When you’re purchasing or thinking of building a new trailer, you might well question whether it’s best to have a single or double (tandem) axle. Do the trailer axles impact its performance and what are the Pros and Cons.
What’s the difference?
A single axle trailer, as the name implies, has one axle with a wheel connected on each end. It’s attached to the trailer either via the springs or directly on to the trailer bed with clamps or supporting hardware.
Double or tandem trailer axles have two axles placed in close proximity to each other to help disperse the weight load of the cargo.
Advantages of single axle trailers:
- Single axle trailers weigh less so they’re more economical to tow.
- Often cost less to buy.
- Are easier to manoeuvre than a double axle trailer of the same size.
- Easier to park in a tight spot.
- One fewer set of tyres, bearings and brakes to maintain and replace.
- They can’t haul as heavy a payload as a tandem axle trailer of the same size.
- Single axle trailers below 750kg GTM are not required to have brakes, so it’s up to the owner to make a call about this important safety issue.
- A single axle trailer will be harder on tyres as they carry more weight per tyre than a dual axle trailer.
- If it doesn’t have suspension, it won’t cushion the load so well or provide a stable ride over bumps.
Advantages of tandem axle trailers:
- More stable at highway speeds.
- Usually have much better suspension.
- A flat tyre is less of a dramatic event and if it happens the tyre could possibly be changed without using a jack.
- Tandem axle trailers are safer. If they’re rated to carry 750kg to 2000kg, they are required by law to have brakes, while anything over 2000kg must have brakes on all axles.
- When properly loaded, a dual axle trailer will bounce less and is less prone to swaying.
- A tandem axle trailer often costs more.
- It weighs more so fuel economy suffers.
- The more axles, the more maintenance is involved, such as four wheels to maintain with bearings, grease and tyres.
In the end, whether you buy a single or double axle trailer will depend on your needs. If you are going to tow infrequently then a single axle trailer should be fine; but if you’re towing over long distances or are concerned about safety then a tandem axle trailer is probably the better choice.
Without A Hitch, AL-KO, 3 Jan 2015, http://withoutahitch.com.au/
It’s not always easy to know what sort of trailer you need. We weigh up the benefits of open and enclosed trailers.
- Commonly less expensive to build – less material, less work.
- They’re lighter to tow so there’s less wear and tear on tyres, the tow vehicle and more fuel efficient.
- Easy to manoeuvre due to better visibility and size.
- Less prone to sway as they offer less wind resistance.
- You can see over the top when you’re reversing.
- It’s easier to reach things in an open trailer; and easier to put things in.
- You’ll need to empty it every time you arrive home after a day/weekend away – for security and weather.
- What are you moving? If it’s mainly rubbish, green waste or the occasional piece of furniture, an open trailer offers a lot more versatility.
- On the other hand, towing your treasured racing bikes or vintage car to a rally is much safer with an enclosed trailer.
- It’s secure and can house all the gear you need without fear of water damage if it rains.
- More importantly, your cargo won’t be subjected to the, dust, stones, bugs, exhaust fumes or other road debris.
- Enclosed trailers offer more storage options.
- It’s harder for an opportunistic thief to lift your equipment from an enclosed trailer.
- With an enclosed trailer, you can take out the essentials, lock it up and deal with it tomorrow. When you use the trailer as part of your business, this can save extra unpaid hours of work in your day.
- An enclosed trailer offers accessible space for advertising your business or sport – it’s like having a 3–dimensional billboard.
Best of both worlds
Does a caged trailer offer the benefits of both an open trailer and an enclosed trailer? Again, it will depend on what you’ll use it for.
- It’s ideal for carting furniture, goods and appliances when moving house.
- It can also be useful for hauling green waste to the tip but might still need to be covered, as leaves and grass clippings will blow straight out.
- If using your caged trailer for transporting bikes or camping gear, consider investing in a sturdy tarpaulin to put over the lot.
Whether you choose an open, enclosed or caged trailer will largely depend on what you want to use it for.
Original article from Without A Hitch, ALKO
There are a number of good brake systems available. If your trailer ATM is over 750kg you will require braking to comply with legal requirements. Electric drum brakes, for example, are reasonably priced and work well with in-cab controllers. They’re easy to fit, low maintenance and you can get spares just about anywhere. Disc brakes are popular with over-run couplings. In all cases, make sure you comply to the VSB – a copy of which is supplied with the plans.
VSB1 (Vehicle Standards Bulletin 1 Rev 5, June 2009) is a National Code of Practice for Building Small Trailers. That is, trailers with an Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) of less than 4.5 Tonnes. This Vehicle Standards Bulletin summarises the construction requirements for trailers necessary to meet the ADRs (Australian Design Rules), and trailers built to meet the requirements in this bulletin are accepted as meeting the ADRs.
The cost can vary a lot depending on where you source parts and material, whether it’s new or used gear and how much work you are prepared to do yourself. We recommend that you use the complete parts list (supplied with each plan) to draw up an accurate budget.
DXF files are a common file for transferring CAD data between different systems. It is a file that can be read by most CAD systems including that used by Laser Cutting Services. Some DXF files are provided and could save you the manufacturing time, and possibly the cost of buying large quantities of material to produce a relatively small part.
Download a free DXF file viewer here
We are unable to open the DXF files. Could you please advise which program to use to open these files?
There are equivalent PDF files for each of the DXFs, so you are not missing out if you cannot open the DXF. However, the DXF files are 2D scaled drawings that are often used by laser and profile cutters. If you wish to view these files you would need to download a (free) DXF viewer such as DWG Tueview
DraftSight is a professional-grade FREE (to individuals) CAD software program for professional CAD users, students and educators to create, edit and view DWG (AutoCAD compatible) files. DraftSight runs on Windows®, Mac® and Linux. secure – payment and downloading.
Yes, everything from when you press the Add to Cart button is secure – payment and downloading. You can checkout using your PayPal account, or, if you don’t have one, simply select the credit card option on the PayPal secure page.
You can also purchase via direct bank deposit. Ask us for more details.
We provide comprehensive information about the axle requirements for each trailer plan. Axle length, size and brakes are discussed in detail and off course we are just an email away if you need more clarification. We also recommend that you purchase your axle from a reputable trailer suspension supplier and in all cases follow the supplier or manufacturer’s installation instructions.
I purchased a set of trailer plans and was wondering if it was possible to get the drawings in AutoCAD or DXF format?
Unfortunately due to increased risks to our copyright and product liability, we do not release our drawings in any CAD or 3D model formats. The PDF drawing files are very well prepared and provide all the necessary detail. Of course, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email us.
I haven’t done a lot of steel work before and was wondering how straight forward it is to build a trailer?
You must be able to read drawings, cut steel and apply solid welds with good penetration. If you can do these things, have a few tools and a reasonable work area (shed would be great), then it’s a great project to undertake and very satisfying to complete.
The plans are downloaded as a compressed .ZIP folder. Some internet security software systems rename the download file (eg: to .EWF) and then it’s not recognised by your operating system. Check the file extension name. If required, download a FREE evaluation version of WinZip here
The independent coil suspension referred to in the plans is the Cruisemaster options offered by Vehicle Components – www.vehiclecomponents.com.au
The plans do not detail the suspension itself, but rather the trailer construction required to suit VC’s suspension. The guys at VC will be more than happy to help you with selecting the right gear for your trailer. The plans will help you construct the trailer. Independent suspension is best left to the professionals that spend lots of time and money developing and testing their products. Our advice is spend your money where it counts and make your savings on building your chassis and trailer body yourself.
The registration process differs slightly from state to state. Consult your local authority’s website for detailed instructions. Usually, you will need to complete the appropriate application forms, provide proof of ID, proof of vehicle origin, manufacturer’s plate & VIN number (obtained from the authority’s offices). Visit our Registration Page for more information and some handy links to registration authority sites.
Registration of trailers remains the responsibility of the State and Territory registration authorities. Trailer manufacturers should consult the relevant authority for the necessary registration procedures, such as inspection.
Do the plans include a steel list, dimensions and quantities so I can have a supplier cut all pieces for me?
Yes, there is a complete parts list, as well as a material cut list grouped by material size/type.
Yes, but you will need an app like iZip or similar to open/extract the ZIP file after it’s been downloaded. Step by step instructions…