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Old 05-14-2017, 03:51 PM   #1
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Truck-Camper pulling a Cargo Trailer?

Small single axle trailer. . .




Or a tandem axle unit?



For the sake of conversation:
* I dont care about price or economics.
* I dont care about capacity.
* I just want general opinions & advice on what trailers best behind a truck-camper.
(What's best behaved on the open road?)

Thanks in advance to the crew here for any input on this.
Your advice can save me a lot of pain in the long run.
Regards,
-Ej-
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Old 05-15-2017, 01:15 AM   #2
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I've pulled both behind our TC, ('89 Dodge W250 Cummins and '92 11.5' Caribou, 11k lbs) without any problems. We hauled a car from OR to WV on the tandem and returned the empty trailer to OR. We've hauled several bikes on a single axle trailer OR to WV as well as bringing a Bridgeport Milling Machine (1k lbs?) from Bridgeport CT to OR on one. Both types that we used were open trailers (not enclosed) and trailed just fine at 60-70 mph.

The trailer that was a bit on the difficult to handle side was a 24', 10' high, enclosed tandem axle car trailer that I bought near Chicago, picked up a home built aircraft near St.Louis, went to WV, then to Oshkosh, WI, and back to OR. At above 60 mph it would become very "squirrely". I didn't have load levelers which could have made a difference. It was also a little more weight (4k+lbs on a 3' extension) than I felt comfortable hauling with the TC.

Best of luck with your choice.

Steve
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Old 05-15-2017, 02:21 AM   #3
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Perhaps a more important question would be how much weight would the trailer be expected to haul?

I used a tandem axle for the car because a single axle would not carry that much weight. A single axle was plenty for the bikes and milling machine.

Just another thought.

Steve
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Old 05-15-2017, 10:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dix39 View Post
Perhaps a more important question would be how much weight would the trailer be expected to haul?

Steve

Something small like this Wells Cargo MPT581 (2000# payload) is plenty for my needs however...
I felt that a light single axle trailer would "tag-a-long" so poorly at 60 MPH that I'd be best to cough up the extra $$$ and go with a small tandem.
Still investigating this.

Steve,
Thanks for your input on this. It's much appreciated.
Regards,
-Ej-
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:40 PM   #5
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A small single axle will pull just fine if you have the weight properly balanced inside so you have sufficient tongue weight. I pull a 8' flat bed single axle with 15" wheels and 3500 lb leaf sprung axle or 20' enclosed trailer with 15" wheels and 5200 lb tandem torsion axles.

My flat bed has no axle brakes and I can feel the weight pushing at a stop more than my enclosed, so you may want to get brakes to help you slow down your combination.

Both my trailers have 15" wheels, I would avoid anything shorter than 14" because the hubs will be spinning much faster when you tow on highways. I had a little folding trailer with 12" wheels for years, but annually would pull the hubs, flush the bearings and repack them - Never a problem, but the maintenance was something you cannot neglect.

If your trailer is narrower than your camper, it will be hard to see when backing. Plan on getting a review camera or choose a trailer that is at least wide enough to see the fenders. if the trailer is light, it may be easier to get a tongue jack with a wheel and just push it back rather than backing the vehicle.

As long as your trailer is not wider or taller than your camper, you will not have more wind drag when driving. Side winds are less of an issue towing a trailer behind your truck camper because of the amount of rear axle weight you have on the truck, so keeping a small profile is less of a concern.

For a small trailer, my minimum suggestion is get 15" wheels with a single 3500 lb axle that has brakes. This will give you a trailer that rolls and stops easily. Size is very subjective, so at least you have some factors to consider when you go shopping.
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:23 AM   #6
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What Bedlam says makes sense to me.

Both tandem axle trailers I used had electric brakes, and they were needed. Neither single axle did and it was never a problem for me, but having them wouldn't be a bad idea. I have one of the small folding trailers and only use it for local trips towed by a small car. I would agree about the tire sizes, although the bike trailer only has 13' tires and it's been to the east coast and back to OR several times. However it has only carried 400-500 lbs. I think the trailer I hauled the mill on had 15" tires and was considerably stronger than the bike trailer.

As I said there was no problem with any of them at 60-70 mph except the 24' tandem axle enclosed car trailer. I wouldn't go that fast with the folding trailer either because of the small wheels.

The little bike trailer was a pain to back with the camper, because as Bedlam says, it was narrower than the TC and it was short. When it was visible in either mirror it was time to stop and start over.

Our campers had a window in the lower part of the door that made it possible to watch whatever was being towed. The MH has a camera. I would not tow anything without being able to keep an eye on it.

Best of luck with your choice.

Steve
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Old 05-16-2017, 11:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bedlam View Post
A small single axle will pull just fine if you have the weight properly balanced inside so you have sufficient tongue weight.
For a small trailer, my minimum suggestion is get 15" wheels with a single 3500 lb axle that has brakes. This will give you a trailer that rolls and stops easily. Size is very subjective, so at least you have some factors to consider when you go shopping.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dix39 View Post
What Bedlam says makes sense to me.
Both tandem axle trailers I used had electric brakes, and they were needed. Neither single axle did and it was never a problem for me, but having them wouldn't be a bad idea.

The little bike trailer was a pain to back with the camper, because as Bedlam says, it was narrower than the TC and it was short. When it was visible in either mirror it was time to stop and start over.

Our campers had a window in the lower part of the door that made it possible to watch whatever was being towed. The MH has a camera. I would not tow anything without being able to keep an eye on it.
Steve
Thanks guys for your experiences and ideas on this.

Without going into a custom build it appears that single axle trailers typically come with brake-less 2500# axles and 13” tires.
Once you get into tandems you start having tire & axle options.

I'm leaning towards a single axle but I’m sure that for a little extra $$$ I could have just about anything custom built.
BTW; I love special orders and custom built stuff.
Fortunately the ‘custom’ work that can be done on a RV is endless!


Thanks again,
-Ej-
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Old 05-16-2017, 11:31 AM   #8
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The single axle trailer with larger tires I used to get the mill was built by a friend/neighbor in his driveway. He volunteered to let me use it for the 7k mile trip. That sounds like a long way to go to get a mill, but we were would have been traveling most of it anyway to visit friends and relatives in WV. Good friend, eh? He also let me use a tandem axle trailer he built in his driveway to haul a car back to WV for my Mom.

Steve
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:30 PM   #9
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Interstate sells the LoadRunner Cargo trailer 6x14 with 3500 lb single axle and brakes (1600 lbs empty). Most of the smaller trailers are rated under 3000 lbs so brakes are not added. Their 7x14 LoadRunner model goes to a tandem axle for more money, but also brings more empty weight with its size and extra axle (2100 lbs empty). They do have less expensive tandems running 14" wheels that are closer to the single axle trailer price...

https://www.trailersplus.com/
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Old 05-19-2017, 05:06 AM   #10
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We tow a couple of different trailers behind an F-350 Crew Cab dual wheel truck with a Travellite Illusion 1100 (11 foot) TC. We use a Torklift Superhitch that is rated for 20K if towing directly from receiver without the camper on the truck. The Superhitch has both a class 3 and class 5 mounts one over the other. We use a 48 inch Supertruss extension which uses both mounting points for 1200 Lb tongue weight and 12K total weight if using a load equalizer hitch. The weight capacity drops to 600 Lb and 6K weight limit if towing dead weight without load equalizer bars.

We tow a 24 foot Pace Shadow enclosed race car trailer with one of three show cars that grosses out at 8K. We sometimes tow our 22 foot sport boat which weighs 5500 Lbs loaded. When towing the race car trailer we use Reese 1000 Lb load equalizer bars, and it is necessary to position the car inside so that the weight is balanced evenly over the axles. When towing the boat we tow dead weight without the load equalizer bars. The RC trailer has Dexter 5200 lb axles with electric brakes. The boat trailer which uses 14 inch tires has been retrofitted with the same Dexter 5200 Lb axles with electric brakes. The brake hubs fit the 14 inch wheels with room to spare, and may even fit inside of a 13 inch wheel. Boat trailers do fine with electric brakes if only used in fresh water.

Both trailers tow well at highway speeds, and both provide enough additional braking so that the stopping distance is about the same with the truck and camper, or when towing either of the trailers. Interestingly many states limit boats on trailers to 60 MPH, however enclosed cargo trailers are not limited and can be towed the same speed as a cars are allowed to travel. Both tow fine at 70 MPH. The additional 2500 Lbs when towing the race car trailer makes a huge difference, mostly in the ability of the truck to get all of it moving. We are under the allowed weight limits of each axle, and the unit handles well even crossing a 5500 foot altitude mountain pass with 14% grades near our home. I did install a diesel brake for descending those long steep grades as the brakes did heat up some on grades.

A lot of towing depends on the tow vehicle. If hauling a large truck camper on a single wheel truck stability may not be as good as the same rig with dual wheels.

Trailer brakes also add a measure of safety. Most states require trailer brakes if the loaded trailer weighs 3500 Lbs or more. Tandem wheels on a trailer typically tow better when compared to single axle trailers, but again it depends on the amount of weight you are carrying and how the weight is balanced. Typically you will want the tongue weight to be 10% of the total trailer weight.
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Old 05-19-2017, 03:42 PM   #11
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I prefer a dual axle trailer, but there are pluses and minus's to them.
One plus is that if the trailer has a flat, it will work just fine for awhile on 3 tires. It also distributes the load better and depending upon the suspension, will ride better.
A dual axle turns harder. On very curvy roads, the rear tires tend to wear flat spots from the tires scuffing, not turning when going around corners.
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Old 05-24-2017, 10:58 PM   #12
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I regularly tow a 22' tandom axle trailer weighing around 7k lbs behind my camper and it works great. I use a weight distribution hitch, that combined with the 2 axle trailer and i swear it tracks straighter and drives better with the trailer than it does without.
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Old 05-25-2017, 10:57 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by 84prerunner View Post
I regularly tow a 22' tandom axle trailer weighing around 7k lbs behind my camper and it works great. I use a weight distribution hitch, that combined with the 2 axle trailer and i swear it tracks straighter and drives better with the trailer than it does without.
Thanks to all for the ongoing information being posted here.

Greetings 84prerunner,
Could you give me some specifics on that weight distribution hitch?
I didnt know such a device was possible with an 'extended' truck-camper setup.

Thanks!
-Ej-
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Old 05-26-2017, 04:34 PM   #14
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