing trucks and wind are not even noticeable.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:45 PM   #5
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1. One more pair of tire contact patches.
2. One more pair of brakes.
3. One more pair of air bags and shocks.

Depending on the chassis builder, the tag can raised at walking speed.
The amount of weight carried by the tag can be varied which also will change the amount of weight carried by the drive and steer axle.
The handling and steering are much more stable.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:48 PM   #6
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If I had one that was only 28ft I'd still want a tag. Even though you probably can't get one. I don't like wagging my tail.
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Old 07-26-2012, 02:04 PM   #7
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I have actually seen class C shorter than 28' with tag.

I agree, I wouldn't go without the tag again. It's one of those things that once you have it, you can't live without it.
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Old 07-26-2012, 02:55 PM   #8
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Our shop never worked on diesel tags. They always went back to the original builder. I owned a 345 Airstream motorhome with a tag and have worked on many gas tag axles.
the only good thing about a tag ( in my experience) is the fact that it does tend to keep the motorhome going in a straight line. I had one Pace Arrow that went back twice to the factory, for brake failure, on the tag. Fleetwood could not get the brakes to work and they had to buy the coach back under the lemon law. You have two more tires, four more bearings, two more brakes and one more braking system to keep up. also remember the only reason for the tag is because the chassis is not strong enough to carry the weight. I would never buy another coach with a tag. That is just my personal exp.
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Old 07-26-2012, 03:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
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If I had one that was only 28ft I'd still want a tag. Even though you probably can't get one. I don't like wagging my tail.
My 36' w/tag still tail wagged pretty good when I first got it. Trac bar on the drive axle tammed it quite a bit.
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Old 07-26-2012, 06:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Ownby View Post
1. One more pair of tire contact patches.
2. One more pair of brakes.
3. One more pair of air bags and shocks.

Depending on the chassis builder, the tag can raised at walking speed.
The amount of weight carried by the tag can be varied which also will change the amount of weight carried by the drive and steer axle.
The handling and steering are much more stable.
Thanks all so far for your ideas!

Steve,

So the tag wheels have brakes also? I Didn't know that.

On the raising of the tag...

Is this something that is done manually or automatically based on chassis?

Also...

Is the amount of weight carried by the tag also done manually or automatically?

Are either of these adjustments that are done manually done from the coach (some kind of control panel?) or by other means?

TANX!
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Old 07-26-2012, 06:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by athuddriver

Thanks all so far for your ideas!

Steve,

So the tag wheels have brakes also? I Didn't know that.

On the raising of the tag...

Is this something that is done manually or automatically based on chassis?

Also...

Is the amount of weight carried by the tag also done manually or automatically?

Are either of these adjustments that are done manually done from the coach (some kind of control panel?) or by other means?

TANX!
Tag raising depends on the chassis builder. Some are set up to raise automatically when in reverse and can be raised manually anytime. Many are set up to lower back down when forward speed reaches some speed, like 5 mph. This is designed to keep the tag tires from scrubbing sideways when in a full lock turn which is a low speed situation. Some actually lift off the ground slightly and others just release air pressure to the tag air bags.

The amount of weight carried by the tag is adjustable. Freightliner discourages owners from making changes. Roadmaster has instructions on how to accomplish it. Sounds like too many lawyers.

Controls to raise the tag are at the drivers console. Controls to change the weight on the tag is in the rear. Weight changes should be done very deliberately and with firm goals in mind. Increasing pressure on the tag will also take weight off the steer axle and increase weight on the steer axle. Decreasing pressure on the tag has the reverse effect.

Remarks by a previous poster concerning weaknesses of tag axles were correct as applied to gasoline coaches. Those tag axles were added to a chassis modified by the coach builder and generally did not work out well. I'm not aware of any modern gasoline coaches with tag axles.
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Old 07-26-2012, 06:40 PM   #12
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They don't raise the tag, they just dump the air out of the bags for traction and tight turning so it doesn't scuff. Some high end units will raise the tag, but thats boo koo bucks.

I just changed out the brake shoes on my tag . Not a big deal. About $100.

My tag raises and lowers with the drive axle height control. auto dumps in reverse and can manually dump for traction.
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Old 07-26-2012, 06:49 PM   #13
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I have been to campgrounds that won't allow tags. (scuffing) Had one on a 32' F53 not the best setup.
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Old 07-26-2012, 07:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perry White View Post
They don't raise the tag, they just dump the air out of the bags for traction and tight turning so it doesn't scuff. ...

...My tag raises and lowers with the drive axle height control. auto dumps in reverse and can manually dump for traction.
If I understand you correctly, bags are used to push the tag down? Sounds like the tag is some how spring loaded to be "up" if the bags don't push them down then?

I don't want to drive this thread into minutia. LOL Just trying to get a handle on the issues.

THANKS!
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