Free 7 Day Trial RV GPS App RV Trip Planner Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Free 7 Day Trial ×
RV Trip Planning Discussions

Go Back   iRV2 Forums > MOTORHOME FORUMS > Class A Motorhome Discussions
Click Here to Login
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on iRV2
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 11-20-2011, 07:32 AM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 1

Help: We a thinking about upgrading to a Class A camper. Being thrifty, we are looking at some good used coaches to start with. Some we are looking at have a tag axle, i.e. national dolphin, etc. What advantages or disadvantages does the tag axle provide? Thanks
Seabee26 is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free! RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 11-20-2011, 07:56 AM   #2
Senior Member
wildtoad's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 4,665
My opinion: Disadvantage - More tires/wheels/axles to maintain, purchase. Advantage: Can handle more weight. Many mh's are close to being overweight so the extra tires help.
Tom Wilds

2016 Newmar Bay Star Sport 3004
2015 Jeep Wrangler 2DR 4WD Sahara, Automatic, Hard Top
wildtoad is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2011, 08:02 AM   #3
Senior Member
Rook's Avatar
National RV Owners Club
Solo Rvers Club
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: FT for 6 years, NW in the summer, S in winter.
Posts: 1,173
For starters you have 8 tires/wheels to maintain/replace instead of 6. Usually wheels on a tag axle are 19.9 in compared to 22.5 inches on a non-tag same length. The wheelbase is usually shorter therefore the need for the extra set of wheels in the back to support the load and length in the rear. Rook
When you get a chance to dance, or sit this one out......I hope you DANCE!

98 National Tradewinds 7370, powered by a 3126B 300HP CAT Turbo, Freightliner XC chassis
Rook is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2011, 09:17 AM   #4
Senior Member
Tha_Rooster's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Georgia
Posts: 6,729
Certain tag axles are not necessarily a good thing.
2007 Fleetwood Revolution LE 40V
Tha_Rooster is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2011, 09:26 AM   #5
Senior Member
Fleetwood Owners Club
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 115
Originally Posted by Tha_Rooster View Post
Certain tag axles are not necessarily a good thing.
We have a tag axle coach - the things I've read are that the coach will track better without the need of an add-on device to the axle, and that the bearings in them can be a problem. We haven't experienced problems yet and the coach does seem to track okay. I wanted a coach with 8 wheels because I simply think they look 'cool' so we got one and a TPMS to monitor all those tires...we did have new tires put on to assure all 8 were good and that isn't cheap.

Instead of folks writing general comments, can any offer specific pros or cons? That would be interesting to me. The weight distribution as mentioned is one other pro I believe. Stability, etc.

I saw a coach yesterday that had two 4" or 5" castors hanging on the back of the underside of the coach...interesting - asked about them and forgot what they were called but they were there to help the coach not 'bottom out' on terrain - it was a 37' with a tag axle - interesting to me...I have a spare tire back there...LOL
1997 Fleetwood Southwind 35LS - Ford F53 Chassis - Life is a Journey and Everyone Should Enjoy Theirs
Firstpoet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2011, 09:40 AM   #6
Senior Member
LVJ58's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 2,297
In defense of tags, which our gas coach has, The Positives: 1. They increase the coach GVWR; 2. Enhance directional stability (handling); 3. Provide additional braking.

The negatives: 1. Two additional tires to be replaced; 2. Axle maintenance as mentioned i.e., replacement of brake shoes and bearing lubrication.

Our coach with 74k miles tag brakes & bearings still good, replaced tires twice.

If the coach you're considering without tags has an adequate wheelbase in proportion to the length of the coach you're OK, however if it's say a 37' coach with a 228" WB and there's excess weight behind the drive wheels you could experience a handling problem (tail wagging the dog).

If the WB is 242" or longer on a 37' coach it should handle OK. Our coach has a 228" WB with tags increasing it to 242" so it handles very well. Our chassis is rated at 20,500 GVWR and with the tags it's rated at 22,000 GVWR.

Good luck with your search and safe travels
Jim & SherrySeward

2000 Residency 3790 v10 w/tags 5 Star tune & Banks system Suzuki XL7 toad
LVJ58 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2011, 03:38 PM   #7
Moderator Emeritus
Gary RVRoamer's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Silver Springs, FL. USA
Posts: 24,250
The tag axle is there because it is necessary, not because it has advantages. It i s used when the rear axle cannot support enough weight to carry the coach body and your gear. The Dolphin you are looking at probably has a relatively weak chassis with a gvwr of maybe 17,000 lbs without the tag, so the tag brings it up to 20k or maybe even 22k. If you bought a somewhat newer coach with a more robust chassis, you would get the same or greater weight carry capacity without the tag. Both Ford and Workhorse increased the GVWR of their motorhome chassis around 2001 and the tag axle was pretty much discarded for gas chassis coaches after that. Larger diesel pushers still use them when their weight exceeds the 20,000 lb legal max for a single axle.

So, if you need a tag to carry the weight, you get the drawbacks that have already been mentioned - more tires to buy & maintain, the tires scrub in turns, etc. The tag axle also consumes space under the coach that could have been used for more storage if it were not necessary. In partial compensation you get some small benefits is ride and handling, but nothing really major in my opinion.
Gary Brinck
Former owner of 2004 American Tradition and several other RVs
Home is in the Ocala Nat'l Forest near Ocala, FL
Summers in Black Mountain, NC
Gary RVRoamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2011, 03:51 PM   #8
Senior Member
Lt46's Avatar
Winnebago Owners Club
Retired Fire Service RVer's
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 747
Totally agree with LVJ58's summary. I love the way my coach cruise's down the highway. Completely stock and have no need to add any of the F53 handling improvements I read about here and other forums. I too have put new 16" tires all around and replaced shocks with the Monroe gas magnums, zero complaints, she glides down the hiways and byways with grace. Many RV'ers make having a tag axle sound as if having they are a negative. My experience is the opposite.
1997 F53 Adventurer 37rw
IAFF L-792 (Retired)
Lt46 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2011, 08:32 PM   #9
Jon from WI's Avatar
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 34
What seems to be the most important to me is 1) floor plan 2) mechanics -engine brand,size,etc and 3) last but not least-previous owner(s) maintenance records. If no records, I would be very leary and would probably walk. You are buying the previous owner just as much as you are the coach. I personally would look at a older "high end" coach like Foretravel, Country Coach, HR, Monaco, Safari,etc and be sure to buy a new enough model to get the 6 speed Allison World Wide Transmission (the older coaches only had 4 speed). Good luck and enjoy the journey!
Jon and co-pilot Heidi
1996 38' Safari Serengeti, 300 hp Cat, Allison 6 speed
Jon from WI is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2011, 08:49 PM   #10
Senior Member
B Bob's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,442
One of my good RV friends has a Dolphin with a tag axle. It has been a great coach for him. He has taken it to Alaska twice.

We have a tag on our motor home. When I was test driving a bunch of class A's two years ago the ones with the tag axles seemed to have a steadier ride. I drove our coach and was so impressed with the way it seemed so solid on the road we bought it. The only non tag coach I drove that compared with our Country Coach tag was the Alpine 40'.

We have quite a few National coaches in our RV club. I get very good feedback on them. We have several Dolphins of different years. A couple of our members also belong to the Dolphin club.
B Bob
Country Coach 42' Affinity
2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
B Bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2011, 07:06 AM   #11
Senior Member
paz's Avatar
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Full-timers - Home is where we park it.
Posts: 4,717

You specifically asked about tag axles, and you have gotten some good replies.

However, you also mentioned you were looking at a Dolphin. You didn't ask about the manufacturer (National), but since you seem to be a newbie, I wanted to make sure you aware National is no longer in business. Most chassis and drive train parts will be available from the chassis manufacturer, and you will likely be able to get parts for appliances inside the rig from the appliance manufacturers. However, you may be out of luck for any special parts made exclusively by National. If you're willing to live with that, you can probably get a good price on a National motorhome.
paz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2011, 12:33 PM   #12
Senior Member
Cat320's Avatar
Fleetwood Owners Club
American Coach Owners Club
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 5,942
Older gassers had tags because they could not support the weight of the coach with one axle. Today's rigs are much stronger, my 41' DP has a GVWR of 34,600, with a single rear axle...and, with a 15k tow rating, a GCWR of 59,600. We wanted as much MH as we could get without a tag. Nothing against tags, just did not want the extra maint, length, expense, etc of a tag, and did not need the extra cargo capacity it offers.
2014 American Eagle 45T
DD 13, 500 HP
Pulling a Honda CRV
Cat320 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-21-2011, 06:42 PM   #13
Senior Member
rvjimmy's Avatar
Monaco Owners Club
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Almond, Wisconsin
Posts: 1,484
Lets not forget one more axle to pay toll on!
2006 Monaco Camelot 40 PAQ 400ISL - Toad Jeep Grand Cherokee - DW is the Nagivator. Retired to travel and everything revolves around the price of diesel.
rvjimmy is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
RV Decisions are tough! aliciah0608 New Member Check-In 17 10-09-2011 12:10 AM
Decisions Decisions BuffaloBarb Travel Trailer Discussion 19 08-15-2011 11:53 PM
Decisions on new moho choice MackDaddy Class A Motorhome Discussions 14 11-08-2009 09:30 AM
Decisions, Decisions Junebug4743 Camping Locations, Plans & Trip Reports 12 08-16-2007 06:11 PM
chassis decisions docD MH-General Discussions & Problems 10 04-01-2005 04:12 AM

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:25 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.