Single Axle Limitations?

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Single Axle Limitations?

Post by Inquisitor » Thu Mar 25, 2021 6:18 am

I've been reading a great deal here on the forum about the merits of a dual axle trailer. I appreciate all of your all's experience. Thanks.

I fully understand their merits and will get one... maybe next year, but...

...what I'd like to hear from members:
  1. Does anyone do any long distance traveling on single axle trailers? - I mean... is the stock trailer really only meant for keeping your boat at home, and launch within say 60 miles of home?
  2. What happens when you get a blow-out at interstate speeds?
    1. Trailer instantly goes sideways and drags your truck off the road?
    2. Weaves but is controllable?
    3. Tracks true and have to be observant that its even happening?
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Re: Single Axle Limitations?

Post by Tomfoolery » Thu Mar 25, 2021 7:12 am

I don't own an :macm: , and I have a twin axle trailer (original moved and second added by PO), but there are plenty of members here with OEM single-axle trailers who've towed them long distances. Highlander comes to mind, when he moved almost the whole way across Canada. Beene and Dreamer have/had singles and tow some distances, and I believe BOAT has a single and tows all over the place.

The big concern for me would be the tires, though. Roger didn't spend any more than he had to on these trailers, and while the load rating may have been there, small trailer tires, and axles for that matter, are 'optimistically' rated, IMO. They'll carry the load, but at max rated load they don't last long. Ask anyone with a travel trailer; they have a reputation for blow outs.

If possible, go to a higher ply/load rating, though if they're 14" with load rating "D", I don't think you can go any higher without going to 15", which may not fit. Having more tire than you technically need is not a liability, just like having a heavier axle (but not springs). Bearing fatigue life (B10 life) is very sensitive to load, and a small increase in load make a large decrease in longevity. I don't know for fact, but I suspect tires are similar.

Oh, and avoid cheap Chinese tires. I have a set of four, but they're running at about half their rated load, and they're fine. Over on an RV forum I frequent, the general advise is to use good quality trailer tires (for travel trailers and 5th wheels) and stay away from the cheap stuff, but I can't say what brands would quality as I haven't had to concern myself with that.
Tom
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Re: Single Axle Limitations?

Post by Be Free » Thu Mar 25, 2021 7:33 am

Never had a blow out at interstate speeds but I did have a tire come off a single axle boat trailer around 40mph. The trailer tipped over and the hub ran on the road surface until I could stop. It was scary but I never felt like I was going to lose control. It did not damage the hub but it did a number on the road surface (limerock).

I have had a problem at highway speeds with my dual axle trailer (broke a spindle). I did not even know it had happened until I stopped about half way to the river and noticed that my left rear tire was pointed up about 30 degrees.
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Re: Single Axle Limitations?

Post by kmclemore » Thu Mar 25, 2021 10:15 am

I have an original Mac trailer with a single axle. I have driven it from New Mexico to our home in Pennsylvania, and several other long trips from there to New Hampshire and back. I would consider the single axle to be barely adequate, but adequate it is, and it's entirely usable that way with reasonable care and attention.

On ours we began to get some sag in the center of the axle caused by the heavy load on the wheels slowly bending it, resulting in positive camber on the wheels. I corrected this by re-arching the rear axle. I suppose I really should replace it, but that's pretty low on my 'to do' list, since the re-arching seems to have done the job for now.

The comments about tires are true - you need to get the VERY BEST tires and make sure they've got the highest load rating you can find. Keep them at the full inflation pressure and replace them whenever they look tired (cracked, worn, etc.). Wheel bearings need to be removed, cleaned, inspected and re-greased every few years, and install new hub rear seals to ensure no water gets in there.

As for the trailer's brakes, yeah, they suck. But do make sure you have the master cylinder topped up and bleed it annually to ensure there's no water in the system.

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Re: Single Axle Limitations?

Post by chipveres » Thu Mar 25, 2021 10:56 am

A somewhat obscure problem with the single axle. On our Mac 22, the trailer must be hitched to the truck or the stern blocked up before you go on board. Otherwise the weight of a person in the cockpit pivots the nose way up in the air and the sailor takes a tumble. [Insert foul language here]

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Re: Single Axle Limitations?

Post by Tomfoolery » Thu Mar 25, 2021 12:23 pm

kmclemore wrote:
Thu Mar 25, 2021 10:15 am
. . . and install new hub rear seals to ensure no water gets in there.
And be sure to buy double-lipped seals. The outer lip keeps water out, and the inner lip keeps grease in.

I found this out the hard way after replacing bearings on one axle every spring, with bits of rust on the rollers and races. The other axle was the newer one, and had double-lipped seals and has never admitted water. Since installed appropriate seals in the old axle, those bearings have been holding up fine, too, with no signs of water in the hubs when I open them up in the pre-season.

Oh, and buy good quality bearings. The super cheap trailer bearings at the local auto parts store, mounted on a card hanging on a hook, will fatigue relatively fast (roller surface mainly) and start coming apart, whereas good bearings will hold up better.
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Re: Single Axle Limitations?

Post by Sea Shadow » Sat Mar 27, 2021 10:05 pm

LImits in VIctoria, Australia are 2 metric tonnes (one tonne on each wheel) for a single axle trailer with a need for trailer brakes at weights over 750kg. Original trailer that I got with the M has wheels and tyres rated at 900 kgs. Upgraded suspension (local manufactured torsion bar system), wheels and tyres to a collective 2 tonne (1000kg tires and wheels).

I find I can go at highway speeds (indeed passing some cars) up to the limit of 110kph (I think about 65mph) without a problem. I have travelled 12 hours without a problem. It tows great and backs so easily when I get to other end. I check the wheels, axles and tyres regularly for excessive heat (back of hand in proximity of the appropriate areas). Not had a problem to this stage. Of course, get your trailer serviced regularly and check regularly when travelling at stops for fatigue meals etc...
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Re: Single Axle Limitations?

Post by Starscream » Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:43 am

Inquisitor wrote:
Thu Mar 25, 2021 6:18 am
I've been reading a great deal here on the forum about the merits of a dual axle trailer. I appreciate all of your all's experience. Thanks.

I fully understand their merits and will get one... maybe next year, but...

...what I'd like to hear from members:
  1. Does anyone do any long distance traveling on single axle trailers? - I mean... is the stock trailer really only meant for keeping your boat at home, and launch within say 60 miles of home?
  2. What happens when you get a blow-out at interstate speeds?
    1. Trailer instantly goes sideways and drags your truck off the road?
    2. Weaves but is controllable?
    3. Tracks true and have to be observant that its even happening?
My experience with our X:

A single axle trailer blowout is not as violent an event as one would think. You definitely know, but you're not dying in a ball of flames. It shakes pretty badly, but you can limp down the road to a safe exit. Been there.

Your vehicle jack is probably strong enough to lift the trailer. If you are towing with an SUV, it is possible that the vehicle jack isn't tall enough to lift the trailer high enough, so a couple of spare pieces of wood can come in handy.

Carry a high-power light for a night event.

After the blowout, once the spare is on, you are out of spares. Makes for a nerve-racking drive, let me tell you. In my case it was about 200km of fingers-crossed high-stress driving.

I had a tire go down on our double-axle trailer. I didn't even know it until a routine inspection during a fuel stop. The other tires took the load.

Fuel economy with a single-axle trailer is better than with a dual-axle trailer. Several mpg better.

Maneuvering with the single axle trailer is easier. There's a lot of tire-scraping going on when one has to precisely place a dual-axle trailer.

All that said, I would never go back to the single-axle setup.

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Re: Single Axle Limitations?

Post by Russ » Sun Mar 28, 2021 6:05 am

Many owners have towed their Macs great distances without issues. Much may depend on load. My boat is HEAVY. Big motor, 2 x12 gal fuel tanks and lots of gear. This caused camber on the axle/wheels and they wore unevenly.

What kind of trailer do you have? The stock aluminum trailer is EASY to add another axle. I did it myself and if I can do it, anyone can.
I ended up buying 4 new tires premounted on wheels. Used one of the old worn tires as a spare and sold the other one.

I often see trailers on the side of the road with flats. My guess is that trailers are not used often enough to wear out tires and owners ignore the aging issue. I forget the lifespan of trailer tires, but they need replacing before they are worn out.
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Re: Single Axle Limitations?

Post by Inquisitor » Sun Mar 28, 2021 6:25 am

Starscream wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:43 am
... A single axle trailer blowout is not as violent an event as one would think. You definitely know, but you're not dying in a ball of flames. It shakes pretty badly, but you can limp down the road to a safe exit. Been there.

... I had a tire go down on our double-axle trailer. I didn't even know it until a routine inspection during a fuel stop. The other tires took the load.

...
It sounds like you've a lot of experience (that you'd probably rather not have) :D
Russ wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 6:05 am
Many owners have towed their Macs great distances without issues. Much may depend on load. My boat is HEAVY. Big motor, 2 x12 gal fuel tanks and lots of gear. This caused camber on the axle/wheels and they wore unevenly.

What kind of trailer do you have? The stock aluminum trailer is EASY to add another axle. I did it myself and if I can do it, anyone can.
I ended up buying 4 new tires premounted on wheels. Used one of the old worn tires as a spare and sold the other one.
...
I got mine at the end of 2007 and I have a hodge-podge of 2007- and 2008+ features. I think I have a 2008 trailer. It is the aluminum kind. And I have been debating/researching the dual axle for the reason you suggest. I'm starting to heavily mod my boat and the weight will certainly go up. I did get the impression from my reading here that the torsion axles were easier. Although I haven't gone digging for details yet... the questions that linger in my mind, are:
  • does the same model of axle still exist and are they readily available? Over the years, I've poked around on this... now my old bookmarks have gone stale and it seems like these places keep going out of business.
  • placement of the second... does it go behind the current one or do I have to move the first one forward to still maintain the same current balance point?
Thank you all, these are the kind of things I was hoping to read and your support is the best thing about this forum.
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Re: Single Axle Limitations?

Post by Tomfoolery » Sun Mar 28, 2021 6:54 am

Inquisitor wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 6:25 am
I got mine at the end of 2007 and I have a hodge-podge of 2007- and 2008+ features. I think I have a 2008 trailer. It is the aluminum kind. And I have been debating/researching the dual axle for the reason you suggest. I'm starting to heavily mod my boat and the weight will certainly go up. I did get the impression from my reading here that the torsion axles were easier. Although I haven't gone digging for details yet... the questions that linger in my mind, are:
  • does the same model of axle still exist and are they readily available? Over the years, I've poked around on this... now my old bookmarks have gone stale and it seems like these places keep going out of business.
    BWY might be able to tell you, even if they don’t sell them.
  • placement of the second... does it go behind the current one or do I have to move the first one forward to still maintain the same current balance point?
Unless you want to increase the tongue load substantially, you need to move the existing axle. The mid-point between the two axles is the effective fulcrum for determining the tongue weight, same as if there was a single centered at that location. If you want to increase it, then you need to adjust where that mid-point is.

Thank you all, these are the kind of things I was hoping to read and your support is the best thing about this forum.
And do watch the age of your tires. They do age out, from atmospheric constituents like ozone, and from sunlight. This is a common problem with RV tires, too. They also age out before they wear out, and a blowout on a 22.5 inch tire at 100 psi can and does a LOT of damage, and actually can kill you or someone else especially if its on the steer axle. Not so bad with a trailer, but still potentially bad enough to rip up a fender and possibly damage the hull if it’s close.

If you prefer the single axle solution, look into a heavier axle and 15” wheels and tires with a higher load rating.
Tom
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Re: Single Axle Limitations?

Post by Starscream » Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:27 am

Image

* what Tom said.

This happened on my tow home from Hamilton to Montreal when I first bought the boat and original trailer, after the boat had sat with this tire facing the sun for a long time, without moving.

60mph. I was a bit surprised that the wheel rim wasn't damaged at all. I kept on going a couple of miles to the next exit, since it happened at night I didn't want to be taken out by passing traffic.

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Re: Single Axle Limitations?

Post by Inquisitor » Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:32 am

Tomfoolery wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 6:54 am
...

Unless you want to increase the tongue load substantially, you need to move the existing axle. The mid-point between the two axles is the effective fulcrum for determining the tongue weight, same as if there was a single centered at that location. If you want to increase it, then you need to adjust where that mid-point is.

And do watch the age of your tires. They do age out, from atmospheric constituents like ozone, and from sunlight. This is a common problem with RV tires, too. They also age out before they wear out, and a blowout on a 22.5 inch tire at 100 psi can and does a LOT of damage, and actually can kill you or someone else especially if its on the steer axle. Not so bad with a trailer, but still potentially bad enough to rip up a fender and possibly damage the hull if it’s close.

If you prefer the single axle solution, look into a heavier axle and 15” wheels and tires with a higher load rating.
Axle move - I was assuming (worse case scenario) that, that was the case. I guess the best solution would be to load the boat up as for a "normal" trip and find the point where the tongue weight is 500 lbs... then arrange the two axles equal distance from there.

Heavier Axle - I remember years ago noting a camber to the tires and successfully center jacked the axle to "bend" them back normal.

Tires - My tires are original - D rated Carlisle 225SR75-15. Although my tires have worn evenly, there's hardly any wear on them. BUT, reading here gave me the 411 to look closer... I am starting to get the hair-line sidewall cracks and will be getting new tires before the Mug Race trip. I haven't started looking yet, but I was hoping to find some E-load rating and just get them with the wheels.
Russ wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 6:05 am
...
I ended up buying 4 new tires premounted on wheels. Used one of the old worn tires as a spare and sold the other one.
...
Where did you get yours?
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Re: Single Axle Limitations?

Post by Tomfoolery » Sun Mar 28, 2021 10:29 am

Inquisitor wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:32 am
Tires - My tires are original - D rated Carlisle 225SR75-15. <snip>. I haven't started looking yet, but I was hoping to find some E-load rating and just get them with the wheels.
I didn’t realize you had 15” wheels already. 15” radials with Load Range E are fairly common, and are available already mounted.

https://www.etrailer.com/dept-pg-Traile ... _Inch.aspx

I would just stress caution buying Chinese tires, mainly from the comments I see all the time from travel trailers folks. Blowouts are all too common on travel trailers, mainly (IMO at least) due to the fact that the tires, wheels, axles, hubs, bearings, and so on are typically right up at the top of their load ratings. Good enough for short trips, and minimal miles, but for long distance driving and high miles in general, high quality tires would be something to look for. Again, IMO.

I have cheap tires and galvanized wheels from etrailer, but they’re running at barely more than half their load rating since I have two axles. For a single axle trailer where the axle load is right at the top (Roger didn’t waste money, after all), I’d be using high quality bearings and tires. And moving up to the next load range makes a lot of sense to me if sticking with the single axle.
Tom
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Re: Single Axle Limitations?

Post by NiceAft » Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:51 am

In the above posts it has been recommended to check the age of your tires, but no source as to how to do this.

https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech ... ?techid=11
Ray ~~_/)~~

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